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JULY – AUGUST 2012 • Vol. 77 • No. 1277 • e-mail:


C-L Delegates ‘Bear Fruit’ from Arizona Desert Congress

the July 4 banquet to “go and bear fruit” in three areas: youth, outreach to Orthodox Christians who have disconnected, or have no connection to the Church, and support for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church.

by Jim Golding

PHOENIX -More than 1,200 participants attended the successful 41st ClergyLaity Congress and National Philoptochos Convention July 1-4, undaunted by tripledigit temperatures in this southwestern desert environment. The J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort served as the spacious location for the congress. Among their major actions, delegates overwhelmingly voted to continue holding the congress every two years. Resolutions from the Boston, New Jersey and Atlanta metropolises had called for changing the frequency to three–years as a means of reducing expenses for communities. National Philoptochos Convention delegates pledged $205,000 toward a new Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy. (story below) Many workshops and seminars took place on July 2 and 3 where delegates received briefings and information on the National Ministries which they can take to their individual parishes for implementation. Several auxiliary organizations also held meetings in conjunction with the congress, including the Retired Clergy Association, Sisterhood of Presvyteres, the National Fourm of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians and others. Separate articles in this issue highlight the work of several of these groups. Also in attendance was the patriarchal representative, Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, who delivered the greetings of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the opening session and spoke to several groups. Archbishop Demetrios served as the

Dimitris Panagos photos

Archbishop Demetrios addresses the opening session of the 41st Biennial Clergy–Laity Congress, delivering a 45–minute keynote speech.

keynote speaker at the opening session on July 2 and expounded on the theme of “Chosen and appointed by God to go and bear fruit” there and at other events at the congress. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas also offered her greetings. She noted the significance of the city of Phoenix taking its name from the mythological bird that became an early Christian symbol representing Christ’s resurrection. In his welcoming remarks, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco observed that the format of the congress is unique in the Orthodox world, engaging “all of our parishes in the work of the church” and demonstrating “in a very concrete way the

unity of the Archdiocese.” He added, “The purpose of this congress is to grow in our faith and make decisions in our life together as the Greek Orthodox Church in America. The process begins here to go and bear fruit. To continue in Christ’s salvific work and proclaim Orthodoxy will require new ideas and new strategies. That’s why we are here; to learn from the Archdiocese and ministries and, most importantly, to learn from one another.” Later in the week, Archbishop Demetrios commented that the congress, “set a high level of achievement in everything that happened.” He told the 1,400 persons attending

Archbishop’s keynote highlights The Archbishop enumerated a litany of reasons to “be thankful to God,”which characterizes the role, purpose and recent accomplishments of the Church in America over the past two years since the last congress. “For the gifts we have received in the two years since the last congress we give thanks for everything,” His Eminence said. “The period of 2010-12 is full of circumstances for us to give thanks to God,” which include: • for the very distinguished hierarchical service by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh. We owe him much for his contributions to theological, pastoral and ecumenical work of the Church. • for Savas, the new Metropolitan of Pittsburgh. • for the new Bishop Sevastianos, the chief secretary of the Holy Synod and bishop of zeal. • for the new clergy who have been ordained, including 28 priests and 41 deacons. • for the life and work of the 22 clergy who have departed after long years of fruitful diaconia. • for the agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the rebuilding of the new St. Nicholas Church. The agreement was signed last October and the paperwork for the technical details is

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National Philoptochos Convention Raises $205,000 for Center of Philanthropy by Melody Simmons

PHOENIX – With a spotlight on 80 years of its philanthropic endeavors, close to 400 delegates at the biennial Philoptochos convention turned inward

for a golden hour and raised a stunning $205,000 toward a new Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy on the final day of the Clergy–Laity Conference here. The flurry of donations and pledges were made by many of the 392 regis-

Philoptochos delegates attend one of many meetings of their convention.

tered delegates, some on behalf of their chapters all across the U.S. and others in honor of or in memory of beloved Philoptochos members and family members. The amount was added to an existing $1.2 million raised over the past two years for the Center, to be located in New York City. It was the pinnacle event of the fourday conference held at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort on the edge of the rugged and beautiful Sonoran Desert. The wide-ranging agenda included a forum on domestic violence awareness and prevention, emotional testimony of Philoptochos-sponsored charitable work, a discussion on lifestyle choices called “Are You a Martha or a Mary?” and passage of the organization’s budgets for 2013 and 2014. “You have the traits of true Christian leaders,” said Bishop Sevastianos of Zela,

the newly appointed spiritual advisor for Philoptochos. “Be the example of what you want people to do.” National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas told the delegates that the convention was a success because of their diligence and concern to keep the organization’s ministry that included a recent donation of $160,000 made to non-governmental relief agencies in Greece to help relieve suffering brought on from the economic collapse in the country. “The Philoptochos women in America demonstrate through unwavering faith and commitment that Philoptochos is the extraordinary philanthropic organization of sterling integrity offering healing, peace and hope for more than 80 years,” she said.

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To contact the FAITH Awards 2012 Ionian Village Scholarships National Ministries Archives 212.570.3517 Communications 212.774.0244 Greek Education 212.774.0233 Information Technologies 212.774.0240 Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations 212.570.3593 Marriage & Family 845.424.8175 Parish Development 847.825.1432 Philanthropy 212.774.0283 Public Affairs 212.774.0400 Registry 212.570.3558 Religious Education 617.850.1218

NEW YORK – For the sixth consecutive year, “FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” is sponsoring a series of financial aid scholarships this summer through its “Birthright Hellas” program to campers in the Ionian Village Summer Camp program. FAITH has awarded financial aid scholarships to 59 students from throughout the United States. Ionian Village is the Summer Camping Ministry of the Archdiocese. The mission of Ionian Village is to enrich the lives of its participants by bringing campers and staff into close contact with their Orthodox faith and Hellenic heritage. Ionian Village provides the opportunity for teenagers, ages 13–18, of the Archdiocese to foster a life-long appreciation and love of Greece, Orthodoxy, and Hellenism. This important mission is accomplished by providing a safe and fun environment in which campers and staff can fully immerse themselves into the rich Greek heritage, experience the vibrancy of our Greek Orthodox traditions, and learn to lead Christ–centered lives. Ionian Village participants travel across Greece, venerate the relics of the saints, walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, and visit significant sites of Greek history and

culture. At the end of each program, the campers, staff and clergy return home with strengthened faith, life–long friendships based on Christian love, and an expanded appreciation for the Orthodox Church and Greek culture. “Ionian Village, as many people know, is a very special place. It is truly more than a summer camp; it is an experience that is life-transforming. Through the gener-

GARRISON, N.Y. – Six students who graduated from area schools were honored in an emotion–filled ceremony at the 65th Commencement at Saint Basil Academy. Three students graduated from eighth grade, two from high school and one from a community college. Each student spoke briefly about the positive impact the academy has had in

shaping their life and preparing them to become productive individuals anchored in the Faith, and related some of the difficult circumstances that brought them to the facility. Fr. Constantine Sitaras, executive director of the academy, summed up the work of Saint Basil’s as offering “support, guidance, discipline, an element of caring, nurturing and love beyond comprehen-

Youth and Young Adult Ministries 646.519.6180

Change of Address

Dimitris Panagos photo

Students graduating from their respective schools honored at the 65th commencement at Saint Basil Academy with Archbishop Demetrios, Fr. Constantine Sitaras, trustees and National Philiptochos representatives. EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis

ISSN 0731–2547

In 2012, published monthly except February–March and July–August by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Editorial and Business Office: 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075 TEL.: (212) 570–3555 FAX (212) 774–0239

sion in shaping well-rounded, whole individuals” and making them “people of quality” that are respected, respectful and “appreciative of what has been given to them.” This year’s ceremony took place under a large tent erected on the front lawn of the academy’s administration building, unlike past years when the gym was used. Fr. Sitaras noted that the relocation resulted from several broken water pipes that rendered some of the facilities unusable and that the entire underground piping system, which is as much as a century old, will have to be replaced at an estimated cost of about $250,000. The academy had been without electric power for nearly eight weeks as the

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USPS 412340

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Saint Basil Academy Holds 65th Commencement

Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism 646.519.6160

Deadline for submitting information, articles and photos for consideration in the September 2012 issue: Friday, August 26. Photos should be sent as a large format .jpg attachment (300 dpi min.). E-mail to: Regular mail: Editor, Orthodox Observer, 8 E. 79th St., New York, NY 10075.

ous support and love of the Founders of FAITH, many young people who perhaps could not otherwise afford this experience are now able to. As we saw this year, we have recipients from each Metropolis of the Archdiocese, telling us what an amazing impact this grant continues to make in the life of our Archdiocese. This program is truly a great show of support for this amazing ministry, and a wonderful opportunity for these young campers” remarked Fr. Evagoras Constantinides, the Ionian Village director. Peter T. Kikis, president of FAITH, added “We (the founders of Faith) are proud to support young people wishing to participate in Ionian Village, which is a truly transformative and enriching experience the intellectual and spiritual growth along with the friendships that take place as these young people connect to their Hellenic roots at Ionian Village are extraordinary. For more than 40 years, Ionian Village has been and still is the premiere program for the young Greek Americans to understand their Hellenic heritage and identity and we are very pleased to offer this opportunity through our Birthright Hellas scholarship program.” FAITH also has funded several scholar-


Nicholas Manginas

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To Contact Us For questions about submitting information/news to the Orthodox Observer: Jim Golding, 212.570.3557, Advertising & Greek section, Lefteris Pissalidis, 212.570.3555,





Independence Day To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Our observance of Independence Day this year coincides with the 41st biennial meeting of the Clergy-Laity Congress of our Holy Archdiocese, and our Congress theme has tremendous significance when we reflect on the heritage of freedom that we have in this country, the United States of America. Our theme, “Chosen and Appointed by God to Go and Bear Fruit,” is directly related to our divine calling as Orthodox Christians to carry the message of the Gospel and to reveal the grace and power of God in our lives so that beautiful and eternal spiritual fruit may be produced in the lives of others. On this July 4, we give thanks to God that we live in a land that is free. We are in a nation where we can affirm publicly our Orthodox Faith, and we can live openly with the conviction that God has appointed us for a special task. We are also blessed with the freedom to go and bear fruit. As we meet in Phoenix, Arizona and plan the ministry and service of our

Church, and as we gather in worship and ministry in our local parishes, we are able to do so without the pressures and challenges of oppression or persecution. We are able to seek the guidance of God and to determine the best course of action to meet the needs around us, to lead others to salvation, and to bring honor and glory to Him. We are also free to offer our lives and resources so that great fruit is produced in the lives of others. This land is one which has fostered respect for the spiritual life and for the role of religion in teaching the values that nurture community, peace, and civility. In this environment, we offer this and so much more through Christ, knowing that others are free to embrace life in Him and to experience grace and faith in many, and sometimes unexpected ways. As we celebrate our freedom to go and bear fruit on this Independence Day, may we remember those who have given so much to establish and protect this freedom. May we also affirm the blessings we have in this country to worship and witness through the work of our Church and through our lives so that others may see, hear, and receive the Gospel and experience the abundant life we have in Christ. With paternal love in Him,

† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America

Congress Information on Website For more information on the 41st Biennial Clergy–Laity Congress that took place in Phoenix, visit the Archdiocese website: to view all the texts of reports presented at the congress, the complete texts of Archbishop Demetrios’ keynote address, the greetings from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew read by Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, photographs and other information.

CLERGY UPDATE Ordinations to the Diaconate John (Eric) Wallace – Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta – Holy Cross Chapel, Brookline, Mass. 3/31/12 John Pantelis – Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta – St. George Church, New Port Richey, Fla. 5/13/12 Mathew Kakis – Bishop Andonios of Phasiane – St. Paul Cathedral, Hempstead, NY 6/10/12 Jason Houck – Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos – St. Mary Church, Minneapolis 6/17/12 Assignments Fr. Stavroforos Mamaies – St. Barbara Church, Durham, NC 6/01/12 Fr. George Gartelos – Saint Sophia Church, San Antonio, Texas 6/03/12 Fr. Paul Bebis – Holy Trinity Church, Fitchburg, Mass. 7/01/12 Dn. Jason Houck – Sts. Constantine & Helen Church, Washington 7/01/12 Fr. Chris Margaritis – Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral, Denver 7/01/12 Fr. Philemon Patitsas – St. Katherine Church, Naples, Fla. 7/01/12 Fr. Apostolos Hill – St. George Church, Prescott, Ariz. 7/15/12 Dn. Nikolas Karloutsos – Archangel

Archdiocese Sends $190,000 to Churches in Crete, Dodecanese

NEW YORK – The Archdiocese, responding to the loving wish of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, to help, if possible, with part of the proceeds collected in the “Relief Fund for the People of Greece,” the suffering people in the Holy Metropolises of Crete and the Holy Metropolises of Dodecanese, sent funds totaling $190,000. Specifically, the total amount of $130,000 was sent to the Holy Archdiocese of Crete and to the eight Metropolises of the Orthodox Church in Crete; $60,000 was sent to the five metropolises of the Dodecanese and the Holy

Monastery of Patmos. Archbishop Demetrios in his letter to the hierarchs accompanying the check noted that the amount is an offering for the special programs of these Churches for the relief (food, shelter, medicine) of the suffering people in their area. He wrote, “This is an offering of love of the parishes and individuals of our Holy Archdiocese of America, who responded to the call for solidarity and support of the Greek people during this difficult period, with what they could and despite the adverse economic conditions that exist here as well.”

Fr. Roll Named National Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios has appointed the Rev. Fr. Jason C. Roll as the national director of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries effective July 1, succeeding Fr. Mark Leondis who served as National Youth Director from 2000 to 2011. Fr. Jason previously served as assistant priest at St. Nicholas Church in Northridge, Calif., and had been a part-time assistant at Holy Trinity Church in New Rochelle, N.Y. Fr. Jason has more than 20 years experience in youth work and camping ministries, and 18 years of business and professional management experience. Under the direction of Archbishop Demetrios, Fr. Jason served as director of Ionian Village from 2009-2011. He also has directed various youth camps throughout our Archdiocese and served in many areas of youth, young adult and campus ministry, most recently including the OCF-West spiritual adviser. Commenting on Fr. Roll’s appointment, Archbishop Demetrios said, “Fr. Jason brings to the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries a vigorous faith, an unwavering enthusiasm and strong, managerial skills. I am sure that with the help of God he will work diligently, creatively and effectively on the challenging, but also promising, field of the youth related activities of our Church.”

“With the blessings of Archbishop Demetrios, I look forward to serving the youth and young adults of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America” said Fr. Jason. “My goal is to strengthen the relationship between God and the Greek Orthodox youth through supportive Christ-centered resources aimed at sustaining youth leaders. I look forward to enhancing and establishing a greater online presence with a live resource center for Orthodox youth, young adults, parish youth leaders and parents.” Fr. Jason, a Portland, Oregon native, graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a minor in behavioral sciences. He received his Masters of Divinity from Holy Cross School of Theology where he graduated cum laude in 2009. Prior to attending Holy Cross, Fr. Jason worked for companies such as US Bank, NIKE Inc. and as a neuroscience treatment team manager and pharmaceutical sales representative with Eli Lilly and Company.

Michael, Port Washington, NY 8/01/12 V. Rev. Fr. Nektarios Papazafiropoulos – St. Demetrios Cathedral, Astoria, N.Y 8/01/12 Appointments Fr. George S. Callos – Chancellor of the Metropolis of Pittsburgh 6/01/12 Fr. Jason C. Roll – National Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries 7/01/12 Offikia Fr. Barnabas Powell – Office of Confessor, bestowed by Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta 5/27/12 Fr. James Hademenos – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver 6/10/12 Suspensions Fr. Michael H. Kontos 6/05/12 Priests on Loan Fr. Costa Constantinou (to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto) 7/01/12 Leave of Absence Archdeacon Ryan Gzikowski 4/15/12 New Communities Greek Orthodox Parish of Loudoun County, Dulles, Va.

Ten–year milestone Dimitris Panagos photo

Archbishop Demetrios greets a soldier during a gathering of “first responders” at the World Trade Center site on June 4, two days before His Eminence and other Church leaders received a private tour and briefing by WTC officials. (Story on page 10) The event marked the 10th anniversary of the completion of work to remove debris from the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. The “first responders” were those who actively participated in recovery efforts and in ministering to the survivors and victims’ families following the catastrophe.


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‘Bearing Fruit’ in the Arizona Desert

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CLC photos by Dimitris Panagos unless otherwise noted

More than 1,200 congress and Philoptochos delegates begin their week at the opening session on July 2.

Convention Raises $205,000 for Center u u from page 1 Archbishop Demetrios opened the Philoptochos convention on Sunday afternoon with prayer and a charge to the delegates to build on the theme of the 2012 Clergy–Laity Congress “Chosen and appointed by God to go and bear fruit.” “It is evident through this witness of service that the members of Philoptochos, both past and present, have been chosen and appointed by God,” His Eminence said in an open letter to the delegates. “The mission has been and continues to be one that leads the members of Philoptochos to go and meet critical needs. Through essential and unique demonstrations of love, you constantly answer God’s call.” Such examples of that mission include raising funds over the past two years that have totaled more than $2.9 million for the Children’s Medical Fund since 1989. Delegates were told that a December 2011 luncheon for the charity held in Greenwich, Conn. drew more than 650 people and resulted in a donation of $204,456 to 15 area hospitals. A report from the Philoptochos Social Services committee stated that nearly $310,000 in emergency grants had been made between October 2010 and June 2012. Many of the grants were to help stave off eviction and foreclosure, pay for funerals, supply heating oil and help pay for homecare costs. Other highlights of the Phoenix convention were news that individual metropolis chapters had contributed generously to charities and ministries in their areas. Those gifts included Boston’s more than $200,000, Denver’s more than $330,000, Atlanta’s nearly $750,000 and Pittsburgh’s $115,000. In New Jersey, the metropolis held a luncheon earlier this year and raised $115,000 for the Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy. Overall, delegates were told that Philoptochos had donated $2.8 million to various philanthropic endeavors and

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivers a video messsage to the Philoptochos delegates.

ministries from January 2010 through December 2011. They include the Academy of Saint Basil, Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, the Autism Assistance Fund, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. At the convention, children’s book author Nick Katsoris, who has written the popular “Loukoumi” series, spoke and offered to donate $4 from the sale of each Loukoumi book to Philoptochos, as well as one book per each one sold to the organization to help promote literacy. A Loukoumi mascot danced in the aisles as delegates took photos and cheered. The convention marked Philoptochos’ 80 th Birthday. A gala party was held at the unique and classic Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix where nine Philoptochos members from the metropolis regions were honored with AGAPE awards. The winners were: Anastasia Geotes, of Greenlawn, N.Y., Pauline Douglas, of Oak Lawn, Ill., Dorothea Ocnos, of Weston, Mass., Marie Harris, of Houston, Elaine Nugent, of New Orleans, Delores Revelos, of Middletown, Ohio, Alexandra Melonas, of Weirton, W.Va., Dorothea Love, of Irvine, Calif., and Alice Nicas, of Asbury Park, N.J. (related story p.7) The sparkling event was hosted by the Metropolis of San Francisco’s

Philoptochos Metropolis Board and chapters–the Philoptochos convention’s host sponsor, led by Metropolis President Jeannie Ranglas. It held a festive and joyful atmosphere complete with dinner, drinks, museum tours, an elegant two–tier birthday cake, Greek pastries and toasts to the next 80 years–all serenaded by classic music flowing from a gorgeous Steinway piano. The next day, President Skeadas reported that the future of the organization was bright–and pledged to help move the group to the next step, into its own offices through the purchase of a building in New York. The Center will be located in a multi-purpose building that will also garner rental income, she said. A total of nearly $4 million is needed to make the purchase and move, she said. Each chapter was challenged to donate $1,000 in the next phase of fundraising for the Center, and will be named individually on a special tree-shaped commemorative when the center opens. During the hour-long fundraising push, the national Philoptochos board members surprised Skeadas with a check for $10,000 in her honor, as the delegates cheered and Skeadas wept. “We’re 80 years old, we need a home of our own,” she said. “We will get there.”

to be completed in the coming weeks. The location is one of most advantageous. It directly faces the memorial. An additional advantage is the expected 40,000-50,000 visitors per day; plus more than 2,000 people using the nearby commuter trains each day. “You can imagine the witness.” • for-Holy Cross School of Theology which celebrates 75 years. The class entering this September will have a record enrollment–50 new students. • for the Ladies Philoptochos Society; 80 bright years of sustained caring, love and philanthropy; an impressive army of more than 27,000 ladies around country. • for St. Michael’s home for aged people. The home is about to acquire an important new facility, with space for more residents and a ward for nursing and medical care. • for the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund that has completed more than 25 years. It was born in 1985 in Phoenix and, so far, has given $33 million to the ministries of the Church. • for FAITH endowment fund, which, since its inception in 2003; offers serious responsible funding; and has produced impressive work in promoting Orthodoxy and Hellenism. This includes textbooks for teaching Greek to children; giving assistance to Ionian Village, programs for the Fulbright Foundation, and the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. • for the Archons, Order of St. Andrew. Their tireless efforts over the last 10 years have changed the approach to fundamental issues relating to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and support of religious freedom by major governmental bodies. The November 2010 conference on religious freedom in Brussels was resoundingly successful, which the Turkish government paid high attention. • for Saint Basil Academy, which offers a blessed home for children of families facing serious difficulties. The children offered a check for the relief fund to Greece with tears in their eyes, which brought tears to the eyes of many at the commencement. • for St. Photios Shrine, which celebrates 30 years. • for the hundreds of day and afternoon schools educating our children in Orthodoxy and Hellenic heritage. • for our children who fill our summer camps and Ionian Village. • for the children who attend the folk dance festivals. • for the children and young people who participate in commendable athletic events that have shown a more responsible approach in meeting spirituality needs. • for the children participating in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival. • for the Metropolitan Youth Choir that has offered concerts at various places internationally. • for the people of our Orthodox Church in the United States. The people genrerously offered to the suffering people in Greece so far almost $1 million in a very short period.


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Hierarchs and priests attending the congress gather for their official picture following the Clergy Breakfast on July. The priests represented 326 parishes of the Archdiocese. Their next gathering will be at the November 2013 Clergy Retreat in Florida.

Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco and Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, greet the delegates at the opening session. Archbishop Demetrios presents a sterling silver cross to Dr. Pappas at the Forum’s meeting.

National Forum Chairman Vicky Pappas Announces Retirement National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians began its series of meetings Sunday with an announcement by Dr. Vicky Pappas, who has served as chairman for 30 years, that she is retiring from the position, though will continue her involvement with the National Forum. A new chairman was elected during the Forum’s meetings. Maria Keritsis of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Richmond, Va., will assume her new duties in September. Archbishop Demetrios had high praise for Dr. Pappas’ contributions over the years. A few of her accomplishments include the organization and performances of the combined choirs at the Clergy Laity Congresses, and the $350,000 offering by the Forum to Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology for a church music endowment. The Forum gave an additional $100,000 to

the Archbishop Iakovos Library and for a long-term project. In an interview with the Observer, Dr. Pappas reflected on how the National Forum has changed in her 36 years as a member. “In the beginning the focus was mostly on choirs,” said, but that its role has “expanded to supporting chanters, education for chanters, promoting youth involvement and offering assistance to parishes and clergy.” Her long-term project involves organizing and publishing the work of a 19th and early 20th century doctor with an interest in choral music. The Archdiocese and Metropolis of New Jersey was bequeathed money from the estate of Dr. Spyros Spathis.

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Congress exhibit opening Leadership 100 Chairman Charles H. Cotros, with several hierarchs taking part, prepares to cut the ribbon for the opening of the exhibit hall at the congress. Shown with Mr. Cotros, from left, Metropolitans Evangelos of New Jersey, Methodios of Boston and Gerasimos of San Francisco, Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitans Sotirios of Toronto and Nicholas of Detroit.



41 Clergy-Laity Congress st

Fr. Kezios Honored at HC Reception Holy Cross School of Theology honored an outstanding alumnus at its reception during the clergy-laity congress on July 3. Fr. Spencer Kezios, a member of the HCHC executive board and the pastor of St. Nicholas Church in Northridge, Calif. For 45 years, received the Distinguished Ministries Award at the standing-roomonly event. Among his accomplishments is the compilation of liturgical chants in English. Archbishop Demetrios, commenting on the event and the honor given to Fr. Kezios, called the reception “a happy reunion that combines the first generation of alumni” with subsequent and more recent ones. He said that, as a member of the HC board, Fr. Kezios “had the best record

in attendance” at the biannual meetings that involved his traveling to Boston from California. The Archbishop also noted that Hellenic College Holy Cross “has not received what it should” (in financial support) in comparison to the value “of what it has accomplished.” “This is an occasion to ensure the effort to go and bear fruit to enhance the quality and performance of our school.” Commenting on the milestone anniversary of the school, Metropolitan Gerasimos, referring to the large number of priests educated at Holy Cross, said “the vine has produced a great deal of fruit in its 75 years of existence. The question is ‘What is the vision for the next 75 years?” “Society will need leaders in the Church and in society,” he added.

The Military Chaplaincy Program by Fr. John Kalantzis, CAPT USN

The theme “Chosen and appointed by God to go forth and bear fruit” is directly applicable here because military chaplaincy is itself one of the many fruits of the ministry of our honored metropolitans. Through their eminences’ efforts, the Chaplains Corps is transitioning from SCOBA to the Assembly of Canonical Bishops as the endorsing agency for military chaplaincy. This administrative alignment with the emerging order is a necessary step, and will consolidate the chaplaincy’s official standing with the U.S. military. Greek Orthodox priests in the military serve under the omophorion of the Archbishop of America. While chaplains may come from different metropolises, they receive permission from their local metropolitan to serve on the national level in the U.S. Department of Defense. Chaplains are administratively supported by military ordinary of the Archdiocese, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, the endorsing agent, Fr. Luke Uhl, the Metropolis of Denver chancellor, both of whom have prior military service (Fr. Luke as a naval officer and Metropolitan Isaiah as a United States Marine). Having fulfilled

Department of Defense requirements, chaplains receive a commission from the President of the United States to serve as an officer in whichever of the Armed Services has accepted their candidacy. The Army, Air Force, and Navy each have a chaplain corps. The Navy Chaplain Corps serves the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the Navy in a variety of assignments at home and abroad. In the many and various circumstances of their assignments, they may find themselves living or serving near a local Orthodox church. Chaplains are mindful of their status as visitors in a local metropolis and seek the local hierarch’s permission to serve in metropolis churches. When possible, chaplains offer their services to the local priest to use at his discretion. For their part, priests have been gracious hosts and loving brothers in Christ. Parish communities of the metropolises have received chaplains with open arms, warm hospitality, and gracious, loving support, especially to their families while chaplains been deployed far off at

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Proud Americans The Fourth of July was celebrated at the closing banquet of the congress with a patriotic program of songs by Fr. John Bakas, dean of St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, professional soprano Michele Patzakis, and baritone Constantine Pappas, son of Fr. James Pappas of St. George Church, Fresno, Calif. Their concert brought everyone to their feet, along with lumps to their throats and tears to their eyes.


Congress Plenary Session Because the clergy-laity congress was a day shorter than in past years, delegates attended a one-day plenary session to hear presentations from the National Ministries and Church institutions. Reports were presented by Fr. Nathanael Symeonides, director of the Archdiocesan Advisory Committee on Science and Technology, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis; Leadership 100 Chairman Charles H. Cotros, Greek Education Director Dr. Ioannis Efthymiopoulos, Director of Development Jerry Minetos, Administration Committee Chairman Anthony Stefanis, Outreach and Evangelism Director Fr. Jim Kordaris and committee Chairman Fr. James Dokos, U.S. Navy Chaplain Capt. John Kalantzis, Stewardship Ministries Director Fr. Jim Kordaris and committee Chairman George Matthews, Communications Committee Chairman Clifford T. Argue and department Coordinator Marissa Costidis, Internet Ministries and Information Technology by Theo Nikolakis, Finance Committee Chairman George Vourvoulias, Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director Fr. Jason Roll, Hellenic College Holy Cross President Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Director of Religious Education Dr. Anton Vrame, Family and Interfaith Marriage Fr. Constantine Sitaras and Fr. Charles Joannides, and National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas. Delegates approved the Finance Committee recommendations for proposed budgets for 2013-14 of $25.53 million and $25.55 million respectively. With a projected reduction in total expenses and an increase in revenue, surpluses of $13,622 in 2013, $343,444 in 2014 are anticipated. Archons Dr. Limberakis’ report generated considerable discussion on progress being made toward religious freedom and human rights for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He outlined several ongoing efforts being undertaken by the Order of St. Andrew, including the religious freedom initiative that has so far resulted in 41 states passing resolutions in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The controversial issue of the government of Turkey offering citizenship to any non-Turkish hierarchs, which would satisfy the requirement mandated by the Turks that any candidate for Ecumenical Patriarch, drew a response from Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, who said the idea of a hierarch applying for Turkish citizenship is “totally unacceptable. I do not agree with this at all.” He said the Turkish government already has rejected some hierarchs from other jurisdictions who applied for citizenship. “This is not for us, this is against us.” He added that he himself would not think of applying. “I do not want the Turkish ambassador to say ‘Come and celebrate the Fall of Constantinople’ on May 29.” Archbishop Demetrios added that “Not one of our metropolitans has applied for Turkish citizenship. We are Greek citizens and American. We cannot have a third citizenship.” Archdiocese legal counsel Emanuel Demos added that “Turkey is undergoing a draft for a new constitution and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was asked to appear before parliamentary committee” preparing the new document. “We can only hope the new constitution grants religious freedom like other nations.” Leadership 100 Chairman Charles Cotros cited the beneficiaries of the organization’s grants

have included Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology, the International Orthodox Christian Charities, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, for the technology infrastructure of Internet Ministries, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, the Office of Marriage and Family and assistance for people in Greece under the current economic hardships. Mr. Cotros noted that Leadership 100 has proved $14.5 million in scholarships with another $10 million pledged over the next 10 years and will also provide grants to priests to help ease the burden of college loans. Total assistance to these organizations and ministries has exceeded $33 million. Outreach and Evangelism Frs. Kordaris and Dokos highlighted the many programs and resources developed by the department, including articles, brochures, sermons, outreach banners, visitor cards and displays; ministry profiles, home mission parish grants, outreach Sunday, parish location analysis; interfaith marriage and inclusion of people with disabilities. Outreach and Development also serves as a clearing house of liturgical items for parishes to provide these to other church, such as mission parishes. Stewardship Fr. Kordaris and George Matthews reported that the Stewardship Task Force has visited more than 300 parishes to promote stewardship in the communities and that plans call for stewardship training of Holy Cross seniors who, in turn, can train others. Greek education Dr. Efthymiopoulos reported that a major undertaking of his department has been the printing of new textbooks for parochial schools. The books have been tested for their effectiveness in New York, Detroit and Chicago schools. Office of Parish Development Among the projects discussed by Mr. Minetos include workshops and grants to individual parishes and focusing on tying in the 12 major Feasts of the Lord with stewardship. Administration As noted in the initial congress story on page one, delegates did not approve the resolution that called for changing the frequency of the clergy-laity congresses from two to three years. Several delegates who spoke on the issue called for reducing costs where possible to make attendance at the congress more affordable. Another resolution, to allow the merger of non-viable parishes with viable communities was not acted upon but referred to the Legal Committee for further study and future consideration. Other Reports Additional brief reports were presented by Communications, Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology, Internet Ministries and Information Technology, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Religious Education and Interfaith Marriage. Additional coverage of these ministries and more information on other presentations at the congress will be included in the Observer’s September issue. Complete reports from the congress can be viewed online at Resolutions Delegates approved resolutions calling for support of the people of Greece suffering from the current economic plight, support for the Patriarchate of Antioch in the current crises in Syria, and of the Christians in Egypt, accessibility to churches for those with disabilities and an appreciation resolution for the work of the congress.


The Voice of Philoptochos


National Philoptochos Distributes $160,000 in Aid to Greece National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas announced on June 26, 2012 that donations totaling $160,000 from Philoptochos chapters and friends of Philoptochos nationwide for the Philoptochos Appeal are being distributed to five organizations in Greece for the relief of our brethren suffering due to the severe economic crisis. These funds are in addition to the $25,000 donation offered in February 2012 from the National Philoptochos Emergency Fund expedited through IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) that provided medical supplies and food staples to the people affected by the economic crisis. President Skeadas reported that many requests for aid were submitted to Philoptochos and the selection of the following organizations was determined by the Executive Council of the National Philoptochos based on the extensive research and recommendations of a special committee led by Paulette Geanacopoulos, National Philoptochos Social Worker. ‘Apostoli’ $50,000 ‘Apostoli’ is the non-governmental, non-profit organization founded by the Social Services Department of the Archdiocese of Athens. Its main objective is to provide immediate assistance to children, elderly and families suffering hunger, disabilities and illness. Metropolis of Thessaloniki $50,000 The Metropolis of Thessaloniki, under the leadership of Metropolitan Anthimos, will provide assistance for those who are suffering. Archdiocese of Crete $25,000 The Archdiocese of Crete, under the leadership of Archbishop Irenaios, will distribute food and medical supplies to those in need in Crete. Kivotos Tou Kosmou $10,000 Kivotos (Ark of the World) was founded and is guided by Fr. Antonios Papanicolaou to provide care and support, offering hope for children and their families. Kivotos provides food, clothing, education and shelter to more than 150 needy children daily. The goal of Kivotos is to keep families together. Theotokos Foundation $25,000 The Theotokos Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Ilion, Greece. For more than 45 years it has served more than 5,000 children, adults and families with learning and other developmental disabilities. Its services provide children and adults opportunities to communicate, function with adequacy, be independent and self-sufficient, and enter the workforce. Due to the financial crisis this philanthropic organization, as well as many others, has seen the financial assistance provided by the Greek government substantially reduced making them unable to provide care for those in need. For this important expression of love, National President Skeadas expresses her gratitude to all those who so generously responded to the call of the National Philoptochos and anticipates that additional funds will be collected for this worthy effort. Donations may be sent to National Philoptochos, 7 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 or can be made online at www. For more information contact Christine Karavites, National Public Relations, 508.982.4276

AGAPE Award winners with Metropolitans Gerasimos and Sotirios, Archbishop Demetrios and National Philoptochos Board officials.

Agape Award: Honoring Chapters’Unsung Heroines PHOENIX, Ariz.– A highlight of the 2012 National Philoptochos Convention was the presentation of the AGAPE Award to nine outstanding Philoptochos women representing All Generations Accomplishing Philanthropic Endeavors. National Philoptochos inaugurated the AGAPE award at the 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention. The 485 chapters nationwide are afforded the opportunity to nominate one extraordinary chapter member who over many years has embodied the true spirit of Philanthropia. Though all women in the chapters serve Philoptochos with dedication, the individual selected demonstrates special qualities of giving selflessly of her time and talents to her chapter and local community. AGAPE Award Committee Chairwom-

en Elaine Cladis and Maria Stavropoulos and their committee conduct the review process prior to the National Philoptochos Convention selecting one woman from the Direct Archdiocesan District and each of the eight Metropolises. Archbishop Demetrios presented the 2012 AGAPE Awards with National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas at the Musical Instrument Museum to these nine outstanding Philoptochos women at the Philoptochos Evening: Celebrating 80 Years of Philanthropy. Each AGAPE Award recipient was introduced to the audience of over 400 during the reading of special remarks highlighting her philanthropic “Good Works.” The 2012 AGAPE Award honorees who serve as role models by inspiring and impacting the work of their respective

chapter are: • Anastasia Geotes, Direct Archdiocesan District, St. Paraskevi, Greenlawn, N.Y. • Z. Dolores Revelos, Metropolis of Detroit, Sts. Constantine and Helen, Middletown, Ohio • Pauline Douglas, Metropolis of Chicago, St. Nicholas, Oak Lawn, Ill. • Alexandra Melonas, Metropolis of Pittsburgh, All Saints Parish, Weirton, W.Va. • Dorothea Ocnos, Metropolis of Boston, St.Demetrios, Weston, Mass. • Dorothea Love, Metropolis of San Francisco, Saint Paul, Irvine, Calif. • Alice Nicas, Metropolis of New Jersey, Saint George, Asbury Park/Ocean Twp. • Marie Harris, Metropolis of Denver, Annunciation Cathedral, Houston • Elaine Nugent, Metropolis of Atlanta, Holy Trinity Cathedral, New Orleans

NATIONAL PHILOPTOCHOS CELEBRATES… 80 Years of Caring, 80 Years of Sharing, 80 Years Of Philanthropy The Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos hosted a special evening at the Musical Instrument Museum on Tuesday, July 3 in honor of the 80th anniversary of Philoptochos. Guests visited the 350 exhibits that feature narration and music for each instrument and also enjoyed a lovely reception before the evening’s program honoring 80 Years of Philoptochos.

Jeannie Ranglas, Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos president and the Metropolis board under the spiritual leadership of Metropolitan Gerasimos, organized a memorable evening where Philanthropy and music were joined for an evening of remembrance to honor the 2012 AGAPE Award recipients and present the “Faces of Philoptochos: Past, Present and Future.”

Philoptochos: Past, Present and Future Today we celebrate and honor the 80th anniversary of Philoptochos 80 Years of Caring, 80 Years of Sharing, 80 Years of Philanthropy. “Faces of Philoptochos” captures the faces of the women who for over 80 years have labored for the Philoptochos’ good works. Women today, as the women in 1931, remain first responders to those in need, feeding the hungry, reading to a sick child, providing sleeping bags to those without shelter, packing backpacks for children who would otherwise not eat, visiting the elderly with a smile and a warm hug, providing wheelchairs to children in Africa, Greece and Georgia, offering hope to those in prison, Providing food and staples for victims of hurricanes, earthquakes and floods throughout the world, Embracing the con-

temporary Orthodox woman, stretching a hand to the unchurched, alleviating hunger and homelessness and strengthening family and Children’s services. Look closely at the faces – their beautiful hearts and love of humanity shine through. Together they form an ‘Icon of Christ’, 80 Years of Caring, 80 Years of Faith, 80 Years of working together doing the good works that Christ, Himself has chosen us to do. Remember each woman who impacted your life, who served tirelessly, who strengthened your community, who inspired by example, who mentored with a loving spirit, who led others to great works.

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Jenni Pulos, television personality and actress, who grew up in Phoenix as a steward of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, served as the evening’s emcee. Ms. Pulos narrated the Faces of Philoptochos Presentation that highlighted the philanthropic works of all women and the special mission of Philoptochos serving those in need across the globe. A special “Faces of Philoptochos” banner was displayed that featured photos of Philoptochos women from across the United States, ”Past, Present and Future: The Faces of Philoptochos” captures the faces of the women, who for over 80 years, have labored for the organization’s good works as they feed the hungry, provide shelter and a smile, extend a hand here and around the world. The 400 attendees expressed emotional accolades as this moving tribute was recited. The Program continued with a musical presentation by Constantine, Chrysanthe and Evangelia Pappas, the children of Father James and Presbytera Pappas and the AGAPE Award presentations. Archbishop Demetrios offered archpastoral remarks and the benediction. Following the program, guests continued the evening at the Museum visiting the many galleries.



CLC 2012 Raising Greater Awareness of Orthodox Christianity by Arianna Ranahosseini

Following Archbishop Demetrios’ keynote address on July 2, each metropolitan of the Holy Synod chaired a session to further discuss the congress theme. At the hierarchical session presented by Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, he posed the question: What are we, as Orthodox Christians, doing to allow those of other religious persuasion to understand what Orthodox Christianity is? “I have lived in a situation where we have said in the past, not so much now, that Orthodox Christianity is the best kept secret in America,” Metropolitan Isaiah said. “In order to add to it, I am from the etsi είναι generation. When we asked our mothers or fathers why a priest did that – ‘etsi είναι,’ that’s the way it is.” They did not have religious education, he said. Metropolitan Isaiah added, “This is probably one of the reasons why we as Orthodox Christians have not shared our faith with other people because they ask pertinent questions - ‘What is Orthodox Christianity?’ and we really do not have adequate answers.”

Answers to how we can overcome the etsi είναι situation came from those in attendance. Some suggestions are to develop the attitudes of missionaries, actually reading and living the Bible, asking parishioners and the youth to invite their friends, and adult catechism. Fr. Chris Margaritis added to the discussion offering that including the kiss of peace is a simple thing that a community can benefit from by allow them to be more including. “I’m not saying the kiss of peace is going to change anything,” he said. “But we have to be more loving.” Metropolitan Isaiah also made note of a remark within the letter from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew that was read in the during the keynote address, when he wrote that Orthodox Christianity is for all people, not just those of Hellenic background. “We still have, unfortunately, this concept that to be an Orthodox Christian, you have to be of a Greek background,” Metropolitan Isaiah said. “We know that of the 300 million Orthodox Christians, I believe about 10 million speak Greek, so we cannot discount them as Orthodox Christians.”

Effective Parish Youth Ministry Subject of Workshop by Arianna Ranahosseini

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The July 3 Youth, Young Adults and Camping Ministry workshop, led by Fr. Jason Roll, Deacon Paul Zaharas and Eva Kokinos, discussed how to effectively create and develop a youth ministry program at the parish level by making the ultimate priority Christ, then developing your plan of action from there. “The number one priority is for our young people to achieve the kingdom of God. Then it becomes how are we going to accomplish that goal,” said Dn. Zaharas. The title of the workshop was “Back to the Basics” and advised that whether the program is just emerging, or is well establish, youth directors should take a step back, see where they are as a parish, and evaluate from there. The first step is identifying goals. A suggestion for an effective model is one that has a youth ministry team, led by the parish priest and comprised of a parish council member and representatives from each youth group (Hope, Joy, GOYA, OCF, YAL). When planning the events for the year, Ms. Kokinos suggests inviting the leaders on the ministry team as well as

Sunday school teachers, coaches, Greek school teachers and anyone that deals with the youth, to plan together so that events aren’t competing with each other, or with other local parishes. A difficulty many parishes face is the lack of volunteers. Kokinos recommends the power of the phone call – personally reaching out to ask someone to help. And to thank everyone, even those who do the smallest thing to remind them that their efforts are needed but also appreciated. When it comes to youth workers, it can help to make responsibilities “bite-sized,” she said. “Cut things up so everyone can take part in the leadership and also feel like that can handle what is on their plate.” One way of doing this is rotating leadership and breaking down components of the ministry such as assigning one person to write sessions, another in charge of food, and so on. Another key component is securing the youth a line item in the parish budget. For more information on parish resources you can visit The Ladder, the youth office’s official blog online at and The Wellspring at

National Sisterhood Meeting Members of the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres held their meetings during the congress.



CLC 2012

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Ecumenical Patriarch’s Message to the Clergy–Laity Congress Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America, beloved brother and concelebrant in the Holy Spirit; Most Reverend brother Metropolitans–members of the Holy Eparchial Synod; Right Reverend Bishops; reverend Presbyters and Deacons; honorable Archons; distinguished members of the Archdiocesan council, presidents and members of the Greek Orthodox communities, the National Philoptochos, and delegates all at the 41st Clergy Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America: Grace and Peace from God and our personal prayers and blessings. “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). We offer glory and gratitude to the Lord, above all, that He has deemed us worthy once again to address these fraternal and paternal words of love. Moreover, we convey to you the blessing and prayer of the Holy and Great Mother Church of Christ, whose clergy and chosen members you are blessed to comprise in order to serve the Orthodox flock in the United States of America, under the pastoral responsibility and vigilant care of your Most Reverent Archbishop Demetrios, our beloved brother and concelebrant in the Lord, as well as his colleagues, the Metropolitans, Bishops, presbyters, deacons, and all other community leaders and lay members in the holy territory of the sacred vessel of America within the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Your Eminence, beloved brother Archbishop of America, we address to you – and through you to the entire Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America – our whole-hearted greeting and fervent patriarchal blessing for the diligent organization and realization of your 41st Clergy Laity Congress. This significant assembly of the community provides the forum to offer, in one spirit and one heart, prayers and thanks to our Lord, the giver of all good things, for all that He bestows upon us in His goodness and mercy. At the same time, it is an opportunity to study, examine, and consider, the various issues and matters that concern this Holy Eparchy, its faithful people, the individual Communities, and numerous Institutions, particularly the Holy Cross School of Theology in Boston. Beloved brother Archbishop, the established institution of the Clergy Laity Congresses, organized by your wise predecessors, and especially by our predecessor, the late Patriarch Athenagoras, and afterward by the late Archbishop Iakovos (Coucouzis), with whom we shared the same birthplace and who proudly honored the Throne of this Eparchy for over three decades, contributing immensely to the ministry of unity, organization, and progress, in many areas of this great Eparchy of our Ecumenical Throne. The theme of your clergy laity congress is “Chosen and Appointed by God to go and Bear Fruit”, based on the words of our Lord: “You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and to bear fruit” (John 15:16). Our mission and obligation as Christians to bring fruit worthy of our calling should rouse us to search for many and diverse fruits. There are two distinct di-

rections of work that lie before us. First, we must seek fruits in depth: fruits of spiritual cultivation and virtue, fruits of love toward God and humanity, fruits of holiness, wisdom and all virtues. Second, we must seek fruits in breadth: by attracting our neighbors to Christ, who either know nothing about Him or else have been insufficiently and wrongly informed about Him. The fruits in depth are cited by Saint Paul in his letter to the Galatians (Chapter 5:22-23), “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” In order to bear such fruits, our effort and struggle should be constant. For without these we are not good Christians and, therefore, are unable to attract our brothers and sisters to Christ, as we are called to do. Our Holy Orthodox Church has always been missionary. It has always preached and continues to preach our Risen Lord Jesus Christ as the savior and redeemer of the world, always welcoming in its embrace and always opening its gates to all people of other faiths. As you will know from the history of our Orthodox tradition, our Holy Mother Great Church of Christ of Constantinople, the Church of Christ’s Poor, the martyric Phanar, brought Christianity to the Slavic peoples through Saints Cyril and Methodios, Equal to the Apostles, who were born in Thessalonica. The same Church also offered the Christian truth, way and life to all peoples and continues its missionary endeavors to this day in all corners of the earth, including the countries of Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, and Europe. In this sense, your Holy Archdiocese of America, which is comprised of large organized Communities, with magnificent properties and Churches, with abundant facilities and community centers, as well as numerous charitable Institutions, constitutes and indeed is the appropriate body to attract to Christ and to His Orthodox Church the people of this vast and affluent American continent, many of whom may have heard and learned about Christ, but nevertheless remain indifferent to Him. Of course, we do not overlook the efforts of the other Orthodox Communities established in America. However, we emphasize once again that all the members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America must pay close attention to their obligation to open the gates of your hearts to all those in America desiring to know Christ and His Orthodox Church. This would be an immense missionary achievement, which as a wholesome fruit will nourish the Church. If we do not produce good fruits in this domain, we run the risk of being characterized as a fruitless fig tree which would die for lack of bearing fruit. Introversion is good when it relates to self-criticism; but it is illegitimate and unacceptable when it overly preoccupies and prevents us from opening our Church to those desiring to know and enter it. All of us in the most Holy, Apostolic and Patriarchal Ecumenical Throne are certain, while we personally are aware – in as much as we are familiar with the Orthodox community affairs in America,

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Church Leaders Tour Future St. Nicholas Site at WTC by Stavros H. Papagermanos

NEW YORK – “The new World Trade Center will not be whole and complete until the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is rebuilt.” With these words, Patrick J. Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, welcomed Archbishop Demetrios and other representatives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the St. Nicholas parish. The meeting was held, June 6, at the offices of the director for the WTC construction, Steven Plate, and included a comprehensive presentation of the planning and construction under way in the World Trade Center. The future site of St. Nicholas Church was a significant part of the presentation through architectural plans and virtual reality renderings. Archbishop Demetrios praised New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his role in achieving a positive resolution for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His Eminence also remarked on the important role of New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and other individuals including Greek–American entrepreneur Archon Dennis Mehiel, who was present at the meeting. Other participants included Archdiocese Chancellor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Fr. Mark Arey, Archons National Commander Dr. Anthony Limberakis, Ladies Philoptochos Society National President Aphrodite Skeadas, AHEPA Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides, Stamatios Lykos and Olga Pavlakos, representing St. Nicholas parish, architect Nicholas Koutsomitis, Deacon Aristidis Garinis, GOA Press Officer Stavros Papagermanos, and Archon Demetrios Panagos, photographer. Following the presentation at the office, Steven Plate, director of WTC Construction, and his associates led His Eminence and the other participants on a tour through the construction site. They stopped in front of the site where St. Nicholas is to be built at the corner of Liberty and Greenwich streets (the southeast corner of WTC) and viewed the vast understructures for the Vehicle Security Center now under construction, which will be situated beneath the church. St. Nicholas will be built 25 feet above street level, atop a park directly facing the 9/11 Memorial, which will receive 250,000 passers–by every day when the transportation hubs are complete. Following a walk around the Memorial Plaza and the footprints of the fallen tow-


(clockwise, top) The new St. Nicholas Church will be situated atop this site where construction is currently under way for the underground Vehicle Security Center. (below right) Steven Plate, director of construction at the World Trade Center, goes over plans for the site with Archbishop Demetrios. (bottom right) WTC officials, the Archbishop and Archdiocese clergy on one of the upper floors of the One World Trade Center currently under construction. (bottom left) His Eminence writes a special message on one of the steel girders at the request of Mr. Plate.

ers, the group took a construction elevator first to the 37th and then to the 90th floor of the One World Trade Center Tower (previously known as Freedom Tower) which is still under construction and will reach 104 floors, making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. From that vantage point Archbishop Demetrios and his entourage were able to view the entire area of the World Trade Center, and the extraordinary work performed there, part of which will be, by the grace of God, our St. Nicholas Church. Steven Plate, asked Archbishop Demetrios to inscribe a thought on one of the steel girders on the 90th floor and His Eminence wrote: “This is a miracle of human creativity love and courage in defeating hatred and darkness, and in building love, hope and perspective of a bright future for our beautiful America, the place of God’s love and blessings. † Archbishop Demetrios of America – 6.6.12.”


41 Clergy-Laity Congress Patriarchal Message



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as well as lovingly and proudly follow the continual progress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese under the illumined spiritual guidance of the worthy and abundantly charismatic and gifted, virtuous and venerable brother Archbishop Demetrios – that all of you understand and appreciate that the bearing of fruit, with which your clergy laity congress is concerned, must indeed be two-fold: in depth and in breadth. If we consider both of these dimensions of bearing fruit in Christ, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ will be abundantly bestowed upon us, and we shall see this local church revived and rejuvenated as it advances toward new successful achievements. Our troubled world, particularly in the United States of America, expects much from you because it considers your mission as heavenly and divine. You can readily see that, on a global level, political and social structures and ideologies are crumbling, leaving peoples’ souls in despair and hunger with regard to truth of divine knowledge. Since, by the Grace of God, all of you have been blessed to be honorable members of the Orthodox Church, many of you dressed with the garment of Archpriesthood and Priesthood, do not disappoint those who look to you with great expectation. Most reverend and most honored beloved brother, Archbishop Demetrios; most reverend and right reverend brother Hierarchs; beloved Fathers and children in the Lord; “Holy partners in a heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1): Unfortunately, we do not have the spiritual joy of physically participating in the deliberations of your clergy laity congress. However, we are sending you, as our Patriarchal Representative, our dearly beloved brother and concelebrant, His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, who will personally convey the blessing and positive sentiments of the Mother Church and ourselves to all of you collectively and individually. As for us, we whole-heartedly, fraternally, and paternally express the thanks, gratitude, satisfaction, and deserved praise of the Mother Church for all that has been accomplished in this vineyard of the Lord from the very beginning and especially during the last two years since the convocation of your previous congress. We shall pray for your daily spiritual progress and rejoice as we learn about this from your Most Reverend Archbishop. May our Lord, who rose from the dead, deem you all worthy of sharing the heavenly and spiritual table of sacrifice in the Heavenly Jerusalem, with all the Saints. May the Grace of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, through the fervent supplications of our Lady Theotokos, the Honorable Forerunner John the Baptist, as well as Saint Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, protect all of you, granting you health in body and soul, as well as illuminating you always to do that which is pleasing to the Lord. “Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have and undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen” (Ephesians 6:23-24).

A Gathering of Chancellors from around the Archdiocese For the first time in many years, chancellors representing every metropolis and the Direct Archdiocesan District convened at the congress. With Archbishop Demetrios, and Metropolitans Sotirios and Gerasimos, are (from left): Fr. Theodore Barbas (Boston), Fr. Kosmas Karavellas (NJ vicar-Maryland), Archdiocese and Direct Archdiocesan District Chancelor Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, (behind their Eminences) Fr. Luke Uhl (Denver), V. Rev. George Tsahakis (Atlanta), Fr. Wiliam Bartz (Detroit), and Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos (Chicago), V. Rev. Apostolos Koufalakis (San Francisco) and Fr. George Callos (Pittsburgh).

National Forum Chairman to Retire u u from page 5

RCA Meeting Leadership 100 Chairman Charles Cotros addresses the Retired Clergy Association breakfast.

The Military Chaplaincy Program u u from page 6 sea or to distant war–torn lands. Orthodox Christians bear fruit for the glory of God: through hospitality to Service members and their families stationed near them when Service members deploy into harm’s way, and through support for their fellow citizens in the Service when they return home, sometimes wounded physically, emotionally, or spiritually. There currently are two other Greek Orthodox priests serving on active duty in the military: Fr. Milton Gianulis, CAPT, USN, newly assigned to Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, Va., and Fr. Matthew Streett, CAPT, USAF, newly assigned to the Presidio in California. Three Greek Orthodox priests serve in the Reserve Component: Fr. Peter Souretsidis in the U.S. Air Force, Fr. Kevin Millsaps in the Tennessee National Guard, and Fr. Chris Moody, in the Massachusetts National Guard. Three additional chaplain candidates are completing their requirements for

service. The chaplains’ role in the military can be summarized as providing services and sacraments of the Orthodox Church to the Orthodox faithful. Chaplains are protected by law so they may minister to their faithful according to the manner and forms of the Faith. In addition to providing for their own, they help those who do not share the same faith to find the support they need. For example, if a Catholic or Baptist sailor comes for assistance, Orthodox chaplains him find the appropriate chaplain to support his needs. Chaplains of other faiths do the same for Orthodox faithful. Additionally, all chaplains offer non-faith-specific care and counsel from a trusted, confidential source who understands the unique challenges of military life to all those in need. Finally, chaplains advise commanders and leaders up and down the chain of command on religion, morals, and morale. In this way your Greek Orthodox military chaplains bear fruit on the behalf of Orthodox Christians and the Archdiocese.

“He wrote the music for the king’s court of Athens;” said Dr. Pappas, “but because it was so beautiful, when they consecrated the Greek Orthodox cathedral in Paris, they invited him to perform and form a choir to sing.” The music is choral, but based on Byzantine style, Dr. Pappas explained, adding that Dr. Spathis composed about 2,500 different hymns, and several full liturgies and special services. Dr. Pappas also announced the recipients of the St. Romanos Medallion for exemplary national contributions to church music. They are George Stefanidakis of Houston, Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and retired priest Fr. John Maheras, who has served parishes in Massachusetts. Dr. Stefanidakis has been a choir member and chanter at the parish and metropolis level. He also serves as an officer in Church Music Federation and as a Metropolis council member. Over the past two years he has been working on two major projects of the National Forum. The first involves compiling and organizing 10,000 transcriptions of Byzantine hymns over a 60-year period by a former chanter in Moline, Ill., John Velon. The other was the preparation for publication of Dr. Frank Desby’s original manuscript for the chanters training manual that the National Forum recently published. It has been distributed to more than 40 academic institutions that offer Byzantine Studies programs. Archdeacon Panteleimon has had a key role in developing the Metropolitan Youth Choir and in establishing the School of Byzantine Chant. Fr. Maheras has been a long-time friend of church music and choirs in the Metropolis of Boston, has been guest instructor at several church music institutes and is also part of the liturgical guidebook team that includes Peter Vatsures and Nicolas Maragos. He has also lent expertise in the “Typicon,” so the guidebook has correct changes in hymns based on the patriarchal hymerologion.



The Order of AHEPA celebrates 90 years of service to the community.

Stewardship ‘Prune’ Juice: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? by Fr. Mark Sietsema

With more than 400 active chapters worldwide, AHEPA, as a fraternal organization in the spirit of brotherhood, is dedicated to fulfilling our mission to promote the ideals of: Hellenism, education, PHilantHroPy, civic resPonsibility, and Family & individual excellence AHEPA was established in 1922 by eight visionary Greek Americans to confront prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination found at the hands of the KKK and to help new immigrants from Greece assimilate into American society. Today, AHEPA has grown to become the largest membership-based grassroots association for Greek Americans and Philhellenes in the world. We invite every Hellene across America to attend our 90th Annual AHEPA Family Supreme Convention in Las Vegas, July 22-27, 2012 at the Monte Carlo Resort Hotel. Information for reservations can be found at Don’t be left out. Join AHEPA Today. It is fast and easy. Simply click on the “Join Now” button found at This is not your papou’s AHEPA.

We welcome you to join the thousands of proud AHEPA members in support of our worthy mission and programs.

AHEPA Headquarters 1909 Q Street, NW., Suite 500 Washington, DC 20009 (202) 232-6300

Many are asking this nowadays. Why must a successful businessman of 20 years close up shop? Why do graduates with good grades struggle to find jobs? Why are senior citizens–who worked hard all their lives–now squeezed financially? Anyone who tells you they have the absolute answer to these ‘Why questions’ would be lying. Human troubles are not something to be speculated about casually. When it comes to suffering, we tread on sacred ground. But suffering also has a power to push the human spirit into exploring questions of meaning and purpose. It is generally in hard times that we ask “What is God thinking?” and so begin to open up to higher realities. Time for a new Job One of the great figures of the Old Testament is the righteous prophet Job. Job suffered terrible things: financial loss, of course, but even worse, loss of health, of reputation, and of loved ones. Several “friends” stepped forward to comfort Job by explaining why these bad things happened. Their words were salt in the wound (mixed with lemon juice and vinegar!). Job rejected their pat answers and demanded that the Lord explain Himself. God finally does show up, but Job isn’t given a reason. For the ‘Why’ is not what Job’s soul ultimately needs. Instead, it is Job’s direct experience of God that changes him (Job 42:1-6). It alters his outlook, his values, his sense of what’s truly important. The experience changes Job’s sense of who he is, in a way that goes beyond the power of words to explain. Suffering can be like a sacrament, a mystery of transformation that defies definition, that must be lived to be understood. Through those painful events, something in Job died and was born anew for God. Grape Expectations This is just how Jesus Christ speaks of suffering in His famous Parable of the Vine in John 15. “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, so that it will be more fruitful.” Maybe this passage resonates with you as you work on your garden: trimming down raspberry canes and pinching back tomato plants. If plants have feelings, then pruning must hurt! But...pruning makes

the plant put its energy into bearing fruit. In the end, it is the pruned plant which accomplishes the gardener’s plans. We as Orthodox Christians are branches on the grapevine that is Jesus Christ. Which branches have it the easiest? The ones that bear lots of grapes? Or the ones that just do their own thing, soaking up sun and rain, but yielding only leaves? Jesus tells us that pruning–the painful, repeated, unwelcome pruning–happens to the good branches, to the best branches. These get the knife so that they bring forth all the more fruit for the joy of the vineyard’s Master. The lazy, unfruitful branches? They get lopped off, cast into brush pile, and burned. Why do bad things happen to nice Christian people? Sometimes it is so that through a reassessment of their values, their purpose–their very selves–they can become even more fruitful for God. Weren’t they fruitful already? Yes, but the Heavenly Horticulturist sees in them the potential for even greater fruitfulness. So it was for the prophet Job in ancient times, and so may it be for us today. Sweet Wine, Not Bitter Whining What kind of fruit is God looking for in the well-pruned soul? St. Paul tells us (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. It’s a paradox, really. It is in undergoing evil, hateful things that some people grow to be more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, forgiving, and so on. Others, of course, respond to suffering by growing more bitter, spiteful, and mean. What makes the difference? Jesus Christ–His life, His teachings, His Church. Grafted into Him, we learn to respond constructively to suffering. And so one more fruit of a well-pruned soul is gratitude towards God, leading to thoughtful, proportionate, meaningful gifts to the Church–gifts that reflect our transformed sense of values. We call this stewardship, and in a world of givers and takers, it is the ones who suffer most who tend to be the most grateful and generous givers. Life in Christ is never a bed of roses. He promised pruning. But if we respond to the Gardener’s tending as fruitful branches, yielding the sweet wine of virtue, we have the joy of knowing that He chose and appointed us to go and bear fruit–in good times, in bad times, and in eternity. Fr. Mark Sietsema serves as pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Lansing, Mich.



Planned Giving

Planning Your Legacy The following is a supplement to the Planned Giving Resources for planning your legacy from Lou Kircos. A complete packet of Planned Giving Resources has been made available to all parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese through Stewardship Ministries’ Planning Your Legacy program: A program for parishes to use in helping our Orthodox faithful plan their legacy and to remember their Church with planned giving. Frequently Asked Questions Q. Why is it important to have a will, a living will and a durable power of attorney? A. It’s all about whether you want to make certain decisions or if you want the state to make those decisions for you. If you want to decide how your belongings will be distributed when you pass, how your assets will be managed while you are alive, but unable to manage them yourself, and the kind of health care you will receive if you cannot give the directions because you are too sick, then you will want these documents. Without them, state laws will usually govern who gets your belongings and what kind of care you get or who will make those decisions. Often, the court will impose a guardianship or conservatorship on you if you have not signed a durable power of Attorney or a living will and become unable to manage your finances or make your own health care decisions. We recommend, and most people prefer, to make these decisions themselves. To do that, you need a will, a durable power of attorney for financial matters, and a living will for healthcare decisions. Q. What are some of the differences between a “will,” a “durable power of attorney,” and a “living will”? A. Your “will” deals with how your individually owned assets will be distributed after your death. Assets that are owned jointly with right of survivorship or which have a valid beneficiary designation will pass by law. With a will, you decide who gets what from your estate (all the assets you own in your individual name when you pass). Without a will, state laws govern who gets what your “durable power of attorney” for financial matters nominates an attorneyin-fact to handle your money and to manage your assets. Your attorney-in-fact will pay your bills and manage your accounts on your behalf. You may give your attorneyin-fact very broad or very limited powers. A “living will” (sometimes called a “durable power of attorney for health care” or “health care power of Attorney” or “advance medical directive”) has nothing to do with your belongings. It deals with your medical treatment. In a living will, you name a health care agent whom you trust to make health care decisions for you when you cannot make them for yourself. The living will also tells your health care agent the kind of care you want, including end of life care, so that your doctor and your health care agent may carry out your wishes. You should consider using the Orthodox Living Will because it addresses important Orthodox values and traditions that should be considered when end of life issues are involved. Q. I am considering make a gift to the Church, but I’m not wealthy. Can an average person leave a bequest? A. Definitely! Although very large gifts receive the most publicity, you can leave a gift of any amount. Thousands of Americans leave a retirement plan or life insurance policy to a nonprofit organization or give bequests through their wills. All gifts are meaningful and greatly appreciated by the Church.

These gifts represent a way that your name can be associated with the Church long after you are gone. Q. Do I have to rewrite my will to leave a gift to charity? A. Fortunately, no, you do not need to re–think your entire estate plan in order to leave something to the Church. You can make a gift by listing the Church as the beneficiary on a retirement account or on a life insurance policy you don’t need. Also, you can simply ask your attorney to amend your will with a codicil that includes a bequest to the Church so that you don’t need to make a whole new will. Q. What if I am not sure how much money will be left to give? A. There are many ways you can make sure you are comfortable with the final amount to be given. You can leave a percentage of your estate, that way you don’t have to worry about a specific dollar amount. Also, many people find leaving all or a percentage of the balance in a retirement plan is a simple and easy way to address this concern. You can also leave any other specific asset, such as a certificate of deposit, securities, or real estate, or name the Church as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy that your family may no longer need. Q. Are there tax advantages to giving a particular kind of legacy gift? A. Yes. Retirement plans, such as IRAs and 401(k)s can be subject to tax twice -- once as part of the estate and again as taxable ordinary income to the heir. Because of this, many people find that leaving a retirement account to the Church can have a significant tax advantage. The estate gets a tax deduction for the charitable donation, and the heir can receive other assets that aren’t subject to taxes when they are received. Q. Can I make a charitable gift that also provides financial security for my future? A. Yes! You may want to speak with a professional advisor about setting up a charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity that will provide an immediate tax deduction plus give you income during your life or the life of you and your spouse. The Church receives your gift after your death. Q. What if I don’t have a will? Can I still make a legacy gift? A. Yes, you can. It is important to have a will and you should discuss this with your attorney and/or financial advisor. However, if you decide you don’t need a will, you can make a legacy gift in many different ways. You can list the Church as the beneficiary on a retirement account or a life insurance policy. You can complete a gift form that instructs the executor of your estate to make a specific gift from your assets. Many different ways are available to make a legacy gift. We strongly recommend that you discuss your intentions with your attorney and/or financial advisor. If you need help in identifying one, contact your local priest, stewardship committee or planned giving committee for help. Q. Who should I talk to about a legacy gift? A. Contact your local priest or a member of the Planned Giving Committee at your parish. You can also contact these Greek Orthodox Archdiocese offices by phone or e-mail for information on a confidential, no obligation basis: Stewardship Ministries: (646) 519-6160, Stewardship@ • Office of Parish Development: (847) 478-5275, Your final plans should always be discussed and reviewed with your attorney and/or financial advisor.





Αντώνης Αδικημενάκης. Γιοβάννα Αμβροσιάτου, Γιώργος Γερμανάκος, Σταύρος Γερμάνης, Βασιλική Γκλέκα, Αναστασία Γουσέτη, Αντώνης Καραμίντζος, Γιάννης Λαϊνης, Παρασκευή Μπενεντέτη, Βαλασία Μακρίδου, Μίνα Ντιφράνκο, Γιώργος Παπαστεφάνου, Αχιλλέας Πάσχος, Χαράλαμπος Παυλάτος, Αλεξάνδρα Περάκη, Δημήτρης Σηράκης, Σπύρος Σουλιώτης, Κυριάκος Στουπάκης, Κωνσταντίνος Terbaci, Μαριάννα Τζιράνη

Η σύζυγός μου και εγώ είμαστε υπερήφανοι που ανήκουμε στη Μεγαλώνυμο αυτή Κοινότητα του Αγίου Νικολάου, Flushing. Υπερήφανοι για τον Ιερατικώς Προϊστάμενό μας π. Παύλο Παλαιστίδη και όλους τους ιερείς μας. Υπερήφανοι για τα Σχολεία μας και όλους τους διδάσκοντες εις αυτά. Υπερήφανοι για τον Διευθυντή του Απογευματινού Σχολείου κ. Γεώργιο Κανελλόπουλο. Υπερήφανοι που και οι τέσσερις κόρες μας απεφοίτησαν από το Σχολείο αυτό. Υπερήφανοι που οι εγγονές μας Μαρία και Αριάνα–Αρετή φοίτησαν στο Ημερήσιο Σχολείο μας. Ευχαριστούμε τον Πανάγαθο Θεό και την Κοινότητα του Αγ. Νικολάου που ευλογηθήκαμε να δώσουμε το όνομά μας στο καλύτερο σχολείο της Διασποράς του Ελληνισμού. Στους αποφοίτους της 8ης τάξης 2012, ευχόμαστε να συνεχίσουν να είναι οι αγωνιστές της Ελληνικής κληρονομιάς μας, της Ελληνορθόδοξης πίστης μας και του σεβασμού στις πανανθρώπινες αξίες. Είμαστε υπερήφανοι για όλους σας!

Στέφανος και Αρετή Τσερπέλη


ΕΤΟΣ 77 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1277

ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΙΚΟ ΜΗΝΥΜΑ ΓΙΑ ΤΗΝ 41η ΚΛΗΡΙΚΟΛΑΙΚΗ Ἱερώτατε Ἀρχιεπίσκοπε Ἀµερικῆς, ἐν Ἁγίῳ Πνεύµατι ἀγαπητὲ ἀδελφὲ καὶ συλλειτουργὲ τῆς ἡµῶν Μετριότητος κύριε ∆ηµήτριε, Ἱερώτατοι ἀδελφοὶ Μητροπολῖται – µέλη τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἐπαρχιακῆς Συνόδου, Θεοφιλέστατοι Ἐπίσκοποι, Εὐλαβέστατοι Ἱερεῖς καὶ ∆ιάκονοι, Ἐντιµολογιώτατοι Ἄρχοντες Ὀφφικίαλοι, Ἐντιµότατα µέλη τοῦ Ἀρχιεπισκοπικοῦ Συµβουλίου, Ἀξιότιµοι Πρόεδροι καὶ Μέλη τῶν Ἑλληνορθοδόξων Κοινοτήτων, τῆς Ἐθνικῆς Φιλοπτώχου καὶ ἁπαξάπαντες οἱ συγκροτοῦντες τὴν ΜΑ΄ Κληρικολαϊκὴν Συνέλευσιν τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς, χάρις ὑµῖν εἴη καὶ εἰρήνη παρὰ Θεοῦ, παρ’ ἡµῶν δὲ εὐχὴ καὶ εὐλογία. "Εὐχαριστῶ τῷ Θεῷ µου ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ µνείᾳ ὑµῶν, πάντοτε ἐν πάσῃ δεήσει µου ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑµῶν µετὰ χαρᾶς τὴν δέησιν ποιούµενος ἐπὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ ὑµῶν εἰς τὸ εὐαγγέλιον ἀπὸ πρώτης ἡµέρας ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν [...]" (Φιλιπ. α΄ 3-5). ∆οξάζοµεν καὶ εὐχαριστοῦµεν, ἐν πρώτοις, τῷ Κυρίῳ, Ὅστις κατηξίωσε καὶ πάλιν τὴν ἡµετέραν Μετριότητα ἵνα ἀπευθύνωµεν τοὺς παρόντας ἀδελφικοὺς καὶ πατρικοὺς λόγους ἀγάπης καὶ µεταφέρωµεν ὑµῖν τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ εὐχὴν τῆς Μητρὸς Ἁγίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μεγάλης Ἐκκλησίας, τῆς ὁποίας κληρικοὶ καὶ µέλη ἐκλεκτὰ ηὐλογήθητε ἵνα εἶσθε καὶ ἵνα διακονῆτε τῷ ἐν Ἡνωµέναις Πολιτείαις Ἀµερικῆς Ὀρθοδόξῳ ποιµνίῳ, ὑπὸ τὴν ποιµαντορικὴν εὐθύνην καὶ ἄγρυπνον µέριµναν τοῦ Ἱερωτάτου Ἀρχιεπισκόπου ὑµῶν καὶ λίαν ἀγαπητοῦ ἐν Κυρίῳ ἀδελφοῦ καὶ συλλειτουργοῦ ἡµῶν κυρίου ∆ηµητρίου καὶ τῶν συνεργατῶν αὐ τοῦ Μητροπολιτῶν, Ἐπισκόπων, ἱερέων, διακόνων καὶ λοιπῶν κοινοταρχῶν καὶ λ αϊκῶν στελεχῶν τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Περιβόλου τῆς ἐν Ἀµερικῇ ὑπὸ τὸ Οἰκουµενικὸν Πατριαρχεῖον ἱερᾶς τοῦ Κυρίου ὁλκάδος ταύτης. Ὁλοκάρδιον ἀπευθύνοµεν ὑµῖν, Ἱερώτατε καὶ πολυφίλητε ἀδελφέ, Ἀρχιεπίσκοπε Ἀµερικῆς, καὶ δι' ὑµῶν παντὶ τῷ πληρώµατι τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἑλληνορθοδόξου Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς χαιρετισµὸν καὶ ἔνθερµον πέµποµεν πρὸς ὑµᾶς τὴν Πατριαρχικὴν ἡµῶν εὐλογίαν ἐπὶ τῇ ἐπιµελεῖ ὀργανώσει καὶ ἤδη πραγµατοποιήσει τῆς ΜΑ΄ Κληρικολαϊκῆς ὑµῶν Συνελεύσεως, τῆς µεγάλης ταύτης ὁµογενειακῆς συγκεντρώσεως, ἐν τῇ ὁποίᾳ ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύµατι καὶ µιᾷ καρδίᾳ ἀναπέµπονται δεήσεις καὶ εὐχαριστίαι πρὸς τὸν δοτῆρα παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ Κύριον ἡµῶν δι' ὅσα παρέχει ἡµῖν ἐν τῇ ἀγαθότητι καὶ τῷ ἐλέει Αὐτοῦ, καὶ συγχρόνως µελετῶνται, ἐξετάζονται καὶ θεωροῦνται τὰ ἀπασχολοῦντα τὴν Ἱερὰν Ἐπαρχίαν ταύτην, τὸν πιστὸν

uΣελίδα 17

41 Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση η

Εναρκτήριος Ομιλία του Σεβασμιωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Αμερικής κ. Δημητρίου

Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡµῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καί ἡ Ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ καί Πατρός καί ἡ Κοινωνία τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύµατος µᾶς συγκέντρωσε ἀκόµη µία φορά στήν ἀνά διετία Ἐκκλησιαστική Σύναξη, ἡ ὁποία εἶναι γνωστή ὡς Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς. Στά ἐνενήντα ἔτη τῆς ζωῆς τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς µας, ἡ παροῦσα εἶναι ἡ 41η ∆ιετής Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση. Γνωρίζουµε, βεβαίως, ὅτι ἡ Ἀρχιεπισκοπή µας, ὡς Ἑλληνική Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία στήν Ἀµερική, εἶναι πολύ παλαιότερη. Πράγµατι, ξεκίνησε σέ ἐµβρυακή µορφή στά µέσα τοῦ 18ου αἰῶνος, κατόπιν ἀναβαθµίσθηκε σηµαντικά στά µέσα τοῦ 19ου αἰῶνος, αὐξήθηκε ἐντυπωσιακά στή δεκαετία τοῦ 1890, καί τέλος ἱδρύθηκε ἐπισήµως στίς ἀρχές τοῦ 20οῦ αἰῶνος, συγκεκριµένα στίς 17 Σεπτεµβρίου 1921. Σήµερα, συνερχόµεθα στήν Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευσή µας µέ τίς πατρικές εὐλογίες καί τίς θερµές προσευχές τοῦ βαθύτατα σεβαστοῦ, θαυµαστοῦ καί προσφιλεστάτου µας Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου κ.κ. Βαρθολοµαίου. Ἑνός Πατριάρχου, ὁ ὁποῖος εἶναι µονίµως κοντά µας πνευµατικῶς καί προσφέρει ἀφειδῶς τήν πατρική ἀγάπη καί σοφή καθοδήγησή του στήν προσπάθειά µας νά προβάλλουµε τήν Ὀρθόδοξο Πίστη µας στό ∆υτικό Ἡµισφαίριο. Τοῦ προσφέρουµε µέ ταπείνωση τήν βαθειά εὐγνωµοσύνη καί ἀφοσίωσή µας, µαζί µέ τίς ὁλόθερµες εὐχές καί προσευχές µας ἐπ’ εὐκαιρίᾳ τῆς 20ῆς ἐπετείου του ὡς Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Νέας Ρώµης καί Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου. Βαρθολοµαίου τοῦ Παναγιωτάτου καί Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου πολλά τά ἔτη! Σήµερα, ἐπ’ εὐκαιρίᾳ αὐτῆς τῆς ἱερᾶς συνάξεως, ἐκφράζουµε τήν εὐγνωµοσύνη µας στόν Θεό γιά τόν Οἰκουµενικό Πατριάρχη µας. Ἐκφράζουµε, ἐπίσης, τήν εὐγνωµοσύνη µας στόν Κύριο καί Θεό µας γι’ αὐτή τήν 41η ∆ιετῆ Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση, τῆς

καί 2012 εἶναι πλήρης περιστάσεων καί γεγονότων γιά τά ὁποῖα πρέπει νά εὐχαριστήσουµε τόν Θεό. Ἐπιτρέψατέ µου νά ἀναφέρω, ἐπιλεκτικά, ὁρισµένα ἐξ αὐτῶν µέ πνεῦµα εὐχαριστίας πρός τόν Θεό.

ὁποίας κεντρικό θέµα εἶναι: Ὁ Θεός µᾶς ἐδιάλεξε καί µᾶς ὥρισε νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά φέρουµε καρπό. Ἡ εὐγνωµοσύνη µας σχετίζεται, βεβαίως, µέ τίς πολλές καί συνεχεῖς δωρεές τοῦ Θεοῦ στόν καθένα µας καί σέ ὅλους µας, καθώς καί σέ ὁλόκληρη τήν Ἐκκλησία στή διάρκεια τῆς ζωῆς µας. Ἡ εὐγνωµοσύνη µας σχετίζεται ἐπιπλέον καί συγκεκριµένα µέ τίς δωρεές τίς ὁποῖες ἐλάβαµε στά δύο ἔτη πού µεσολάβησαν µεταξύ τῆς τελευταίας Κληρικολαϊκῆς µας στήν Atlanta, Georgia, τό 2010 καί τῆς παρούσης στήν πόλη Phoenix, Arizona. Στήν παροῦσα περίπτωσή µας, ἡ ἀκόλουθη προτροπή τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου στούς Θεσσαλονικεῖς ἰσχύει ἀπολύτως: Ἐν παντί εὐχαριστεῖτε· τοῦτο γάρ θέληµα Θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς ὑµᾶς (Α΄ Θεσ. 5:18). Ἐν παντί εὐχαριστεῖτε. Ἡ χρονική περίοδος µεταξύ τῶν ἐτῶν 2010

Εὐχαριστία 1) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τήν ὄντως διακεκριµένη ἀρχιερατική προσφορά στήν Ἐκκλησία µας τοῦ Σεβασµιωτάτου Μητροπολίτου πρώην Πιττσβούργου κ. Μαξίµου. Μετά ἀπό 33 ἔτη ἀληθινῆς ἀποστολικῆς προσφορᾶς στήν Ἱερά Μητρόπολη Πιττσβούργου, ἀρχικῶς ὡς Ἐπισκόπου καί κατόπιν ὡς Μητροπολίτου, ἐσυνταξιοδοτήθη τόν Σεπτέµβριο 2011 διά λόγους ὑγείας. Τοῦ ὀφείλουµε πολλά γιά τήν ἀποφασιστική συµβολή του στό θεολογικό, τό ποιµαντικό καί τό οἰκουµενικό ἔργο τῆς Ἐκκλησίας µας. Προσευχόµεθα, δέ, ὁ Θεός νά τοῦ προσφέρῃ τίς ἄφθονες εὐλογίες Του κατά τά ἔτη τοῦ ἐφησυχασµοῦ του. 2) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τόν νέο Σεβασµιώτατο Μητροπολίτη Πιττσβούργου κ. Σάββα, ὁ ὁποῖος ἐξελέγη ἀπό τήν Ἁγία καί Ἱερά Σύνοδο τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου µας στίς 3 Νοεµβρίου 2011, καί ἐνεθρονίσθη στίς 8 ∆εκεµβρίου 2011. Προσευχόµεθα ὁ Χριστός, ὁ Κύριός µας, νά τόν εὐλογῇ πλουσίως στήν νέα του ἀρχιερατική διακονία, ὅπως τόν εὐλόγησε στά δέκα ἔτη κατά τά ὁποῖα διετέλεσε Ἐπίσκοπος Τρωᾶδος καί Πρωτοσύγκελλος τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς µας. 3) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τόν νέο Ἐπίσκοπο ὁ ὁποῖος προσετέθη στίς τάξεις τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς. Ὁ Ἀρχιγραµµατεύς τῆς Ἐπαρχιακῆς Συνόδου µας, Ἀρχιµανδρίτης κ. Σεβαστιανός Σκορδαλλός, ἐξελέγη Ἐπίσκοπος Ζήλων στίς 2 ∆εκεµβρίου 2011 ὑπό τῆς Ἁγίας καί Ἱερᾶς Συνόδου τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου µας. Ἐξακολουθεῖ νά ὑπηρετῇ στήν ἴδια θέση καί βεβαίως τοῦ εὐχόµεθα εὐλογηµένη παρά

uΣελίδα 16




Εναρκτήριος Ομιλία Σεβασμιωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου uΣελίδα 15 Θεοῦ διακονία. 4) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τούς νέους κληρικούς οἱ ὀποῖοι ἐχειροτονήθησαν τήν περίοδο 2010-2012. Πρόκειται γιά 41 χειροτονίες εἰς ∆ιάκονον καί γιά 28 εἰς Πρεσβύτερον. Πρόκειται γιά νέο, πολύτιµο, ἱερατικό αἷµα πού µέ τήν χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσέρευσε στό σῶµα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. 5) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τή ζωή καί τό ἔργο τῶν κληρικῶν µας οἱ ὁποῖοι µετά ἀπό µακρά ἔτη πιστῆς διακονίας ἀπεδήµησαν εἰς Κύριον τά τελευταῖα δύο ἔτη. Οἱ ἀείµνηστοι αὐτοί κληρικοί δέν ἀνήκουν πλέον στήν ἐπίγεια στρατευµένη Ἐκκλησία, ἀλλά στήν ἐπουράνια θριαµβεύουσα Ἐκκλησία. Εἶναι συνολικά 22, οἱ ἑξῆς: 10 Ἰουλίου–31 ∆εκεµβρίου 2010 Ἀρχιµ. Κύριλλος Loeb/4 Σεπτεµβρίου 2010 Αἰδ. Κωνσταντῖνος Μιχόπουλος / 8 Σεπτεµβρίου 2010 1 Ἰανουαρίου–31 ∆εκεµβρίου 2011 Αἰδ. Γεώργιος Παπαποστόλου/2 Ἰανουαρίου 2011, Αἰδ. Ἐµµανουήλ Σ. Μεταξᾶς/23 Φεβρουαρίου 2011, Αἰδ. Ἰωάννης Ἀσηµακόπουλος/17 Μαρτίου 2011, Αἰδ. Ἠλίας Κατρᾶς/24 Ἀπριλίου 2011, Αἰδ. Γεώργιος Γάλλας/15 Μαΐου 2011, Αἰδ. Νικόλαος Μαγούλιας/6 Ἰουνίου 2011, Αἰδ. Ἀντώνιος Μοσχονᾶς/13 Αὐγούστου 2011, Αἰδ. Γεώργιος Παπαδέας/18 Νοεµβρίου 2011, Αἰδ. Θεόφιλος Π. Θεοφιλόπουλος/16 ∆εκεµβρίου 2011 1 Ἰανουαρίου–10 Ἰουνίου 2012 Αἰδ. Ἀναστάσιος ∆ιακοβασίλης/17 Ἰανουαρίου 2012, Αἰδ. Βασίλειος Κίσσας/29 Ἰανουαρίου 2012, Ἀρχιµ. Ἰερεµίας Μονιός/23 Φεβρουαρίου 2012, Αἰδ. Ἀναστάσιος Μπέντης/25 Φεβρουαρίου 2012, Αἰδ. ∆ηµήτριος ∆ηµόπουλος/17 Μαρτίου 2012, Αἰδ. Ἰωάννης Κεφαλᾶς/8 Ἀπριλίου 2012, Αἰδ. Ἰωάννης Ἀργυρός/10 Ἀπριλίου 2012, Ἀρχιµ. Ἀλέξανδρος Κιλές/7 Ἰουνίου 2012, Αἰδ. Στυλιανός Μαρκαντώνης/9 Ἰουνίου 2012, Αἰδ. Προκόπιος Νίκας/10 Ἰουνίου 2012, Αἰδ. Μιχαήλ Γιαχνῆς/24 Ἰουνίου 2012 Αἰωνία ἡ µνήµη αὐτῶν! Ἐπίσης ἄς εἶναι αἰωνία ἡ µνήµη καί τριῶν ἀδελφῶν Ὀρθοδόξων Ἱεραρχῶν στίς ΗΠΑ οἱ ὁποῖοι ἀπεβίωσαν κατά τό ἴδιο χρονικό διάστηµα. Εἶναι οἱ ἑξῆς: • Μητροπολίτης Ἀµισσοῦ κ. Νικόλαος, Ἐπικεφαλῆς τῆς Καρπαθο-Ρωσσικῆς Ἐπισκοπῆς στίς ΗΠΑ ὑπό τό Οἰκουµενικό Πατριαρχεῖο, • Μητροπολίτης Εἰρηνουπόλεως κ. Κωνσταντῖνος, Ἐπικεφαλῆς τῆς Οὐκρανικῆς Ἐπισκοπῆς στίς ΗΠΑ, ἐπίσης ὑπό τό Οἰκουµενικό Πατριαρχεῖο µας, καί • Μητροπολίτης Χριστοφόρος, ἐπί κεφαλῆς τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ Σερβικοῦ Πατριαρχείου στίς ΗΠΑ. 6) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τή συµφωνία πού ἐπετεύχθη µεταξύ τῆς Λιµενικῆς Ἀρχῆς Νέας Ὑόρκης / Νέας Ἰερσέης καί τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς µας γιά τήν ἀνοικοδόµηση τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Ναοῦ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου στόν χῶρο τοῦ Παγκοσµίου Ἐµπορικοῦ Κέντρου (WTC), τοῦ γνωστοῦ ὡς Ground Zero. Τό βασικό συµφωνητικό ὑπεγράφη τόν παρελθόντα Ὀκτώβριο καί τά νοµικά ἔγγραφα τά ἀφορῶντα στήν ὁλοκλήρωση τῶν πολλῶν τεχνικῶν λεπτοµερειῶν ἀναµένονται σύντοµα. Ἡ τοποθεσία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας στή διεύθυνση 130 Liberty Street, ἀποτελεῖ ἕνα ἐκ τῶν πλέον πλεονεκτικῶν σηµείων διότι βρίσκεται στόν ἴδιο δρόµο καί ἀκριβῶς ἀπέναντι ἀπό τό ἱστορικό Μνηµεῖο στό Ground Zero. Προσευχόµεθα νά ἀνατείλῃ σύντοµα ἡ ἡµέρα κατά τήν ὁποία θά δοῦµε τόν νέο Ἱ. Ναό τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου νά ὀρθώνεται ἀνάµεσα στούς οὐρανοξύστες, προσφέροντας τήν καλύτερη θέα τοῦ ἀληθινοῦ οὐρανοῦ τῆς παρουσίας, χάριτος καί εἰρήνης τοῦ Θεοῦ! Πρέπει ὅλοι νά ἐργασθοῦµε γιά νά ἔλθῃ ἡ

ἡµέρα αὐτή, καθώς ἡ ἀνοικοδόµηση τοῦ Ναοῦ τοῦ Ἁγίου Νικολάου δέν εἶναι τοπικό ζήτηµα, ἀλλά παν-Ἀµερικανικό, µάλιστα διεθνές. 7) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τήν ὕπαρξη τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς τοῦ Τιµίου Σταυροῦ, ἡ ὁποία ἑορτάζει 75 ἔτη τεραστίας προσφορᾶς στήν Ἐκκλησία µας. Αὐτά τά ἑβδοµήντα-πέντε ἔτη ἔδωσαν στήν Ἀρχιεπισκοπή ἕνα µεγάλο ἀριθµό ἀφοσιωµένων, δυναµικῶν καί δηµιουργικῶν κληρικῶν. Ὁ Τίµιος Σταυρός, τή στιγµή κατά την ὁποία µή Ὀρθόδοξες Θεολογικές Σχολές ἀντιµετωπίζουν σηµαντικές ἀπώλειες στίς ἐγγραφές καί στόν ἀριθµό σπουδαστῶν, συνεχίζει νά προοδεύῃ σταθερά µέ ὅλο καί αὐξανόµενο ἀριθµό σπουδαστῶν, ὑποψηφίων κληρικῶν. Μέ εὐγνωµοσύνη χαιρετίζουµε τό γεγονός ὅτι ἡ τάξη ἡ ὁποία θά ἀρχίσῃ τίς σπουδές της στήν Θεολογική µας Σχολή ἐφέτος τόν Σεπτέµβριο θά ἀποτελεῖται ἀπό περισσοτέρους τῶν πενήντα σπουδαστῶν, πού εἶναι ἀριθµός ρεκόρ γιά τήν Σχολή. 8) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τήν Φιλόπτωχο Ἀδελφότητα Κυριῶν, ἡ ὁποία ἑορτάζει ἐφέτος 80 λαµπρά ἔτη συνεχοῦς µερίµνης στοργῆς καί φιλανθρωπίας. Πρόκειται περί ἑνός ἐντυπωσιακοῦ «στρατοῦ» ἀποτελουµένου ἀπό περισσότερες από 27,000 Κυρίες σέ ὅλη τήν ἐπικράτεια. Οἱ Κυρίες αὐτές διαδραµατίζουν ζωτικό ρόλο στή ζωή καί στίς δραστηριότητες τῶν Ἐνοριῶν µας. Ἐκτός ἀπό τά πολλά µόνιµα προγράµµατα καί τίς δραστηριότητες ἐξωτερικῆς βοηθείας, εἶναι πάντοτε ἕτοιµες νά συµβάλλουν σέ περιπτώσεις ἀντιµετωπίσεως καταστροφικῶν γεγονότων ὅπως ἦτο ἡ τροµοκρατική ἐπίθεση τῆς 11ης Σεπτεµβρίου 2001 στήν πόλη τῆς Νέας Ὑόρκης, ἡ θύελλα Κατρίνα πού ἔπληξε τή Νέα Ὀρλεάνη, τό Τσουνάµι στήν Ἄπω Ἀνατολή, οἱ πυρκαϊές στήν Ἑλλάδα τό 2007, καί ἐφέτος ἡ προσπάθεια ἀνακουφίσεως τῶν χειµαζοµένων ἀνθρώπων, θυµάτων τῆς δραµατικῆς οἰκονοµικῆς κρίσεως στήν Ἑλλάδα. 9) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τήν Ὀργάνωση Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἰάκωβος Κληροδότηµα τῆς Ἡγεσίας τῶν 100, ἡ ὁποία συµπλήρωσε περισσότερα ἀπό 25 ἔτη δράσεως, ἔχοντας προσφέρει 33,025,686 ἑκατοµµύρια δολλάρια σέ ζωτικές διακονίες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Ἰδιαιτέρας σπουδαιότητος εἶναι ἡ µεγάλη συµβολή τῆς Ἡγεσίας τῶν 100 στή Θεολογική Σχολή µας τοῦ Τιµίου Σταυροῦ. Περισσότερα ἀπό 17,472,217 ἑκατοµµύρια δολλάρια ἔχουν προσφερθεῖ τά τελευταῖα δέκα καί πλέον ἔτη γιά τήν οἰκονοµική ἀρωγή σέ σπουδαστές ὑποψηφίους γιά τήν ἱερωσύνη, γιά τήν ἀνάπτυξη τῆς Πληροφορικῆς καί Τεχνολογικῆς ὑποδοµῆς τῆς Σχολῆς, γιά τήν Βιβλιοθήκη της καί γιά τό Τµῆµα Ἐπιµορφώσεως καί ∆ιακονίας τοῦ Ἑλληνικοῦ Κολλεγίου / Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς

τοῦ Τιµίου Σταυροῦ. 10) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τήν Ὀργάνωση «Πίστις: Κληροδότηµα γιά τήν Ὀρθοδοξία καί τόν Ἑλληνισµό». Ἀπό τό ἔτος ἱδρύσεώς του, τό 2003, προσφέροντας σοβαρή καί ὑπεύθυνη χρηµατοδότηση, τό Κληροδότηµα Πίστις παρήγαγε ἐντυπωσιακό ἔργο στόν τοµέα τῆς προαγωγῆς τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας καί τοῦ Ἑλληνισµοῦ µέσῳ τῶν διακονιῶν τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς µας καί ἄλλων σηµαντικῶν δραστηριοτήτων. Ἀνάµεσα σ’ αὐτές συγκαταλέγεται ἡ συνεχιζοµένη ἐργασία γιά τήν παραγωγή τῶν καλυτέρων διδακτικῶν βιβλίων γιά τήν ἐκµάθηση τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Γλώσσης γιά τά παιδιά µας, ἡ ποικιλία πρωτοποριακῶν ὑποτροφιῶν γιά µεγάλο ἀριθµό προσοντούχων Ἑλληνορθοδόξων σπουδαστῶν ἀπό ὅλη τήν Ἀµερική, ἡ σηµαντική ἀρωγή πρός τό Ἰονικό Χωριό, τό εἰδικό πρόγραµµα σέ συνεργασία µέ τό Ἵδρυµα Fulbright, ἡ οὐσιαστική ὑποστήριξη τοῦ σηµαντικοῦ Νεανικοῦ Φεστιβάλ Ρητορικῆς Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστοµος, ἡ παραγωγή ταινιῶν καί DVD’s καί ἡ χορηγία σέ ἐκδηλώσεις σχετιζόµενες µέ πολιτιστικές δραστηριότητες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί µέ τήν προώθηση τῶν παγκοσµίων ἀξιῶν τοῦ Ἑλληνισµοῦ. 11) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τοὐς Ἄρχοντες τοῦ Τάγµατος τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀνδρέου τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου. Οἱ µεθοδικές καί ἄοκνες προσπάθειές τους τά τελευταῖα δέκα ἔτη ἔχουν ἀλλάξει ριζικά τήν προσέγγιση καί τόν χειρισµό θεµελιωδῶν ζητηµάτων πού σχετίζονται µέ τό Οἰκουµενικό Πατριαρχεῖο µας. Ἕνα σηµαντικό ἐπίτευγµα τῆς περιόδου 2010-2012 ὑπῆρξε τό ψήφισµα ἀξιοσηµείωτων διακηρύξεων περί τῆς ἀναγκαιότητος τῆς θρησκευτικῆς ἐλευθερίας γιά τό Οἰκουµενικό Πατριαρχεῖο µας ἀπό µείζονα κυβερνητικά καί πολιτικά σώµατα στίς Ἡνωµένες Πολιτεῖες. Ἄλλο ἐπίτευγµα πραγµατοποιήθηκε τό Νοέµβριο 2010 ὅταν οἱ Ἄρχοντές µας διοργάνωσαν ἕνα πολύ ἐπιτυχές συνέδριο στίς Βρυξέλλες τοῦ Βελγίου µέ θέµα τή θρησκευτική ἐλευθερία. Τό συνέδριο αὐτό πού ἔλαβε χώρα στό διοικητικό Κέντρο τῆς Εὐρωπαϊκῆς Ἑνώσεως, προσέχθηκε πολύ ἀπό τήν Τουρκική Κυβέρνηση. Πράγµατι, εἶναι δύσκολο νά καλύψουµε ἐπαρκῶς ὅλες τίς ἀσταµάτητες δραστηριότητες τῶν Ἀρχόντων µας γιά τή στήριξη τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου µας. 12) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά ἕνα ἐκ τῶν Ἱδρυµάτων µας τό ὁποῖο ἐπιτελεῖ ἀθόρυβο µέν ἀλλά δηµιουργικό ἔργο. Τό Προσκύνηµα τοῦ Ἁγίου Φωτίου στόν Ἅγιο Αὐγουστῖνο τῆς Φλόριδας, τό ὁποῖο ἑόρτασε ἐφέτος τριάντα ἔτη ζωῆς καί δράσεως, παρέχει λαµπρή µαρτυρία τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας καί τῆς ἱστορίας τῆς Ἑλληνορθοδόξου Μεταναστεύσεως στήν Ἀµερική σέ πολλές χιλιάδες ἐπισκεπτῶν κάθε χρόνο. Ἀξίζει, ὄντως, νά

τό ἐπισκεφθῇ κανείς. 13) Εύχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τά παιδιά µας πού, εἰδικώτερα κατά τά τελευταῖα ἔτη, γεµίζουν τίς καλοκαιρινές κατασκηνώσεις µας σ’ ὅλη τήν χώρα καί στό Ἰονικό Χωριό στήν Ἑλλάδα. Εἴµεθα εὐγνώµονες στά παιδιά µας πού ἐπί τριάντα καί πλέον ἔτη συγκεντρώνονται κατά χιλιάδες στό Φεστιβάλ Παραδοσιακῶν Χορῶν στήν Καλιφόρνια, καθώς καί σέ παρόµοια φεστιβάλ στή Νέα Ἰερσέη, Ἀτλάντα, Σικᾶγο καί ἀλλοῦ. 14) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τά παιδιά µας καί τούς νέους µας πού λαµβάνουν µέρος µέ αὐξανόµενη συµµετοχή σέ ἀξιέπαινες ἀθλητικές ἐκδηλώσεις, σέ ὅλες τίς Ἱερές Μητροπόλεις µας. Αὐτές οἱ δραστηριότητες κερδίζουν ἔδαφος, καί στά πρόσφατα ἔτη ἐµφανίζουν µιά πιό µεθοδική καί πιό ὑπεύθυνη προσέγγιση, καθώς καί ἕνα καλύτερο καί δυνατότερο συνδυασµό µέ τήν καλλιέργεια τῆς πνευµατικότητος στούς κύκλους τῆς νεολαίας µας. 15) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τά παιδιά µας ἀπό ὁλόκληρη τήν Ἀµερική γιά τήν συµµετοχή τους στό Φεστιβάλ Ρητορικῆς Ἅγιος Ἰωάννης ὁ Χρυσόστοµος. Τό Φεστιβάλ αὐτό ἀποτελεῖ θεσµό ὁ ὁποῖος ἐπί 29 ἔτη, ἀπό τό 1983, ἔχει συγκεντρώσει πανεθνικά τόν ἀπίστευτο ἀριθµό τῶν 60.000 παιδιῶν, ἤ περίπου 2.000 κατά µέσον ὅρο ἐτησίως, παιδιῶν τά ὁποῖα παρουσιάζουν λαµπρή διανόηση µέ ἐντυπωσιακές ἱκανότητες σκέψεως, γραψίµατος καί ὁµιλητικῆς εὐχέρειας. 16) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά µιά ἰδιαίτερη ὁµάδα νέων ἀνθρώπων, τήν Ἀρχιεπισκοπική Χορωδία Νέων ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖται ἀπό παιδιά τῶν Σχολείων µας. Ἡ Χορωδία αὐτή πού δηµιουργήθηκε περίπου πρό δέκα περίπου ἐτῶν, ἀνέπτυξε ἐκπληκτική µουσική ποιότητα. Λόγῳ τῆς ποιότητος αὐτῆς, ἡ χορωδία ἔδωσε συναυλίες σέ ὑψηλούς καλλιτεχνικούς χώρους ὅπως τό Carnegie Hall καί τό Lincoln Center στή Νέα Ὑόρκη, στόν Λευκό Οἶκο, ἔκανε δύο ἐµφανίσεις στήν Ἑλλάδα καί πέρυσι, γιά δεύτερη φορά, στό Προεδρικό Μέγαρο στήν Κύπρο, καί στήν ἱστορική Ἐκκλησία τῆς Ἁγίας Εἰρήνης στήν Κωνσταντινούπολη. Ἡ τελευταία αὐτή συναυλία στήν Κωνσταντινούπολη προσεφέρθη µέ σεβασµό καί ἀφοσίωση στόν Οἰκουµενικό Πατριάρχη µας κ.κ. Βαρθολοµαῖο ἐπ’ εὐκαιρίᾳ τοῦ ἑορτασµοῦ τῆς 20ῆς ἐπετείου του ὡς Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου. 17) Εὐχαριστοῦµε τόν Θεό γιά τούς ἀνθρώπους τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας µας στίς ΗΠΑ οἱ ὁποῖοι στήν περίοδο αὐτή τῶν σοβαρῶν ἐλλείψεων τροφῆς, στέγης καί φαρµάκων στήν Ἑλλάδα, προσέφεραν τή βοήθειά των µέ γενναιοδωρία. Συνεισέφεραν στό «Ταµεῖο Ἀνακουφίσεως γιά τούς Ἀνθρώπους τῆς Ἑλλάδος», συγκεντρώνοντας µέχρι στιγµῆς 966,997 δολλάρια. Ἐξ αὐτῶν, 700,000 δολλάρια ἔχουν δοθεῖ ἤδη ὡς βοήθεια σέ διάφορες ἐκκλησιαστικές ὑπηρεσίες στήν Ἑλλάδα, γνωστές γιά τό καλά ὀργανωµένο καί ἐκτεταµένο ἔργο τους στήν προσφορά βοήθειας σέ χιλιάδες ἀνθρώπους οἱ ὁποῖοι εὑρίσκονται σέ κατάσταση ἐπειγούσης ἀνάγκης. 18) Κλείνω αὐτή τήν ἐπιλεκτική καί περιορισµένη ἀναφορά µου στά πολλά γεγονότα πού ἔλαβαν χώρα µεταξύ τῆς προηγουµένης Κληρικολαϊκῆς καί τῆς ἐφετινῆς 41ης, παραθέτοντας δύο ἀκόµη γεγονότα: Τό πρῶτο εἶναι ἡ ἐπίσκεψη τοῦ ἐν ἐνεργείᾳ Ἀντιπροέδρου τῶν Ἡνωµένων Πολιτειῶν Joe Biden τόν παρελθόντα Νοέµβριο στήν Ἀρχιεπισκοπή µας. Ἡ ἐπίσκεψη ἦτο ἐγκάρδια καί εἰλικρινής, διήρκησε περίπου µία ὥρα, καί ἦτο ἡ πρώτη φορά κατά τήν ὁποία ἐν ἐνεργείᾳ Ἀντιπρόεδρος τῶν Ἡνωµένων Πολιτειῶν τῆς Ἀµερικῆς ἐπισκέφθηκε τά Γραφεῖα τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς γιά συνάντηση µέ τόν





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Ἀρχιεπίσκοπο. Ὁ ἴδιος Ἀντιπρόεδρος, ἕνα µήνα ἀργότερα, δηλαδή τόν ∆εκέµβριο 2011, ἐπισκέφθηκε τό Οἰκουµενικό µας Πατριαρχεῖο. Ἡ ἐπίσκεψη ἦτο καί πάλι ἡ πρώτη ἑνός ἐν ἐνεργείᾳ Ἀντιπροέδρου τῶν Ἡνωµένων Πολιτειῶν τῆς Ἀµερικῆς στό Οἰκουµενικό Πατριαρχεῖο γιά συνάντηση µέ τόν Οἰκουµενικό Πατριάρχη µας στήν Ἕδρα του. Μετά τή συνάντηση στό Γραφεῖο τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου, ἡ ὁποία διήρκησε περίπου µία ὥρα, ὁ Ἀντιπρόεδρος περιηγήθηκε γιά µία ἀκόµη ὥρα τήν Πατριαρχική Ἐκκλησία τοῦ Ἁγίου Γεωργίου στό Φανάρι. Οἱ δύο ὡς ἄνω ἀναφερόµενες ἐπισκέψεις δείχνουν µέ πειστικό τρόπο τήν σπουδαιότητα πού ἔχει ἡ Ὀρθοδοξία ὑπό τήν ἡγεσία τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου µας γιά τήν Ἀµερικανική Κυβέρνηση. Ταυτοχρόνως, ὑποδηλώνουν ἔντονα τήν τεράστια εὐθύνη πού ἔχουµε γιά νά προσφέρουµε τήν γνήσια, ὁλοκληρωµένη, καθαρή καί στοργική µαρτυρία τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Πίστεώς µας. Ἄς µιλήσουµε περισσότερο γι’ αὐτήν ἀναλύοντας τό θέµα τῆς 41ης Συνελεύσεώς µας. Τό θέµα τῆς Συνελεύσεώς µας Τό θέµα τῆς 41ης Συνελεύσεώς µας Ὁ Θεός µᾶς ἐδιάλεξε καί µᾶς ὥρισε νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά φέρουµε καρπό βασίζεται σέ ἕνα σηµαντικό βιβλικό χωρίο ἀπό τό κατά Ἰωάννην Εὐαγγέλιο (Ἰωάν. 15:16). Ἄς µελετήσουµε, λοιπόν, πρῶτα περιληπτικά αὐτό τό συγκεκριµένο κείµενο ἐντός τοῦ εὐρυτέρου πλαισίου του. Αὐτό τό βιβλικό χωρίο πού ἀποτελεῖται ἀπό τούς λόγους τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Οὐχ ὑµεῖς µε ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ’ ἐγώ ἐξελεξάµην ὑµᾶς καί ἔθηκα ὑµᾶς ἵνα ὑµεῖς ὑπάγητε καί καρπόν φέρητε (Ἰωάν. 15:16), εἰσάγεται ἀπό τόν Χριστό µέ τήν ἀκόλουθη δήλωσή Του: Ὑµεῖς φίλοι µού ἐστε ἐάν ποιῆτε ἅ ἐγώ ἐντέλλοµαι ὑµῖν. Οὐκέτι λέγω ὑµᾶς δούλους, ὅτι ὁ δοῦλος οὐκ οἶδεν τί ποιεῖ αὐτοῦ ὁ κύριος· ὑµᾶς δέ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἅ ἤκουσα παρά τοῦ Πατρός µου ἐγνώρισα ὑµῖν (Ἰωάν. 15:15). Μέ τούς λόγους Του αὐτούς ὁ Χριστός θεµελιώνει ἐδῶ δύο ἀλήθειες: Πρῶτον, µᾶς ἀποκαλεῖ φίλους Του, ὄχι δούλους Του. Ἡ Ἑλληνική λέξη φίλοι µπορεῖ νά ἑρµηνευθῇ εἴτε ὡς φίλοι εἴτε ὡς ἀγαπηµένοι. Ἔτσι, ὁ Χριστός δηλώνει καθαρά ὅτι ἐµεῖς, οἱ µαθητές Του, δέν εἴµεθα δοῦλοι ἤ ὑπηρέτες Του, ἀλλά φίλοι Του καί ἀγαπηµένοι Του. Ἀλλά ὑπάρχει καί µία δεύτερη σηµαντική ἀλήθεια στήν παραπάνω δήλωση τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Λέγει: ὑµᾶς δέ εἴρηκα φίλους, ὅτι πάντα ἅ ἤκουσα παρά τοῦ Πατρός µου ἐγνώρισα ὑµῖν (Ἰωάν. 15:15). Αὐτή ἡ δήλωση µᾶς ἀνυψώνει ὡς µαθητάς τοῦ Ἰησοῦ σέ ἀνήκουστο ὕψος. Ἀποκαλούµεθα ἀπό τόν Χριστό φίλοι Του διότι µοιράζεται µαζί µας τήν ἀπόλυτη ἀλήθεια τήν ὁποία ἔλαβε ἀπό τόν Θεό Πατέρα. Ἑποµένως, ἀποκαλούµεθα φίλοι καί ἀγαπηµένοι ἀπό τόν Υἱό τοῦ Θεοῦ καί ἔχουµε τό προνόµιο νά ἀπολαµβάνουµε

τήν µοναδική γνώση τῶν ἀληθειῶν, τίς ὁποῖες ὁ Υἱός ἄκουσε ἀπό τόν Πατέρα στή θεία ὑπερφυσική σφαίρα. Σ’ αὐτό τό κοµβικό σηµεῖο καί ἐντός τῆς ἀνωτέρω συναφείας ἔρχεται ἡ ἐπίσηµη δήλωση τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖ τή βάση καί τό περιεχόµενο τοῦ θέµατος τῆς παρούσης Κληρικολαϊκῆς Συνελεύσεως: Ὑµᾶς δέ εἴρηκα φίλους... Οὐχ ὑµεῖς µε ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ’ ἐγώ ἐξελεξάµην ὑµᾶς καί ἔθηκα ὑµᾶς ἵνα ὑµεῖς ὑπάγητε καί καρπόν φέρητε (Ἰωάν. 15:16). Ἔχουµε ἐπιλεγεῖ ὡς φίλοι καί ἀγαπηµένοι τοῦ Ἰησοῦ µέ σκοπό τήν ἀνάθεση µιᾶς συγκεκριµένης ἀποστολῆς. Ἡ ἀποστολή µας κατ’ οὐσίαν ἔγκειται στή συνέχιση τῆς διακονίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ στή Γῆ, καί σηµαίνει νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά φέρουµε καρπό. Ἔχουµε ἐπιλεγεῖ καί ὡρισθεῖ ἀπό τόν Κύριο γιά νά συνεχίσουµε τό ἔργο, τή διακονία καί τή θυσία τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ κατά τρόπο ὁ ὁποῖος θά παραγάγῃ καρπό ὁ ὁποῖος θά διαρκέσῃ. Εἶναι φανερό ὅτι σ’ αὐτό τό ἐννοιολογικό πλαίσιο ἡ λέξη καρπός ἔχει βαθειά πνευµατική σηµασία ἡ ὁποία οὐσιαστικά σχετίζεται µέ αἰώνιες καί ἱερές πραγµατικότητες. Ὅπως γνωρίζουµε καλά, οἱ Ἀπόστολοι ἄκουσαν τούς λόγους τοῦ Κυρίου οὐχ ὑµεῖς µε ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ’ ἐγώ ἐξελεξάµην ὑµᾶς καί ἔθηκα ὑµᾶς ἵνα ὑµεῖς ὑπάγητε καί καρπόν φέρητε (Ἰωάν. 15:16), καί µετά ἀπό τήν ἀνάληψή Του καί τήν κάθοδο τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύµατος κατά τήν Πεντηκοστή, ἐπορεύθησαν ὅπως Ἐκεῖνος εἶχε ζητήσει. Ἐπορεύθησαν σέ ἕνα κόσµο ὅπου παρά τήν Pax Romana, τήν ἐξωτερική εἰρήνη τήν ὁποία εἶχε ἐγκαθιδρύσει ἡ Ρωµαϊκή Αὐτοκρατορία, ἔδειχνε καθαρά τά σηµάδια µιᾶς πολύµορφης κρίσεως: θρησκευτικῆς, κοινωνικῆς, οἰκονοµικῆς καί ἠθικῆς. Ἐπορεύθησαν µή ἔχοντας οἰκονοµικά, πολιτικά ἤ πολιτισµικά µέσα. Τό µόνο πού διέθεταν ἦτο ἡ δυνατή πίστη των καί ἡ ἀποφασιστικότητά των νά παραγάγουν καρπό διαδίδοντας τό Εὐαγγέλιο καί παρουσιάζοντας τήν ὑπέροχη ἀλήθεια τῆς Βασιλείας τοῦ Θεοῦ. Καί παρήγαγαν καί ἔφεραν καρπό παρά τίς πολλές ἐχθρικές δυνάµεις οἱ ὁποῖες τούς πολέµησαν, παρά τούς ἀδυσώπητους διωγµούς, παρά τίς τεράστιες πολιτισµικές, θρησκευτικές καί ἐθνικές διαφορές τίς ὁποῖες ἀντιµετώπισαν. Παρήγαγαν καρπό ἐγκαθιδρύοντας τόν Χριστιανισµό ὡς τήν ἀπόλυτη ἀλήθεια καί θρησκεία καί θεµελιώνοντας τίς Ἐκκλησίες τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὡς ὑπέροχες ἀνθρώπινες κοινότητες σέ ὁλόκληρο τόν Κόσµο. Καί ὁ καρπός των δέν ἐσάπισε, δέν µαράζωσε, ἀλλά εἶναι ζωντανός καί διαρκεῖ ὅπως τούς εἶπε ὁ Χριστός, καί ὅπως τό βιώνουµε, εἴκοσι πλήρεις αἰῶνες µετά ἀπό τόν θάνατό των. 4. Ἡ Ἀποστολή: Πορεία στόν Κόσµο καί Παραγωγή Καρπῶν Εἴκοσι αἰῶνες ἀργότερα, ἀκοῦµε σήµερα τούς ἴδιους λόγους τούς ὁποίους ὁ Κύριος ἀπηύθυνε στούς Ἀποστόλους καί στούς

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λαὸν αὐτῆς καὶ τὰς ἐπὶ µέρους Κοινότητας καὶ τὰ πολυπληθῆ Ἱδρύµατά της, µὲ ἐπὶ κεφαλῆς τὴν ἐν Βοστώνῃ Ἱερὰν Θεολογικὴν Σχολὴν τοῦ Τιµίου Σταυροῦ, ζητήµατα καὶ ὑποθέσεις. Ὁ κατηξιωµένος θεσµὸς τῶν Κληρικολαϊκῶν Συνελεύσεων, διακονηθεὶς ὑπὸ τῶν σοφῶν προκατόχων ὑµῶν, ἅγιε ἀδελφέ, καὶ µάλιστα ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀοιδίµου ἐκ τῶν προκατόχων ἡµῶν Πατριάρχου Ἀθηναγόρου, ἐν συνεχείᾳ δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ µίαν τριακονταετίαν καὶ πλέον ὑπὸ τοῦ κλεΐσαντος τὸν Θρόνον τῆς Ἐπαρχίας ταύτης µακαριστοῦ Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἰακώβου Κουκούζη, τοῦ καὶ ὁµοπατρίου τῆς ἡµετέρας Μετριότητος, προσήνεγκε µεγίστας ὑπηρεσίας καὶ διακονίαν εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα, τὴν ὀργάνωσιν καὶ τὴν πρόοδον ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς τοµεῦσι τῆς µεγάλης ταύτης Ἐπαρχίας τοῦ καθ' ἡµᾶς Οἰκουµενικοῦ Θρόνου. Θέµα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς ταύτης Συνελεύσεως εἶναι "ὁ Θεὸς µᾶς ἐδιάλεξε καὶ µᾶς ὥρισε νὰ πορευθοῦµε καὶ νὰ φέρουµε καρπούς", βασιζόµενον εἰς τοὺς λόγους τοῦ Κυρίου "οὐχ ὑµεῖς µε ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ' ἐγὼ ἐξελεξάµην ὑµᾶς καὶ ἔθηκα ὑµᾶς ἵνα ὑµεῖς ὑπάγητε καὶ καρπὸν φέρητε" (Ἰωάν. ιε΄ 16). Ἡ ἀποστολὴ καὶ τὸ καθῆκον ἡµῶν τῶν Χριστιανῶν ὅπως φέρωµεν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς ἡµετέρας κλήσεως πρέπει νὰ διεγείρῃ ἡµᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀναζήτησιν τοῦ εἴδους καὶ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν καρπῶν, τοὺς ὁποίους πρέπει νὰ παραγάγωµεν. Καὶ ἔχοµεν ἐνώπιον ἡµῶν δύο κατευθύνσεις ἐργασίας ἵνα φέρωµεν: Πρῶτον, καρποὺς εἰς βάθος πνευµατικῆς καλλιεργείας καὶ ἀρετῆς· καρποὺς ἀγάπης πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν καὶ τὸν ἄνθρωπον, ἁγιότητος καὶ σοφίας καὶ πάσης ἀρετῆς. Καί, δεύτερον, καρποὺς εἰς πλάτος, διὰ τῆς προσελκύσεως εἰς Χριστὸν τῶν συνανθρώπων µας, οἱ ὁποῖοι εἴτε δὲν γνωρίζουν τι περὶ Αὐτοῦ, εἴτε εἶναι ἀνεπαρκῶς ἢ λελανθασµένως πληροφορηµένοι περὶ Αὐτοῦ. Οἱ εἰς βάθος καρποὶ ἀναφέρονται ὑπὸ τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου εἰς τὴν πρὸς Γαλάτας Ἐπιστολὴν αὐτοῦ (ε΄, 22) ὡς ἑξῆς: "ὁ δὲ καρπὸς τοῦ Πνεύµατός ἐστιν ἀγάπη, χαρά, εἰρήνη, µακροθυµία, χρηστότης, ἀγαθωσύνη, πίστις, πρᾳότης, ἐγκράτεια". ∆ιὰ τὴν παραγωγὴν τῶν καρπῶν τούτων, ἡ προσπάθεια καὶ ὁ ἀγὼν ἡµῶν πρέπει νὰ εἶναι συνεχής, διότι ἄνευ αὐτῶν δὲν εἴµεθα καλοὶ χριστιανοὶ καὶ ὡς ἐκ τούτου δὲν δυνάµεθα νὰ προσελκύσωµεν τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς ἡµῶν εἰς Χριστόν, ὡς ὀφείλοµεν. Ἡ Ἁγία Ὀρθόδοξος ἡµῶν Ἐκκλησία ὑπῆρξεν ἀνέκαθεν ἱεραποστολική. Πάντοτε ἐκήρυττε καὶ κηρύττει τὸν Ἀναστάντα Κύριον ἡµ ῶν Ἰη σοῦν Χριστὸν σωτῆρα καὶ λυτρωτὴν τοῦ κόσµου, καὶ πάντοτε προσεδέχετο εἰς τοὺς κόλπους αὐτῆς πάντας τοὺς ἀλλοθρήσκους καὶ ἤνοιγεν εἰς αὐτοὺς τὰς πύλας αὐτῆς. Εἶναι γνωστόν, ἐκ τῆς ἱστορίας τῆς ἡµετέρας Ὀρθοδόξου παραδόσεως, ὅτι ἡ

Μήτηρ πάντων ἡµῶν Ἁγία τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ἡ Ἐκκλησία τῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ πενήτων, τὸ µαρτυρικὸν Φανάριον, ἐξεχριστιάνισε τὰ γένη τῶν Σλάβων, διὰ τῶν Ἁγίων Θεσσαλονικέων τὴν καταγωγὴν Ἰσαποστόλων Κυρίλλου καὶ Μεθοδίου· ὅτι προσέφερε τὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἀλήθειαν, ὁδὸν καὶ ζωὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς λαούς· καὶ ὅτι συνεχίζει τὴν ἱεραποστολικὴν αὐτῆς προσπάθειαν καὶ σήµερον εἰς πάντα τὰ µήκη καὶ πλάτη τῆς γῆς, εἰς τὰς Ἀσιατικάς, Ἀµερικανικάς, Αὐστραλιανὰς καὶ Εὐρωπαϊκὰς Χώρας. Ὑπὸ τὴν ἔννοιαν ταύτην, ἡ καθ' ὑµᾶς Ἱερὰ Ἀρχιεπισκοπὴ Ἀµερικῆς, περιλαµβάνουσα πολυαρίθµους ὠργανωµένας Κοινότητας µετ' ἰδιοκτήτων καλλιµαρµάρων Ἱερῶν Ναῶν, πλήρως ἐξωπλισµένων, καὶ κοινοτικῶν αἰθουσῶν, ὡς καὶ πληθὺν κοινωφελῶν Ἱδρυµάτων, ἀποτελεῖ καὶ εἶναι ὁ ἐνδεδειγµένος φορεὺς τῆς προσελκύσεως εἰς Χριστὸν καὶ εἰς τὴν Ὀρθόδοξον Αὐτοῦ Ἐκκλησίαν τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῆς µεγάλης ταύτης καὶ εὐηµερούσης Ἀµερικανικῆς Ἠπείρου, πολλοὶ ἐκ τῶν ὁποίων ἂν καὶ ἤκουσαν καὶ ἐπληροφορήθησαν περὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἵστανται ἀδιάφοροι ἐνώπιον Αὐτοῦ. Βεβαίως, δὲν παραγνωρίζοµεν τὰς προσπαθείας καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἐν Ἀµερικῇ ἐγκατεστηµένων Ὀρθοδόξων παροικιῶν, ἀλλὰ τονίζοµεν ἅπαξ ἔτι, ὅτι πρέπει νὰ δοθῇ ὑπὸ πάντων τῶν µελῶν τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἑλληνορθοδόξου Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς ὅλως ἰδιαιτέρα προσοχὴ εἰς τὸ καθῆκον ὑµῶν τοῦτο, ὅπως ἀνοίξητε τὰς πύλας τῶν καρδιῶν ὑµῶν εἰς ὅλους τοὺς ἐν Ἀµερικῇ ποθοῦντας ἵνα γνωρίσουν τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ τὴν Ὀρθόδοξον Ἐκκλησίαν Του. Θὰ εἶναι τοῦτο µέγα ἱεραποστολικὸν ἐπίτευγµα, τὸ ὁποῖον ὡς εὔχυµος καρπὸς θὰ θρέψῃ τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν. Ἐὰν δὲν παραγάγωµεν καρποὺς καλοὺς εἰς τὸν τοµέα τοῦ τον, κινδυνεύοµ εν νὰ χ αρακτηρισθῶµεν ὡς ἄκαρπος συκῆ καὶ νὰ ξηρανθῶµεν ἐλλείψει καρποφορίας. Ἡ ἐσωστρέφεια εἶναι καλὴ ὅταν ἀφορᾷ εἰς τὴν αὐτοκριτικὴν ἡµῶν αὑτῶν, ἀλλ' εἶναι οὐχὶ θεµιτὴ καὶ ἀπορριπτέα ὅταν ἀπασχολῇ ὑπερβολικῶς καὶ ἐµποδίζῃ ἡµᾶς ἵνα ἀνοίξωµεν τὴν ἡµετέραν Ἐκκλησίαν πρὸς τοὺς ἐπιθυµοῦντας νὰ γνωρίσουν καὶ νὰ εἰσέλθουν εἰς αὐτήν. Ἔχοµεν τὴν βεβαιότητα πάντες οἱ ἐν τῷ Ἁγιωτάτῳ Ἀποστολικῷ καὶ Πατριαρχικῷ Οἰκουµενικῷ Θρόνῳ καὶ ἡ ἡµετέρα Μετριότης προσωπικῶς, ὡς γιγνώσκουσα καλῶς τὰ ἐν Ἀµερικῇ ἡµέτερα Ὀρθόδοξα κοινοτικὰ πράγµατα καὶ ὡς παρακολουθοῦσα µετὰ στοργῆς καὶ εὐαρεσκείας τὴν συνεχῆ πρὸς τὰ πρόσω ἐξέλιξιν τῆς Ἑλληνορθοδόξου Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς ὑπὸ τὴν πεφωτισµένην πνευµατικὴν καθοδήγησιν τοῦ κατὰ πάντα ἀξίου καὶ πλουτοῦντος εἰς χαρίσµατα καὶ τάλαντα, ἐναρέτου κ αὶ ἀ ξιοσεβ ά στου Ἱερω τάτου

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Εναρκτήριος Ομιλία Σεβασμιωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου uΣελίδα 17 µαθητάς καί ἐκλεκτούς φίλους Του σέ ὅλη τήν διαδροµή τῆς ἱστορίας τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Εἴµεθα οἱ φίλοι Του, µᾶς διάλεξε καί µᾶς ὥρισε νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά παραγάγουµε καρπό. Ποιός ὅµως εἶναι ὁ κόσµος ἐντός τοῦ ὁποίου µᾶς ὥρισε νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά φέρουµε καρπό; α) Πρόκειται περί ἑνός κόσµου ὁ ὁποῖος µαστίζεται ἀπό βαθειά καί ἐξαιρετικά ἐπώδυνη καί πολύπλοκη κρίση παγκοσµίως. Ἀνήκουστα ποσοστά ἀνεργίας, ὁλόκληρες χῶρες στά πρόθυρα χρεωκοπίας, ἐκτεταµένες περιοχές καταστροφικῆς πτώχειας, ἐφιαλτικές ἱστορίες πείνας, ἔλλειψη στέγης καί ἰατρικῆς περιθάλψεως καί φαρµάκων ἀποτελοῦν καθηµερινά θέµατα στίς εἰδήσεις. β) Πρόκειται περί ἑνός κόσµου µέ κοινωνικές ἀναταραχές, φανερές ἤ κεκαλυµµένες, λόγῳ κραυγαλέων ἀδικιῶν, φυλετικῶν συγκρούσεων καί ἐλλείψεως ἴσων δικαιωµάτων καί εὐκαιριῶν. γ) Πρόκειται περί ἑνός κόσµου ὁ ὁποῖος παρουσιάζει εἰκόνα ἰδεολογικοῦ χάους καί ἰδεολογικῆς ἀπαθείας. ἐδῶ ἔχουµε ἕνα µεταΜαρξιστικό, µετα-Φροϋδικό καί µεταµοντέρνο κλίµα, δηλαδή, πρόκειται γιά µία κατάσταση ὅπου οἱ παλιές ἰδεολογίες ἔχουν πεθάνει καί τά ὑπολείµµατά τους ἐµφανίζονται καί ἐξαφανίζονται προκαλώντας πλήρη σύγχυση καί µόνιµο ἀποπροσανατολισµό µεταξύ νέων καί ἡλικιωµένων ἀνθρώπων. δ) Πρόκειται περί ἑνός κόσµου µετακινήσεων µεγάλου ἀριθµοῦ ἀνθρώπων, πού µεταναστεύουν ἀπό χώρα σέ χώρα, πού πληµµυρίζουν γειτονιές ἤ ἀπόµακρες πολιτεῖες, προκαλώντας ριζικές ἀλλαγές σέ ἐθνικές καί πολιτισµικές ταυτότητες καί ταυτοχρόνως µεταφέρουν τήν θρησκεία τους µέ τίς ἰδιαίτερες παραδόσεις καί τά χαρακτηριστικά των, γεγονός πού δυστυχῶς συχνά παραβλέπεται. ε) Πρόκειται περί ἑνός κόσµου ὁ ὁποῖος βασανίζεται ἀπό σοβαρά ἠθικά προβλήµατα σέ ἐπίπεδο πρωτόγνωρο γιά τήν ἱστορία. Ἡ κατάχρηση οὐσιῶν, τά ζητήµατα σεξουαλικῶν παραπτωµάτων καί ταυτότητος, τά φαινόµενα ἀνθρώπινης ἐκµεταλλεύσεως, ἀδικιῶν, τροµοκρατίας, βίας καί ἀγριότητος ἀποτελοῦν καθηµερινά συµβάντα στή ζωή ἑκατοµµυρίων ἀνθρώπων σέ ὁλόκληρο τόν κόσµο. στ) Πρόκειται περί ἑνός κόσµου στόν ὁποῖον συναντοῦµε τόν µεγαλύτερο στήν ἱστορία ἀριθµό φανατικῶν διαφόρων θρησκειῶν µετερχοµένων βία ἤ ὄχι, ἐνῶ τήν ἴδια στιγµή βιώνουµε τόν πόλεµο ἐναντίον τῆς θρησκείας, ἰδιαιτέρως ἐναντίον τοῦ Χριστιανισµοῦ µέ κάθε διαθέσιµο µέσο. Αὐτός εἶναι ὁ κόσµος στόν ὁποῖον ἔχουµε ὡρισθεῖ νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά παραγάγουµε καρπό. Εἶναι ἕνας κόσµος πληγωµένος, πού τελεῖ σέ σύγχυση, ἕνας κατακερµατισµένος κόσµος στόν ὁποῖον καλούµεθα νά καλλιεργήσουµε καί νά προσφέρουµε τούς καρπούς τῆς πίστεως, τῆς ἀγάπης, τῆς θεραπείας, τῆς εἰρήνης καί τῆς ἐλπίδος. Τό ἔργο εἶναι τεράστιο. Ἀλλά θυµηθῆτε τούς ∆ώδεκα Ἀποστόλους! ∆ώδεκα ἁπλοί ἄνθρωποι πού ἀντιµετώπισαν ὁλόκληρο τόν κόσµο καί τελικά τόν κατέκτησαν! Τό πεδίο εἶναι ἀνοιχτό γιά µᾶς. Εἶναι ὁ καιρός γιά µᾶς νά ἀκούσουµε τήν θεία φωνή καί νά πορευθοῦµε γιά νά φέρουµε καρπό. 5. Ὁ Θεός µᾶς ἐδιάλεξε καί µᾶς ὥρισε νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά φέρουµε καρπό. α) Καλούµεθα νά παραγάγουµε καρπό στίς ζωές τῶν οἰκογενειῶν τῶν µεικτῶν γάµων. Πορευθῆτε καί φέρετέ τους στόν οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐπανασυνδέστε τους ἤ, ἀναλόγως τῆς περιπτώσεως, συνδέστε τους γιά πρώτη φορά µέ τήν Ἐκκλησία. Φέρνοντας τίς µει-

κτές οἰκογένειες στήν κοινότητα πίστεως, παράγουµε καρπό καί ἔτσι ἐκπληρώνουµε τήν εἰδική ἀποστολή τήν ὁποία µᾶς ἀνέθεσε ὁ Χριστός. Αὐτός ὁ καρπός εἶναι ἐπειγόντως ἀπαραίτητος ἐάν δέν θέλουµε νά χάσουµε ἀνθρώπους γιά πάντα. Καί σ’ αὐτή τήν περίπτωση, ὅπως καί σέ πολλές ἄλλες, δέν πρέπει νά λησµονοῦµε τί εἶπε ὁ Χριστός στό τέλος τῆς ἐντολῆς τῆς ἀποστολῆς µας: ἔθηκα ὑµᾶς ἵνα ὑµεῖς ὑπάγητε καί καρπόν φέρητε καί ὁ καρπός ὑµῶν µένει (Ἰωάν. 15:16). Ὁ καρπός πρέπει νά µένῃ, νά διατηρηθῇ, νά καταστῇ µόνιµος. Οἱ φυσικοί καρποί οἱ ὁποῖοι προέρχονται ἀπό τά δέντρα ζοῦν γιά λίγο χρονικό διάστηµα, ὠριµάζουν καί µετά σαπίζουν, δέν διατηροῦνται. Αὐτό δέν συµβαίνει µέ τόν πνευµατικό καρπό. Ἐάν καρπός µας εἶναι ἡ σύνδεση οἰκογενειῶν µεικτῶν γάµων µέ τήν Ἐκκλησία, πρέπει νά διαφυλάξουµε αὐτό τόν καρπό, πρέπει νά κρατήσουµε αὐτές τίς οἰκογένειες γιά πάντα στήν ἀγκαλιά τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. β) Καλούµεθα νά παραγάγουµε καρπό µεταξύ τῶν παιδιῶν µας, µεταξύ τῶν ἐφήβων µας, µεταξύ τῶν νεαρῶν ἐνηλίκων µας. Πρέπει νά ἀναθεωρήσουµε καί νά ἀναβαθµίσουµε τά προγράµµατά µας τῆς θρησκευτικῆς παιδείας, νά µελετήσουµε καί πάλι τίς εὐκαιρίες πού ἔχουµε γιά νά ἑλκύσουµε τούς νεαρούς ἐνηλίκους σέ δηµιουργικές δραστηριότητες, ἰδιαιτέρως κοινωνικῆς σηµασίας. Νά αὐξήσουµε τίς εὐκαιρίες γιά καλά ὀργανωµένες πολιτιστικές καί ἀθλητικές ἐκδηλώσεις. Νά φέρουµε καρπό καθιερώνοντας κλίµα χαρᾶς καί εἰρήνης µέσα στίς ὁµάδες τῶν παιδιῶν τῶν σχολείων µας. Νά παραγάγουµε καρπό σταθερότητος καί συνδέσεως µέ τόν Θεό µεταξύ τῶν Ὀρθοδόξων σπουδαστῶν µας σέ Κολλέγια καί Πανεπιστήµια καθώς συχνά ἀντιµετωπίζουν προκλήσεις ἀντι-

θρησκευτικῶν στάσεων καί διδασκαλιῶν στίς τάξεις τους. γ) Καλούµεθα νά παραγάγουµε καρπό στούς χώρους ἐργασίας µας, προσφέροντας ἀποτελεσµατικά τήν πίστη µας στούς ἀνθρώπους πού ἐργάζονται µαζί µας σέ ἐπιχειρήσεις, νοσοκοµεῖα, καταστήµατα, ἀγορές, σχολεῖα, σταθµούς, ἀθλητικά γήπεδα, ἐργοστάσια, σέ κάθε χῶρο καί ἐπάγγελµα. Προσφέροντας ἀποτελεσµατικά τήν πίστη µας διά λόγου καί πράξεως, µέ πειστική ὁµιλία, µέ τόν τρόπο ζωῆς καί µέ ἀληθινή Χριστιανική συµπεριφορά. δ) Καλούµεθα νά φέρουµε καρπό συγκεντρώνοντας τούς ἀποξενωµένους ἀνθρώπους µας. Πρακτικά, αὐτό σηµαίνει νά φέρουµε στήν Ἐκκλησία τούς ἀδελφούς καί τίς ἀδελφές µας πού εἶναι µακρυά ἀπό τόν Χριστό, τό δέντρο τῆς ζωῆς. Τελικά, νά αὐξήσουµε τόν πληθυσµό πού σχετίζεται µέ τήν Ἐκκλησία µας. Στό σηµεῖο αὐτό, ἐπιτρέψατέ µου νά ἀναφέρω ἕνα παράδειγµα: Τό ἔτος 1986, εἴχαµε ὡς Ἑλληνική Ὀρθόδοξος Ἀρχιεπισκοπή 7,389 βαπτίσεις, 563 χρίσµατα ἐκ µεταστροφῆς καί 5,183 γάµους. Εἰκοσιτέσσερα χρόνια ἀργότερα, δηλαδή τό ἔτος 2010, εἴχαµε 6,366 βαπτίσεις, 947 χρίσµατα καί 2,709 γάµους. Παρατηρεῖται αὔξηση στόν ἀριθµό χρισµάτων ἐκ µεταστροφῶν, ἀλλά µείωση στόν ἀριθµό βαπτίσεων καί µεγαλύτερη µείωση στόν ἀριθµό γάµων. Οἱ ἀριθµοί αὐτοί δείχνουν µειώσεις τοῦ ἐκκλησιαζοµένου Ὀρθοδόξου πληθυσµοῦ οἱ ὁποῖες ἀπαιτοῦν ἄµεση δράση. Ἡ αὔξηση τοῦ ἐκκλησιαζοµένου Ὀρθοδόξου πολιτισµοῦ ἀποτελεῖ βεβαίως ἐπείγοντα ἀναγκαῖο καρπό. ε) Καλούµεθα νά παραγάγουµε καρπό στόν τοµέα τῶν δι-Ὀρθοδόξων σχέσεων στή χώρα µας. Πρό τριετίας, οἱ Προκαθήµενοι ὅλων τῶν Αὐτοκεφάλων Ὀρθοδόξων

Ἐκκλησιῶν ὁδηγούµενοι ἀπό τήν ἐµπνευσµένη πρωτοβουλία τοῦ Οἰκουµενικοῦ Πατριάρχου µας κ.κ. Βαρθολοµαίου, δηµιούργησαν τίς Συνόδους ὅλων τῶν Κανονικῶν Ἐπισκόπων σέ µείζονες γεωγραφικές περιοχές. Μία ἐξ αὐτῶν τῶν περιοχῶν εἶναι ἡ δική µας Σύνοδος τῆς Βορείου καί Κεντρικῆς Ἀµερικῆς ἀποτελουµένη ἀπό περισσότερους ἀπό 60 Κανονικούς Ὀρθοδόξους Ἐπισκόπους. Ὁ σκοπός τῆς Συνόδου εἶναι ἡ ἀρωγή καί ὁ συντονισµός Ὀρθοδόξων δράσεων καί ἡ ἐνίσχυση τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου µαρτυρίας. Ἐδῶ ἔχουµε µιά πολλά ὑποσχόµενη εὐκαιρία παραγωγῆς καρποῦ, διότι ἡ Ἀρχιεπισκοπή µας παίζει σηµαντικό ρόλο στή λειτουργία καί ἀποστολή τῆς Συνόδου. στ) Καλούµεθα νά φέρουµε καρπό µέ τήν αὔξηση τῆς ὑπευθύνου οἰκονοµικῆς συµµετοχῆς (Stewardship) στίς κοινότητές µας. Παρά τήν µεγάλη οἰκονοµική πρόοδο τῆς Ὁµογενείας µας, ὑστεροῦµε ἀρκετά στό ζήτηµα τῶν εἰσφορῶν πρός τήν Ἐκκλησία µας. Εἴµεθα αἰσθητά χαµηλότερα ἀπό τόν µέσον ὅρο εἰσφορῶν σέ σύγκριση µέ τίς Ρωµαιο-Καθολικές ἤ τίς ∆ιαµαρτυρόµενες Ἐκκλησίες. Ἐδῶ ὑπάρχει ἕνα θέµα τό ὁποῖο πρέπει νά µελετηθῇ καί νά ἀντιµετωπισθῇ µέ µεθοδικό στρατηγικό προγραµµατισµό. ζ) Καλούµεθα νά παραγάγουµε καρπό λαµβάνοντας σοβαρά ὑπ’ ὄψιν καί ἐνεργῶντας καταλλήλως γιά τή διατήρηση τῶν παγκοσµίων Ἑλληνικῶν θησαυρῶν µας. Ἡ Ἑλληνική Γλώσσα καί ὁ Ἑλληνικός Πολιτισµός πρέπει νά ἀποτελοῦν ἀναπόσπαστα κοµµάτια τῶν κοινοτικῶν δραστηριοτήτων µας. Αὐτή εἶναι ὑποχρέωση στήν ἀνθρωπότητα ἡ ὁποία ὑπερβαίνει τά ἐθνικά ὅρια, καθώς οἱ ἀξίες τοῦ Ἑλληνισµοῦ εἶναι πράγµατι παγκόσµιες. Ἐπίλογος Ὁ Κύριος εἶπε στούς Ἀποστόλους καί σ’ ἐµᾶς: Οὐχ ὑµεῖς µε ἐξελέξασθε, ἀλλ’ ἐγώ ἐξελεξάµην ὑµᾶς καί ἔθηκα ὑµᾶς ἵνα ὑµεῖς ὑπάγητε καί καρπόν φέρητε (Ἰωάν. 15:16). Στήν ἴδια ἀκριβῶς περίσταση καί µέσα στό ἴδιο ἐννοιολογικό πλαίσιο τό ὁποῖο παρουσιάζεται στό κεφάλαιο 15 τοῦ κατά Ἰωάννην Εὐαγγελίου, ὁ Χριστός προσέθεσε ἕναν ἀναπόσπαστο καί µοναδικό ὅρο γιά τήν πραγµατοποίηση τοῦ στόχου τῆς παραγωγῆς καρποῦ. Εἶπε στούς µαθητάς καί σ’ ἐµᾶς: Ἐγώ εἰµι ἡ ἄµπελος, ὑµεῖς τά κλήµατα. Ὁ µένων ἐν ἐµοί κἀγώ ἐν αὐτῷ οὗτος φέρει καρπόν πολύν, ὅτι χωρίς ἐµοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν (Ἰωάν: 15:5). Ὁ ἀπαραίτητος ὅρος παραγωγῆς καρποῦ εἶναι νά ὑπάρξῃ πλήρης σύνδεση µέ τόν Χριστό, ὅπως ἀκριβῶς τά κλαδιά εἶναι συνδεδεµένα µέ τήν κληµαταριά ἡ ὁποία τά κρατᾶ καί τά τρέφει. Χωρίς Ἐκεῖνον δέν µποροῦµε νά καταφέρουµε τίποτε, δέν ὑπάρχει δυνατότητα νά φέρουµε καρπό. Σέ τελική ἀνάλυση, ἡ µεγάλη τιµή νά ὁρισθοῦµε ἀπό τόν Θεό γιά νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά παραγάγουµε καρπό, σηµαίνει νά µείνουµε ἐν Χριστῷ, νά προρευθοῦµε µέ τόν Χριστό, νά ἐργασθοῦµε γιά τόν Χριστό. Ἑνωµένοι µέ Ἐκεῖνον, κατά τόν ἴδιο τρόπο πού τά κλαδιά εἶναι ἄρρηκτα καί οὐσιαστικά ἑνωµένα µέ τήν κληµαταριά, θά µπορέσουµε νά πορευθοῦµε καί νά φέρουµε καρπό, πολύ καρπό, ἀκόµη καί σέ ἄγονο ἔδαφος, ἀκόµη καί ὑπό τίς χειρότερες συνθῆκες. Ἡ ἀληθινή προοπτική µας γιά νά φέρουµε καρπούς εἶναι ὁ Χριστός, καί αὐτή ἡ προοπτική δέν ἔχει ὅρια. Ἄς µήν καθυστεροῦµε. Ἄς πορευθοῦµε τώρα. Τό πεδίο εἶναι τελείως ἀνοικτό διά τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ Ὁποῖος ἦτο, εἶναι καί θά εἶναι γιά πάντα µαζί µας. * Στο φύλλο του Σεπτεµβρίου το δεύτερο µέρος µε όλες τις βαρυσήµαντες αποφάσεις της 41ης Κληρικολαϊκής Συνελεύσεως.




ἀδελφοῦ κυρίου ∆ηµητρίου, ὅτι ἅπαν τὸ χριστεπώνυµον πλήρωµα αὐτῆς κατανοεῖ καὶ ἀποδέχεται ὅτι πράγµατι ἡ καρποφορία, περὶ τῆς ὁποίας ἀσχολεῖται ἡ παροῦσα Κληρικολαϊκὴ Συνέλευσις, πρέπει νὰ εἶναι ὄντως διπλῆ, εἰς βάθος καὶ εἰς πλάτος κατὰ τὰ ἀνωτέρω λεχθέντα. Ἐὰν πρὸς ἀµφοτέρας τὰς ὄψεις ταύτας τῆς εἰς Χριστὸν καρποφορίας ἡµῶν ἀποβλέψωµεν, ἡ Χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡµῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ θὰ ἔλθῃ πλουσία ἐφ’ ἡµᾶς καὶ θὰ ἴδωµεν τὴν τοπικὴν ταύτην Ἐκκλησίαν ἀναζωογονηµένην καὶ νεάζουσαν καὶ πρὸς νέας κορυφὰς ἐπιτυχῶν προσπαθειῶν πορευοµένην. Ὁ ταλαίπωρος κόσµος, καὶ δὴ ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ ταύτῃ τῶν Ἡνωµένων Πολιτειῶν τῆς Ἀµερικῆς, πολλὰ ἀναµένει ἐξ ὑµῶν, θεωρῶν τὴν ὑµετέραν ἀποστολὴν οὐρανίαν καὶ θεϊκήν. Βλέπετε ὅτι ἐπὶ παγκοσµίου ἐπιπέδου τὰ πολιτικοκοινωνικὰ σχήµατα καὶ αἱ ἰδεολογίαι καταρρέουν καὶ ἀφήνουν τὰς θεοπλάστους ψυχὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀπηλπισµένας καὶ πεινώσας τὴν ἀλήθειαν τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ὑµεῖς πάντες, ἀξιωθέντες, Χάριτι Θεοῦ, νὰ εἶσθε µέλη τίµια τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας καὶ µάλιστα πολλοὶ ἐξ ὑµῶν ἐνδεδυµένοι τὸν ποδήρη χιτῶνα τῆς Ἀρχιερατείας καὶ τῆς Ἱερατείας, ἂς µὴ ἀπελπίσητε ὅσους προσβλέπουν εἰς ὑµᾶς µετὰ πολλῆς τῆς προσδοκίας. Ἱερώτατε καὶ πολυτίµητε ἀδελφὲ ἅγιε Ἀµερικῆς, Ἱερώτατοι καὶ Θεοφιλέστατοι Ἀδελφοί, Πατέρες καὶ τέκνα ἐν Κυρίῳ ἀγαπητὰ τῆς ἡµετέρας Μετριότητος, «κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου µέτοχοι» (Ἑβρ. γ΄, 1), Μὴ ἔχοντες τὴν πνευµατικὴν χαρὰν τῆς καὶ µετὰ σώµατος συµµετοχῆς εἰς τὰς ἐργασίας τῆς ὑµετέρας Κληρικολαϊκῆς

Συνελεύσεως, ἀποστέλλοµεν πρὸς ὑµᾶς ὡς ἡµέτερον Πατριαρχικὸν Ἀντιπρόσωπον τὸν λίαν ἀγαπητὸν ἀδελφὸν καὶ συλλειτουργὸν Ἱερώτατον Μητροπολίτην Τορόντο κύριον Σωτήριον, ὅστις θὰ µεταφέρῃ καὶ διὰ ζώσης τὴν εὐλογίαν καὶ τὰ ἀγαθὰ αἰσθήµατα τῆς Μητρὸς Ἐκκλησίας καὶ ἡµῶν προσωπικῶς πρὸς πάντας ὑµᾶς καὶ ἰδιαιτέρως πρὸς ἕνα ἕκαστον ἐξ ὑµῶν. Ἡµεῖς, ἐγκαρδίως, ἀδελφικῶς καὶ πατρικῶς, ἐκφράζοντες τὰς εὐχαριστίας, τὴν εὐγνωµοσύνην, τὴν εὐαρέσκειαν καὶ τὸν δίκαιον ἔπαινον τῆς Μητρὸς Ἐκκλησία ς δι’ ὅσα ἐπετελέσθησαν ἐν τῷ Ἀµπελῶνι τούτῳ τοῦ Κυρίου ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἰδίᾳ κατὰ τὴν τελευταίαν διετίαν ἀπὸ τῆς συγκλήσεως τῆς προηγουµένης ἀναλόγου συναντήσεως, θὰ εὐχώµεθα διὰ τὴν ὁσηµέραι πνευµατικὴν πρόοδον ὑµῶν καὶ θὰ χαιρώµεθα πληροφορούµενοι περὶ αὐτῆς παρὰ τοῦ Ἱερωτάτου Ποιµενάρχου ὑµῶν. Εἴθε ὁ ἐκ τάφου ἀνατείλας Κύριος ἡµῶν νὰ ἀξιώσῃ ἅπαντας ἵνα γένησθε ὁµοτράπεζοι εἰς τὸ ἐπουράνιον καὶ νοερὸν Θυσιαστήριον τῆς Ἄνω Ἱερουσαλήµ, µετὰ πάντων τῶν Ἁγίων. Εἴθε ἡ Χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡµῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ταῖς θερµαῖς ἱκεσίαις τῆς Κυρίας ἡµῶν Θεοτόκου, τοῦ Τιµίου Προδρόµου καὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἀποστόλου τῶν Ἐθνῶν Παύλου, νὰ σκέπῃ πάντας ὑµᾶς καὶ νὰ χαρίζῃ εἰς ὑµᾶς ὑγείαν σώµατος καὶ ψυχῆς, καὶ φωτισµὸν εἰς τὸ πράττειν πάντοτε τὸ εὐάρεστον τῷ Κυρίῳ. «Εἰρήνη τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς καὶ ἀγάπη µετὰ πίστεως ἀπὸ Θεοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἡ χάρις µετὰ πάντων τῶν ἀγαπώντων τὸν Κύριον ἡµῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν ἀφθαρσίᾳ· ἀµήν» (Ἐφ. ς΄ 23-24).




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(Above) Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund Chairman John Catsimatidis (r.) presents the Humanitarian Award to Dennis Mehiel. (below right) Mike Emanuel with HTSF President Nick Katsoris. (Jillian Nelson photos)

HTSF Honors Mehiel, Emanuel, Awards 34 Scholarships NEW YORK – The Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund awarded more than $100,000 to 34 college-age and parochial school recipients and honored two prominent Greek Orthodox individuals at its 21st anniversary dinner dance in mid-May. Dennis Mehiel, a successful entrepreneur, civic and political leader and an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, received the HTSF’s Humanitarian Leadership Award. Among his accomplishments, he was instrumental in negotiating with state officials and the Port Authority of New York–New Jersey for the eventual rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church project at the World Trade Center. Mr. Mehiel, a member of Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral, is chairman/ CEO of U.S. Corrugated Inc., the nation’s largest independent manufacturer of corrugated packaging. He was also former chairman and CEO of Sweetheart Cup Co., and former chairman and CEO of Box USA, and has served on the boards of several corporations and civic organizations. His was a member of the Democratic National Committee, former chairman of the Westchester County Democratic Committee and was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2002. The HTSF also awarded its Humanitarian Media Achievement Award to FOX News Channel’s Chief Congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel, also an Archon and a White House correspondent during the Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration. He traveled extensively with both presidents on numerous trips abroad. Mr. Emanuel also was a national security correspondent for the network and traveled with Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He joined FNC in 1997 as a LosAngeles–based correspondent and later served as a Dallas–based correspondent. Scholarship recipients Eleni Antoniadou and Anastasia Way, both of Illinois; Nicholas Chingas, Cassandra Georgiadis and Savina Vavlas, all of

Pennsylvania; Michael Bilirakis of Florida and Taylor Gossweiler of Iowa. Christopher Hazlaris of Louisiana, Alexandra Kostes of Delaware, Amanda Manickas of Rhode Island and Philip Constantine Smith of Maryland. Eli Collins and Alexander Prodromos Gilbert, both of Virginia. Kyriaki Christodoulou, Jaden Dicopoulos, Elena Melekos, Stephanie Orfanakos and John Papaspanos, all of New Jersey. Veroni Antoniadis, Aretae Boukas, Sofia Chelpon, Maria Hanakis, Cleopatra Haviaras, Eraklis Hristodoulou, George Karounos, Peter Dean Kouretsos, George M. Kulakis, Theodore Lampropoulos, Diana Mikelis, Nicholas Polanchik and Anna Tsakas, all of New York. In addition, the HTSF awarded scholarships to students from three New York parochial schools: Theodora Athanitis of A. Fantis School in Brooklyn; Katerina Marinis from The William Spyropoulos School in Flushing; and John Nicolas from the Greek American Institute in the Bronx.




Drs. William and Regine Samonides (left) discuss their exhibit with several persons at the St. Photios National Shrine earlier this year. It will be on display through November.

An Account of Asia Minor Tragedy by William H. Samonides, Ph.D.

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the article “From Currents to Currency: Greece in Yet Another Crisis,” by Dr. William H. Simonides, which appears on the Asia Minor Hellenic Society web site.

It was war that precipitated the most serious crisis faced by the Greek nation. The defeat in the 1919-1922 war with the Ottoman Turks and its bitter aftermath are still referred to as “The Catastrophe.” On Sept. 7, 1922, Metropolitan Archbishop Chrysostom of Smyrna sent a bleak assessment to former prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936), whom he blamed for the catastrophe. “Hellenism in Asia Minor, the Greek state and the entire Greek Nation are descending now to a Hell from which no power will be able to raise them up and save them.” On Sept. 9, during the final military action of the campaign, the Turkish army burned the city of Smyrna. The defeat was an unmitigated disaster. On the battlefield, there were over 100,000 casualties, including the dead, the wounded, and those who were missing or taken prisoner. At the negotiating table following the war, Greece lost all its considerable territorial gains from World War I, including Eastern Thrace and the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, the Dodecanese Islands, and northern Epirus. The Treaty of Lausanne was finalized on July 25, 1923. One of the main provisions was a compulsory population exchange. About 380,000 Turkish Muslims residing in Greece and over one million Greek Christians living in Asia Minor were required to abandon their homes. Greece was forced to absorb over one million refugees, most of whom arrived with few possessions. Greece was also required to pay reparations to the Greek Muslims for their lost land but waived the require-

ment that Turkey compensate Greek Christian refugees for their lost property. The population of Athens doubled between 1920 and 1928, with many of the refugees forced to live in shanty towns. The entire ordeal strained the resources of the nation to the point of collapse. It took two more foreign loans totaling 13 million British pounds to pay the reparations and attend to the needs of the refugees. With the help of the Greek Refugee Resettlement Commission and other foreign aid, Greece was able to survive. Nonetheless, the Catastrophe severely strained the resources of the war-weary nation for decades to come; there were still homeless refugees when Greek entered World War II. In addition to the high cost of defeat, the psychological loss had a great impact. The image of Greeks leaping into the sea at Smyrna is seared into the Greek consciousness. The population exchange essentially marked the end of three millennia of Hellenic presence in Asia Minor. It destroyed any hope of the fulfillment of the Great Idea (Megali Idea) that had dominated Greek foreign policy: the dream of Greece reuniting with the Greek Christian populations of Constantinople and the Ionian coast of Asia Minor. Dr. William H. Samonides is president of the Asia Minor Hellenic Society (AMHAS), an international organization whose members trace their origins to Asia Minor. William and his wife, Regine, who hold Ph.Ds in history from Harvard, are guest curators of an AMHAS-sponsored exhibition entitled “For Their Faith:Remembering the Greek Christians of Asia Minor on the 90th Anniversary of the Fall of Smyrna,” which is on display at the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine in St. Augustine, Fla., through November. They are members of Holy Trinity Church in Canton, Ohio.

Brooklyn Asia Minor Tribute Scheduled Sept. 23 BROOKLYN, N.Y. – A memorial service to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Asia Minor Holocaust will take place at Three Hierarchs Church after the Divine Liturgy on Sept. 23. The event is sponsored by the Holocaust Memorial Observance Commt-

tee, chaired by Basilios Theodosakis of Brooklyn. The holocaust claimed an estimated 3.5 million lives. For more information, contact Mr. Theodosakis at 1104 East. 17th St., Brooklyn, NY 11230. (718) 377.4656.


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Three More States Adopt Religious Freedom Resolutions NEW YORK - South Dakota, Virginia and Washington became the 38th, 39th and 40th states to adopt Religious Freedom resolutions, joining Missouri which recently also adopted the measures in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The state resolutions project is part of a multifaceted religious freedom initiative of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, designed to safeguard the future of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. To date, 49 such resolutions have been adopted in 41 states. In South Dakota, Father Sava Leida, Dr. Aristides Assimacopoulos and Father Thomas Williams spearheaded the successful effort in close cooperation with dedicated legislators who introduced the individual resolutions. Sens. Phyllis Heineman and Stanford Adelstein sponsored the resolution and spoke passionately in their remarks during the Senate debate. Sen. Heineman remarked, “Any single state resolution may not be enough to move a government to action. The cumulative effect of 44 of these resolutions, adopted across 37 states...this has been noticed by the Turkish Foreign Ministry. These resolutions represent the will of the citizens of our nation...and are powerful statements to the Turkish government of

the importance that we place on religious freedom. It is important that South Dakota adds our voice to those other thirty seven.” Sen. Adelstein said, “As you all well know, I am not a Christian, but the Christian Patriarch should have the same rights as anyone of any faith anywhere in the world.” The successful resolutions in Virginia and Washington each required over five years of sustained efforts, overcoming in both states organized opposition. In Virginia, Fr. Nicholas Bacalis worked with Delegates Johnny Joannou and Manoli Loupassi to secure the adoption of the resolution. The Washington initiative was led by Stefanos Vertopoulos, Isidoros Garifalakis, Cliff Argue, Bob Dingethal and Rep. Bill Hinkle. Rep. Hinkle said, “We are gratified that the work of so many dedicated supporters throughout the state has added Washington to the list of states calling on the Turkish government to extend full religious freedom to the Ecumenical Patriarch.” For further information about this project, contact Stephen Georgeson at, or visit www.

NJ Archons Hold Religious Freedom Symposium WESTFIELD, NJ – The New Jersey Archons hosted a religious freedom symposium, on June 16 at the Metropolis of New Jersey headquarters. The symposium featured two speakers: Dr. George Demacopoulos, Archon Didaskalos Tou Genous, associate professor, co-director and co-founder of the Orthodox Christian Studies Program and Center at Fordham University, and Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew. Dr. Demacopoulos specializes in the history of Christianity of Late Antiquity, the Early Medieval West and Byzantium. He received an M.T.S. from Holy Cross School of Theology and an M.A. and Ph.D in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also serves as the historian for the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle. He spoke on the historical issues of the Orthodox Faith and religious freedom for the Ecumeni-

cal Patriarchate. Dr. Limberakis, Archon Aktouarios, is a practicing radiologist in Philadelphia, PA. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Duke University School of Medicine, he is the president and owner of Bustleton Radiology Associates, Ltd., a leading full service outpatient radiology practice. He is married to Dr. Maria A. (Borden) Limberakis, a family practitioner. Under the leadership of Dr. Limberakis, the Archons in the United States have initiated an assertive, multifaceted religious freedom project to strengthen and ensure religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all religious minorities in Turkey. The program included a working luncheon, discussing the day’s events and exploring further efforts to secure religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Archons B. Theodore Bozonelis and Michael F. Parlamis, regional commanders for New Jersey, organized the symposium.

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Illinois Academy Commencement Hellenic American Academy in Deerfield, Ill., affiliated with Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, celebrated its commencement on June 2. The 35 graduates include students from the day school’s 8th grade, the Greek Language Program’s Saturday and evening schools’ 6th grade and 12th grade Lyceum. Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago attended and addressed the graduates. For more information regarding its educational and cultural programs call 847-317-1063 or visit

Metropolis of Boston Launches New Emerging Leaders Ministry BROOKLINE, Mass. – The Metropolis of Boston has received a Leadership 100 grant to launch an Emerging Leaders Ministry, a two-year program the metropolis will pilot as the prototype for the entire Archdiocese.The Emerging Leaders Ministry is developing a contemporary professionals ministry program that will include parish outreach and leadership training and metropolis mentoring programs. Metropolitan Methodios appointed steering committee members at the new ministry’s first meeting on June 21, where they discussed program components and steps to initiate this ministry, and established four working groups to provide the framework for implementing the Emerging Leaders Ministry. Committees include: Outreach/Networking; Education, Research and Organizational Structure. The metropolis is collaborating with the Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology faculty and several Archdiocesan Departments to develop and implement this ministry, including Internet Ministries, Religious Education, Youth and Young Adults, Office of Parish Development, and the Department of Outreach and Evangelism for the The Emerging Leaders Ministry’s primary goal is to engage contemporary professionals in the life and leadership of the Church toward their own personal growth in the Faith and in their walk with Christ. The Emerging Leaders Ministry will serve as the prototype in addressing important parish needs. These include training parish leaders in outreach, developing new Church community leaders; offering college

and graduate students, seminarians, and young adults opportunities to learn side-byside with pastoral and professional mentors to better understand Church service and life; and providing opportunities for professionals for more Church participation and to connect with their peers. Steering committee members include: Kosta Alexis, Fr. Bob Archon, Stamati Astra, Fr. Theodore J. Barbas, Drake Behrakis, Ann Bezzerides, Fr. Alex Chetsas, Fr. Tom Chininis, Fr. Greg Christakos, Fr. Demetri Costarakis, Ted Demetriades, Dr. John Fotopoulos, Fr. Christopher Foustoukos, Fr. Peter Giannakopoulos, Eleni Kalioras, Costa Karageorgis, Christine Karavites, John Karolemeas, Dr. Demetrios Katos, Fr. Panteleimon Klostri, Fr. James Kordaris, George Lamberis, Alex Magdalinos, Fr. Christopher Makiej, Dr. Philip Mamalakis, Yanni Michaelidis, Jerry Minetos, Fr. Philippe Mousis, Fr. Athanasios Nenes , Fr. Makarios Niakaros, Theo Nicolakis, Fr. Dean Panagos, Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou, Mario Papathanasiou, Melanie Pappas, Dr. Timothy Patitsas, Jonathan Resmini, Ann Robinson, Fr. Jason Roll, Michael Sintros, Dr. James Skedros, Theodore Speros, Fr. Christopher Stamas, Dr. George Stavros, George Stefanides, Stephen Sterpis, Fr. Nathanael Symeonides, Fr. Ted Toppses, Chrysanthy Tiggas, Julie Tziolas, Fr. Luke Veronis, Eleni Vidalis and Dr. Anton Vrame. This fall, nine district leadership seminars are planned at various parishes to address the ministry’s scope and vision. Anyone interested in becoming involved may contact the Metropolis of Boston Chancellor’s Office at 617.277.4742.

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Scholarship presentations St. Vasilios Church in Peabody, Mass., together with Fr. Andrew Demotses and Fr. Christopher Foustoukos, presented 36 scholarships totaling more than $41,000 to members of the graduating Class of 2012 and to returning college students who are parishioners and have given their time and service. St. Vasilios has presented scholarships annually over the past 56 years.



Pennsylvania Community Abounds in Ministries and Programs P A R I S H


Name: Holy Trinity Cathedral Location: Camp Hill, Pa. Metropolis of Pittsburgh Size: about 600 families Founded: 1937 Clergy: Fr. Kosta Petrogeorge (Holy Cross ‘87); Fr. Mark Lichtenstein – assistant (Holy Cross and St. Tikhon’s Seminary) E–mail: Web: Noteworthy: Parish offers a large number of ministries and programs HOLY TRINITY GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL CAMP HILL, Pa.– Holy Trinity parish covers a wide geographical area in southcentral Pennsylvania on either side of the Susquehanna River and centered on Harrisburg, the state capital. Parishioners come from as far west as Chambersburg, about 55 miles away, and Lebanon, 25 miles to the east. Though the Greek Orthodox presence in the area goes back to the 1890s, there is still a very large percentage of first- and second-generation parishioners with close ties to Greece. Camp Hill, the borough located on the west side of the river across from downtown Harrisburg, has been the home of the parish since December 1970, when Archbishop Iakovos held the thyranoixia (door-opening) service. The church became the third cathedral of the Pittsburgh Diocese in 1980, when it was elevated by Bishop Maximos and was consecrated in May 1981. A hallmark of the community is the extensive number of ministries, programs and groups available to parishioners of all ages. According to the parish website these include: • The Holy Trinity bookstore offers Orthodox prayer books, service books, books on the lives of saints, marital enrichment, Orthodox considerations in selecting a spouse, parenting tools, addictions resources, church history, catechism materials, along with many other topics, including Greek language books and other religious items. • Sts. Joachim & Anna Society, a group that sponsors trips and other activities for that age 55 and above. Nine monthly meetings are held that usually include a luncheon and a guest speaker. A Christmas gathering is held with senior citizens organizations from other Greek Orthodox parishes. • St. Elizabeth Moms Study Group - A family-oriented approach to scripture and the traditions of the Orthodox Church and faith. Gatherings take place bi-monthly. • Young Married Couples - This group brings together recently married couples for fellowship and to meet their peers in the community. • The Young Parents group brings parents together for fellowship and a night out with adults. • Blood Bank - AHEPA Chapter 64 Blood Committee has two annual drives at the cathedral, one in spring and the second in fall. The parish’s annual quota of 90 units is obtained thru the combination of the two drives and parishioners who donate on a regular basis at local hospitals. • AED/CPR (Automated External Defibrillator) program consists of individuals from parish organizations who are certified bi-annually in AED/CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and who can respond if needed for any cardiac emergencies and provide Basic Life Support until EMS

(Emergency Medical Services) arrives on the scene. • The award-winning Olympic Flame Dancers group that performs traditional Greek dances consists of three distinct age-related groups. They compete and perform all across the Northeast and have won numerous awards. They also perform throughout the Greater Harrisburg Area and at the annual Greek Festival. Parents are encouraged to sign up their children. • The newly formed Strategic Planning Committee looks at the long-term needs of the church. • Hellenic Heritage Association preserves the Hellenic heritage within the community through organizing many cultural and educational events and participating in issues that concern the Hellenic community in the U.S. The Association, in cooperation with other parish organizations and associations, has organized artistic and theatrical shows, as well as presentations and open discussions on issues that concern the Hellenic Diaspora and its heritage. The Association has actively and materially supported the educational work of the Greek School in our community. • The Arcadian Society consists of descendants of the Peloponnese in southern Greece and holds fundraisers, donating the proceeds to different church projects. • Syllogos Neohoriton, an organization made up of descendants of the village of Neohorion-Nafpaktias, Greece. The Syllogos was established in 1918 in Johnsonburg, Pa. One of its first acts was the installation of a water system at the village of Neohorion, in 1929. Since its establishment, the Syllogos constantly pursues various social and cultural activities on behalf of Neohori, its inhabitants and its worldwide descendants. The Syllogos provides educational scholarships, issues various publications, and donates its fundraising proceeds to various benevolent causes including projects and programs of our Church. It has built and operates the Dormition of the Theotokos and St. Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Chapel at the Neohoriton Park in York, Pa. • Velouchi, Evrytanian AssociationAgios Taxiarhis Chapter 18, a philanthropic organization founded in 1944 in Charlotte, N.C., assist the Evrytania region in Central Greece and Greece in general ( Holy Trinity has a highly active Philoptochos chapter, a Sunday school a Greek school and an adult Greek school program. GOYA, HOPE/JOY, the Choir and support for the Project Mexico orphanage also are important community’s activities. Some parishioners help support the pan Orthodox Aghia Sophia Coffee Shop in downtown Harrisburg, which Fr. Petrogeorge said is organized along the lines of Starbucks. It is sponsored by the local OCA parish, but includes participation by other area Orthodox parishes.

The priest said that the various Orthodox parishes celebrate various services together during the year. Early history–bands of brothers Young immigrants began arriving in the Harrisburg area the late 1890s, according to a parish history. Several sets of brothers soon formed the core of the Greek community. Among them were the Rolles brothers, who arrived in Harrisburg in 1902 and opened a confectionary. Others included the Belehas, Sempeles, Coliveras, Chianos, George, Kathales, Manelas, Megoulas and Kokolis brothers, who moved to Carlisle and opened a billiard parlor. Many opened restaurants and other businesses. The immigrants eventually organized themselves, formed an AHEPA chapter, and held various social events, picnics and occasional church services performed by visiting priest. They elected a board of trustees and

petitioned the Archdiocese in 1937 for a permanent priest, Fr. Tsekouras, who became the first of many priests assigned to the new community, the parish history noted. Services took place wherever they could be held: paint shops, dance halls, homes, at a chapel in downtown Harrisburg and at a local Roman Catholic cathedral, St. Steven’s. The community built its first church across the street from the grounds of the state Capitol. Eventually, many parishioners worked in various state government positions, including elective offices. One cathedral member is retired U.S. Congressman George Gikas. The first church was completed in1946 at a cost of $16,500. The land purchase price was $11,500. By the 1960s, the community grew to the point that a new church was needed and land was purchased in Camp Hill for the church that is the current location of the parish. The new cathedral was built at a cost of nearly $683,000. Each year, the annual Greek festival, which serves as a key source of revenue, along with the stewardship program, is a major focal point of parish involvement. “People have fun doing it,” he said, “including the young people.” Fr. Petrogeorge, who arrived in the parish in 2009, after serving other parishes, described the community as “a very active parish” but there are some challenges, including retaining young people after they go off to college. Presently, the community is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary, which is set for November. — Compiled by Jim Golding

IS youR PARISh... Ready to expand parish participation? Seeking funds for a building project? Wishing to promote Planned Giving?

Assistance is Available! The office of Parish Development offers guidance to parishes through:

Strategic Planning Workshops: For greater involvement in your parish Capital Campaign Planning Studies: Assessing your project’s fundraising potential Capital Campaign Management: Planning and coaching from beginning to end

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Obituaries Fr. Alexander Kile UNION, N.J.– Archimandrite Alexander Kile, 56, pastor of St. Demetrios Church, died June 7, of complications resulting from injuries he received in a traffic accident in February. He was born in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey, on Feb. 5, 1956. He completed his elementary education in the Greek educational system in Istanbul, and then enrolled in the private French Benedictine High School of St. Benoit. In 1974, he immigrated to Toronto, where he completed high school at the French-Canadian High School of Etienne Brulee. In 1976, he enrolled at Hellenic College in Brookline, Mass., then continued his theological studies at the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki, where he graduated with honors in 1985. During his studies in Greece, he received scholarships from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, UNESCO, and the Taylor Scholarship of the Archdiocese. He returned to Canada and worked as a lay assistant at All Saints Church in Toronto. On Sept. 13, 1986, he was ton-

Fr. Stanley N. Markantonis

Ways of the Lord

The_latest_book_by_His_Eminence_ Archbishop_Demetrios_of_America__ from includes_his_Keynote_Addresses_from_ his_first_Clergy-Laity_Congress_in_ his Philadelphia_in_July_2000_through_his_ address_in_Washington,_DC_in_July_ 2008._Also_included_are_addresses_ given_in_Athens,_Greece,_Cyprus,_ Fordham_University_and_Brookline,_ MA_plus_others. In_compiling_this_book_Archbishop_ Demetrios_writes_in_the_Prologue_ of_Ways_of_the_Lord,_“_Sharing_the_ know Gospel_with_those_who_do_not_know_ it_can_be_at_times_an_uncomplicated_ task_as_we_know_from_the_long_ history_of_Christianity._Frequently,_ however,_and_especially_in_our_days,_ the_very_same_task_seems_to_require_ more_elaborate,_methodical_and_ sophisticated_approaches.

Fr. Prokopios Nikas PHILADELPHIA – Fr. Prokopios Nikas, 80, pastor of Evangelismos Church since April 1999, died June 10. He was born Dec. 12, 1931, in Attikis Greece and came to the United States in November 1962. He attended public school in Greece and studied law at the Panteias University in Athens, political science at the University of Thessaloniki, and Hartford Seminary Foundation. He married Golfo Drouviotou of Pyr-

Fr. Michael Yachnis

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BELMONT, Mass. – Fr. Stanley N. Markantonis, 83, a retired priest who served parishes from Vermont to California, died June 9. He was born June 12, 1928 in New York, but received his elementary and high school education in Rethymnon, Crete. He enrolled at Holy Cross School of Theology and received a diploma in 1952. He had earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Boston University in 1971. He married Elene Sgourou of Kerkyra, Greece. They had three children: Athena, Vasiliki and Nicholas.


WASHINGTON – Fr. Michael Yachnis, 90, a retired priest with a lay profession, died June 24. He was born March 9, 1922 in Athens, Greece and completed public school in Athens. He attended the Military Academy in Athens and received a BS degree in engineering and served in the Greek army, attaining the rank of major. He also earned a degree in civil engineering from the Military Technical College. He met and married to Athena Spyropoulos of Longastra (Sparta) Greece in Washington whom he met while undergoing military training at Fort Belvoir, Va..They later married and be-

sured a monk and ordained a deacon on the 14th by Bishop Timothy of Detroit in Farmingville, Mich. He was ordained a priest in December 1986 at St. Spyridon in Washington Heights, N.Y., by Bishop Philotheos of Meloa and was assigned as the second priest to that parish. Fr. Kile was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by Bishop Philotheos while serving as dean of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Very Rev. Kile also served the parishes of St. Demetrios in Jamaica, N.Y., St..Nicholas in West Babylon, N.Y., Dormition of the Virgin Mary in Port Jefferson, N.Y., St. George in Piscataway, N.J., and St. Demetrios in Union, N.J. Fr. Kile was fluent in English, Greek, Turkish, French and Bulgarian and had command of Russian and Serbian. Funeral services took place June 12 with Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey officiating. Memorial donations may be made to the “Fr. Alexandros Kile Scholarship Fund” for seminarians from the Metropolis of New Jersey at Holy Cross School of Theology, c/o Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, 215 E. Grove St., Westfield, NJ 07090.

In March 1954, he was ordained a deacon in Crete in August of that year, and a priest at Holy Trinity in Lowell, Mass., in October 1955 by Bishop Athenagoras Cavadas. Fr. Markantonis served the parishes of Annunciation in Dover, N.H.; St. George in Fresno, Calif., St. George in Piscataway, N.Y., St. Vasilios in Watertown, N.Y., Holy Trinity in Norwich, Conn., Rutland, Vermont and, from October 1974 until his retirement in February 1986, occasionally served different communities as needed. Services took place June 13 at Taxoarchae Church in Watertown, Mass.,with Metropolitan Methodios officiating.

gos, Greece. They had one son, George. In June 1963, he was ordained a deacon in Binghamton, N.Y., and a priest in Yonkers by Bishop Germanos Polizoides.. Fr. Nikas served the parishes of St. Nicholas in Thompsonville (now Enfield), Conn., St. George in Schenectady, N.Y., All Saints in Weirton, W.Va., Holy Trinity in Portland, Maine, St. Theodore in Brandywine, Md., and St. Nicholas in Atlantic City, N.J., before coming to Philadelphia. Funeral services took place June 15 at Evangelismos Church with Metropolitan Evangelos officiating.

came parents of two children, Anthony and Angelica. He also earned two masters and a doctorate in engineering at George Washington University in 1968. After completing a special Archdiocesan program for lay persons, he was ordained a deacon in February 1974 at St. John the Baptist Church in New York and as a priest at Sts. Constantine and Helen church in Washington in March 1974, both times by Bishop Philotheos of Meloa. Fr. Yachnis served the parishes Dormition Church in Winchester, Va., from 1975-2004 when he retired on Aug. 8. Funeral services took place June 29 at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Washington, with Fr. Nicholas Manousakis, pastor, and other area priests taking part.




Maryland Church Hosts 29th Chrysostom Oratorical Festival by Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos

BETHESDA, Md. -- The 29th annual St. John Chrysostom National Oratorical Festival, hosted by the Metropolis of New Jersey was held at St. George Church on June 8-10. Fr. Dimitrios Antokas, Chairmen Tony Djinis and Manoli Anagnostiadis and the host committee organized the event, which drew 18 finalists and their families. The weekend events began June 8 with vespers followed by a social and ice breaker, t-shirt exchange, for the Oratorical Festival participants. After an early morning wakeup call on Saturday everyone gathered in the church eagerly waiting for the orations to begin. Honored guests in attendance were Archbishop Demetrios and Department of Religious Education Director Dr. Anton C. Vrame. The awards luncheon at the Congressional Country Club was emceed by Archon Mike Emmanuel, chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel and hosted by Peter and Adrienne Barris of St. George Church. The top speakers in each division received a $2,000 college scholarship for first place; a $1,500 college scholarship for second place and a $1,000 college scholarship for third place. Each honorable mention awardee received an iPad2. Participants also were given a plaque, a certificate signed by Archbishop Demetrios and a hand-painted icon of St. George. Each participant also will be given a scholarship by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Oratorical Festival participants with Archbishop Demetrios on the steps of the Capitol in Washington.

Senior Division 1st Place Alexa Cristina Pappas

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Salt Lake City In Matthew 18:21-22, Jesus tells Peter that one should forgive one’s brother not just seven times but “seventy times seven.” Discuss how and why we should forgive wrongdoers, even when something within us cries out for justice – especially if we’re the injured party. “I’m sorry, I forgive you;” these are some of the most powerful words we will ever say. They hold the key to our salvation. The times we feel we have been wronged and want revenge or justice are the times St. Seraphim of Sarov says, “We must return to our heavenly Father. The cold desire for revenge comes from the devil. God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart.” St. John Cassian further

Junior Division 1st Place Elena Bilotto

Kimisis Tis Theotokou, Aliquippa, Pa. In our day, when people’s lives have become more and more scheduled with events, how might we reclaim our understanding of Sunday (the Sabbath) as a day of rest and honoring the Lord? Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. It is the Fourth Commandment given to us by God. But how many of us really try to keep the Sabbath holy? After all, Sunday is my day to do what I want. I go to church. I take Holy Communion. That’s good enough. With all the things I have to do, keeping the entire day holy is just not practical. Sound familiar? I’m sure that none us would say that the Sixth Commandment, “Thou shall not kill” is

explains that true compassion and forgiveness become possible when we ourselves experience God’s love. The beginning of our spiritual life is our acceptance of God’s boundless forgiveness and mercy. Yet for God’s love to permeate our hearts, we must be able to truly repent for our mistakes and forgive others for theirs. As Christians we are challenged to strengthen our soul and body through forgiveness. The Fathers of the Church emphasize the principle that being forgiven and forgiving are the two sides of the same spiritual coin. This is made clear by the Greek words for “I forgive,” “συγχωρώ” Literally translated, they mean to come together into the same place. From there, true forgiveness helps us walk forward as one with the person who sought our forgiveness. St. Maximos the Confessor teaches us, “We find the forgiveness of our trespasses in the forgiving of our brothers, and the mercy of God is hidden in mercifulness to our neighbor.”

To St. Maximos, the relationship between God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others means that our salvation is in our hands. We have been given the choice to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness, and we exercise that choice by choosing to forgive. Sometimes, however, this choice is difficult to make because a part of us cries out for justice against those who wrong us. We may even feel anger against God when we experience something bad or painful. If God doesn’t act as we think He should, we believe He has offended us, and therefore we must forgive Him. But the notion that we must forgive God is based on a false premise. God does not, and cannot, sin against us. He does not need to be forgiven. God allows us to experience pain because His goal is our growth and maturity. We complain of “bad things happening to good people,” but we live in a fallen world and bad things

not practical. So, why is it so easy for us to ignore the Fourth Commandment? I am here to tell you that because it will bring you closer to God, and because it will improve your relationships with others, I want you to reclaim the Sabbath for what it is, a gift from God. You’re already thinking that keeping the Sabbath is about all the things you can’t do. It’s a duty, a burden. But imagine for a moment that you are an Israelite slave, 2,500 years ago. You make bricks all day, every day, no days off, no rest. Now, God gives you one day of rest every week. Your attitude about the Sabbath would be much different. You could relate to St. Mark, 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” You would see the Sabbath, not as a burden, but as a gift. Unfortunately, we have so much leisure time in America that we don’t feel the need for the Sabbath rest. But we

may actually need it more, because our Sabbath has become a day of entertainment, recreation, and shopping. If we’re going to reclaim the Sabbath, we must keep it holy, which can only come from our relationship with God. So, it is fitting that the Sabbath begins in God’s house, celebrating the Liturgy. As Jesus said in St. Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three gather in my name, I am there with them.” The more time we spend with God, the more our character is changed, the more holy we become, and the more we will see the Sabbath as a gift. Jesus not only honored the Sabbath by worshipping and teaching, but he often performed miracles, demonstrating his love for us. In chapter 12 of St. Matthew’s Gospel, Christ healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. He was condemned by the Pharisees for doing

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Junior Division results First place–Elena Bilotto–Kimisis Tis Theookou Church, Aliquippa, Pa; second place–Athena Chapekis-St. Nicholas Church, Ann Arbor, Mich.; third placeNikolas Bardossas-St. Catherine Church, Greenwood Village, Colo. Honorable Mention–Christina HanosSts. Constantine and Helen Church, West Nyack, N.Y.; Raymond Assi–St. John the Divine Church, Jacksonville, Fla; Sophia Petrou–Annunciation Church, Cranston, R.I; Katherine Ketchum–Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Racine, Wis; Alexandros Pandazis, St. George Church, Clifton, N.J; and Susanne Silva–St. Basil Church, San Jose, Calif. Senior Division results First place-Alexa Cristina PappasHoly Trinity Cathedral, Salt Lake City, UT; second place-Nicholas Bilotto-Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Aliquippa, Pa; third place–Rebecca Morris–St. Demetrios Church, Libertyville, Ill; Honorable mention: Alexandra WalshSt. George Cathedral, Hartford, Conn; Elias Selimos–St. Demetrios Church, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla; Eleni Giannopoulos–St. Spyridon Church, Newport, R.I; George Gemelas–Holy Trinity Church, Indianapolis; Roman Papademetriou–Holy Trinity Church, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., and Arianna Aram-Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, Cardiff–By–The Sea, Calif. After the event, finalists, their families, and host committee members accompanied Archbishop Demetrios on a private after-hours VIP tour of the Capitol. The architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, greeted the group and accompanied it on the tour, along with Takis Tzamaras, deputy superintendent and St. George parishioner. The day ended with bus tour of Washington at night. On June 10, the Hierarchical Liturgy was celebrated at the Church of St. George. Archbishop Demetrios spoke fervently about the Oratorical Festival and invited the top two speakers to deliver their speeches to the congregation. Before departing for home a luncheon was offered by the St. George community.



r u o y t r o p p Su The ORTHODOX OBSERVER has been offering Greek Orthodox faithful in America and around the world news from our Archdiocese, our Metropolises and our parishes for almost 40 years. Originally begun primarily as a theological magazine by Archbishop Athenagoras in the1930s, the ORTHODOXOBSERVER was transformed into its present format and role by Archbishop Iakovos in1971. Each member of the national Church continues to receive a complimentary copy of the ORTHODOXOBSERVER as part of their stewardship to their local parish. Over the years, mailing and printing costs have continued to rise and have outpaced increases in the ORTHODOX OBSERVER’S income resources. Advertising revenue and donations contribute to our revenue, but an increasing shortfall exists because of these rising costs. The ORTHODOX OBSERVER, which will print 10 issues in 2012, has initiated a campaign to raise additional fundsfortheserisingcosts.Weinviteyoutoparticipate as a Donor, Patron or Special Patron.

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Oratorical Festival participants with Archbishop Demetrios, Religious Education Department Director Dr. Anton Vrame, Chairman Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos, Fr. John Orfanakos and other clergy.

Senior Division 1st Place u u from page 25 happen to people, period. The fact is our own sin helped unbalance the world and make a climate of injustice possible. The real failure is not in God’s lack of performance, it is in our misperception of His character. So then how do we choose forgiveness, especially if we feel we have been wronged? The Lord’s Prayer guides us with the words, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. It is an important lesson to learn that in order to receive we must first give. We must let go of all indignation. Because we believe in a merciful God, we realize He does not want us to perish, but rather He wants us to live a happy and fulfilled life. He is willing to cleanse us of every stain of sin. If He can do this for us, then we should learn from Him and be able to forgive others. As we grow to understand forgiveness, we realize it has little to do with the other person; it has everything to do with ourselves, our own inner freedom and desire to move forward in our lives. Forgiveness is not just a thought, an idea

Junior Division 1st Place u u from page 25 so. But Jesus said it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath. What is good are our relationships with the people in our lives, not the things. When we spend our time with people we love, or people that need love, we reflect Christ healing the sick. I remember one Sunday, I was in a hurry to get home to see my friends, but my father made me stay with my yiayia. It was that Sunday that she taught me how to make the Avolemona soup her special

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Remember inspiring spiritual leaders, honored past presidents, beautiful friendships, heartwarming acquaintances, all Philoptochos members, loving pioneers. Remember those who are no longer with us, each Face speaks to us in some way, each Face is integral to Philoptochos as a Friend of the Poor. Remember each Woman through her kind acts of holding a child in her arms so the mother can participate in Sunday Divine Liturgy, baking koulourakia for someone in the hospital, working at an orphanage, caring for Children with Cancer and special

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way, with an extra egg, to make the broth a little creamier. That day brought me closer to my yiayia, and gave me a piece of her. It was the same piece that was given to her by her yiayia, I hope to pass it on to my grandchildren someday. This is the gift of the Sabbath. When we free ourselves from our scheduled lives, we reclaim the Sabbath. When we worship and receive holy communion, we reclaim the Sabbath. When we share God’s love with others, we reclaim the Sabbath. The Fourth Commandment is really our weekly chance to repent, and to do God’s will. I ask all of you to keep the Sabbath holy and accept God’s Gift to you.

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or mental concept. True forgiveness is a process of greater understanding and analysis. It requires attention, healing, and time. It does not occur instantaneously. In his book, Five Steps to Spiritual Growth, author Peter M. Kalellis states, “Forgiveness is a process that can be painful, and at times, seem unending.” True forgiveness is not denial and avoidance. It does not brush things under the rug without ever getting to the root of the problem. In order to truly forgive, each of us must process through the full range of emotions, lessons, and feelings associated with the traumatic event in our life. Our goal is to retain the lesson and leave the pain behind. The Apostle Peter asked Christ, “Master, how often shall we forgive; until seven times?” But Jesus answered, “I say to you, until seventy times seven” in order to show his abundant love and that his forgiveness is immeasurable. Fr. Alexander Schmemann writes, “The triumph of sin, the main sign of its rule over the world, is division, opposition, separation, hatred. Therefore, the first break through this fortress of sin is forgiveness: the return to unity, solidarity, love. To forgive is to put between me and my “enemy” the radiant forgiveness of God himself.”

needs. Remember this work, this commitment of one hour, one day and many years. This makes us true Stewards of Jesus Christ. This beautiful and incredible history of service and these remarkable Faces, gird us to transmit this important Legacy, so that at the 100th Anniversary in 2031 Philoptochos is recognized throughout the world, membership has doubled and services continue to expand. Special thanks are extended to every woman Past, Present and Future who manifests the Philoptochos Spirit of Philanthropy offering healing, peace, hope and love.



Be a Lightbearer for Christ! by Eva Kokinos

The 2012 Summer Olympics are just around the corner! I don’t know about any of you, but I always get very excited about the Olympic Games. I will be glued to the television for three weeks, watching everything from badminton to the trampoline event (Yes! Both are actual events in the Summer Olympics). Since I’m not very good at any sport, these world-class athletes never cease to inspire me…accomplishing extraordinary feats of physical and mental strength. But there are so many other things that inspire me about the entire Olympics experience: the Opening Ceremonies, the human interest stories, the Parade of Nations, and the Closing Ceremonies–just to name a few. One of the most iconic images of the Olympics is the historic torch relay and the lighting of the Olympic flame. It is incredible to know that the torch relay has not changed much since its origin all the way back to the Ancient Olympic games. It makes its way from Greece to the host country. More importantly, the responsibility to be a torchbearer is not reserved for only one person. Imagine being the only person who is charged with the responsibility of getting the Olympic flame to London this year! I definitely couldn’t do it. So getting the Olympic Flame to its

final destination becomes the responsibility of many people… a diverse group of men and women, children and adults, all coming from different backgrounds and upbringing. To learn more about the 8,000 Olympic Torchbearers, you can visit the following link: http://www.london2012. com/torch-relay/torchbearers. Watching the progress of the Olympic Torch making its way to its destination reminds me of something even more special–the passing of the Paschal Light. When you hear people talk about being an Olympic Torchbearer, they naturally use words like “incredible” or “moving” to describe the experience. So it makes sense that I have an even more overwhelming feeling of joy, responsibility, peace, and love when I receive the Paschal Light in Church. When I receive the Light, I don’t just stand there. I immediately look around to share it with someone–making sure everyone can have the Light and share in the joy. Imagine if your parish priest came out on Pascha with the Light and then never gave it out. You and the rest of your parish would have been left in the dark and the joy of the Resurrection would not have made its way out of the doors of the church. You and I might never get to be Torchbearers for the Olympics. But rest assured–we all have been selected to be

Lightbearers for Christ! We are called to not only bear the Light, but to share that Light with all that we encounter. As it says in the Gospel of Matthew, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-17) It is true that not everyone embraces this honor and responsibility. So for those of us that try to take on this responsibility to the best of our ability, we must carry this light with a stronger sense of purpose and vigilance to ensure that the Good News of the Gospel still gets out there! Fellow Lightbearers of Christ, let’s make the most of this incredible and joyful responsibility. As Lightbearers of Christ, we can always extend our kindness to everyone we meet so that there will be more kindness than cruelty in the world. We can extend our hands to give to others so that there can be fewer people in need. We can choose to live our lives according to God’s commandments, witnessing that a Christlike life IS possible in the 21st century. So as you are watching the Olympics with me this summer, let’s be inspired. Just as the Olympic Flame is carried in to

OCF: Preparing for the Transition confront you with many new perspectives on culture, life, and faith. OCF can be that lifeline for college students to keep everything in focus. So what are some of the things that OCF has to offer you?

For those of you who have recently graduated high school, the Class of 2012, you are probably anxiously awaiting the next part of your journey. Many of you are preparing to be the newest incoming class of your respective colleges and universities. This is an exciting and sometimes overwhelming transition. So it is never too early to prepare for the social, emotional, and spiritual transition that lies ahead of you. Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official campus ministry of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. OCF is a growing, vital ministry to young adults who are looking for an Orthodox Christian community to continue their spiritual journey while in college. For new and current college students, the spiritual journey can be challenging for various reasons. Some of you are away from home, without your usual support system. For others, the collegiate experience will

1) OCF wants to get YOU connected OCF wants to find incoming students and get you connected from the very beginning of your college experience. OCF started an exciting new program – “The First Forty Days” – to gather contact information for incoming students from parishes throughout North America. You can also help OCF by visiting http://www. and submitting your information TODAY. 2) OCF Chapters: A campus community of faithful Orthodox Christians As a college student, you might not be near your home parish. In fact, you might be studying far away from home. One major advantage to getting involved with OCF is that you will have that Orthodox Christian community, even away from home. For anyone in a new place, this is can be a huge blessing! Many campuses throughout the U.S. have OCF chapters. For a listing, visit chapters/ocf-chapters.aspx or talk to your parish priest before heading off to school. 3) Relevant Resources for the Young Adult OCF offers you a variety of resources to keep you informed and educated about

your faith. In addition, OCF provides resources that are relevant and useful for the collegiate. For example, OCF publishes a newsletter called The Headliner. This fantastic newsletter, which can be sent right to your email, offers you great articles and information. Also, OCF provides practical resources to help support you in school and in your faith. Check out www.ocf. net/wikis/resources/student-resources. aspx to see some of the resources they have available. 4) Retreat/Event Opportunities in the U.S. and Abroad OCF provides you with incredible opportunities to worship, witness, serve, and join in fellowship with other Orthodox Christians in the U.S. and around the world. OCF sponsors the hugely successful College Conferences every year in different places throughout the U.S. These conferences are full of incredible workshops, opportunities to join in worship with others, and lots of fun and fellowship. In addition, OCF sponsors an incredible and popular alternative to the traditional spring break–OCF Real Break. Each spring, more than 100 students attend various trips in the United States and countries around the world. Past destinations included: Constantinople, Greece, Dominican Republic, Jerusalem, Romania, Mexico and Alaska. Get connected to OCF today. Visit for more information.

spark the spirits of the Olympic hopefuls, let us carry the Light of Christ from our hearts into the world and to everyone we encounter. Maybe we, too, can inspire those around us to achieve the seemingly impossible through Christ. Eva Kokinos serves as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit. In 2003, she received a Masters of Theological Studies from Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Mass.

Workshops Held at Congress The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries offered several workshops for the delegates at the Clergy Laity Congress. Delegates had an opportunity to speak with the Archdiocese Youth Ministry Team members, including the National Youth Department and metropolis youth directors. The National Youth Department’s booth at the exhibit hall showcased new resources and promoted those currently available to parishes. The department also offered two youth ministry workshops to discuss topics and issues facing today’s parish youth and young adult ministries, including.bullying, sexual purity and body image, along with “Back to the Basics: Creating and Developing Parish Youth Ministry Programs.”

FOR PARENTS AND YOUTH WORKERS • Do you love to follow blogs? Looking for an Orthodox Christian blog about variety of topics? Check out The Ladder at http://orthodoxyouthministry. • Are you on Facebook? If you are a member of Facebook, you can visit us on our GOYA and Young Adult Ministries fan pages! These fan pages have information about GOYA and Young Adult Ministries events from throughout the Archdiocese. Also, fans are connecting and talking about different issues regarding faith and life! Just search for GOYA – Greek Orthodox Youth of America or Greek Orthodox National Young Adult Ministries and Become a fan today.



Christ is Risen! The Resurrection Service & Divine Liturgy of Pascha

Witness the moving service of the Resurrection of Christ in what is known as the largest Greek Orthodox parish in America, St. Nicholas Shrine Church, Flushing, NY. Thousands gather inside and outside the church to hear Archbishop Demetrios of America read the Gospel and proclaim, “Christos Anesti - Christ is Risen!” The faithful raise their lighted candles, joyfully singing together. Christ is risen from the dead; by death, He has trampled death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life. (Paschal Troparion). This video presentation, “Christ is Risen! The Resurrection Service & Divine Liturgy of Pascha,” was broadcast LIVE around the world in 2011. The narration was added and editing occurred in order for the program to air nationally on NBC during the Paschal season in 2012. To purchase your DVD copy of this program ($20 per DVD + $6 S&H) please call 212-774-0244, or email, or comple the order form below and mail it to: GOTelecom, 8E. 79th Street, New York, NY 10075.


Samuel Pappas presents Archbishop Demetrios with a check for $327 for the Greek Relief Fund, which was raised at a recent bake sale. Also shown: board President Evellyn Tsiadis and 13-year-old Eleni Koumboulis, who also took part in the fundraiser.

Saint Basil’s 65th Commencement

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result of a snowstorm in late October. In his remarks, Archbishop Demetrios commented on the significance of holding the program under the tent, stating that it represents “a very biblical situation.” “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived under a tent,” he said, and that it has the “characteristic of mobility,” which for the graduates gives a sense of the “totality of life” and the “mobility of life.” The Archbishop also had high praise for Fr. Sitaras’ work and accomplishments over the years, and that of the staff. “What we do here should be of the highest possible quality,” he added. Several of those in attendance, National Philoptochos President Aphrodite

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The program has been made possible with a grant by Christos Spyropoulos and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

ORTHODOX OBSERVER SEEKS PART-TIME ADVERTISING SALES CONSULTANT The Orthodox Observer, the nation’s largest Greek Orthodox national monthly publication with a circulation of 165,000, is seeking a motivated advertising sales consultant to start immediately. The position is part-time and home-based with visits to national headquarters as necessary. Responsibilities include developing and cultivating new advertisers and agencies, working with current clients, maintaining effective and revenue-generating relationships, assisting in implementation of sales packages and ensuring high levels of service to clients. The candidate must also meet quarterly and annual revenue goals and assist in developing local and national marketing initiatives. Requirements: Bachelors degree, advertising sales experience, strong written and oral interpersonal skills. Print media experience is also required. Excellent negotiation and customer service skills a must in order to close new business and grow existing accounts. Strong knowledge of national and international Greek American market. Must be proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel. If you are motivated to think outside the box, are success orientated and self motivated, want to work hard in order to ensure personal and organizational success and have a love for the Greek Orthodox Church, we want to hear from you! Salary – Commission based No personal visits or calls please. Please email your cover letter and resume to:

Skeadas, and various Philoptochos and AHEPA chapter representatives and board President Evellyn Tsiadis offered gifts to the students and the Academy. Mrs. Tsiadis offered a $5,000 donation toward the replacement of the underground pipes. Consul General of Cyprus Koula Sophianou, an ardent supporter and frequent visitor at Saint Basil’s, and Greece’s Consul General Georgios Iliopoulos, also offered their greetings and best wishes to the graduates. The six graduates are Jake Pappas, Bishop Dunn Memorial School; Sofiya Petri, Birchwood School; Arturo Reyes, San Miguel Academy; Thomas Koumboulis and Christina Loukakis, Haldane High School; and Irakli Quiros, Rockland Community College.

FAITH Awards Ionian Village Scholarships u u from page 2 ship programs including many merit-based scholarships for Academic Excellence to high school students graduating from public, parochial and private high schools across the country. The program, originally limited to valedictorians and salutatorians, has expanded to include students who display extraordinary academic achievement and an acute need for financial support for their studies. In past years, several graduating seniors received FAITH Scholarships for Academic Excellence through the Archdiocese toward

their college tuition. In addition, FAITH sponsors scholarships through the US – Greece Fulbright Foundation to support scholarly exchanges and international collaboration in education. The core mission of FAITH is to support the development of innovative educational, cultural and scholarship programs for young people that promote excellence through an understanding of Hellenism, and its relationship to America’s history and multicultural landscape with programs such as funding Fulbright fellowships and other related programs. For more details about FAITH programs, visit

OCMC Teams to Uganda & Mongolia by Emily Walker

To kick off the 2012 summer season of missions, OCMC sent short-term teams to Uganda and Mongolia. The Uganda health care team in midJune, offered health care services to people in the eastern and northern regions of Uganda, where there is limited access to medical care. Team members will serve the spiritual and physical needs of the people from both the established Holy Cross Hospital in Kampala and from temporary health clinics that will be set up in neighboring Orthodox communities. Many of these patients will travel long distances in order to receive care for malaria, pneumonia, ulcers, tuberculosis, and many other medical issues. OCMC also sent its first-ever mission team to Mongolia in June, where

team members proclaimed the gospel and shared the Orthodox faith with Mongolians. This historic first team went to Ulaanbaatar, the capital, to help plant the seeds of Christianity in a nation that is over 98 percent non-Christian. The country’s only Orthodox church, Holy Trinity, hosted the team. To help strengthen the Church there, team members assisted in implementing effective discipleship and develop Mongolian church leaders. The mission team to Mongolia offered an evangelism event where, through focus groups, they spread the word of Christ. The focus groups included English language lessons, Byzantine chant, discussion of life after death from a Christian perspective (different from the Buddhist mindset), and family issues, including gen-

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by Fr. David Eynon

Like many boys of a certain age, I spent a lot of time playing with toy soldiers and, in my case, this developed into a love of history. I got caught up in weapons, armor, battles and strategies.I was fascinated by the cultural, political and geographical contexts. As I grew more interested, I came across a fascinating historical board game belonging to my father. The game took its name from one of the most formidable troop formations of the ancient world — the phalanx. Soldiers would stand shoulder to shoulder in large rectangular formations where the front line would interlock their shields. Armed with long weapons like spears, this allowed the first ranks to attack over the shield wall. Any kind of frontal assault on such a formation would be really difficult at best. I mention this as a prelude to one of my favorite metaphors in all of Scripture: “Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might . . . For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take . . . the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.” – Ephesians 6:10; 12; 16 Metaphors, of course, invite us to apply them to our own lives. As 21st century Americans, however (being several centuries removed from soldiers using shields), this is not an easy a task as one might think. Due to the historic proximity, we might be tempted to imagine the medieval knight ready to charge into battle for individual glory or the hand of a fair maiden. Despite the similarity in language, however, the medieval knight is not a type of soldier that St. Paul would have been

The Breastplate Prayer I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard. Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone that speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me, Salvation is of the Christ, May you salvation, O Lord, be ever with us. *From ‘My Daily Orthodox Prayer Book’ by Fr. Anthony Coniaris.

Shield of Faith

aware of when he wrote to the Ephesians. Rather, he would have been familiar with warfare that produced formations like the phalanx. Therefore, to understand St. Paul’s metaphor, it is important to understand how a soldier in a phalanx would have used his shield. Primarily, the shield was used not to protect the soldier himself, but the soldier next to him. Indeed, soldiers had to have faith in their fellow soldier – that they would sacrifice the protection of their shield. The concept of sacrifice, of course, is central to the Christian faith. Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed Himself for us. In turn, we are told by our Savior: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” – Matthew 16:24 In other words, the Shield of Faith can also be called the Cross. This is confirmed at the feast of the Elevation of the Cross, celebrated on September 14th. Note the hymn: “This very Cross of the Lord, then, let us all surely hold as our boast. For this wood is our salvation, the shield of peace, the trophy invincible.” This, then, is our key to applying the metaphor to our own lives. In order to pick up the Shield of Faith, we must pick up the Cross. In a word: sacrifice. Of course, the Church provides many opportunities and tools in which to practice sacrifice. The most common, however, may be a surprise: the family. Notice what the Church advises for husbands in the Epistle reading from the marriage service: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) Christ went to the Cross for His bride, the Church. In a word: sacrifice. Wives are called to submit to their husbands. In a word: sacrifice. To use St. Paul’s metaphor from above, husband and wife are to stand as a phalanx, using their Shield of Faith to protect, not themselves, but their spouse. This, of course can be extended to the whole family: everyone – whether a parent, a child, a grandparent, or extended family member – can use their Shield of Faith to protect the other members of the family. They can stand in a phalanx with interlocked shields. When a husband and wife – and by extension the whole family – place the needs of the other above their own the marriage and the family not only works, but thrives. As spouses get to know each other, they begin to anticipate what the other one needs even before their spouse realizes what he/she needs! The Shield of Faith, wielded by one spouse protects the other before they even realize that they are in danger.

This phalanx becomes even more powerful when the whole family is doing the same. This path of sacrifice, this shield of the Cross is confirmed in our worship: “Lord, God Almighty, You alone are holy. You accept a sacrifice of praise from those who call upon You with their whole heart. Receive also the prayer of us sinners… “Enable us to bring before You… spiritual sacrifices for our sins and for the transgressions of the people. Make us worthy… so that our sacrifice may be pleasing to You and that Your good and gracious Spirit may abide with us, with the gifts here presented, and with all Your people.” – Prayer of the Proskomide We are called to take up the Shield of Faith through sacrifice – by freely placing the needs of others before our own–and to bring this sacrifice forth before the altar of God for our salvation and the salvation of the people. This sounds counter-intuitive. Our natural instinct is to hold on to what we have for our own protection. Remember, though, we are talking about the Cross – a font of mercy and power that is endless. In the game of Phalanx, just as with its antecedent chess, it is necessary to sacrifice pieces in order to win. The phalanx formation — as long as every soldier was willing to sacrifice his shield for another — was virtually invincible. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross defeated death by death. By imitating Christ, by regarding our families as phalanxes in the spiritual warfare of the fallen world, we will help each other on our journey toward the Kingdom of God. Fr. David W. Eynon is pastor of Annunciation Church in Decatur, Ill. He also maintains a blog entitled, “Shine Within Our Hearts.” Fr. David graduated from Holy Cross School of Theology in 2008.

Family Shield Activity Needed • Print template of shield (www.busy or create your own out of poster board • Crayons/markers/paint • Family photo • Icon of Christ and icons of the patron saint of each family member • Magazine photos (optional) Instructions 1. Read the Breastplate Prayer aloud. 2. Discuss these questions: • How could we improve our outreach and service to others? • How could we enhance our family prayer life? • How could we spend more meaningful time together? • Consider what God is calling your family to do. Decide on two or three ideas together. 3. Place an icon of Christ in the center of the shield and the icons of your patron saints around it. 4. Place the family photo under the icons. Draw, paint, and write the family name either under the photo or at the top of the shield. • Optional: Use photos from magazines on the rest of the shield to make it reflect who you are. 5. In the upper right portion, write or draw pictures by answering: “As a family we HOPE to…” This will reflect the resolutions you chose in step 2. 6. In the upper left portion, list with words or pictures: “With JOY as a family we will achieve our goals by…” 7. In the lower right portion, complete the following: “With LOVE in our hearts, we promise to help one another keep our goals by…” 8. In the lower left portion, write or draw pictures by answering: “With FAITH as a family we will rely on God by…” 9. Sign the shield and display it prominently in your home. 10. Close by asking each family member to name their favorite part of your family shield and the hope it represents. Say the Lord’s Prayer together. This is adapted from an activity by the same title written by Rev. Heath Howe and published by Vibrant Faith @ Home. For more family faith-forming activities go to



OBSERVER’S CLASSIFIEDS Archbishop Demetrios of AmericA the first DecADe 1999-2009

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Former Nat. Philoptochos President Mimi Skandalakis by Christine Karavites

National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas announced with sadness the falling asleep on June 30 of our beloved Past National President Mimi Skandalakis who served with distinction

as the eighth National Philoptochos President from 1994 to 1998. Mrs. Skandalakis led this philanthropic organization of the Church that she and her late, beloved husband, Dr. John Skandalakis served all their lives. Her goal was to expand the services offered by Philoptochos and to ensure inclusion so that everyone became engaged in the organization. Mimi traveled often on early morning flights from Atlanta to the National Philoptochos Office in New York to oversee the multiple presidential responsibilities and traveled throughout the country visiting each diocese and many Chapters. She raised awareness of critical social issues including presentations at the National Philoptochos Convention with special educational speakers and videos and promoted the enhanced role of women. During her tenure, National Philoptochos pledged $100,000 for the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Resource Center at Hellenic College Holy Cross donating in total more than $170,000. National Philoptochos also initiated the Awards Program during her presidency that honors the excellent philanthropic works of the Philoptochos Chapters nationwide. The funeral for Mrs. Skandalakis was held at the Annunciation Cathedral in Atlanta on July 3. May her memory be eternal.

A Tribute to Mimi Skandalakis by Edward Mitchell

* Edward Mitchell is a staff writer at The Atlanta Journal–Constitution. Reprinted with permission from the July 2 issue of the AJC. Georgian by birth and Greek by descent, Simena ‘Mimi’ Skandalakis embraced both identities throughout her life. She grew up in Marietta, spoke with a southern accent and loved University of Georgia football. But the first-generation American also dedicated her later years to advancing Greek causes. Mrs. Skandalakis died Saturday of natural causes. She was 85. Her funeral, arranged by H.M. Patterson & Son, will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. Simena Cutis was born in 1927 to Greek immigrants and was raised in Marietta. After graduating from Marietta High School in 1944, she attended Mercer University. In 1950, she married Dr. John Skandalakis, a Greek native. While Dr. Skandalakis, who died in 2009, worked long hours at Emory University Hospital, Mrs. Skandalakis raised their three children. “She was always there for us every day, raising us,” recalled her son, Mitch Skandalakis, former chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. “She was basically acting as a single mom.” Her daughter, Vickie Skandalakis Scaljon, said, “She was a short person, but very powerful. Whether she was disciplining us or talking to a group of people ... she was very powerful.”

When her children grew up and left home, she used that power to advance her lifelong interest in Greek causes. She was a devoted follower of the Greek Orthodox Church and a member of the National Philoptochos Society, a philanthropic group supporting the church’s faith and traditions. In 1994, the Archbishop appointed her Philoptochos Society president. As leader of Philoptochos, she spearheaded various activities: rebuilding the group’s finances, assisting Greeks who came to the U.S. seeking medical care, educating the community on the problem of spousal abuse in Greek households, hosting a regular children’s medical fund luncheon and raising the prominence of the Greek church. “She worked to put the church on equal footing with other denominations,” Mrs. Scaljon said. “She and my father worked very closely with the Archbishop to do that.” Such efforts led to the construction of Atlanta’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Annunciation. Even after her retirement in 1999, she maintained her concern for Greece, looking for ways to help those affected by its recent economic crisis. Still, she was just as much a Georgian as a Greek. A UGA fan, she once wrote a children’s book titled “The Little Bulldog.” “She lived a remarkable life,” Mr. Skandalakis said. “She led a charmed life. All of that comes with hard work.” In addition to her son and daughter, Mrs. Skandalakis is survived by another son, Lee Skandalakis of Atlanta; brother, Nick Cutis, of Athens, Greece; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Fr. Constantine Mitsopoulos Information for retired priest Fr. Constantine Mitsopoulos arrived too late for inclusion in this issue. A complete obituary will appear in the September issue of the Observer.

His was a native of a village near Nafplion, Greece, and his last parish was Holy Trinity–St. Nicholas Church in Cincinnati before retiring in October 1990.

Metropolis News

Goyans visit



Rev. Dr. Peter Spiro, pastor of St. Athanasios Church in Aurora, Ill., and members of the parish GOYA chapter recently took a weeklong trip to the East Coast, visiting Boston and New York. Here, they present a donation to Archbishop Demetrios on June 27 for the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church at the World Trade Center. At Archdiocese headquarters, they also presented Bishop Andonios of Phasiane with a donation for St. Michael’s Home. The Goyans’ New York segment included seeing the 9/11 memorial, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, touring Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral and seeing some Broadway plays. In Boston, they went to Hellenic College Holy Cross where they presented a donation to the seminary, and went to the Metropolis of Boston, meeting with Metropolitan Methodios. The Goyans financed the trip through several fund-raisers, private donations and help from the church.

Memphis Church Holds Altar Boys’Reunion MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Men from 30 to 70 years of age returned to the altar where they once served as acolytes and celebrate a Divine Liturgy with their former pastor, 86-year old Fr Nicholas L.Vieron on June 10. The 42 former altar boys served between 1955 until 1991 at Annunciation Church. They are often referred to as “Fr. V’s Altar Boys.” But Fr. Vieron insists “They are God’s acolytes. I was just blessed to have served with them.” He added that, “It was a very moving experience seeing grown men as acolytes again serving with their former priest. They all wore choir robes, crowded into the altar and served with such piety that brought tears to the eyes of loved ones seeing their “little boys” once again serving in the altar. A similar service was celebrated eight years ago but now they had all grown older. Two of the men are now 70 years old. They came from all walks of life - restaurateurs. doctors, lawyers, dentists, business men, computer executives, real-estate agents, professors, artists. theater owners, presidents of companies, retirees. Most of them are local parishioners. Several came back to Memphis for the

occasion from distant cities. One of the moving highlights of the Liturgy was recalling the 14 former altar boys who had died. As each name was offered at the Mnimosino service, one of 14 candles placed on the koliva was lit by the presiding priest, Fr. Anthony Cook, who was recently assigned to the Memphis church and who not only gave his blessing to the occasion but also his participation. The Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, in reporting the event, stated, “Reading in commemoration the 14 names Fr. Nicholas Vieron paused to compose himself. Although he’s 86 and still speaks with clarity, charisma and power....his voice cracked as he prayed, ‘Give rest, O Lord, to Your servants, Your altar boys, Your anolytes....’” Fr. Vieron was assigned to the Memphis church 57 years ago and continues to serve as pastor emeritus; the former altar boys must desire to participate in such an event; the parish must want to embrace it and it does with love and tears. The first “Altar Boys’ Reunion” in Memphis was held in 1983 and, until Fr. Vieron’s 1991 retirement, every Palm Sunday would include such a “reunion.”

OCMC Teams to Uganda & Mongolia u u from page 28 der roles. All discussions were translated into Mongolian. Team member Thomaida Hudanish, said, “In preparing for this experience, I am learning that the most important thing I can do is be in the moment now…my goal is simple: to go see, to learn from Fr. Aleksei, and to take in the beauty of the Mongolian culture.” One of her tasks was to prepare a short lesson about the Resurrection icon. Of this she said, “When I look at the icon, I notice that Adam is a recipient of God’s

mercy and strength. Keeping focused on this helps me remember both why we are on this trip and Who is providing.” The OCMC mission team in Mongolia was challenged by numerous hurdles. While Mongolia is one of the most open countries in Asia, with limited interference from the government when it comes to Christian work, the challenges are arduous. There is a void left from 70 years of Soviet rule, secular influences, and widespread social upheaval. There has been a breakdown of traditional values that will need to be rebuilt.



The Metropolis of Chicago at a Glance

Editor’s note: The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, consists of more than 500 parishes in the United States and the Bahamas, apportioned within eight metropolises and the Direct Archdiocesan District.

General Information Number of communities: 59 parishes and two monastic communities

(Source: Archdiocese Yearbook, Metropolis website and Metropolis officials) Geographic description: The Metropolis of Chicago, led by Metropolitan Iakovos, includes the central Midwestern states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri (except for the western area around Kansas City, and the northwestern third of Indiana. Most of its parishes are heavily concentrated in and around Chicago. Approximate area: About 294,250 square miles. Largest parish: The following communities have at least 750 families and determining which is the largest community may be subject to fluctuation: St. Mary’s in Minneapolis, Sts. Peter and Paul in Glenview, Sts. Constantine and Helen in Palos Hills, Annunciation in Milwaukee and St. John the Baptist in Des Plaines. Monastic communities: Monastery of Transfiguration, Harvard, Ill., and St. John Chrysostom Monastery, Pleasant Prairie, Wis. Chancellor: Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos

Major Ministries

Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago

Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Religious Education, FANARI Summer Camp, Greek Education, Orthodox Ministries, Parish Renewal Outreach and Evangelism, Church Music Federation, St. John Damascene League of Chanters, Metropolis Radio Program, Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS, Domestic Violence Ministry and Webmaster.

Contact Information Address: 40 E. Burton Place, Chicago, IL 60610-1697 Tel. (312) 337.4130 e-mail: • web:

List of Communities Editor’s Note: Numbers indicate the cities and towns with Greek Orthodox communities. The following cities have either more than one parish or an additional chapel: Chicago, Champaign, Milwaukee. Chicago, seat of the Metropolis, contains eight parishes: Annunciation Cathedral, and the churches of Annunciation, Assumption, Holy Trinity, St. Andrew, St. Basil, St. Demetrios, St. George, and St. Nicholas Albanian Church under Bishop Ilias.


1. Duluth (The Twelve Holy Apostles), 2.Minneapolis (St. Mary’s), 3. St. Paul (St. George), 4. Rochester (Holy Anargyroi-Sts. Cosmas & Damianos).


5. Mason City (Transfiguration of Our Lord), 6. Sioux City (Holy Trinity), 7.Des Moines (St. George), 8. Waterloo (St. Demetrios), 9. Dubuque (St. Elias the Prophet), 10 Cedar Rapids (St. John the Baptist).


11. Columbia (St. Luke the Evangelist), 12. Town & Country (Assumption), 13. St. Louis (St. Nicholas).


14. Appleton (St. Nicholas), 15. Fond du Lac (Holy Trinity), 16. Madison (Assumption), 17. Sheboygan (St.Spyridon), 18. Milwau-

kee (Annunciation, Sts. Constantine & Helen), 19. Racine (Kimisis tis Theotokou).


20. Rockford (Sts. Constantine and Helen), 21. East Moline (Assumption), 22. Rock Island (St. George), 23. Peoria (All Saints), 24. Springfield (St. Anthony), 25. Swansea (Sts. Constantine & Helen), 26. Decatur (Annunciation), 27. Champaign (Three Hierarchs, Chapel of St. Philip the Apostle and Chapel of St. Barbara in Danville, Ill.), 28, Kankakee (Annunciation), 29. Joliet (All Saints), 30. Orland Park (Assumption), 31. Hegewisch (Assumption), 32. Palos Heights (St. Spyridon), 33. Palos Hills (Sts. Constantine & Helen), 34. Oak Lawn (St. Nicholas), 35. Justice (Holy Cross), 36. Westchester (Holy Apostles), 37. Elmhurst (St. Demetrios), 38. Aurora (St. Athanasios), 39. Elgin (St. Sophia), 40. Des Plaines (St. John the Baptist), 41. Niles (Holy Taxiarhai-St. Haralambos, 42. Glenview (Sts. Peter & Paul), 43. Palatine (St. Nectarios), 44. Lincolnshire (Ascension of Our Lord), 45. Libertyville (St. Demetrios), 46. DeKalb (St. George).


47. Hammond (St. Demetrios), 48. Schererville (St. George), 49. Merrillville (Sts. Constantine & Helen Cathedral), 50. Valparaiso (St. Iakovos), 51. South Bend (St. Andrew).

Orthodox Observer - July-August 2012 - Issue 1277  

Orthodox Observer July-August 2012. The Orthodox Observer is a publication of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Orthodox Observer - July-August 2012 - Issue 1277  

Orthodox Observer July-August 2012. The Orthodox Observer is a publication of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.