JULY-AUGUST 2013 • Vol. 78 • No. 1287
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Ionian Village Opens Newly Renovated Pool VARTHOLOMIO, Greece – The Ionian Village Summer Camping Ministry of the Archdiocese opened and dedicated in late June the newly renovated camp pool, funded by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Fr. Evagoras Constantinides, the Ionian Village director, along with camp clergy, officiated at the inauguration service of the blessing of the waters (Agiasmos) and together with the campers and staff of this year’s first session, expressed their gratitude to the FAITH Endowment for its dedication, love and support of Ionian Village. Following the ceremony, the pool was opened for the first official free-swim period, an Ionian Village tradition. The renovation project began last summer with the initial design, and construction began in early December. It was all made possible through a generous $250,000 grant from the FAITH Endowment. In addition to this pool renovation grant, since 2008, FAITH has worked with Ionian Village to provide annual scholarships allowing campers to experience this life changing ministry for those who could not otherwise financially afford to go. “The FAITH Endowment, and their love and dedication to Ionian Village ministry is very present here at camp. Each year I hear from campers that without the
Campers gather around the newly completed swimming pool on the grounds of Ionian Village.
FAITH Scholarship, they would not be able to come to camp,” said Fr. Evagoras. “Now, with this grant, this breathtaking pool, the FAITH Endowment will leave a lasting impression on each and every one of our campers. Our campers never forget their experience at Ionian Village, and now, they will never forget the generosity of the FAITH Endowment as well. On behalf of all our campers and staff, both present and
future, we thank the FAITH Endowment from the bottom of our hearts,” he said. The new Ionian Village pool is a modern, safe, self-maintaining system that will provide respite from the hot Grecian sun for the next generations of Ionian Village campers. It is fully outfitted with non-slip turquoise and blue ceramic tiles across the entire interior, a white marble lip around the exterior with an overflow basin, and
Ionian Village photo
an expanded and fully finished deck. The new pool rests within the footprint of the original pool, maintaining the traditional Olympic-size and shape. The outer edge of the pool measures 1 meter deep (approx. 3.3 feet) and in the center reaches 1.5 meters (approx. 5 feet). This allows the entire length of the pool to be used for the annual Water Olympics and creates a much more usable pool space.
St. Michael’s Home Announces Expansion Plans, Purchases 11–Acre Site for Multi–Service Facility
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Future location of St. Michael’s Home in Uniondale, Long Island, N.Y.
YONKERS, N.Y. – Trustees of St. Michael’s Home have announced the kick-off of a $20 million Capital Fundraising Campaign to facilitate the purchase and rehabilitation of an 11-acre property located in Uniondale (Hempstead), NY., as the Home’s new location. The site contains a 90,000-square-foot building that will include independent and assisted living apartments, and dementia and nursing care facilities. Bishop Andonios, St. Michael’s Home director, said that “With the purchase of this property, we enter the most exciting chapter in the history of this wonderful Archdiocesan institution. The need to expand our facilities and services and help even more of our elderly is a sacred mission. This is an enormous undertaking, but with blessings from above and the generous support of the community, we will achieve our vision.” The property was purchased at a cost of $7 million and the complex will include 27 one-bedroom independent living apartments, more than 50 private assisted-living bedrooms with private baths, and a unit serving clients with dementia as well as a section with nursing care beds. The Capital Fundraising Campaign will raise funds to pay off the purchase price
of the property, and completely renovate the building on the site. “For well over a decade, the Board of Trustees has been aggressively searching for an appropriate site to expand our mission and serve more elderly at higher levels of care. We are especially indebted to a longtime friend of the Greek Orthodox community, His Excellency Bishop Murphy of the Rockville Diocese, for his great assistance in making this purchase possible,” stated Haeda Mihaltses, board president. The Rockville Centre Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church was the prior owner of the site. Opened in May 1958, St. Michael’s is the only Greek Orthodox facility of its type in the United States and has been a home away from home for countless Greek Orthodox elderly. Self–sufficient since its inception, the Home sustains its ministry with the boarding fees residents are able to offer and on the generous support of the Greek American community. The facility is licensed by the New York State Department of Health. For more information regarding the expansion of St. Michael’s Home, contact Bishop Andonios Paropoulos, (212) 7740282 or board President Haeda Mihaltses, (212) 788-2162.
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Deadline for submitting information, articles and photos for consideration in the September 2013 issue: Wednesday, Sept 4. Photos should be sent as a large format .jpg attachment (300 dpi min.). E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Regular mail: Editor, Orthodox Observer, 8 E. 79th St., New York, NY 10075.
Saint Basil Academy Holds 66th Commencement by Hillary Nason
GARRISON, N.Y. – Archbishop Demetrios and Saint Basil Academy officials honored students graduating from area schools at the Academy’s 66th Commencement ceremony on June 15. Two students graduated from eighth grade and two graduated from high school. Eleni Koumboulis and Destiny Veloza graduated from Bishop Dunn Memorial School, Samantha Kapsis was accepted at Newburgh College, and Zisis Koumboulis was accepted at Mount Saint Mary College. Greetings were offered by Saint Basil Board President Evellyn Tsiadis,Consul General of Greece in New York Georgios Iliopoulos and Consul General of Cyprus in New York Koula Sophianou. Mr. Iliopoulos advised the graduates, “Always try to give back more than you have received from your community. If you do that, you will know that it [the community] will be there to serve you when you need it,” In her comments, Ms. Sophianou noted the recent passing of Archon Jimmy Pol, who was also a stalwart supporter of the Academy, and her foster father. She told the graduates, “Whatever you choose to do in your professional life, find a noble cause to follow. It could be an issue against child labor or helping the elderly, but try to leave your mark in the world with a noble cause.” National Philoptochos Society President Aphrodite Skeadas, in addressing the graduates told of her recent trip to Hagia Sophia in Constantinouple. “We are so blessed in America. We freely pray, attend church service and practice our faith under the Constitution of the United States,” said Mrs. Skeadas. “While visiting the Hagia Sophia, our tour guide instructed us not to pray, chant hymns, or make the sign of the cross to keep from breaking Turkish Law.” She added that, Philoptochos spiritual advisor Bishop Sevastianos of Zela had the group huddle close together to chant ‘Ti Ypermaho.’ The Philoptochos president also told the graduates to “set high goals with your
In 2013, 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
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(Above) Saint Basil graduating students with Archbishop Demetrios, Fr. Sitaras, board members and other students. (Below) His Eminence offers words of encouragement to the four graduates.
HILLARY NASON photo
freedom and your faith and you may overcome all challenges exceeding your highest expectations with the agape of your loved ones, Saint Basil Academy and the truth of the Greek Orthodox faith.” Fr. Constantine Sitaras, Saint Basil Academy executive director, praised the students for their accomplishments and reminded them of the importance of staying close to God. He recalled the Old Testament
How to Contact Archdiocesan Institutions, Metropolises and Related Agencies and Organizations Direct Archdiocesan District 212.570.3500; www.goarch.org Metropolis of Chicago 312.337.4130; www.chicago.goarch.org Metropolis of Boston 617.277.4742; www.boston.goarch.org Metropolis of Denver 303.333.7794; www.denver.goarch.org Metropolis of Atlanta 404.634.9345; www.atlmetropolis.org Metropolis of Detroit 248.823.2400; www.detroit.goarch.org Metropolis of Pittsburgh 412.621.5529; www.pitssburgh.goarch.org Metropolis of San Francisco 415.753.3075; www.sanfran.goarch.org Metropolis of New Jersey 908.301.0500; www.nj.goarch.org Archdiocesan Institutions Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Tel. 212.288.3215; www.thecathedralnyc.org EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis
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story of David and Goliath. David was not expected to triumph over the giant, Goliath, Fr. Sitaras said, but “David knew that he could do all things with God, just as Saint Paul said, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’” Fr. Sitaras also presented Archbishop Demetrios with an icon of Jesus Christ in appreciation for his support of Saint Basil Academy, Archbishop Demetrios, in his remarks, noted that “Today, I was reminded of a scene in which the Lord and His disciples were at the Mountain of Transfiguration, where the Lord appeared with His glory. Peter, James and John said, ‘It’s good to be here’ and I thought to myself, ‘It’s good to be here.’” Hillary Nason, a junior at the University of Maine-Orono, majoring in journalism, is serving a summer internship with the Orthodox Observer. She is a member of St. George Church in Bangor and of its choir. The adopted daughter of a Protestant family, she converted to Greek Orthodoxy on her own after taking a Greek course at the university.
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Orthodox, Catholic Churches Partner to Help Parents Keep Children Safe Online
NEW YORK – The Archdiocese Internet Ministries Department and the Communications Department of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have launched www.faithandsafety.org, a resource for adults to help children safely navigate the online and mobile worlds. The website and complementary social media channels (http://twitter.com/ faithandsafety and http://facebook.com/ faithandsafety) address safe use of the Internet, mobile devices, and other technologies, while emphasizing the positive use of technology to support children’s faith. The initiative, funded in part by a grant from the Catholic Communication Campaign, which receives donations from U.S. Catholics, was launched in recognition of June as being Internet Safety Month. “Our children look to their parents for wisdom and guidance. However, many parents feel inadequately equipped to help their children traverse the unfamiliar terrain of the digital social world,” said Archbishop Demetrios. “This joint initiative between our two Churches is a positive step in helping parents equip their children in the digital world. We have a responsibility to the Lord Himself Who said, ‘Let the children come unto Me’” (Matt. 19:14).
Website is unique religious/nonprofit partnership Provides resources to help stay safe online, build faith Guides parents and children with Internet, mobile devices, other technology “Faithandsafety.org is intended to be not only a set of practical tools and guides for adults, but also a place where they can find a faith framework for conversations with their children about the need to be ethically and morally equipped when they go online,” said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communication. “We believe that this site, presented from the perspective of the Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches, provides a unique perspective on being missionaries of faith on the Digital Continent.” Content on the site includes mobile app reviews, how to address issues faced by children online (such as bullying), and resources to educate parents on protecting their home networks. Parents will also find information about social networks – including Facebook – and how they can better equip their families to navigate social media. “It is our sincere hope and prayer,” said Theo Nicolakis, Information Technologies director for the Archdiocese, “that the launch of this initiative during Internet Safety Month will show that the Church cares about digital safety, cares about the technology issues families are facing, and can provide straightforward, practical resources to busy parents.” Content will be expanded over the next several months and feature regular columns by leading Catholic and Orthodox figures on connecting faith and technology, as well as news updates, how-to guides and video content. Faithandsafety. org features content by Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.
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EN C YC L IC A L 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
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Archbishop Demetrios leads the faithful at the Pentecost service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City.
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Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos Being higher than the Heavens, more glorious than the Cherubim, and more honorable than the whole creation, the Theotokos by reasons of her surpassing purity became the receiver of the everlasting God, and today she commits her most pure soul into the hands of her Son. (Hymn of the Vespers of the Feast) 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, On this day of our commemoration of the Feast of the Dormition, our hearts are filled with hope as we reflect on the holy repose and miraculous translation of the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary. We have hope in Christ our Lord because the Theotokos offers us a superb witness of His power. Certainly, her calling to bear the Son of God was unique, but in all aspects of her life and death she offered a beautiful example of how the power and grace of God can transform us from death to life. This transformation for all of creation began when the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced the Incarnation of Christ. She was called to this service by God, a calling she freely
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AHEPA Honors Fr. Karloutsos, Andrew Manatos WASHINGTON – AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) honored excellence in public service and the community at its “Capital Hill Day” 40th Congressional Banquet, May 22. Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Archon spiritual advisor and assistant to the Archbishop for Public Affairs received the “AHEPA Excellence in Leadership Award” from Supreme President Dr. John Grossomanides. Archon Andrew E. Manatos accepted the “Outstanding Public Advocacy Award,” in recognition of his decades of work in Washington for Hellenic and Orthodox causes. AHEPA Board Chairman Nicholas Karacostas presented the award.
Other honorees included U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ); Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the 2004 Athens Olympic Organizing Committee; and Col. Steve Pisanos, retired World War II flying ace. Established in 1922, AHEPA is the largest Greek-American association in the world with chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, Cyprus, and sister chapters in Australia and New Zealand. The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility and family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism.
CLERGY UPDATE Ordination to the Diaconate Kostouros, Chrysostomos (Christos) – Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago – St. George, Merrillville, Ind. 05/12/13 Stevenson, Michael – Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver – Holy Trinity Church, Tulsa, Okla. 05/21/13 Constantine, Eleftherios – Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh – St. John the Forerunner Church, Youngstown, Ohio 06/16/13 Ordination to Priesthood Dn. Micah J. Hirschy – Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta – Annunciation Cathedral, Atlanta 12/30/12
Assignments Fr. Sotirios Malamis – St. John the Baptist Church, Des Plaines, Ill. 07/01/13 Fr. George Pappas – Sts. Constantine & Helen Cathedral, Merrillville, Ind. 07/01/13 Fr. Dimitrios Tobias – Holy Trinity Church, Sioux City, Iowa 08/01/133 Appointments Dn. Eleftherios Constantine – Deacon to Archbishop Demetrios 06/19/13 Retired Priests Fr. Philemon Karamanos 06/30/13
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, As we commemorate Independence Day and its significance for this nation, for our American heritage, and for the quality of our lives, we must also affirm and share the truth our Orthodox faith offers concerning freedom. In our contemporary world, many people understand freedom in a very individualistic way. For example, some emphasize freedom as an individual right in terms of speech, movement, belief, or behavior. Others speak of freedom from the arbitrary use of the power of government. Many affirm the liberty to have or to pursue a wide range of economic and social opportunities. Certainly, these are aspects of the classical understanding of liberty in a free society in which government is of and for the people and their freedom is protected through various limitations on political authority. However, as Orthodox Christians, we understand that freedom is much more than this. We know that the blessing of a free society is that we are free to live and experience freedom in the fullest possible way. This is freedom that is not limited to our individual rights and opportunities, but freedom to move beyond ourselves to what we can do for and offer to others. Yes, we are free to say, do, move, and believe; but in the context of our faith and our communion with God, we are free to share a Gospel of love and hope. We are free to give and serve so that others might find healing and peace. We are free to respond to the needs of those around us. We are free to act on our beliefs and offer a witness of the power and grace of God. On this Independence Day, may we join with our fellow citizens of the United States of America in a celebration of our freedom. May we continue to be champions of freedom for all people throughout the world. May we also offer a witness of how true and enduring freedom is much more than the rights, equality and opportunities that we have individually. Let us show that the experience of freedom is much greater when we use it as an opportunity to bring life and hope to others and honor and glory to God. With paternal love in Him,
† DEMETRIOS, Archbishop of America
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Memphis Welcomes Oratorical Festival Finalists MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Annunciation Church hosted the 30th St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival on June 7-9. Parish priest Fr. James Berends and Dr. Stephanie Storgion Poplos served as event co-chairmen. Upon their arrival, the 18 finalists and their families received a welcome from local registration and hospitality committee members who presented them with back packs filled with welcome gifts and memorabilia from Memphis. Weekend events began with Vespers at Annunciation Church and a welcome by Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit. Dinner was followed by a father and son duo who performed soul music on the harmonica and guitar and an ice breaker, run by Eva Kokinos, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Detroit. Saturday morning began with breakfast at the newly renovated Cotros Hall and the opening of the Oratorical Festival Program by Archbishop Demetrios. Also in attendance were: Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, Dr. Anton C. Vrame, director of the Department of Religious Education, Fr. John and Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos, Oratorical Festival Archdiocese co-chairpersons and many others. The congregation listened attentively as speakers delivered their speeches and agreed that the judges were faced with the very difficult responsibility of selecting first, second and third place recipients. Placing first in the Junior Division was Nicholas Tassopoulos-Holy Transfiguration Church, Marietta, Ga.; Second place was awarded to Christina Hanos-Sts. Constantine & Helen Church-West Nyack, N.Y.; Third place was awarded to Timothy Kaelin-St. George Church- Eugene, Oregon. Those receiving honorable mention were: Costas Vergados-Sts. Constantine & Helen Church-Andover, Mass.; Katerina Paganis-St. Demetrios Church. Libertyville, Ill.; Alexander Shah-St. John the Baptist Church, Euless, Texas; Jordan George-St. Nicholas Church, Troy, Mich.; Alexandra Birbilis-St. Thomas Church, Cherry Hill, N.J.; Artemis D’Amico-Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Aliquippa. Pa. Senior Division first place speaker was: Anastasia Zavitsanos-Annunciation Cathedral, Houston; Second place was awarded to Sarah Hunt-Sts. Markella & Demetrios Church, Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.; receiving third place was Louis D’Amico-Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church, Alquippa, Pa. Honor-
able Mention recipients were: Christopher Augustinos-St. George Cathedral, Hartford, Conn.; Basil Vergados-Sts. Constantine & Helen Church, Andover, Mass.; John Stavropoulos-St. John the Baptist Church, Des Plains, Ill.; Theodore Monk-Annunciation Church, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Mario SokolicSt. George Church, Clifton, N.J.; Susanna Silva-St. Basil Church, San Jose, Calif. Along with a certificate and plaque for all participants, those receiving first place received a $2,000 college scholarship; second place a $1,500 college scholarship and third place, a $1,000 college scholarship. Those who received honorable mention were given an iPad Mini. Each finalist also received an additional scholarship from FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Finalists and their families later joined Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Nicholas for dinner, followed by a riverboat excursion on the Mississippi. Sunday events included a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and farewell luncheon.
St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival participants with Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Nicholas, Dr. Anton Vrame and Fr. John and Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos on a riverboat about a half a mile from the Mississippi Bridge.
Archbishop Demetrios with Senior and Junior winners Anastasia Zavitsanos and Nicholas Tassopoulos.
Metropolis of Denver
Metropolis of Atlanta
Senior Division Topic 2: In 313 AD, St. Constantine the Great proclaimed the Edict of Milan, which allowed Christians to practice their faith freely. What did religious freedom mean then, and what does it mean for people of faith today in countries where violent religious persecution occurs? It’s Sunday morning and the alarm clock goes off. I ignore it for a while, and then get up even though I don’t feel like it. (Nikolai Khamari. Tongue cut out and murdered) I get ready, head out the door, and put on some quiet music in the car, not really focused on anything specific. (Irene. Burnt alive in a clay cask.) I get to church, walk inside, light my candle, and make my way over to the choir. (Justin. Exiled in Serbia.) I’ll sing, and
Junior Division Topic 3: In the Resurrection Service, the priest proclaims, “Come, receive the light.” Discuss the place of light in the Orthodox Tradition. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. God saw the light; it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1: 3-4). At the very beginning of the Bible we see that God pays particular attention to light, and finds it “good.” But what does light mean? Light could be the element that makes things visible, the natural agent that stimulates. Light has found its way into literature as a common symbol of all that is good; in Star Wars, the Light Side is good and the Dark Side is evil. So maybe that is what light means. Well, light does not just equal good in the Orthodox Christian faith. It is that, but it
1st Place Senior Division
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1st Place Junior Division
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St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival u u from page 4 maybe make a few side comments about my week with a friend or two. (Vladimir. Tortured and shot.) I go up for communion, and think about how good or not so good the Antidoron tastes that day. (Flavin. Beaten to death.) The service finishes up, I go to Sunday school, and on goes my week. (Leonidas. Weighed down by stones and drowned.) Did you know that every five minutes a Christian somewhere in the world is martyred? That’s about 100,000 per year, and the numbers have been steadily increasing over the past several years. All these people were convinced that nothing, not even death, could separate them from their love of Christ. Am I truly an Orthodox Christian? In 313 AD, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, which made all religions legal. This came after 300 years of severe persecution of the early Christians; the first martyr being St. Steven, who was stoned to death in Jerusalem in 33AD. I am living in the United States today, enjoying all the freedoms that Edict affords me. It is easy for me to talk about how serious and deep our religion truly is. Yet,
u u from page 4 is also much, much more. It is something that resides in all of us, something that we should strive to share with others. Jesus tells us that “[He] is the light of the world” (John 8:12) and “He who follows [Jesus] shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs us to “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). But how can we actually let our light shine? During the Resurrection service on Pascha, the priest proclaims, “Come, receive the light” while holding the only light in the church. The priest lights the candles held by the front row, and they share the light to all around, spreading it to every corner of the church. This is the light, the joy, the pure good of Jesus’ resurrection. It has been given to us by God, just as the priest lights our candles, and we are meant to share it with all to bring them and ourselves closer to God.Again I ask, how can we let our light shine? The answer is simple but layered: devotion to God, devotion to others, and finally finding our path in accordance with Scripture. The only way to let our light shine through devotion to God is to practice His ways, living the Scripture every hour of ev-
Metropolis of Denver • 1st Place Senior Division compared to many in our world now and many who lived before me, I am taking a lackadaisical approach to this ancient and stoic faith. I think I am faithful because I’m baptized, attend church, sing in the choir and pray before I go to bed, but when I am reminded of others throughout the world who do not have the luxury to worship freely, and STILL fight to their death for what they believe, my practice is insubstantial. Our Orthodox faith teaches us that we live in this world, but we are not a part of this world. In 1999 the first mass school shooting was reported in Littleton, Colorado where two students entered Columbine High School and murdered many innocent people, one of them being Cassie Bernall. A gun was placed at her forehead, and she was asked if she believed in Christ. She said yes, and at that moment her life ended. The killing of innocent children and teachers in the 31 mass school shootings that followed Columbine is a direct correlation to the lack of love that continues
to seep into our world. Perhaps we are partially responsible for these actions because our society is becoming more and more Godless. We live in a society where God loves us so much we can choose not to believe in Him. We can choose to sleep in on Sunday mornings, like I have allowed myself to do many times this past year; we can choose to be apathetic. My point is not that we don’t need freedom of religion. It’s that we need to take advantage of it as the Orthodox Christians we are all called to be. Perhaps my martyrdom will never be standing up for Christ while a gun is pointed at my head, but rather it may be living with so many luxuries around me and the freedom to have faith, or to discard it. These very well may be the demonic forces, the executioners, at work in our part of the world. People like Cassie Bernall give me strength and courage to love God, to love my faith, and to try to be more actively involved in the life of the Church. St. Nilus the myrrh streamer had a
Metropolis of Atlanta • 1st Place Junior Division ery day. We can’t pick and choose. “I don’t feel like being devoted today, I’m not going to pray before lunch and I guess I’ll cheat on my math test.” No. Our devotion to God is lived out each and every day. The best image of devotion to others letting someone’s light shine in literature is, in my opinion, from The Lord of the Rings. Samwise Gamgee has stuck with Frodo through thick and thin. Now Sam thinks Frodo has abandoned him, but Sam does not give up. He confronts Shelob, a massive spider, using only a knife and a vial of pure light to save his friend, literally letting a light shine in the process. The light Sam carried with him, the Light of Earendil, was to be “their light when all other lights go out.” Just as Sam does not give up and holds onto this undying light to confront the darkness, we also should devote ourselves and persist when it seems everything is at its lowest point, carrying our undying light, which is Jesus, the Light of the World. There are always fictitious characters to look at for examples just like Sam, but the best examples are in the real world. One such person is Father Jacob from the St. John the Wonderworker church in Atlanta, who recently fell asleep in the Lord. One of the things he did was feed the homeless
in the area. Not once a week. Every day. Not once a day. Twice a day. The light of God poured out of him, illuminating those around him because of his quiet work ethic as he helped those who could not help themselves. He did just as Jesus instructed: he let His light shine, but not only that, he let it shine where others could see. So, how
prophecy, circa 1550 AD, predicting what our lives would be like over half a millennium in the future. His accuracy is almost frightening. He states that, “After the year 1900, toward the middle of the 20th century, the people of the time will become unrecognizable. People’s minds will grow cloudy from carnal passions, and dishonor and lawlessness will grow stronger. Then the world will become unrecognizable. These people will be cruel and will be like wild animals because of the temptations of the Antichrist. There will be no respect for parents and elders, [and] love will disappear.” We need to be the love in the world that Christ has shown us so that his light will shine even in the darkness that is this world today. St. Paul is convinced that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord.” As I conclude with these words, bare in mind it has been five minutes, and another Christian has just been martyred. can you let your light shine to help others see God? Devote yourself to His ways through service and heeding the Scripture. Remember the Resurrection service, how even as Jesus shared His light with us, we must share our given light to the world. Light is a crucial part of the Orthodox Faith, full of symbolism, but at its heart it is a gift. A gift we should all strive to learn of and share. A gift of life, learning, but, most of all, a gift of love.
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Camp St. Constantine 2013 From June 10-14, Sts. Constantine and Helen parish in Palos Hills, Ill., hosted more than 150 young people June 10-14 as they learned about the journey of St. Paul to Athens in the annual Vacation Church School. Through the camp class, arts and crafts, and music/hymnology sessions, the children were able to replicate the steps of the legendary saint of many years ago.
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Metropolis News SF Metropolis ‘Greek Village’ Takes Campers From Earth to Sky by Paul Gikas
DUNLAP, Calif. – “From Earth to Sky” was the theme for the 2013 Greek Village Immersion Camp “To Elliniko Horio” of the Metropolis of San Francisco. More than 50 youth ages 7-14 gathered at St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center for this Greek language and cultural immersion program which offered unique and creative instruction led by skilled educators who shared their professional talents in this creative learning environment. A typical day in the Horio started at 8 a.m. with campers and staff gathering for the morning Orthros service under the shade of the trees. Following a hearty breakfast, classes and activities started including classes in Greek language and culture, music and dancing, arts and crafts, and cooking. Taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings of St. Nicholas Ranch, campers also enjoyed archery, canoeing, volleyball, basketball, swimming and other activities. This year “Ta Mila” was a favorite game. Before dinner each evening, campers once again joined in prayer at the Evening Vespers service. Each evening offered a different activity including campfires, camp cheers, mythology stories and more. On the last night, the entire camp celebrated the conclusion of the Elliniko Horio with a poolside Glendi, complete with Greek dancing and food that the campers had prepared during their cooking lessons. Metropolitan Gerasimos visited the Greek Village Camp during the week, enjoying time with the campers in their various activities and joining with them at the campfire singing folk songs they had learned in their classes. Metropolitan Gerasimos also led the group in prayer and spoke to the campers about the importance of maintaining the traditions of
Metropolitan Gerasimos with the campers and staff of the 2013 Greek Village Immersion Camp.
their Hellenic heritage, learning to speak the Greek language, and respecting the many cultural and educational contributions of our ancestors. Metropolitan Gerasimos was accompanied by Theofanis Economidis, vicepresident of the Metropolis Council and managing director of St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center. Campers also attended the Divine Liturgy at the adjacent Monastery of the Theotokos the Life-Giving Spring and
spent time at the farm of the monastery where they learned about gardening and growing fresh vegetables. They also received instruction on caring for the goats and chickens, and even collected freshly laid eggs from the hen house. The Greek Village Immersion Camp was organized this year by a joint effort between the Hellenic Education and Culture Committee of the Metropolis of San Francisco, chaired by Theodora Kounalakis and the Metropolis Office of Youth and
Photo by Katerina Ikonomou
Young Adult Ministries. Other Greek Village Committee members included Georgia Covell, Katerina Ikonomou, Bettina Kallins, Bettina Kallins, Ioanna Lekkakou, Barbara Matty, Dr. David Matty and Kleon Skourtis. Eleni Kalioras from the Metropolis of Boston served as the program director. Paul Gikas is director Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Metropolis of San Francisco.
Long Island GOYA Chapter Offers Active Service Ministry by Hillary Nason
GREENLAWN, N.Y. – The GOYA ministry of Paraskevi Church regularly sponsors and supports numerous community service and outreach programs, and maintains a social setting for Orthodox Christian youth to share their Greek faith, heritage, and tradition. “It’s about fellowship and service,” said Georgia Kaitery, one of the eight youth advisers at St. Paraskevi. “The youth learn to live the Orthodox faith.” Ms. Kaitery grew up in the Church as a fellow GOYA youth. “I know the impact the program has on youth and wanted to make sure my children were involved,” she said. “It teaches them about their faith and the power they have to impact themselves and others. GOYA advisers and the parish priest create a calendar of activities every August that will help the youth grow based on the Greek Orthodox Church Archdiocese guidelines. Several activities in the Archdiocese are inter-GOYA activities in which GOYA groups from different parishes collaborate. The St. Paraskevi GOYA program has hosted inter-GOYA retreats with Holy Cross seminarians and inter-GOYA dances and award dinners. These youth meet once a week to fulfill GOYA activities.
“I really enjoy working with the kids and planning programs for them and getting everyone involved,” said Ms. Kaitery. The St. Paraskevi GOYA program ranges from 13 to 18 years old. Many children start in JOY (Junior Orthodox Youth) and they continue into GOYA after they turn 13. “We have about 100 youth registered for the program and about 50 of them attend our weekly meetings,” said Kaitery. “Many of the youth say GOYA has become their second family.” St. Paraskevi parish members and GOYA children collaborate on participating in the star program during the Christmas season. The program sponsors 7 or 8 families in need and delivers gifts to them. The group has visited Saint Basil Academy, Hellenic College, the Archdiocese (to meet Archbishop Demetrios), Washington and Ground Zero. The midnight run happens every December. GOYA youth collect and distribute clothing, food and toiletries to assigned places on bus route through Manhattan. The first Tuesday of every month, one St. Paraskevi parish family buys the groceries (typically bread, peanut butter, jelly and fruit) and the GOYA youth prepare 100 lunches to be delivered to a local town hall near the church. St. Paraskevi sponsors Project Mexico
under the guidance of Fr. Dimitrios Moraitis: GOYA Spiritual Leader and parish priest, every other summer. A group of GOYA youth and young adults travel to an Orphanage in Mexico. “It costs about $6,000 to $7,000 ($1,500 per child) to send the group for a week,” said Fr. Dimitrios. “The expenses cover travel and building material costs, which the youth mostly raise through fund raisers like Comedy Night or Family Greek Night.” Fr. Dimitrios has taken five GOYA teams on Project Mexico. Every year the number of GOYA youth serving on the trip increases. His continuous goal is to affect change in the young children as a result of their experience interacting with the St. Innocent orphans and a third world country. “We talk about what the best parts of the day concluding the end of the day’s activities with a special emphasis on Matthew 25,” said Fr. Dimitrios. The priest has learned through religious training that it’s best to reinforce an experience with children. He mentioned that most kids return with gratitude when they see what happens when a family gets keys to their first house. Both Fr. Dimitrios and Ms. Kaitery agree that Project Mexico has the most impact on the youth.
The St. Paraskevi GOYA group also participates in luncheons, bake sales, car washes, candle/wreathe making, soldier and IOCC care packages, and clothing drives. “We’ve had several occasions where non-Orthodox Christian youth were involved and decided to be chrismated into the Church,” said Ms. Kaitery.
Corrections * In the June issue on page one under the second photo it should state Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago. * In the People Section Scout Award article, George Boulukos is present, not former, chairman of the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting.
Questions about submitting news and photos contact: Jim Golding (212) 570.3557; firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising or the Greek section: Lefteris Pissalidis, (212) 570. 3555; email@example.com
The Voice of Philoptochos
Pilgrimage Honors Ecumenical Patriarch Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, National Philoptochos advisor and National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas led the 2nd National Philoptochos Pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Feastday of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. National Philoptochos members from across the country joined in this historic visit that included a special audience with His All Holiness and a visit to the Halki Theological School. National Board members Maria Stavropoulos and Anita Kartalopoulos organized the trip. Reflections and more details in the September Orthodox Observer.
Pittsburgh Metropolis to Host Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon The Metropolis of Pittsburgh Philoptochos under the spiritual leadership of Metropolitan Savas is finalizing details for the National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Fairmont Pittsburgh hotel in downtown Pittsburgh. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas and Metropolis Philoptochos President Rosemary Nikas announced that Mike Emanuel, chief Congressional correspondent for FOX News will serve as the master of ceremonies. Sponsorship information has been sent to the Philoptochos chapters and stewards and invitations and additional program details are forthcoming. To make hotel reservations call the Fairmont hotel 1.800.441.1414 and request “Greek Orthodox Metropolis Luncheon.” The room rate for a standard room is $239.
National and Boston Metropolis Philoptochos Honored with Alpha Omega Award Alpha Omega Council President Athanasios Liakos presented the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award to National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas and Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos President Philippa Condakes before a record crowd at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel on June 8. Speakers on the dais rose to praise both the National and Metropolis Philoptochos for their enormous dedication and devotion to aid those most in need and to respond immediately to national and international crises. Offering remarks were Dr. John Grossomanidis, Supreme President of AHEPA, Paulette Poulos, executive director of Leadership 100; Thomas C. Lelon, Ph.D, vice chairman, HCHC; Iphegenia Kanara, consul general of Greece in Boston, State Rep. Theodore Speliotis, who presented a proclamation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Philoptochos and Metropolitan Methodios. Mrs. Skeadas accepted this coveted service award with gratitude on behalf of the 27,000 brave, strong and decisive members nationwide under the Chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios. President Skeadas stated that most importantly Alpha Omega recognizes the “noble offering of our ancestors whose founding efforts have flourished for more than 80 years as friends of the poor. In preserving the legacy and excellence inherited by the brave pioneers - mothers, yiayias, nounas and theies, Philoptochos continues to be a source of illumination, providing hope and enlightenment for the battered, the lonely, the disabled, the hungry and those in need of uplifting. The women of today’s Society are the role models for tomorrow’s leaders passing forward their val-
Athanasios Liakos, Metropolitan Methodios, Aphrodite Skeadas
ues of family, faith and freedom.” She reported that the National Philoptochos experienced a banner year of giving in 2012 by donating over $1.6 million to organizations and individuals and noted that the amount pales to what is given in service by the chapters to their communities. Their enormous humanitarianism and magnanimous good works are immeasurable. She announced the purchase of the Manhattan brownstone seven months earlier that will become the Philoptochos Center of Philanthropy and recognized Honorary National President Eve Condakes, Metropolis President Philippa Condakes, national board members who were present Christine Karavites, Georgia
Lagadinos, Diane Miminos, Celeste Moschos and Demetra Safiol. The Alpha Omega Council is a group of friends and business leaders in Boston who promote and encourage loyalty and patriotism to the United States of America; cultivate the ideals of Hellenism; constantly strive towards maintaining positive Greek-American relations; unite Americans of Greek descent in fellowship and philanthropy and alleviate the needs of the poor and needy. Alpha Omega has contributed over $2 million to various philanthropic causes since its inception in 1976 including the prestigious Peter Agris Memorial Scholarships awarded each year at its annual banquet.
Denver Metropolis Philoptochos Stewards Serve 14 States
tochos also provide funds for St. John the Baptist Women’s Monastery in Denver. Our largest commitment is to social services. We provide funds for medical care, funeral expenses and financial assistance to those in need within our Metropolis. These funds are also used to support social service programs both nationally and internationally, such as IOCC’s Podoconiosis project in Ethiopia, Hurricane Sandy, and Aid to Greece and Cyprus. Our chapters also support our Paschal Appeal program during the Lenten season. The program was implemented in 2007 to raise funds for requests that are not part of our commitments. With these funds, we have distributed over $55,000 for programs and outreach at both the Metropolis and National level. During the past two years, the Metropolis of Denver Philoptochos chapters have donated over $350,000 to National Ministry commitments and appeals; $89,000 to Metropolis commitments and appeals and over $285,000 to their parishes and local outreach programs. The chapters are to be commended for their hard work and dedication to Philoptochos and the needs of others.Even though many of our chapters are small, that has not stopped them from their commitment to Philoptochos. The members of Philoptochos continue to offer their time, talent and treasures to support the mission of Philoptochos.
by Marian Catechis
The Metropolis of Denver Philoptochos consists of 33 active chapters with 1,500 members. Many of the chapters have fewer than 30 members and Philoptochos is the mainstay of their community. The chapters are spread across 14 states and have limited contact with each other except at Metropolis and National conventions. A liaison program between board members and chapters was established to provide support, guidance and continued contact with the chapters. In May, the Metropolis of Denver Philoptochos held its biennial conference in Kansas City, Mo., in conjunction with the Metropolis Clergy–Laity Assembly. The conference focus was the philanthropic commitments, membership and growth. Board member Stella Piches from Albuquerque, N.M. conducted an informative membership workshop, providing each delegate with a detailed membership packet. The focus of the workshop was not only on increasing our membership but also on providing opportunities for all members to get involved in the programs and ministries of Philoptochos. The ultimate goal is for all women and men to become members of the “Philanthropic arm of the Church.” Denver Metropolis chapters support all of the ministry commitments of National
Philoptochos as well as the eight Metropolis ministry commitments. All commitments of the Metropolis are stewardship based, including our per capita. The chapters support our religious education program by providing funds for religious education, Sunday school, and the Oratorical Festival. The Missions commitment assists with mission parishes, mission trips and our Prison Ministry program. We have provided communion kits, Bibles and icons to the various prisons within the Metropolis. The Youth Ministries and Youth Endowment commitments provide funds for establishing youth programs, religious
retreats, summer camps and other youth activities within the Metropolis. They also provide funds for the youth director and also support the Orthodox Christian Fellowship programs within our Metropolis, realizing the great need for Orthodox ministry on our college campuses. In 1990, the Metropolis Philoptochos established the Bishop Anthimos Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to all male and female candidates from our Metropolis who seek to pursue a spiritual education at Holy Cross School of Theology, distributing more than $114,000 to 46 recipients since its inception. The Philop-
Metropolis Board members with Metropolitan Isaiah.
Marian Catechis is Denver Metropolis Philoptochos President.
Church History Metropolitan Damaskinos Papandreou: His Profound Influence on US Church by William H. Samonides, Ph.D.
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Along with hierarchs Meletios Metaxakis (1871-1935) and Athenagoras Spyrou (1886-1972), Damaskinos Papandreou (1891-1949) must be considered one of the most important figures in the history of the early Greek Orthodox Church in America. In addition to their service in America, all three achieved international renown following their service in America. Meletios and Athenagoras were elected Ecumenical Patriarch. Damaskinos was Archbishop of Athens (1941-1949), Regent of Greece (1944-1946), and Prime Minister of Greece (1945). On Oct. 1, 1945, he appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Although less well known for his work in America (May 1930 to February 1931), Damaskinos played a pivotal role in the administration of the Church, resolving the divisive political situation that had plagued the Church here for over a decade. Metropolitan Damaskinos was born George Papandreou, one of 13 children. As a youth, he excelled as a wrestler and javelin thrower. It is said that when he was a boy he passed a monastery in his native Thessaly, paused before an icon of the Panagia, put his last coin in the offering box, and decided to enter the priesthood. Before his ordination in 1917, he studied law and theology at the University of Athens. The following year he demonstrated skill in mediation when he settled a nationalist dispute between the Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian monks on Mount Athos. On Dec. 16, 1922, he was elected Metropolitan of Corinth. In April 1928, Corinth was devastated by a massive earthquake. Metropolitan Damaskinos led an international effort to raise funds for the reconstruction of the city. In August he visited America for the first time in an effort to solicit the help of the Greek-American community. On his tour, he witnessed the political divisions that troubled Greek communities throughout this country. Supporters of former Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936) and former King George II (1890-1947) continued to fight their political battles in the Church. At that time, the legitimate Archdiocese was headed in New York by Archbishop Alexander, an avowed Venizelist. His authority had been challenged since 1923 by a rival Archdiocese with Royalist sentiments in Lowell, Mass., under the authority of Vasilios Komvopoulos, the former Metropolitan of Mythemne. In 1930, Ecumenical Patriarch Photios II (1929-35) chose Metropolitan Damaskinos, because of his firsthand knowledge of the American situation, to serve as Patriarchal Exarch to investigate the American situation. Arriving in New York on May 20, he immediately set to work on his assignment. Six feet four inches tall, Metropolitan Damaskinos carried himself with the dignity befitting the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch. He skillfully negotiated the roiling political waters of the Church in America. The secular press was considered a major problem, responsible for fomenting much of the partisan division in American parishes. On April 4, 1930, the eve of Metropolitan Damaskinos’ mission to America, Patriarch Photios sent a letter to the Greek-American press calling for them “to strengthen [the] work of reconciliation and unity” undertaken by Metropolitan Damaskinos. Initially the press was wary, but the Metropolitan was able to gain their
support. Clergy and laity across the country also submitted to his authority. Metropolitan Damaskinos understood that dramatic action was necessary to rid the Church of political factionalism. His recommendations included the removal and reassignment to Greece of Archbishop Vasilios and of Archbishop Alexander along with two of his three auxiliary bishops. Only Bishop Kallistos Papageorgopoulos of San Francisco (1878-1940) was to remain. Metropolitan Damaskinos also recommended that Athenagoras, Metropolitan of Corfu, be selected to head the Church in America. His recommendations were accepted by the Patriarchate and eventually implemented. Following the resignation of Archbishop Alexander, Damaskinos served as the head of the Church in America for half a year. During this time he was very active, visiting parishes across the country and attending major events, including the national AHEPA convention and the Epiphany ceremony in Tarpon Springs, Fla. He returned to Greece in February 1931 just prior to the arrival of Archbishop Athenagoras in America. In 1938 Damaskinos was elected Archbishop of Athens. The election was annulled by Prime Minister John Metaxas, who exiled him to a mountain monastery on Salamis. There, with only his pet dog and goat as company, he devoted himself to prayer and learned to play Gregorian chants on a harmonium sent by a friend from Chicago. In 1941, he returned to Athens and was restored to his position as Archbishop by the Germans, whom he fought with all the power at his command. After a Nazi soldier was killed, he was asked to name which hostages would be shot in retribution. Instead he submitted a list of his bishops with his own name at the head. When summoned by the Nazis to their headquarters, he regularly carried with him a length of rope. When he clashed with the German officers, he would hand them the rope and say: “If you wish to hang me, here is the rope.” Another of his bold, defiant statements to the Germans is inscribed at the base of his statue outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in central Athens: “The members of the clergy of Greece may not be shot, they may only be hanged. I beg you to respect this tradition...” Only a man of such courage and fortitude could have resolved the tangled political situation that had troubled the American Church for years. The reorganization of the Archdiocese and restoration of peace paved the way for growth and progress in the decades ahead. Contact the author at htgochistorian@ aol.com or 330-452-5162.
DIMITRIS PANAGOS photo
Archbishop Demetrios with officials of Cypriot-American organizations and diplomats (from left) Peter Kakoyiannis, George Sophocleous, Nikos Tziazas , Peter Louka, Ambassador George Chacalli, Ambassador Nicholas Aimiliou, Consul General Koula Sofianou, Kostas Tsentas and Peter Papanicolaou.
Cyprus Relief Fund Given Substantial Aid by Stavros Papagermanos
NEW YORK – Contributions of $460,000 to the Cyprus Relief Fund were presented at a meeting with Archbishop Demetrios, June 21, at Archdiocese headquarters. The Archbishop presented donations from organizations and individuals, that will support, through the Archdiocese, carefully selected projects recommended by the Cypriot government as outlined in a letter His Eminence sent to participants of the initial meeting on April 3. The Archbishop emphasized that his was only a first installment of support through the Archdiocese Relief Fund for the people of Cyprus in cooperation with the organizations, the Cyprus government and the Archdiocese of Cyprus. These contributions, to date, include: Cyprus Federation of America, $50,000; Cyprus American Chamber of Commerce, $10,000; Peter and Nasia Papanikolaou, $100,000; Demetrios and Georgia Kaloidis, $100,000; George and Olga Tsounis, $100,000; Michael and Mary Jaharis, $50,000; Pampaphian Federation of America, $10,000; Eleftheria Pancyprian Youth Groups, $10,000; Cypriot Association of America Lampousa, $10,000; Cyprus Association Asgata, $10,000; and Pancyprian
Dancing Group, $10,000. The three projects focused primarily on children, to which the this relief assistance will be channeled are: establishment of Centers for the Protection and Care of Children, Association for Autism in Cyprus and its existing Day Care Centers for people with autism, and Childrens’ Rehab Center (for details see Press Release of June 7, www.goarch.org/news/followup-lettercyprus-06072013) This meeting and presentation of significant monetary contribution was the first response to Archbishop Demetrios’ letter to the 36 representatives of Greek-American and Cypriot American organizations who had participated in the initial meeting convened for raising humanitarian support for Cyprus. The newly appointed ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. George Chacalli, who had a private meeting with His Eminence earlier that day, participated in the presentation and praised the Archdiocese and the contributors for their support and work in support of Cyprus. Also present were Republic of Cyprus UN Ambassador Nicholas Aimiliou, Cyprus Consul General in New York Koula Sofianou and various Cypriot-American organization officers.
Holy Cross Dean Addresses Ukrainian Seminary Graduation The Rev. Dr. Thomas FitzGerald, dean of Holy Cross School of Theology, was the commencement speaker at the May 24 graduation at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Seminary in South Bound Brook, N.J. Metropolitan Antony, primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, invited Fr. Fitzgerald to speak. The Seminary conferred 17 Master of Divinity degrees and three other advanced degrees. Prior to the commencement, Fr. Thomas and his presbytera, Dr. Kyriaki FitzGerald, were the honored guests of Metropolitan Antony at a luncheon attended by the seminary staff. The event served as an opportunity to discuss future cooperation between St. Sophia and Holy Cross. Fr. Basil Zawierucha, dean of St. Sophia, introduced Fr. Fitzgerald at the ceremonies and commended him for his faithful service to the Church, his scholarship and numerous publications. In his address, Fr. Thomas spoke
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W.Va Church Develops Ministries Program by Fr. Frank Milanese
WEIRTON, W.Va. – A few years ago, the Weirton-Steubenville, Ohio, area was listed as the ninth poorest economic region in the United States. Over the years, many people have left the area seeking better jobs. This economic fact along with an aging congregation has put a strain on parish income as well as a declining volunteer pool to take care of church needs. In fall 2012, All Saints Church undertook a major project to reach out to the entire community to re-engage its parishioners into the everyday life of the parish. Based on a local seminar sponsored by the Department of Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism, a Strategic Planning Committee was formed to examine the parish’s immediate needs and develop a mission statement and objective to fulfill that mission. All Saints Church Ministries began with a mission of “Preserving the Legacy of our Orthodox Faith for Future Generations through our collective time, talents and treasures.” We believe that getting more people involved with their time and talents can directly contribute to sustaining a thriving Greek Orthodox community required for the future wellbeing of our church. The Strategic Planning Committee identified seven core church ministries to start with. Each of these core ministries includes core team leaders, action plans with specific goals and objectives, and timelines for delivery. These initial ministries are Outreach and Engagement, Youth Outreach and Activities,
u u to page 23
Chicago Koraes School Graduation Event PALOS HILLS, Ill. -- Commencement exercises for the 97th class of Koraes Elementary School at Sts. Constantine and Helen Church took place June 6. Koraes is the Elementary Day School operated by Sts. Constantine and Helen Church. This celebration was especially honored by the presence of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago. Also present were parish priests Frs. Nicholas Jonas, Byron Papanikolaou and Tom De Medeiros, Parish Council President Dr. Neophytos Savide, Koraes School Board Chairman George Argires, school Principal Mary Zaharis, and others. Speakers included Valedictorian Francesca Flamburis and Salutatorian Alexa Tsiakopoulos. All gave inspiring speeches pertaining to the education they received at Koraes. The keynote address was given by Koraes graduate Pamela Visvardis inspiring the bright future that the graduates seek ahead. Class of 2013 graduates: Constantine Alemis, Victoria Lillian Atkinson, Kostantina Drakes, Francesca Maria Flamburis, Nicholas Raphael Georgiopoulos, John Nicholas Greanias, Theodore N. Greanias, Steven Karitsiotis, Konstantina Karnavas, Constantine C. Makris, Charles J. Maniatis, Ioannis Iosef Moshos, Arris Paul Panos, George Elias Plakias, Evangelos Ioannis Sellas, John Kosta Spatharakis, Alexandra Tsiakopoulos and Constantinos Panagiotis Vitogiannis.
SF Metropolis Music Conference Offers Varied Program
(L-R) Christopher Yokas, Conference Organist; Maria Keritsis, National Chairman of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians; James Kollias, Conference Adult Choir Director; Rev. Fr. John Bakas, dean, St. Sophia Cathedral–Los Angeles; Metropolitan Gerasimos; Fr. Apostolos Hill, conference Byzantine Chant director; Athena Mertes, conference youth choir director; Kathy Meck, federation president; Fr. Gabriel Boyd; Elizabeth Levy, federation president (term beginning Aug. 1).
concluded, Federation delegates held a town hall meeting to receive information from members regarding communications, Federation programs, and future needs. The Federation grand banquet honored several including Theodora Zes who received the Sts. Cosmas and John the Damascene icon award. Vasiliki Kyriakakis from St. Demetrios in Tucson, Ariz., received the Patriarch Athenagoras Distinguished Service Medal, having been Federation’s Southwest Regional administrator more than 12 years. National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians National Chairman Maria Keritsis was in attendance. Metropolitan Gerasimos presented a Certificate of Recognition to Kathy Meck, who has served as president for the past six years and who concludes her term later this summer. In his keynote address, the Metropolitan challenged the Federation to continue growing musically as well as spiritually, and to be an example of our faith through their ministry. He emphasized the importance of engaging our congregations in worship and using music as a tool to educate our faithful. He also addressed the need to build up music programs for the youth to keep them active in the Church’s liturgical life. The weekend culminated with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday.
St. George Church in Prescott, Ariz., coordinated the Byzantine Chant choir. Christopher Yokas from St. Sophia Cathedral served as the organist. After the rehearsals
Kathy Meck, Metropolis of San Francisco Church Music Federation president since August 2007, is choir director at St. Spyridon Church in San Diego.
by Kathy Meck
LOS ANGELES – The Metropolis of San Francisco Church Music Federation held its annual summer conference, “Church Musicfest Under the Byzantine Dome” June 27–30 at St. Sophia Cathedral. The conference attracted more than 130 musicians in the adult and youth choirs and Byzantine chant group. Christopher Yokas, Brent Noyes and Jim Kollias served as cochairmen. Federation delegates from Metropolis parishes heard committee reports and elected officers. Those chosen for a twoyear term beginning Aug. 1, are: Elizabeth Levy (Resurrection Church, Castro Valley, Calif.), president; Athena Anastos (Assumption, Scottsdale, Ariz.), vice president; Costa Kourtis (Assumption, Long Beach, Calif.), treasurer; Kay Harkins (St. Spyridon, San Diego), secretary. Other activities included a vocal workshop by Nancy Stuck, a Southern California music educator Nancy Stuck. Her workshop applied lessons in vocal techniques to liturgical music sung throughout the weekend. Various Metropolis conductors then led a new music read-through, introducing hymns by different composers to expand choirs repertoires. The weekend focus was the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy that featured musical arrangements by the late Dr. Frank Desby; and Dr. Tikey Zes.
Photo by Dr. Chris Vitakes
Jim Kollias of St. Sophia Cathedral led the adult choir and Athena Mertes from St. John the Baptist Church in Las Vegas led the youth choir. Fr. Apostolos Hill of
ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ - ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ 2013
ΕΤΟΣ 78 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1287
Ε Γ Κ Υ Κ Λ ΙΟΣ
Σημαντικές Προσφορές για το Ταμείο Ανακουφίσεως Κυπρίων ôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý
Ἡμέρα Ἀνεξαρτησίας Πρός τούς Σεβασμιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί Διακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συμβουλίων, τά Ἡμερήσια καί Ἀπογευματινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυμον πλήρωμα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Καθώς ἑορτάζουμε τήν Ἡμέρα Ἀνεξαρτησίας καί τήν σημασία της γι’ αὐτό τό ἔθνος, καί γιά τήν Ἀμερικανική κληρονομιά μας καί γιά τήν ποιότητα τῆς ζωῆς μας, πρέπει ἐπίσης νά ἐπικυρώσουμε καί νά μοιρασθοῦμε τήν ἀλήθεια τήν ὁποία προσφέρει ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος πίστη μας σέ σχέση μέ τήν ἐλευθερία. Στόν σύγχρονο κόσμο μας, πολλοί ἄνθρωποι κατανοοῦν τήν ἐλευθερία μέ πολύ ἀτομικιστικό τρόπο. Γιά παράδειγμα, πολλοί τονίζουν τήν ἐλευθερία ὡς ἀτομικό δικαίωμα σέ σχέση μέ τήν ἔκφραση, διάθεση, πεποίθηση ἤ συμπεριφορά. Ἄλλοι μιλοῦν περί ἐλευθερίας ἐν σχέσει πρός τήν αὐθαίρετη χρήση τῆς ἐξουσίας ὑπό τοῦ Κράτους. Πολλοί ἀντιλαμβάνονται τήν ἐλευθερία ὡς κατάσταση τοῦ νά ἔχουν ἤ νά ἐπιδιώκουν ἕνα εὐρύ φάσμα οἰκονομικῶν καί κοινωνικῶν εὐκαιριῶν. Βέβαια, αὐτές οἱ ἀπόψεις ἀποτελοῦν πτυχές τῆς κλασσικῆς κατανοήσεως τῆς ἐννοίας τῆς ἐλευθερίας στά πλαίσια μιᾶς ἐλεύθερης κοινωνίας ὅπου ἡ ἐξουσία προέρχεται ἀπό τόν λαό καί ἀποβλέπει στόν λαό ἔτσι ὥστε ἡ ἐλευθερία τοῦ λαοῦ νά προστατεύεται ἔναντι διαφόρων περιορισμῶν πού ἐπιβάλλονται ἀπό τήν πολιτική ἐξουσία. Ὅμως, ὡς Ὀρθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί, κατανοοῦμε ὅτι ἡ ἐλευθερία εἶναι κάτι πολύ περισσότερο ἀπ’ αὐτό. Γνωρίζουμε ὅτι ἡ εὐλογία μιᾶς ἐλεύθερης κοινωνίας ἔγκειται στό γεγονός ὅτι εἴμεθα ἐλεύθεροι νά ζοῦμε καί νά βιώνουμε τήν ἐλευθερία μέ τόν κατά τό δυνατόν πληρέστερο τρόπο. Πρόκειται περί ἐλευθερίας ἡ ὁποία δέν περιορίζεται στά ἀτομικά δικαιώματα καί τίς εὐκαιρίες γιά ἐπιτυχίες ἀλλά περί ἐλευθερίας νά κινηθοῦμε πέραν τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ μας πρός τήν κατεύθυνση τοῦ τί μποροῦμε νά κάνουμε καί νά προσφέρουμε στούς συνανθρώπους μας.
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Πραγματοποιήθηκε στις 21 Ιουνίου στην έδρα της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής η πρώτη παρουσίαση οικονομικών συνεισφορών Κυπριακών Ομογενειακών Οργανώσεων και ιδιωτών προς το Ταμείο Ανακουφίσεως για τους Κυπρίους (Relief Fund for the People of Cyprus), με σκοπό τη στήριξη και τη βοήθεια συγκεκριμένων αναγκών στην Κύπρο και τον δοκιμαζόμενο από την οικονομική κρίση Κυπριακό λαό. Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος παρουσίασε τις μέχρι τώρα πρώτες προσφορές οι οποίες θα διοχετευθούν διά της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής προς τα τρία προγράμματα που έχουν ήδη προσδιορισθεί σε συνεργασία με την Κυπριακή Κυβέρνηση και τα οποία αναφέροντο αναλυτικά στην επιστολή του Αρχιεπισκόπου προς τους εκπροσώπους των Οργανώσεων. Οι έως τώρα προσφορές φθάνουν συνολικά το ποσό των $460,000 και έχουν ως εξής: Κυπριακή Ομοσπονδία Αμερικής $ 50,000 - Κυπριακό Αμερικανικό Εμπορικό Επιμελητήριο $ 10,000 – Πανίκος και Νάσια Παπανικολάου $100,000 – Δημήτριος και Γεωργία Καλοειδή $100,000 – Γεώργιος και Όλγα Τσούνη $100,000 – Μιχαήλ και Μαίρη Τζαχάρη $50,000 – Παμπάφιος Σύνδεσμος Αμερικής $10,000 – Ελευθέρια-Παγκύπριος Παιδικές Ομάδες $10,000 – Ένωση Κυπρίων Αμερικής «Λάμπουσα» $10,000 – Ένωση Ασγάτα Κύπρου $10,000 – και Παγκύπριος Χορευτικός Όμιλος $10,000. Τα τρία προγράμματα προς τα οποία θα διοχετευθεί η μέχρι τώρα οικονομική βοήθεια
Φωτογραφία: ΔΗΜΗΤΡΗΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΟΣ
είναι: 1) Κέντρα Προστασίας και Φροντίδας Παιδιών, 2) Σύνδεσμος για άτομα με αυτισμό Κύπρου και 3) Κέντρο Αποκαταστάσεως και Θεραπείας Παιδιών με ειδικές ανάγκες. ( βλ. ανακοίνωση 7ης Ιουνίου: www.goarch.org/news/ followup-letter-cyprus-06072013) Η συνάντηση και η παρουσίαση των οικονομικών προσφορών ήταν η πρώτη ανταπόκριση στην επιστολή της 7ης Ιουνίου 2013 που απέστειλε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος προς τους 36 εκπροσώπους των Ελληνοαμερικανικών και Ελληνοκυπριακών Οργανώσεων
οι οποίοι συμμετείχαν στην αρχική συνεδρίαση της 3ης Απριλίου 2013 με σκοπό την στήριξη Φωτογραφία ΝΙΚΟΣ ΜΑΓΓΙΝΑΣ της Κύπρου. Στην παρουσίαση συμμετείχε ο νέος πρέσβυς της Κύπρου στις Η.Π.Α κ. Γεώργιος Σιακαλλής, ο οποίος λίγο πριν είχε ιδιαίτερη συνάντηση με τον Σεβασμιώτατο. Παρευρέθησαν επίσης ο πρέσβυς της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας στον Ο.Η.Ε. κ. Νικόλαος Αιμιλίου, η Γενική Πρόξενος της Κύπρου στη Νέα Υόρκη κ. Κούλα Σοφιανού και αξιωματούχοι Κυπριακών Ομογενειακών οργανώσεων.
Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος: “Οι Χριστιανοί της Μέσης Ανατολής ζουν μέσα σε πολύ δύσκολες καταστάσεις” ôïõ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΥ ΜΑΓΓΙΝΑ
Kωνσταντινούπολη – Ομιλία με μηνύματα για τα δίκαια της Ρωμηοσύνης και των Χριστιανών της Μ. Ανατολής πραγματοποίησε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος στο πλαίσιο του επίσημου δείπνου για το μήνα του Ραμαζανίου που παρέθεσε ο Δήμαρχος του Beyoğlu ( Πέραν) Ahmet Misbah Demircan το βράδυ της Κυριακής. Στο δείπνο, “Ιφτάρ”, παρεκάθησαν ο Μουφτής της Πόλης, εκπρόσωπος του Πατριάρχου των Αρμενίων, οι θρησκευτικοί ταγοί των Συροϊακωβιτών και των Συροκαθολικών, ο Αρχιραββίνος της Πόλης, παράγοντες του πολιτικού βίου της Χώρας και της τοπικής Αυτοδιοίκησης, διπλωμάτες ξένων αποστολών, στελέχη των διαφόρων μειονοτήτων, ο εκπρόσωπος των μειονοτικών Ιδρυμάτων στο Δεκαπενταμελές Συμβούλιο της Γενικής Διεύθυνσης Βακουφίων στην Άγκυρα Άρχοντας Παντελής Βίγκας και πλήθος προσκεκλημένων. Στην προσφώνησή του ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος ευχαρίστησε το Δήμαρχο του Πέραν για την πρόσκληση και την ευκαιρία της συνάντησης και επικοινωνίας. Έκανε λόγο για το δύσκολο παρελθόν της Ρωμηοσύνης καθώς και για τις ευέλπιδες εξελίξεις που σημειώθηκαν σε αρκετά θέματα τα τελευταία χρόνια σημειώνοντας παράλληλα την απραξία στο ζήτημα της επαναλειτουργίας της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης λέγοντας ότι «Παρ΄όλες τις αντιξοότητες που ζήσαμε
κατά καιρούς τις ξεπεράσαμε και καταφέραμε να συνυπάρχουμε όπως συνυπάρχουν τα διαφορετικά λουλούδια. Τα τελευταία χρόνια έχουν γίνει σημαντικές και θετικές εξελίξεις πάνω στα θέματα που αφορούν σε εμάς τις μη μουσουλμανικές Κοινότητες. Ευχαριστούμε την Κυβέρνηση και προσωπικά τον κ. Πρωθυπουργό. «Αλλά υπάρχει και ένα θέμα ακόμη το οποίο δεν μπορούμε να προσπεράσουμε χωρίς να το αναφέρουμε και αυτό είναι η Θεολογική Σχολή της Χάλκης που συνεχίζει να παραμένει κλειστή. Είναι κρίμα ότι παρά το γεγονός ότι πέρασαν 42 χρόνια από την αναστολή της λειτουργίας της Θεολογικής Σχολής όπου εκπαιδεύονταν οι κληρικοί μας και ήταν ένα πραγματικό κέντρο επιστήμης και πολιτισμού, μας έχει λυπήσει βαθειά το γεγονός ότι μέχρι σήμερα, παρ΄όλες τις ελπίδες και θετικές διαβεβαιώσεις δεν έχει ανοίξει η Σχολή και αυτό μας έχει απoγοητεύσει.». Στη συνέχεια αναφέρθηκε στις προσπάθειες που καταβάλλονται στην Τουρκία για την επίλυση πολλών κοινωνικών προβλημάτων τα οποία έχουν συσσωρευθεί εδώ και δεκαετίες, τα οποία διαιρούν και δημιουργούν πολώσεις λέγοντας ότι «Γινόμαστε μάρτυρες αυτού του γεγονότος με χαρά και με ενθουσιασμό». Διερωτήθηκε πώς η Τουρκία που προβάλλει τη βούληση της επίλυσης δυσκόλων και πολυπλόκων θεμάτων όπως το θέμα του ανοίγματος του Νοτιοανατολικού ζητήματος (Κουρδικό), της αναθεώρησης του Συντάγ-
ματος, των προσπαθειών εκδημοκρατισμού και τόσων άλλων θεμάτων πὠς είναι δυνατόν να δυσκολεύεται εδώ και 42 χρόνια να δώσει το δικαίωμα στην επαναλειτουργία σε ένα εκπαιδευτικό Ίδρυμα; «Δεν μπορούμε να το κατανοήσουμε αυτό». ΓΙΑ ΑΠΑΧΘΕΝΤΕΣ ΙΕΡΑΡΧΕΣ Ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος αναφέρθηκε και στην απαγωγή των δύο Αρχιερέων, του Ορθοδόξου Μητροπολίτου Χαλεπίου Παύλου, του Πατριαρχείου Αντιοχείας, και του Συροϊακωβίτη Ιωάννη που έγινε στις 22 Απριλίου λίγες ημέρες πριν το Πάσχα παροτρύνοντας τους παρισταμένους να προσευχηθούν για την απελευθέρωσή τους ώστε το συντομότερο δυνατόν να επιστρέψουν στα καθήκοντά τους ενώ παράλληλα ευχήθηκε η Κυβέρνηση της Χώρας να συνεχίσει να ενδιαφέρεται και να ερευνά για το μεγάλο αυτό θέμα που απασχολεί τόσο έντονα τον σύγχρονο Χριστιανικό κόσμο. Κατέληξε δε την ομιλία του λέγοντας πως “Είναι γεγονός πως εδώ και χρόνια, οι Χριστιανοί στη Μ. Ανατολή είναι υποχρεωμένοι να ζουν μέσα σε πολύ δύσκολες καταστάσεις”. Θετικά σχόλια προκάλεσε το γεγονός ότι στην προσφώνησή του ο Δήμαρχος του Πέραν μιλώντας προ του Πατριάρχου, έκανε ο ίδιος λόγο για το ζήτημα της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης ευχόμενος να επιταχυνθούν οι διαδικασίες για την επαναλειτουργίας της.
12 Κωνσταντινούπολη – Την εθνική επέτειο των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών Αμερικής τίμησε με την παρουσία του ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος. Συνοδευόμενος από τον εκ των Ελλήνων της Αμερικής Πατριαρχικό Διάκονο Νήφωνα ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος μετέβη στους χώρους του Γενικού Προξενείου των Η.Π.Α. για να παραστεί στη δεξίωση που παρέθεσε ο Γενικός Πρόξενος με αφορμή την επέτειο της 4ης Ιουλίου. Στη δεξίωση παρέστησαν επίσης ο Νομάρχης της Πόλης, Βουλευτές,Πρόξενοι και διπλωμάτες άλλων χωρών, Δήμαρχοι, ταγοί άλλων θρησκευτικών μειονοτήτων, δικαστικοί, Ακαδημαϊκοί και πλήθος προσκεκλημένων. Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης διερμήνευσε τα συγχαρητήρια της Μεγάλης Εκκλησίας για την εθνική επέτειο της Αμερικής και ευχήθηκε ο Θεός να φωτίζει και να ευλογεί τους ιθύνοντες προς το καλύτερο. Χαιρετισμό προς τους παρισταμένους απηύθυναν ο παρευρεθείς στη δεξίωση Πρέσβης των Η.Π.Α. στην Άγκυρα καθώς και ο οικοδεσπότης Αμερικανός Γενικός Πρόξενος. Στις φωτογραφίες ο Πατριάρχης με τον Πρέσβη των Η.Π.Α. Francis Ricciardone και τον Γενικό Πρόξενο της ίδιας χώρας κ.Scott Kilner.
ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ - ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ 2013
O Oικουμενικός Πατριάρχης τίμησε τις ΗΠΑ και την επέτειο της 4ης Ιουλίου
Φωτογραφία: ΝΙΚΟΣ ΜΑΓΚΙΝΑΣ
Ε Γ Κ Υ Κ Λ ΙΟΣ
Ἑορτή τῆς Κοιμήσεως τῆς Θεοτόκου Ἡ τῶν οὐρανῶν ὑψηλοτέρα ὑπάρχουσα, καί τῶν Χερουβείμ ἐνδοξοτέρα, καί πάσης κτίσεως τιμιωτέρα∙ ἡ δι’ὑπερβάλλουσαν καθαρότητα, τῆς ἀϊδίου οὐσίας δοχεῖον γεγενημένη, ἐν ταῖς τοῦ Υἱοῦ χερσί, σήμερον τήν παναγίαν παρατίθεται ψυχήν. (Ἑσπερινός τῆς Ἑορτῆς) Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή τοῦ ἑορτασμοῦ τῆς Κοιμήσεως τῆς Θεοτόκου, οἱ καρδιές γεμίζουν μέ ἐλπίδα καθώς ἀναλογιζόμεθα τήν ἁγία ἀνάπαυση καί θαυματουργό μετάσταση τῆς Θεοτόκου καί Ἀειπαρθένου Μαρίας. Ἔχουμε τήν ἐλπίδα μας στόν Χριστό καί Κύριό μας διότι ἡ Θεοτόκος μᾶς προσφέρει ἐξαίσια μαρτυρία τῆς δυνάμεώς Του. Βεβαίως, ἡ κλήση της νά γεννήσῃ τόν Υἱόν τοῦ
Θεοῦ ἦτο μοναδική, ἀλλά σέ ὅλες τίς πτυχές τῆς ζωῆς καί τοῦ θανάτου της ἔδειξε μέ τό ὑπέροχο παράδειγμά της πῶς ἡ δύναμη καί ἡ χάρη τοῦ Θεοῦ μποροῦν νά μεταμορφώσουν τόν θάνατο σέ ζωή. Ἡ μεταμόρφωση ὅλης τῆς κτίσεως ἄρχισε ὅταν ὁ Ἀρχάγγελος Γαβριήλ παρουσιάσθηκε στήν Παρθένο Μαρία καί τῆς ἀνεκοίνωσε τήν Σάρκωση τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἡ Παναγία ἐκλήθη ἀπό τόν Θεό, πρᾶγμα τό ὁποῖο ἐλευθέρως ἀπεδέχθη ἐν πίστει λόγῳ καθαρότητος τῆς καρδιᾶς της καί ἁγιότητος τοῦ βίου της. Γι’αὐτό καί στήν Ἑορτή αὐτή τήν τιμοῦμε ψάλλοντας: ἡ δι’ὑπερβάλλουσαν καθαρότητα, τῆς ἀϊδίου οὐσίας δοχεῖον γεγενημένη, ἐν ταῖς τοῦ Υἱοῦ χερσί, σήμερον τήν παναγίαν παρατίθεται ψυχήν (Ὕμνος τοῦ Ἑσπερινοῦ). Ἐνῶ ἡ καθαρότητα τῆς ψυχῆς της ὁλοκληρώθηκε μέ τήν κύηση τοῦ Κυρίου μας, ἡ ἴδια ἧτο ἤδη ἅγιο πρόσωπο ἐξ αἰτίας τῆς ἀγάπης της γιά τόν Θεό καί
τῆς κοινωνίας μαζί Του. Ἡ ἁγνότητα καί ἁγιότητα τῆς Θεοτόκου ἐπιβεβαίωσε καί τόνισε τήν ἀληθινή ζωή τήν ὁποία βίωσε στή σχέση της μέ τόν Θεό. Ὤ, τεράστιο θαῦμα καί μυστήριο! Ναί, γέννησε τόν Χορηγό τῆς Ζωῆς, τόν Ἕνα μέσῳ τοῦ Ὁποίου δημιουργήθηκαν ὅλα τά πράγματα, τόν Υἱόν τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁ ὁποῖος φανέρωσε τήν δύναμη τῆς θείας ζωῆς ἐπί τοῦ θανάτου. Σήμερα, τιμοῦμε ἀκριβῶς αὐτό ψάλλοντας: Ζωῆς ὑπάρξασα τέμενος, ζωῆς τῆς ἀϊδίου τετύχηκας∙ διά θανάτου γάρ, πρός τήν ζωήν μεταβέβηκας, ἡ τήν ζωήν τεκοῦσα τήν ἐνυπόστατον (Ὕμνος τοῦ Ὄρθρου). Ἐκείνη ὅμως γνώριζε αὐτή τήν αἰώνια ζωή λόγῳ τῆς πίστεώς της. Πίστευε στίς ἐπαγγελίες περί σωτηρίας, καί θεμελίωσε τήν ἐλπίδα ἐπί τῆς ἐμπειρίας τῆς ἀποκαλύψεως καί παρουσίας τοῦ Θεοῦ. Λόγῳ τῆς πίστεώς της, μεταφέρθηκε ἀπό τήν ζωή στήν ζωή μετά τήν Κοίμησή της, καί μέσῳ τοῦ θανάτου της ἀνῆλθε στούς οὐρανούς γιά νά ζήσῃ
Ἡμέρα Ἀνεξαρτησίας uΣελίδα 11
Ναί, εἴμεθα ἐλεύθεροι νά μιλοῦμε, νά ἐνεργοῦμε, νά κινούμεθα καί νά πιστεύουμε ἀλλά σέ συνάρτηση μέ τήν πίστη καί κοινωνία μας μέ τόν Θεό. Εἴμεθα ἐλεύθεροι νά μοιρασθοῦμε τό Εὐαγγέλιο τῆς ἀγάπης καί τῆς ἐλπίδος. Εἴμεθα ἐλεύθεροι νά δίνουμε καί νά προσφέρουμε ὑπηρεσίες οὕτως ὥστε οἱ συνάνθρωποί μας νά βρίσκουν θεραπεία καί εἰρήνη. Εἴμεθα ἐλεύθεροι νά ἀνταποκρινόμεθα στίς ἀνάγκες τῶν ἀνθρώπων γύρω μας. Εἴμεθα ἐλεύθεροι νά ἐνεργοῦμε βασιζόμενοι στήν πίστη μας καί νά προσφέρουμε μαρτυρία τῆς δυνάμεως καί τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ. Σέ αὐτή τήν Ἡμέρα Ἀνεξαρτησίας, ἄς γιορτάσουμε μαζί μέ ὅλους τούς συμπολίτες μας τῶν Ἡνωμένων Πολιτειῶν τῆς Ἀμερικῆς τήν γιορτή τῆς ἐλευθερίας μας. Εἴθε νά συνεχίσουμε νά εἴμεθα πρωταθλητές ἐλευθερίας γιά ὅλους τούς ἀνθρώπους ἀνά τόν κόσμο. Εἴθε ἐπίσης νά προσφέρουμε μαρτυρία τοῦ γεγονότος ὅτι ἡ ἀληθινή καί διαρκής ἐλευθερία εἶναι πολύ μεγαλύτερη ἀπό τά δικαιώματα, τήν ἰσότητα καί τίς εὐκαιρίες τίς ὁποῖες ἔχουμε σέ ἀτομικό ἐπίπεδο. Ἄς ἐπιδείξουμε ὅτι ἡ ἐμπειρία τῆς ἐλευθερίας εἶναι πολύ μεγαλύτερη ὅταν τήν χρησιμοποιοῦμε ὡς εὐκαιρία νά προσφέρουμε ζωή καί ἐλπίδα στούς ἄλλους καί τιμή καί δόξα στόν Θεό.
Μετά πατρικής ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπης,
† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ - ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ 2013
ΟΡΘΟ∆ΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΙΚΗ EΓΚΥΚΛΙΟΣ † ΒΑΡΘΟΛΟΜΑΙΟΣ ΕΛΕΩ ΘΕΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ – ΝΕΑΣ ΡΩΜΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗΣ ΠΑΝΤΙ Τῼ ΠΛΗΡΩΜΑΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΧΑΡΙΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΙΡΗΝΗΝ ΠΑΡΑ ΘΕΟΥ
Πατριαρχική Εγκύκλιος για την Επετηρίδα 1700 Χρόνων του Διατάγματος των Μεδιολάνων Εὐλογητός ὁ Θεός ἡμῶν, ὁ οὕτως εὐδοκήσας” καί οἰκονομῶν τά πάντα τοῖς πᾶσι καί ὁδηγήσας εἰς τήν “Ἀναστάσεως ἡμέραν ταύτην” καθ’ ἥν “τά πάντα πεπλήρωται φωτός, οὐρανός τε καί γῆ”. Συμπληροῦνται κατά τό τρέχον ἔτος χίλια ἑπτακόσια ἔτη ἀπό τῆς ἐκδόσεως τοῦ Διατάγματος τῶν Μεδιολάνων περί τῆς ἐλευθερίας τῆς θρησκευτικῆς πίστεως καί ἐπικοινωνοῦντες πρός τήν ἐν παντί τόπῳ καί χρόνῳ ἐκκλησίαν ἀπευθύνομεν ἀπό τοῦ Ἁγιωτάτου Ἀποστολικοῦ καί Πατριαρχικοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Θρόνου μήνυμα ἐλπίδος, ἀγάπης, εἰρήνης καί αἰσιοδοξίας, καθ’ ὅτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία ὑπάρχει ὡς συνεχής θεοφάνεια. “Ὁ ἑωρακώς τόν Υἱόν ἑώρακε τόν Πατέρα” (πρβλ. Ἰωάν. δ΄ 9) καί ὁ ἑωρακώς τόν Θεσμόν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἑώρακε τόν ἀοράτως μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν ὄντα Θεάνθρωπον Κύριον καί τό Ἅγιον Πνεῦμα. Τοιοῦτος θεσμός ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ ἐστίν ἡ Ἐκκλησία∙ “τοιοῦτος ὁ Χριστιανισμός∙ ἐν δουλείᾳ ἐλευθερίαν χαριζόμενος”. (πρβλ. Ἱ. Χρυσοστόμου, Ὁμιλία ΙΘ΄ εἰς Α´ Κορινθίους, 193). Διά τοῦ Διατάγματος τῶν Μεδιολάνων οἱ διωγμοί κατά τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καί τῆς θρησκείας κατά τύπον νομικόν ἐπαύθησαν καί ἐθεσμοθετήθη διά πρώτην φοράν δι᾿ ἀνθρωπίνου περιβλήματος ἡ ἐλευθερία τῆς θρησκευτικῆς συνειδήσεως εἰς τόν κόσμον. Ὅμως, ἡ ἐλευθερία ᾗ ὁ Χριστός ἡμᾶς ἠλευθέρωσε (πρβλ. Γαλ. ε΄ 1) δέν εἶναι τύπος καί γράμμα. Εἶναι ἡ πραγματική ἐλευθερία, τήν ὁποίαν ἐπιζητοῦμεν πάντοτε, ὥστε νά γίνωνται τά πάντα “καινά”. Ἄλλωστε, μήπως δέν προσδοκῶμεν καινόν οὐρανόν καί καινήν γῆν; Μέχρι τῆς ἐποχῆς τοῦ Μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου, ἡ ἱστορία τοῦ κόσμου, τοῦ πρό Χριστοῦ “παλαιοῦ Ἰσραήλ”, ἀλλά καί μετά τήν θεανθρωπίνην ἔνσαρκον παρουσίαν τοῦ “καινοῦ Ἰσραήλ”, καί ἡ ἐλευθέρα ἔκφρασις τῆς συνειδητῆς πίστεως τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἦτο πλήρης διώξεων καί διωγμῶν μέχρι μαρτυρίου αἵματος ὑπέρ τῆς ἀληθείας. Εἰς τήν ἱστορίαν καταγράφονται καί διωγμοί κατά προσώπων, τά ὁποία εἶχον διαφορετικήν ἀντίληψιν καί πίστιν περί τῆς Θεότητος ἀπό αὐτῆς τήν ὁποίαν εἶχεν ὁ ἄρχων ἤ ἡ κοινωνία τῆς ὁποίας ἀπετέλουν μέλη. Ἡ Παλαιά Διαθήκη ἀναφέρεται εἰς τόν θεωρούμενον κοσμοκράτορα τότε βασιλέα Ναβουχοδονόσορα· εἰς τήν κατασκευήν μεγάλης εἰκόνος τοῦ προσώπου του· καί εἰς τήν ἀπαίτησιν αὐτοῦ παρά πάντων τῶν ὑπηκόων του ὅπως προσκυνοῦν αὐτήν δι᾿ ἐδαφιαίας ὑποκλίσεως. “Οἱ τρεῖς εὐαγεῖς Παῖδες” ἐρρίφθησαν εἰς τήν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός, διότι ἠρνήθησαν νά προσκυνήσουν τό εἴδωλον τοῦ Ναβουχοδονόσορος. Ἠρνήθησαν ἐν τῇ πράξει νά ἀποδώσουν εἰς κοσμικόν βασιλέα τήν ἀξίαν τῆς ἰσοθεΐας, τήν ὁποίαν ἀπέδιδεν αὐτός οὗτος εἰς τόν ἑαυτόν του. Ἐδιώχθησαν καί ἔσχον μαρτυρικόν τέλος διά τόν αὐτόν λόγον καί ἡ Ἁγία Σολωμονή καί οἱ ἑπτά μακαββαῖοι παῖδες σύν τῷ διδασκάλῳ αὐτῶν Ἐλεαζάρῳ. Τήν αὐθεντίαν τοῦ Ναβουχοδονόσορος διέψευσε πανηγυρικῶς ἡ κάμινος τοῦ πυρός, ἡ ὁποία, προτυποῦσα τό Μυστήριον τῆς Ὑπεραγίας ἡμῶν Θεοτόκου, ἐδρόσισε καί ἐφύλαξεν ἀσινεῖς τούς Τρεῖς Παῖδας, ὡς τό Πῦρ τῆς Θεότητος τήν Παρθένον Θεοτόκον. Οἱ ἀρνηθέντες νά προσκυνήσουν τόν ἐξ ἀλόγου ὑπερηφανείας ἰδιοποιηθέντα τήν ἰδιότητα τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπον αἰχμάλωτοι Παῖδες ἐν τῇ καμίνῳ λέγοντες μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ, “πάντα τά ἔργα ὑμνεῖτε τόν Κύριον”, προεικόνισαν τήν ἐλευθερίαν τήν ὁποίαν ἔφερεν ὁ Κύριος, “γενόμενος ὑπό νόμον ἵνα τούς ὑπό νόμον κερδήσῃ” (πρβλ. Α΄ Κορ. θ΄ 20). Εἰς τάς ἀρχαίας Ἀθήνας, ὁ φιλόσοφος Σωκράτης κατεδικάσθη εἰς θάνατον μέ τήν αἰτιολογίαν ὅτι δέν ἀπεδέχετο τούς θεούς τούς
ὁποίους ἡ πόλις ἐλάτρευεν. Ὁμοίως ἀτομικαί διώξεις κατά τῶν ὑποστηριζόντων διαφορετικάς δοξασίας ἀναφέρονται πολλαί ὑπό τῶν ἀρχαίων Ἑλλήνων συγγραφέων ὅπως ἐπί παραδείγματι ἡ δίωξις τοῦ Ἀναξαγόρου τοῦ Κλαζομενίου ἐπειδή ὑπεστήριζεν ὅτι ὁ ἥλιος εἶναι πυρακτωμένη πέτρα ἤ ἡ δίωξις τοῦ Διαγόρου τοῦ Μηλίου ἐπειδή ἐκατηγόρει τά ἀρχαῖα εἰδωλολατρικά μυστήρια καί ἀπέτρεπε τούς πολίτας νά συμμετέχουν εἰς αὐτά. Ὁπωσδήποτε οἱ διωγμοί, πραγματικοί καί ἰδεολογικοί, ἀνά τούς αἰῶνας, καίτοι ὡδήγησαν πολλάκις καί ὁδηγοῦν εἰς τό ἐν μαρτυρίᾳ μαρτύριον, οὐδέποτε κατέλυσαν τήν μεταξύ τῶν ἀνθρώπων θρησκευτικήν ἀνεκτικότητα, ἡ ὁποία διεκηρύχθη ἐπισήμως διά τοῦ Διατάγματος τῶν Μεδιολάνων. Οἱ ρωμαῖοι αὐτοκράτορες κατείχοντο ὑπό ἀπολυταρχικοῦ πνεύματος καί κατέστησαν ἑαυτούς ἀρχηγούς καί τῆς θρησκείας. Μάλιστα δέ ἔφθασαν μέχρι τοῦ σημείου νά ἀπαιτοῦν τήν ἀναγνώρισιν εἰς αὐτούς θεϊκῆς ἰδιότητος καί ἀντιστοίχου τιμῆς. Ἡ ὑπό τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀπόρριψις τῶν ὡς ἄνω ἀπαιτήσεων τοῦ αὐτοκράτορος προεκάλει τήν ὀργήν αὐτοῦ, ἕνεκα κυρίως τῆς ἀμφισβητήσεως τῆς αὐθεντίας αὐτοῦ. Ἀποτέλεσμα τῆς τοιαύτης ἀνθρωποκεντρικῆς θεωρήσεως οἱ γνωστοί ἀνηλεεῖς διωγμοί, οἱ ὁποῖοι προεκάλεσαν ἑκατόμβας μαρτύρων, οἵτινες “ἔπλυναν τάς στολάς αὐτῶν καί ἐλεύκαναν αὐτάς ἐν τῷ αἵματι τοῦ Ἀρνίου” (Ἀποκ. ᾿Ιωάν. ζ΄,14). Συμπερασματικῶς, οἱ διωγμοί κατά τῆς θρησκείας κατέληξαν εἰς τό ἀπόφθεγμα τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Χρυσοστόμου: “Τόν δέ Θεῷ πολεμοῦντα οὐκ ἔνι ποτέ εἰς χρηστόν καταστρέψαι τέλος· ἀλλ᾿ ὁ τοιοῦτος ἐν ἀρχῇ μέν τῆς τόλμης οὐδέν ἴσως πείσεται δεινόν [...] ἄν δέ ἐπιμένῃ τῇ παροινίᾳ [...] μηδέποτε τῆς πρός τόν Θεόν ἅπτεσθαι μάχης, ὡς οὐκ ἐνόν τήν ἀήττητον ἐκείνην χεῖρα διαφυγεῖν” (Εἰς τούς πολεμοῦντας τόν μοναχικόν βίον Α´ , P.G. 47,319). Οἱ Αὐτοκράτορες Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Μέγας, τῆς Ἀνατολῆς, καί Λικίνιος, τῆς Δύσεως, παρεδέχθησαν μετά τρεῖς αἰῶνας σκληροτάτων διωγμῶν κατά τῶν χριστιανῶν, ὅτι ἡ θρησκευτική μισαλλοδοξία καί οἱ συνεχεῖς διωγμοί κατ᾿ αὐτῶν εἰς οὐδέν ὠφέλησαν τήν Αὐτοκρατορίαν. Ἀπεφασίσθη δέ ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν ὅπως ἐπιτραπῇ εἰς τούς χριστιανούς ἡ ἐλευθέρα ἄσκησις τῆς πίστεως καί τῆς ὑπ’ αὐτῶν λατρείας τοῦ Θεοῦ. Τήν βούλησιν τοῦ Μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου, “λογισαμένου τό ἔντεχνον τοῦ διαβολικοῦ πολέμου” ἀπεικονίζει τό περιεχόμενον τοῦ πάντοτε συγχρόνου τούτου Διατάγματος τῶν Μεδιολάνων τοῦ ἔτους 313 μ.Χ., τό ὁποῖον ἀπετέλεσε τήν β ά σ ι ν τῆς μετά πολλούς αἰῶνας ἀναγνωρισθείσης παγκοσμίως ἐλευθερίας τῆς θρησκευτικῆς συνειδήσεως. Τό Διάταγμα τῶν Μεδιολάνων περιλαμβάνει προκεχωρημένας θέσεις διά τήν θρησκευτικήν ἐλευθερίαν, ἐκπεφρασμένας εἰς δεκατρεῖς ἑνότητας. Θεσπίζονται ἀρχαί παράδοξοι διά τήν περίοδον ἐκείνην τοῦ Δ´ αἰῶνος, αἱ ὁποῖαι παραμένουν πάντοτε ἀρχαί καί ὁδοδεῖκται, ἔστω καί ἐάν προβάλληται ὁ ἰσχυρισμός ὅτι ἐφαρμόζονται αὗται πλήρως καί ἐν τῷ κειμένῳ “ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ” κόσμῳ τούτῳ τῆς “ἀδικίας” καί τῆς ἐπικρατήσεως τοῦ “σκότους”, ἀντί τῆς Δικαιοσύνης καί τοῦ Φωτός. Ὁμολογοῦνται καί διακηρύσσονται: ὁ σεβασμός εἰς τήν σκέψιν καί εἰς τήν βούλησιν ἑκάστου νά ἐπιμελῆται τῶν θείων πραγμάτων ὡς αὐτός βούλεται· ἡ εὐλάβεια καί τό σέβας πρός τό θεῖον καί ἡ ἀπόδοσις εἰς τούς Χριστιανούς καί εἰς πάντας τῆς ἐλευθερίας τῆς ἐπιλογῆς θρησκείας, ἄνευ ἐνοχλήσεώς τινος· ἡ παράδοσις πάραυτα ἄνευ χρονοτριβῆς τινος εἰς τό σῶμα τῶν χριστιανῶν, τήν Ἐκκλησίαν καί τήν Σύνοδον, τῶν κατασχεθέντων καί ἀφαιρεθέντων τόπων λατρείας αὐτῶν καί λοιπά· ταῦτα δέ πάντα, ὥστε “ἡ
θεία μέριμνα, ἡ ὁποία μᾶς περιβάλλει, τῆς ὁποίας πεῖραν ἐλάβομεν ἤδη εἰς πολλάς περιστάσεις, νά μείνῃ εἰς ἡμᾶς ἀσφαλής διά παντός”. Διά τοῦ Διατάγματος τούτου καί διά τῶν ἀκολουθησασῶν μεταρρυθμίσεων τοῦ Μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου, εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τόν κόσμον ἡ ἔννοια τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων. Καθιερώθησαν διά πρώτην φοράν αἱ ἀνωτέρω περιγραφόμεναι ἀξίαι, ὁ σεβασμός τῆς ἀνεξιθρησκείας, ἡ ἐλευθερία τῆς ἐκφράσεως τῆς θρησκευτικῆς συνειδήσεως - ἀξίαι τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης ζωῆς- καί πάντα ὅσα ἀπετέλεσαν τήν βάσιν τῆς σήμερον ἰσχυούσης σχετικῆς νομοθεσίας καί τῶν περιλαμβανομένων ἐν αὐτῇ διατάξεων εἰς τάς κατά καιρούς διακηρύξεις διεθνῶν ὀργανισμῶν καί κρατικῶν ὁλοτήτων. Ὁ Μέγας Κωνσταντῖνος, οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων λαβών τήν κλῆσιν, περιεπτύχθη πάντας, λαόν καί Ἐκκλησίαν, πιστούς καί ἀπίστους, καί ἐγένετο διάκονος τοῦ ἔργου τῆς εὐημερίας ἐν γαλήνῃ καί τῆς σωτηρίας τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος. Ἀπό τῆς ἐποχῆς του καί ἑξῆς ἡ Ἐκκλησία τοῦ Χριστοῦ μεταμορφώνει τούς θεσμούς, τήν ζωήν καί ἀναγεννᾷ τόν κόσμον, ὅπως ἀκριβῶς ἡ Βάτος ἡ καιομένη καί μή φλεγομένη τοῦ Σινᾶ, ἡ Μήτρα “ἡ τόν ἀχώρητον χωρήσασα”, τήν Ζωήν, “ἵνα ζωήν ἔχωμεν” (πρβλ. Ἰωάν. ι΄ 10). Παρατηροῦντες μετά προσοχῆς τήν ἔκτοτε ἱστορίαν τοῦ κόσμου, ἰδίᾳ σήμερον, μετά 1700 ἔτη ἀπό τῆς θεσπίσεως διά τοῦ Διατάγματος τούτου τοῦ Μεγάλου Κωνσταντίνου, διαπιστοῦμεν μετά λύπης, ὅτι ἀτυχῶς αἱ θεσπιζόμεναι ὑπ᾿ αὐτοῦ διατάξεις ὑπέρ τῆς θρησκευτικῆς ἐλευθερίας πολλάκις κατά τό παρελθόν παρεβιάσθησαν, οὐχί μόνον εἰς βάρος τῶν Χριστιανῶν, ἀλλά ἐνίοτε καί ὑπό τῶν Χριστιανῶν κατ᾿ ἀλλήλων καί κατά τῶν ὀπαδῶν ἄλλων θρησκειῶν. Δυστυχῶς, ὅταν οἱ Χριστιανοί κατέστησαν πλειονοψηφία εἰς τήν κοινωνίαν, ὑπῆρξαν περιπτώσεις τινές ὑπερζηλωτικῆς τάσεως μεταξύ αὐτῶν. Ἐκ τῶν πλέον ἀξιοκατακρίτων συμπεριφορῶν τῆς μισαλλοδοξίας χριστιανῶν κατ᾿ ἀλλήλων ὑπῆρξε τό μεταξύ αὐτῶν σχίσμα καί ἡ διαίρεσις τῆς Μιᾶς Ἐκκλησίας, λησμονησασῶν τῶν ἐπακολουθησασῶν γενεῶν ὅτι “οὐ μεμέρισται ὁ Χριστός” (πρβλ. Α΄ Κορ. α΄ 13) καί ὅτι οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἴμεθα “γῆ καί σποδός” (Σοφ. Σιράχ. ι΄, 9) καί ἠγνοήσαμεν καί παραβλέπομεν τήν ἀγωνίαν τῆς διαιρέσεως τοῦ ἀρράφου χιτῶνος τοῦ Kυρίου, τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, κατά τόπον καί ἐπί μέρους ὡς Μιᾶς καί Καθολικῆς καί Ἀποστολικῆς. Καί ὡς ἄλλη “κάμινος κακίας” (πρβλ. Παροιμ. ις΄ 30), δέν ἔχομεν ἀγάπην καί εἰρήνην καί ἀνεκτι-
κότητα, καί δέν ὑποβάλλομεν εἰς ἑαυτούς καί ἀλλήλους τό καίριον ἐρώτημα μήπως “ὁ κρίνων πᾶσαν τήν γῆν οὐ ποιήσεις κρίσιν” (Γεν. ιη΄,2526) καί δι’ ἡμᾶς; Τόν παρελθόντα αἰῶνα, ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος ἰδιαιτέρως Ἐκκλησία κατεδιώχθη ἀπηνῶς ὑπό τοῦ ἀθεϊστικοῦ καθεστῶτος καί τῶν λοιπῶν ἐξαρτωμένων ἰδεολογικῶς ἐξ αὐτοῦ καθεστώτων, ἰδιαιτέρως εἰς τάς χώρας τῆς Ἀνατολικῆς Εὐρώπης. Εἰς ὡρισμένας δέ χώρας οἱ Χριστιανοί ἀντιμετωπίζονται ἀκόμη καί σήμερον μετά μεγάλης δυσμενείας, παρ᾿ ὅλον ὅτι διά πολλῶν διεθνῶν συμβάσεων ἔχει πλέον παγκοσμίως ἀναγνωρισθῆ τό δικαίωμα τῆς θρησκευτικῆς ἐλευθερίας. Αἱ σχετικαί πρός τήν θρησκευτικήν καταπίεσιν ἐκθέσεις τῶν ἁρμοδίων Διεθνῶν Ὀργανισμῶν βρίθουν συγκεκριμένων περιπτώσεων θρησκευτικῆς καταπιέσεως εἰς βάρος κυρίως χριστιανικῶν θρησκευτικῶν μειονοτήτων καί μεμονωμένων χριστιανῶν. Ἤδη καί σήμερον χρειάζεται, δυστυχῶς, νά τονίζηται, ὅτι ἡ ἀνεξιθρησκεία καί ἡ ἐλευθερία τῆς λατρείας εἶναι πολιτιστική κατάκτησις. Μεγάλαι περιοχαί τῆς γῆς κατοικοῦνται ὑπό ἀνθρώπων οἱ ὁποῖοι δέν ἀνέχονται θρησκευτικήν πίστιν διαφορετικήν τῆς ἰδικῆς των. Θρησκευτικοί διωγμοί ἐξακολουθοῦν νά γίνωνται, ἄν καί δέν ἔχουν τήν μορφήν τῶν κατά τῶν πρώτων χριστιανῶν διωγμῶν. Διακρίσεις διάφοροι δυσμενεῖς διά τούς ὀπαδούς ὡρισμένων θρησκευτικῶν πίστεων ὑφίστανται καί πολλάκις εἶναι ἐντόνως καταπιεστικαί. Εἰς πολλάς περιπτώσεις ἐπικρατεῖ ὁ θρησκευτικός φανατισμός καί φονταμενταλισμός, ὥστε τό Διάταγμα τῶν Μεδιολάνων νά εἶναι ἐπίκαιρον καί σήμερον καί νά ἀπευθύνηται πρός ἐκείνους, οἱ ὁποῖοι, παρά τήν πάροδον 1700 ἐτῶν ἀπό τῆς ἐκδόσεώς του, δέν τό ἔχουν ἐφαρμόσει ἐν τῷ συνόλῳ του. Καθορῶντες τήν πορείαν τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος ἀπό τοῦ Ἱεροῦ τούτου Κέντρου τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ ὁμολογοῦμεν ὅτι ἀτυχῶς, παρά τήν ραγδαίαν πρόοδον τῆς κατ᾿ ἄνθρωπον ἐπιστήμης καί τάς ἀνακαλύψεις, δέν ἔφθασεν εἰσέτι ὡς σύνολον ὁ κόσμος εἰς τήν ἀνωτέραν ἀντίληψιν καί παραδοχήν τῆς θρησκευτικῆς ἐλευθερίας καί ὅτι ἀπαιτεῖται σύντονος προσπάθεια διά τήν ἐπίτευξιν τοῦ στόχου τούτου. Οἱ σύγχρονοι θρησκευτικοί διωγμοί κατά τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἀποκαλύπτουν καί πάλιν τήν δύναμιν τῆς πίστεως καί τήν Χάριν τῆς ἁγιότητος.
ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ - ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ 2013
Πατριαρχική Εγκύκλιος για την Επετηρίδα 1700 Χρόνων του Διατάγματος των Μεδιολάνων uΣελίδα 13 Πατέρες, Ἀδελφοί καί Τέκνα ἐν τῷ Ἀναστάντι Κυρίῳ, Ἡ ἑορταζομένη αὕτη ἐπέτειο ς ἀποτελεῖ καίριον σ ῆ μ α. Τό σῆμα ὅτι ὅταν ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἀπολέσῃ τήν ἑνότητά του πρός τήν Ἐκκλησίαν, ἡ ὁποία συγκροτεῖται διά τοῦ Τριαδικοῦ “καθώς”, ἀπόλλυσι καί τήν ἐλευθερίαν του. Διότι ἀπόλλυσι τόν ἑαυτόν του, ὁ ὁποῖος εἶναι πάντες οἱ ἄλλοι. Τό πᾶν ἐν τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ φανερώνει τό Τριαδικόν “καθώς”, ἰδιαιτέρως ἡ εὐχαριστιακή ἱερουργία, ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖ τήν κ α ρ δ ί α ν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, εἶναι χάρισμα, δωρεά ἐκ τοῦ Πατρός διά τοῦ Υἱοῦ συνεργίᾳ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος. Ἐάν σωθῇ τό Τριαδικόν “καθώς”, σώζεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος ὡς πρόσωπον καί κοινωνία. Καί ἐάν σώζωμεν καί βιῶμεν τό “καθώς”, τό θεανθρώπινον, τότε τό ἀσυγχύτως καί ἀδιαιρέτως τῆς ἑνώσεως τῶν δύο ἐν Χριστῷ συνελθουσῶν φύσεων διατηρεῖται καί ἐπεκτείνεται ὡς εὐλογία εἰς τήν ἑνότητα ἀληθείας καί τῆς ζωῆς, θεσμοῦ καί Χάριτος, νόμου καί ἐλευθερίας. Περιχωροῦνται ἀτρέπτως καί ἀναλλοιώτως τά φαινομενικῶς ἀντίθετα, κατά τό πρότυπον τῆς Θεομήτορος ἡ ὁποία ἤγαγεν εἰς ταὐτό τἀναντία καί ἐν τῇ περιχωρήσει ταύτῃ διακρίνεται ἡ πανταχοῦ μέχρι συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος διαρκής παρουσία τοῦ Θεανθρώπου, ὁ Ὁποῖος ἐξακολουθεῖ νά πορεύηται ἐν ἑτέρᾳ μορφῇ εἰς τόν ἀγρόν τῆς ἱστορίας. Καί συμπορεύεται πρός τόν ἀγωνιῶντα, ἐρευνῶντα καί ἀπελπιζόμενον ἄνθρωπον, οὐχί διά νά τῷ δώσῃ “μαγικάς λύσεις” ὡς ναρκωτικόν τῶν αἰσθήσεων ἀλλά διά νά τῷ ἀνεώξῃ τούς ὀφθαλμούς, νά τῷ χαρίσῃ τάς αἰσθήσεις καί νά τόν ἀναγάγῃ εἰς τόν οὐρανόν καί νά καταγάγῃ εἰς τήν γῆν τό Πνεῦμα τό Ἅγιον, τό Ὁποῖον ὡς Τριαδική ζύμη εἰσέρχεται εἰς τό γεῶδες ἡμῶν φύραμα. Οὐδείς ἀνθρώπινος θεσμός, οὔτε καί ἄν ὀνομάζηται ἐκκλησιαστικός, δύναται νά χωρέσῃ, νά ἀνεχθῇ καί νά ἱκανοποιήσῃ τόν ἄνθρωπον, ὁ ὁποῖος ἔχει ἐντός του τήν πνοήν τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐπιποθεῖ τό “πορρωτέρω”, τήν ἐπέκτασιν, τόν Χριστόν. Καί δέν εἶναι δυνατόν νά ἀναπαυθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς οὐδεμίαν ὑπόσχεσιν ἤ ἐνδοκοσμικήν προοπτικήν, διότι διψῇ τό ἀσύλληπτον καί ἀνθρωπίνως ἀνέφικτον. Ὁλόκληρος ἡ ὕπαρξις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὁμολογεῖ “ὄχι” εἰς τόν κοσμικῶς ὠργανωμένον θεσμόν, ὁ ὁποῖος θέλει δῆθεν νά τόν χειραγωγήσῃ εἰς τό μυστήριον τῆς ζωῆς καί τῆς σωτηρίας. Διά τόν ἄνθρωπον ὁ μηχανικῶς λειτουργῶν “καλός” πνευματικός θεσμός εἶναι “μόνον” ὁ ἑτοιμόρροπος, ὁ διαλελυμένος καί ἀνύπαρκτος. Διά τοῦτο καί ὁ τά πάντα γιγνώσκων καί ἐτάζων καρδίας καί νεφρούς Κύριος ἦλθε καί διέλυσε τάς “φυλακάς”. Ἐδιώχθη καί διώκεται. Εἰς τό τέλος ἐνίκησε μέ τήν Ἀνάστασίν Του. Καί κατέστρεψε τήν ἀπάτην. Ἀνέτρεψε τάς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν καί τάς καθέδρας τῶν ἐμπόρων, οἱ ὁποῖοι μετέτρεψαν τόν Ναόν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰς “οἶκον ἐμπορίου”(Ἰωάν. β΄ 17). Ἀπήλλαξε τήν ἀνθρωπό-
τητα ἐκ τῆς “κατάρας” τοῦ Νόμου (Γάλ. γ΄ 13). Καί διά τῆς καθόδου Του εἰς τόν Ἅδην “μοχλοί συνετρίβησαν, ἐθλάσθησαν πῦλαι, μνήματα ἠνοίχθησαν, νεκροί ἀνέστησαν” (πρβλ. ἀπόστιχα Μ. Ἑσπερινοῦ Μ. Παρασκευῆς). Καί ἐξήλθομεν ὅλοι οἱ “νεκροί” ἀπό ἀγάπην, ἀπό ἐλευθερίαν, ἀπό ἀνθρωπίνα δικαιώματα, ἀπό πίστιν, ἀπό ἐλπίδα, ἀπό προσδοκίαν, ἀπό φῶς, ἀπό δικαιοσύνην, ἀπό ἀλήθειαν, ἀπό Ζωήν, ἐξήλθομεν εἰς τό Φῶς: “Καί νεκρός οὐδείς ἐπί μνήματος” (Κατηχητήριος Λόγος Ἱεροῦ Χρυσοστόμου). Συνεκροτήθη ἡ Ἁγία Ἐκκλησία, ἡ ὁποία διά τῶν αἰώνων, τῶν Μαρτύρων, τῶν Ὁσίων, τῶν δικαίων, παρά τούς διωγμούς καί τούς ἀνθρωπίνους πειρασμούς, δέν εἶναι “φυλακή”, ἀλλά ἐλευθερία καί κραταιά, ὡς ὁ θάνατος, ἀγάπη. Ἡ Ἐκκλησία, κῆρυξ τῆς ἀληθείας αὐτῆς ἀνά τούς αἰῶνας, εἶναι συνέχεια καί συνέπεια τῆς μήτρας μιᾶς ἄλλης Μητρός, “εὐρυχωροτέρας τῶν οὐρανῶν”, ἡ ὁποία γεννᾷ τόν ἐλεύθερον ἄνθρωπον. Καί εἴμεθα ὅλοι, χάρις εἰς αὐτήν, τέκνα τῆς ἐλευθέρας (Γαλ. δ΄ 31), τέκνα τῆς ἐλευθερίας, ἡ ὁποία κατακτᾶται διά τῆς ὑπακοῆς εἰς τήν Ἀλήθειαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τήν Ἀγάπην. Καί ἐάν οἱ ἀνθρώπινοι θεσμοί φοβῶνται τήν ἐλευθερίαν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, καί δι᾿ αὐτό τήν ἀπεμπολοῦν, τήν ἀγνοοῦν ἤ τήν καταργοῦν, ὁ Θεσμός τῆς Ἐκκλησίας γεννᾷ τούς ἐλευθέρους ἐν Πνεύματι ἀνθρώπους. Καί ὅλον συγκροτεῖ τόν Θεσμόν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τό Πνεῦμα, τό Ὁποῖον “ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ... ἀλλ’ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καί ποῦ ὑπάγει∙ οὕτως ἐστί καί πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ Πνεύματος” (Ἰωάν. γ΄, 8). Καί τό ἀπροσδιόριστον τῆς ἐλευθερίας εἶναι ἡ πέτρα τῆς πίστεως. Ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ Σοφία, ἡ Κυρία Θεοτόκος ἡ Παμμακάριστος καί ἡ Παραμυθία, ὁ Ἅγιος Δημήτριος ὁ Κανάβης, ὁ Ἅγιος Γεώργιος ὁ Τροπαιοφόρος τοῦ Διπλοφαναρίου, οἱ Ἅγιοι συνολικῶς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἡμῶν δέν εἶναι φύλακες τοῦ νόμου, ἀλλά νομοθέται, κατά τό Ἅγιον Συμεών τόν Νέον Θεολόγον. Ὁ Θεσμός τῆς Ἐκκλησίας εἶναι χαρισματικός καί τά χαρίσματα τῶν Ἁγίων λειτουργοῦν ὡς θεσμοί καθοδηγητικοί διά τό ἐκκλησιαστικόν πλήρωμα. Δύναται ἀληθῶς καί ἐμπειρικῶς νά λεχθῇ ὅτι χαρισματοῦχοι δέν ὑπάρχουν, ἀλλά γίνονται, γεννῶνται διαρκῶς. Δέν τοῖς ἐδόθη χάρισμα ὡς ἰδιότης στατική, ἀλλά ὡς εὐλογία ἡ ὁποία χαρίζεται διαρκῶς. Εἶναι ἐκεῖνοι οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶναι ἀληθῶς ἐλεύθεροι διότι συνειδητοποιοῦν τήν ἐσχάτην ἀδυναμίαν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καί τήν ἀγαθότητα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀποστάλαγμα τῶν ὁποίων ὑπῆρξαν αἱ διατάξεις τοῦ Διατάγματος τοῦ Ἁγίου Κωνσταντίνου. Αὐτοί οἱ ὁποῖοι βλέπουν ὅλους τούς ἄλλους καλούς καί καθαρούς καί θεωροῦν τόν ἑαυτόν των “ὑποκάτω τῆς κτίσεως”, ἔχουν τήν χάριν τῆς συντριβῆς τοῦ ταπεινοῦ καί ἐξουθενημένου. Δέχονται τά χαρίσματα τῆς ἔσωθεν ἀναπαύσεως καί τοῦ φωτισμοῦ. Δέν θεωροῦν οἱοδήτι ὡς κατόρθωμα οὔτε ἀξιοποιήσιμον δυνατότητα πρός αὔξησιν τοῦ “κύρους” των διά
Ε Γ Κ Υ Κ Λ ΙΟΣ
Ἑορτή τῆς Κοιμήσεως τῆς Θεοτόκου uΣελίδα 12 αἰωνίως μέ τόν Υἱόν της. Ἡ ἁγιότητα καί ἡ ἐμπειρία τῆς ἀληθινῆς ζωῆς ἐν Χριστῷ εἶναι καί οἱ λόγοι γιά τούς ὁποίους ἡ Θεοτόκος μπορεῖ νά μεσιτεύῃ γιά ὅλους ἐμᾶς. Βεβαίως, ζητοῦμε τήν μεσιτεία ὅλων τῶν Ἁγίων, παρακαλῶντας τους νά προσεύχονται στόν Θεό γιά μᾶς, γιά νά μᾶς χαρίζῃ ἔλεος καί χάρη. Ὅμως, ὅπως συμβαίνει αὐτή τήν ἡμέρα, ὅπως καί στήν Ἑορτή τοῦ Εὐαγγελισμοῦ, προσευχόμενοι ἀπευθυνόμεθα στήν Παρθένο Μαρία ὡς τήν Μητέρα τοῦ Κυρίου μας, ὡς τό πρόσωπο τό ὁποῖο έχει πολύ ἰδιαίτερη καί μοναδική σχέση μέ Ἐκεῖνον. Γιά τήν Θεοτόκο, αὐτή δέν εἶναι ἁπλῶς μία σχέση ἐμπιστοσύνης στό θεῖο θέλημα τοῦ Κυρίου. Εἶναι μία αἰώνια κοινωνία ἡ ὁποία θεμελιώθηκε σέ μία ζωή ἁγιότητος. Εἶναι πίστη στήν ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐν γνώσει ὅτι Ἐκεῖνος θά πράξῃ ὅ,τι ἀπαιτεῖται γιά τήν σωτηρία μας. Αὐτή εἶναι ἡ μαρτυρία τῆς Θεοτόκου καί Ἀειπαρθένου Μαρίας τήν ἡμέρα τῆς Ἑορτῆς τῆς Κοιμήσεώς της. Ὅπως διά τῆς ζωῆς της ἔτσι καί μέ
τήν Κοίμησή της προσφέρει μαρτυρία τῆς προτεραιότητος μιᾶς ζωῆς καθαρότητος καί ἁγιότητος. Μέσα ἀπό τήν θαυματουργό μετάστασή της, ὁ Θεός ἀποκαλύπτει διά τῆς Θεοτόκου τήν δύναμη τῆς θείας ζωῆς ἐπί τοῦ θανάτου. Μεσιτεύοντας ἀδιαλείπτως ὑπέρ ἡμῶν, ἡ Παναγία μᾶς δείχνει τήν πλήρη καί ἀκλόνητη πίστη στό θέλημα καί τήν δύναμη τοῦ Θεοῦ. Εἴθε νά δοξάζουμε, νά τιμοῦμε καί νά εὐχαριστοῦμε τόν Θεό γιά τήν Θεοτόκο καθώς ἑορτάζουμε τήν Κοίμησή της, καί εἴθε νά ἀνακαλύπτουμε σέ ἐκείνη τήν ἀληθινή μαρτυρία πίστεως ἡ ὁποία ἀνανεώνει τήν ἐλπίδα μας, φέρνει ἀνακούφιση στούς ἀγῶνες μας, καί μᾶς ἐξασφαλίζει τήν ὑπέροχη καί ἀιώνια ζωή πού μᾶς παρέχει ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.
Μετά πατρικής ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπης,
† ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
τῆς “ὑποτιμήσεως” τῶν ἄλλων, τοῦ περιορισμοῦ δηλαδή τῆς ἐλευθερίας τοῦ προσώπου. Ἐκπλήσσονται οἱ ἅγιοι ἐκ τῆς ἀφάτου ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ καί αὐθορμήτως ἀποδίδουν, ἐπιστρέφουν αὐτήν ἀμέσως εἰς τόν Δωρεοδότην. Καί αὐτό καθιστᾷ ἀξίους τούς ἁγίους νά δέχωνται συνεχῶς νέα χαρίσματα, μεγαλύτερα, πάναγνα, πνευματικά, εὐλογοῦντα τά σύμπαντα, ἀληθινά ἐπιτεύγματα. Καί αὐτοί ἐξακολουθοῦν οὐδεμίαν ἰδέαν νά ἔχουν δι᾿ ἑαυτούς. Ἔχουν μεγάλην Ἰδέαν διά τόν Θεόν. Καί μόλις γίνεται γνωστόν ὅτι ὁ κόσμος τούς τιμᾷ, παραξενεύονται, δυσανασχετοῦν, συστέλλονται. Καί φεύγουν εἴτε ὄπισθεν τοῦ παραπετάσματος μιᾶς ἐπιπλάστου μωρίας καί σαλότητος, εἴτε ἀγνοίας κατ᾿ ἄνθρωπον, δηλαδή ἀληθινῆς ἐλευθερίας. Καί ἡσυχάζουν, διότι ζοῦν, παρακολουθοῦν καί συμβάλλουν εἰς τήν κυκλοφορίαν τοῦ Αἵματος καί τῆς Χάριτος ἐντός τοῦ σώματος τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς κοινότητος. Ἀδελφοί ἐν Κυρίῳ, Τά ἀνθρώπινα δικαιώματα, ἡ ἐλευθερία τῆς θρησκευτικῆς συνειδήσεως εἶναι χαρίσματα τά ὁποῖα “ἅπαξ ἐδόθησαν τοῖς ἁγίοις” (πρβλ. Ἰουδ. 3), κατακτῶνται ὅμως συνεχῶς ἐν τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ διαδρομῇ. Καί κατακτῶνται διά τοῦ βιώματος τῆς κοινωνίας ἐν Χριστῷ ἐντός τῆς παναρμονίου συμπαντικῆς λειτουργίας. Ὁμιλοῦμεν ἐπί 1700 ἔτη περί ἐλευθερίας τῆς συνειδήσεως τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος ὅμως Ἐκκλησία ἀνέκαθεν ἀλλ’ ἰδίᾳ κατά τούς ἐσχάτους τούτους καιρούς τῶν κοσμογονικῶν ἀλλαγῶν τοῦ παρελθόντος τραγικοῦ αἰῶνος προβλέπει, διαβλέπει καί μελετᾷ ἐν τῷ συνόλῳ αὐτῆς τήν “ἐπικράτησιν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ τῆς εἰρήνης, τῆς δικαιοσύνης, τῆς ἐλευθερίας, τῆς ἀδελφοσύνης καί τῆς ἀγάπης μεταξύ τῶν λαῶν καί τήν ἄρσιν τῶν φυλετικῶν καί λοιπῶν διακρίσεων”, θά ἀποφανθῇ δέ συγκαλουμένης τῆς Ἁγίας καί Μεγάλης αὐτῆς Συνόδου. Τά θεῖα δωρήματα ταῦτα βιοῦνται διά τῆς χάριτος ἐντός τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας, κατά τήν ὁποίαν ἀποκαλύπτεται ἡ κοσμογονία. Δέν κατανοεῖται ἀνθρωπίνως τό μέγεθος τῆς ἐλευθερίας αὐτῆς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καί τῶν φρονημάτων του διότι δέν γίνεται σεβαστή ἡ εἰκών τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ ἄνθρωπος. Καί ἐάν δέν ἀγαπᾶται ἑνωτικῶς ὁ συνάνθρωπος, δέν ἀγαπᾶται ἀληθῶς ὁ Θεός. Εἰς τόν ἐπίγειον βίον ἀφελῶς νομίζεται ὅτι “τά πάντα ρεῖ καί οὐδέν διαμένει καί οὔκ ἔστι δίς τό αὐτόν ποταμόν διαβῆναι” (Ἡράκλειτος), ὅτι δηλαδή τά πάντα ἔρχονται καί παρέρχονται καί λησμονοῦνται, καί καλύπτουν τά ἀνθρώπεια λίθοι καί τάφος. Ὁ Κύριος ἐδώρισε τό μυστήριον τῆς μνήμης ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ διακηρύττων ὅτι “οὐδέν [...] συγκεκαλυμμένον ἐστίν ὅ οὐκ ἀποκαλυφθήσεται” (Λουκ. ιβ΄ 2) καί ὅτι τά πάντα καταλήγουν εἰς τήν ἀλήθειαν τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἐν Αὐτῷ καί εἰς τήν αἴσθησιν τῆς δοξολογικῆς εὐγνωμοσύνης “ὑπέρ πάντων ὧν ἴσμεν καί ὧν οὐκ ἴσμεν”. Πέραν τῶν ἐξωτερικῶν διαφορῶν καί ἀποστάσεων, λοιπόν, πέραν τῶν ἐγκοσμίων ἐναλλαγῶν καί ἀπόψεων, πέραν τῆς “λογικῆς” Δύσεως καί Ἀνατολῆς, ἀπό καταβολῆς κόσμου ἔχομεν τήν φανέρωσιν τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ ὁποία ὡς ἔκρηξις ἐν σιγῇ διαλύει τό ψεῦδος τῆς ἀπάτης, χαρίζει εἰς ἡμᾶς τήν ἀλήθειαν τῆς ζωῆς, ὡς εὐλογίαν ἐλευθερίας καί ἑνότητος, ὡς πορείαν ἐκπλήξεων ὁδηγουσῶν εἰς τήν ἀτελεύτητον Πορείαν καί πρός τό Πάσχα, τό ὁποῖον εἶναι αὐτός ὁ ἴδιος ὁ Θεάνθρωπος. “Οὐ πρέσβυς οὐδέ ἄγγελος, ἀλλ’ αὐτός Κύριος ἔσωσεν” (Ἠσ. ξγ΄ 9) ἡμᾶς ἐν ἐλευθερίᾳ καί ἐπ’ ἐλευθερίᾳ. Εἶναι μεθ’ ἡμῶν ὅταν ἀναλαμβάνεται, “οὐδαμόθεν χωριζόμενος, ἀλλά μένων ἀδιάστατος” (κοντάκιον ἑορτῆς Θείας Ἀναλήψεως). Συμπαραστέκεται ὅταν φαινομενικῶς ἐγκαταλείπῃ τόν ἄνθρωπον. Καί χαρίζει, τέλος, τήν βεβαιότητα, ὅτι εἶναι πάντοτε παρών, φανερῶν τήν δόξαν Του ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ καί ἐν τῇ κενώσει, παρουσιαζόμενος εἰκονογραφικῶς ὡς Βασιλεύς τῆς δόξης ἐν τῇ Ἀναστάσει, ἐλευθερῶν ἐκ τῶν καταχθονίων τόν Ἀδάμ καί τήν Εὔαν, τόν ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλά καί κρεμάμενος γαληνίως ἐπί ξύλου Σταυροῦ, ἐν ἐσχάτῃ ταπεινώσει. “Μέγας εἶ Κύριε καί θαυμαστά τά ἔργα Σου καί οὐδείς λόγος ἐξαρκέσει πρός ὕμνον τῶν θαυμασίων Σου”· ἄλλωστε “ὕμνος ἅπας ἡττᾶται, συνεκτείνεσθαι σπεύδων τῷ πλήθει τῶν πολλῶν οἰκτιρμῶν” τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἡ ἡμετέρα Μετριότης καί οἱ ἐν Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι ἀδελφοί καί συλλειτουργοί ἐν Κυρίῳ, ἱστάμενοι μετά τῶν
Μυροφόρων Γυναικῶν ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ “κενοῦ μνημείου” θεωροῦμεν ὅτι “ἀποκεκύλισται ὁ λίθος” καί θεωροῦμεν ἐν ἐκστάσει καί ἐν τρόμῳ Ἀναστάντα τόν Κύριον, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσαντα καί ἐλευθερώσαντα ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν δεσμῶν τοῦ σαρκίου καί τοῦ παμφάγου ᾃδου καί ζωήν χαρισάμενον. Μέ ἀφορμήν τήν ἀνάμνησιν, λοιπόν, τοῦ γεγονότος τῆς παροχῆς εἰς τούς χριστιανούς τοῦ δικαιώματος τῆς ἐλευθερίας τῆς πίστεως καί τῆς λατρείας των, ἀπό τοῦ Ἱεροῦ τούτου Κέντρου τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, τοῦ ἐν δουλείᾳ κατ᾿ ἄνθρωπον διακονήσαντος τήν ἀληθῆ ἐλευθερίαν ἐν Χριστῷ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καί τοῦ ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ σώματος, ἐκφράζομεν τόν μόνιμον ἔντονον προβληματισμόν, τήν ἀγωνίαν καί τήν διαμαρτυρίαν αὐτοῦ διά τάς συνεχιζομένας διώξεις ἁπανταχοῦ τῆς γῆς, ἰδίᾳ ἐσχάτως πρός τούς χριστιανικούς πληθυσμούς τῆς γεωγραφικῆς περιοχῆς τῆς Μέσης Ἀνατολῆς, αἱ ὁποῖαι ἐκφράζονται μέ συχνάς δολοφονίας, ἀπαγωγάς, διώξεις καί ἀπειλάς ἐναντίον των, μέ ἀποκορύφωμα τήν ἀπαγωγήν τῶν δύο ἀγνοουμένων εἰσέτι ἀδελφῶν Ἱεραρχῶν, τοῦ ἐκλεκτοῦ καί γνωστοῦ διά τήν πνευματικότητα καί τό σημαντικόν ἐκκλησιαστικόν, κοινωνικόν καί ἐκπαιδευτικόν ἔργον του Ἱερωτάτου Μητροπολίτου Χαλεπίου καί Ἀλεξανδρέττας κυρίου Παύλου καί τοῦ Συροϊακωβίτου Μητροπολίτου Χαλεπίου Ἰωάννου-Ἰμπραχίμ. Συμμεριζόμεθα καί συμμετέχομεν εἰς τόν πόνον, τήν θλῖψιν καί τάς δυσκολίας, τάς ὁποίας ἀντιμετωπίζουν οἱ χριστιανοί ἐν τῇ Μέσῃ Ἀνατολῇ καί ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ, καί ἰδιαιτέρως εἰς τό παλαίφατον καί πρεσβυγενές Πατριαρχεῖον Ἀντιοχείας, καί μακράν πάσης πολιτικῆς τοποθετήσεως καταδικάζομεν ἀπεριφράστως ἅπαξ ἔτι τήν χρῆσιν πάσης μορφῆς βίας ἐναντίον των, ποιοῦντες ἔκκλησιν πρός τούς ἰσχυρούς τῆς γῆς εἰς σεβασμόν τῶν στοιχειωδῶν ἀνθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων τῆς ζωῆς, τῆς τιμῆς, τῆς ἀξιοπρεπείας, τῆς περιουσίας, γνωρίζοντες καί ἐπαινοῦντες τό φιλήσυχον καί εἰρηνικόν αὐτῶν καί τήν μόνιμον καί σταθεράν προσπάθειαν ἵνα μείνουν μακράν πάσης ταραχῆς καί διαμάχης. Ἐκφράζομεν τήν ἀγωνίαν ἡμῶν ὡς Ἐκκλησία τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως διότι χίλια ἑπτακόσια ἔτη μετά τήν ἔκδοσιν τοῦ Διατάγματος τῶν Μεδιολάνων οἱ ἄνθρωποι διώκονται διά τήν πίστιν καί τήν θρησκείαν καί τάς συνειδησιακάς ἐπιλογάς αὐτῶν. Τό Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον οὐδέποτε θά παύσῃ διά τῶν εἰς τήν διάθεσιν αὐτοῦ πνευματικῶν μέσων καί τῆς ἀληθείας νά στηρίζῃ τάς προσπαθείας δι᾿ εἰρηνικόν διάλογον μεταξύ τῶν διαφόρων θρησκειῶν, τήν εἰρηνικήν ἐπίλυσιν κάθε διαφορᾶς καί τήν ἐπικράτησιν κλίματος ἀνοχῆς, καταλλαγῆς καί συνεργασίας μεταξύ τῶν ἀνθρώπων κάθε θρησκεύματος καί ἐθνικῆς καταγωγῆς. Καταδικάζοντες ὡς ἀντίθετον πρός τήν θρησκείαν κάθε μορφήν βίας, κηρύσσομεν ἀπό τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου ὅτι μέγα ὡς ἀληθῶς “τό τῆς εὐσεβείας· μυστήριον· Θεός ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί, ἐδικαιώθη ἐν Πνεύματι, ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις, ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν, ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ, ἀνελήφθη ἐν δόξῃ” (Α´ Τιμ. γ΄, 16), κυβερνᾷ τόν κόσμον καί τά τοῦ κόσμου κατά τάς ἀνεξιχνιάστους βουλάς καί τά κρίματα Αὐτοῦ καί πάλιν ἔρχεται ἐν δόξῃ ὡς δίκαιος Κριτής κρῖναι τά σύμπαντα. Αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καί τό κράτος καί ἡ δύναμις καί ἡ τιμή καί ἡ προσκύνησις καί ἡ βασιλεία εἰς τούς ἀπεράντους αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν. Ἐν ἔτει σωτηρίῳ ͵βιγ’, κατά μῆνα Μάϊον (ιθ’) Ἐπινεμήσεως Ϛ’
† Ὁ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Βαρθολομαῖος, διάπυρος πρός Θεόν εὐχέτης
+ ὁ Χαλκηδόνος Ἀθανάσιος, + ὁ Δέρκων Ἀπόστολος, + ὁ Πέργης Εὐάγγελος + ὁ Θεοδωρουπόλεως Γερμανός + ὁ Μυριοφύτου καί Περιστάσεως Εἰρηναῖος + ὁ Μύρων Χρυσόστομος + ὁ Σασίμων Γεννάδιος + ὁ Νέας Ἰερσέης Εὐάγγελος + ὁ Ρόδου Κύριλλος + ὁ Κυδωνίας καί Ἀποκορώνου Δαμασκηνός + ὁ Σιγκαπούρης Κωνσταντῖνος + ὁ Αὐστρίας Ἀρσένιος
‘Throwing Stones’ by Steven Christoforou
No conversation happens in a vacuum. Words spoken long ago continue to echo in our minds long after they’re articulated. When I speak to you today, you’re not simply hearing me and my words: you’re rehearing words uttered by mouths long silent. Thanks to our broken nature, and our poor choices, that context tends to be terrible. Our interactions are judgmental, hurtful, violent. Even a loving, peaceful gesture can trigger a flood of dark memories. I may approach you hoping to offer a comforting embrace, yet you may see in my outstretched arms the memory of abuse suffered long ago. It’s difficult enough growing up and making sense of ones sexuality. It’s tragic that we add layers of shame, judgment, condemnation, and even violence to that confusion. For some reason, we love dividing the world in two: Democrats and Republicans, saints and sinners, good and evil. We do the same in matters of sexuality: we label people as good and wholesome on the one hand, vile and deviant on the other. We see the world as divided between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. “We,” naturally, are the good guys. “They” are not. “They” are the problem. That kind of thinking is the problem. The responses to the US Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Defense of Marriage Act case have been emotionally charged, in both directions. Some see it as the day a community, long discriminated against, finally received a level of respect and acceptance. Others apparently see it as the end of the world. Before we attempt to critique this decision, let’s be honest: as a society, we have a terrible record engaging with homosexuality and the gay community. Our “arguments” have usually been judgment, contempt, and even violence. The fruits of our “ministry” have been depression, promiscuity, drug addiction, and suicide. Some will respond that Christ was very clear about sin, and that so should we. It’s true, He didn’t shy away from telling sinners to “go, and sin no more.” But we have to remember that Christ had a credibility that we lack. When a crowd of people wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery, Christ took mercy on her.
He disarmed the angry mob, saying that he who was without sin should throw the first stone. The crowd dispersed, dumfounded. With no one left to condemn the poor woman, He addressed her directly and gently: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11). Yes, we need to be clear that the Church will not bless same-sex marriages. That would be incompatible with our Christ-centered understanding of who we are and what our salvation is. (To be sure, we should say more about this, and we will, though it will have to wait for a later post.) All that said, have our dealings with LGBTQ people been compatible with our understanding of human nature and salvation? Have we joined in the condemnation of the gay community, expelling them from our community? Do we joke about them behind their backs? Do we revile them to their faces? Even if we don’t, are we sensitive to the cross they bear, to the dehumanizing effect of the hateful words they have endured? Are we aware that their families may have disowned them? Do we care that they may have attempted suicide in their despair? I once heard a great story about the remarkable late 19th/early 20th century author, G.K. Chesterton. A newspaper asked several famous writers to offer their thoughts on what was wrong with the world. Chesterton provided the most succinct answer of all: “I am.” We read the same in our Communion prayers, and acknowledge that Christ “came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first.” Not you, not him or her. Me. So, how are we supposed to respond to the DOMA decision or discussion of same-sex marriage? We should do what we should be doing anyway: praying, fasting, giving alms, loving our neighbors. Maybe we’ll be able to have a deeper conversation when the world looks at us Christians and sees the genuine love of Christ. Until then, I’m what’s wrong with the world. Forgive me. Steven Christoforou is the Youth Protection/Parish Ministries coordinator for the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Archdiocese. He is a 2013 graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology and also graduated from Yale University and Fordham University School of Law.
The Feast of the Transfiguration After six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John His brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with Him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” When the disciples heard this they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. – Matthew 17:1-8 Anthony Coniaris, in the book Daily Vitamins for Spiritual Growth, the following about the Feast of the Transfiguration: “Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John as the glory of His divinity flashed through His body and His clothing. This glory was always with Jesus. The wonder of it was that it was repressed. Jesus did not add anything to his nature at the Transfiguration that He did not always possess. He merely revealed Who He already was. He was always divine and at the Transfiguration His divine glory was revealed. It flashed through His physical body.“ Jesus Christ was transfigured and it revealed that which He already possessed… the glory that was within Him. When God created man, He took special care to create mankind in His image. We might feel pressure to conform and be like the crowd. But truly living a Christ-centered life can free us from those pressures and help us transform into the best Christians we can be. Our own personal transfiguration will simply reveal what God bestowed upon us from the beginning. When considering your own transfiguration in Christ, here are some questions to ask: • Is the image I portray to others who I really am? • Is the image I portray to others who God really wants me to be? • In what ways can I transform to show that I am created in the image of God? What things make it difficult for me to really transform into a strong Christian? If I change in positive ways, how will that change or affect the people around me?
OCF ‘First Forty Days’ Program It seems like our students just graduated from school. But time flies! Freshman orientation and class registration for college students is just around the corner. In getting prepared for the first days of college, it is important for college students to prepare their spiritual life as well. Last year, the North American OCF Office launched an exciting new program to reach out to incoming first-year Orthodox college students at colleges and universities throughout North America, named The First Forty Days. As its name implies, during the first forty days of the 2012 fall semester, local OCF student leaders and chaplains will work to make personal contact with all new incoming
students. They will be given information regarding the OCF chapter on campus and nearby Orthodox parishes. The intent of this program is to foster a personal connection with our students so that young college students will stay connected to Christ and His Church during their years in post-secondary education. To accomplish this, OCF needs the help of all Orthodox Parishes in North America. Each parish is asked to provide the North American OCF Office with some basic information concerning their high school graduates who will be attending college in the fall on a downloadable spreadsheet. It is asked that parishes download the spreadsheet , fill out, and
email it back to firstname.lastname@example.org. OCF will organize the information for all of its chapter leaders for the fall semester. Parishes are also asked to include in the email their parish name, jurisdiction, address, phone number, and email address so that OCF can stay in touch with them in the future. All information received by OCF will remain confidential and will only be released to endorsed OCF chaplains assigned to a particular college. When requesting the information from the students, parishes are asked to please make their students and parents aware that this information will be used in this manner. For further information, contact OCF at email@example.com.
EN C YC L IC A L
Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos u u from page 3 accepted in faith, because of her purity of heart and holiness of life. On this Feast we honor her for this by singing, “She who by reason of her surpassing purity became the receiver of the everlasting God, today commits her most pure soul into the hands of her Son” (Hymn of Vespers). While her purity of soul was completed through carrying our Lord in her womb, she was already a holy person through her love of God and communion with Him. The purity and holiness of the Theotokos affirmed and strengthened the true life she experienced in her relationship with God. O Great miracle and mystery! Yes, she bore the Giver of Life, the One through Whom all things were brought into existence, the Son of God who revealed the power of divine life over death. Today we commemorate this by chanting, “Having become the temple of Life, you have obtained life eternal; for you who has born the Life in Person, has now passed over death into life” (Hymns of Matins). But she also knew this eternal life through her faith. She believed in the promises of salvation, and she found hope in the revelation and presence of God. Because of her faith, she was translated from life to life following her repose, and through dying she rose to live eternally with her Son. It is because of her holiness and her experience of the true life in Christ that the Theotokos is able to be an intercessor for us all. Certainly, we seek the intercessions of all of the Saints, asking
them to pray to God on our behalf that He may continue to show us mercy and grace. However, as we acknowledge on this day and in the Feast of the Annunciation, the Virgin Mary is prayerfully addressed as the Mother of our Lord, as one who has a very special and unique relationship with Him. For the Theotokos, this is a relationship of trust in the divine will of God. It is an eternal communion that has come through a life of holiness. It is faith in the love of God, knowing that He will accomplish all things necessary for our salvation. This is the witness of the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary on the Feast of her Dormition. As through her life, she offers in her repose a witness of the priority of living a pure and holy life. Through her miraculous translation, God reveals through her the power of divine life over death. As one who “ceaselessly intercedes on our behalf,” she shows us a complete and unyielding faith in the will and power of God. May we give glory and honor and thanksgiving to Him for the Theotokos as we commemorate her Dormition, and may we find in her a true witness of faith that renews our hope, brings comfort to our struggles, and assures us of the abundant and eternal life we have in the kingdom of God. With paternal love in Christ,
† DEMETRIOS, Archbishop of America
Archbishop Demetrios of AmericA
the first DecADe 1999-2009
his beautifully produced book presents a full spectrum of the activities in the life of the Greek Orthodox Church in America from the years 1999-2009, the first ten years of Archiepiscopal Ministry of Archbishop Demetrios of America. The 368-page hard cover book contains 537 photographs, all taken by the Official Photographer of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Dimitrios Panagos, and masterfully compiled & edited by Revekka Papadopoulou.
“A must for every Greek Orthodox parish & home in America.”
ALEX MAVRADIS photos.
Metropolitan Methodios conducts an agiasmos service for the newly dedicated hall.
Boston Cathedral Dedicates Hall BOSTON – Annunciation Cathedral of New England dedicated its newly renovated upper hall, named the Anastasia and Spiro Davis Cathedral Hall, on June 2. Metropolitan Methodios of Boston presided over a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, joined by Hieromonk Iakovos of Mount Athos, former cathedral dean Fr. Constantine Xanthakis, and the Very Rev. Dr. Cleopas Strongylis, current dean. The Metropolitan remarked on the overall renovations of both the Sanctuary and the hall. Recognizing the significance of this historic event occurring on the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, he exhorted the Cathedral to continue to “be a well of Jacob, welcoming with open embrace all of our fellow citizens from all of Massachusetts and especially of Boston to come and experience Christ.” Metropolitan Methodios, then held a small Agiasmos service and proceeded to bless all the rooms of the hall, including the museum, chapel, media room, dignitaries lounge, dean’s office, nursery and bookstore. The renovation efforts spanned the tenures of four parish council presidents:Demetrios Papaslis, Dr. Demetrios Photopoulos, Constantine Kechris and James Kaselis. Two of the great benefactors of the project were Evanthia Condakes and Catherine Pappas. Mrs. Condakes sponsored the cathedral museum in memory of her late husband, Leo, and Mrs. Pappas sponsored the dignitaries lounge in memory of her late husband, Stephen.
Mrs. Condakes congratulated Fr. Cleopas for his vision and perseverance, noting that he made the renovation possible. She recalled the “great charge given by those who went before us.” She praised the great achievements of the first Greek-Americans who arrived “rich in love and courage…fortified with the Hellenic spirit.” Mrs. Condakes also noted that the spirit that drove this generation to great achievements must be carried out today by Greek Americans. The Evanthia & Leo Condakes Cathedral Museum is among the highlights of the cathedral hall. It includes displays of episcopal vestments from Metropolitan Methodios, a set of gold–embroidered coverings for holy vessels and old holy vessels used during hospital visits and military campaigns, and icons from the cathedral collection. Especially noteworthy are three icons from the personal collection of the Rev. Dr. Nestor Souslidis, the first cathedral dean (from 1906-1911), donated by his grandson Rob Evans. Other items displayed from personal collections include: an 18th century Corinthian helmet and a Pre-Colombian ceramic ball, ancient Greek and Byzantine coins, a pectoral cross and ivory engolpion (medallion with icon), an engolpion belonging to Metropolitan Cleopas of Thessaliotis, miniature Byzantine icons, handwritten letters from St. Nectarios of Pentapolis, and original photos of the saint. The museum also displays: a Russian-
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Commentary Ministry to the Alcoholic and Addict: an Orthodox Perspective Your husband promised you he would never drink again, but you find him drunk the next day. You made a contract with your child and she made a commitment never to use drugs again, but, within a week, you find her lying on the ground in her room, unconscious. These scenarios are too common in our society today. About 10 percent of all people in the United States struggle with addictions to alcohol and drugs. Clergy are often the first “professionals” who are made aware of an alcohol or drug problem. Unfortunately, clergy are not always trained sufficiently in this type of ministry, and the opportunity to bring hope and healing to an alcoholic and addict may be missed. I have run into countless families who have felt the devastating consequences of alcoholism and addiction. Some have lost loved ones to the disease; others have had their core family devastated, and still others live in constant dysfunction as a result of the addicted person. Much of this could be avoided if the addicted person received immediate and adequate help. The primary role of the priest, as the first line of ministry, is to assist the alcoholic and addict in getting into a program, which will help them overcome their addiction. There are many programs out there, but it is my experience that inpatient programs who use the twelve steps of recovery as found in AA, give addicts the greatest chance of recovery. Many priests successfully refer parishioners to treatment centers, but few ever follow through after they are released. In a recent survey I compiled of alcoholics and addicts in recovery, I asked about the role of their priest during their process of recovery. Only 3 percent said their priest was the primary person who got them help, and less than 20 percent said their priest was helpful at some point in their recovery. This statistic is alarming, especially since over 50 percent of people in recovery claim that they have replaced their church with AA. This shows that, when a member of the clergy is not involved in the process of recovery, chances are that the recovering person will not return to their church. It seems that Alcoholics Anonymous provides a sense of fellowship and spiritual edification for recovering alcoholics and addicts, resulting in people in recovery feeling there is no need to reconnect with their past faith-communities. Recovering alcoholics are three times more likely to see their AA sponsor as their spiritual advisor than their priest. Of those who claim their priest was helpful in getting them sober, over eighty percent stated that they are still connected to their faithcommunity. This statistic alone verifies that, when a member of the clergy is active in the process of recovery, alcoholics and addicts are more likely to continue or renew their participation in the Church. This is important because recovery from addiction is more of a spiritual exercise than anything else, and people in recovery are generally on a wonderful spiritual journey that can be enhanced by the priest and the Church community, and the recovering person can also enhance the Church community. Statistics do not lie! More training is needed for clergy in ministry to the alcoholic and addict, so addicts can receive the help they need, and be reintegrated into
the life of the Church. Before I entered seminary, I was studying to be a social worker, specializing in alcohol and drug abuse-counseling. Since my ordination, I have received further training in the field, as well as writing my doctoral dissertation on the subject. Furthermore, I have led numerous retreats, organized dozens of interventions, and have trained other clergy in the field of addictions. To help with the training of more clergy, I have just written a book titled “Returning the Lost Sheep: Ministry to the Alcoholic and Addict, an Orthodox Perspective.” The book focuses on the theological understanding of addiction, and then looks at the core competencies that priests should be familiar with in this field. Some of the competencies include: Understanding the definition of alcoholism and addiction, the signs of dependencies, the characteristics of withdrawal, the effects on the family and the individual, as well as the characteristics of the stages of recovery, and how early diagnosis and recovery benefit the individual and family. Special emphasis is given to ministry to the addict’s family members, who also become affected through their loved one’s disease. The last part of the book is a simple handbook for priests on how to minister to alcoholics and addicts. Priests should have access to a list of AA, NA, Al-Anon, and other 12 Step groups, a list of treatment centers and detoxes, as well as available funding for them. Suggestions on creative ways to begin a conversation with an addicted person, a list of questions to determine addiction, and a step-by-step manual on how to coordinate an intervention are included. I also show the steps to take after the addict returns from treatment, including attending meetings with them, working the steps with them, and how and when they should begin to receive communion again. Relapse, a very common and frustrating reality in early recovery, is also covered. Finally, I have suggestions on how to establish recovery groups within the church, as well as how to increase alcohol and drug awareness within the community. The book is currently being mailed for free to all active and retired priests of the Archdiocese through the generosity of Dr. Chris Kyriakides. It is my prayer that, through this book and continued training, our priests will play a greater role in helping addicts get clean and sober, and with integrating them back into the life of the Church.
Metropolis of Chicago Holds 32nd Junior Olympics PALOS HILLS, Ill. -- Nearly 2,000 youngsters ages 7 to 18, representing a record 37 parishes, participated in the 32nd annual Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Junior Olympics on May 24-26. Parishes from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota were represented. The Junior Olympics were hosted by Sts. Constantine and Helen parish in Palos Hills. More than 150 volunteers helped to make the annual Junior Olympics another success. Opening ceremonies took place on May 25 as all 37 parish teams enter the field holding their colors and sharing in the spirit of Christian fellowship and competition. Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago opened the Olympics with prayer and his blessings. The ceremonies featured many of the traditions of the ancient Olympic games and concluded with the torch lighting. Participants competed in several sports over the Memorial Day weekend, including basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, tennis, softball, track and field, 10K run, chess, checkers, backgammon, bowling, wrestling, table tennis and more. About 800 medals were awarded. After the Divine Liturgy on May 26, the following Olympic scholarship winners were announced: Victoria Klonis of Sts. Constantine and Helen, Wauwatosa, Wis.; Maria Anastasia Arianas of St. Demetrios Elmhurst, Ill.; James Ganas of St. Nectarios Church, Palatine, Ill.; and Skevo Zembillas,
Metropolis of Chicago photos
Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, Merrillville, Ind., each received $500 scholarships. Planning for the 33rd annual Junior Olympics will begin in early 2014. For more information on the Me-
tropolis of Chicago Junior Olympics, contact a local Greek Orthodox parish, Chris Avramopoulos, director of registration at 312-337-4130; Fr. Tom De Medeiros, director of publicity and volunteers; Jim Stavrou,
director of operations or Fr. Nicholas Jonas, spiritual advisor, at 708-974-3400. Also visit www.stconstantinehelen.org/ jrolympics.html for picture galleries and more information.
Metropolis News Clergy Couples Hold Retreat in California by Presbytera Donna Pappas
MALIBU, Calif. – Fourteen clergy couples from the Metropolis of San Francisco held their third retreat May 13-16. The ongoing development of programs focusing on the marriages of priests and presbyteres remains a priority for the Metropolis. “The marriages of our clergy come with many challenges and many blessings. It is important that we address the uniqueness of their relationships and strengthen them in their commitment to each other and to the Lord,” stated Metropolitan Gerasimos. “We need our priests and presvyteres to be healthy so that God’s love, peace and grace emanate through all aspects of their ministry.” According to the retreat’s organizing committee, the purpose of the retreat was to be a refresher course in making marriage a priority. “It is important to strengthen the relationships of our clergy couples, to refresh them for ministry, and to aid them in their spiritual perspective of relationships,” stated organizing committee member Fr. James Pappas who, along with his wife, Presbytera Donna Pappas have presented many couples’ workshops for both lay and clergy and were the former Executive Clergy Couple for Orthodox Marriage Encounter. The retreat was also a time for priests and presbyteres to share needed time together as a couple. The retreat was led by Dr. Ary Christofidis, founder of the Orthodox Christian Counseling Institute in Chicago. He is a licensed clinical psychologist with degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He received intensive training in family therapy and specializes in the treatment of couples, adults, adolescents, and people diagnosed with cancer. The retreat was organized by Fr. James and Presbytera Donna Pappas of St. George, Fresno, Calif., with input and assistance from Fr. John Hondros of St. John the Baptist, Las Vegas, Presbytera Pat Tsagalakis of Holy Apostles, Shoreline, Wash., and Fr. Gary and Presbytera Christie Kyriacou of St. Demetrios, Camarillo, Calif..
Peabody Scholars St. Vasilios Church in Peabody, Mass., recently hosted its 57th annual Scholarship Banquet where 34 youth received a total of $38,500. Shown with them are emeritus pastor Fr. Andrew Demotses and Proistamenos Fr. Christopher Foustoukos.
First Orthodox Preschool Opens in North San Diego County CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA, Calif., June 20, 2013 – Saints Constantine and Helen Academy is the first and only preschool in North County San Diego to offer a Christian Orthodox faith-based, Montessoriinfused classical English-language curriculum. With a low student-to-teacher ratio, 3-5 year-old children will flourish socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically through developmentally appropriate and state-approved activities. “Learning is a life-long process, however, the first six years of a child’s life is when the brain develops most rapidly,” said Lia Blomgren, director of Sts. Constantine and Helen Academy. “Since so much of our world is based on the classics and Greek language, children of our Academy will be exposed to facets of our world that they won’t get anywhere else.” While most classical academies supplement their curriculum with Latin, Sts. Constantine and Helen Academy uniquely complements its program with classical Greek dramatic play. The preschool’s interior and exterior feature the latest in academic manipulatives to provide enriched learning opportunities. The colorful and engaging classroom features original artwork by renowned artist Fr. Michael Sitaras. Outside, a playscape, water and sand activities, and balance blocks add to the fun with physical play, while two-anda-half inch cushioned tiles protect children from falls. The Academy’s staff is highly trained in early childhood education, the
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Christian Orthodox faith, and the classics. “We are excited to share our faith and love of education with the community through our preschool, but this is just the beginning,” said Fr. Michael Sitaras, pastor and Academy board chairman. “Our goal is to expand the Academy to enrich the classical learning experience of children through eighth grade. As a dad, I understand how knowing the classics and Greek language has helped my children with educational assessments like the SAT.” Sts. Constantine and Helen Academy was founded in 2013 to provide a nurturing and enriching Christian Orthodox and secular early childhood education program. The preschool is located under the iconic gold dome of Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church, which has served the Christian Orthodox community
of North County San Diego since 1978. For additional information, please contact: Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church firstname.lastname@example.org or call 760.942.0920.
Ionian Village Campers Invited Ionian Village participants are invited to submit photos and brief comments of two to three paragraphs (about 100 words) in length about their camping experience for the September Orthodox Observer. Include your name and home parish. Deadline is August 31.
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Obituaries Presbytera Mary Harmand Presbytera Mary Harmand (nee Charouhis), beloved wife of the late Reverend Michael Harmand, passed away peacefully on May 31. Mary, the daughter of William and Irene Deligianis Charouhis was born in Flint, Mich., Jan. 28, 1922. The Charouhis family including Mary, her two sisters and one brother moved from Flint to Detroit in 1938. Mary was always active in church activities and was the organist at the Assumption Church in Detroit where she met Michael Harmand the seminarian. Michael and Mary married on June 25th 1939. Michael was then ordained as the first American born Greek Orthodox priest in the Archdiocese. Their first parish was in Pontiac, Mich., where their two children, Elaine and William were born. Fr. Michael served St. George Church parish from 1939 to 1951 when he was transferred to St. Sophia Church in Syracuse, N.Y. Fr. Michael served the St. Sophia parish for 56 years until his death in 2007. As the wife of the parish priest, Presbytera Mary served varied roles at St. Sophia. Many parishioners looked on her as the “First Lady” of the community. She was elegant, and well respected. She served as the hostess to many church events. She also opened her home to members of the community and was especially welcoming to college students who couldn’t get back to their own homes for holidays. She had been the director of the Sunday School program and was also very active with the Ladies Philoptochos Society. Presbytera Mary worked at Syracuse University and was the executive secretary to three chancellors. She was a very good cook and enjoyed reading cookbooks and trying new recipes. She was also a good bridge player and loved doing crossword puzzles. Presbytera’s children honored her on her 90th birthday with a special family celebration. Relatives came from Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Florida to attend the event. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Elaine and Dr. Thomas Pagedas, Milwaukee, Wis., by her son and daughter-in-law, Dr. William and Kathleen Harmand, Syracuse, and grandchildren Elizabeth (Gregory) Schmalbach, Constance (Chris) Soves, Michael Pagedas and Michael Ian Harmand. She is also survived by her brother Chris Charouhis, Miami, Fla., and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
The funeral was held Tuesday, June 4 with Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit officiating along with Fr. David Smith, proistamenos of St. Sophia. They were assisted by clergy from the neighboring communities of Rochester, Ithaca and Watertown. The family requests donations be sent to St. Sophia’s Church, 325 Waring Road, Syracuse, NY 13224 or to a charity of one’s choice.
Presbytera Helen Geranios RICHMOND, Va. – Presbytera Helen Mary Bamikas Geranios, widow of the late Fr. John G. Geranios, died March 19. She was a member of the Philoptochos Society Richmond chapter and the Daughters of Penelope. Survivors include a son, George John Geranios; a daughter, Kathryn Helen Geranios; three grandchildren, Basil Tsimpris, Nikki Cosma Geranios and Pamela Cosma Geranios; and a great-grandson, John Landon Tsimpris. She also was preceded in death by a daughter, Maria A. Geranios. Funeral services took place March 21 at Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Richmond, and a gravesite service was held at Rosedale Cemetery in Orange, N.J.
Vaseleos Colevas FORT WASHINGTON, Md. - Vaseleos “Billie” Colevas, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and former Archdiocesan Council member, died July 1. He was 85. Born Sept. 13, 1927 in Washington, D.C., he was the son of Greek immigrant parents (Speros Colevas and Helen Argerakis Colevas) who immigrated in 1909 from the village of Sellasia, Greece near Sparti. After World War two broke out, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and served in northern China. He was honorably discharged in 1949. He eventually went into business and became president of Arundel Asphalt Products Incorporated, a Forestville Md.based manufacturer of hot mix asphalt. He spearheaded the growth of what eventually became one of the largest producers of hot mix asphalt in the state of Maryland with several asphalt plants. Colevas also was a member of St. Sophia Cathedral in Washington and Leadership 100, and served as president of Maryland Asphalt Association, director of the National Asphalt Paving Association, and was a member of other trade and business organizations. He is survived by his first wife, his two children, and three grandchildren and other relatives. Funeral service took place July 8 at St. Sophia Cathedral.
OCMC First Orthodox Church in Pakistan Nears Completion ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (OCMC) - The Orthodox Christian Church continues to establish itself and grow in new areas across the globe. One place where Orthodox Christian Mission Center is helping to establish an Orthodox presence is Pakistan. The Orthodox Mission in Pakistan (OMP) was established in 2005 and is under the direction of Metropolitan Konstantinos of Singapore. Fr. John Tanveer, who founded this movement originally under the Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia prior to the establishment of the Metropolitanate of Singapore, leads the local church, whose mission is to serve the spiritual needs of
the Orthodox Christians in Pakistan, where there are currently over 400 faithful. There is much work being done to continue the Church’s growth and to strengthen the Orthodox faith of those in Pakistan. Until recently, the OMP didn’t have a physical church building, and those near Lahore would gather in Fr. John’s home to worship. In regions further from Lahore, people would meet in homes, courtyards, or sometimes rented facilities. Recently, construction on the first Orthodox Church in Pakistan began with funding from OCMC in the village of Wazirabaad, about 70 miles from Lahore.
Family Connections by Anna Higgins
“Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). We learned that slowly, after praying many years to conceive a child. Our church family and friends also prayed long and hard. We chanted the Canon to the Mother of God for numerous 40 day periods. We made pilgrimages to Greece and the Holy Land. On the island of Patmos my husband made daily visits to pray at St. John’s cave. I remember the astounding grace of being in Nazareth, at the site of the Annunciation, and the joyful fervency of our prayers. We knelt at the Tomb of Christ, adoring, beseeching. After 7 years of deeply felt prayer we finally let go and we decided we would not raise a child. A few months later, a priest in Atlanta phoned, offering us the chance to adopt a baby born to a teen in his parish. Our hearts leapt and the interior YES was immediate and complete. We finished the home -study quickly, but learned that the baby’s father would not allow the child to be adopted. We were devastated and felt like we had had another miscarriage. With the steadfast encouragement of our friends we decided to go ahead and try to adopt, and nine months later our daughter came to us. We met her at the hospital when she was one day old, and spent beautiful hours with her Moroccan birthmother and some members of her family. We took pictures of everyone together, capturing wonderful shots of Nadia, her birthmother, holding our daughter, Isabelle, with great tenderness. There was joy, sorrow, sweetness and grief all woven into the same afternoon. When I look back on the photos from those early days I see the pure joy of “mother gladness” on my face – complete, unadulterated happiness. In the weeks following, our friends from the church whose prayers and financial support made this possible, came through our home to visit this child who was, in part, theirs as well. There was deep peace and thankfulness, and when our priest led us in prayers of thanksgiving at the shrine of St. Elisabeth, the community that bore us up during the years of sorrow surrounded us, sharing our joy. The early years were sweet. Each milestone was stunning: crawling, walking, talking. I remember a morning in our sun-drenched kitchen when I realized we had gone through 17 board books before breakfast. She was curious, delighted with life: we found the delight contagious. Her life was centered in the nest of our home, and our lives were centered in the nest of our church community. When she was ready for school she attended the Orthodox school at our church where I
Parenting An Adopted Child
taught part time, and I loved seeing her in her little blue uniform, joining her fellow students in song, prayer and learning. We learned that it is common for adopted children to have developmental challenges. In the ensuing years two difficulties arose. Isabelle began to have problems with anxiety, which came out strongly at school. On the advice of friends who had faced this with their children we found a fine treatment program. Without any medication, our daughter was back in balance after several months. She has needed only one return to the center for help, and again, after a few months of skillful training she was able to master the challenges of her anxiety. Shortly after this we realized that she had difficulty with reading. As is often the case with dyslexic children, she was bright and articulate - the teachers did not fully recognize the problem. We found an excellent tester and learned that Isabelle had both high intelligence and serious difficulties decoding language. We found a trained tutor and sent her to a summer camp which specializes in teaching children with language-based learning disabilities. She enrolled in their school for Middle School and loved it. One of the most important aspects of this experience was that it normalized both her dyslexia and her adoption, since so many children with learning challenges have been adopted. She learned that with dyslexia there is always a compensatory gift. Hers is in the area of art, and we provided opportunities that fostered the growth of her gift. One of the challenges that can arise with an adopted child is questions about the birth family. The adoption was always an accepted part of our family narrative,
and she often looked at the baby pictures of her with Nadia. She would proudly show these pictures to special friends and each night she prayed for Nadia. For some years she expressed a wish to hear from Nadia and when we sent updates through the adoption agency we would pass along that message. After a time she simply let that go, though it may be something she will pursuit later in her life. We tried to find ways for her to become familiar with Morocco, and Arabic cultures in general. When she crested into the teen years we started going to an Antiochian Church that had a strong youth program, with teens from numerous cultures: Lebanese, Eritrean, Syrian, Ethiopian. We live in a racially mixed community and she goes to an urban, economically and culturally diverse high school. This has been important to her, after spending her middle school years in a largely white, upper class private school. She is weaving an identity from strands of many cultures – bright threads put together in a lively, unique pattern.
Two major blessings have helped us in raising our daughter. The first is prayer. “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find” (Mathew 7:7). It was our frequent, fervent prayers, augmented by the prayers of our loved ones, which brought us a child. It has been the steady prayers of Godparents and friends that have guided us at each turning point, helping us use proper discernment to be clear on our choices. We have offered frequent prayers of thanksgiving for being allowed to raise such a beautiful, talented, warm hearted, engaging, sensitive child. And now that Isabelle shows resistance to being involved in church, we try to adhere to the wise advice: “Talk more to God about your child than to your child about God.” The second blessing has been being able to face difficulties directly; seeking help from pastors, friends, and professionals. Sometimes it seems that it may be less complicated to do this with an adopted child, as one is not concerned with wiring glitches or concerning psychological behaviors as a reflection of one’s own genetic makeup or ancestry. (We have had moments of serious consideration about the ways in which our own weaknesses affect our daughter, and this sort of reflection has a place for all parents). We have been able to be frank and direct with Isabelle at each point, and a matter-of-fact, proactive tone has always been enormously helpful. With both the difficulties of anxiety and dyslexia she was relieved to have it named and addressed head-on. And in each circumstance we have had examples of people she admires who have already faced those dragons and slayed them. I have always appreciated the Orthodox perspective that accepts difficulties as a reflection of God’s love. I remember reading a book about the life of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in which she said that if we knew the spiritual benefit of illness we would pray to be ill every day of our lives. By the time we let go of our active efforts to have a child I knew that there had been a deep blessing in the trial, even as I grieved the outcome. Then later, when Isabelle came to us, I saw how my view of adoption as somehow “second best”, as though God didn’t really love us, was simply wrong. We have learned, and hopefully are helping Isabelle to know, that it is possible to accept and deal with life’s hard challenges in the deep knowledge that all things come to us with blessing from God. Anna Higgins has taught creative writing and literature in various settings for 17 years. She taught for12 years at St. Herman of Alaska Christian School, and now teaches home school groups and adult day center groups for people with various disabilities. For the past two years she has been a part of the writing program at HCHC. She converted to Orthodoxy 25 years ago.
A P R AY E R F O R PA R E N T S We pray to the Lord our God, that He will look graciously upon these children, and will send down into their hearts, their minds, and their lips the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, and of piety, and of his fear; and that He will illumine them with the light of his knowledge, and will bestow upon them strength and steadfastness, that they may quickly apprehend and speedily become wonted to the instruction in His Divine Law, and to all good and profitable learning; furthermore, that He will prosper them in wisdom and understanding, and in all good works to the glory of His holy Name, and will give them health, and make them long-lived, unto the building up of the glory of His Church, hear us O Lord and have mercy on us. – From the Service of Blessing of the Children for the New School Year.
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SF Metropolis, IOCC Respond to Ariz. Fire YARNELL, Ariz. - The Metropolis of San Francisco and International Orthodox Christian Charities have responded to the crisis resulting from the monstrous fire that devastated the small town of Yarnell, just outside of Prescott, Ariz., and killed 19 firefighters on Sunday, June 30. Fueled by the dry desert brush and the seasonal winds, the firefighters specially trained to combat these fires became trapped. They were members of the elite Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot crew. Rescue efforts were attempted but the fire quickly raged out of control and these brave men, fighting to save the lands and lives of others, made the ultimate sacrifice for their community. In a statement issued in the aftermath of the tragedy, Metropolitan Gerasimos said, in part, “The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco grieves with all those who have suffered this devastating loss. Many parishioners in the nearby parish of St. George in Prescott, have lost friends, nearly half of Yarnell has been destroyed, and the fire has not yet completed its unfortunate path of destruction.” One of the firefighters who died was the brother of a St. George parishioner. “Though these devastating fires have resulted in such tragic loss, we must remember that the strength of God’s love during these times of great need, for He will provide comfort, strength and peace to all those who are suffering,” stated Metropolitan Gerasimos. “It is our fervent prayer that the Lord’s mighty hand may calm the winds, bringing this fire under control, and sparing any more death and destruction.” In response to the needs of the com-
munity, St. George Church in Prescott opened its doors for quiet contemplation and prayer on Monday, July 1. The entire community was asked to join in prayer with parish priest Fr. Apostolos Hill at a paraklesis and memorial service to be held at the church. As Fourth of July celebrations somberly recalled the heroism of the 19 firefighters who gave their lives while battling the wildfires which continue to burn in the Yarnell vicinity, IOCC “Frontliners” have been on the ground offering spiritual and emotional care to the families of the stricken, emergency personnel, and residents of the community of Prescott, where the fire team was located. IOCC team members also participated in memorial services offering support to grieving townspeople as well as families of those who have lost loved ones. Fr. Hill noted: “We have a number of St. George parishioners whose lives have been impacted by this tragedy and are thankful for the support of IOCC. It is a small town that is reeling from this tragedy.” To offer help To help victims of disasters in the United States, like the Arizona wildfires, a financial gift to the United States Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a donation, visit www.iocc.org, call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or send a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md.21297-0429
West Virginia Church Develops Ministries Program u u from page 10 Senior/Elderly Parishioner Needs, Religious/Spiritual, Communication/Technology/Media, Physical Plant/Building Maintenance, and Budget and Finance. During Lent 2013, the parish held five public information meetings in the church to share the parish’s mission and vision with the community; we are following up through our monthly newsletter to communicate to the rest of the parish, near and far. Personal contacts will be considered following the newsletter response. Based on the
feedback from the community at large, our core ministries will be adjusted and more ministries added as necessary to meet the needs of our parish. The first major impact of All Saints Church Ministries is the updating of the parish data base, identifying and correcting misinformation, adding e-mail addresses for electronic communication and gathering vital statistics to better serve local parishioners and distant family and friends of All Saints. Fore more information on our Church Ministries program, contact Fr. Milanese, Priest@allstswwv.org.
Boston Cathedral Dedicates Hall u u from page 16 style gold-embroidering depicting the Last Supper that dates to 1894, clay and glass vases from the Greco-Roman period from the personal collection of Yervant and Florence Nahikian, a silver blessing cross with enamel studs donated by the Thomas Anthony Pappas Foundation in memory of Joyce Karimbakas, an enamelstudded gospel and chalice, both of which belonged to Metropolitan Athenagoras of Boston, and gifts from Archbishop Iakovos to Mrs. Pappas, donated to the Annunciation Cathedral collection. Dignitaries attending included: master of ceremonies Dr. George Velmahos, division chief of trauma, emergency surgery, and surgical critical care at Massachusetts General Hospital; Northeastern
University President Dr. Joseph Aoun; Dr. Zorica Pantic, president of the neighboring Wentworth Institute of Technology, of Serbian Orthodox heritage; Christine Kondoleon, the George D. and Margo Behrakis Senior Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the nearby Museum of Fine Arts; Consul General of Greece Ifigenia Kanara, Boston City Council member Michael Ross; Yervant Nahikian, architect of the renovation, and his wife, Florence, who are also known for their work at St. Demetrios Church in Weston, and the Metropolis of Boston St. Methodios Retreat Center; and Dr. Marica Arvanites, Renovations Committee chairman. After concluding remarks by Metropolitan Methodios, a brief musical program was offered by Choir Director Archon Primikirios Constantine Limberakis and members of the Cathedral Choir.
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The Metropolis of Detroit Revisited
by Alex Radulescu
DETROIT – The Camping Ministry of the Metropolis of Detroit traces its roots back to the early ‘50s. Due to its geographical expanse, the Metropolis currently runs three regional summer camps: the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp (MDSC), the St. Timothy Summer Camp (STSC), and the St. Nicholas Summer Camp (SNSC). The Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp was founded in 1951 by Fr. Nicholas Harbatis, and named the “St. Nicholas Church Camp.” A campsite was located in Rose City, Mich., and was rented from the Saginaw YWCA for the first two-week program that began that upcoming summer. With three unique camp programs (for older teens, for youth ages 7-15, and for young adults), the camp welcomes almost 400 campers and over 100 staff throughout the different weeks each summer. Throughout its 60-year history, the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp has provided a wonderful setting to the youth of the Metropolis to share their common faith and heritage through its many programs. Literally thousands of young people have attended the camp throughout these years, often attending all nine years as campers and then serving many years as staff members. Hundreds of young adults have donated their time to serve as counselors and mentors to our campers since 1952. Countless lifelong friendships were gained and strengthened through the Camp, and many campers and staff can attest that they met their future spouse at the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp. The camp is now seeing its third generation of campers attending, after having the grandparents and parents of current campers attend in the past. Website: www. gomdsc.org The St. Timothy Summer Camp was established in 1983 by Fr. John Artemas of the Annunciation Church in Buffalo, N.Y., for the needs of the parishes from Upstate New York. Fr. Artemas was assisted by Spiridoula Kostakis of Syracuse, N.Y. During the first five years, they would use either Watson Homestead in Painted Post, N.Y. or Camp Duffield in Arcadia, N.Y. In 1989, Fr. Jim Doukas continued the work of Fr. John Artemas with the
The Metropolis of Detroit Staff (from left) Alex Radulescu, assistant to the Metropolitan; Eva Kokinos, youth director; Fr. Teodor Petrutiu, assistant to the Metropolitan and secretary to the Spiritual Court; Harriet Stoukas, administrator/registry; Anna Diamantaras, housekeeping; Metropolitan Nicholas; Fr. William Bartz, chancellor; Fr. Dean Hountalas, vicar general, and Fr. Chris Dalamangas, registry/volunteer.
assistance of Ms.Kostakis. Fr. Doukas led the St. Timothy Camp program until 2003, when Fr. Tom Zaferes of St. Sophia Church in Syracuse, N.Y., took over. Located today at the Oswegatchie Educational Center near Croghan, NY, the camp offers a wonderful opportunity to young people for Christian fun and fellowship and a place to deepen their faith and commitment to Christ. All young people attend St. Timothy’s Camp with a sense of adventure and a desire to grow spiritually, mentally and physically. St. Timothy’s Summer Camp is open to all Orthodox Christian youth who are between the ages of 8 and 18 (graduating seniors). In addition, a young adult group has been established for ages 19 to 22 to develop their spiritual growth and knowledge of their faith while attending college or beginning their new careers. Website: www.sttimothycamp.org Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit believed that the central and southern areas of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit needed a camping ministries program that was accessible to the youth of their communities. Therefore, under the auspices of His Eminence and the direction of Fr. Nicolaos Kotsis (who was the Metropolis youth director at the time), the Metropolis of Detroit Southern Camp was established in 2000. This camp had its
humble beginnings at Cedar Ridge Camp in Louisville, Ky., with 37 campers, but the program quickly grew. In the summer of 2004, the directorship was passed on to the current Metropolis of Detroit Youth Director Eva Kokinos. The program continued at Cedar Ridge Camp from 20002008. The program achieved a milestone 5th anniversary season in 2005 with 100 campers in attendance. In honor of this 5th anniversary, the Metropolis of Detroit Southern Camp adopted St. Nicholas as its patron saint and officially became the St. Nicholas Summer Camp. Outgrowing its original facility, the St. Nicholas Summer Camp program spent one last summer at Cedar Ridge in 2008. In 2009, the St. Nicholas Summer Camp program moved to its current location at Camp NaCoMe in Pleasantville, Tenn. Website: www.southerncamp.com Each one of the Camping Ministry programs of the Metropolis of Detroit is committed to providing a safe, fun environment where young people can truly be transformed: through fellowship, through worship, through education, through service, and through love for Christ and one another! In turn, they create lifelong friendships and memories. Alex Radulescu is assistant to Metropolitan Nicholas for communications.
To access the map key for the communities in the graphic visit the Archdiocese website www. goarch.org. Then go to News, click on Observer and go to the June 2012 archived edition, page 32.
Metropolis of Detroit Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit 2560 Crooks Rd. Troy, Mich. 48084 (248) 823-2400 www.detroit.goarch.org Chancellor Fr. William Bartz Vicar General Fr. Dean Hountalas Assistant to the Metropolitan/ Secretary to the Spiritual Court Fr. Teodor Petrutiu Assistant to the Metropolitan/ Communications Alexandru E. Radelescu Administration/Registry Harriet Stoukas Youth Director Eva Kokinos Metropolitan Council Vice President Dr. Harry Kotsis Clergy Syndesmos Fr. Ciprian Streza Philoptochos Margaret Yates Religious Education Fr. James Bogdan Hellenic Heritage Fr. Nicholas Kyritsis, George Reganis Church Music Federation Theodore Niforos Metropolis Protopsaltis Dr. Panayiotis Mitsias Metropolis Choir Director George S. Raptis Regional Archon Commander Mark Stavropoulos, Lou Kirkos Missions OCMC Representatives Michael Stavropoulos, Patrick Crosson IOCC Representative Mark Stavropoulos Ecumenical Liaisons Frs. Nicholas Pathenos and Teodor Petrutiu Regional Liaison Ohio Central Fr. William Cassis Southern Fr. Gregory Hohnholt Upstate New York Fr. Christos Christakis Sisterhood of Presvyteres Presbyteres Jennifer Legakis and Harriet Wilson