38 Clergy-Laity Congress th
JUNE-JULY 2006 • Vol. 71 • No. 1224
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38th Clergy-Laity Congress Convenes July 16-21 NEW YORK – Preparations are nearing completion for the 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress and National Philoptochos Convention, which take place Sunday, July 16 through Friday, July 21, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Nashville. The National Young Adult League (YAL) Conference will be held in conjunction with the Congress July 14-17. More than 2,000 total participants, including observers, guests and some 1,000 delegates from 510 parishes are expected to attend the weeklong Congress. A few days before the Clergy-Laity Congress, Archbishop Demetrios spoke to the Orthodox Observer about the conclave’s preparations, focus and expectations. “I am looking forward to this opportunity to be together with our clergy and laity, my brothers the hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod and many of our faithful. I am looking forward to our common presence, discussion and study of the issues of concern in our Church. I see it as an opportunity to develop stronger bonds with each other and to focus our attention
ARCHDIOCESE Junior Olympics
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Christ. (Ephesians 4:15) Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
in a positive and organized manner to the future, which is a great future for our Orthodox Church in this country.” Speaking about the main theme of the Congress, Sharing the truth of the Gospel and the Love of Christ, the Archbishop explained that “the great truth we have
as Orthodox in America is not always well known. This should be the focus in one hand for development of education on our faith and on the various elements of our rich tradition, and on the other,
St. Basil’s 59th Commencement
Chicago Jr. Olympian and flag-bearer Evan Vouris holds the Olympic torch. (pgs. 30-32)
Ecumenical Patriarchate . . . . 4-5 Archbishop’s Encyclical ............... 11 Challenge ..................................... 27 Classifieds ..................................... 28 Greek Section .............................. 15-18 Opinions ....................................... 10 Parish Profile ................................ 19 Philoptochos ................................ 24
WELCOME of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios
STAVrOULA KATSIFAS receives a certificate from Archbishop Demetrios. She graduated from Hellenic College in May.
GARRISON, N.Y. – Tears and lots of hugs marked the 59th commencement at St. Basil Academy as seven children reached a major milestone in their lives. Five students graduated from high school, one completed the eighth grade and one graduated from Hellenic College. The event also included a dedica-
tion service for two recently paved roadways in honor of a benefactor and a prominent alumna. Each graduate spoke briefly and emotionally thanked all those at the Academy and others who cared for them over the years. The eighth grade student, Amde Gi-
It is with great joy that I welcome you to the 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. As an Archdiocese we extend our gratitude to the Holy Metropolis of Detroit and His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas for hosting this historic meeting. Our Clergy-Laity Congress is a vital part of our identity and mission as the Greek Orthodox Church in America. This will be a unique time and opportunity for prayer, fellowship, and fruitful discussion in addressing the crucial issues and needs in the life and ministry of our Church. We have chosen as our Congress theme Sharing the Truth of the Gospel and the Love of Christ. This theme directs our minds and hearts to the essence of our sacred vocation in this world. It is our calling as Orthodox Christians and as parishes to share the truth that illuminates the path of salvation so that all may know and receive the gift of life offered by our Lord. This sharing of truth is first and foremost an act of love. A loving God has extended His inexhaustible grace to us, and He calls us to share this love with each and every person, to follow the example of Christ and share it in a sincere, sacrificial, and holy way that seeks only the spiritual well-being and eternal salvation of others. As we share truth and love, we will build up the Church, the Body of Christ, growing together in Him and into His heavenly kingdom. During this very unique and significant week, I ask that you join with me in prayer asking our Lord to guide us in our worship, fellowship and meetings. Together as Greek Orthodox faithful in America, may we also affirm that in being together in one mind, one body, and one heart, we manifest our unyielding commitment to Christ and strengthen our resolve to share the truth of the Gospel and His love in all that we do. With my prayers and best wishes for a blessed Congress, I remain, With paternal love in Christ,
†Archbishop DEMETriOS of America
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59th Commencement Held at St. Basil Academy is a bond, a connection. You are tied together.” The Archbishop also told them there is “tremendous support behind you,” specifically the “Philoptochos, AHEPA, specific parishes, and Daughters of Penelope,” who have benefacted the Academy over the years. “There is all sorts of tremendous support behind you,” he continued. “Don’t stop increasing your education; don’t stop increasing expectations. Be ambassadors of the love of God.” He also referred to St. Basil’s as “a real wonderland, and more than an wonderland; It’s a miracle. This place would be the envy of any school or institution.” Fr. Sitaras expressed his gratitude to a group of benefactors that made his desire to blacktop the roadways at the academy a reality. He noted that, while visiting St. Basil’s last year, Nicholas J. Bouras of New
grADUATES and Trustees with Archbishop Demetrios
page 1 zaw, a native of Ethiopia, recounted how he was 3 years old when his father died. At age 5 he came to America with his mother and was accepted at St. Basil Academy at age 6 because his mother had to care for a sick uncle, who died about four years ago, and St. Basil’s provided him with a secure, stable and loving environment. Another student, Eliud Suarez, who came to the academy at age 4, said he was “a discipline problem at first,” but that over the years the staff at the academy helped to mold him into a responsible adult. He is enrolled in an electrical apprenticeship program and wants to work as an electrician. Hellenic College graduate Stavroula Katsifas, who earned a degree in childhood development, plans to pursue a master’s in guidance counseling at Fordham University in New York. Efthimia Mitches will enroll at Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute in Rhode Island to pursue a business degree. Her brother, Spyridon Mitches, will attend Manhattan Community College. Christopher Skotchdopole will go to the New York School for the Visual Arts and Andreas Spentzos will continue his studies at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Archbishop Demetrios, several dignitaries attended the ceremony and offered their greetings and congratulations. They included Board of Trustees President Steven Gounardes, National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas, Consul General of Greece George Alexopoulos, Consul General of Cyprus Martha Mavromatis, along with St. Basil’s Executive Director Fr. Constantine Sitaras. Also attending was retired New York State Supreme Court Judge Yorka Linakis,
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Jersey and George Safiol of Weston, Mass., expressed interest in supporting the paving project. They enlisted support from Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jaharis of New York, George Behrakis of Massachusetts, Mr, and Mrs. Charles Poulos and Mr. and Mrs. Michael Parlamas of New York, and the $165,000 project was completed last August. Archbishop Demetrios officiated at a dedication service following the presentation of diplomas and praised Mr. Bouras and the other benefactors for their generosity and for their interest in the Academy and the children. The newly paved roadway near the main entrance to the boys’ dormitory was named Nicholas J. Bouras Drive, and the drive in front of girls’ dorm, has been designated the Sen. Olympia J. Snow Court. U.S. Sen. Snow of Maine graduated from St. Basil Academy in the early 1950s. Also at the event, representatives of several parishes, Philoptochos and AHEPA chapters presented gifts and donations to
PHOTOS D. PANAGOS
who for many years served as the National Philoptochos legal counsel and has been a strong supporter of the Academy. Fr. Sitaras praised the staff of St. Basil’s for their dedication to the children and noted that St. Basil Academy has helped children to “grow, prosper, and reach for the sky” in keeping with his vision of “well-rounded Greek Orthodox Christians.” Archbishop Demetrios told the students to “keep the tremendous advantage you received here; and the tremendous faith in a future always bright. Nothing is impossible for people who believe in God.” He observed that the students’ crying, embracing and kissing during the ceremony, was “an amazing way of speaking.” His Eminence also noted that “the people in front row crying means there ELIUD SUArEZ (above), who came to the Academy at age 4, with His Eminence on graduation day. (left) Ethiopia native Amde gizaw addresses the audience during commencement ceremonies as Efthimia Mitches and Stavroula Katsifas look on.
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the students and the Academy. Sophie Kousoumbou presented the 13th annual Alumnae gift of the 1950s grammar school. Others presenting included Mr. and Mrs. Steve Tsiadis, Ernest Tsaptsinos of the 5th AHEPA District in New Jersey, Venus Dimou of St. Demetrios Philoptochos in Jamaica, N.Y.; Holy Cross Philoptochos, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Holy Trinity Philoptochos, Westfield, N.J., Annunciation Church, Brockton, Mass., Holy Trinity Philoptochos, Bridgeport, Conn.; the Zoe Cavalais Memorial Scholarship from the National Philoptochos, Ascension Philoptochos, Fairview, N.J., St. John the Theologian Cathedral Philoptochos, Tenafly, N.J., St. Luke’s Church, Broomall, Pa., AHEPA chapter, Norfolk, Va., Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos Board, Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos, Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral Philoptochos, St. George Church, Norwalk, Conn., St. Barbara Church, Orange Conn., Annunciation Cathedral Philoptochos, Baltimore, St. George Church, Clifton, N.J., and St. Spyridon Church, New York.
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National Oratorical Festival Hosted by the Metropolis of San Francisco SAN FRANCISCO – Months of planning finally culminated on June 3 when the 23rd annual St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival was held at the Annunciation Cathedral. The work of the host committee, headed by Rev. Stephen Kyriacou, cathedral dean, produced a memorable weekend. The oratorical festival, a program of the Department of Religious Education under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos, encourages and motivates teenagers to speak about their faith and, at the same time, develop their communication skills. Fr. John and Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos serve as Archdiocese co-chairmen, while there are countless others whose efforts each year enable the Oratorical Festival to flourish. The finalists and their families arrived on Friday, June 2 and stayed at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel located a couple of blocks from the exciting venues of the city. The host committee welcomed them with a cable car embroidered canvas bag filled with snacks and memorabilia from San Francisco. The official gathering began that evening with a paraklesis at Holy Trinity Church in San Francisco. Archbishop Demetrios officiated along with Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. Fr. Michael Pappas, proistamenos, welcomed the finalists and their families and a welcome dinner followed. Archbishop Demetrios presided over the program on Saturday that began with an opening prayer followed by greetings from Fr. Kyriacou and Fr. Marangos. Previous Metropolis oratorical festival finalists introduced the speakers who then took their turn at the podium. “The Festal Menaion” was the theme for the 2006 Oratorical Festival. One Junior Division topic was: On the Day of Theophany, we chant “All those who were baptized in Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Discuss the meaning of this phrase and the obligations it places upon us as Orthodox Christians (January 6). Many Senior Division finalists selected the topic The Exapostilarion of the
FINALISTS at Annunciation Cathedral with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan gerasimos. Fr. John and Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos (left) and Fr. Frank Marangos (right).
Elevation of the Holy Cross proclaims, “The Cross is the Guardian of the whole earth…the beauty of the Church…the strength of Kings…the support of the faithful…the glory of angels and the wounder of demons.” Talk about the power of the Life-Giving Cross. (September 14)
After a luncheon, Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Gerasimos presented awards to all 18 finalists. Junior Division first place honors and a $2,000 college scholarship went to Megan Dolan (Metropolis of Denver, St. Sophia Church, San Antonio), second place and a $1,500 college scholarship was presented to Ashley Alman (Metropolis of Atlanta, St. Mark Church, Boca Raton, Fla.) and third place with a $1,000 college scholarship was awarded to Niko Moustakis, (Metropolis of New Jersey, St. George Church, Clifton, N.J.). Honorable mention and a $500 US Savings Bond went to: Stephanie Gergoudis (Direct Archdiocesan District, St. Nicholas Shrine Church, Flushing, N.Y.); Melissa Bobotas, (Metropolis of Boston, Annunciation Church, Cranston R.I.), Mary Fay Karras (Metropolis of Chicago, Holy
Taxiarchai-St. Haralambos Church, Niles, Ill.), Irina Haralambis (Metropolis, of Detroit, St. George Church, Southgate, Mich.) Sarah Veronis (Metropolis of Pittsburgh, Annunciation Church, Lancaster, Pa.) and Erika David (Metropolis of San Francisco, Assumption Church, Scottsdale, Ariz.).
The Senior Division recipient of first place honors and a $2,000 college scholarship was Margarita Tsorbatzoglou (Denver Metropolis, St. Basil the Great Church, Houston); Ashley Nimey (Metropolis of Atlanta, St. Barbara Church, Sarasota, Fla.) was awarded second place honors and a $1,500 college scholarship, and receiving third place honors and a $1,000 college scholarship was Athina Moustakis (Metropolis of New Jersey, St. George Church, Clifton, N.J.). Honorable Mention recipients receiving a $500 US Savings Bond were: Amanda Efthimiou (Direct Archdiocesan District, St. Paul Cathedral, Hempstead, N.Y.) Amanda is the grand-daughter of the Rev. Dr. Milton Efthimiou; Agnes Dardas (Metropolis of Boston, St. Spyridon Cathedral, Worcester, Mass.), Vaggelis Sotiropoulos, (Metropolis of Chicago, St. Spyridon Church, Palos
Heights Ill.), Amy Martine Putnam (Metropolis of Detroit, Holy Trinity Church, Lansing, Mich.), Peter Tsoflias, Metropolis of Pittsburgh, Annunciation Church, Lancaster, Pa.); and Nicole Varvitsiotes, (Resurrection Church, Castro Valley, Calif.). All participants received a plaque along with a certificate personally signed by the Archbishop. In a letter of appreciation to festival officials, senior first place winner Margarita Tsorbatzoglou wrote, in part, “…My experience was priceless. I was overwhelmed by meeting so many influential people in our faith as well as interacting with the other participants. The tour of San Francisco was breathtaking and I truly believe that it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. Winning first place with the unshakable support of my family, the support of my parish, St. Basil the Great in Houston, as well as the support of our entire Metropolis of Denver was a true blessing…” The next event was a tour of the city and its historic sites, in particular the Golden Gate Bridge. Participants and their families were welcomed at the Ascension Cathedral in Oakland by Rev. Tom Paris, where Archbishop Demetrios celebrated Vespers. A Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday morning at the Annunciation Cathedral followed by a farewell luncheon. While the 2006 Oratorical Festival year concludes with the Archdiocese Finals, planning for the next year begins immediately. It is important to note that the encouragement for the children to participate in the Oratorical Festival is at the parish level. This is where the topics should be discussed and all teenagers encouraged to participate. The 2007 topics will be posted by the Department of Religious Education on its website at www.religioused.goarch.org by September. This year there were 198 churches throughout the Archdiocese that held a parish Oratorical Festival. Our prayer is that many more will participate next year.
WINNING SPEECHES page 22
Trisagion Chanted, Tombstone Layed at Archbishop Iakovos’ Grave BROOKLINE, Mass. – Archbishop Demetrios and other clergy and faithful of the Church gathered at a memorial service June 22 at Holy Cross School of Theology for the blessing of the newly installed headstone at the gravesite of Archbishop Iakovos. The former Archbishop of North and South America died April 10, 2005 and was buried behind the chapel of the theological school. The tombstone was purchased from the island of Imvros, birthplace of Archbishop Iakovos. Engraved on the stone in English and Greek is a quote from Paul’s second letter to Timothy, verse 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith, I have finished the race,” Others who attended the ceremony included the Archbishop Iakovos’ longtime administrative assistant Paulette Poulos, director of Archives at the Archdiocese Nikie Calle; Leadership 100 co-founder Arthur Anton, Leo and Evanthea Condakes, and several from the Holy Cross academic community, including Executive Committee Vice Chairman Dr. Thomas Lelon, the Rev. Drs. Alkiviadis Calivas and Theodore Stylianopoulos and Dr. Elias Patsavos.
ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS presides at the Trisagion service for the late Archbishop Iakovos at the gravesite behind the Holy Cross Chapel. With His Eminence are Bishop Andonios of Phasiane (right), Deacon Nathaniel Symeonides, HC/HC President Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou and many old friends and colleagues of the late Archbishop.
The Boys Orphanage Building in Pringipos Island (Büyükada), the largest wooden building in Europe, was confiscated by the Turkish authorities on March 20, 2006 when the name of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was erased from the property title and replaced with the name of the
building foundation which had been seized by the Turkish authorities back in 1997. The Ecumenical Patriarchate had appealed this decision to the European Courts of Human Rights since April 9, 2005 but Turkey proceeded with the confiscation, ignoring the process.
ies and properties belonging to the Greek Orthodox community. This action, coupled with confiscatory taxes and economic restrictions, led to a mass exodus of Greeks living in Istanbul. In a matter of a few years, the Greek community numbering over 120,000 in Istanbul was reduced to less than 3,000. The effects of this exodus was the eventual loss of thousands of valuable properties belonging to the Church and the Greek Orthodox minority. Currently, the Turkish authorities continue their intractable persecution of the Greek Orthodox minority and the Mother Church, in many ways: 1. The Ecumenical Patriarchate does not have a legal personality. As a result, it has no power to buy or own property and even the Patriarchal compound at the Phanar is not the acknowledged property of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Since the Patriarchate is not recognized as a legal entity, the several churches, monasteries, schools, cemeteries and Orthodox communities, are broken into Foundations, subject to the supervision, control and interference by a jealous and hostile Turkish bureaucracy. Several of the more mundane, yet serious problems which the Greek minority is currently encountering, can be traced to this lack of legal status by the Patriarchate. 2. The property rights of the Patriarchal Foundations are severely compromised by a Turkish administrative agency known as the Directorate General of Foundations, or “Vakiflar.” This agency, by cleverly applying a bewildering array of domestic laws, has expropriated hundreds of communal and cultural properties on pretexts such as that they were not fully utilized or had failed to meet minimum safety standards or did not have a fully constituted Board of Trustees. What makes this last pretext so sinister is that the Vakiflar often refuses to ratify the election of new Board members when the previous members die or are dismissed by the same agency! Similarly, the so called failure to meet safety standards is usually the result of the Turkish authorities’ refusal to grant permits to repair or restore church properties which had fallen into disuse. In addition, as a result of restrictions to receive gifts of inheritance imposed on the Patriarchate and its Foundations, numerous private properties have been expropriated without compensation to the estate of the deceased donor, to the Patriarchate or to the Foundations. Under pressure by the European Union, Turkey, for the first time since 1936, enacted a law in 2002 allowing non-Muslim
(d) limiting the number of classes teaching the Greek language. 4. Directives arbitrarily issued by the Deputy Prefect of Istanbul in 1923 and again by the Prefect in 1970, mandated that the Patriarch and the Metropolitans who minister at the Patriarchate be Turkish citizens. No legal or international treaty foundation was given for those directives. Considering the precipitous decline of the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey and the closing of the Theological School of Halki, implementation of those directives would result in the eventual extinction of the Patriarchate and the Holy Synod due to the inevitable lack of candidates. Again, this is contrary to Turkey’s obligations not to interfere with the management or affairs of the non-Muslim minorities and in the election of its religious leaders. This totally arbitrary policy is simply designed to choke off an eighteen century religious institution. These are some, but sadly not all, of the indignities, persecutions, humiliations (such as refusing to recognize the Patriarch as Ecumenical and forcing him to sign his letters to the authorities as the “Greek Patriarch of Istanbul”) and restrictive policies which the Government of Turkey and its several agencies have been imposing upon the Greek Orthodox minority. During the last few years, the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, the organized body of the American Archons, under the spiritual guidance of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and the inspired leadership of its National Commander, Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, have taken an activist role on several fronts in efforts to obtain justice and freedom to the ministry of our Mother Church. Leaders of the Order have repeatedly visited, met with and forcefully argued their case before Government officials and legislators in Washington, Istanbul, Ankara, Brussels and Strasbourg. Unfortunately, these problems appear to be implacable and their solution remains uncertain.
The Plight of Our Ecumenical Patriarchate The origins of the Ecumenical Patriarchate are traced back to Apostle Andrew, the first-called disciple of Jesus who introduced Christianity in ancient Byzantium around 30 A.D. Sometime after 330 A.D., when Emperor Constantine transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium and renamed it Constantinople, the Bishop of Byzantium became Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome. The seven (7) Ecumenical Councils were held within the jurisdictional area of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. These Councils established the constitutional framework of the Christian Church, composed the Nicaean Creed and approved the canon of the New Testament. The title “Ecumenical Patriarch” was bestowed upon the Archbishop of Constantinople by a synod convened in 587 A.D. by Christopher Stratakis, Esq.*
Throughout the centuries since then and up until now the Ecumenical Patriarch continues to occupy the first place of honor among all of the world’s Orthodox Patriarchs. He serves as the spiritual leader and worldwide voice of an estimated 300 million Orthodox all over the world. Yet, despite the great importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s ministry, its very sustenance and existence today, as well as those of its constituency, are threatened by the oppressive, illegal and arbitrary policies of the Turkish state. It is significant that over the last several decades, Turkey had undertaken to treat its non-Muslim minorities in accordance with several formal documents; namely, (1) the Treaty of Lausanne, (2) the constitution of the Republic of Turkey, and (3) several international conventions and protocols on human rights which Turkey has signed and ratified. All of them, in one form or another, guarantee the civil, religious and political rights of the non-Muslim Turkish nationals without regard to their religion, creed or confession. Contrary to these commitments, the actual policies, domestic legislation and court decisions have resulted in the gradual, yet irreversible decline of its Greek Orthodox population, as well as the threatened extinction of an eighteen centuries old religious institution, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. First, we had the tragic riots of September, 1955, in Istanbul and Smyrna, where Turkish mobs, provoked and organized by the Turkish government, pillaged, burned and destroyed churches, school, cemeter-
HIS ALL HOLINESS Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archon Christopher Stratakis.
Foundations to acquire property. Similar laws enacted in January and July 2003 were aimed at redressing the discriminatory property rights imposed on the Patriarchate and its Foundations. The implementation of these laws, however, was frustrated by the Vakiflar and the Turkish courts. Significantly, in a June 2004 report, the European Commission noted that out of 2,234 applications filed pursuant to these laws, only 287 were accepted. In addition, the parties allowed to file these applications were restricted to the 160 Foundations listed in the Turkish Regulations, thereby excluding other unlisted Foundations or institutions which had been previously victimized by the Vakiflar. As stated in the report, the lack of legal status to churches, schools and hospitals, exposed these institutions to the risk of their existing properties being confiscated without market value compensation. 3. Contrary to the clear language in the Treaty of Lausanne, Article 401 Turkey closed the Theological School of Halki in 1971, thereby depriving the Patriarchate of the opportunity to educate and train its future leaders. All efforts since then and as recently as last year to reopen the School, have met with Turkey’s unbending refusal. In addition, the local authorities continue their illegal practice of interfering with the education of the Greek Orthodox minority in several ways, such as: (a) systematically rejecting requests by school principals to fill vacancies, (b) refusing to allow teachers to teach in more than one school, (c) imposing restrictions on student enrollment, and
1 “Turkish nationals belonging to nonMoslem minorities shall enjoy the same treatment and security in law and in fact as other Turkish nationals. In particular, they shall have an equal right to establish, manage and control at their own expense, any charitable, religious and social institutions, any schools and other establishments for instruction and education, with the right to use their own language and to exercise their own religion freely therein.”
* Christopher Stratakis is an Archon and legal counselor of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle.
43 Senators Sign Letter to President on Patriarch Theophilos Visits Phanar Preservation of Ecumenical Patriarchate WASHINGTON – “The continued existence of the 2,000-year-old head of the world’s second largest Christian church (Orthodox) – the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey – has so far received the strong support of 43 U.S. senators. These Senators, representing 69 percent of the American people, have signed a letter to President George W. Bush asking that he move this religious crisis of historic magnitude higher on our foreign policy agenda,” said Dr. Anthony Limberakis, the national commander of the Order of St. Andrew. The Order is composed of Archons of the Orthodox Christian Church, the oldest honor in Christendom, whose historic purpose is the protection of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and whose members Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew elevates. “Jesus Christ’s first-called Apostle Andrew founded this sacred See that has been maintained by 269 sequential Ecumenical Patriarchs. Much of the New Testament was codified there and the Nicene Creed written. The Apostle Andrew’s brother Peter founded the Holy See of Rome that has been maintained by 265 Popes. Ecumenical Patriarchs and Popes were the eastern and the western heads of the same church at one time,” said Fr. Alex Karloutsos, the spiritual advisor of the Order. “The pending elimination of this sacred and historic institution results from Turkey’s imposed requirement that the Ecumenical Patriarch be a Turkish Citizen at a time when eligible Orthodox Christians of Turkish citizenship are virtually disappearing. As well, Turkey confiscated the vast majority of the property of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, closed it’s only Seminary and refuses to officially recognize Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – an individual who received America’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Limberakis. “Five months ago all senators were asked to sign this letter by the senators with jurisdiction over this issue – the chairman and ranking minority Member of the U.S. Senate European Affairs Subcommittee, Sens. George Allen (RVA) and Joe Biden (D-DE), respectively -- and the two Orthodox Christian senators, Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Senators have also been asked by numerous Orthodox churches in their states and by others to sign the letter that stands up religious freedom, an inalienable right which is central to our U.S. Bill of Rights,” said Andy Manatos a Regional Commander of the Order. “Americans across the country, par-
ticularly delegations of Orthodox Christians, are meeting with their Senators to thank them for signing or to inquire why they have not yet signed such an important letter. Below is a list of all 50 states and the status of each senator’s signature on this letter,” said Manatos. Senators Who Signed: Mark Pryor, Arkansas; Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, California; Ken Salazar; Joe Lieberman, Christopher Dodd, Connecticut; Joe Biden, Delaware; Bill Nelson, Florida; Daniel Inouye, Hawaii; Richard Durbin, Illinois; Tom Harkin, Iowa; Sam Brownback, Kansas; Olympia Snowe, Maine; Paul Sarbanes, Barbara Mikulski, Maryland; Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Massachusetts; Debbie Stabenow, Carl Levin, Michigan; Harry Reid, Nevada; John Sununu, New Hampshire; Bob Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey; Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico; Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, New York; Elizabeth Dole, Richard Burr, North Carolina; George Voinovich, Mike DeWine, Ohio; James Inhofe, Oklahoma; Ron Wyden, Oregon; Rick Santorum, Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania; Jack Reed, Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island; Tim Johnson, South Dakota; Bob Bennett, Utah; George Allen, Virginia; Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, Washington; Herb Kohl, Russ Feingold, Wisconsin. Senators who have NOT signed: Alabama: Richard Shelby, Jeff Sessions, Alaska: Ted Stevens, Lisa Murkowski, Arizona: John McCain, Jon Kyl, Arkansas: Blanche Lincoln, Colorado: Wayne Allard, Delaware: Tom Carper, Florida: Mel Martinez, Georgia: John Isakson, Saxby Chambliss, Hawaii: Daniel Akaka, Idaho: Larry Craig, Mike Crapo, Illinois: Barack Obama, Indiana: Richard Lugar, Evan Bayh, Iowa: Charles Grassley, Kansas: Pat Robertson, Kentucky: Mitch McConnell, Jim Bunning, Louisiana: Mary Landrieu, David Vitter, Maine: Susan Collins, Minnesota: Norm Coleman, Mark Dayton, Mississippi: Thad Cochran, Trent Lott, Missouri: Kit Bond, Jim Talent, Montana: Conrad Burns, Max Baucus, Nebraska: Chuck Hagel, Ben Nelson, Nevada: John Ensign, New Hampshire: Judd Gregg, New Mexico: Pete Domenici, North Dakota: Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Oklahoma: Tom Coburn, Oregon: Gordon Smith, South Carolina: Jim DeMint, Lindsey Graham, South Dakota: John Thune, Tennessee: Bill Frist, Lamar Alexander, Texas: Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Cornyn,Utah: Orrin Hatch, Vermont: Patrick Leahy, Jim Jeffords, Virginia: John Warner, West Virginia: Robert Byrd, Jay Rockefeller, Wyoming: Michael Enzi, Craig Thomas.
Cypriot Archbishop’s Seat Honorably Vacated GENEVA – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew convened a broad synod of Orthodox hierarchs in Chambesy, Switzerland, May 17, which decided to honorably vacate the position of Archbishop of the Church of Cyprus, a move that will lead to elections for a new Archbishop. Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus has been incapacitated for the past four years and is unable to perform his duties as the head of the Church. The decision was taken by majority, with 15 members voting in favor and seven against.
The synodal meeting was chaired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and attended by the Patriarchs of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem as well as by the Cypriot Metropolitans of Paphos, Kitium, Limassol, Kyrenia and Morphou, and the Bishops of Arsinoe, Trimithounta and Kykkos. The Bishop of Salamina did not attend the broad meeting but sent his position in writing. The Metropolitans of Paphos, Kitium, Limassol and Kyrenia, as well as the Bishops of Arsinoe and Salamina voted against, along with the Patriarch of Antioch.
CONSTANTINOPLE – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomed the newly elected Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, who made his first official visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in late May. The two Patriarchs had the opportunity to discuss issues of inter-Orthodox and panOrthodox interest, including the recent developments at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Patriarch Theophilos expressed the gratitude of the Jerusalem Church to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for its role in the peaceful resolution of the recent troubling crisis it had faced. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America traveled to the Phanar on the invitation of the Ecumenical Patriarch to participate in the meetings and the events of this auspicious occasion. On Sunday May 28, the two Patriarchs concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. George (photo above) and prayed particularly for peace in the area of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Middle East in general. In an official dinner in honor of Patriarch Theophilos, His All Holiness assured him of the “honest and brotherly support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”
38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress, July 15-21 page 1 the focus for specifics acts of love, care and philanthropy. There should be specific actions and offerings from a church which loves the people. This needs to be demonstrated.” The Archbishop spoke of the opportunity for “the parishes and our Metropolises come closer together. Our people are looking forward to this” he said, noting that this work of cultivating our bonds within the body of the Archdiocese “is an important and ongoing effort.”
Welcome of Metropolitan Nicholas Beloved Delegates and Observers to the 38th National Clergy-Laity Congress and the National Philoptochos Conference of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of Heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us... “ (Acts 17:24-27) Welcome to Nashville, Tennessee and the 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress and the National Philoptochos Conference. As St. Paul spoke these words to the Athenians from the Areopagus, with the Parthenon in plain view, he admonished the people of Athens to accept the “unknown God” as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead. Noting that we are all of one blood and having been given life and breath from God, St. Paul tells the Athenians to reach for God, even though He is not far from any one of us. My friends, though we have come from great distances and from all parts of this country to be together in faith and fellowship, to pursue our stewardship of Christ’s Church, and to learn from each other, we know that God, indeed, is near to us. He is near to us in the Holy Spirit, binding all of us together in faith and community. It is our fervent prayer that the Holy Spirit guides all of us in our sacred duties and responsibilities during this congress. On behalf of the Metropolis of Detroit, and of the Holy Trinity and St. John Chrysostom communities in Nashville, we warmly welcome each and every one of you to the “Athens of the South.” The Host Committee has worked diligently to ensure an inviting atmosphere and pleasant stay for all of the Congress’ participants. I am thankful to God for the Host Committee’s numerous efforts and attentiveness to the needs of the Congress. Once again, welcome to the 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress and to Nashville. May God grant all of you an edifying and joyous visit, and may He grant all of us continued progress in faith and life in His Church. With paternal love,
Metropolitan of Detroit
“The family and the care for the family will be in our center focus,” said His Eminence pointing out that “the family is a basic institution in our Church. It is where education starts; it is where the bonds with Church are first cultivated. The family in general today has suffered great erosion and the number of divorces has skyrocketed. We are grateful to God for in our Church these percentages are lower than the general population, but it is showing increasing tendencies. This is a matter of great concern in the Church. As it is the issue of the so-called dysfunctional families. They need care, help and support.” He also discussed interfaith, mixed marriages: “We have a substantial percentage of mixed marriages and the generations to come will be exactly from these marriages. There is a great need for attention and care for these families too. For all these reasons during this Congress we will have a total of 10 different opportunities devoted to the care of the family,” he concluded.
Condition of Mission
On the life and role of the Church in society the Archbishop said: “Our Greek Orthodox Church in America is not a church trying to survive but as I have many times said, it is a church in a condition of mission. We are particularly blessed from God to be in this condition of mission. This is a vision which should not be lost. If it is lost then we just revert to a condition of mere neutral existence.” “In conclusion, I want to say that this condition is exactly within the spirit of the Gospel, it is a spirit of continuous transformation, change and improvement. I am talking about a spirit of more Gospel, more God, and more substance of faith in the life of the people.” On Monday July 17th, Archbishop Demetrios will share his vision for the Church at the Congress Opening Ceremonies. Mayor Bill Purcell will welcome the delegates to Nashville. The Clergy-Laity Congress is the highest legislative body of the Archdiocese and is convened biennially and presided over by the Archbishop. It is concerned with all matters, other than doctrinal or canonical, affecting the life, growth and unity of the Church, her institutions, her finances, her administration, educational and philanthropic concerns and her growing role in the religious life of the nation.
SYNODAL DIVINE LITURGY
Sunday morning, July 16, Matins will begin at 8 a.m. and proceed with the Eucharistic Service at 10 a.m. concelebrated by Archbishop Demetrios of America, Metropolitan Demetrios of Sebasteia of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, representing Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and the Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod, in the Grand Ballroom of the Convention Center. The Apostolic and collegial character
of this Synodal Divine Liturgy presents the ideal manner to begin this year’s Congress and to reinforce its theme: “Sharing the Truth of the Gospel and the Love of Christ.” All are invited to participate in this truly beautiful celebration of the Eucharistic offering. The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians from metropolises across the country will sing the responses and the chanters of Holy Trinity Church, Nashville, will offer the matins. At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Archbishop Demetrios will preside at the official exhibit opening and will attend the opening of the Philoptochos General Assembly at 4 p.m.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Monday, July 17–the Congress will officially open with the Archbishop’s keynote address. Mayor Bill Purcell will welcome the delegates to Nashville. The program will begin with a Prayer Service officially opening the Congress. A press conference with Archbishop Demetrios will be held immediately following his keynote speech.
75th ANNIVERSARY OF PHILOPTOCHOS
More than 400 delegates from throughout the United States are expected to attend the National Philoptochos Convention where they will be Celebrating 75 Years of Philanthropy, and the Society’s charitable commitments benevolent contributions to the Church and to the greater community large, here and abroad. Mrs. Diane Negroponte, wife of Ambassador John Negroponte, director of National Intelligence, will be the keynote speaker at the Philoptochos Banquet, 6:30 p.m. Monday
CULTURAL EVENT AT THE PARTHENON
Tuesday evening, July 18–participants will attend an extraordinary cultural event at the magnificent Parthenon that stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville’s premier urban park. The building and the 42-foot statue of Athena are the world’s only full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals. Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, this replica serves as monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The Parthenon also serves as the city of Nashville museum. The evening of southern hospitality will include performances by multi-platinum country band superstars “Diamond Rio: and Nashville’s “Palamakia Dancers,” high school youth of Holy Trinity Church, Nashville and “The Levendes,” masters of both traditional and modern Greek music. Meetings of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, National Sisterhood of Presvyteras, The National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, the Order of St. Andrew and other auxiliary organizations, will take place during the Congress
A new feature has been added for the 38th Clergy Laity Congress, a firstever family spiritual retreat for families of delegates and for those within distance of Nashville. The Archdiocese Center for Family Care, headquartered at St. Basil Academy, Garrison, N.Y., will sponsor a Family Synaxis July 16-20, which offering programs for preschool through high school, including educational and social group family events.
On Monday and Tuesday, July 17-18, the rich Congress Education Program will offer a full slate of sessions related to the Congress theme. The workshops offered by various department and ministries as special seminars on unique parish ministry programs. With an emphasis on the importance of equipping and training for ministry in and through the local parish, all session will be open to all Congress participants.
CLERGY WELLNESS PROGRAM
The Archdiocese Presbyters Council will co-sponsor along with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a special series of seminars on wellness for clergy and their families on Tuesday, July 18.. The program will be presented by a distinguished and experienced team from Vanderbilt, focusing on the needs of clergy today with a special emphasis on caring for oneself so that you may be strengthened and fortified to care for others. Seminar topics will discuss issues like stress, frustration and worry management; diet; heart disease prevention; diabetes; treatment tobacco addictions; health care issues during the retirement years, exercise and physical activity for weight loss and tips for becoming an active family. The First Plenary Session will be held Wednesday, July19, 2-6 p.m. It will include reports of several committees including finance, administration, education, and communication. Thursday July 20th will begin with the second, and final, Plenary Session to convene from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Grand Banquet will be held Thursday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. and will be attended by members of the religious, diplomatic, government, and communications community, as well as some 2,000 delegates and guests. The Congress will conclude on Friday morning, July 21st, when His Eminence will meet with the all the clergy attending the Congress. Archbishop Demetrios will hold a press conference immediately following, at 11 a.m. in Jackson A. During the Congress, the Department of Internet Ministries will provide a computer lab and computer training seminars daily. The seminars will focus on how to use parish administration software, the Internet, and Microsoft Office. After hours, the computer lab will be open to attendees to apply what they learned in the classes, surf the Internet, and check email. A clergy-only computer forum will also be offered for the first time. In preparation for the 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress and a complete summary schedule is now available on the Congress web site at www.clergylaity.org.
The Congress Program Guide, Program of Events and educational program schedule are now available on the Congress web site at www.clergylaity.org. The Program Guide, which includes schedules, hotel and convention center maps, and general information, is an electronic version of the guide that will be distributed to all registered participants at the Congress. All schedules and a multitude of relative information on the Congress is available on the web site at http://www. clergylaity.org Schedules are subject to change.
The Ministries of the Archdiocese
or the benefit of the delegates to the 38th Clergy-Laity Congress, who will spend a considerable amount of time reviewing the programs and goals of the various Archdiocese ministries in their deliberations, the Orthodox Observer publishes summaries of the programs of the departments and ministries of the Archdiocese.
Department of Philanthropy This Department develops and coordinates the philanthropic work of the Archdiocese. Working closely with various community organizations, most especially the Ladies Philoptochos Society, this office seeks to motivate all communicants, men and women, young and old, to be more philanthropic in their outlook. Contrary to the modern definition, which has reduced philanthropy to financial contributions, the Department of Philanthropy is not concerned with “fund-raising” but rather with promoting philanthropy in its original and purest expression i.e. e., “love for one’s fellow man,” love expressed in thought, word, and deed, cognizant of the fact that God is love. This office also strives to heighten sensitivity within parishes, Church-affiliated organizations, and the faithful of the Archdiocese so that they will be aware of people with special needs and will reach out and embrace them. These include people who are blind, physically handicapped, mentally challenged, afflicted with debilitating diseases, elderly facing problems because of their advanced age, those in prison, those suffering from terminal illnesses, and countless others. It is the intent of the office to facilitate as much as possible their participation in the salvific life of the Church. During the past year or so we have witnessed some natural disasters unprecedented in history. From the tsunamis in Southeast Asia in December 2004, to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the Department has been instrumental in coordinating assistance to many of those most affected by these tragedies, often working closely with IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities). An appeal letter was sent out by the Department to all parishes with instructions on how to assemble both “health kits” (which included essentials like soap, toothbrushes, etc.) and “school kits” (which included items like pencils, crayons, etc.) and which were to be sent to IOCC, who handled their distribution to those most in need in the Gulf Coast. The Department was also responsible for overseeing the Archdiocesan Hurricane Katrina Fund (which to date has collected $982,889.01) and from which over $783,500 was distributed either directly or through the Metropolis of Atlanta (the Department acknowledges the exhaustive efforts of the Metropolis Philoptochos in allocating assistance) to almost 175 families from our Gulf Coast communities as well as grants to several churches. Moreover, an additional $100,000 from the Fund (along with a $100,000 grant from Leadership 100) was made available to the greater community through a grant to IOCC, while a $98,000 Fund donation from the National Philoptochos was used to purchase appliances
and other necessities for families impacted by the disaster. There is a remaining balance of $1,389.01. During the summer of 2005, the Department was asked by the Archbishop and Metropolitans of the Holy Synod to investigate the situation regarding retired clergy and widowed presbyteres who are subsisting on meager retirement funds. Following a lengthy study and discussions with the various groups and individuals involved in the issue, the
Coordinating the Katrina Hurricane Relief Efforts in New Orleans.
Department assumed on behalf of the Archdiocese responsibility for overseeing and funding this Retired Clergy Benevolence Fund which had previously been maintained by the RCA (Retired Clergy Association). In June of this year, the Department has been charged with the task of reviewing the entire program of assistance being offered clergy/presbyteres in need and will be reporting its findings and recommendations to the Archbishop and members of the Synod. This will entail meeting with representatives of the Presbyters Council, the Presbyteres Sisterhood and the National Philoptochos so as to better coordinate addressing the needs of clergy in active service as well as of their families. In 2002-2003, the Department conducted a survey among all parishes to determine the types of philanthropic ministries that our parishes are involved in. Whereas only half of our parishes responded to this survey, we feel this provides a good cross-section of the breadth of philanthropic ministries that parishes are engaged in. The results have been summarized into a booklet titled “Philanthropic Ministries” (which is available upon request). While this booklet is not intended to be an exhaustive list of philanthropic ministries, it is hoped that its contents (which includes resource information as well as the specific ministries that parishes submitted as part of their completed surveys), will inspire all members of the Faith to mobilize their “time, talents and treasures” and employ them to enhance the outreach of the Church. In his capacity as director of the Department of Philanthropy, Bishop Andonios also serves as the advisor to the National Philoptochos Society (as well as to the Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos Board). This dual role has contributed to the greatly enhanced coordination of assistance being offered by the Archdiocese of America to various charities/disasters but also facilitates a close working relation-
ship with the National Office of Philoptochos in addressing the needs of countless individuals who directly contact the Archdiocese seeking assistance. These cases run the gamut from arranging for housing while receiving medical treatment, to offering financial assistance from a number of Funds, to facilitating the identification of organ donors. For the past year or so, the Department of Philanthropy has been working closely with IOCC in addressing the various needs of the Orthodox faithful throughout the world but also here at home. In March 2005, Bishop Andonios represented the Archbishop (in his capacity as chairman of SCOBA) as part of a four-person delegation to Ethiopia and was able to further promote the work of IOCC in that country. Furthermore, the Department was able to secure the necessary funding (over $60,000) from the National Philoptochos Society and from magnanimous individuals for the building of a clinic which will serve the needs of the indigent in the Ambo province of that improvised country. In the year ahead, the Department with the assistance of IOCC, will be promoting a National Emergency Planning and Preparedness Program to better prepare the Archdiocese, the Metropolises, the parishes and most especially the faithful for disasters. The events of September 2001 and above all, the tremendous devastation of Hurricane Katrina clearly made evident our “unpreparedness” to deal with the various crises associated with these disasters. It is the belief of the Department that all parishes of the Holy Archdiocese must take steps to prepare for any disaster which may arise, whether it be an earthquake on the West Coast, more hurricanes along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, tornadoes in the Midwest, terrorist attacks, etc. This preparedness will range from: establishing a contact system (one of the difficulties following Katrina was to locate the members of the parishes, especially of Holy Trinity in New Orleans, and which in addition to other concerns, resulted in a delay in offering them assistance); to what steps people should have taken beforehand (copies of all important documents such as insurance policies, licenses, deeds, etc); to coordinating with family members rendezvous points and so much more which will hopefully alleviate some of the impact of the disaster. Another factor to keep in mind when dealing with disasters is the spiritual needs of the faithful who find themselves in the midst of these tragic situations. Very often the local clergy, themselves suffering from the same problems, cannot offer the level of spiritual counseling that may be required. As a result, consideration needs to be given to a plan whereby clergy from non-affected areas will be available to assist in dealing with the spiritual needs of the faithful in the impacted areas. In addition to the aforementioned and other projects, the Department of Philanthropy continues its efforts to promote the importance of philanthropic ministries within all our parishes and strives to heighten the sensitivity of the faithful to their sacred calling to not be simply “hearers” but also “doers” of the word of God and to stress to them that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).
Interfaith Marriage Ministry Addresses Intermarriage Issues The Archdiocese recently conducted a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the Church with responses sent by more than 400 clergy and lay leaders. Among the responses given, survey participants said intermarried couples and their families represent the single greatest challenge and opportunity for ministry. While a great deal of good work has been done to address the intermarriage challenge, a great deal more still needs to be done. The following overview describes what is being done now and what the Archdiocese plans to do in the future.
Results from the Interfaith Research Project have provided this ministry with an evidence-based approach. This research provided important information that enabled the development of the following resources: • The Interfaith Marriage Web site: www.interfaith.goarch.org has been up and running for seven years. This site continues to be one of the most visited sites on the GOA’s Web site, as well as being one of the popular sites on the Web related to intermarriage concerns and issues. • A couple’s manual, When you Intermarry: A Resource for Inter-Christian, Intercultural Couples, Parents and Families. This book is especially good for engaged couples, and intermarried couples across the marital life cycle. • A clergy and lay workers resource, Ministering to Intermarried Couples. This book provides a tried and proven pastoral approach to clergy and lay workers who minister to intermarried and their families. • The newest resource, Attending to Your Marriage is now available. Based on Orthodox theology and cutting edge research, this resource provides lowconflict couples cutting edge strategies to enhance marital satisfaction. It is also ideal for engaged couples, as well as other couples across the marital life cycle. • In addition to writing and lecturing across the Archdiocese on topics related to intermarriage, marriage and premarital preparation, Couples Day Out Workshops are also being conducted.
In addition to the ongoing projects this ministry is involved with, the following projects/concerns will occupy the department’s efforts over the next two years. • A short publication targeting young adults will be written to describe the challenges intermarried couples encounter. • Premarital preparation materials will also be created to enhance the premarital preparation conducted at all levels of the Church. • Anecdotal information suggests that Orthodox Christians are increasingly intermarrying with non-Christians. If that is the case, the Church needs to examine its pastoral approach to Orthodox Christians who marry nonOrthodox.
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The Ministries of the Archdiocese
Communications In his address to the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) entitled Six Challenges Confronting Orthodoxy in the Twenty-First Century, Archbishop Demetrios stated, “It is time to remember that the Church has been, from her initial phase to modern times, an avant guard entity and a primary agent in using the oral and the printed word in abundance as a means for extensive communication and dissemination of the Gospel. “Today, next to the oral and the printed word, we have the all-pervasive electronic word. How are we doing with this word? “Having been the principle producers of speeches, manuscripts, and books for centuries, are we going to be insignificant partners in the vast array of electronic textual productions?” This statement emphasizes the critical need for the Greek Orthodox Faith to command a presence in the national and international faith community discussions on contemporary issues that affect our society. Consisting of the offices, directors and staff of News and Information, Greek Orthodox Telecommunications (GO Telecom), the Orthodox Observer, and Internet Ministries, the Department of Communications of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is responsible for facilitating the proper and coordinated communications within the Church in America and to communicate the scope of the ministry and activity of the Archdiocese in the larger contexts of America and the world. The department has the added task of assisting the hierarchs, clergy, parishes, departments, organizations, institutions, and programs in receiving and communicating information in timely and effective ways, as this is critical both to the growth and support of every area of the life of the Church. Apart from discussing the status of its current responsibilities the Department of Communications will outline a comprehensive strategic plan during its committee deliberations at the upcoming Clergy-Laity Congress in Nashville. The plan is based on pertinent data obtained from the SWOT analysis process that sought to ascertain the perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to and of the Archdiocese. A strategic communications plan will help the Archdiocese focus its resources on the most important tasks and set priorities. Without a plan, the Church run the risk of reacting to external events in a knee-jerk manner, wasting valuable communication opportunities and getting pulled off its mission in the process. The plan will imposes discipline and clear thinking that will help the Archdiocese clarify its objectives and target audiences, sharpen its message and help it better understand the environment in which we deliver the message of Orthodox Christianity. A centerpiece priority of the Strategic Communications Plan is the more effective utilization of the Orthodox Observer. Apart from a more structured monthly publication schedule, a concerted effort will be made to focus Observer articles and stories on well-known and successful Greek Orthodox Americans. Monthly articles about clergy special ministry projects and interviews with distinguished Greek Orthodox personalities
will be periodically included. Several annual issues will be thematic in scope (new book reviews, travel, liturgical feasts, Greek Festivals, Archdiocesan institutions and organizations, etc). A crossword puzzle will periodically be included (monthly saints, events, etc). More advertisers will be solicited according to the theme and focus of each issue. Feast Day greetings will be solicited in an orderly and distinguished fashion well in advance of publication dates. Short questionnaires and surveys will periodically be included. Results from online web questionnaires and surveys will be included. A monthly quote from a Holy Father and a Greek philosopher/poet/author will also be included and set-off in a text block. Articles from ministry department of the Archdiocese describing special project and resources or aspect of their work will more regularly appear. Periodically a special pullout section (programs, ministries, organizations, institutions, etc.) will be included. Finally, articles concerning the work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be published. Together with the regular monthly publication of the Orthodox Observer, the advance of a more robust communications infrastructure is critical. In order to develop such a structure each Metropolitan will be respectfully invited to appoint a communications advocate for their respective Metropolis. Each advocate will be responsible for providing regular success stories concerning their respective Metropolis to the Communications Office of the GOA. Each advocate will assist each parish with the establishment of a communications committee that may provide regular updates to their Metropolitan for publication. The Office of Communications will: (a) provide parish-training workshops, and (b) develop written resources on a variety of communication topics such as public relations and publicity. In this fashion parishes will be encouraged to improve the task of communicating the Orthodox message in their respective geographic area. Strategic Communications Planning will be an essential process of the Communications Department. The discipline of ongoing analysis, evaluation and planning will help the Archdiocese to integrate all of its communications work, including media activities, government relations, grassroots organizing, fundraising, and communications with its members. Only in this fashion will we effectively meet the challenge of his Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and help the Orthodox Church in America truly become “an avant guard entity and a primary agent in using the oral and the printed word in abundance as a means for extensive communication and dissemination of the Gospel.”
GOTelecom Greek Orthodox Telecommunications, Inc., has a number of new information and education DVD's and videos available for your parish or home. Please visit GOTelecom at booth #804 to preview "The Return of the Holy Relics", "The History of Orthodox Christianity", "The Other Holy Land" and more. Also available for purchase are the Yearbook 2006 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and "A Call to Faith", a collection of lectures and speeches of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
Greek Education Department Plans to Update Curriculum The Department of Greek Education is in the process of revising its curriculum to bring its program of Greek language instruction up to date. Dr. Ioannis Efthymiopoulos, the new department director said the results of a recent survey of Greek teachers throughout the Archdiocese are being analyzed. The effort to update the curriculum will involve the creation of new thematic units covering the areas of religion, history, geography, and culture to meet the needs of students in Greek and parochial schools. Also planned is the acquisition of modern texts and instruction materials to replace those that in many cases are more than 20 years old. Dr. Efthymiopoulos and a special committee are analyzing the data from more than 6,000 pages of responses received by the department.
Department of Outreach & Evangelism The parish is called to witness to those within and those outside the community of believers. In Orthodoxy we have the fullness of the Truth and we have the great responsibility to share it with all people. All aspects of the parish may be seen as apostolic, and the Orthodox faithful are called to incorporate Christian mission in all aspects of life. The Archdiocesan Department of Outreach & Evangelism was established in January of 2003 with the a 5-point mission to: 1. Revitalize the faith of active Orthodox. 2. Reach out to inactive Orthodox Christians. 3. Meet the needs of inquirers. 4. Offer the tools for parish renewal. 5. Offer guidance in establishing new parishes. The Department has completed a three-year program of providing a monthly packet of quality outreach ministry resources to all parishes of the Archdiocese. The objectives of this program were to develop a missionary mindset in the parishes, provide tools for revitalizing the faith of active Orthodox Christians,
outreach to inactive Orthodox Christians and bringing others to Orthodox Christianity. Sermons, youth sermons/lessons, outreach programs, profiles of successful ministries, educational brochures, a visitor card and more have been provided. Educational brochures by prominent Orthodox Christian clergy have been developed to assist parish leadership in educating current, inactive and prospective church members on important aspects of the Orthodox Christian faith. These brochures are formatted for easy reproduction in the parishes. The Department oversees the Home Mission Parish Program, the purpose of which is to encourage the establishment of new Greek Orthodox parishes. With the generous assistance of the Leadership 100 Home Missions Grant, this program provides assistance to parishes in their critical first years of existence. Lay ministry is a key element in the process of parish renewal. In the words of St. John Chrysostom: “The most basic task of the Church leader is to discern the spiritual gifts of all those under his authority, and to encourage those gifts to be used to the full for the benefit of all. Only a person who can discern the gifts of others and can humbly rejoice at the flowering of those gifts is fit to lead the Church.” Web: www.outreach.goarch.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission of the Department of Religious Education The Department of Religious Education (DRE) serves the parishes and metropolises of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America by providing materials and services that will advance their programs of religious education. The Department also serves individuals, organizations, military bases, ecumenical groups, and overseas parishes with catechetical resources that advance the spiritual admonition to “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). The Department is responsible for developing catechetical resources for Orthodox faithful of all ages.
Responsibilities, Programs and Projects
The Department of Religious Education deals with many responsibilities, programs and projects throughout the year. On a day-to-day basis, the DRE processes, fulfills and ships orders of books and materials to individuals and Orthodox parishes of all jurisdictions throughout the United States and Canada as well as to foreign countries. This is most critical during the latter summer and early fall as parishes prepare their Church School programs to begin the ecclesiastical year. Inventory of more than 600 items must be maintained. This requires almost daily purchase orders for books and materials from more than 200 vendors. In addition, existing curriculum stock is reprinted throughout the year on an as-needed basis along with the
The Ministries of the Archdiocese
page 8 publishing of any new curriculum, books and CD-ROMs. The Department manages its own funds in order to facilitate the timely receiving and shipping of inventory to meet the demands of the parishes. Since 1999, the Department has published PRAXIS magazine on a bi-annual basis. Each issue of approximately 50 pages focuses on a specific theme intended for “total parish education.” The compilation, editing, layout and design are done in-house. The St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, now it its 23rd year, has been an acclaimed program of the DRE and the Archdiocese. Preparation and planning for the festivals held at the parish, district, metropolis and national levels, with the tremendous assistance of Fr. John and Presbytera Margaret Orfanakos, is on going throughout the year. The DRE develops and posts the oratorical topics, tips, and bibliography on its website by September for the following year and mails an oratorical information packet to all parishes by January. An annual Oratorical Festival Scholarship Fund appeal is mailed in the spring to all parishes and Philoptochos societies of the Archdiocese to provide college scholarships and US Savings Bonds to the national finalists. The Department has been developing a comprehensive teenage curriculum that focuses on the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual formation of teens. The 9th Grade Curriculum, published in 2005, is entitled “Rejoicing In One Lord Jesus Christ.” The 10th Grade Curriculum, entitled “Commitment to Life” is nearing completion. The Curriculum Committee along with the editorial, design and layout assistance of the staff have been working diligently on this project. The DRE has been offering educa-
tional classes via the web since 1998 with over 80 hours of informative classes archived at www.isos.goarch.org. The classes, on a variety of topics, are available for individuals, teachers, and those who wish to learn more about our Orthodox faith and theology. A new Resource Catalog containing over 600 books and items for all ages has been compiled and will be distributed at the Clergy-Laity Congress. It will subsequently be mailed to more than 17,000 clergy, Church school directors/teachers, and individuals on the DRE mailing list. The Department of Religious Education was recently awarded two grants from Leadership-100: the Cana Curriculum Grant, to financially assist with the development of the teenage curriculum, grades 9-12; and The Feasts of the Orthodox Church, a series of four interactive multimedia CD-ROMs on the feasts of the Orthodox Church. These projects are on going.
The Orthodox Marketplace Seeks New Vendors, Customers The official online store of the Archdiocese, The Orthodox Marketplace (www. orthodoxmarketplace.org) is stepping up its efforts to become the main portal for Orthodox products online. Since its initial launch in November 2005, the Marketplace has already established partnerships with such major vendors as St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Conciliar Press, St. Isaac of Syria Skete, and the American Bible Society. The Marketplace offers a high profile storefront for all Orthodox vendors, publishers, and businesses that wish to expand their clientele, while providing a single and efficient online shopping solution for
Using Clergy-Laity as a platform for widespread promotion and vendor partnerships, The Orthodox Marketplace is poised to make major improvements in its customer base and available products. To learn more, vendors or customers can meet with representatives from The Orthodox Marketplace at the Exhibit Hall, or visit www.orthodoxmarketplace.org.
Youth-Young Adult Ministry Offers Wide Array of Services its customers. To date, the Marketplace has logged over 50,000 unique visitors looking to purchase Orthodox products. “The growth of the Marketplace since its inception is overwhelming,” says Theo Nicolakis, head of the Internet Ministries Department, who initiated plans for the store along with the Archdiocese Office of Administration. “It’s especially promising considering that we haven’t done a lot of marketing. There’s clearly a need for a central clearinghouse for Orthodox material.” The relatively low profile of the Marketplace is about to change at Clergy-Laity, where representatives from the store will be available at the Exhibit Hall to establish partnerships with new vendors, and answer questions from customers. According to Orthodox Marketplace Webmaster Jacob Gorny: “We are looking forward to responding to requests for a wider selection of academic material, more children’s items, as well as awards and incentive items for ethnic festivals and academic achievements. We also wish to work with publishers in Greece to make Greek theological and liturgical texts readily available for purchase in the US.”
The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries coordinates the youth programs of the national church with metropolis directors and provides standard resources and training to help youth workers, young people, and their families better understand and fully experience the Orthodox Christian faith. The Department has created numerous resources for parish ministry, including the Teen Video Series, JOY Curriculum, GOYA Curriculum, the Planner (wire bound and PDA versions available), the monthly Challenge Newsletter and the Youth Worker Pulse (weekly email listserv sent out to more than 900 youth workers). The Department also works with organizations that serve children and young people, including HOPE, JOY, GOYA, Young Adults, Youth Workers, Altar Boys and Camping Ministries. The Department, along with the Archdiocesan Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team, also is creating standard procedure to screen those who work with young people, both paid employees and volunteers. The Youth Protection Manual will be distributed to every parish and camping program of the Archdiocese to ensure uniform selection, screening, and evaluation of youth workers.
Workshops to Attend at the Clergy-Laity Internet Technology Department Offering Several Classes Continuing a Clergy-Laity tradition, the Department of Internet Ministries offers small, hands-on classes that will jumpstart any parish operation. Their own creators will teach 60minute sessions in such groundbreaking programs as Bulletin Builder, which cuts parish bulletin preparation time to as little as 20 minutes; Orthodox Web Builder, which allows parishes to create and maintain professional web sites easily; and Deacon, a program that sets a new standard in parish management software. Clergy-Laity delegates can also learn about cutting-edge technology such as podcasting and multimedia streaming, as well as the fundamentals of e-mail management and graphic design. Classes are specifically geared towards a parish environment, are appropriate regardless of experience or background, and are taught several times a day. For a full schedule of classes, delegates may visit the computer lab in Jackson E and F, consult their registration packets, or Orthodox Observer.
The Department of Internet Ministries also presents the Orthodox Marketplace, the official online store of the Archdiocese. Orthodox business attendees can learn about unique partnership opportunities at the Marketplace booth, and customers can take advantage of a hands-on tour. As part of its mission to pioneer technology for ministry, the Department of Internet Ministries has even more to offer at its booth. Delegates can learn about upcoming releases, such as Bulletin Builder and Stewardship Builder, and get individualized presentations to help members determine how Internet Ministries can most effectively meet their needs.
Benefits Office Workshop Scheduled at Congress The Archdiocese Clergy Benefits Committee will hold its Clergy Benefits Workshop at the Congress on Monday, July 17, 4-6 p.m. The workshop will feature presentations by the new pension plan administrator, New York Life Investment Management (NYLIM), and the new confidential assistance plan provider, ComPsych. Members of the ABC and the
insurance plans administrator and insurance consultant will be available to answer general questions. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 18-19, the ABC’s Clergy Benefits Information Center will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. It will offer the opportunity for a personal, confidential consultation with representatives from the Benefits Office and the pension and insurance plans administrators. The Benefits Office is the administrative arm of the Archdiocese Benefits Committee (ABC), which oversees and manages the Archdiocese Benefits Program. This includes the pension program that provides retirement and other important benefits such as life, long-term disability, accidental death & dismemberment and travel accident insurance as well as the Confidential Assistance Program. The Committee also manages the Orthodox Health Plan.
News and Information Department Workshop Visibility is an important word today for any congregation that hopes to remain
viable and growth oriented. Religious communicators, therefore, need media knowhow so they can reach a large audience via newspapers, radio and television. It takes careful planning good communications strategy and use of the news media to keep the public aware of what community members are doing and the impact they are having on the Church and the world around them. It is important to note that complaints are frequently received from communities and individuals regarding lack of coverage of Greek Orthodox Church and Archdiocese events. These are welcomed and encouraged. Be assured that the material is sent out – to the media, to the parish, and is posted on he website. We maintain an ongoing relationship with some top 50 reporters and editors. Each community is encouraged to make a personal relationship with the members of the local print and television media. To help delegates communicate this message to their communities, the Department of News and Information will hold a workshop at the Congress titled “Your Parish In The News / Ten Steps To Media Visibility” on Monday, July 17, 5-6 p.m. at Belle Meade C/D.
In a Spirit of Truth and Love The 38th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress convenes shortly in Nashville, capital of the state of Tennessee, the capital of Christian Pop and Country music and “The Athens of the South,” so nicknamed because of its long-established emphasis on education and culture. Education also underscores a basic goal of the Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress. Congress participants will have many opportunities to increase their own religious education under the theme “Sharing the Truth of the Gospel and the Love of Christ,” designated by Archbishop Demetrios. As His Eminence stated very recently, the Congress provides a “unique environment to worship, to fellowship, to equip ourselves for the sacred ministry of the Church, and to address the needs, challenges, and opportunities that are before us in the months and years to come. One means for delegates and their families to do so is to take part in the “family synaxis” sponsored by the Center for Family Care, which will include educational and social activities for family members of all ages, along with opportunities for spouses and children to worship, have fellowship and experience spiritual growth. Along with the spiritual aspect, however, is the main purpose of the gathering: to learn about the accomplishments of the Archdiocese over the past two years since the last congress, and to deliberate and chart the Church’s future course over the next two years and beyond in its function as the highest legislative body of the Church.
Praise for article Editor, Congratulations to Presbytera Eugenia Constantinou on her article, “What are the Apocrypha and DaVinci Code Claims?” Today, religion is being attacked continuously through the mass media and books by atheists and non-Christian religionists. As I had written to you in an earlier letter, my method for exposing these persons was to explain the reasons behind their attacks. But Presbytera’s method cannot be excelled. She simply expounded the truth about the life of our Lord. The Lord said, “Know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” And the truth about life and our faith is only what is related in the Holy Bible. All Christians have to do is to strengthen their faith through it, and then they will know what to do and what to say when they are confronted by unbelievers or their insidious written propaganda. John Antonacos West Orange, N.J.
Fight the propaganda Editor, As a Greek American, born in this country, I have enjoyed reading the Orthodox Observer, for more years than I care to remember. The content is really very nice, non-threatening, and it’s always nice to read about the next AHEPA convention,
It has the responsibility of ensuring that the institutions, parishes and ministries of the Greek Orthodox Church in the United States have the support and resources to function properly and to fulfill their purpose of serving the faithful of the Archdiocese. Every delegate will have the opportunity and responsibility to educate themselves about the Church’s ministries, its finances and the other aspects of Church life to contribute to its future progress. Concurrently, the National Philoptochos Convention will serve as the occasion for the Church’s philanthropic organization of highly dedicated women to evaluate their many successes since their last conclave and to build upon that foundation. Their record of outstanding philanthropy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Indonesian tsunami and the funding of hospital ministries through the medical fund luncheons is one to be proud of. Young people of the Archdiocese also will come together in a spirit of love and truth to learn more of their faith through the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry’s National Conference. This biennial gathering of the Church family provides a wealth of information and a fulfilling spiritual experience and is a blessing for all participants. Most importantly, it represents an opportunity to gather in worship of our Lord. As Jesus’ states in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
how the Philoptochos is doing, and all of the person alities involved in doing good works, i.e., cake sales, Greek dances, etc. All very lovely. However, why do I fail to read a single word, rebuke or condemnation against the Islamo-fascist Arab world who repeatedly warn us daily of their intention to cut our throats, rape our women and basically to take us over with their gutter so called religion? If we fear to criticize and/or condemn the terrorist tactics and threats directed against us daily by propaganda organs of the enemy such as Al-Jazeera, then we render ourselves sitting ducks. I for one speak out against those whose actions since 9/11 have caused us to live in a continuous “threat level elevated environment” simply because these camel jockeys want to be nasty. Let's raise the threat level against them by advocating another “Fat Boy” be dropped on them, like Harry Truman dropped on f Hiroshima and then Nagasaki. Let’s show some courage and use the Orthodox Observer the same way the Islamo-fascist scumbags use Al Jazeera. Let's print some interesting articles lambasting and condemning the Arab world, their followers, minions, aiders, abettors and sympathizers for their terrorist acts. Isn't one 9/11 enough? Do we need more? We, as Greeks seem to have forgotten that we were forced to live under Moslem Turkish barbarity for four centuries before
Archpastoral Reflections A Heritage of Paideia The benefits of a thorough academic education for people of all ages cannot be adequately praised. The inherent benefits that come from receiving a truly advanced education are many, especially in our technologically sophisticated society. As Greek Orthodox Christians, we are blessed with a rich heritage that has long valued an enhanced academic education rooted in the classical notion of paideia.
by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America This classical notion consisted of the elements of grammar, logic, and rhetoric (including philosophy) at a primary level; astronomy, arithmetic, music, and geometry at a secondary level; and the study of learned professions at a tertiary level, such as law, medicine, theology, or science. Today, the forms of the classical Greek notion of paideia have evolved, but in essence, the spirit of paideia is alive and well in contemporary academic settings. Perhaps the most familiar adaptation of paideia being implemented in today’s universities is the concept of a liberal arts education, which includes a widely diversified instruction on an array of subjects, which inspires the student to continuously seek out new intellectual frontiers, and which places critical thinking abilities at a premium. When enhanced from the perspective of the Christian faith, such an education is unparalleled. The Fathers of our Church were exemplars of people who understood the value of the integration of faith with education. They employed their diverse educations and their training in philosophy to develop and clarify important theological doctrines, resolving some of the most controversial heresies that were in opposition to the teachings of the early Church. Today, we can look back at figures like St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. Photios, as exemplars throughout our Christian history who understood the practical and inherent worth of receiving a generous education, for the glory of God, the One who bestows all wisdom. Along with the benefit of receiving a great education come great responsibilities. For us as Greek Orthodox Christians, the contributions offered to our world by the Church Fathers raise some important questions: What is our duty as parents and guardians to provide the best educational opportunities available to our children? What is our duty as persons, created in the image and likeness of God, to exist in a constant state of educational development, whether through formal instruction or informal means? What is our duty as citizens to utilize our education to contribute to the public good? What is our duty as Orthodox Christians to offer the benefits of our education toward the work of the Church, namely the proclamation of Christ’s Holy Gospel? These questions are worth reflecting upon throughout the duration of one’s entire lifetime. As parents and guardians, we should instill within our children the importance of faith and education, so that they can grow and follow their dreams according to God’s will. More than this, we should aim toward cultivating a household where education for its own sake is valued, so that all in the household can develop intellectually together. With regard to our duty as citizens to promote the public good through education, we must be sensitive to the rising and often prohibitive financial costs associated with formal education today, and we must be sensitive to the very real and tragic injustices of our past that have resulted in certain classes of people being placed at insurmountable disadvantages when it comes to receiving access to educational opportunities on par with others. Perhaps the best way to contribute to the public good in this sense is for those who have been blessed with the opportunities to benefit from an outstanding education to do whatever they can in their communities to remedy the effects of these obstacles. Finally, with regard to our duty as Orthodox Christians to serve the needs of our Church through education, each of you can share your life experiences, under the direction of your parish priest, with others in your community through the various educational programs offered in your parishes. By responding to these duties through such means, we can emulate not only the generosity of our loving God, but we can affirm as one community the premium that we place upon paideia and its concurrent responsibilities as bearers of truly blessed and rich heritage. we turned on the Ottoman Empire and crushed them. History is again repeating itself. We had better turn against the Arabic world and soon, or we will be condemned to repeat history because we ignored it, in much the same way the Orthodox Observer ignores reality by sticking its head in the sand and hoping the threat will just go away all by itself. It is suicidal folly to think
for moment that the rest of us will be safe if only a few in the military are willing to die for their country and otherwise do the heavy lifting. Sincerely, George Callas Well, Jesus did say to “love one’s enemies.” –Editor
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are Endowed by God 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 Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On July 4, 1776, the United States of America boldly and firmly declared its independence. In so doing, it articulated a cherished phrase in the text of the Declaration of Independence, which is today enshrined in the hearts of every student and admirer of American history and in the fabric of our national conscience: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Today, on July 4, 2006, we as Greek Orthodox Christians in America find ourselves blessed to live and prosper in this great nation. Today, we bring to this nation an important witness and a valuable perspective, and we can expand upon the relatively free- standing phrase “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as used by our Founding Fathers of the 18th century Enlightenment era. An Orthodox theological interpretation of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” would be presented as an inalienable right to live in conditions of love and relationship with others marked by the very real and continuing presence of God. This stands in harmony with St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians: where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). Similarly, the principle “that all men are created equal” stands in harmony with the teachings of our Orthodox Christian faith that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. Based on these perspectives offered by our Orthodox faith, the saga of American Independence, which tells a story of resolute determination to stand against the destructive forces of tyranny, is not at all alien to us. On the contrary, it resembles the dramatic account of our own history as Greek Orthodox Christians. It calls to mind our Hellenic forebears who fought successfully for liberty against Ottoman domination in the 19th century; it recalls the struggles of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents who left their countries of origin over a century ago in search of a better life, in search of the life that today we proudly enjoy as citizens and residents in America. Like all struggles for national independence, the story of American Independence continues to hold important lessons for us as people of faith and as lovers of liberty. The first of these lessons is that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were so important to our American forefathers that they were willing to risk the consequences of fighting for them. Indeed, as the text of the Declaration concludes, they “mutually pledged to each other [their] Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor.” A second lesson is that the source of confidence in our founding fathers derived from nothing less than their unshakeable faith in God. Accordingly, they signed their names to the text of the Declaration “with a firm reliance upon the protection of divine Providence.” Thus, our national holiday of American Independence naturally raises the question of how genuinely we ourselves stand committed, like our founding fathers, to the defense of these ideals even in the face of those who have difficulty understanding our way of life and its importance to us. It also asks us to consider how firmly we place our reliance upon God as our protector in this life. In our contemporary world, which continues to witness the ravages of natural catastrophe, poverty, war, and terrorism, the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are as important today to affirm as they were in the 18th century. Our celebration of these inalienable rights on this day, enhanced by our Orthodox Christian understanding of them, is best expressed when we insist through peaceful and Christian means that other people in other nations must never be denied access to these precious rights. For, as the signers of our Declaration of Independence understood, whenever people are denied access to these rights, they are ultimately deprived of that which God in His love has freely and lovingly endowed upon them and upon us all. I pray that as we celebrate this Fourth of July holiday with all our heart, we may remember the sacrifices of our forefathers. I pray that we may remember with joy and gratitude how they turned their dream of liberty into the reality that we today live and breathe. May God keep us always in His infinite protection and mercy, and may God bless the United States of America. With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
Communicating the Faith The $666 Question: How to Interpret The Omen? “Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” ...His number is 666.’ Revelation 13:4,18 Released within weeks of the controversial Da Vinci Code, The Omen, opened in cinemas throughout the world on the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year of the 21st century (6.6.06). by Fr. Frank Marangos
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Apart from its disturbing images, the film has intensified interest in the general interpretation of apocalyptic literature and, more specifically, with symbolism and codes found in the New Testament Book of Revelation. Adopted from an earlier 1976 boxoffice hit film, The Omen may be the first movie made because of its association with its opening date. In the opening scene of the film, Italian scholars incorrectly interpret prophecies in the Book of Revelation as specific tragedies ranging from 9/11 and the Challenger disaster to the 2004 tsunami in Malaysia. They are unable to foresee the appearance of the Antichrist who is born on June 6 in Rome and in a Catholic hospital! Meanwhile, priests and nuns working the maternity ward in an Italian hospital convince a U.S. official to trick his wife into accepting another mother’s child. The diplomat can't bear to tell his wife that the child she just bore didn't survive. A duplicitous Catholic priest suggests that they take home a boy whose mother died in childbirth the very same hour. Accepting the child as their own, the couple names the baby Damien. For the next five years, the couple unwittingly raises the spawn of Satan in place of their own son, who died at birth. Apart from compelling viewers to believe that Damien is the Antichrist because he has the mark (666) of the beast on his body, the movie subtly makes a number of negative statements about Christianity. "There is no devil," a character states, “there is no God. There is only here and now and life.” How should the Book of Revelation be interpreted? Who is the beast that is described in the 13th chapter and what does the number “666” symbolize? This is the $666 dollar question. Ever since the Book of the Revelation was included in the Canon of Holy Scripture there has been speculation about the identity of the Antichrist and the number associated with the beast. The Book of Revelation, or more correctly, the Revelation of Jesus Christ Unto His Servant John, is commonly referred to as the Apocalypse of John. The book’s name (Apocalypse) is derived from the two Greek words that literally mean, “to pull the cover away from.” It is the last canonical text of the New Testament in the Bible and is the only biblical book that is entirely composed of prophetic or symbolic visions, especially of the imminent destruction of the world and the salvation of the righteous. The Apocalypse of John is considered to be one of the most controversial and difficult books of the Bible, and as such, the source of various exotic interpretations. The first-century writer, Papias (c. 60120), for example, believed that Christ’s resurrection had already inaugurated the new millennium. Justin Martyr (c.100-
c.165), on the other hand, believed that the church would reign with Christ after his second coming (a view typically referred to as pre-millennialism). As Roman authorities increased their persecution of the church, Christians, like third-century Hippolytus, expected Christ to establish his millennial reign in 496. Still other Christian theologians, like Origen, preferred to interpret Revelation allegorically, rejecting detailed schemas altogether. It is interesting to note that St. John Chrysostom and other 4th century bishops argued against including this book in the New Testament canon, chiefly because of the difficulties of interpreting it and the danger for abuse. It should not come as a surprise therefore that, although it was included in the official Canon of Scripture, it remains the only book of the New Testament that is not read within the Divine Liturgy of the Greek Orthodox Church. How should the Book of Revelation be interpreted? Who is the beast that is described in the 13th chapter and what does the number “666” symbolize? Six exegetical methods may be used to interpret the Apocalypse of John as biblical prophecy. The first method that may be used is called the Preterist approach. Preterists believe that the contents of Revelation constitute a prophecy of events that were fulfilled in the 1st century. The Preterist approach generally identifies Jerusalem as the persecutor of the Church. Consequently, Armageddon, the scene of a final battle between the forces of good and evil, prophesied to occur at the end of the world, is interpreted as God's judgment on the Jews, carried out by the Roman army, which is identified as “the beast.” The second half of the Apocalypse focuses attention on the persecution of Christians and the fall of the Roman Empire. Preterists assert that the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in AD 70, thereby inaugurating God’s Kingdom on earth. The second method used to interpret the Apocalypse of John is referred to as the Futurist approach. Unlike Preterists, Futurists assign the prophecies found in Revelation to some future time, shortly before the second coming. Futurist interpretations generally predict a Great Tribulation, a seven-year period of time when believers will experience worldwide persecution and be purified and strengthened by it, and a Rapture, whereby all true Christians are taken from the earth to be spared the “time of wrath” before finally returning to Earth for God's Kingdom. Originally banned by the Catholic Church, the Futurist approach was first proposed by two Catholic writers, Lacunza and Ribera. Hal Lindsey’s books about the "rapture" and the more recent Left Behind novels by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye have done much to popularize this school of thought. The third method used to interpret the Book of Revelation is called the Historicist approach. The historicist view regards apocalyptic prophecy as spanning the time from the end of the first century until the second coming of Christ. Historicists generally apply the symbols of Revelation to the gradual division and collapse of the Roman Empire, the emergence of a divided Europe in the West
Revelation Also Speaks to Contemporary Christians June 6, 2006 (6-6-6) has come and gone, and certain people are still wondering if the Beast, whose number is 666 in the Book of Revelation, was born. by Fr. Angelo Artemas
The remake of The Omen has given rise to another round of naming of the beast/anti-Christ. Some alleged beasts of the past have included Napoleon, Hitler, Reagan, Gorbachev, Barney the Dinosaur and Tinkie Winkie from the Teletubbies. The Book of Revelation has been mistranslated, misused and misinterpreted since the 2nd century. It was written by John the beloved disciple and theologian on Patmos at the end of the 1st century (about 90 A.D.) as a response to the turmoil, pain and suffering experienced by early Christians. Thousands of Christians were being martyred because of their faith, and many suffered the consequences of high infant mortality and low life expectancy. The Roman emperors of the first three centuries were responsible for millions of deaths. The Beasts of the Book of Revelation refer to Nero (54-68 A.D.), Vespasian (69-79 A.D.), and Domitian (80-96 A.D.). The number 666 was specifically a cryptic reference to the Emperor Nero. According to biblical numerology, 6 represents evil, 7 represents perfection (seven days in a week), and 8 represents holiness (Sunday - the Day of the Lord – is the first and eighth day). The tripling of numbers represents their eternal/infinite nature; thus Nero is eternally evil while Christ is eternally holy. The numbers and symbols in the Book of Revelation are not secret references to today’s leaders, economic or environmental conditions, but refer to first century conditions. Attempts to make direct associations are misdirected. Yet there is no doubt that Revelation speaks to the faithful of the 21st century. There is still evil, discrimination, persecu-
tion, war, hatred, environmental disasters, illness, and catastrophic conditions in our time. We are encouraged to endure all difficulty, to remain faithful to Jesus Christ unto death, and to worship Jesus Christ while doing good deeds for our world with every breath we have left. In a very real sense, every time one gives in to temptation and sins, the beast is born. Evil is not confined to a particular day, date, or time period. The devil is alive and well, and is a regular guest in magazines, books, movies, theaters, television shows, radio programs, schools, malls, concerts, soccer games, on the Internet (working overtime), and even at some churches and Greek festivals. But the devil is not to be feared, for Jesus Christ has overcome evil. The only power evil has is the power people give it. Every time one does good, prays, reads scripture, participates in Sacraments, sacrifices for their loved ones, nurtures, comforts, feeds, cares and loves, evil is rendered powerless; and Jesus Christ has come into the world again. Perhaps the most significant theme of the Book of Revelation is that the end of the world is not a historical event, but a person – Jesus Christ. As long as Jesus Christ is accepted, followed, embraced, believed in and communed with, His Second Coming is occurring. Orthodox faithful have believed for two thousand years that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ occurs at every Divine Liturgy, throughout the world and throughout time. The Book of Revelation is properly understood in light of the Holy Eucharist. Every time the faithful receive Jesus Christ through Holy Communion, they receive the Lord who was, and is, and is to come. If people are guided by the Holy Spirit to follow righteousness, and if people sincerely participate in the Lord’s Supper on the first and eighth day of the week, then the faithful are already experiencing the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and participating in eternal life.
Appellate Division of NY Supreme Court Unanimously Dismisses Lawsuit Against Archdiocese NEW YORK–On June 22, 2006, the New York Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously affirmed the decision of Justice Ira Gammerman dismissing a lawsuit brought against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America by several individuals concerning the granting of the Archdiocese's 2003 Charter. “It must be dismissed,” the Court wrote referring to the lawsuit, “because it involves a question of internal governance of a hierarchical Church.” The ruling of this Appellate case firmly supports long-established decisions and is consistent with recent judgments on the hierarchical nature of the Greek Orthodox Church by appellate courts in Pennsylvania and Texas. The Court ruled that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits courts from interfering with doctrinal and ecclesiastical affairs of a hierarchical church, including matters of internal church governance. The Court relied on two United States Supreme Court decisions, Serbian
Eastern Orthodox Diocese for the USA. v Milivojevich, 426 US 696 (1976) and Maryland &Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God at Sharpsburg, 396 U.S. 367 (1970). The Court reasoned that if the suit were allowed to continue, the trial court would be required to decide whether the Ecumenical Patriarch had the authority unilaterally to grant the 2003 Charter, which is “clearly a religious matter.” The Court further stated, “On the very basis of the charter on which the plaintiffs rely, they cannot successfully dispute the hierarchical character of the Greek Orthodox Church.” The complaint was originally brought against the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on September 16, 2004. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has incurred costs in excess of $320,000 for its legal defense. The Court's memorandum decision is posted at the Archdiocese website at http://www.goarch.org/en/archdiocese/ documents/.
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COMMUNICATING THE FAITH page 12 and a Muslim empire in the East, and the collapse of the Eastern Empire. Historicist interpretations insist that the Church will expand until it has encompassed the whole world. In the process, however, the church will gradually evolve into an apostate system within which true Christians would be a persecuted minority. The apostate Church, on the other hand, is associated with the symbols of the “Mother of Harlots” and with “Babylon.” Unlike Futurists who expect the Antichrist to appear in the last days, Historicists describe an Antichrist political system that will exist for much of history. Consequently, Historicist interpretations tend to be millenarian, emphasizing the literal reign of Christ on earth. Millennialism (or chiliasm), from millennium, which literally means “thousand years,” is primarily a belief expressed in some Christian denominations, and literature, that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth where Christ will reign prior to the final judgment and future eternal state (Revelation 20:1-6). The fourth method used to interpret the Apocalypse of John is called the Spiritual or Esoteric approach. The Spiritual view does not see the Book of Revelation as predicting specific historical events but, rather, visions that describe eternal spiritual truths that find expression throughout history. Spirituals insist that specific and predictive eschatological issues are only found in the last few chapters of the Book of Revelation. The fifth method used to interpret the text of the Apocalypse is the Anglican approach. Anglicans assert that the Book of Revelation is primarily concerned with providing hope to Christians who were and still are being persecuted for their beliefs. The book assures the persecuted that their suffering is not in vain, warning non-Christians of impending judgment. Typical of other Jewish Apocalyptic literature, the Apocalypse uses symbolic imagery to communicate hope to those in the midst of persecution. Consequently, the Anglican method asserts that the events described in Revelation are ordered according to literary, rather than strictly chronological, patterns. The sixth and final method used to interpret the Book of Revelation is the Orthodox approach. Orthodoxy treats the text of Revelation as simultaneously describing contemporaneous and future events. Since Orthodox interpreters of the Apocalypse view contemporaneous events as foreshadowing future occurrences, they reject attempts to predetermine presentday events. Orthodox scholars understand the Book of Revelation as a warning for spiritual and moral preparedness. Months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, a Time/CNN poll found that 59 percent of Americans believe that the prophecies in Revelation will come true. Nearly 25 percent believe the Bible predicted the terrorist attacks specifically. While detailed interpretations of its symbols and vision have been applied to historical personalities and events such as
the Trade Center bombing, tsunamis, the World Wide Web, the Pope, Adolf Hitler, feminism, or Osama Bin Laden, the Orthodox approach considers the Book of Revelation as an integral component of the Bible, and consequently, not to be used as a mystical cipher for super-historical analysis. The Orthodox approach guards against fundamentalist approaches that misuse the Book of Revelation because it divorces the book from its original context. The Book of Revelation is a circular pastoral letter addressed to the seven churches in the province of Asia at the end of the first century AD. The book or letter was not for private communication but was to be read in public in the midst of the worshipping community. The Book of Revelation is primarily concerned with encouraging the courage and perseverance of the early Christians who were threatened by Roman persecution in what was then perceived to be the end times. How, then, do we answer the $666 question that is posed in the movie, The Omen? Who or what does the number 666 signify? The Hebrew and Greek alphabets do not have separate characters to designate numbers and letters. Since letters are also used as numbers, each letter receives a numerical value. For example, the Hebrew equivalent of the English letter "w" is "vav" or “waw.” The numerical value of “vav” is six. This is the reason why some have speculated that the World Wide Web (www) is indeed the “Mark of the Beast” as it may be transliterated into Hebrew as “vav vav vav,” or numerically represented as 666. As we have briefly seen, there are methods for interpreting the Book of Revelation. There are also various theories that attempt to decipher the identity of the Antichrist by relating his name to the number 666. One interpretation is simply that 666 represents humankind in general because of the special significance that the number has in the Bible. Six is known as an imperfect number because it is less than seven, the perfect number. The Bible speaks of seven days in the week, seven tongues of flame, seven spiritual gifts. Therefore, the number 666 represents imperfect man, while 777 represents God. In the final analysis, the derogatory statement against Christianity made in The Omen is false and spiritually dangerous. There is a God, there is a devil and, there is more to life than the here and now! In the end, the Orthodox approach would suggest that the number 666 signifies any offense against the name of Jesus Christ. Our eternal destiny relies on the knowledge of this truth! Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos is executive director of Communications at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Homiletic at Holy Cross School of Theology.
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ΙΟΥΝIΟΣ - ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ 2006
ΕΤΟΣ 71 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1224
38 η κληρικολΑϊκη: Αληθεύοντες εν Αγάπη και σε κατάσταση αποστολής ντίδος και φιλανθρωπίας. Να γίνουν δηλαδή συγκεκριμένες ενέργειες στον τομέα της προσφοράς μας, ως προσφοράς Εκκλησίας που αγαπά το άνθρωπο. Αυτό πρέπει να δειχθεί στη πράξη». Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος θέλοντας να υπογραμμίσει τον ρόλο της πνευματικής αυτής ευκαιρίας της Κληρικολαϊκής είπε: «Η Αρχιεπισκοπή μας, όλοι μας κλήρος και λαός, προσδοκά δια μέσου της Κληρικολαϊκής την σύσφιξη των δεσμών μεταξύ των ενοριών μας, μεταξύ των Μητροπόλεων μας, μεταξύ του όλου σώματος της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής. Είναι κάτι το οποίο θέλει συνεχή και αδιάκοπη καλλιέργεια, η συνείδηση δηλαδή του ότι είμαστε όλοι μαζί, ότι είμαστε ένα σώμα».
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Πραγματοποιείται τις αμέσως προσεχείς ημέρες από 15 έως 21 Ιουλίου, στην πόλη Nashville της πολιτείας του Τενεσί η 38η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής. Αναμένεται να συμμετέχουν δύο χιλιôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý
άδες περίπου πιστοί από όλη την επικράτεια της Αρχιεπισκοπής, συμπεριλαμβανομένων παρατηρητών, προσκεκλημένων και χιλίων περίπου αντιπροσώπων των 510 ενοριών. Το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο θα εκπροσωπήσει ο Σεβ. Μητροπολίτης Σεβαστείας κ. Δημήτριος, ο οποίος τυγχάνει ο διευθυντής του ιδιαίτερου Πατριαρχικού Γραφείου. Η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση η οποία συνέρχεται ανά διετία υπό την προεδρία του Αρχιεπισκόπου και αποτελεί το ανώτατο νομοθετικό σώμα της Αρχιεπισκοπής και ασχολείται με όλα τα θέματα που αφορούν στη ζωή και αποστολή της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής εξαιρουμένων των κανονικών και δογματικών θεμάτων.
Συνέντευξη Αρχιεπισκόπου Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος λίγες μέρες πριν την Κληρικολαϊκή μίλησε στον Ορθόδοξο Παρατηρητή για τις προετοιμασίες και τα θέματα της συνελεύσεως αλλά και τις προσδοκίες του από το κορυφαίο αυτό γεγονός της Εκκλησίας μας. «Περιμένω με χαρά και ανυπομονησία αυτή την ευκαιρία, διότι θα μας δοθεί και πάλι η δυνατότητα να βρεθούμε μαζί
με τον κλήρο και το λαό μας, τους αδελφούς Αρχιερείς, τους ιερείς και τους λαϊκούς μας σε μια κοινή παρουσία, συζήτηση και μελέτη των θεμάτων της Εκκλησίας μας και μια δυνατότητα να συνδεθούμε περισσότερο και να στρέψουμε την προσοχή μας με πιο θετικό και οργανωμένο τρόπο στο μέλλον το οποίο έχουμε μπροστά μας, ένα μέλλον πολύ μεγάλο για την Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία μας». Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος δήλωσε ικανοποιημένος με τις προετοιμασίες και την διαμόρφωση του προγράμματος της Κληρικολαϊκής λέγοντας ότι παρά το ότι η κοινότητα η οποία ανέλαβε την διοργάνωση της Κληρικολαϊκής είναι μικρή η εργασία
που έχει γίνει είναι πολύ ικανοποιητική. Σημείωσε ακόμη ότι τις όλες εργασίες της συνελεύσεως θα διέπει το κυρίως θέμα που εμπεριέχεται στη φράση: «Μεταδίδουμε την Αλήθεια του Ευαγγελίου και την αγάπη του Χριστού» εξηγώντας ότι: «Είναι πολύ μεγάλης σημασίας η αλήθεια που έχουμε ως Ορθοδοξία στην Αμερική η οποία όμως δεν είναι πάντοτε επαρκώς γνωστή. Κι αυτό πρέπει να γίνει ένας πόλος αναπτύξεως της παιδείας, δηλαδή της γνώσεως της πίστεως μας και των στοιχείων της παραδόσεως μας της Ελληνικής μας παραδόσεως αφ’ ενός και αφ’ ετέρου ένας πόλος συγκεκριμένων πράξεων αγάπης, φρο-
«Ένα από τα βασικά θέματα της Κληρικολαϊκής Συνελεύσεως θα είναι η φροντίδα για την Οικογένεια», είπε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος, τονίζοντας ότι «η οικογένεια έχει μεγάλη σημασία διότι είναι βασικός θεσμός. Από την οικογένεια ξεκινά η αγωγή των παιδιών και εκεί καλλιεργούνται οι δεσμοί με την Εκκλησία και με την παράδοσή μας». Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος πρόσθεσε ότι «Η οικογένεια σήμερα έχει υποστεί γενικά πολύ μεγάλη διάβρωση και ο αριθμός των διαζυγίων έχει ξεπεράσει κάθε προηγούμενο. Ευτυχώς στην δική μας Εκκλησία έχουμε – δόξα τω Θεώ – χαμηλότερα ποσοστά διαζυγίων από τον υπόλοιπο πληθυσμό, αλλά είναι όμως ένας
ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙ ΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥ Κ ΛΙΟΣ
4 Ἰουλίου 2006: Ἡμέρα Ἀνεξαρτησίας ἀλήθειες, ὅτι ὅλοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι πλασμένοι ἵσοι, ὅτι εἶναι προικισμένοι ἀπό τόν Δημιουργό των μέ συγκεκριμένα ἀναφαίρετα Δικαιώματα, μεταξύ τῶν ὁποίων συγκαταλέγονται ἡ Ζωή, ἡ Ἐλευθερία καί ἡ ἐπιδίωξη τῆς Εὐτυχίας.» Σήμερα, στίς 4 Ἰουλίου 2006, ἐμεῖς ὡς Ἕλληνες Ὀρθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί στήν Ἀμερική εἴμεθα εὐλογημένοι διότι ζοῦμε καί εὐημεροῦμε μέσα σ’ αὐτό τό μεγάλο ἔθνος. Σήμερα, προσφέρουμε σ’ αὐτό τό ἔθνος μία σημαντική μαρτυρία καί πολύτιμη προοπτική, καί μποροῦμε νά ἑρμηνεύσουμε περαιτέρω τήν τριπλῆ φράση«ζωή, ἐλευθερία καί ἐπιδίωξη τῆς εὐτυχίας», πού χρησιμοποιεῖται ἀπό τούς ἱδρυτικούς πατέρες μας τῆς Ἀναγεννησιακῆς ἐποχῆς τοῦ 18ου αἰῶνος. Ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος θεολογική ἑρμηνεία τῆς φράσεως «ζωή, ἐλευθερία καί ἐπιδίωξη τῆς εὐτυχίας» θά μποροῦσε νά διατυπωθῇ μέ τήν πρόταση, «τό ἀναφαίρετο δικαίωμα νά ζῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος μέσα σέ συνθῆκες ἀγάπης καί καλῶν σχέσεων μέ τούς ἄλλους μέ τήν
Πρός τούς Σεβασμιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί ∆ιακόνους, 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 πλήρωμ α τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Ἀγαπητοί Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Στίς 4 Ἰουλίου 1776, οἱ Ἡνωμένες Πολιτεῖες Ἀμερικῆς διεκήρυξαν θαρραλέα καί δυναμικά τήν Ἀνεξαρτησία των. Ἡ πράξη των αὐτή ἐκφράσθηκε μέσα ἀπό μιά προσφιλῆ φράση ἡ ὁποία διατυπώθηκε στό κείμενο τῆς Διακηρύξεως τῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας, καί ἡ ὁποία φυλάσσεται ὡς ἱερό κειμήλιο στήν καρδιά τοῦ κάθε σπουδαστοῦ καί θαυμαστοῦ τῆς Ἀμερικανικῆς ἱστορίας καί ἀποτελεῖ τή βάση τῆς ἐθνικῆς συνειδήσεως: «Θεωροῦμε ὡς αὐταπόδεικτες αὐτές τίς
Η Υπογραφή της ∆ιακήρυξης της Ανεξαρτησίας της 4ης Ιουλίου, 1776. πίνακας του τζον τράμπουλ, καπιτώλιο, ουάσινγκτον.
Περισσότερη δημοκρατία και ελευθερίες ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Ο κ. Βαγγέλης Ντούλες είναι βουλευτής στο Αλβανικό κοινοβούλιο και πρόεδρος του Κόμματος Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων. Ο κ. Σπύρος Ξέρρας είναι περιφερειάρχης της περιοχής Αργυροκάστρου. Κι οι δυό τους εκπρόσωποι της Εθνικής Ελληνικής Μειονότητας στην Αλβανία βρέθηκαν στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής για επαφές και συζητήσεις με οικονομικούς παράγοντες στην Ουάσιγκτον και εκπροσώπους της ελληνικής Ομογένειας. Στην Νέα Υόρκη επισκέφθηκαν τον Σεβασμιώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριο και του εξέθεσαν την επικρατούσα κατάσταση της ελληνορθόδοξης μειονότητας στην Αλβανία. Ο Ορθόδοξος Παρατηρητής είχε την ευκαιρία μιας σύντομης και κατατοπιστικής συνομιλίας η οποία ακολουθεί: Ο.Π.: Μιλήστε μας κατ’ αρχήν για το σκοπό της επισκέψεώς σας. Βαγγέλης Ντούλες: Ήμασταν προσκεκλημένοι από την Παγκόσμια Τράπεζα στην Ουάσιγκτον να συζητήσουμε θέματα που άπτονται των εξελίξεων στην Αλβανία και της συνεργασίας της Παγκόσμιας Τράπεζας με την Αλβανία. Παράλληλα είχαμε πρόσκληση και συμμετείχαμε στη διάσκεψη για το Κυπριακό η οποία οργανώθηκε από το ΣΑΕ και την ΠΣΕΚΑ στην Ουάσιγκτον. Συναντήσαμε ακόμη και όλους τους παράγοντες της ελληνικής Ομογένειας στη Ουάσιγκτον, τους οποίους και ενημερώσαμε για τα προβλήματα και τις ανησυχίες μας σχετικά με τα δικαιώματα και τα προβλήματα της Εθνικής Ελληνικής Μειονότητας στην Αλβανία. Η δε σημερινή συνάντηση με τον Σεβασμιώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριο ήταν το αποκορύφωμα των συναντήσεών μας γιατί είναι δεδομένη πλέον η αποδοχή και αδιαμφισβήτητη επιρροή του σε όλους τους παράγοντες όχι μόνον της ελληνικής Ομογένειας αλλά και όλων των θεσμών των ΗΠΑ πάνω στα θέματα αυτά. Είναι ιδιαίτερη η τιμή και χαρά να μας δεχθεί ο Σεβασμιώτατος, γιατί τον γνωρίζουμε έμμεσα, εδώ και πάρα πολλά χρόνια, από την άφιξη του Μακαριωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Αναστασίου στην Αλβανία το 1991 με τον οποίο τον συνδέει ένας στενότατος πνευματικός δεσμός και ελπίζουμε ότι θα έχουμε πολύ σύντομα την ιδιαίτερη ευλογία να τον υποδεχθούμε και να τον φιλοξενήσουμε στη ιδιαίτερή μας πατρίδα κάτι που θα είναι πραγματικά μια μεγάλη ευλογία. Ο.Π.: Θυμόμαστε όλοι τα γεγονότα της Ομόνοιας πριν από 10 και πλέον χρόνια. Πως έχουν αλλάξει τα πράγματα από τότε για την Ελληνική μειονότητα και την Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία; Βαγγέλης Ντούλες: Πριν από 10 χρόνια είχαμε διωγμούς και φυλακίσεις των Ελλήνων Βορειοηπειρωτών στην Αλβανία με την δίκη των πέντε, παράλληλα στην Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία είχαμε ένα συστηματικό διωγμό ο οποίος επιχείρησε το 1994 με το δημοψήφισμα να απομακρύνει τον Μακαριώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Τιράνων Δυρραχίου και Πάσης Αλβανίας Αναστάσιο. Σήμερα τα προβλήματα είναι διαφορετικής υφής. Παρατηρείται μια βελτίωση συνθηκών παρ’ όλα ταύτα παραμένουν πολλά προβλήματα τα οποία εμείς παρακολουθούμε σε καθημερινή βάση, προωθούμε και προσπαθούμε να επιλύσουμε. Όσον αφορά την Εθνική Ελληνική μειονότητα έχουμε το μέγα πρόβλημα της απογραφής του πληθυσμού. Δεν είχαμε από την ίδρυση του Αλβανικού κράτους, το στοιχειώδες δικαίωμα να δηλώσουμε ελεύθερα και δημοκρατικά την εθνική μας ταυτότητα, την εθνική μας γλώσσα και το θρήσκευμά μας. Θα ήθελα επίσης να τονίσω ότι αντιμετωπίζει τεράστια προβλήματα ο Μακαριώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος μας ο Αναστάσιος. Δεν
ΙΟΥΝΙΟΣ - ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ 2006
Α ρχιεπισκοπικη Εγκυκλιος
4η Ιουλίου 2006: Ημέρα Ανεξαρτησίας óåë. 15
Ο ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ Δημήτριος με τους κ.κ. Βαγγέλη Ντούλε (Α) και Σπύρο Ξέρρα (Δ).
είναι τα προβλήματα του 1991 όπου η κοινωνία και οι αρχές τον δέχτηκαν με κάποια υποψία. Σήμερα ο Αναστάσιος είναι κατά γενική ομολογία καταξιωμένος πνευματικός ηγέτης όλης Αλβανικής κοινωνίας. Αλλά είναι πολλά τα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει η Ορθόδοξή μας Εκκλησία σε πρακτικά θέματα. Ακόμη δεν έχουν επιστραφεί στην Εκκλησία οι εικόνες, τα εικονοστάσια και οι ιεροί χώροι οι οποίοι κατά άδικο και βάναυσο τρόπο είχαν αλλοιωθεί το 1967 από το κομμουνιστικό καθεστώς. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αναστάσιος επιτελεί τεράστιο έργο το οποίο όλοι αναγνωρίζουν – δεν είναι μόνο εκκλησιαστικό έργο για την Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία – είναι ένα τεράστιο κοινωνικό έργο, ο Αναστάσιος είναι ο άνθρωπος που έχει συμπαρασταθεί σε κάθε φτωχό κι ανήμπορο πολίτη όχι μόνο της Αλβανίας αλλά και στη κρίση του Κοσσυφοπεδίου ήταν ο μεγαλύτερος υποστηρικτής όλων των τότε εκτοπισθέντων και σε κάθε ανθρωπιστική κρίση έχει βρεθεί στο πλευρό των αδυνάτων αλλά δεν έχει ακόμα το στοιχειώδες δικαίωμα του Αλβανού πολίτη. Είναι πολλά τα εμπόδια τα οποία αντιμετωπίζει στην καθημερινή εκκλησιαστική δράση σχετικά με τις άδειες οικοδομής και ανακαίνισης των ορθόδοξων ναών κλπ. Εμείς όμως ελπίζουμε ότι με την συστηματική προσπάθεια με την προσευχή και με την ακλόνητη πίστη σε κάτι καλύτερο. Ο.Π. : Εσείς κ. Ξέρρα πως βλέπετε αυτά τα προβλήματα στη δική σας περιοχή, από την δική σας σκοπιά; Σπύρος Ξέρρας: Καλύπτω μια δυναμική περιφέρεια που συμπεριλαμβάνει το Τεπελένι, το Αργυρόκαστρο και την Πρεμετή που έχει εγγεγραμμένο πληθυσμό 65 χιλιάδες κατοίκους από τους οποίους η πλειοψηφία είναι οι ορθόδοξοι. Αποσκοπούμε στο να κάνουμε διασυνοριακές συνεργασίες, να δείξουμε στους δύο λαούς ότι η Ελληνική Εθνική Μειονότητα εργάζεται για την πρόοδο. Θέλω να πω ότι οι Ελληνοαλβανικές σχέσεις το τελευταίο διάστημα έχουν καλυτερεύσει, βρίσκονται σε ένα καλό επίπεδο όμως δεν παύουν να υπάρχουν τα διάφορα προβλήματα. Κάνουμε μια προσπάθεια αναβάθμισης της συμμετοχής των Ελλήνων στη δημόσια διοίκηση της Αλβανίας, βλέπουμε ότι είμαστε σε αυτά τα βήματα, έχουμε προβλήματα με τις εκκλησιαστικές περιουσίες, Και με την ανέγερση του Καθεδρικού Ναού στην πόλη του Αργυροκάστρου έχουμε επίσης διάφορα κωλύματα. Ζητούμε η περιοχή μας να γίνει ελεύθερη οικονομική ζώνη και νομίζω ότι είμαστε στα πρώτα βήματα. Για πρώτη φορά ένας Έλληνας είναι περιφερειάρχης, είναι επικεφαλής στην περιοχή του Αργυροκάστρου. Είναι ένα ιστορικό γεγονός, κι αυτό το πετύχαμε, παρά τις δυσκολίες που περάσαμε, με τους αγώνες και τη στήριξη της Ομόνοιας.
σφραγῖδα τῆς ὄντως ἀληθινῆς καί συνεχοῦς παρουσίας τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἡ ἑρμηνεία αὐτή ἐναρμονίζεται μέ τούς λόγους τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου πρός τούς Κορινθίους: « ὅπου ὑπάρχει τό Πνεῦμα Κυρίου, ἐκεῖ ὑπάρχει καί ἐλευθερία» (Β´ Κορ. 3,17). Καθ’ ὅμοιο τρόπο, ἡ ἀρχή «ὅτι ὅλοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι πλασμένοι ἴσοι» ἐναρμονίζεται μέ τίς διδασκαλίες τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανικῆς πίστεώς μας ὅτι ὅλοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι πλασμένοι κατ’ εἰκόνα καί καθ‘ ὁμοίωσιν Θεοῦ. Σύμφωνα μέ αὐτές τίς προοπτικές τίς ὁποῖες προσφέρει ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος πίστη μας, τό ἔπος τῆς Ἀμερικανικῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας, τό ὁποῖο ἀποτελεῖ ἱστορία ἀκλόνητης ἀποφασιστικότητος ἔναντι καταστροφικῶν δυνάμεων τυραννίας, δέν μᾶς εἶναι ξένο καί ἄγνωστο. Ἀπεναντίας, ὁμοιάζει πρός τά γεγονότα τῆς δικῆς μας ἱστορίας ὡς Ἑλλήνων Ὀρθοδόξων Χριστιανών. Φέρνει στή μνήμη μας τούς Ἕλληνες προγόνους μας οἱ ὁποῖοι πολέμησαν ἐπιτυχῶς γιά τήν ἐλευθερία των ἔναντι τῆς Ὀθωμανικῆς κατοχῆς τόν 19ο αἰῶνα. Μᾶς θυμίζει τούς ἀγῶνες τῶν γονέων, πάππων καί προ-πάππων μας οἱ ὁποῖοι ἔφυγαν ἀπό τόν χῶρο καταγωγῆς των ἕναν περίπου αἰῶνα πρίν, ἀναζητώντας μία καλύτερη ζωή, τή ζωή τήν ὁποία σήμερα ἐμεῖς ἀπολαμβάνουμε ὡς πολίτες καί κάτοικοι τῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Ὅπως ἄλλωστε ὅλες οἱ προσπάθειες γιά ἐθνική ἀνεξαρτησία, ἔτσι καί τό ἱστορικό τῆς Ἀμερικανικῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας ἐξακολουθεῖ νά παρέχῃ σημαντικά διδάγματα σ’ ἐμᾶς πού εἴμεθα ἄνθρωποι πίστεως καί ὑπέρμαχοι τῆς ἐλευθερίας. Τό πρῶτο δίδαγμα εἶναι ὅτι ἡ ζωή, ἡ ἐλευθερία καί ἡ ἐπιδίωξη τῆς εὐτυχίας ὑπῆρξαν τόσο σημαντικά στοιχεῖα γιά τούς ἱδρυτικούς πατέρες τοῦ Ἔθνους μας ὥστε νά μή διστάσουν νά ἀντιμετωπίσουν τούς κινδύνους οἱ ὁποῖοι ἀπέρρεαν ἀπό τόν ἀγῶνα των γιά τήν διασφάλιση τῶν δικαιωμάτων αὐτῶν. Πράγματι, ὅπως καταλήγει τό κείμενο τῆς Διακηρύξεως, «δεσμεύθησαν ἀμοιβαίως ἔναντι ἀλλήλων, ἔναντι τῆς ζωῆς των, ἔναντι τῆς περιουσίας των, καί ἔναντι τῆς τιμῆς των.» Τό δεύτερο δίδαγμα εἶναι ὅτι οἱ ἱδρυτικοί πατέρες μας δέν ἀντλοῦσαν ἐμπιστοσύνη ἀπό τίποτε ἄλλο παρά ἀπό τήν ἀκλόνητη πίστη των στόν Θεό. Πρός πιστοποίηση αὐτοῦ, ὑπέγραψαν τά ὀνόματά των στό κείμενο τῆς Διακηρύξεως «μετ’ ἀπολύτου ἐμπιστοσύνης στήν προστασία τῆς θείας Πρόνοιας.» Ἑπομένως, ἡ ἐθνική ἑορτή τῆς Ἀμερικανικῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας εὐλόγως θέτει τό ἐρώτημα γιά τό πόσο ούσιαστικά ἔχουμε καί ἐμεῖς δεσμευθεῖ, ὅπως οἱ ἱδρυτικοί πατέρες μας, νά ἀγωνισθοῦμε γιά τήν προστασία αὐτῶν τῶν δικαιωμάτων ἀκόμη καί ἄν ἀντιμετωπίζουμε ἐκείνους οἱ ὁποῖοι δυσκολεύονται νά καταλάβουν τόν τρόπο ζωῆς μας καί τή σημασία πού ἔχει ὁ τρόπος αὐτός γιά μᾶς. Τίθεται, ἐπίσης, τό ἐρώτημα γιά τό ἐάν ἔχουμε ὄντως ἐναποθέσει τήν ἐμπιστοσύνη μας στόν Θεό ὡς προστάτη τῆς ζωῆς μας. Στό σύγχρονο κόσμο μας ὁ ὁποῖος συνεχίζει νά ἀντιμετωπίζῃ τίς πληγές τῶν φυσικῶν καταστροφῶν, τῆς φτώχειας, τοῦ πολέμου καί τῆς τρομοκρατίας, τά ἀναφαίρετα δικαιώματα τῆς ζωῆς, τῆς ἐλευθερίας καί τῆς ἐπιδιώξεως τῆς εὐτυχίας, εἶναι ἀναγκαῖο νά διασφαλισθοῦν σήμερα ὅσο ἦταν καί κατά τόν 18ο αἰῶνα. Ὁ ἑορτασμός αὐτῶν τῶν ἀναφαιρέτων δικαιωμάτων αὐτή τήν ἡμέρα, ἐπαυξημένος ἀπό τήν Ὀρθόδοξη Χριστιανική μας θεώρηση περί αὐτῶν, ἐκφράζεται κατά τόν καλύτερο τρόπο ὅταν διακηρύττουμε μέσῳ εἰρηνικῶν καί Χριστιανικῶν μέσων ὅτι οἱ ἄνθρωποι τῶν διαφόρων ἐθνῶν πρέπει νά χαίρονται ἀνεμπόδιστα τά ἐν λόγῳ δικαιώματα. Διότι, ὅπως κατενόησαν καί οἱ συντάξαντες καί ὑπογράφοντες τήν Διακήρυξη Ἀνεξαρτησίας, ὅταν ὁρισμένοι ἄνθρωποι καί λαοί στεροῦνται αὐτῶν τῶν δικαιωμάτων, οὐσιαστικά στεροῦνται αὐτό μέ τό ὁποῖο ὁ Θεός τῆς ἀγάπης ἔχει γενναιόδωρα καί στοργικά προικίσει ὅλους τούς ἀνθρώπους. Καθώς ἑορτάζουμε τήν ἑορτή τῆς 4ης Ἰουλίου μέ ὅλη μας τήν καρδιά, εὔχομαι νά θυμηθοῦμε τίς θυσίες τῶν προγόνων μας. Εὔχομαι νά ἀναλογισθοῦμε μέ χαρά καί εὐγνωμοσύνη πῶς μετέτρεψαν τό ὄνειρο τῆς ἐλευθερίας σέ πραγματικότητα τήν ὁποία ἐμεῖς σήμερα ζοῦμε καί ἀναπνέουμε. Εἴθε ὁ Θεός νά σᾶς διατηρῇ πάντοτε ὑπό τήν ἄπειρη προστασία καί τό ἔλεός Του, καί νά εὐλογῇ τίς Ἡνωμένες Πολιτεῖες τῆς Ἀμερικῆς.
Μέ πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη,
ÿ ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
ο Αρχιεπισκοποσ για την Κληρικολαϊκη óåë. 15 αριθμός ο οποίος παρουσιάζει αυξητική τάση. Κι αυτό μας απασχολεί πολύ ως Εκκλησία. Όπως μας απασχολούν και οι οικογένειες που δεν λειτουργούν σωστά και θέλουν στήριξη και βοήθεια». Αναφερόμενος εξάλλου στους μικτούς γάμους σημείωσε ότι «Στην Αρχιεπισκοπή μας στην Αμερική οι μικτοί γάμοι κυμαίνονται σε μεγάλα ποσοστά. Επομένως οι επόμενες γενεές στην Εκκλησία μας θα προέλθουν από αυτούς ακριβώς τους γάμους οι οποίοι είναι η μεγάλη ευκαιρία να κερδίσουμε τα μη ορθόδοξα μέλη. Άρα κι αυτό το θέμα θέλει πολύ μεγάλη φροντίδα. Η Κληρικολαϊκή, κατέληξε, θα παρέχει συνολικά δέκα τουλάχιστον διαφορετικές ευκαιρίες που θα ασχολούνται με την οικογένεια».
Σε κατάσταση αποστολής
Τέλος, ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος αναφέρθηκε γενικά στο ρόλο της
Εκκλησίας μας σήμερα λέγοντας: «Η Εκκλησία της Αμερικής δεν είναι η Εκκλησία η οποία προσπαθεί να επιβιώσει αλλά μια Εκκλησία η οποία βρίσκεται σε κατάσταση αποστολής. Κι αυτό είναι μια ιδιαίτερη και μεγάλη ευλογία από το Θεό. Εάν δεν είμαστε σε κατάσταση αποστολής τότε αλλοίμονο. Αλλοίμονο εάν αυτό το όραμα χαθεί κι απλούστατα περάσουμε σε μια φάση ουδετέρας επιβιώσεως και ζωής, δεν θα σημαίνει απολύτως τίποτε» «Θέλω να καταλήξω προσθέτοντας ότι στις προσπάθειές μας δεν πρέπει να σταματάμε πουθενά αλλά να είμαστε μονίμως σε μια κατάσταση πορείας. Αυτό είναι και το πνεύμα του Ευαγγελίου, είναι το πνεύμα της συνεχούς μεταμορφώσεως της συνεχούς αλλαγής της συνεχούς βελτιώσεως. Ένα πνεύμα που θέλει περισσότερο Ευαγγέλιο, περισσότερο Θεό, περισσότερο ουσία της πίστεως στην ζωή των ανθρώπων».
ΙΟΥΝΙΟΣ - ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ 2006
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
Η ΑΛΩΣΗ ΤΗΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΗΣ
ίδιος ο Μεχμέτ τους οδήγησε ως την τάφρο και στάθηκε εκεί φωνάζοντας για να τους ενθαρρύνει καθώς τον ξεπερνούσαν. Κατά διαδοχικά κύματα αυτοί οι ξεκούραστοι, υπέροχοι και γερά αρματωμένοι άνδρες ορμούσαν απάνω στο φράχτη για ν’ ανατρέψουν τα βαρέλια με το χώμα που ήταν στο απάνω μέρος του, να κόψουν τα δοκάρια που το στήριζαν και να τοποθετήσουν τις σκάλες τους εκεί που δεν μπορούσαν να γκρεμιστούν. Το κάθε κύμα παραμέριζε για να κάνει τόπο στο επόμενο χωρίς κανέναν πανικό. Οι χριστιανοί είχαν εξαντληθεί και απηυδήσει. Είχαν πολεμήσει με ανάπαυλα μόνο λίγων λεπτών, παραπάνω από τέσσερις ώρες, αλλά πολεμούσαν με απόγνωση, ξέροντας ότι αν έκαναν πίσω, θα ήταν το τέλος. Πίσω τους μέσα στην Πόλη σήμαιναν πάλι οι καμπάνες των εκκλησιών κι ένας μεγάλος ψίθυρος προσευχής ανέβαινε στον ουρανό. Ο αγώνας στο φράχτη ήταν τώρα σώμα προς σώμα. Επί μία σχεδόν ώρα, οι γενίτσαροι δεν μπορούσαν ν’ ανοίξουν δρόμο. Οι χριστιανοί άρχισαν να σκέφτονται ότι η επίθεση εξασθένιζε λίγο. Άλλα η μοίρα ήταν εναντίον τους. Στη γωνία του τείχους των Βλαχερνών, ακριβώς πριν ενωθεί με το διπλό Θεοδοσιανό τείχος, υπήρχε, μισοκρυμμένη από έναν πύργο, μιά μικρή πύλη εξόδου γνωστή με το όνομα Κερκόπορτα. Είχε φραχθεί πολλά χρόνια πρίν· αλλά οι γέροι τη θυμόντουσαν. Ακριβώς λίγο πρίν αρχίσει η πολιορκία την είχαν ξανανοίξει για να επιτρέπει εξόδους εναντίον του πλευρού του εχθρού. Κατά τον αγώνα, οι Μποκκιάρντι και οι άνδρες τους την είχαν χρησιμοποιήσει αποτελεσματικά εναντίον των ανδρών του Καρατζα Πασά. Aλλά τώρα, κάποιος επιστρέφοντας από μια εξοδο, ξέχασε να αμπαρώσει την μικρή πύλη πίσω του. Μερικοί Τούρκοι παρατήρησαν το άνοιγμα και πέρασαν μεσ’ απ’ αυτή στην αυλή που ήταν πίσω της και άρχισαν ν’ ανεβαίνουν μια σκάλα που οδηγούσε στην κορυφή των τειχών. Οι Χριστιανοί που ήταν ακριβώς έξω από την πύλη, είδαν τι έγινε και γύρισαν πίσω για ν’ ανακτήσουν τον έλεγχο της πύλης και να εμποδίσουν άλλους Τούρκους ν’ ακολουθήσουν. Μέσα στη σύγχιση περί τους πενήντα Τούρκοι αφέθηκαν μέσα στο τείχος, οπού θα μπορούσαν να περικυκλωθούν και να εξοντωθούν, αν αυτή τη στιγμή δεν ειχε συμβεί μια πολύ μεγαλύτερη συμφορά. Ήταν ακριβώς πριν από την ανατολή του ηλίου, οπότε ένας πυροβολισμός από μικρή απόσταση βρηκε τον Τζιουστινιάνι και τρύπησε τον θώρακά του. Χάνοντας άφθονο αίμα και προφανώς πονώντας πολύ, ο Τζιουστινιάνι παρακάλεσε τους άνδρες του να τον μεταφέρουν από το πεδίο της μάχης. Ένας απ’ αυτούς πήγε στον αυτοκράτορα που πολεμούσε εκεί κοντά, για να ζητήσει το κλειδί της μικρής πύλης που οδηγούσε μέσ’ από το εσωτερικό τείχος. Ο Κωνσ ταντ ίνος έσπευσε σ το πλευρό του και τον παρακάλεσε να μην εγκαταλείψει τη θέση του. A λ λά τα νεύρα του Τζιουστινιάνι είχαν σπάσει. Επέμεινε να φύγει. Η πύλη άνοιξε και οι σωματοφύλακές του τον μετέφεραν μέσα στην Πόλη και από τους δρόμους της κάτω στο λιμάνι, όπου τον έβαλαν
τμήμα των χερσαίων τειχών του αυτοκράτορα Θεοδοσίου, στο βάθος ο Βόσπορος.
μέσα σ’ ένα γενουατικό πλοίο. Οι στρατιώτες του αντελήφθηκαν την αναχώρησή του. Μερικοί απ’ αυτούς πιθανόν να νόμισαν ότι υποχώρησε, για να υπερασπίσει το εσωτερικό τείχος, αλλά οι περισσότεροι συνεπέραναν ότι η μάχη είχε χαθεί. Κάποιος φώναξε τρομαγμένος ότι οι Τούρκοι είχαν μπει μέσα στο τείχος. Πρίν καταστεί δυνατό να κλειστεί πάλι η μικρή πύλη, οι Γενουάτες είχαν περάσει όλοι μέσ’ απ’ αυτή. O αυτοκράτορας και οι Έλληνες του αφέθηκαν στο πεδίο της μάχης μόνοι. Από το άλλο μέρος της τάφρου, ο σουλτάνος αντιλήφθηκε τον πανικό. Φωνάζοντας «Η Πόλη είναι δική μας», διέταξε τους γενίτσαρούς του να επιτεθούν εκ νέου και έκανε σημείο σε έναν λόχο που είχε γι’ αρχηγό του έναν γίγαντα, ονομαζόμενο Χασάν. Ο Χασάν άνοιξε τον δρόμο του με το σπαθί ως την κορφή του φράχτη και θεωρήθηκε ότι κέρδισε το βραβειο. Τον ακολούθησαν κάπου τριάντα γενίτσαροι. Οι Έλληνες έκαναν αντεπίθεση. Ο ίδιος ο Χασάν δέχτηκε ένα χτύπημα από πέτρα και έπεσε στα γόνατα και σκοτώθηκε και δεκαεφτά από τους συντρόφους του χάθηκαν μαζί του. Aλλά οι υπόλοιποι κράτησαν τις θέσεις τους απάνω στον φράχτη· και άλλοι πιο πολλοί γενίτσαροι έσπευσαν να ενωθούν μαζί τους. Οι Έλληνες πρόβαλαν πεισματώδη αντίσταση. Aλλά το βάρος του αριθμού τους απώθησε προς το εσωτερικό τείχος. Μπροστά απ’ αυτό ήταν μια άλλη τάφρος, η οποία είχε εκβαθυνθεί σε διάφορα μέρη, όταν έβγαζαν χώμα για τις επισκευές του φράχτη. Πολλοί από τους Έλληνες βρέθηκαν μέσα σ’ αυτές τις τρύπες από τις οποίες δεν μπορούσαν να βγουν εύκολα με το εσωτερικό τείχος πίσω τους. Οι Τούρκοι, πού ήταν τώρα στην κορυφή του φράχτη τους τόξευσαν καθώς βρίσκονταν χαμηλότερα και τους κατέσφαξαν. Σε λίγο πολλοί γενίτσαροι έφθασαν στο εσωτερικό τείχος και το ανέβηκαν χωρίς να συναντήσουν αντίσταση. Ξαφνικά, κάποιος κοίταξε απάνω και είδε τουρκικές σημαίες να κυματίζουν στον πύργο απάνω από την Κερκόπορτα. Τότε ακούστηκε η κραυγή «Η Πόλις εάλω!...» Την ώρα που ο αυτοκράτορας παρακαλούσε τον Τζουστινιάνι, ήρθαν και του είπαν για την είσοδο των Τούρκων από την Κερκόπορτα. Έσπευσε αμέσως εκεί, αλ λά έφθασε πολύ αργά. Είχε μεταδοθεί πανικός σε μερικούς από
τους Γενουάτες εκεί. Μέσα στη σύγχιση ήταν αδύνατο να κλεισθεί η πύλη. Οι Τούρκοι εισέδυαν συνεχώς απ’ αυτή, οι δε άνδρες των Μποκκιάρντι ήταν πολύ λίγοι τώρα για να τους απωθήσουν. Ο Κωνσταντίνος γύρισε το άλογό του και κάλπασε προς την κοιλάδα του Λύκου και τα ρήγματα στο φράχτη. Μαζί του ήταν ο γενναίος Ισπανός που έλεγε πώς ήταν ξάδερφος του, ο δον Φραντζίσκο ντε Ταλέντο, και ο πραγματικός του ξάδερφος Θεόφιλος Παλαιολόγος και ένας πιστός συμπολεμιστής, ο Ιωάννης Δαλμάτης.
Μαζί προσπάθησαν ν’ ανασυντάξουν τους Έλ ληνες· μάταια όμως. Η σφαγή υπήρξε πολύ μεγάλη. Ξεκαβαλίκεψαν και οι τέσσερίς τους κράτησαν την πρόσβαση προς την πύλη από την οποία είχε μεταφερθεί ο Τζιουστινιάνι. Aλλά η άμυνα είχε τώρα σπάσει. Η πύλη είχε γεμίσει από χριστιανούς που προσπαθούσαν να διαφύγουν και όλο και πιο πολ λοί γενίτσαροι έπεφταν απάνω τους. Ο Θεόφιλος φώναξε ότι προτιμούσε να πεθάνει παρά να ζήσει και χάθηκε μέσα στις ορδές που έρχονταν. Ο Κωνσταντίνος είδε τώρα ότι η αυτοκρατορία είχε χαθεί και δεν είχε καμμιά επιθυμία ο ίδιος να επιζήσει. Πέταξε τα αυτοκρατορικά εμβλήματα και με τον δον Φραντζίσκο και τον Ιωάννη Δαλμάτη πάντοτε στο πλευρό του, ακολούθησε το Θεόφιλο. Κανείς δεν τον ξανάδε πια. Η κραυγή ότι η Πόλη είχε χαθεί αντηχούσε σε όλους τους δρόμους. Από τον Κεράτιο Κόλπο και τις ακτές του χριστιανοί και Τούρκοι μπορούσαν να διακρίνουν τουρκικές σημαίες να κυματίζουν στους ψηλούς πύργους των Βλαχερνών, όπου ο αυτοκρατορικός αετός και ο λέων του Αγίου Μάρκου κυμάτιζαν μόλις λίγα λεπτά πρωτύτερα. Που και που ο αγώνας εξακολούθησε για ένα διάστημα. Απάνω στα τείχη, κοντά στην Κερκόπορτα, οι αδελφοί Μποκκιάρντι και
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Η ΑΛΩΣΗ ΤΗΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΗΣ óåë. 17 οι άνδρες τους εξακολουθούσαν να πολεμούν, αλλά πολύ σύντομα κατάλαβαν ότι δεν μπορούσε να γίνει τίποτα πια. Γι’ αυτό, άνοιξαν δρόμο μαχόμενοι μεσ’ από τους εχθρούς προς τον Κεράτιο κόλπο. O Πάολο πιάστηκε αιχμάλωτος και θανατώθηκε· ο Αντώνιο και ο Τροΐλο έφθασαν σ’ ένα γενουατικό πλοιο που τους πέρασε απέναντι χωρίς να γίνουν αντιληπτοί από τα τουρκικά πλοια, στην ασφάλεια του Πέραν. Στο πλευρό τους, στο ανάκτορο των Βλαχερνών, ο Μινόττο και οι Ενετοί του είχαν περικυκλωθεί. Πολλοί σκοτώθηκαν. O ίδιος ο Βάιλος και οι κυριότεροι προύχοντες πιάστηκαν αιχμάλωτοι. Σήματα που ανέφεραν την είσοδο μέσ’ από τα τείχη, μεταδόθηκαν με οπτικά μέσα σ’ όλον τον τουρκικό στρατό. Τα τουρκικά πλοία στον Κεράτιο κόλπο έσπευσαν ν’ αποβιβάσουν τους άνδρες τους στην παραλία και να επιτεθούν κατά των τειχών του λιμανιού. Δε βρήκαν πολλή αντίσταση παρά μόνο στην Ωραία Πύλη κοντά στο σημερινό Χαϊβάν Σαράι. Εκεί τα πληρώματα δύο κρητικών πλοίων κλείστηκαν μέσα σε τρεις πύργους και αρνήθηκαν να παραδοθούν. Παντού α λ λού, οι Έλ ληνες κατέφυγαν στα σπίτια τους με την ελπίδα να προστατεύσουν τις οικογένειες τους, οι δε Ενετοί επιβιβάστηκαν στα πλοία τους. Δεν πέρασε πολλή ώρα και ένας λόχος Τούρκων άνοιξε δρόμο από την Πλατεία Πύλη στη βάση της κοιλάδας που δεσπόζει ακόμα το υδραγωγείο του Ουάλεντα. Ένας άλλος λόχος πέρασε από την Ωραία Πύλη. Όπου περνούσαν, έστελναν αποσπάσματα ν’ ανοίξουν άλλες πύλες για τους συντρόφους τους που περίμεναν απ’ έξω. Eκεί κοντά, μερικοί ψαράδες, βλέποντας ότι όλα είχαν χαθεί, άνοιξαν τις πύλες της συνοικίας του Πετρίου με την υπόσχεση ότι δε θα πάθαιναν τίποτα τα σπίτια τους. Κατά μήκος του τμήματος των χερσαίων τειχών νοτίως του Λύκου, οι χριστιανοί είχαν αποκρούσει όλες τις τουρκικές επιθέσεις. Aλλά τώρα το ένα σύνταγμα μετά το άλλο έμπαιναν μέσα από τα ανοίγματα στο φράχτη και άπλωναν προς τις δύο κατευθύνσεις για ν’ ανοίξουν όλες τις πύλες. Οι στρατιώτες απάνω στα τείχη βρέθηκαν περικυκ λωμένοι. Πολ λοί σκοτώθηκαν, προσπαθώντας να ξεφύγουν από την παγίδα· αλλά οι περισσότεροι από τους αρχηγούς ακόμα και ο Φίλιππο Κονταρίνι και ο Δημήτριος
Καντακουζηνός, πιάστηκαν αιχμάλωτοι. Έξω από την ακτή της Προποντίδας, τα πλοια του Χαμζά-μπέη είδαν επίσης τα σήματα και έστειλαν αγήματα στα τείχη. Στο Στούδιο και στην Ψαμάθια φαίνεται πώς δεν υπήρξε αντίσταση. Οι αμυνόμενοι παραδόθηκαν αμέσως, με την ελπίδα ότι τα σπίτια και οι εκκλησίες τους θα γλύτωναν τη λεηλασία. Στ’ αριστερά τους, ο Πρίγκηπας Oρχάν και οι Τούρκοι του συνέχισαν να πολεμούν, ξέροντας ποια τύχη τους περίμενε, αν έπεφταν στα χέρια του σουλτάνου, οι δε Καταλανοί εγκατεστημένοι κάτω από το παλιό αυτοκρατορικό ανάκτορο αντιστάθηκαν ώσπου όλοι πιάστηκαν αιχμάλωτοι ή σκοτώθηκαν. Απάνω στην Ακρόπολη, ο καρδινάλιος Ισίδωρος έκρινε ότι θα ήταν φρόνιμο να εγκαταλείψει τη θέση του. Μεταμφιέσθηκε και αποπειράθηκε να διαφύγει. O σουλτάνος κράτησε τον έλεγχο μερικών συνταγμάτων του για να χρησιμεύσουν ως συνοδεία του και ως στρατιωτική αστυνομία. Aλλά οι περισσότεροι στρατιώτες του ανυπομονούσαν ήδη ν’ αρχίσουν τη λαφυραγωγία. Ιδιαίτερα ανυπόμονοι ήταν οι ναύτες, από το φόβο μήπως οι στρατιώτες τους προλάβουν. Ελπίζοντας ότι το φράγμα θα εμπόδιζε τα χριστιανικά πλοία να βγουν από τον λιμένα και να διαφύγουν, και ότι θα μπορούσαν να τα αιχμαλωτίσουν με την ησυχία τους, εγκατέλειψαν τα πλοία τους και ρίχτηκαν στην ξηρά. H πλεονεξία τους έσωσε τη ζωή πολλών χριστιανών. Ενώ ένας αριθμός από Έλληνες και Ιταλούς ναύτες μαζί με τον ίδιο τον Τρεβιζάνο πιάστηκαν αιχμάλωτοι πρίν μπορέσουν να διαφύγουν από τα τείχη, άλλοι κατόρθωσαν να ενωθούν με τους πυρήνες των πληρωμάτων, που είχαν αφήσει στα πλοία τους, ανεμπόδιστοι από οποιαδήποτε τουρκική δράση και να τα ετοιμάσουν για ναυμαχία, αν θα υπήρχε ανάγκη. Άλλοι κατόρθωσαν ν’ αναρριχηθούν στα πλοία πρίν αυτά αποπλεύσουν και άλ λοι τα έπιασαν κολυμπώντας, όπως ο Φλωρεντινός Τελάντι. Όταν είδε ότι ή Πόλη είχε πέσει, ο Aλβίζο Ντιέντο, ως ναύαρχος του στόλου, έπλευσε με μια βάρκα στο Πέραν για να ρωτήσει τις αρχές εκεί αν είχαν σκοπό να συστήσουν στους Γενουάτες να μείνουν στο λιμάνι και να πολεμήσουν ή να τραβήξουν για τ’ ανοιχτά. Υποσχέθηκε ότι τα ενετικά του πλοία θα συνεργάζονταν μαζί τους όποια απόφαση κι αν έπαιρναν.
O Ποντεστά του Πέραν συνέστησε να πάει μια πρεσβεία στον σουλτάνο και να τον ρωτήσει, αν θα άφηνε όλα τα πλοία ελεύθερα να φύγουν ή θα διεκινδύνευε πόλεμο με τη Γένουα και την Eνετία. H υπόδειξη ήταν ανεφάρμοστη σε μια τέτοια στιγμή· αλλά στο μεταξύ, ο Ποντεστά είχε κλείσει τις πύλες του Πέραν και ο Ντιέντο, μαζί με τον οποίο ήταν και ο χρονικογράφος Βάρβαρος, δεν μπορούσε να επιστρέψει στα πλοία του. Όμως οι Γενουάτες ναύτες από τα πλοία που ήταν αγκυροβολημένα κάτω από τα τείχη του Πέραν, έκαναν γνωστό ότι είχαν την πρόθεση ν’ αποπλεύσουν και ήθελαν να έχουν την υποστήριξη των Ενετών. Κατόπιν της επιμονής τους, επιτράπηκε στο Ντιέντο να φύγει με τη βάρκα του. Τράβηξε κατευθείαν προς το φράγμα που ήταν ακόμα κλειστό. Δυο από τους ναύτες του έκοψαν με τσεκούρια τα παλαμάρια που το έδεναν στα τείχη του Πέραν και αυτό παρασύρθηκε από τα κύματα. Δίνοντας σήμα στα πλοία που ήταν στο λιμάνι να τον ακολουθήσουν, ο Ντιέντο πέρασε μέσα από το άνοιγμα. Εφτά γενουατικά πλοία από το Πέραν απέπλευσαν και ενώθηκαν μαζί τους τα περισσότερα ενετικά πολεμικά πλοία, τέσσερις ή πέντε από τις γαλέρες του αυτοκράτορα και ένα ή δύο γενουατικά πολεμικά πλοια. Όλα είχαν παραμείνει, όσα τόλμησαν, για να περισυλλέξουν τους πρόσφυγες που κολυμπούσαν προς αυτά, και αφού πέρασε από το φράγμα, ολόκληρος ο στολίσκος παρέμεινε μια περίπου ώρα στην είσοδο του Βοσπόρου για να ιδεί αν και άλλα πλοία θα μπορούσαν να διαφύγουν. Έπειτα επωφελήθηκαν από τον ισχυρό βόρειο άνεμο που φυσούσε για να πλεύσουν μέσ’ από την Προποντίδα και τα στενά των Δαρδανελλίων προς την ελευθερία. Tόσα πολλά από τα πλοία του Χαμζά είχαν εγκαταλειφθεί από τους ναύτες τους στην εξόρμησή τους για λαφυραγωγία, ώστε δεν μπόρεσε να σταματήσει τη φυγή των πλοίων του Ντιέντο. Μ’ εκείνα από τα πλοία του, που ήταν ακόμα επανδρωμένα, έπλευσε μέσ’ από το σπασμένο φράγμα στον Κεράτιο Κόλπο. Εκεί, στο λιμάνι έπιασε τα πλοια που είχαν απομείνει, άλλες τέσσερις ή πέντε αυτοκρατορικές γαλέρες, δύο η τρεις γενουατικές και όλα τα άοπλα ενετικά εμπορικά πλοία. Τα περισσότερα απ’ αυτά ήταν τόσο υπερβολικά φορτωμένα με πρόσφυγες, ώστε θα ήταν αδύνατο ν’ αποπλεύσουν οπωσδήποτε. Μερικά μικρά πλοία κατόρθωσαν παρ’ όλ’ αυτά, να ξεγλιστρήσουν απέναντι, στο Πέραν. Άλλα μέσα στο άπλετο φως της ημέρας δεν ήταν πια δυνατό να ξεφύγουν από τους Τούρκους. Ως το μεσημέρι όλο το λιμάνι και ό,τι υπήρχε μέσα σ’ αυτό, βρίσκονταν στα χέρια των κατακτητών. Απέμεινε μια μικρή εστία αντίστασης στην πόλη. Οι Κρήτες ναύτες στους τρεις πύργους κοντά στη είδοδο του Κερατίου, κρατούσαν ακόμα και δεν μπορούσαν οι Τούρκοι να τους εκτοπίσουν. Νωρίς το απόγευμα, βλέποντας ότι είχαν απομονωθεί τελείως, παραδόθηκαν με δυσφορία στους αξιωματικούς του σουλτάνου με τον όρο να μη θίγουν η ζωή και τα υπάρχοντά τους. Τα δύο πλοία τους ήταν προσαραγμένα κάτω από τους πύργους. Χωρίς να ενοχλη-
θούν από τους Τούρκους, των οποίων είχαν αποσπάσει τον θαυμασμό, μπήκαν στα πλοία τους και απέπλευσαν για την Κρήτη. Ο σουλτάνος Μεχμέτ είχε ήδη μάθει από πολλές ώρες ότι η μεγάλη Πόλη ήταν δική του. Οι άνδρες του είχαν εισβάλει μέσ’ από το φράχτη την αυγή· και λίγο αργότερα, με το χανόμενο φεγγάρι ακόμα ψηλά στον ουρανό, πήγε ο ίδιος να εξετάσει το ρήγμα από το οποίο είχαν μπει. Aλλά περίμενε ως το απόγευμα για να κάνει τη δική του θριαμβευτική είσοδο στην Πόλη, όταν οι πρώτες υπερβολές της σφαγής και της λεηλασίας θα είχαν περάσει και θα είχε αποκατασταθεί κάποια τάξη. Στο μεταξύ ξαναγύρισε στη σκηνή του, όπου δέχτηκε αντιπροσωπείες από τρομοκρατημένους πολίτες και τον ίδιο τον Ποντεστά του Πέραν. Και αυτός επίσης ήθελε ν’ ανακαλύψει ποιά υπήρξε η τύχη του αυτοκράτορα. Αυτό δεν έγινε ποτέ γνωστό σαφώς. Αργότερα είχε κυκλοφορήσει μια ιστορία στις Ιταλικές παροικίες της Ανατολής ότι δύο Τούρκοι στρατιώτες που ισχυρίζονταν ότι είχαν σκοτώσει τον Κωνσταντίνο, έφεραν ένα κεφάλι στο σουλτάνο, το οποίο αιχμάλωτοι αυλικοί που ήταν παρόντες αναγνώρισαν ότι ήταν του κυρίου τους. Ο Μεχμέτ το τοποθέτησε επί ένα διάστημα στην Αυγουσταία Αγορά και κατόπιν το ταρίχευσε και το έστειλε να επιδειχθεί στις κυριότερες Αυλές του ισλαμικού κόσμου. Συγγραφείς που ήταν παρόντες κατά την άλωση της Πόλης είπαν διαφορετικές ιστορίες. Ο Βάρβαρος ανέφερε ότι κάποιοι ισχυρίσθηκαν ότι είδαν το σώμα του αυτοκράτορα ανάμεσα σ’ ένα σωρό πτώματα, αλλά άλλοι υποστήριξαν ότι δε βρέθηκε ποτέ. Ο Φλωρεντινός Τετάλντι έγραψε ομοίως ότι μερικοί είπαν πώς το κεφάλι του είχε αποκοπεί και άλλοι ότι σκοτώθηκε στην Πύλη. Προσθέτει ότι και η μία ιστορία και η άλλη μπορεί να είναι αληθινή, γιατί ασφαλώς σκοτώθηκε μέσα στο πλήθος και οι Τούρκοι αποκεφάλισαν τα περισσότερα πτώματα. Ο αφοσιωμένος φίλος του Φραντζής προσπάθησε να συγκεντρώσει, περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες, αλλά το μόνο που έμαθε είναι ότι όταν ο σουλτάνος έστειλε να ψάξουν για το σώμα του, ένας αριθμός πτωμάτων και κεφαλιών πλύθηκαν με την ελπίδα να τον αναγνωρίσουν. Τέλος, βρέθηκε ένα σώμα με έναν αετό κεντημένο στις κάλτσες και αποτυπωμένον στις κνημίδες. Υπέθεσαν ότι ήταν το δικό του και ο σουλτάνος το έδωσε στους Έλληνες να το θάψουν. Ο ίδιος ο Φραντζής δεν το είδε και είχε κάποια αμφιβολία αν ήταν πραγματικά του κυρίου του, ούτε μπόρεσε να εξακριβώσει που είχε θαφτεί. Σε μεταγενέστερους αιώνες ένας ανώνυμος τάφος στην συνοικία Βέφα δειχνόταν στους ευλαβείς ως η τελευταία κατοικία του αυτοκράτορα. Η γνησιότητά του δεν αποδείχτηκε ποτέ και τώρα έχει παραμεληθεί και λησμονηθεί. Ο,τιδήποτε και αν ήταν οι λεπτομέρειες, ο σουλτάνος Μεχμέτ ήταν ικανοποιημένος που ο αυτοκράτορας είχε πεθάνει. Ήταν τώρα όχι μόνο σουλτάνος αλλά κληρονόμος και κάτοχος της αρχαίας ρωμαϊκής αυτοκρατορίας. (Απόσπασμα από το βιβλίο “Η Αλωση της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως”, του Στήβεν Ράνσιμαν, εκδόσεις Μπεργάδη)
PEOPLE Minnesota’s Oldest and Largest Greek Orthodox Community
The American Hellenic Institute Foundation has named Professor Charles Moskos, professor emeritus of sociology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., as AHIF Senior Fellow of Greek American Studies. Dr. Moskos, a Chicago native of Greek immigrant parents from Northern Epirus, has written numerous books on military sociology and on Greek American studies. He received his B.A., with honors, at Princeton University in 1956 and his Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1992 President George Bush appointed him to the Commission on Women in the Military and, in 1996, President Bill Clinton cited Professor Moskos on national television as the inspiration for his national youth service program. In 2000-02, he was a member of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century.
Orthodox Marine honored
MINNEAPOLIS – St. Mary’s Church offers a wide range of ministries and outreach within its parish and beyond. In fact, there are so many ministries a handbook is published to describe them all. Fr. Pappas noted there are “four to five different Bible studies” for various groups within the community, as well as adult catechism classes, a men’s fellowship group and smaller groups based on geographical location in the Minneapolis area. Its large education building houses the Church school with an enrollment
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facility. Minneapolis has one of the largest American Indian populations of any American city. One of the doctors who founded the clinic to serve “the poorest of the poor,” Fr. Pappas said, is a parishioner. Another inner city ministry the parish supports is Trinity Mission, located in neighboring St. Paul, the state capital. Orthodox Christians of various jurisdictions in the “Twin Cities” founded the mission to help the unemployed working poor. It also receives ecumenical support from other Minneapolis churches. “Every week the parish collects non-
Fr. Pappas is a member of the Minnesota Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association, and serves on the board of directors of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, which includes Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. “It is one of most well run and socially active ecumenical groups in the country,” the priest said. To carry out its programs and ministries, St. Mary’s has a strong financial base. About 60 percent of its operating budget is derived from stewardship. The balance comes from commercial buildings, mostly in Minneapolis, and
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Name: St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church Location: Minneapolis, Minn. Metropolis: Chicago Size: about 1,450 members Founded: 1905 Clergy: Fr. Harry Pappas (Holy Cross ’80) Web site: www.stmarysgoc.org
Marine Capt. Speros C. Koumparakis was presented with the Alfred M. Gray Trophy in recognition of Outstanding Communications Leadership at a recent third annual awards dinner of Headquarters Marine Corps C4 in Arlington, Va. It is presented annually to only one active duty Marine Corps captain who best exemplifies outstanding leadership within the entire Marine Corps Communications environment. Capt. Koumparakis, 31, recently returned from a one-year tour in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. Born in Martinsville, Va., he is a 1993 graduate of Martinsville Senior High School and a 1997 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He is the son of Chris Speros Koumparakis of Martinsville, Va. and Jannie Batayias Koumparakis. He and his family are members of St. Peters Church in Danville, Va.
Evritanon scholarship The Evritanon Association of America awarded its 7th annual scholarship to a St. John’s University junior, Georgia Davanelos, on May 18. More than 60 association members from New Jersey and New York attended. Ms. Davanelos’ family hometown is Nafpactos. In 2000, the Evritanon Association was the first non-profit organization, through the influence of Stephen Cherpelis and community leader Kostas Katsanos, to establish an annual scholarship for St. John’s University students who completed one year of excellence in Modern Greek.
Cephalonian scholarship New York City’s oldest island organization, the Cephalonian Association AENOS N.Y., awarded three scholarships totaling $1,500 to three St. John’s University students in the Modern Greek Language and Literature Program on May 11. President Vasilios Kokkosis presented the awards to Fereniki Konstantatos, Polly Nikolovienis and Harilaos Thomatos. Among those present were Gerasimos Minetos, public relations liaison; and AENOS administrator Anna Papasavva. Flowers were presented to Catherine Tsounis of the Modern Greek Language and Literature Program.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Noteworthy: oldest Greek Orthodox parish in Minnesota ST. MARY’S GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
of 350. The small Greek school offers perishable food and delivers it to the classes for children and adults. Enroll- mission,” said Fr. Pappas. “Others donate ment is about 40. medicine.” Fr. Pappas noted that the youth Foreign missions is another area where ministry “is wonderfully developed” and St. Mary’s Church is active. his parish has “one of oldest Orthodox “We send two mission teams every year camp programs in country.” to the Orthodox orphanage in Guatemala Currently in its 55th year, the and to Project Mexico,” said the priest. The pan-Orthodox camp parish has added Kenya to its list of misattracts about 280 chilsion team destinations and indidren and takes place vidual parishioners the third week in June also serve as at a rented facility in missionarthe north-central part ies to Korea, of the state on one of Tanzania and Althe 10,000 lakes Minbania, as well as in nesota is noted for. It Kenya. is about 2½ hours from The priest also said Minneapolis. that, in addition to younger The church has a parishioners, “a large numMINNEAPOLIS full-time youth director ber of senior citizens” are and a part-time minisinvolved in the parish’s outtry development coorreach programs. “It’s a really dinator who helps new good mixture of different ministries and existing generations,” he said. ministries of the parish Fr. Pappas, who function together. has served St. Mary’s The parish’s music community for 11 ministry features a large years, describes his choir, “one of the strongest in ministry as “very full and very rich.” He the diocese,” Fr. Pappas said. said the parish “had a solid foundation He also noted that the parish is of preaching of the Bible and spiritual re“very English oriented,” with most of the newal,” before his arrival and that he “was services celebrated in English. able to build upon that.” He continued, “The lay people are Helping the needy interest in learning, growing and working The Philoptochos chapter ministers in the church. They’re wonderful to work to needy persons in the inner city and, with and very pan Orthodox-minded.” for two weeks each year, helps the parSt. Mary’s is one of 18 Orthodox ish in housing homeless people in its churches in the greater Minneapolis area community center. and of some 40 in western Wisconsin and The parish has a prison ministry the rest of Minnesota that include the outreach with parishioners trained to Greek Orthodox sister churches of Twelve visit prisons and lead Bible studies. Holy Apostles in Duluth, Holy Anargyroi in St. Mary’s Church also helps sup- Rochester and St. George in St. Paul. port a medical clinic in Minneapolis “There is a very vibrant brotherhood for American Indians both financially that is very involved ecumenically with and with volunteers who clean the other Christians,” he said.
other real estate holdings bequeathed to the parish. Another income source is from interest on the parish’s $800,000 endowment. Remaining funds come from the annual Greek festival in early September and an annual fall fund-raiser in October that features food, auctions and entertainment.
Most of the parish membership is now third, fourth and fifth generation, Fr. Pappas noted. “The grandparents of the current grandparents are the ones who came form Greece,” he said. While there is no record of when the very first Greek, or Greeks, came to the area, an extensive parish history notes that in the late 1880s, about 40 years after the founding of Minneapolis, “three Greeks were recorded as inhabitants of Minneapolis.” By the late 1890s, the number reached about 75. Most came from the small village of Niata in the southern Peloponnesus. “Before I came to Minneapolis, I had never heard of Niata,” Fr. Pappas said. “Since I came to Minneapolis. I’ve never stopped hearing about Niata.” The only immigrant society in the parish is the Niata Society. Those first arrivals included Peter Boosalis, one of the most important founders of the local parish, and his first cousins, “Jack” Santrizos, John Lankis and Peter Maroosis, as well as other Boosalis brothers. Fr. Pappas noted that “Boosalis” is the most prevalent surname in the parish today. Other pioneers included Spartans John Geanokoplos and Anthony Forchias.
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SWOT Analysis Report The SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is a critical component of a larger initiative to improve the effectiveness of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. by Fr. Frank Marangos
On Monday, Feb. 7, 2005, several directors of the Archdiocesan ministry departments met with members of the Archdiocesan Council to discuss this initiative. As part of this process, the department directors, as well as a sampling of Archdiocesan Council members, submitted a personal SWOT analysis of the administrative and pastoral climate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Each of these assessments consisted of a number of statements describing factors that, in the participant’s perception, affect the administrative and pastoral effectiveness of the Archdiocese. The individual reviews were tabulated using the KJ Affinity Process Diagram method that combines similar statements and organizes composite entries into logical subcategories. As a result of this effort, an administrative SWOT Survey was developed. A summative committee of experts in survey design validated the instrument. Two copies of the SWOT survey were mailed to every parish of the Archdiocese for the parish priest and the parish council president to complete and return. In addition, copies were sent to each Archdiocesan department director, Archdiocesan council member, and Metropolis council member. The SWOT process aims to clarify the purpose and direction of the Archdiocese, defines what it does best, determines what it should look like in the future, and identifies specific means by which the Orthodox vision can be effectively realized. The successful completion of each phase of the SWOT analysis initiative will improve the effectiveness of the Archdiocese as measured by the degree to which it effectively connects its performance to its purpose. The SWOT analysis assesses: (a) what works and why, (b) what does not work and how it should work, and (c) how performance can be improved. Return rates have been tabulated by Metropolis, parish priest, parish council president, Archdiocesan director and, archdiocesan council member. Return rates have also been charted for a number of respondents who were not official sent a SWOT questionnaire. Overall, 385 surveys were returned from a possible number of 1,195 (see Appendix). This constitutes a return rate for the SWOT analysis of 32 percent.
With a required confidence level of 95 percent, the margin of error for the SWOT analysis of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is an acceptable plus-or-minus 5 percent. A review of the 10 major strengths of the Archdiocese indicates a high degree of satisfaction by respondents concerning four cluster issues: (a) the spiritual leadership of archbishop, metropolitans, and clergy, (b) the Orthodox message, worship and theology, (c) parish ministry, and (d) the financial assets of the Archdiocese. A review of the 10 major weaknesses of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese indicates a high degree of dissatisfaction by respondents concerning four primary clusters: (a) the lack of understanding of Orthodoxy by those within and without the Church, (b) the lack of strategic planning, (c) a lack of fiscal reliability, and (d) poor communication with the world at large. A review of the 10 major opportunities of the Archdiocese indicates a high degree of optimism by respondents concerning four issue clusters: (a) the increasing number of marriages between Orthodox and non-Orthodox, (b) the interest of Orthodox and non-Orthodox to spiritual issues and traditional values, (c) an eager parish volunteer base, and (d) interest in fiscal responsibility. The opportunity of utilizing Orthodox Christians who are in key business, political and education positions was also emphasized by respondents. Finally, a review of the 10 major strengths of the Archdiocese indicates a high degree of apprehension by respondents concerning four primary cluster issues: (a) the large number of Orthodox Christians who lack adequate knowledge concerning the teachings of their Faith, (b) the weakening institutions of marriage and family, (c) the diminishing pool of clergy, and (d) the legal, fiscal, and perceived change-aversion by the Archdiocese. The issue of language was also raised as an impediment for many Orthodox youth, adults and converts. The SWOT Committee will meet at the Clergy-Laity Congress to discuss administrative recommendations that would utilize SWOT data to help the Archdiocese: (a) capitalize on strengths, (b) repair weaknesses, (c) take advantage of opportunities, and (d) defend against threats. Future articles will appear in the Orthodox Observer that will provide a more comprehensive examination of each SWOT category. Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos is executive director of Communications
Benefits Committee to Better Serve Pension Needs The past two years have been challenging and uncertain for the Archdiocese Benefits Committee (ABC). Early on committee members decided to change the approach to funding the Pension Program. by Fr. Dennis Strouzas
Prior to my tenure as chair, the previous Benefits Committee had to make some serious changes in order to help our Pension Plan…changes that necessitated financial sacrifices on the part of our active participants. Although it did not “fix” our funding problem it put us on a course that helped us realize that we needed to take a closer look at the other components of the plan in an effort to cut expenses and thereby offering us the opportunity to take those savings and apply them to our Pension Fund. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Fr. George Savas, who suggested that we speak to his brother John and his company, Blue Prairie, with regard to exploring areas that would assist us in our efforts to raise additional funds lost during the years 2001-2003. John Savas and his partner introduced us to the concept of “bundling” in an effort to cut costs and increase our ability and efficiency in managing our investments. The Administration Committee took the lead in pursuing this concept and through the efforts of Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis and a committee, appointed by the Administration Committee chairman, which included the Very Rev. Gabriel Karambis, Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis, Jerry Dimitriou and myself, was able to select NYLIM to assist us in cutting costs, streamlining our operation and bringing a larger universe of investments with the ability to move expeditiously and efficiently in order to capitalize our investments and succeed in both bull and bear markets. We have a wide array of tools at our disposal and the talents of our own investment advisors and those of NYLIM, working in tandem, give us the capability to avoid the mistakes of the past. Going forward, the Chair of the Investment Committee will play a pivotal role in marshalling and directing our human assets in an effort to maximize our financial assets. It is our hope that NYLIM will keep “our feet to the fire” and not allow us to be
Opening Prayer for House of Representatives WASHINGTON – Fr. Luke Palumbis, pastor of St. Basil Church in Stockton, Calif., offered the following Open Prayer for the U.S. House of Representatives on June 21, following a request from Congressman Richard Pombo (D-CA). “... We thank you Loving Master that in accordance with this model of Your creation, our founding fathers established a foundation for the formation of a more perfect union; through the establishment of justice, the insuring of domestic tranquility, the providing for common defense, the promoting of general welfare, and the securing of the blessings of liberty. We beseech You All Holy One, to strengthen our civic leaders, and our entire population of America, with the virtues of humility, courage, and perseverance – so that today, we may actualize the poetic words of our Constitution – not only as united states, but as united individual Americans, living in the union of God’s creation. Amen.”
complacent or take our responsibilities for granted because we assume that: ‘others will take care of it’. This past year was a crucial and critical year for us…it was and continues to be a year of transition and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge our Benefits Office Director Kathy Peters and her staff, Anna Vrettos and Peter Boulas. Without her leadership and their dedication and perseverance this transitional period would not have been the success story that it has become. We find ourselves positioned and poised to provide our participants with real-time information and instant access either telephonically or via the Internet. Although it is too early to identify the actual dollar savings we will realize, as a result of our decision to “bundle,” we have succeeded in alleviating some of the work load of our office, as well as consolidating and simplifying the data into one readily accessible source. We may even have that elusive “newsletter” that has been mentioned so often by my predecessors and committee members alike. While things are starting to come together and look good…let us not forget that this is just the beginning and yes, we are in a “bull market” but the bear is out there. Let us hope that we will continue to be successful in that market as well. Hopefully and prayerfully, the decisions that we have made during these past two years will help us attain our funding goals for the future. We must continue to pursue all avenues available to us in reaching and maintaining the fund at a level that will benefit all our participants with no reduction in earned benefits. Eventually we would all like to see the elimination of the two-tier personal pension contribution option and return to the previous contribution level. I would like to recommend that when we come to that moment that we wait one more year before we return to that earlier benchmark and use those monies as an additional reserve for our fund. Remember the boomers are coming! Finally, I commend the members of the Insurance Plans and Benevolence Committees for their efforts in their respective endeavors: The Insurance Plans Committee has once again used our reserve fund to keep the premium increase to 5 percent. They are to be commended for their efforts in striving to keep our Health Insurance Plan the premium plan that it is, while at the same time reaching out to our Consultant and Plan Administrator/Broker to pursue every and all possibilities to keep the cost within reason as dictated by the marketplace and maintain, without reduction, the benefits available. The Committee must continue to examine and pursue every option available and even consider ‘thinking out of the box’… given the annual double digit increases that occur within the marketplace as well as the constantly changing practice of medicine and the pressures that are brought to bear on the medical community. The Benevolence Committee is making a major effort to cut its costs. They will be making recommendations to the ABC that I feel are necessary in an effort to reduce our benevolence liability to that of providing only medical/dental benefits for a limited time period. As I conclude my two years of service as ABC Chair, I want to thank all for their participation and commitment to ABC and the various sub-committees upon which they serve.
MISSION NEWS A Banner Year for OCMC’s 2006 Mission Teams ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.–OCMC’s 2006 Mission Team Program has experienced a phenomenal year as mission team members prepare to follow in the footsteps of saints. Each year the Mission Center sends out groups of 2 to 24 volunteers to various countries. These volunteers donate their time, money and energy to witness the Orthodox Christian faith through a variety of activities. The trips last from one to five weeks and most take place between July until early October. This year the Mission Center successfully approved more than 122 team members, the most ever, who will teach, build, baptize, nurture and heal in Orthodox communities around the world. Ten are seminarians from schools like Holy Cross, St. Vladimir’s, St. Tikhon’s and St. Herman’s while others come from various churches throughout the United States. What makes this year so incredible is the amount of people that have been invigorated to participate in mission teams such as eleven members from St. Barnabas Church in Huntington Beach, California, eight from Annunciation Cathedral in Baltimore, Maryland and six from Holy Trinity Church in St. Augustine. All these teams will assist in the many needy communities all over the world. These projects range from teaching about the faith in India and Tanzania; building a church in Kenya, caring for orphaned children in Guatemala, offering medical assistance in Uganda, nurturing youth in Albania and Romania. Closer to home, the Mission Center will send a team to Alaska to teach, provide a dental outreach program and assist in light construction. Each host community appreciates the
mission team relationship, cross-cultural experience and the renewal and rejuvenation that the experience brings to their community. This year also marks a collaborative partnership between sister SCOBA agencies, IOCC and OCMC, as a health care team prepares to serve in Ethiopia, educating local health care providers working with people living with HIV/AIDS. This year will also see four health care outreach trips that will include four medical doctors to Uganda, three counselors to Romania and two dentists to Alaska. As each team member represents a visible expression of love, unity and support which truly exists within the Holy Orthodox Church, they come from many different backgrounds such as teachers, clergy, seminarians, youth workers, contractors, health care professionals, students, housewives and those willing to offer their skills and love during this “hands on” program to implement and serve the Lord’s Great Commission – to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” For more information about getting involved in a Mission Team or supporting a member, please contact the Orthodox Christian Mission Center at team@ocmc. org or call (904) 829-5132. Details for this year’s Mission Teams available are available on our website at www.ocmc.org. The Orthodox Christian Mission Center: Helping Orthodox Christians respond to Christ's call to preach, teach, baptize, minister to the poor and make disciples of all nations as the official international mission agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).
IOCC Kits Aid Earthquakes, Hurricane Survivors BALTIMORE – The recent earthquake in Indonesia and the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season serve as powerful reminders of the ongoing need for disaster preparedness and donated “Gift of the Heart” kits. “The availability of essential supplies following a disaster can be a lifeline for survivors,” said IOCC Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou. “The ‘Gift of the Heart’ kits contributed by Orthodox Christians have made a vital contribution to the well being of tens of thousands of people around the world.” Orthodox Christians contributed an unprecedented number of health and school kits last year. The need for more kits remains following the spate of disasters in 2005 when people in so many parts of the world required assistance. Triantafilou urged that Orthodox Christians continue their generous contribution of kits to remain prepared for future disasters. The “Gift of the Heart” kits are part of IOCC’s larger Gifts in Kind program that provides high quality donated commodities to communities in need around the world. Already this year, more than $10 million worth of donated material aid have been delivered by IOCC to nine of countries.
Medical supplies, medicines, books, health kits, school kits and other assistance has been provided to communities recovering from disasters and programs that address poverty, hunger and education. IOCC and its partners have distributed health kits and school kits to survivors of the tsunami in South Asia, last year’s devastating hurricanes along the U.S. Gulf Coast and to remote villages in Pakistan destroyed by an earthquake last year. The “Gift of the Heart” program is run by Church World Service, the relief, development, and refugee assistance ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations in the United States. In 2005, IOCC distributed more than 94,000 of “Gift of the Heart” kits worth an estimated $1.4 million. Founded in 1992, IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). IOCC’s relief and development programs bring urgent and sustainable assistance to people suffering from war, poverty, disease and natural disasters. Since its inception, the organization has provided more than $226 million in assistance to 30 countries around the world.
of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Includes general information, Metropolis and parish listings, Archdiocese Departmental and Institutions information and other valuable resources. Only $18, plus $5 shipping and handling. Call 212-774-0244 to purchase your copy with a credit card.
OrATOrICAL FESTIVAL’S WINNINg SPEECHES “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13). Explain the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and the sudden turn of events?
SENIOR DIVISION FIRST PLACE............. Margarita Tsorbatzoglou Sometimes things are not what they appear to be. Sometimes life is like the warning on a rear view mirror: “Objects may be closer than they appear.” Sometimes we think we see what is going on before our eyes when in actuality something else is occurring. In short, sometimes life is a paradox. Palm Sunday is a day of paradox and irony. It is a day of contradictions of both ecstasy and agony of crowds of people hoping against hope and crying out: “Hosanna Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13) But then all too soon the sounds of “Hosanna” fade away and give voice to the other chilling, different cry of “crucify him…” The time for Passover was approaching and the Jews were coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast. They heard that the Messiah the Savior, the one who could resurrect the dead, was coming to their great city and they were all thrilled at this prospect. Thus, in fulfillment of the Prophesies of the Old Testament, he entered Jerusalem, the city of the King, riding on the back of a donkey. The prophesy in Zechariah 9:9 states that the king will come, “lowly and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” It is upon this humble mount that Jesus makes his entry into the holy city. As the jubilant crowds welcomed Christ into the City, they waved palm branches, a symbol of victory and rejoicing. Jesus came into Jerusalem in an apparent moment of triumph. The crowds shout “Hosanna!”- save us son of David. Crucifixion would appear to be the most far away thought in their minds. But just as the statement on the rear view mirror, the situation changed very quickly. The Jewish people shouting “Hosanna” had lived a long history in suffering, seeking peace. They desired this peace, but their vision was to achieve it through political independence. They were looking for a king who would redeem Israel not from its sins but from its Roman oppressors. The people of Jerusalem expected a lion but received a lamb. They were expecting a king of war yet he came as the King of Peace. They were expecting a
king who would lead the people to rebellion, and yet he taught them obedience to God. They wanted someone to look up to, and yet he lowered his head and let them spit on him, whip him, beat him, and kill him. Jesus is indeed aware of the contradictory complexities of the world in which he lives, as He is aware of the contradictory complexities of OUR world; a world where compassion is bought with conformity, where honesty shocks and deceit is the norm, a world where bombs are dropped for peace, where daily devotionals are stock reports and not scripture, a world where even religion is used to manipulate and murder. Ours is a world of Paradox: a Palm Sunday world. The meek and humble entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem was a symbol of peace and humility. Peace and humility as well as other vital truths are what Jesus emphasizes in His farewell discourse to his disciples. He spoke to them of knowing God’s gifts of peace and joy. He taught them about the importance of living in community and of loving one another. He exhorted them to depend upon him for life, like a branch drawing from a vine. He taught them about the relationship between grief and joy, suffering and glory… (John 16:20-22) Seeing the pattern of grief and joy in Jesus own life enables us to follow him through grief, discouragement, suffering. “In the world you will have trouble,” Jesus promises, “But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) Palm Sunday is Christ’s invitation into the subservience of God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom does not lie at some point or place in the distant future. In the words of the Scripture, the kingdom of God is not only at hand. (Mt: 3:2; 4:17) it is within us. (Luke 17:21) Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps it is time for all of us to look into that rear view mirror and realize that life in God’s kingdom is indeed closer than it appears to be. Margaret is a 10th grader and a member of St. Basil the Great Church in Houston.
St. George in Oklahoma City
“Blessed are You our God, Who has revealed the fisherman as most wise… through them you drew the world into Your net.” This is what we hear in the Troparion chanted on Pentecost. Talk about the events that preceded and followed Pentecost.
JUNIOR DIVISION FIRST PLACE............. Megan Dolan Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth: come and abide in us, cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One. As I read through the accounts of the Pentecost in the Orthodox Study Bible, I saw the notes at the bottom of the page, “Pentecost so transcends man’s understanding that human language cannot describe this experience, but only point to it.” Imagine for a moment, the lives of the apostles. They witnessed miracles. They were present at the time of Christ’s betrayal and aware of His crucifixion. They watched the risen Christ walk the earth for forty days, still performing miracles. They witnessed the ascension of our Lord, fully revealing Christ’s divine nature and man’s access into the kingdom of Heaven. Acts 1:12-14 states “Then they returned to Jerusalem…and went into the upper room…[and] all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” In Introducing the Orthodox Church by Fr. Anthony Coniaris we read, “On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles as they were praying. Prayer was the key that unlocked the door to the Holy Spirit.” This event marks the birth of the church. It was because of this prayerful congregation, that the Holy Spirit blessed the Apostles’ lives. Therefore, Pentecost is not something that occurred 2000 years ago, it is something that occurs, that we experience and are a part of every Sunday. During the consecration of the Holy Gifts, we are gathered together in one accord with prayer and supplication and therefore experience a Pentecost, and leave with the wisdom and the inspirational power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:3-4 says, “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and
Megan is a member of St. Sophia Church in San Antonio.
Who am I now that I am old and retired? Not too long ago I knew who I was. I was the CEO, the executive secretary, the trial lawyer, the teacher -- the parish proistamenos. Throughout my career, my fellow workers and associates knew what to expect from me. I had a certain status that identified me. by Fr. Nicholas L. Vieron-Class of 1947
The Parish Profile photo in our last issue (May 2006, p.19) was incorrect. It showed St. george Church in Hyannis, Mass. The correct photo above shows St. george Church in Oklahoma City.
one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.” As the Apostle Peter begins to speak to the Jewish people from different lands, they can all understand him. That would be like you hearing me in Greek, and you hearing me in Spanish at the same time. He explains that the Holy Spirit has come as a fulfillment of the prophet Joel’s words, and that Jesus Christ, the one recently crucified, is truly the Messiah. Being now the Church, the Apostles baptized over 3,000 souls…in one day. Shouldn’t we react this same way, when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on Sundays; with joy and with the eagerness of sharing God’s Word? T. Jones once said, “Men do with opportunities as children do at the seashore; they fill their little hands with sand and then let the grains fall through one by one, until they are all gone.” At the beach, I loved to build sand castles. When you do reach out to someone, you are adding a grain of sand to a castle that cannot be washed away by the tide. You are guiding a soul to the kingdom of heaven. Earlier this year, I found out that a girl in my science class deliberately took a large amount of medication. I had avoided because of her overbearing personality, and I found that I was disappointed with myself for not making that first move. Now I try to reach out to her through kindness, and prayer: Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, ever present and filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life: come and abide in us, cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One.
Now, however, things have changed. I have retired and someone else has my job, my title, my office. Someone else is being sought out for the advice I used to give. I am now sitting on the sidelines watching rather than running a business, a parish. I am no longer needed at the office, at meetings, in the church office. Who am I? Let me tell you who I am. I am the mirror of what has been - the voice of our cultures past. I am the echo of a song that has been sung, the spirit and the soul of today's sacred values. You and I are tradition. Today's people are born of us. Today's stories have come from us. Today's ideals have been lived by us. Today's future has been created by us.
We are the bridge over which humanity must walk on its journey to tomorrow. Who am I now that I am old and retired? I am a grateful and happy person! As retired priests we are further blessed! The June 12, 2006, issue of U.S.News & World Report included an article on “Seven Reasons NOT to retire. Why continuing to work can improve your health, mental sharpness - even your marriage.” As old retired priests we are especially blessed because, health permitting, we are still able to enjoy retirement AND doing the things we were ordained for -celebrating sacred services and preaching. We also humbly realize that because of sacrifices we made a long time ago, our Church and our fellow younger Brothers in Christ enjoy a more comfortable life. We are aware, as in the words of Matrozos, “If beggars like me had not shed their blood, captains such as you would not be wearing crowns.” However, we retirees cannot imagine anyone more blessed than we have been during our active ministry, and even now in retirement. We say this not boastfully, but gratefully!
For the Orthodox Family... For the Prayers of Parents Make Firm the Foundation of Households
The prayers and hymns of the Orthodox Church are ancient and revered, but also replete with references from the Scriptures and the historical life of the Church. by Phyllis Meshel Onest,M.Div.
Let’s take a closer look at the Marriage Service, particularly the second prayer before the crowning of the Bride and Groom. After the celebrant/priest speaks their names, he asks the Lord to bless the couple in ways He did for very special people. For example he asks that they be: Blessed as Abraham and Sara, Joachim and Anna, and Zacharias and Elizabeth; Preserved like Noah in the Ark and Jonah in the sea beast; allowed to experience Joy like St. Helena when she found the Cross of Christ; and Remembered and Crowned like the 40 Holy Martyrs. The prayer continues -- “Remember also, Lord our God, the parents who have brought them up, for the prayers of parents make firm the foundations of households.” It amazed me that in the middle of this prayer, the Church acknowledges the power of the parents’ prayers. Looking at this from a different perspective, the Church hopes that the parents are praying for their children. This same prayer includes another great blessing for the couple. The celebrant offers prayers for their children and grandchildren, asking that they fill their parents’ home with great joy —“that they may see their children’s children, … may they shine like beacons in heaven.” Think about it, before we were born, before we were conceived, prayers have been said for us. Getting back to parents’ prayers for children, when do they start? It may begin with asking the intercession of St. Anna, the mother of the Theotokos, or
the Lord Himself for a child because of difficulty conceiving. Once that happens, think about how many different prayers expectant parents can pray. First, they can offer prayers of thanksgiving to God, the Giver of Life. Then, throughout the pregnancy it is appropriate and good to light candles and offer prayers for the physical well being of the mother and the health and safe delivery of the unborn child. A very important part of our spiritual life as Orthodox Christians is receiving the Eucharist. As preparation for their new role as parents, the couple can receive this together if they are both Orthodox Christians, or singularly if only one is Orthodox. They both can come to Liturgy to pray. There is no doubt that the prayers for our children will change over the years,
but regardless of how old we are, we need to ask our Lord: • to help us be the best parents and spouses we can be. • to guide and protect our family. • to guide and protect our children’s friends and their enemies. • to give our children the strength to ward off temptation. While they are in school, we need to ask our Lord to grant our children’s teachers love, patience and kindness. As Orthodox Christians, we can call upon the children’s Patron Saints to watch over, guide and protect them, as well. We can be Informed Parents by keeping current about the physical, emotional and spiritual development, plus the social concerns (media, morals, heroes, music, etc.) of children by reading reliable information. Our awareness will guide our parenting and direct the concerns of our prayers. Developing and then nurturing open and natural communication with our children is of utmost concern. We need God’s guidance to nurture these relationships, and depending on the ages of our children, the wisdom to be a good listener without giving our opinion, to ask before offering an opinion, to offer an opinion when asked, and to say the appropriate words. An active liturgical life can help us develop the strength we need. Son and Daughters-in-Law - When do parents begin thinking about their children getting married? What about our future sons or daughters-in-law? Is there anything we can do? Four concerns come to mind as the mother of daughters. 1. Will their husbands be men of Faith? 2. Will their young husbands have learned how to love their future wives? 3. Will they lovingly accept my daugh-
ters' shortcomings? 4. Will they agree to "work out" the inevitable problems or will they quickly “give up”? Before my daughters were teenagers and dating, a friend with sons of similar age shared that she had begun praying for her future daughters-in-law. This is something we all can do. I began to pray to the Lord to protect and guide my future sons-in-law as they mature and become the faithful and responsible men who will love and complement my daughters. I added praying for “boyfriends,” too, since these young men would be in their lives (and mine) along the way. We all hope that our children become mature, understanding and loving adults. We want them prepared for the responsibilities as well as the joys of marriage. We can help in two ways. We can pray, asking the Lord to guide them and us and lest we forget, we need to be good examples. Even though marriages in the Orthodox Church are not exempt from difficulties, separations and divorces, we Orthodox Christians continue to teach that God gave marriage between a man and a woman as a gift to humanity, and Jesus blessed marriage at the wedding in Cana. Now that we know that the prayers of parents have great impact on the lives of their children’s marriage and home life, and the different prayer, if we have not started praying for our children’s (grandchildren or godchildren) future spouses, today is a good day to begin. The next time you attend a wedding, listen for this prayer in its entirety and for all the blessings that we hope God will grant the bride and groom as they begin a new household. Taken from the Orthodox Marriage Service
ANSWER TO THE WORD PUZZLE: What Is Needed for the Wedding Service?
The Voice of Philoptochos 75th Anniversary to Highlight Convention in Nashville The Ladies Philoptochos Society will observe its 75th anniversary, and the philoxenia, philotimia, and philanthropia it has shared through its vital and life-enhancing ministry, with countless numbers of recipients, over these many decades. More than 400 delegates are expected to convene at The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, in Nashville, to commemorate and celebrate 75 Years of Philanthropy and the Society’s charitable commitments and benevolent contributions to the Church and to the community at large, here and abroad. The Philoptochos banquet, the highlight of the convention, will feature honored guest speaker, Diane Negroponte, wife of John Negroponte, director of National Intelligence for the United States. Mrs. Negroponte is currently on the board of Freedom House that supports the expansion of democracy in the world and is on the Leadership Council of Habitat for Humanity’s New York City chapter. The evening will feature a musical performance by tenor and graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Nicholas Phan. Delegates also will have the opportunity to interact with each other, voice their views and share their ideas through a series of discussion groups such as: membership, social services, project bank and bylaws. Topics that include the Philoptochos organization and its community involvement and growth will be presented. Innovative approaches to the ageless gift of philanthropy will be shared in order to continue our Lord’s mission to those in need. Due to the overwhelming response
Convention planners (from left) Katherine Kotsis, Maria Stavropoulos, and Eleni Zaferes.
from delegates at the 2004 Convention, Philoptochos will offer a skills forum designed to assist and inform members of the proper procedures when undertaking responsibilities in official chapter capacities such as president, secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian. Two major demographic developments of the 20th century have converged in the 21st century: the aging of baby boomers, and the increase of life expectancy. To meet these challenges a comprehensive panel discussion will be held on “Challenges of Long Term Care in the 21st Century.” Panelists will include a geriatrician, an elder law attorney and an advocate for senior citizens.
Mindful that heart disease is the number one cause of death among women, the Philoptochos will present the Women’s Wellness Fair, sponsored by the Dyani Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to raise awareness among its members. The fair will consist of individual and confidential health screenings, symposium presentations on topics including stress reduction, sensible nutrition, smoking cessation and women and heart disease. There will also be Health Fair booths related to orthopedics, nutrition, mental health, exercise, and bone density among others. At our 2004 Convention, a chapter from each Metropolis was chosen to meet
Boston Metropolis Philoptochos Plan Luncheon The Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos Board has begun planning for the Charities Benefit Luncheon, “The Age of Philoptochos” – A Tribute to Women, to be held on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Newton Marriott in Newton, Mass. Proceeds will benefit the many philanthropic ministries and projects supported by the Metropolis Philoptochos. The Ladies Philoptochos Society is currently celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the organization at the national level. Additionally, the Metropolis Philoptochos celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its formation in the year 2005. These two very significant milestones in the history of Philoptochos mark the timeless tradition of its mission of philanthropy…a mission of service to those who are in need. Over the past 50 years, there have been many women who have dedicated their time, talents and service to the Metropolis of Boston and its many ministries and institutions. Their service has also had a positive impact in their communities and the world beyond. These women are mentors whose altruism continues to promote the spirit of philanthropy. During the luncheon, we will pay tribute to the accomplishments of women by honoring extraordinary individuals who serve the Metropolis of Boston in various capacities and who exemplify the mission
(from left, seated) yiota Simoglou, Metropolitan Methodios, Diane Miminos and Janice Panagako. (standing) Philippa Condakes, Elaine Kevgas, Presbytera Evangelia Daskalakis, Maria Toffoloni, Christine Karavites, rubina Kyriakidis, and Frances Levas.
of Philoptochos. The entire Metropolis of Boston family and friends are invited to share in this special celebration. The luncheon chairmen, Yiota Simoglou and Janice Panagako, are working together with Metropolis Philoptochos President, Diane Miminos, and members of the Metropolis Philoptochos Board to ensure an exciting and successful event. Committee members include Janice
Panagako, Philippa Condakes and Janie Economou, invitations/reservations; Frances Levas, Presbytera Evangelia Daskalakis and Bess Jack, sponsors; Elaine Kevgas, Helen Sampsonis, Philippa Condakes, Ellie Mavredakis, Esther Mitchell and Charlotte Shenas, raffle; Christine Karavites, Tina Caramanis, Kiki Feldmar and Elaine Melahouris, program book; Rubina Kyriakidis, publicity; Merope Kapetanakis, decorations; and Maria Toffoloni, financial.
the Philoptochos “Chapter Challenge.” Participants will share the results of the challenge and how each chapter lived up to it and furthered their philanthropic ministry. New chapters will be chosen for the 2006 Chapter Challenge. The Clergy Laity Congress has planned activities that will unite the delegates in fun and fellowship. Nashville is one of the South’s premier vacation destinations and was rated “The Friendliest City in America” for the second consecutive year according to Travel and Leisure Magazine. An evening at the Parthenon in Centennial Park will feature the awardwinning, multi-platinum country band “Diamond Rio,” along with authentic Greek music by “The Levendes” and a performance by Nashville’s “Palamakia Dancers.” Delegates will experience a traditional southern style barbecue at this casual, fun-filled evening celebrating our Greek heritage and the finest example of Nashville’s southern hospitality. On Wednesday evening, a Music City Dine A-Round, will be provided, where participants will be transported to downtown Nashville for the opportunity to shop, dine, experience local color and do some exploring at their leisure. Nashville Host Committee Chairmen Lisa Solon and Presbytera Sfikas have been working diligently and unceasingly to offer a week filled with genuine Southern delights and hospitality. National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas and Convention Chairmen Maria Stavropoulos, Eleni Zaferes and Katherine Kotsis look forward to welcoming you to Nashville for a convention that will be celebratory, exciting, informative, and educational.
Greetings from Nashville! The Nashville Philoptochos chapter is busy with preparations for the 75th anniversary celebration taking place during the National Clergy-Laity Conference July 15-21 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort. Local Philoptochos members are attending working meetings twice a week in preparation of the event. Chapter members said they hope Nashville will live up to two of its nicknames: Music City USA and as the “Athens of the South” and that delegates will enjoy the Southern hospitality. The Nashville chapter’s officers are: Lisa Solon, president; Tess Coutras, vice-president; Tasoula Gaddis, second vice-president; Alexandra Pappas, recording secretary; Loretta Bellos, corresponding secretary; Presbytera Stella Sfikas, treasurer; Joan Felts, advisor; board members Stephanie Davis and Candace Pyburn; and honorary board members, Vossie Bellos and Angelia Duncan for their hard work and dedication in making this a successful event. The chapter also acknowledges the efforts of all the Nashville chapter members who have given up so many of their evenings, along with Fr. Mark Arey for his unwavering support and the church secretary, Brenda Simms for her participation.
PART II – Continued from last issue
n Friday, 20 April, in the morning, appeared in the sea of Marmora, near Constantinople, four large vessels loaded with provisions for the city. Three were Genoese and one, a big transport, was Greek. The Greek captain’s name was Flantanellas. Baltoghlu dispatched immediately his fleet to attack and capture the ships. The operation seemed easy and soon the ships were surrounded by the smaller Ottoman vessels. Everyone in the city, who was not busy with the defence, rushed to the seawalls to watch the spectacle. The Sultan on horseback, his officers and a multitude of soldiers, rushed to the shore to watch the battle. by Dionysios Hatzopoulos
Excited and unable to restrain himself, screaming orders at Baltoghlu, the young Sultan rode into the shallow water. Fighting, the big ships continued pushing the smaller ones, and helped by the wind they were now close to the south-eastern corner of the city. Then the wind dropped and the current began pushing them towards the coast on which stood the Sultan and his troops. Fighting continued, with the Christian sailors hurling on the enemy crews stones, javelins and all sorts of projectiles, including Greek Fire. Eventually the four vessels came so close to each other that they became bound together, forming a floating castle. Around sunset the wind rose and the big ships, pushing their way through the mass, and the wrecks, of the enemy vessels, hailed by thousands of people who were standing on the walls, entered the Golden Horn. Next morning Baltoghlu was dismissed by the Sultan, who was so furious that he ordered the beheading of his admiral. The unlucky admiral was replaced by a favorite of Mehmed, Hamza Bey. This event convinced the Sultan and his commanders that the city had to be more tightly besieged and that the naval arm of the besieged had to be neutralized. Mehmed’s ingenious plan, formulated before the events of April 20, consisted in bringing part of his fleet into the Golden Horn. Indeed, thousands of laborers had been building, for some time, a road overland from the Bosphorus, alongside the walls of Pera, to a place called Valley of the Springs, on the shore of the Golden Horn, above Pera. On April 22 to the horror of the besieged a long procession of ships, sitting on wooden platforms were pulled by teams of oxen and men, over the road, into the port area. About seventy boats entered the Golden Horn. The leaders of the defence held immediately an emergency meeting. Various plans were discussed and it was finally decided to attempt to burn the enemy boats, which were in the Golden Horn. After a succession of postponments the attempt was carried out during the night of April 28. Betrayed by someone from Pera, it failed miserably. Hit by Ottoman guns the Christian ships suffered heavy damage. About forty sailors captured by the enemy were executed. Despite this failure the situation in the Golden Horn became, more or less, stable. Superior naval training, and better naval construction, eventually prevented Hamza’s ships from inflicting serious damage on the allied units. However, the Sultan’s idea was a military success. Indeed, in 1204 the Crusaders had assaulted the city from the sea-walls and the Greeks had not forgotten it. They feared a repetition of that assault. On the land side the bombardment
The Fall of Constantinople continued, more walls collapsed, and when night fell everyone rushed to close the gap, reinforce the stockades, build here and there. Moreover, food was wanting and the authorities did their best to distribute it equally. Worse, help was not coming. Everyone was watching and waiting for the sails of the Western ships to appear coming out of the Dardanelles. In early May a fast boat was sent out, to seek the allied fleet in the Aegean and tell its commanders to hurry. During the night of May 7 a new assault was launched against the damaged section, where Giustiniani stood. It failed again and then in the night of May 12 another came and failed. It was launched at the junction of the Blachernae wall and of the old Theodosian one. During that time mining and countermining continued. Sometimes fighting went on underground. Sometimes the tunnels collapsed and suffocated the miners. On May 23 the boat that had been sent out to locate the Christian fleet returned to the city. Its crew brought bad news. Nothing was in sight. The defenders were alone, no help was coming. The men of the crew, obeying their duty, decided to return to the doomed city. Realizing that everything was lost Constantine’s chief advisors begged him to leave the city. He could still get out and seek help. His father Manuel II had done the same in 1399, at the time of the blockade of the city by Sultan Bayazid. The Emperor refused to discuss the issue. He had already decided to stay in his capital, fight for it and perish. Meanwhile, rumors were circulating in the Ottoman camp about the Venetians finally mobilizing their fleet, or about the Hungarians preparing to cross the Danube. The siege was going on without end in sight. The Sultan’s Vizier Halil Chandarli, had strong reservations about the siege from the beginning. He was worried about western intervention and he looked upon the whole operation with anxiety. During a meeting of the Sultan’s advisors, held on May 25, the Vizir told Mehmed to raise the siege. Pursuing it might bring unknown consequences to Ottoman interests. The Sultan, also depressed because of the prolongation of the operation, finally decided to launch a grand scale final assault on the city. He was supported by younger commanders like Zaganos Pasha, a Christian converted to Islam. Halil was overruled and all present decided to continue the siege. While the artillery continued pounding the walls without interruption, preparations for the big assault, which was to take place on Tuesday 29 May, were accelerated. Material was thrown into the foss which faced the collapsed ramparts, scaling-ladders were distributed. The Magistrates of Pera were warned not to give any assistance to the besieged. The Sultan swore to distribute fairly the treasures found in the city. According to tradition the troops were free to loot and sack the city for three days. He assured his troops that success was imminent, the defenders were exhausted, some sections of the walls had collapsed. It would be a general assault, throughout the line of the land-walls, as well as in the port area. Then the troops were ordered to rest and recover their strength. In the city everyone realized that the great moment had come. During Monday, May 28, some last repairs were done on the walls and the stockades, in the collapsed sections, were reinforced. In the city, while the bells of the churches rang mournfully, citizens and soldiers
Remains of the Great Land Wall of Theodosius and the City in the background.
joined a long procession behind the holy relics brought out of the churches. Singing hymns in Greek, Italian or Catalan, Orthodox and Catholic, men, women, children, soldiers, civilians, clergy, monks and nuns, knowing that they were going to die shortly, made peace with themselves, with God and with eternity. When the procession ended the Emperor met with his commanders and the notables of the city. In a philosophical speech he told his subjects that the end of their time had come. In essence he told them that Man had to be ready to face death when he had to fight for his faith, for his country, for his family or for his sovereign. All four reasons were now present. Furthermore, his subjects, who were the descendants of Greeks and Romans, had to emulate their great ancestors. They had to fight and sacrifice themselves without fear. They had lived in a great city and they were now going to die defending it. As for himself, he was going to die fighting for his faith, for his city and for his people. He also thanked the Italian soldiers, who had not abandoned the great city in its final moments. He still believed that the garrison could repulse the enemy. They all had to be brave, proud warriors and do their duty. He thanked all present for their contribution to the defence of the city and asked them to forgive him, if he had ever treated them without kindness. Meanwhile the great church of Saint Sophia was crowded. Thousands of people were moving towards the church. Inside, Orthodox and Catholic priests were holding mass. People were singing hymns, others were openly crying, others were asking each other for forgiveness. Those who were not serving on the ramparts also went to the church, among them was seen, for a brief moment, the Emperor. People confessed and took communion. Then those who were going to fight rode or walked back to the ramparts. From the great church the Emperor rode to the Palace at Blachernae. There he asked his household to forgive him. He bade the emotionally shattered men and women farewell, left his Palace and rode away, into the night, for a last inspection of the defence positions. Then he took his battle position. The assault began after midnight, into the 29th of May 1453. Wave after wave the attackers charged. Battle cries, accompanied by the sound of drums, trumpets and fifes, filled the air. The bells of the city churches began ringing frantically. Orders, screams and the sound of trumpets shat-
tered the night. First came the irregulars, an unreliable, multinational crowd of Christians and Moslems, who were attracted by the opportunity of enriching themselves by looting the great city, the last capital of the Roman Empire. They attacked throughout the line of fortifications and they were massacred by the tough professionals, who were fighting under the orders of Giustiniani. The battle lasted two hours and the irregulars withdrew in disorder, leaving behind an unknown number of dead and wounded. Next came the Anatolian troops of Ishak Pasha. They tried to storm the stockades. They fought tenaciously, even desperately trying to break through the compact ranks of the defenders. The narrow area in which fighting went on helped the defenders. The could hack left and right with their maces and swords and shoot missiles onto the mass of attackers without having to aim. A group of attackers crashed through a gap and for a moment it seemed that they could enter the city. The were assaulted by the Emperor and his men and were soon slain. This second attack also failed. But now came the Janissaries, disciplined, professional, ruthless warriors, superbly trained, ready to die for their master, the Sultan. They assaulted the now exhausted defenders, they were pushing their way over bodies of dead and dying Moslem and Christian soldiers. With tremendous effort the Greek and Italian fighters were hitting back and continued repulsing the enemy. Then a group of enemy soldiers unexpectedly entered the city from a small sally-port called Kerkoporta, on the wall of Blachernae, where this wall joined the triple wall. Fighting broke near the small gate with the defenders trying to eliminate the intruders. It was almost day now, the first light, before sunrise, when a shot fired from a calverin hit Giustiniani. The shot pierced his breastplate and he fell on the ground. Shaken by his wound and physically exhausted, his fighting spirit collapsed. Despite the pleas of the Emperor, who was fighting nearby, not to leave his post, the Genoese commander ordered his men to take him out of the battle-field. A Gate in the inner wall was opened for the group of Genoese soldiers, who were carrying their wounded commander, to come into the city. The soldiers who were fighting near the area saw the Gate open, their comrades carrying their leader crossing into
The Fall of Constantinople page 25 the city, and they though that the defence line had been broken. They all rushed through the Gate leaving the Emperor and the Greek fighters alone between the two walls. This sudden movement did not escape the attention of the Ottoman commanders. Frantic orders were issued to the troops to concentrate their attack on the weakened position. Thousands rushed to the area. The stockade was broken. The Greeks were now squeezed by crowds of Janissaries between the stockade and the wall. More Janissaries came in and many reached the inner wall. Meanwhile more were pouring in through the Kerkoporta, where the defenders had not been able to eliminate the first intruders. Soon the first enemy flags were seen on the walls. The Emperor and his commanders were trying frantically to rally their troops and push back the enemy. It was too late. Waves of Janissaries, followed by other regular units of the Ottoman army, were crashing throught the open Gates, mixed with fleeing and slaughtered Christian soldiers. Then the Emperor, realizing that everything was lost, removed his Imperial insignia, and followed by his cousin Theophilus Palaeologus, the Castilian Don Francisco of Toledo, and John Dalmatus, all four holding their swords, charged into the sea of the enemy soldiers, hitting left and right in a final act of defiance. They were never seen again. Now thousands of Ottoman soldiers were pouring into the city. One after the other the city Gates were opened. The Ottoman flags began appearing on the walls, on the towers, on the Palace at Blachernae. Civilians in panic were rushing to the churches. Others locked themselves in their homes, some continued fighting in the streets, crowds of Greeks and foreigners were rushing towards the port area. The allied ships were still there and began collecting refugees. The Cretan soldiers and sailors, manning three towers near the entrance of the Golden Horn, were still fighting and had no intention of surrendering. At the end, the Ottoman commanders had to agree to a truce and let them sail away, carrying their arms. The excesses which followed, druing the early hours of the Ottoman victory, are described in detail by eyewitnesses. They were, and unfortunately still are, a common practice, almost a ritual, among all armies capturing enemy strongholds and territory after a prolonged and violent struggle. Thus, bands of soldiers began now looting. Doors were broken, private homes were looted, their tenants were massacred. Shops in the city markets were looted. Monasteries and Convents were broken in. Their tenants were killed, nuns were raped, many, to avoid dishonor, killed themselves. Killing, raping, looting, burning, enslaving, went on and on according to tradition. The troops had to satisfy themselves. The great doors of Saint Sophia were forced open, and crowds of angry soldiers came in and fell upon the unfortunate worshippers. Pillaging and killing in the holy place went on for hours. Similar was the fate of worshippers in most churches in the city. Everything that could be taken from the splendid buildings was taken by the new masters of the Imperial capital. Icons were destroyed, precious manuscripts were lost forever. Thousands of civilians were enslaved, soldiers fought over young boys and young women.
Death and enslavement did not distinguish among social classes. Nobles and peasants were treated with equal ruthlessness. In some distant neighborhoods, especially near the sea walls in the sea of Marmora, such as Psamathia, but also in the Golden Horn at Phanar and Petrion, where local fishermen opened the Gates, while the enemy soldiers were pouring into the city from the land Gates, local magistrates negotiated successfully their surrender to Hamza Bey’s officers. Their act saved the lives of their fellow citizens. Furthermore their churches were not desecrated. Meanwhile, the crews of the Ottoman fleet abandoned their ships to rush into the city. They were worried that the land army was going to take everything. The collapse of discipline gave the Christian ships time to sail out of the Golden Horn. Venetian, Genoese and Greek ships, loaded with refugees, some of them having reached the ships swimming from the city, sailed away to freedom. On one of the Genoese vessels was Giustiniani. He was taken from the boat at Chios where he died, from his wound, a few days later. The Sultan, with his top commanders and his guard of Janissaries, entered the city in the afternoon of the first day of occupation. Constantinople was finally his and he intended to make it the capital of his mighty Empire. He toured the ruined city. He visited Saint Sophia which he ordered to be turned into a mosque. He also ordered an end to the killing. What he saw was desolation, destruction, death in the streets, ruins, desecrated churches. It was too much. It is said that, as he rode through the streets of the former capital of the Christian Roman Empire, the city of Constantine, moved to tears he murmured: “What a city we have given over to plunder and destruction”.
The present narrative describing the siege and fall of Constantinople, in 1453, is based entirely on accounts written by eyewitnesses (people who were in the city during the events) as well as on modern international scholarship. In particular see: (1) Nicolo Barbaro, “Diary of the Siege of Constantinople, 1453”, translated from the Italian by J.R. Jones, an ExpositionUniversity Book, Exposition Press, New York, 1969. The Venetian surgeon Nicolo Barbaro was present in the city throughout the siege and witnessed the events described by him in his diary. (2) Among recent studies, the basic reference on the subject is Sir Steven Runciman’s, “The Fall Constantinople, 1453”, Cambridge University Press, 1969. This work, by the British Historian, a Byzantine studies scholar, is based on an exhaustive study and analysis of existing sourse material.
(1) Babinger, F., “Mahomet II le Conquerant et son Temps, 1432-1481”, translated from the German by H.E. del Medico, Paris, 1954. (2) Pears ,E., “The Destruction of the Greek Empire and the story of the Capture of Constantinople” by the Turks”, London, 1903. (3) Schlumberger, G., Le siege, la prise et la sac de Constantionple en 1453”, Paris, 1926. (4) Walter, G., La ruine de Byzance”, Paris, 1958. Dionysios Hatzopoulos is professor of Classical and Byzantine Studies, and chairman of Hellenic Studies Center at Dawson College, Montreal, and Lecturer at the Department of History at Universite de Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
In Memoriam Rev. Gerasimos P. Annas
Fr. Philip Gialopsos
Fr. George Peter Annas, 57, on medical leave since 1994, died on May 6 He was born June 10, 1949 and attended St. Joseph Academy and the R.B. Hunt School while growing up in St. Augustine. Graduating from high school he attended St. Joseph College in Jensen Beach, Fla., before transferring to Hellenic College in Brookline, Mass. Experiencing the call to the Holy Priesthood, George earned a bachelor of arts in Byzantine Studies from Hellenic College in 1975 and entered Holy Cross School of Theology. Having spent time to do study and research in Athens, Greece, George returned to graduate from Holy Cross in 1977 with a Master of Divinity degree. Dedicating his life to our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, George chose the path of celibacy and was ordained to the Holy Diaconate at the Church of St. John the Theologian in Jacksonville Fla., on Aug. 14, 1977 by Bishop Philotheos of Meloa. Named after St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia, Fr. Gerasimos constantly beseeched his patron saint to guide him to serve our Holy Church with love, compassion and patience. On Sept. 11, 1977, Bishop Timothy of Rodostolon ordained Fr. Gerasimos to the Holy Priesthood at Assumption Church in Chicago, where he was assigned as the second priest. In Chicago Fr. Gerasimos served the Church with great distinction. He is still fondly remembered for his pastoral wisdom and empathy in serving the people of God. On Feb. 22. 1981 Bishop Iakovos of Chicago elevated Fr. Gerasimos to the rank of Archimandrite and assigned him as the Proistamenos of Annunciation Church in Decatur, Ill. From March 1, 1981 to Jan. 4, 1986, Fr. Gerasimos was successful in bringing in new life to the parish. He reactivated many programs, established the parish’s first monthly bulletin and renovated the Holy Altar and vestry. Assigned to Assumption Church in Town & Country, Mo. on Jan. 5, 1986, Fr. Gerasimos was successful in guiding the parish to build a new temple to the glory of God. Choosing the basilica design, he studied diligently so that the ecclesiastical appointments would reflect the finest aspects of our Christian Orthodox Tradition. From the wood carved iconostasion to its iconography, he made sure that the Byzantine tradition was upheld. Throughout his studies and in his priesthood Fr. Gerasimos was a student of Byzantine history, architecture and iconography. A collector of relics and antique icons, he admired and venerated the saints with great fervor and love. Fr. Gerasimos is fondly remembered for his wisdom and compassion. As a dedicated spiritual father he was well known for comforting families during difficult times. It was not unusual for him to be found in the hospital, sitting and counseling a family all hours of the night. In June 1994, Fr. Gerasimos took a medical leave from active ministry. Even during this time he would communicate with his spiritual children and friends and offer his wise counsel. His death came as a shock to family and friends. He was interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in St. Augustine on May 15. May his memory be eternal!
The Rev. Philip G. Gialopsos, 80, a former pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Lowell, who was an active member in civic and religious organization, died April 7 at his home with his family by his side. He was born in New York City on April 10, 1925, son of the late George and Paraskeve (Kontaxis) Gialopsos. He received his high school education in Greece. Upon returning to the United States, he entered the Holy Cross Theological School (then in Pomfret, Conn.) for a year. After receiving his diploma in theology from the Holy Cross in 1951, he was assigned to Holy Trinity Church in New Orleans and served as Greek school teacher, cantor, choir director and church secretary, while also pursuing studies at Tulane University. After his marriage to Constance (Connie) Chichipas on Aug. 17, 1952, he was ordained a deacon on Oct. 17, 1952 at St. Eleftherios Church in New York City by Bishop Demetrios of Olympos and as a priest in the same church by Archbishop Michael on Dec. 14, 1952. While in New York, he continued his studies at the General Theological Seminary. He was instrumental in building the parochial school of St. Eleftherios and served in many diverse activities at the Archdiocese. He was a member of the council that purchased property to build St. Michael’s Home for the Aged in New York. In 1957, he was assigned to the Annunciation Church in Endicott, N.Y., serving the faithful there three times a month and once a month in either Elmira or Ithaca. He was assigned to Holy Trinity Church in Lowell in 1956. While there, Fr. Philip also served as a teacher, counselor and principal of Hellenic American Academy. He was an active participant in the numerous Lowell civic programs, Lowell active committees, Model Cities Programs, AMNO board and was a member of the American Red Cross Advisory Board. He received numerous awards for his associations with civic and religious organizations. He also received the key to Lowell. When he retired from Holy Trinity in 1990, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston assigned him as superintendent of the Greek schools and preacher of the religious radio program of the Metropolis, The Voice of Orthodoxy. He also served as a priest at Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Dracut. He has been honored with the ecclesiastical titles of “Spiritual Father” by the late Archbishop Michael, “Oikonomos” and Ieromnemon” by the late Archbishop Iakovos, and “Protopresbyter” by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios. He was the author of numerous articles, poems and six books. For more than 50 years, he was a correspondent of the daily Greek newspapers of New York, The Atlantis and The National Herald. Besides his wife, he is survived by two daughters and a son-in-law, Mary and Dr. Philip Kotsios, and Cynthia Kumar, all of Chelmsford; two sons and a daughter-inlaw, George and Jenny (Hayden) Gialopsos of Windsor, Conn., and Vasilios Gialopsos of Tewksbury; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; a sister, Toula Caras, of Greece; and many cousins, nephews, and nieces. Funeral services took place April 10, which would have been his 81st birthday, with Metropolitan Methodios of Boston officiating and the participation of other priests.
What’s Up Drawing the World into your Net? YOUTH MINISTRY
It seems to be very important for young people today to draw the attention of others onto their web pages, blogs, and “personal” Internet space. But do we as Christians recognize the call to draw others into the Christian faith? Are teens really thinking about this calling? Are you prepared for this responsibility as a young Christian? by Ary Christoﬁdis, Ph.D.
I continue to see pairs of young Mormon men walk house to house as they fulfill their mission for their church. Jehovah Witnesses still come to my house at least twice a year (not yet enlightened to Orthodoxy, much to my dismay!). What do our young people need in order to become so interested in promoting their faith? What truly do teens need? In working with so many troubled teenagers over the last 15 years, I confidently say that overall and most importantly, teens are looking for attention, guidance, and approval. Most definitely, they seek these this from their parents and peers. However, in seeking it, they often try to draw it through negative and harmful behaviors. A dangerous explosion of teens spending too much time on the Internet, watching TV, and gaming is leaving some lagging behind in basic social skills and creativity. Often unsupervised, much time is
taken viewing violent, provocative images without being able to understand what lasting effect it can have on one's development. Early exposure to material that is unfit for even adults can lead to an increase in anxiety symptoms for teens. Thus there can be an interruption in the normal developmental processes, as teens must then deal with the added emotional consequences of their behavior. At present, studies show that teens are more self-centered than is normal for their developmental age. It is typical for teenagers to be more self-absorbed and begin to exercise their maturing brain as the explore their world and how it may satisfy their curiosity. With most teens spending the majority of their waking hours away from the influences of their parents and the Church, many certainly are not being prepared to be fishers of men and women for Christ. We are called to draw people into Christ’s holy net as understood in the Troparion for the Holy Feast of Pentecost: “ Blessed are You, O Christ our God, who has revealed the fishermen as most wise, having sent upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them You have fished the universe, O Lover of Mankind, glory to You.” With Pentecost, we are reminded about our Church’s beginnings as the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles to guide them in their mission to preach
As high school seniors across the country make the difficult (but fun) transition from the comforts of home to freedom of college, many will join Facebook, one of today’s most popular websites for teens. by Abraham Sisson
Following in the tradition of social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook allows college and high school students to create online profiles featuring their pictures, class schedules, and contact information. You can choose to expand your profile by including personal information too, like your favorite movies, books, and music. What makes Facebook so interesting and appealing is that everything put on the site is cross-indexed, so students can use the search tool to compare their profile to the profile of others. Students can also join groups, some serious, and some incredibly not, that provide forums for students with something in common. To help students find others with similar interests, Facebook tells you when two
Challenge is the Youth & Young Adult Ministries supplement to the Orthodox Observer. Articles reﬂect the opinion of the writers. Write to: Youth & Young Adult Ministries, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 83 St. Basil Rd., Garrison, New York 10524 or email: youthofﬁce@goarch.org
groups share many of the same members. For example, the main page for the Greek Pride group lets you know that many of its members are also in a group called My Name Gets Mispronounced A Lot. Because so many students use the site to organize parties, post embarrassing pictures of their friends, or for other mischievous purposes, Facebook has developed something of a negative reputation among parents and school officials. But for Orthodox Christians looking to nurture and grow their faith during college, Facebook can be a great way to break into supportive social circles and meet like-minded friends. Search Facebook to see if your school has an OCF group, or browse the profiles of people in your classes to see if any of them seem like they’re worth getting to know. The friends you make in the first few weeks of college tend to stick. So, unless you want to spend the next four years hanging out with your freshman roommate, your chem. lab partner, and that strange guy who was following you around at orientation, don’t wait for people to approach you. Facebook can also be used as a way to help others. Last year when I was an incoming freshman, someone at my school saw on my profile that I was Greek Orthodox, and put me on the e-mail listserve for our school’s Hellenic Club, which I hadn’t even known existed. If there isn’t an Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Hellenic Club, or similar organization at your school, you can
the Good News. The Church continues this mission and prepares her members to be “fishers” of men and women in today’s world. However, what we are seeing instead is a generation of teens being drawn into the “worldly” net of hedonism (pursuit or devotion to pleasure). Just look at the changes in your own parish. It is more likely that the teens in your church participate in public schoolbased extra curricular activities before church-based programs. Let's consider the numbers of teens and young adults participating in church services, and even programs. What I hear from my seminary schoolmates who are now parish priests is not very encouraging. The numbers of active young participants are very low compared to the actual number of families that are registered stewards of their churches. Ask your own priest how many more young people are registered in the office than are actually attending the services and programs! Remember, though, that the Church is not focused on generating the numbers, but on generating the faithful. The Church is looking for each of us to be no different than the Apostles. Isn’t it ironic that during the time of Holy Pentecost, the Disciples of Christ were seen as acting out? They were in defiance
of the Jewish leaders in order to draw people’s attention. Today our culture has put us in a similar position. Instead of the threat of imprisonment and death as Peter and Paul faced, all of us face the challenge of a different martyrdom for Christ, a psychological martyrdom. Instead of suffering a physical death for witnessing faith in Christ, we face a different sort of death: the rejection of our own culture, colleagues, peers, friends, and even family. This easily happens when we stand up for the morals and values espoused by our Orthodox Christian faith. Here are simple examples to think about: Do you hesitate to do your cross and pray at the lunch table when you are eating with non-Orthodox friends? Do you witness Christ to people around you, whether or not you use words? When will we stop feeling intimidated by our “modern” culture? When will we defend what we believe is the true faith and true life in Christ? How many of us really are prepared and willing to proclaim our love and faith in Jesus Christ to our neighbor? I pray Christ gives us all what we needthe strength and wisdom to be fishers of men and women – true missionaries in our own neighborhoods. Dr. Christofidis is a graduate of Hellenic College and holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. He founded the Orthodox Christian Counseling Institute in Chicago in 2004, where he sees families, couples, teens and individuals for outpatient psychotherapy. In addition, he has led Family Synaxis weekend retreat workshops in the Metropolis of Chicago, where he and his family attend St. Demetrios Church.
Did You Know…
t was Christ who characterized His followers as “Fishers of Men” (Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17). He made them a living parable, to be easily understood in their role. Quite simply, the Good News of Christ is the net, followers of Christ are fishermen, and anyone who hears the message is like fish. Now, whether of not followers become preachers, or hearers become believers, the Holy Spirit is at work! By leading faithful lives and transforming ourselves according to Christ, we will be good fishers of men wherever we find ourselves! Think like a fisherman! Prepare your vessel: build yourself in Christ. Gather tools and supplies that help keep you safe and on the radar screen: seek help through praying, fasting, almsgiving, and a full life in the Church. Look above, watching the skies for indicating signals that casting the net will be fruitful: trust God’s guidance to speak His name. Use good bait: rely on Scripture and the truths revealed in the Church. Mend and tend your nets: confess your faith and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of the Church. Simply refuse to return empty: be a true believer.
use Facebook to help start one. Obviously, as with any such site, privacy and safety are concerns, but most students are well informed enough to keep themselves out of bad situations. With both positive and negative aspects, Facebook, like college itself, is what you make of it. Abraham Sisson just completed his sophomore year at the George Washington University in Washington, where he is majoring in Political Communication. His home parish is Assumption in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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PARISH PROFILE page 19 The parish history notes that the first Greek woman to arrive in Minneapolis was Irene A. Vlachandrea, in 1895. These immigrants came to build the railroads, including the Great Northern. In the winter they would stay in the “water city,” as Minneapolis was known. The culture was heavily Scandinavian and German, along with American Indian. Minneapolis takes its name from the Sioux Indian word for water, “minne,” and the Greek word for city. The area known for its many lakes and Minneapolis is nicknamed the “City of Lakes.” The parish complex is located next to a major lake in the southwest part of the city, Lake Calhoun. “We’re across the street from the lake,” said Fr. Pappas. “It looks like your more in the country, not the city.” As has been the story of early Greek immigration throughout the country, the early arrivals intended to work to send money home to support their families and provide dowries for their sisters and daughters. And they ended up staying. By 1915, they established nearly 110 business, mostly confectionary stores and restaurants and coffee shops along with bowling alleys, shoeshine parlors, billiard parlors, and other thriving businesses. An early tradition of the fledgling community was the annual picnic. In 1901, participants began to compile a “Picnic Book” that later became an annual yearbook and social register of the community. Since these picnics took place on or near Aug. 15, the feast day of the “Kimisis (Dormition) of the Theotokos, the community first adopted the name of Kimisis, but took its English name, St. Mary’s, after a Russian Orthodox Church already in existence that began as a Uniate church. The Russian priest would occasionally be
called to hold services at St. Mary’s. Most of the time, priests from Chicago would come at regular intervals to hold services and perform sacraments. The first services were held in a union hall in downtown Minneapolis. The community incorporated in 1905 and built its first church in 1906 at a cost of $13,000. It measured only 50 feet by 23 feet, and modeled after the first church in New Orleans. It was located on land now part of the University of Minnesota and near the interurban car lines for easy accessibility from St. Paul. The first resident priest was Fr. Kyrillos Vafiakakis. The church served the community for only a short time. The university needed more land to expand and purchased the church and land for $17,000 in 1908. By 1909, the community moved to another part of the city and work began to build a second, more Byzantine-style church. It was built to accommodate about 500 parishioners. With the outbreak of the Balkan Wars nearly 300 men in the community went to fight for Greece after being stirred by the parish’s fourth priest, Fr. Averkios Demakopoulos. By 1915 the Greek population in the city was about 3,000. Following World War I, the community became caught up in the controversial politics in Greece between Royalists and Venizelists. The parish split in 1922, with Royalist sympathizers purchasing a former Protestant church and renaming it St. George. They were led by a Royalist priest, Fr. Josephides, and parish President Paraskevas Kokkinopoulos. The church was visited by Prince Paul (the future king) of Greece in 1926. The women of the St. Mary’s were not swayed by the politics and they organized a club, “Elpida,” to reunite the two factions, which was accomplished in 1931. The two groups again became one parish and the second church, St. George, served to accommodate overflow crowds on major holidays such as Holy Week. Other
community developments included the cooperative effort by the Minneapolis and St. Paul Greeks in 1925 to establish the Demosthenes Chapter of AHEPA, and a parochial school and Greek theater. The second generation came of age in the 1930s and 40s and, following World War II, there was a marked shift toward more Americanization. The trend went into high gear with the return of “energetic, young” war veterans nicknamed the “The Young Turks,” according to the parish history. The years 1947 and 1948 brought significant developments, including the first Sunday School and Greek school PTA’s, the delivery of an English sermon once a month by Fr. Constantine Pappas, and the founding of the first parish newsletter and bulletin, ironically titled “The National Herald.” Its editor was a young man, Ernest Villas, who went on to eventually become the director of the Archdiocese Department of Religious Education under Archbishop Iakovos. Mr. Villas, who was a prominent musician at the University of Minnesota and leader of the marching band, was also a founder of the Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA), under Archbishop Michael. Other native sons who went on to national prominence were Dr. Deno J. Geanakoplos, who became an internationally known scholar and taught Byzantine and Italian Renaissance history and Orthodox Church history at Yale University; Dr. Harry Boosalis, a professor of theology at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary in Pennsylvania; and the Rev. James Kordaris, director of the Archdiocese Department of Outreach and Evangelism. As a layman, Fr. Kordaris had served as parish council president and led a Bible study group when Fr. Pappas was assigned to the community. Another significant event in 1948 that profoundly affected the community to the
present day was the arrival of a Holy Cross Seminary graduate, sub-Deacon Anthony M. Coniaris.
The Coniaris era
Fr. Coniaris has served the parish for 58 years, devoting his entire ministry to St. Mary’s, even during his “retirement.” “Many of the programs were founded by him,” said Fr. Pappas. “He was a pioneer in stewardship, missions, preaching and Bible studies.” In the early 1950s, Fr. Coniaris became the full-time priest until his “official” retirement in 1992. However, he continues to lead the Saturday morning Bible studies with more than 40 participants each week, preaches on six to eight Sundays a year, hears confessions, leads a grief support and growth group for those who have lost loved ones or their jobs, and maintains an office at the parish. In the mid-1960s he founded Light and Life Publishing Co., which has become one of the three largest publishers and distributors of Orthodox literature in the Englishspeaking world; the other two being Holy Cross Press and St. Vladimir’s Press. Fr. Coniaris also is one of the most published Orthodox writers in the United States, with over 60 titles to his credit. Under Fr. Coniaris, the community’s third church, its present spiritual home, was built across the street from Lake Calhoun in 1961. The community center and education wing were added a few years later. Built at a cost of more than $1 million, the church has won several architectural awards. After Fr. Coniaris retired, Fr. Dan Christopulos served as pastor for a few years before Fr. Pappas’ arrival. At the end of July, Fr. Pappas will be leaving the parish to teach at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y., and will serve the Archdiocese District as a substitute priest. —Compiled by Jim Golding
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Metropolis of Chicago Holds 25th Junior Olympics CHICAGO – Nearly 2,200 young people ages 7-18 from 34 parishes participated in the 25th anniversary Metropolis of Chicago Junior Olympics May 26-28. They represented parishes in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Palos Hills, Ill. again served as host community, with more than 150 volunteers assisting. Opening ceremonies were held May 27 as all 34 parish teams entered the field proudly holding their colors and sharing in the spirit of Christian fellowship and competition. Metropolitan Iakovos opened the Olympics with prayer and his blessings. The ceremonies featuring many of the traditions of the ancient Olympic games concluded by the lighting of the torch saluted by fireworks and music and balloons. This year the ceremonial torch was dropped from the sky by the flyer of a power chute. Participants competed in several different sports on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, tennis, softball, track and field, 10K run, chess, checkers, bowling, table tennis and more. Approximately nine hundred medals were awarded. After the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, the names of four $500 Olympic scholarship winners were announced: James Elias Georgantas and Gerald Polykandriotis, both of All Saints Church in Joliet, Ill., Rania Kaoukis of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church, Merrillville, Ind., and Paul Koukouvanis of St. Demetrios Church, Chicago. Planning for the 26th Junior Olympics will begin in early 2007. For more information about the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago Junior Olympics, contact Father Nicholas Jonas or Tom De Medeiros at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church at (708) 974-3400 or Chris Avramopoulos at the Metropolis of Chicago Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at (773) 626-5400.
Junior Olympics Chairman Fr. Nicholas Jonas, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, and torch runners Chrysa Jonas and Cali Pappas.
TOM LOUKAS (below) of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church connects with the softball. Long jump participant (below right) from Holy Trinity parish in Chicago.
Greek Landing Weekend a Huge Success ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.–The nation's oldest city served as the backdrop for the celebration of Greek Landing Day. Clergy, civic dignitaries, Orthodox faithful and Philhellenes gathered the weekend of June 23-25 to commemorate the landing of the 500 Greek pilgrims who set forth from their homeland in quest of freedom and a self-determined future at the Avero House at 41 St. George St., site of St Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine. The V. Rev Nicholas T Graff, along with St Augustine Mayor George Gardner and Greek Consul General Andreas Psyaharis, welcomed the public at an evening reception in the Constantine Sisters Courtyard at the Shrine. Those attending included Archons Christos Daphnides and Basilios Theodosakis, who presented the first St. Photios Lecture Series: “The Asia Minor Events of 1922.” Rare historical photographs of the events leading up to the massacres at Smyrna, Turkey were displayed in the Flagler Room at Flagler College. More than 75 people attended the lecture. Archons Daphnides and Theodosakis gave a moving one-hour presentation with Fr. Graff concluding the evening with prayers for the repose of the souls of those
who perished during these tragic events. Chaired by Archon Nicholas J. Furris and the Shrine associate director, Polly Hillier, this is the first of many lectures the St. Photios board is planning to promote Orthodoxy and Hellenism. A memorial service and proclamation presentation by the mayor took place Saturday morning in the St Photios Chapel.
Fr. Graff introduced attending dignitaries, trustees, benefactors and the Shrine godparents, Dr. and Mrs. George Croffead of Charleston, S.C. A trustees meeting followed with various committee reports presented. The Shrine's grand benefactor, Charles Masterpolis of Tybee Island, Ga. presented Fr. Graff with the second installment of his $1 million endowment gift to the Archbishop Iakovos Endowment Fund. Mr. and Mrs. Gary Peterson chaired an all-day cultural event on Saturday on St. George Street. The Grecian Strings of Orlando and the Folk Dancers of St Demetrios Church of Daytona Beach provided an afternoon of joyful music and dancing. Mrs. William Cakmis of St John the Divine Church in Jacksonville chaired a successful food booth where spinach pies, stuffed grape leaves, cheese triangles and traditional Greek pastries offered a sampling of ethnic tastes to over 3,000 visitors. More than 100 people gathered on June 25 in the St. Photios Chapel for matins and Divine Liturgy. Shrine chaplain Fr. Nikitas Theodosion celebrated the services. A memorial was offered for the Shrine
founders, followed by the presentation of the St. Photios Medal to Mr. Theodosakis. Fr. Nikitas also recognized Charles Masterpolis for his generosity and support of the Shrine. The Founders Hospitality Hour, organized by Connie Gaitanis and Vaso Poulos, took place following Divine Liturgy in the DeMesa Yard. Marissa and Faye Peterson transformed the yard into a vision of blue and white as the celebrations continued. Dr. Nick Louh chaired a youth rally that featured “An Amazing Race” for 30 young people from the north Florida area. The hugely successful event included children from the community and prizes were donated by St Augustine Trolley, Ghost Tours, IMAX Theater, Fountain of Youth, Papa John's Jacksonville, Fr. Nick Jonas and Olga Fotiou. St. Photios Shrine stands as a living and active memorial in honor and memory of the first colony of Greek people who came to America in 1788. For more information or to find out how to support this national institution of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, please visit www.stphotios. com or call 904-829-8205.
Youth Olympics Flourish in the Metropolis of NJ KENILWORTH, N.J.–The 2006 GOYA Olympics of the Metropolis of New Jersey took place Memorial Day Weekend in Elizabeth, N.J., with more than 500 athletes and event volunteers participating from parishes from throughout the Metropolis. Events included track & field, swimming, volleyball and the annual Chris Gacos Memorial marathon. Most of the running preliminaries, swimming and volleyball events took place on Saturday, May 27 at the Dunn Sports Center in Elizabeth, NJ. The young people enjoyed an entire day of fellowship and spirited, yet friendly, sports competition while at the same time basking in the warm sun during the breaks. Later that same evening, a dinnerdance was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Newark, further adding to the “oneness” of the GOYA Olympics participants. On May 28 the young people, coaches and advisors attended the Divine Liturgy, which was celebrated by the V. Rev. George Nikas, chief secretary of the Metropolis. The Olympiad then moved to Williams Field for the traditional opening ceremony that included the invocation, parade of churches, Olympic torch run, CHICAGO–The annual Metropoliswide Lenten Quilt-a-thon, sponsored for the past seven years by the Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS, took place at two locations, Glenview, and Palos Hills, Ill. in April. For the past seven years The Bishop’s Task Force on AIDS, in partnership with the Philoptochos, created the Quiltathon to produce hand-made quilts expressly for infants and children with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Each year has seen an increase in the number of participants and quilts produced. This year both locations combined had a total of more than 150 volunteers, and produced over 550 quilts.
METROPOLITAN EVANGELOS with several young athletes of the Metropolis Youth Olympics.
American and Greek national anthems and greetings from Mr. and Miss GOYA. Later in the afternoon, parents and relatives of the athletes saw the finals of
the running events as well as all of the field events, including long jump, shot put and the marathon. The beautiful weather added to
Quilt-a-thons Produce Hundreds of Blankets for Sick Children The Task Force was established 1992, with the blessing of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, and is under the direction of V. Rev. Archimandrite Demetri Kantzavelos, chancellor. The Metropolis of Chicago’s Task Force was the first formal Orthodox Christian response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Western Hemisphere and has since become a resource for the entire Archdiocese. Since its inception, the Northside Quiltathon has been under the direction of Georgia Barris, and has been hosted at
Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Glenview. Both groups have an elaborate system of working stations that produce the blankets ensuring the continuity of the end product. The Southside group was established in 2002 under the direction of Maria Pazoles at Sts. Constantine and Helen in Palos Hills, with Fr. Byron Papanikolaou as its spiritual leader. This year’s Quiltathon Committee included Chairman Maria Pazoles, Gloria Demes, Joanne Costopoulos, Eunice Karambelas, Pat Boundes, Mary Vallas, and Mary Culleeney. Over the years
the spirit of camaraderie that prevailed throughout the weekend. The first Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey Joy Run was also held Sunday afternoon with athletes ages 10-11 running the 100-meter dash. Metropolitan Evangelos blessed and presented each of the runners with a gold medal, wishing them the best as they grow in their faith and in their fellowship with their peers, encouraging them to be athletes for Christ. The Metropolitan also presided over the Father Dean Martin Memorial Award Ceremony at the end of the marathon and events. He personally congratulated each of the winners as he bestowed upon them the characteristic Olympic Medal of Gold, Silver and Bronze. His Eminence then addressed all present, reminding all that our young people are the Church’s most precious resource, as they are the present of the Church, and not just the future. The weekend’s Olympiad was coordinated by a dedicated group of GOYA advisors and coaches led by co-chairs Andy Hios and Ann Haviaris. Metropolitan Evangelos, in thanking the talented organizing team, shared his vision and pledged his full support for an even more extensive and encompassing Metropolis of New Jersey GOYA Olympics next year. both groups have donated quilts, blankets and pillows (including, but not limited to): Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn; Little Company of Hospital in Evergreen Park; UIC Hospital Pediatric Center; Cook County Care Center; Children’s Place in Humboldt Park; Palos Women’s Crisis Center in Palos Park; The Orthodox Mission in Oxalis, Mexico; Philippines Medical Mission in the Philippines; OCMC Missionaries to Romania; La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago; Stroger Children's Hospital in Chicago; U-Mass Children's Hospital in Massachusetts. A few have been given to individual children with devastating diseases.
Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Meets BROOKLINE, Mass.–The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation held its 70th meeting at Hellenic College/Holy Cross June 5-7. Metropolitan Maximos of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Pittsburgh and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati served as chairmen. At this meeting several papers were presented in connection with the Consultation's ongoing study of primacies and conciliarity in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Metropolitan Maximos presented a study of the canons of the Council of 879. A paper entitled “Insights and Ideas on Petrine Ministry from Bilateral Dialogues” was read by Vito Nicastro of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Boston Archdiocese. Rev. James Dutko, pastor of St. Michael's Carpatho-Russian Orthodox parish in Binghamton, N.Y., offered reflections on the recent book by Olivier Clément, You Are Peter. An extensive interview with Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon, the new Orthodox co-chairman of the international Orthodox-Catholic theological dialogue, that appeared in the No. 8/ 9 – 2005 issue of "Thirty Days" was presented by Dr. Paul Meyendorff
of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. Dr Susan Wood of Marquette University read a paper entitled, “Neither Univocal nor Equivocal: Sorting Out the Terms of Dialogue.” And finally, Fr Brian Daley, SJ, of Notre Dame University offered an analysis of the 1999 book by Archbishop John R. Quinn, The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity. As usual, the Consultation also set aside some time to examine important events in the lives of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. These included the decision by Pope Benedict XVI to set aside the title Patriarch of the West, the visit of a Vatican delegation to the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Nov. 30, developments in SCOBA, the most recent meeting of the Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group, the election of a new Archbishop of Cyprus, developments in the international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, the raising of the Romanian Greek Catholic Church to Major Archepiscopal rank, the international dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, prospects for reconciliation between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Rus-
sia, the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the United States in January, the recent General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the inauguration of Christian Churches Together in the USA, developments in the Orthodox Church in America, and the 60th Anniversary of suppression of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine. During the meeting, Consultation members participated in services with the seminary community at Holy Cross chapel. The evening of June 5, the Consultation welcomed a number of local ecumenical guests, including Rev. Dr. Diane Kessler of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, Fr Edward O’Flaherty, director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Boston Archdiocese, Fr John Maheras, Ecumenical Officer of the Metropolis of Boston, Professor Lewis Patsavos, former member of the Consultation, Jeff Citro, director of the Office of Social Ministry at Holy Cross School of Theology, and Fr. George Tavard, a longtime Catholic member of dialogues with the Anglican and Lutheran communions, and Professor Emeritus of theology at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. In addition to the two co-chairmen, the other Orthodox members of the Con-
sultation include Fr. Thomas FitzGerald (Secretary), Fr. Nicholas Apostola, Professor Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Fr. James Dutko, Professor Paul Meyendorff, Fr. Alexander Golitzin, Dr. Robert Haddad, Fr. Paul Schnierla, Fr. Robert Stephanopoulos, Dr. John Barnet, Rev. Dr. Theodore Pulcini, and Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, general secretary of SCOBA (staff). The 71st meeting of the Consultation is to take place Oct. 26-28 in Washington. The North American OrthodoxCatholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has now issued 22 agreed statements on various topics. These texts are now available on the website of the USCCB at http://www. usccb.org/seia/dialogues.htm and on the SCOBA website at http://www.scoba. us/resources/index.asp. During 2005 and 2006, these Consultations have been funded by the Prokopis Foundation.
1,100 Young Athletes Compete in Archdiocese District Olympics STONY BROOK, N.Y.– Participation in the Archdiocese District Youth Olympics topped 1,100 JOY and GOYA members from 25 parishes, some from as far as Albany. Events included swimming, several track-and-field categories, soccer, volleyball, softball, tennis, basketball throwing and board games (chess, checkers, backgammon). In the major team sports for GOYA, the following won gold medals: Volleyball – Assumption Church in Port Jefferson, N.Y., boys; girls, St. Paraskevi in Greenlawn, N.Y., Soccer – St. Demetrios, Astoria, boys; St. John’s, Blue Point, girls, Softball (co-ed) – Assumption Church, Port Jefferson. Parishes that participated in the 2006 Olympics include the following: St.
PHOTOS ORTHODOX OBSERVER
Sophia, Albany (traveled the farthest); St. Demetrios, Astoria; St. John’s, Blue Point; Zoodohos Peghe, Bronx; the Brooklyn churches of Kimisis, Sts. Constantine and Helen, and Three Hierarchs; Church of the Resurrection, Brookville (formerly Glen Cove); Metamorphosis, Corona; St. Nicholas, Flushing; St. Paraskevi, Greenlawn; St. Paul, Hempstead; Holy Trinity, Hicksville; Panaghia, Island Park (first-time participant); St. Demetrios, Jamaica (after an absence of several years); St. Demetrios, Merrick; Holy Trinity, New Rochelle; Kimisis, Port Jefferson; Archangel Michael, Roslyn; Church of Our Saviour, Rye; Kimisis, Southampton; Holy Trinity, Staten Island; St. Nicholas, West Babylon; Sts. Constantine and Helen, West Nyack; and Holy Cross, Whitestone.
Orthodox Observer - June/July 2006