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JANUARY 2008 • Vol. 73 • No. 1235 • e-mail:


Archbishop Speaks on Behalf of Ecumenical Patriarchate


Feast of St. Basil and the New Year To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America My Beloved Christians, On the first day of the New Year we commemorate the life and legacy of St. Basil the Great, the ecumenical Hierarch and Teacher of our Church who is renowned for a brilliant intellectual and spiritual legacy that continues to shine universally. St. Basil was not only a figure of towering intellectual prowess; he was equally renowned for his vigorous pursuits and tangible successes in establishing charitable institutions, orphanages, and hospitals outside the ancient city of Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he served as bishop. Appropriately, the complex of these institutions bore his name, “the Basileias.” Today, the “Basileias” remains a considerable achievement in the field of philanthropy that attracts the attention and study not only of Church historians, but also more generally of sociologists and other professionals in related fields such as public health. This reality serves to remind us that many people today are looking to history and specifically to our Orthodox Christian legacy for blueprints upon which they can build comprehensive institutions of care for contemporary times and needs. This legacy of St. Basil provides us with wonderful challenges and examples of service to incorporate in our lives as Greek Orthodox Christians, and it is fitting that we begin the New Year by considering ways and means by which we can respond within our communities to the rich legacy bequeathed to us by St. Basil the Great. One example of this rich legacy finds concrete expression in the work of our own Saint Basil Academy in Garrison, N.Y., appropriately named for St. Basil the Great. For more than 50 years, St. Basil Academy has provided a home to children and young people from across

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“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17)

STRASBOURG, France–Archbishop Demetrios appeared to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, in defense of the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Archbishop was part of a delegation that also included Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia from the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Metropolitan Emmanuel of France. In addition to the attorneys for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, spiritual advisor to the Order of Archons, attorney Michael Lambros of Atlanta and attorneys from the European Centre for Law and Justice, and Archon Commander Anthony Limberakis, Archons Christopher Stratakis, George Rockas, John Zavitsanos, and Dr. Andrew Ekonomou were present. Although the primary issue before the Court was that of property rights, the Archbishop noted: “It is very significant that the European Court of Human Rights referred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate in every instance, printed and oral as Ecumenical. Such language is indicative that the recognition we seek is part and parcel of a common understanding of who and what we are. The Ecumenical Patriarchate is recognized around the world for its trans-national spiritual ministry of Orthodox witness and peace-making and reconciliation in the family of humankind.” Following the appearance at the Court, the delegation proceeded to the Phanar for an audience with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. After briefing his All Holiness, the Archbishop and clergy returned to the United States. The Archon delegation remained in Turkey, traveling overnight by automobile to Ankara for meetings with Turkish officials, and returned to the Phanar in time for the celebrations surrounding the Feast of St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle.


The 59 teen divers at the 102nd annual Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration position themselves on the boats in Spring Bayou. Moments later, Archbishop Demetrios (inset) releases the cross. A crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 25,000 lined the banks of the bayou on a balmy Jan. 6 afternoon.

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla.–This community’s 102nd annual Epiphany celebration combined a larger number of teen divers that usual, sunny, mild weather and visiting dignitaries from Greece to make it one of the most memorable events ever. “It was absolutely incredible; just great,” said Fr. Michael Eaccarino, head priest of St. Nicholas Cathedral. Fr. Michael, and other area clergy in-

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St. Basil Academy Program Presents Story of Christ Child


Children of the Academy perform “Infant King, A celebration of the Christ Child,” which featured scripture readings, songs and dialogue before a full house on Dec. 8. They also sang Christmas carols in English and Greek, including Jingle Bells and Joy to the World.

GARRISON, N.Y. – Supporters of St. Basil Academy from as far away as Denver, Charleston, S.C. and Boston filled the gymnasium on Dec. 8 to enjoy a delightful presentation of “Infant King,” a production presented by the children of the academy under the direction of musical director Tina Cody and director Roseanne Roberts. The celebration of the story of the Christ child in scripture, story and song was part of the annual Christmas program at St. Basil’s. Among those in attendance was Archbishop Demetrios, who commented on the characters’ authentic-looking costumes, including the sandals. In his observations following the program, His Eminence remarked that “The music was coming from the heart. It was a very interesting performance with a mix of narrative and song.” Commenting on the meaning of the Christmas holiday, the Archbishop noted that Christ in His incarnation showed that God is a God of peace, that he is also the “Son of justice and also the Source of love.

“It’s what the world needs today,” he said. “It’s one thing to sing about love,” as reflected in many examples of secular music in contemporary culture, “but it’s another to be in a condition of loving.” “If God is excluded from the process, everything is doomed to fail,” he added. Following His Eminence’s comments, representatives of several organizations that have supported the St. Basil’s over the years offered gifts to the Academy. National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas presented a donation of $52,000 for improvements to the girls’ dormitory; Melva Ziniach of Charleston, S.C., representing the Daughters of Penelope gave a check for $10,000 for roof and kitchen repairs; and Mr. and Mrs. Dean Pialtos of the Pauly’s Gift of Love Foundation, which each year holds a golf tournament in Westchester County, presented a $5,000 gift. After the singing of a selection of Christmas carols, a luncheon was served followed by a gathering of the children around the tree in the administration building for the distribution of Christmas gifts.

Trustees of the Academy join Archbishop Demetrios and Fr. Sitaras before the Christmas tree in the Main hall. His Eminence joins several children and adults around the piano in the administration building, known as The Main, for some informal singing of Christmas carols.

National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas presents a check for $52,000 to St. Basil Academy for renovations. Also shown are (l. to r.) Executive Director Fr. Constantine Sitaras, Board President Evelyn Tsiadis and Archbishop Demetrios. Several organizations, including AHEPA, the Daughters of Penelope and individual parish Philoptochos chapters also made presentations to the Academy.

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Published bi-monthly except single issue in May, June, November and December by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Editorial and Business Office: 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075 TEL.: (212) 570-3555 FAX (212) 774-0239

St. Basil Academy’s Christmas program drew a full house in attendance as supporters of the academy from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and as far as South Carolina and Colorado made the trip to Garrison. A Lenten luncheon was served following the program held in the gymnasium. It was one of the best attended in recent years.

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The Orthodox Observer expresses appreciation to the parishes that contributed photographs of their Epiphany cross-diving events that appear in this issue. We would like to follow up with another request for photos from the upcoming Lenten and Paschal season, especially Holy Week events, for our May issue. Guidelines for submitting the photos will be published in the February issue of the Observer. Deadline for submissions will be Wednesday, April 30.




Three Hierarchs Lectures Scheduled

Archiepiscopal Encyclical   page 1

NEW YORK – In observance of the Feast of the Three Hierarchs and in celebration of Greek Letters and Culture, the Department of Greek Education of the Archdiocese announces a number of events planned during January.

our country, many of whom come from troubled family situations and are in need of healing and attention. The Academy provides them with a comprehensive environment of care, including educational, recreational, and health-related support. Moreover, it is a place where they can experience the peace and the love of Jesus Christ. As is appropriate at the beginning of the New Year, we are led by our National Ladies Philoptochos Society and the many local Philoptochos chapters in parishes throughout our nation in collecting funds for this important ministry. This effort continues to be a vital source of support for the Academy, which relies upon the donations of the faithful to continue its important work of care unto others. Thus, as we begin the New Year, and as we distribute pieces of the traditional “Vasilopeta” named in honor of St. Basil to our loved ones, I ask that you consider making a special contribution to St. Basil Academy. Through your prayers and your contributions, you will be supporting the aims of this important ministry, benefiting the children and young people who call the Academy their home and the diligent staff who oversee the daily operations of this sacred institution of our Holy Archdiocese. Through the intercessions of St. Basil the Great, may we continue to be inspired to do works of charity and philanthropy throughout this New Year 2008. I pray that the love and peace of Jesus Christ may be with you, your families, all those who live at St. Basil Academy, and the officers and board members who serve the Academy. May the light and joy of Christ permeate your hearts, and may you be marked by prosperity, abundance, health, and joy every day of this New Year.


Wednesday, Jan. 16 Holy Trinity Cathedral Center – 7 p.m. 319 East 74th St., New York The Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, ecumenical assistant for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations, spoke on the “Church Fathers and the Natural Environment”. The lecture was offered in Greek and amply summarized in English. Wednesday, Jan. 23 Holy Trinity Cathedral Center – 7 p.m. 319 East 74th St., New York The Rev. Dr. John A. McGuckin, first professor to occupy the newly inaugurated Nielsen Chair in Late Antique and Byzantine Christian History at Union Theological Seminary of New York will offer a lecture on “The Three Hierarchs and Hellenic Letters.” Monday, Jan. 28 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 6:30 p.m. Viewing of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine Art Galleries 8 p.m. -9:15 p.m. Lecture Professor Gregory Nagy, Francis Jones, professor of Classical Greek Literature and professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, will lecture on “Manuscripts from Byzantium as Links to the World of Classical Greek Literature.” The evening will also include a musical performance from the Metropolitan Youth Choir of the Archdiocese. Sponsored by Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism. ** Reservations required. Contact the Archdiocese for info (212) 570-3512. Saturday, Jan. 26 Holy Trinity Cathedral - 4:30 p.m. 319 East 74th St., New York The Archdiocese District Office of Education will hold an awards ceremony recognizing students who excel on the Comprehensive Examination in Modern Greek. Sixty-two students received a perfect score of 100 in June 2007. New York State Assemblyman Michael Giannaris will be the main speaker at the event, which will also include a musical performance by the 5th grade choir of St. Demetrios School, Astoria. At the conclusion, Archbishop Demetrios will present recipients with The Three Hierarchs Award of Excellence along with an icon of the Three Hierarchs. Wednesday Jan. 30 Holy Trinity Cathedral - 9 a.m. Feast Day of the Three Hierarchs 319 East 74th St. New York Archbishop Demetrios will celebrate the Divine Liturgy for teachers and students (grades 5-12) of the Greek American Day Schools. Celebrated annually throughout the United States by the Archdiocese and its institutions in conjunction with the Feast Day of the Three Hierarchs on January 30th, the event commemorates the fourth century Fathers and great scholars and theologians, St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom. Three Hierarchs Day was first celebrated in the year 1100 A.D. when the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos proclaimed that Jan. 30 be set aside to honor these great Fathers whose brilliant writings contributed to the creative connection of Hellenic Classical Paideia to Orthodox Christian theology.

Visiting Congressman Archbishop Demetrios welcomes Congressman Charles B. Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to the Archdiocese on Dec. 17. Chairman Rangel, the fifth-ranking member of the House of Representatives who represents the 15th District in Upper Manhattan, and His Eminence discussed several issues affecting the Church, including the treatment of Orthodox Christians in Turkey. Rep. Rangel, a Roman Catholic, also received a personal tour of the Chapel of St. Paul from Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, who discussed the Orthodox faith (right.) Also present was Archon John Catsimatides.

With paternal love in Christ,

† Archbishop DEMETRIOS of America

Archons’ Message Regarding E-mail Hoax

Archbishop, Turkish President, Meet at Luncheon Archbishop Demetrios attended a luncheon meeting of the Appeal of Conscious Foundation and the Council of Foreign Relations on Jan. 9 where he met with the President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül. The president said that modern Turkey embraces all religions and ethnicities, and also discussed its economic development, relations with the United States and energy development.

During the question-and-answer period the issue of religious freedom in Turkey was raised: President Gul responded that Turkey believes all faiths and people of no faith should share the democratic and religious freedom to be and believe what they may. He said that they are moving to align themselves with the EU regulations of religious freedom and human rights.

NEW YORK – Many Greek Orthodox faithful in America have received a blatantly false e-mail regarding solicitation of funds that purports to be from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Fr. Alexander Karloutsos. That e-mail is a cruel hoax and should be disregarded. It is a shame that at the end of a joyous Christmas season, someone would attempt to stain and demean the Mother Church with such a repulsive communication. The Order of St. Andrew will attempt to identify the person or persons responsible for this act and take all necessary legal action to make sure such fraudulent activity ceases and does not occur again. If you have information relating to the identity(ies) of the responsible party(ies), please email or call 212-570-3550. Thank you for your assistance. Wishing you a blessed and peaceful New Year, Anthony J. Limberakis, M.D. National Commander




Blessing the Bosporus Epiphany at the Ecumenical Patriarchate

PATRIARCHATE Patriarchate Elects New Metropolitan HONG KONG – The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, at its meeting Jan. 10 under the presidency of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, elected the Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Tsilis, who was the episcopal vicar of the Metropolis of Samos, as the new Metropolitan of Hong Kong and South East Asia. The ordination of the newly elected Metropolitan took place at the Patriarchal church of St. George in Constantinople on Jan. 20. Metropolitan Nektarios Tsilis was born in 1969 in Dodoni, Ioannina, Greece. He is a graduate of Theological Academy in Athens and the Theological School of the University of Athens. He has also successfully completed courses and seminars on the structure, organization, and information technologies of the European Union. He was ordained deacon in 1990 and priest in 1995. He served as a deacon throughout 1990-1995 in the parishes of the Annunciation of Theotokos, the Holy Unmerce-

naries, and St. Sophia, in the Metropolis of Piraeus. He served as a priest throughout 1995-2001 in the capacity of preacher of the Holy Metropolis of Piraeus, proistamenos of the parish of the Life-Giving Fountain, secretary of the Metropolis' Youth Organization, and as president of the committee of the Church of Hatzikyriakou Orphanage. He was the director of the program "Peiraiki Ecclesia 91.2 FM" as well as the deputy manager of the magazine "Peiraiki Ecclesia". From 2001 to the present he has served as the Vicar of the Holy Metropolis of Samos and Ikaria, member of the Spiritual Court, proistamenos of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Samos, chairman of the Board of Panagia Spyliani, and abbot of the Panagia Vrodiani Monastery. He has participated, as a representative of the Metropolises of Piraeus and Samos, in youth conferences, seminars on cults and new religious movements, and issues concerning Europe's stance on religion. He is a regular contributor to many magazines and periodicals and is fluent in Greek and English.


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople leads a large congregation through the Phanar neighborhood of Istanbul to the shores of the Golden Horn and Bosporus for the Blessing of the Waters service and cross-diving event.

Young Adults Make Pilgrimage to Constantinople and Italy A group of young adults from around the country embarked on the National Young Adult Pilgrimage in early November to Constantinople, Florence, and Ravenna, with other Orthodox Christian young adults from across the U.S. and Canada. by Eva Kokinos

The Patriarch blesses one of the busiest waterways in the world and tosses the cross to be retrieved.

One of the divers emerges with the cross moments later.

Archdiocese Chancellor Bishop Savas of Troas led this journey, which proved to be quite an experience. Our pilgrimage began in the historic city of Constantinople, where we were all transported back in time. One memorable site was the Church of Christ at Chora, where participants marveled at the extraordinary 14th century mosaic iconography. Of course, our journey also took us to Hagia Sophia, the glorious treasure of early Christendom. This was truly a moving experience, as we were able to better appreciate Hagia Sophia’s importance and role in early Christian history. We visited many other notable sites, including the Hippodrome, Blacherna Monastery, the Byzantine land (Theodosian) walls, and the Blue Mosque. We enjoyed a picturesque cruise along the Bosporus, shopped at the Great Bazaar, and shared many delicious meals together. The highlight of our time in Constantinople, however, was our visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and private audience with Patriarch Bartholomew. After receiving the blessings of His All Holiness, our visit to the Patriarchate

ended with a tour of the Cathedral of St. George. While the group was sad to leave Constantinople, we were anxious to examine how Christian art and architecture had developed in the West. Our sightseeing in Florence included the San Lorenzo Chapel, the Santa Maria Del Fiore (also known as the Duomo), the Baptistery of St. John, the Uffizi Museum, and much more. Our travels also included two very important day trips. The journey to Venice began with a scenic train ride and ferry on the Grand Canal, leading us to St. Mark’s Basilica. This was an amazing example of architecture and iconography, clearly demonstrating the far reach of Byzantine influence into the West. Saint Mark’s also housed a large reliquary of saints and a collection of liturgical items from Constantinople. Our second excursion led us to Ravenna, a true artistic gem, where we walked the roads of the once ancient western capital of the Byzantine Empire. We visited the Basilica of San Vitale, the Mausoleum of Empress Galla Placidia, San Apollinare Nuovo, and San Apollinare in Classe, which all housed well-preserved and remarkable mosaic icons. I am quite certain my fellow participants would agree that the Pilgrimage was indeed a week of faith, fellowship, and reflection. The spiritual and historical guidance of Bishop Savas truly made this opportunity once in a lifetime.



Holy Archdiocese Vasilopita Event


Each year in early January Archbishop Demetrios holds vasilopita cutting ceremonies for several organizations of the Archdiocese. Here, His Eminence addresses a gathering of Archdiocesan Council representatives, clergy and staff members.

Archdiocese District Priests Meet

Active and retired clergy of the Archdiocese District met for a their periodic meeting with His Eminence. In addition to working sessions, the group also gathered in the Chapel of St. Paul for a brief doxology service and discussion by the Archbishop.

Tampa Church Feast Day

Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and Archbishop Demetrios administer Holy Communion to the faithful at St. John the Baptist Church in Tampa on the occasion of the parish’s feast day, Jan. 7.


The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

SCOBA Group Holds Semi-Annual Session


SCOBA Hierarchs recently convened at Archdiocese headquarters under the chairmanship of Archbishop Demetrios for their semi-annual meeting. With His Eminence in the Chapel of St. Paul: (from left) Archbishop Antony, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA; Bishop Antoun, Anthiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America; Metropolitan Christopher, Serbian Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada; and Bishop Ilia of Philomelion, Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America.

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Archbishop Demetrios honored Fr. Paul Schneirla, 92, a member of the Study and Planning Commission and the last surviving member of SCOBA’s first organizers with the presentation of a cross. Among those attending the ceremony were his children, Peter Schneirla and Dorothy Schneirla Downie. A resolution from SCOBA marking the occasion read, in part,“And whereas the Very Reverend Father Paul Schneirla has worked for over forty-six years for the common good and unity of all Orthodox Churches in the Americas through SCOBA, serving as its first General Secretary, We, the Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas do hereby recognize the vast contribution and tireless ministry of the Very Reverend Father Paul Schneirla and express our profound thanks and abiding appreciation.”

ph: 877-775-4266

SCOBA Hierarchs and clergy and advisors of the Study and Planning Commission attend a working session chaired by Archbishop Demetrios.



The Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas

Share the Light Sunday bilities of sharing the Everlasting Gospel of our Lord. OCN offers to our parishes both means and ways to enhance the outreach of the local Church. The great benefit of such outreach is that as we shine the light of Christ brighter Dearly Beloved in the Lord, We, the Hierarchs of the Standing and brighter for our non-Orthodox and Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bish- un-churched neighbors, we also find that ops in the Americas, greet you in this new we are bringing the light of Christ to many calendar year with the love and hope that of our own baptized Faithful who, for many reasons, have wandered away from is in our Lord Jesus Christ. As Orthodox Christians, we have been the Church into spiritual obscurity and richly blessed with the sacred repository even darkness. But we know that " the Light shines of the fullness of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. With such a blessing, there on in the darkness, and the darkness did come both the responsibility to offer our not overcome it " (St. John 1:5). The Lord Orthodox Faith to the world around us Jesus Christ is the Light, "the true Light and the challenge to find means that are Who enlightens every person who comes consistent with the our Divine Message into the world " (St. John 1:9). We can use the OCN to keep that of love and forgiveness and suited for light shining throughout the year. We contemporary society. Therefore, on this “Share the Light” commend to you the Orthodox Christian Sunday, we ask that you take time to learn Network and its programs that are availabout and support the Orthodox Christian able on the radio and on its Web site, . May we all be blessed to share Network (OCN), a ministry of SCOBA. OCN was formed to assist our par- the light of Christ in a world which is in ishes to meet the challenges and responsi- desperate need of His illumination. With paternal blessings and love in Christ, To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and the Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas

í Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America í Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America í Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada í Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA í Metropolitan HERMAN Orthodox Church in America í Archbishop NICOLAE Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada í Metropolitan JOSEPH Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church í Metropolitan CONSTANTINE Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA í Bishop ILIA of Philomelion Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America

Happy New Year

Leadership 100 Exceeds 2007 Goal; on Course for 25th Anniversary The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund has exceeded its goal for 2007, recruiting 58 new members for a total of 750. Fulfilled members also hit a record number of 338. “Reaching these benchmarks positions us for our 25th Anniversary goals - to reach 1,000 members, 500 fulfilled members, $100 million in endowment funds and annual grants of $5 million by 2009,” said George D. Behrakis, Chairman. At the end of 2007, contributions exceeded $4.3 million, the second highest figure historically. Endowment funds already exceed $66 million with total assets at $83 million. Grants distributed since the inception of Leadership 100 will exceed $25 million in 2008. Grants have continued to support the ministries of the Archdiocese and Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology as priorities with support continuing to go to scholarships for those studying for the priesthood, clergy in need and religious and Greek education. New support has gone to projects in the Metropolises and to the Greek Fire Relief Fund. Leadership 100 Conferences continue to draw record numbers of attendees with programs promoting Orthodoxy and Hellenism. The 17th Annual Conference will

take place Feb. 14-17, in Palm Desert, Calif., and will feature the awarding of the Leadership 100 Award for Excellence to longtime members Theodore P. Angelopoulos and Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki for their historic roles in promoting Greece and Hellenic culture through the organization of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. As Leadership 100 reaches its 25th Anniversary, it is fitting that it has generated the Leadership 100 Partners program, encouraging young Greek American professionals to join at affordable levels as they progress in their careers. The following represents the level of payments: Ages 1-30 $2,000 Ages 31-35 $4,000 Ages 36-40 $6,000 Ages 41-45 $8,000 Ages 46- and up $10,000 The Leadership 100 office under Executive Director (Interim) Paulette Poulos has been reorganized into specialized departments of membership, finance, communications and special events. A new Audit Committee, the Investment Committee and the Grant Committee meet regularly and are in constant communication with officers and staff. Policies and procedures governing organization, audits, investments, grants and personnel have been established.

Warmest Regards to All Peter J. & Cathy Pappas



Special Committee Appointed to Appraise Needs of Ionian Village NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios has appointed a special committee to examine and appraise the current needs of Ionian Village, the travel abroad summer camp program of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Now in its 37th year, this international youth program has been offering Greek Orthodox Christian youth an opportunity to visit some of Greece’s most important religious and historical sites while also participating in a traditional camp program. During the committee’s inaugural meeting in December 2007, Archbishop Demetrios offered three key objectives for committee members to study in order to address the most crucial issues currently facing Ionian Village. The first is to formulate a strategy for the renovation of the 37-year-old camp facility. The second objective is to find ways of making Ionian Village more accessible for participants from low- and middle-income families. The third objective initially given by Archbishop Demetrios is to increase the promotion of the Ionian Village program. Currently, about 250 young people participate each summer, along with some 30 to 40 volunteer adult staff members. The two existing summer session can accommodate 200 campers each. The committee had an opportunity to review preliminary architectural plans for renovation, and discuss the objectives presented by His Eminence. Other topics discussed include pursuing supplementary resources for funding of the renovations and possibilities for future programs and ministries at the Ionian Village facility. Additionally, the members discussed strategies for the enrichment of the existing Ionian Village program. Committee members were given specific areas to research and will continue to meet in the coming months as they finalize and begin to execute the strategy for Ionian Village’s future growth and enhancement. Archbishop Demetrios thanked members for their sacrifice in offering their talents and expertise to the committee, and stated that Ionian Village is, “A truly excellent program, which has great potential.” Appointed to the Committee are Fr. Costa Sitaras, Ionian Village director 1973-1996; Fr, Mark Leondis, national director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries; Fr. Constantine Lazarakis, current Ionian Village director; Jerry Dimitriou, executive director of administration of the Archdiocese; Michael Parlamis, Archon of the Ecumenical Throne, and an engineer; Elaine Jaharis, Archdiocesan Council member; George Anderson, Archon of the Ecumenical Throne and Archdiocesan Council member; and Dr. Gregory Papadeas, Archdiocesan Council member. Most committee members are alumni of the camp, having either participated as campers or served as Ionian Village staff. For more information contact: Fr. Constantine Lazarakis by email at or call 646 519 6190.


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Orthodox Christians Face Violence Following Contested Elections in Kenya, Archbishop, SCOBA React NAIROBI , Kenya – The New Year began with tragedy for many people in Kenya as widespread violence erupted on Dec. 27 in the wake of contested presidential elections. Upon his return to Nairobi from a recent visit to Egypt, Archbishop Makarios of Kenya was greeted by scenes of widespread destruction and great suffering. His homecoming tour took him to some of the places hardest hit by the violence that flared over contested presidential elections. In Nakuru, the Orthodox Church of the Holy Virgin has been completely destroyed. Many people, still afraid to travel, are staying in their homes. The thousands who saw their homes destroyed are staying anywhere they can, including churches and parks. The transportation system has largely stopped. As a result, many people are without food and medicine. The Red Cross is responding but the need is still great. Other reports coming in from all over Kenya are painting a vivid picture of growing unrest and escalating conflict. According to Reuters, over 300 people have already died in the clashes between rival factions and the police. The “Kenya Crisis Collection” that is being taken by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is now being expanded to help Archbishop Makarios to offer these basic provisions as he reaches out to the people of Kenya regardless of their tribal or religious affiliation on behalf of the Orthodox Church. So far, $10,000 from this collection has been sent to buy food and medicine for the needy and suffering, but much more is needed. It will take the country years

One church is destroyed

The Kiberia slum in Nairobi where the seminary of the Church in Kenya is located.

to rebuild. All donations for this special collection should be made payable to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center with “Kenya Crisis Collection” clearly marked in the check’s memo line. The capital city of Nairobi houses the Makarios III Patriarchal Seminary and St. George Orthodox Church lies nearby in the heart of the Kibera slums – the largest in Africa and a flash point for much of the

recent violence. In a phone conversation with OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi, Archbishop Makarios of Kenya indicated that many homes of Orthodox Christians in Kibera have been burned recently, and displaced residents in the area are seeking safety and shelter within the confines of the St. George Orthodox Church compound. He states that three churches (not

Orthodox) have been razed in Kibera thus far, and similar instances have been seen in Western Kenya as well. The Archbishop went on to report that several Orthodox priests had seen their homes destroyed losing everything to fires set by angry mobs. Some of these priests are now taking refuge at the seminary which has been temporarily closed. Food has become scarce in Nairobi and people are staying home fearing continued troubles. Archbishop Demetrios, as chairman of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), commented on the events in Kenya, noting the long-time involvement of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) with the local Orthodox Church in Kenya (which is under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria). His Eminence said: “As we have witnessed events unfold in Kenya, where many citizens have lost their lives and property, including many Orthodox Christians, we grieve with those whose lives have been shattered by the politics of violence. As chairman of SCOBA, whose own agency, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, has for a long time ministered to and served the needs of the Orthodox Christians of Kenya – assisting church communities and a seminary – and on behalf of the Hierarchs of SCOBA, I call upon all the faithful in America to pray fervently to our Merciful God for the Church in Kenya and for the people of Kenya, that peace may prevail and that those who have lost so much may find some measure of comfort.”

Archdiocese/IOCC Partnership Helps Villagers Sustain Farms, Traditions

BURNED Church in the Peloponnese region of Greece during last summer’s deadly fires.

PELOPONNESE, Greece–His father is in Patras on kidney dialysis and his wife is in Athens in her fifth month of pregnancy, so Vasili can’t spend much time lamenting the loss of half his herd of goats, sheep and some 85 olive trees to last summer’s wildfires in Greece. Vasili, 37, had previously finished a 14-month stretch of working 18-hour days in Germany for extra money so that he could return to the village of Pelopio to upgrade his father’s farm. “The animals are my tools,” says Vasili, “like a taxi driver has a taxi, I had my animals. The trees will grow back but the animals were my daily income.” Like many of the farmers who have received emergency supplies of animal

feed from International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Vasili is choosing to remain in one of Greece’s rural areas in order to keep his family business, and an entire way of life, alive. IOCC’s latest distribution, over 400 metric tons of animal feed benefiting 130,000 heads of livestock, is made possible through a grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Niko, his brother and sister are also determined to keep their family farm in the village of Leondari. They lived their childhood years in an era of old-world traditions as their parents and multiple generations before them wove fabric, sowed and tilled the land by hand. Niko and his siblings

decided to create the “Ecological Footpath”, a model of a working farm based on traditional farming techniques. The wildfires devastated their organic stables, their open range pastures, and the structure of their natural amphitheatre. IOCC is helping to keep their livestock alive in the short term and has also given them forage seed so they can replant their grasslands for a long term solution to the problem. Yianni and his son Kosta of the village of Chelidonia in Ileia Prefecture are working long days to maintain their livelihood. Kosta is picking olives on a farm in a neighboring village although ten of his friends left for Athens after the wildfires

to find work. “They had no choice,” says Kosta, “they will probably not return.” Yianni saved some of his animals during the wildfires but could not salvage the two tons of animal feed he had warehoused. IOCC’s donation of feed and Kosta’s hard work on the neighboring farm will keep the family going until father and son can rebuild their stable and warehouse. “The key to IOCC’s success in the Peloponnese since early September has been the cooperation we have with local municipalities and Orthodox priests,” says Dimitri Djukic of IOCC Greece. He is based in the town of Pyrgos to oversee IOCC distribution to local farmers. IOCC’s total relief and recovery program for Greece has exceeded $500,000 and has included two distributions of feed totaling 610 metric tons and 20 metric tons of forage seed to allow Greek farmers to permanently restore their grasslands. “People are grateful for what they have received thus far,” says IOCC Development Director Daniel Christopulos. “But winter is coming and the need to keep livestock alive is the number one issue for Peloponnese farmers.” IOCC, founded in 1992 as the official humanitarian aid agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), has implemented over $250 million in relief and development programs in 33 countries around the world. To help in providing emergency relief, call IOCC's donation hotline toll-free at 1-877-803-4622, make a gift on-line at, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write to: "Greece Wildfires" in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, MD. 21263-0225.




Be It Resolved As January is the month for making resolutions for the New Year, let us resolve to make the 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress scheduled for July 13-17 in Washington a productive and successful one. Every two years, clergy and lay people representing communities throughout the Archdiocese are called to assemble in unity to learn of the Church’s progress over the previous two years since the last congress and to deliberate on the important issues affecting the Church’s future. Over the past two years, the Archdiocese has made great progress in the growth of its ministries and the improvement of its finances. It is the duty of each parish to send delegates to the congress to work to continue this progress in the future. Preparations are currently under way for the event, which will be held in our nation’s capital for the first time since 1990, when Ecu-

Letter from the President

menical Patriarch Dimitrios visited the United States, the first of any ecumenical patriarch. In conjunction with the ClergyLaity Congress, the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos will hold their national biennial convention as well. The philanthropic arm of the Archdiocese has made great strides over the past two years in supporting many causes, programs and charities. Along with the business of the congress, time is being allotted for the spiritual needs and growth of the parish representatives, with many workshops and seminars devoted to topics relating to the faith being planned. The Clergy-Laity Congress provides a great opportunity for every parish to offer their input on the direction of the Church and its ministries. The enthusiastic participation of all will indeed help to make this a happy new year for the Church. Plan to attend.

 What has happened to Christmas? memorable days when I visited the school Editor, Another Christmas has passed. Each year we see the numerous decorations on homes, offices and retail business. People are shopping and having parties as if the end of the world has come. We see Santa Claus, snowman, reindeer, etc. Let us eat and drink as much as we can. Let us see who can outspend the others with the biggest and most expensive presents. Sing only Christmas carols without the “Christ”. Ask “What is Christmas” and most people will answer what is stated above. Wait a minute, what has happened to Christmas? Christmas used to be for the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord. This was the time to celebrate His birth, to pray, to go to church, help others, have a family get together, forgive others, and ask for forgiveness. There are numerous good Christians, but for many, “Jesus” is forgotten within our church community, within other Christian churches communities, and within our country. Maybe each of us should make some changes for what we do during Christmas. Maybe all of the Christian churches should make some changes of why we celebrate Christmas. Maybe we should say that Christmas is for Christ. Maybe the “present giving portion” should be eliminated or at least changed to January 1 to welcome the New Year. Maybe we should try as hard to follow Jesus teachings as we do partying. What a thought?! Spyros Sipsas Moonpark, Calif.

 Memories of Pomfret Editor, In reading “Pomfret Graduates Return to Connecticut Reunion” in the December issue, I was reminded of one of my most

in 1941. My father, Rev. Kallinikos Hatzilambrou, was priest in Woburn, Mass., at that time. My friends and I visited Pomfret and had a great day visiting the school. On our return form Pomfret to Woburn, we were listening to the radio when we heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The date was, of course, Dec.7, 1941. That day was and still is in my memory for both my visit to Pomfret and the infamous attack. Woburn is the home town of Rev. Nicholas C. Triantafilou who I knew in his younger days. His wife, Dianne, is the youngest of the three Xenakis women. Helen and Hope were my contemporaries and good friends. Your article on Pomfret recalled my very good memories of my high school days in Woburn, of my good friends there and my visit to Pomfret. Subsequently, when my wife and I lived in New Canaan, Conn., for many years, Fr. Poulos was our priest in Stamford and our very good friend. Thank you for the article which recalled the good thoughts of my youth. Fred H. Lambrou Singer Island, Fla.

 Golden Compass Editor, Everyone was waiting for a clear message and viewpoint on the movie “the Golden Compass,” but after 14 paragraphs, Fr. Mark Leondis never once stated the Church’s viewpoint on this anti-Christian film or book. We all know where we should focus our lives, even though we don’t always stay focused, we know what children should and should not read and view; but this was supposed to be a viewpoint on the book and movie from the church.

This is why we look to the church when movies and books are released and the Church does not come out with a clear view on everyday issues such as this. You left everyone in the dark about where the Church stands on movies such as this. As a lay person, it’s easy for me to say this movie provides no Christian message, just the opposite. That’s what people wanted to know. Al Galloway Atlanta Fr. Mark, wrote his column before the movie came out and could not comment on its content, which was not the point of his article. Instead, his point was that parents should instill the proper Christian values in their children to discern the good and evil they must confront in life so they can face such issues as they arise. Unlike certain groups such as the Catholic League, we had no opportunity to view the film prior to its general release. However, in this issue of the Observer, Fr. Dimitrios Moraitis, pastor of St. Paraskevi Church in Greenlawn, N.Y., and the director of the Long Island Inter-GOYA, did see the film on the day of its release. His column appears on page 11 — editor

 Dr King's Inspiration Editor, Although Dr. King’s birthday is Jan. 15, our nation will be honoring and remembering him the entire month. It is only fitting and proper that we do this. Dr. King was a model for what is best in all Americans: Fair play, honesty and belief in equality for all. King felt that all Americans had a right to be free and enjoy the fruits of their labor. He was 39 years old at the time of his assassination on April 4, 2968 in Memphis, Tenn. In 1963, he led more than 200,000 Americans to Washington, where he gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech. Dr. King was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. King and his works will live as a testimonial to man’s ability to rise to new heights and work for the betterment of his fellow man. Let us all honor him by working to bring peace and harmony to all, so that perhaps the words he was so fond of quoting – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” – will one day become a reality. John A. Micklos Baltimore



viewpoint A Review of The Golden Compass Why does it seem that every Christmas and Easter, Hollywood releases a movie to test our faith to its limits? The answer is simple–to make money. During these seasons, people of faith are focused on spiritual things, and Hollywood and the media see this as an opportunity to profit from these religious seasons. by Rev. Dr. Dimitrios Moraitis

There is, however, a second reason; that is to cause us to question the validity of our faith, while desensitizing us to counter cultures and even to immoral behavior. As a parent of an 8- and 6-year-old, I screen things before exposing them to my children. The Golden Compass was released on Dec. 7, but over a month before the release I received emails warning me about the anti-religious and antiChristian theme. I must admit that it was troubling to read some of the comments by the author of the books, Philip Pullman, who is an avid atheist and is quoted saying “I don’t profess any religion; I don’t think it’s possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words ‘spiritual’ or ‘spirituality.’” I warned our parishioners about taking their children to this film, nevertheless I felt compelled to watch it myself and come to my own conclusions. I went to the very first showing on Dec. 7, and was one of about 20 in the theater. There were three others also taking notes throughout the movie—my guess is they were members of the clergy as well. The premise of the movie is that in their world, a person’s soul is not contained within their body, but exists outside of the body in the form of an animal. These souls are called demons. (I am not making this up) The ruling administration, called the “Magesterium,” is presented more like a religious institution rather than a government, though the way it operates closely resembles communist Russia at its worst. It is important to note that the institutional authority of the Vatican still to this day is known as the Magesterium in the Roman Catholic Church. The leaders in the movie are clerically dressed and even wear pendants on their chest, much like our own bishops. To go against the Magesterium is not a crime, but a heresy. The use of this type of language makes it clear that the author is comparing their oppressive government to the institution of the Church. Here lies the biggest problem with the movie. The lead character, Lyra, a 12-yearold orphaned girl, is being raised by her uncle, a scientist and academician named Lord Asriel. (It’s funny how that sounds much like Israel.) Lord Asriel had a recording of someone interacting with “dust.” What dust exactly does, is not explained in this movie, but it is something that the

Magesterium wants to hide from the people. He entrusts Lyra with the Golden Compass, the last “alethiameter” in existence. That’s right; the compass is able to tell who is lying and who is telling the truth. It was thought that the Magesterium destroyed all of them, but this one remains. Lyra catches the eye of the glamorous Mrs. Coulter, played by Nicole Kidman, and spends several days with her at her home. Mrs. Coulter, a scientist herself who works for the Magesterium, quickly discovers that Lyra has this Golden Compass in her possession, and attempts to take it from her. The rest of the movie is basically a chase which brings them in contact with “Gyptians” (a combination of gypsies and pirates, cowboys and polar bears.) The movie is absolutely anticlimactic, and ends where the producers hope the second part of the trilogy will begin. A sequel which I pray is never made, and from the disappointing response in theaters, will probably never be released. The Golden Compass is the first of Pullman’s trilogy and the least overtly anti-religious. Some parents might fall into the trap of allowing their children to read the other two books which clearly paint the Church as a corrupt, controlling and evil institution. The Church in this world is in reality the continuation of Christ’s ministry on earth. She is the Bride of Christ, and the Ark that leads us safely through the turbulent world. Through the Church and the sacraments it is possible to transcend the limitations and obstacles of this world and ascend to the spiritual realm. The Church does not stifle free thought, but is always in conversation with scientists, anthropologists and physicists. Christ’s Church on earth has nothing to hide, nothing to suppress, and, in fact, welcomes discoveries, and the expression of humankind through art, music, philosophy and theology. After all, the development of the Divine Liturgy, the painting of holy icons, the writing of sacred hymns, the study and expression of Byzantine music, the crafting of sermons and the expression of theology have for almost two millennia been a product of the expression of art and free thought, inspired by God and shared with the faithful. The representation of this government as a medieval corrupt and controlling religious institution is insulting to Christians and to people of faith in general. This movie is no Lord of the Rings, a fantasy world that inspires Christian virtue. There is no positive spiritual message in the Golden Compass. Yet Christ has given us free-will and you can disregard this review if you wish–that is the beauty of our faith. Fr. Moraitis is pastor of St. Paraskevi Church in Greenlawn, N.Y., and director of the Long Island InterGOYA.




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Fifty-nine boys, the largest group to dive for the cross at one time, gather outside of St. Nicholas Cathedral prior to the event.

Photos: D. PANAGOS

Suspended in mid-air – Divers jump into Spring Bayou to swim out to the circle of boats before the ceremony.

As Archbishop Demetrios reads the prayers before throwing the cross, a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit is released by Irene Koulianos.

cluding Frs. James Rousakis of Holy Trinity Church in Clearwater, Stavros Akrotirianakis of St. John the Baptist Church in Tampa, and Joseph Samaan of St. Stefanos in St. Petersburg and many parish laypersons began the three-day event by welcoming Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, on Jan. 5. Shortly afterward, they attended a reception at the Clearwater church. The oldest Epiphany celebration in the nation also drew officials from the island of Kalymnos, the ancestral home of the early Greek immigrants who developed the sponge fishing industry in Tarpon Springs and their descendants. They included Metropolitan Paisios of Leros, Kalymnos and Astypalais; the vice mayor of Kalymnos, Filippos Christodoulou, the president of the city council, Sakellarios Zervos, Member of Parliament George Nikitakis and the mayor of the island of Halki in the Dodecanese, Eleni Panagi who was accompanied by 12 musicians and a dance troupe. Mayor Panagi and Tarpon Springs Mayor Beverly Billeris signed a sister city agreement during her visit. Following the Vespers service on Jan. 5 presided over by Archbishop Demetrios and attended by numerous active and retired priests and hierarchs, the AHEPA banquet took place in the community center. Sunday Divine Liturgy drew a standingroom-only crowd and included the Blessing of the Water service by the Archbishop. The traditional procession to nearby Spring Bayou followed and included the participation of many area parishes The highlight of the afternoon, the cross-diving event, drew 59 teen-age boys, about a third more than normally participate, including a set of twins, one of whom retrieved the cross. Following the release of the white dove by Irene Koulianos, 17, of Tarpon Springs, 18-year-old Christopher Kavouklis came up with the cross about 13 seconds after diving. He and his twin brother, Michael, emerged from the 66-degree water along with the other divers and knelt before Archbishop Demetrios. The two brothers are both altar boys and St. John’s Church in Tampa. After the ceremony, a Sunday afternoon glendi took place in Tarpon Springs. The St. Nicholas Cathedral banquet took place that evening. The following day, the Archbishop traveled to Tampa where he officiated at the Divine Liturgy at St. John Church. A reception took place afterward and the community presented a check for $7,000. In the evening at Tarpon Springs, a dinner dance sponsored by members of the island of Halki Society rounded out the events of Epiphany weekend.

Christopher Kavouklis triumphantly holds up the cross and trophy he received following his successful dive and blessings he received from His Eminence.


Tarpon Springs Epiphany Celebration

During the Blessing of the Water service inside St. Nicholas Cathedral, Archbishop Demetrios sprinkles holy water on the congregation.


Hundreds of parishioners and visitors packed the Tarpon Springs cathedral for the annual Epiphany service.

Clergy participating in the Hierarchal Divine Liturgy with Archbishop Demetrios (center) included, from left, Bishop Demetrios of Xanthos, Metropolitan Paisios of Leros, Kalymnos and Astypalais, Fr. James Rousakis of Holy Trinity Church in Clearwater, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and Fr. Michael Eaccarino, pastor of St. Nicholas Cathedral.

(Top) Irene Koulianos of Tarpon Springs carries the dove in the procession, which included choir members and other groups. (Below) Hundreds more follow in the parade to the bayou.

The icon of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan is carried and escorted in the procession to Spring Bayou by youth and children of St. Nicholas parish.

(Above) Among those participating in the procession to the bayou were groups from other area parishes, including these folk dancers from St. George parish in New Port Richey. (left) Thousands line the banks of Spring Bayou to witness the memorable event of the cross dive from boats such as this one, named in honor of longtime proeistamenos of blessed memory, Fr. Tryfon Theophilopoulos.



Celebrating Epiphany from Coast to Coast to Coast


long with the nation’s oldest and largest Epiphany celebration that takes place in Tarpon Springs, Fla., many parishes across the country also hold cross diving events to mark the feast day, from the balmy waters of Hawaii to the frigid shores of Long Island. This year, the Observer received photos from the communities of Hono-

lulu, San Diego, Corpus Christi, Nassau, Bahamas, Bridgeport, Conn., Merrick and Wantagh, N.Y. While the parish of St. Nicholas in lower Manhattan currently has no church of its own following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, parishioners continue to maintain the tradition of holding a cross-diving in New York harbor near Battery Park.

SAN DIEGO – Jumping off the dock of the bay. Three boys get ready to dive into the water as Fr. Andrew Skordalakis, pastor of St. Spyridon Church, prepares to throw the cross.

HONOLULU – At Waikiki Beach, Yanni Davis, son of Lt. Col.Robert Davis and Anastasia Davis, winner in the younger group of divers, stands with Fr Demetrios Dogias, dean of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Honolulu, and Fr. Robert Stephanopoulos, dean emeritus of the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral who was vacationing in Hawaii. There were three winners from two different age groups–under 8 and 9 to 14.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Fr. Stelios Sitaras, pastor of St. Nicholas Church, with cross divers (from left) John Piperis (who retrieved the cross), Kostas Pappakostas, and Kostas Talarantas.

Fr. John Romas and a handful of parishioners of St. Nicholas Church at ground zero boarded a fire boat from New York’s Fire Department for the tossing of the cross in New York harbor.

NASSAU, Bahamas – Parishioners of Annunciation Church and their pastor, Fr. Teodor Bita, were joined by the Very Rev. Sebastian Skordallos, chief secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese at its Epiphany celebration. David Maillis retrieved the cross.

Fr. Demetrios Recachinas and parishioners (above) of Holy Trinity Church in Bridgeport, Conn., gather on the shore of Long Island Sound at Seaside Park for the Blessing of the Waters and cross diving event. In a joint celebration, the Long Island south shore parishes of St. Demetrios in Merrick and St. Markella in Wantagh, held a combined ceremony at the Wantagh Marina, which was attended by hundreds of parishioners of both communities. Andreas Gonias of Bellmore retrieved the cross for the Wantagh community. The Merrick cross separated from its tether and the divers were unable to retrieve it in the murky water. A member of the community later returned to the site and was able to find the cross (left).


ΕΤΟΣ 73 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1235

Ἑορτή Ἁγίου Βασιλείου καί Νέον Ἔτος 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 πλήρωµα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς. Ἀγαπητοί µου Χριστιανοί, Τήν πρώτη ἡµέρα τοῦ Νέου Ἔτους τιµοῦµε τήν ζωή καί τήν παρακαταθήκη τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου, τοῦ οἰκουµενικοῦ Ἱεράρχου καί ∆ιδασκάλου τῆς Ἐκκλησίας µας ὁ ὁποῖος εἶναι διάσηµος γιά τήν ἐξαιρετική διανοητική καί πνευµατική παρακαταθήκη του ἡ ὁποία ἐξακολουθεῖ νά λάµπῃ παγκοσµίως. Ὁ Μέγας Βασίλειος δέν ὑπῆρξε ἁπλῶς µία µορφή κορυφαίας πνευµατικῆς ὑπεροχῆς• ἦταν ἐξίσου γνωστός γιά τίς δυναµικές προσπάθειές του καί τίς ἔµπρακτες ἐπιτυχίες του στήν ἵδρυση φιλανθρωπικῶν ἱδρυµάτων, ὀρφανοτροφείων καί νοσοκοµείων ἐκτός τῶν τειχῶν τῆς ἀρχαίας πόλεως Καισαρείας στήν Καππαδοκία, ὅπου ὑπηρέτησε ὡς Ἐπίσκοπος. ∆ικαιολογηµένα, τό συγκρότηµα αὐτῶν τῶν ἱδρυµάτων ἔλαβε τό ὄνοµά του «Βασιλειάς». Σήµερα, ἡ «Βασιλειάς» παραµένει σηµαντικό ἐπίτευγµα στόν τοµέα τῆς φιλανθρωπίας τό ὁποῖο ἑλκύει τήν προσοχή καί τήν µελέτη ὄχι µόνον ἱστορικῶν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἀλλά καί κοινωνιολόγων καί ἄλλων ἐπιστηµόνων σέ τοµεῖς σχετικούς ὅπως ἡ δηµόσια ὑγεία. Αὐτό τό γεγονός µᾶς ὑπενθυµίζει ὅτι πολλοί ἄνθρωποι σήµερα ἀναζητοῦν στήν ἱστορία καί εἰδικώτερα στήν Ἑλληνορθόδοξη κληρονοµιά πρότυπα σύµφωνα µέ τά ὁποῖα µποροῦν νά δηµιουργήσουν ὁλοκληρωµένα ἱδρύµατα φροντίδος γιά τήν ἀντιµετώπιση τῶν συγχρόνων καιρῶν καί ἀναγκῶν. Ἡ παρακαταθήκη τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου µᾶς προσφέρει ὑπέροχες προκλήσεις καί παραδείγµατα διακονίας γιά νά τά µιµηθοῦµε στή ζωή µας ὡς Ἑλληνορθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί. Εἶναι ὡραῖο ὅτι ἀρχίζουµε τό Νέον Ἔτος µελετῶντας τρόπους καί µέσα µέ τά ὁποῖα µποροῦµε νά φανοῦµε ἀντάξιοι τῆς πλουσίας κληρονοµίας τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου µέσα στίς κοινότητές µας. Ἕνα παράδειγµα αὐτῆς τῆς πλουσίας κληρονοµίας βρίσκει συγκεκριµένη ἔκφραση στό ἔργο τῆς δικῆς µας Ἀκαδηµίας τοῦ Ἁγίου Βασιλείου στήν πόλη Garrison τῆς Νέας Ὑόρκης, ἡ ὁποία δικαιολογηµένα φέρει τό ὄνοµα τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου. Γιά περισσότερα από πενῆντα χρόνια ἡ Ἀκαδηµία τοῦ Ἁγίου Βασιλείου ἔχει προσφέρει στέγη σέ παιδιά ἀπ’ ὁλόκληρη τήν χώρα, πολλά ἀπό τά ὁποῖα προέρχονται ἀπό οἰκογενένειες τῶν ὁποίων ἡ κατάσταση χρήζει θεραπείας καί φροντίδος. Ἡ Ἀκαδηµία τούς προσφέρει ἕνα περιβάλλον πλήρους φροντίδος τό ὁποῖο συµπεριλαµβάνει ἐκπαιδευτικά καί ψυχαγωγικά προγράµµατα καί στήριξη σέ θέµατα ὑγείας. Ἐπιπλέον, ἀποτελεῖ χῶρο ὅπου τά παιδιά µποροῦν νά βιώσουν τήν εἰρήνη καί τήν ἀγάπη τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ὅπως ἔχει καθιερωθῆ, στό ξεκίνηµα κάθε Νέου Ἔτους, ἔχουµε ἀναθέσει στήν Ἐθνική Φιλόπτωχο Ἀδελφότητα Κυριῶν καί τά τοπικά παραρτήµατά της στίς ἐνορίες ὅλης τῆς χώρας τήν προσπάθεια συγκεντρώσεως οἰκονοµικῆς βοηθείας γι’ αὐτή τήν σηµαντική διακονία. Αὐτή ἡ προσπάθεια ἐξακολουθεῖ νά ἀποτελῇ σηµαντική ὑποστήριξη γιά τήν Ἀκαδηµία, ἡ ὁποία ἐξαρτᾶται ἀπό τίς εἰσφορές τῶν πιστῶν γιά τήν συνέχιση τοῦ σηµαντικοῦ ἔργου προσφορᾶς της στά παιδιά. Ἔτσι, καθώς ἀρχίζουµε τό Νέον Ἔτος, καί καθώς µοιράζουµε στούς ἀνθρώπους µας κοµµάτια τῆς

óåë. 17




102 Χρόνια Εορτασμών των Θεοφανείων στο Τάρπον Σπρίνγκς




ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Με χαρακτηριστική μεγαλοπρέπεια και λαμπρότητα εορτάστηκε σε όλους τους Ορθόδοξους Ιερούς Ναούς των κοινοτήτων της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής η Ημέρα των Θεοφανείων. Επίκεντρο των εορτασμών, το μικρό ελ ληνικό χωριό των σφουγγαράδων Τάρπον Σπρίνγκς της Φλόριδα στον Κόλπο του Μεξικού , όπου περισσότεροι από 25,000 άνθρωποι, ομογενείς και τουρίστες, παρακολούθησαν με κατάνυξη την καθιερωμένη τελετή Καθαγια-

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 óåë. 18

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Α ΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΙΟΣ Ἑορτή Ἁγίου Βασιλείου καί Νέον Ἔτος  óåë. 15 παραδοσιακῆς Βασιλόπιτας ἡ ὁποία φέρει τό ὄνοµα τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου, σᾶς παρακαλῶ νά σκεφθῆτε νά κάνετε µιά εἰδική προσφορά στήν Ἀκαδηµία Ἁγίου Βασιλείου. ∆ιά τῶν προσευχῶν καί εἰσφορῶν σας θά στηρίξετε τούς στόχους αὐτῆς τῆς σηµαντικῆς διακονίας ἡ ὁποία ὠφελεῖ τά παιδιά καί τούς ἐφήβους γιά τούς ὁποίους ἡ Ἀκαδηµία ἀποτελεῖ σπίτι καθώς καί γιά στήριξη τοῦ προσωπικοῦ τό ὁποῖο ἐπιβλέπει τίς καθηµερινές λειτουργίες τοῦ ἱεροῦ αὐτοῦ ἱδρύµατος τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς. Εἴθε νά συνεχίσουµε διά πρεσβειῶν τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου νά ἐµπνεόµεθα γιά τήν συνέχιση ἔργων φιλανθρωπίας κατά τήν διάρκεια ὁλοκλήρου τοῦ Νέου Ἔτους 2008. Προσεύχοµαι ἡ ἀγάπη καί ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ νά εἶναι µαζί µέ σᾶς, τίς οἰκογένειές σας, µέ ὅλους ὅσοι διαβιοῦν στήν Ἀκαδηµία Ἁγίου Βασιλείου καί τούς ἀξιωµατούχους καί τά διοικητικά µέλη πού τήν ὑπηρετοῦν. Εἴθε τό φῶς καί ἡ χαρά τοῦ Χριστοῦ νά πληµµυρίσουν τήν καρδιά σας καί ἡ κάθε ἡµέρα τοῦ Νέου Ἔτους νά εἶναι γεµάτη µέ εὐηµερία, ἀφθονία, ὑγεία, καί χαρά.

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102 Χρόνια Εορτασμών των Θεοφανείων στο Τάρπον Σπρίνγκς

 óåë. 16 του Καθαγιασμού των Υδάτων και της Κατάδυσης του Τιμίου Σταυρού οι πιστοί είχαν πλημμυρίσει τον Καθεδρικό Ναό του Αγίου Νικολάου όπου στις 8 το πρωί ξεκίνησε ο Όρθρος και αμέσως μετά η Αρχιερατική Θεία Λειτουργία, προεξάρχοντος του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου και συλλειτουργούντων των Μητροπολιτών Ατλάντας κ. Αλεξίου και Καλύμνου, κ. Παϊσίου. Στην τελετή παρευρέθηκε φέτος και αντιπροσωπεία από την Ελ λάδα και συγκεκριμένα από τα Δωδεκάνησα αποτελούμενη από το Μητροπολίτη Λέρου, Καλύμνου και Αστυπάλαιας κ. Παϊσιο, τον βουλευτή Δωδεκανήσου, κ. Γιώργο Νικητιάδη, τον αντιδήμαρχο Καλύμνου, κ. Φίλιππο Χριστοδούλου και τη δήμαρχο Χάλκης, κ. Ελέγκω Παναγή.

Την πολιτική ηγεσία αντιπροσώπευσαν ο Ελληνοαμερικανός ομοσπονδιακός βουλευτής κ. Κώστας Μπιλιράκης, ο πρώην ομοσπονδιακός βουλευτής κ. Μάικλ Μπιλιράκης και η δήμαρχος του Τάρπον Σπρινγκς, κ. Μπέβερλι Μπιλίρη. Για τη μοναδική εμπειρία του ως δύτη και τυχερού που ανέσυρε τον Τίμιο Σταυρό, το 2007, μίλησε ο 19χρονος Μιχάλης Ξυπολιτάς ο οποίος τόνισε μεταξύ άλλων πως ακόμα τον διαπερνούν ρίγη συγκίνησης και πως “η αίσθηση της νίκης μου ήταν ανεξήγητη, ήταν ένα μοναδικά εκπληκτικό συναίσθημα”. “Εορτάζουμε τα Θεοφάνεια ως μια οικογένεια”, πρόσθεσε ο Μητροπολίτης Παίσιος, προσθέτοντας πως “τα έθιμα αυτά μεταφέρθηκαν εδώ στο Τάρπον Σπρίνγκς από τους μετανάστες των Δωδεκανήσων”.

ΤΟ ΑΝΑΛΥΤΙΚΟ ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΤΟΥ ΝΗΠΙΑΓΩΓΕΙΟΥ Πριν από λίγες ημέρες πραγματοποιήθηκε η επίσημη παρουσίαση του νέου βιβλίου που εξέδωσε το Γραφείο Εκπαίδευσης της Αμέσου Αρχιεπισκοπικής Περιφέρειας με τον τίτλο “Αναλυτικό Πρόγραμμα Νηπιαγωγείου: Για τη διδασκαλία της Ελληνικής ως δεύτερης γλώσσας”. Το εν λόγω βιβλίο είναι βασισμένο στις μαθησιακές ανάγκες και στις δυνατότητες των παιδιών νηπιακής ηλικίας και απευθύνεται στους εκπαιδευτικούς. Στο στιγμιότυπο διακρίνονται ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος και η κ. Μαρία Μακεδών, υπεύθυνη του Γραφείου Εκπαίδευσης της Αμέσου Αρχιεπισκοπικής Περιφέρειας, αλλά και της εκδοσης αυτής, κατά τη διάρκεια Εκπαιδευτικού Σεμιναρίου στην Αστόρια της Νέας Υόρκης.




Elected to Academy American Hellenic Institute President Gene Rossides was elected a visiting member of the Academy of Athens in the field of legal science, branch of ethics and political science. The formal reception and ceremony took place Oct. 30 where the Academy president, Professor Panagiotis L. Bokotopoulos, presented Mr. Rossides with the Academy’s certificate and pin.

Movie-maker Michael Carvaines, a Greek-American filmmaker originally from Cleveland, released an independent feature film “TIME and TIDE on DVD on Jan. TIME and TIDE made its worldwide debut at the Ohio Independent Film Festival and has been called “a beautifully shot and well-acted movie” by The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Mr. Carvaines is a writer, director, and producer. In addition to running his own production company, Micar Productions, he has spent the last several years working for Gramercy Pictures, USA Films, DreamWorks and New Line Cinema, marketing over 100 major movies including Traffic, Being John Malkovich, The New World, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Gosford Park, Maria Full of Grace, The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, and A History of Violence.

Achievement award St. Demetrios Church in Seattle presented its Leadership Achievement Award to Manuel and Peggy Tramountanas. The award, given only one other time in the history of the parish, recognizes the couple's many years of service in "leadership on a sustained basis" at St. Demetrios. Manuel served as Parish Council president, president of the All Saints Center, and chair of Stewardship and the Festival. Peggy was Philoptochos president, a founder and co-chair of Camp Agape Northwest for children with cancer, festival baking chair, dance group board member, Sunday School teacher, and helped establish a homeless feeding program.

Woman of valor Andrea Makrinos, a member of St. John the Theologian Cathedral in Tenafly, N.J., recently was honored by the Women of Valor organization with the Clarissa Award for leadership and service in the business sector. Ms. Makrinos has been published in the American Public Health Association Journal for her work with breast cancer.

Sets record With the strong support of the GreekAmerican community, Mike Manatos recently set a fund-raising record for the annual Make-A-Wish Foundation Triathlon held in Bethany Beach, Del. Manatos’ fundraising total, from competing in the last 10 consecutive Make-AWish triathlons, broke the $280,000 mark. In the 24 year history of this annual event, which attracts close to 1,000 participants, no one has come close to Manatos’ total raised. The funds have enabled 40 children fighting terminal or life threatening illnesses to each have their wish come true. This year Manatos raised $ 42,800 – also a record for the most raised in one year. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that fulfills the wishes of children ages 2½ to 18 with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish has granted the wishes of over 151,000 children worldwide.

Washington Cathedral and Dean Both Go Way Back WASHINGTON – It’s rare that the lives of a community and its priest are as intertwined as they are at St. Sophia Cathedral. Yet for more than half a century, the Greek Orthodox cathedral of the nation’s capital and Fr. John Tavlarides have been inextricably linked. He is a bridge between the founding generation and their descendants of the present day. Stability has been another hallmark of this parish, the 10th oldest in the Archdiocese. Fr. Tavlarides is only St. Sophia’s sixth full-time priest. Over the past 50 years he estab-


Venizelist breakup

The Venizelist controversy pitted supporters of Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos against King Constantine, who was viewed by many as a traitor for his leanings toward Germany during the war. The controversy tore apart many communities, resulting in factions of one group or the other forming their own churches. In Washington, the Royalist group established Sts. Constantine and Helen in 1918, now located on 16th Street NW, a few blocks north of the White House. (profiled in July 1995 Observer). Venizelos himself visited St. Sophia

Alexander that he must commemorate King Constantine during the Divine Liturgy.

New construction

Several itinerant priests served for brief periods in the interim until Fr. John Papanicholas, a history professor from Macedonia, arrived in the community in 1926 and remained until 1935, the middle of the Great Depression. Under his leadership, the parish built its first church, at 8th and L streets. His grandson, Mitch, recently served as parish council president during the construction of the education building, from 2000 to 2003.

p ro f i l e

Name: St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral Location: Washington, D.C. Metropolis: Archdiocesan District Size: about 1,400 members Founded: 1904 Clergy: Rev. Dr. John Tavlarides–Holy Cross ‘53; St. Vladimir’s Seminary–D. Min; Fr. Steven Zorzos (Assistant), Holy Cross ‘83 e-mail: Web: Noteworthy: priest has served the community for more than half its existence ST. SOPHIA CATHEDRAL lished programs that have enriched the community’s spiritual life and officiated at thousands of sacraments affecting his widely scattered parishioners, of which fewer than 25 percent live in the District of Columbia. Most commute to services from Virginia and Maryland.

Early Years

Theodore Roosevelt was president and the Wright Brothers were basking in the limelight following their recent successful historic airplane flight when a handful of Greeks from Laconia and Arcadia in the Peloponnesus–about 30 families–settled in Washington. According to a history by parishioner Peter Koutsandreas, these immigrants rented the upper room of a hall in November 1904 and established their community, naming it after Haghia Sophia of Constantinople. The first priest, Fr. Nathaniel Sideris, served only two years and was succeeded by Archimandrite Fr. Joakim Alexopoulos, who served through the turbulent years of World War I, until 1919. As time passed their numbers grew and the community moved to a larger hall, a room over a store at 6th and G streets in the lower northwest quadrant of the city. It was the location of the first synagogue in Washington, Adas Israel, that is now the site of the Jewish Museum. In 1913, the community grew to the point where a permanent church was needed. Property at 8th and L streets was purchased and became the site of the first church building. It stood where the Washington Convention Center now stands. It was during this time that the political climate in Greece affected Greek communities throughout the United States.

Church in the 1920s. Meanwhile, Fr. Alexopoulos was named Metropolitan of Demetrias in Volos, Greece, in 1919 and went on to play a great role as a humanitarian during World War II. He was credited with saving about 700 Jews during the German occupation by hiding them in the villages of Mount Pelion. According to an article in the National Herald by Efthalia Walsh in October 2005 commemorating St. Sophia’s recent 100th anniversary, when the Nazis asked Metropolitan Alexopoulos to provide a list of Jewish residents, he responded, “I am a Jew.” In 1998 he was recognized by Israel with the title “Righteous Among the Nations.” His name is inscribed at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, and at the Holocaust Museum in Washington that now stands on the site where St. Sophia’s congregation worshipped in the upper room over a store during WWI. Fr. Alexopoulos’ successor, the Rev. Dr. Basil Lambrides, a native of Constantinople and graduate of the Halki Theological School, had been the editor of an antiBulgarian newspaper in Bulgaria before the government expelled him, according to the National Herald article. He came to the United States and, before his assignment to St. Sophia, he served parishes in Rhode Island, Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala., where he raised more money for the Venizelist cause than any other Greek Orthodox parish in the U.S., and Salt Lake City, where he helped settle a strike at a copper mine where Greek immigrants worked. Fr. Lambrides’ tenure at St. Sophia was short lived, however. He died of a heart attack in 1921. Newspaper reports at the time indicated that his death resulted from a “crisis of conscience” because he was distressed over a directive from Archbishop

Fr. Papanicholas was succeeded by the Very Rev. Aimilianos Lalousssis, who served until 1960, when he was elevated to Bishop of Harioupolis and headed the Chicago and Charlotte dioceses. During World War II, the parish launched a fund drive to build a new church. The community purchased its present site, at 36th Street and Massachusetts Avenue along Embassy Row, and groundbreaking for the church took place in 1951. Though construction stopped in 1953 due to lack of money, the project soon started up again and the classic Byzantine-style building was completed in February 1955. On Sept. 30, 1956, Archbishop Michael presided at the cornerstone ceremony, with President and Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower in attendance, the first visit to the parish by a U.S. president. The only other American president to attend a service at St. Sophia was Lyndon Johnson, who attended a liturgy in 1964. One of his advisors was parishioner Michael Manatos, who served as administrative assistant to President John F. Kennedy from 1961-63 and President Johnson for four years. He was the congressional liaison to the U.S. Senate. Another prominent government official who was a member in the 1960s was Congressman John Brademas of Indiana.

Authentically Byzantine

For the interior iconography project, the community consulted scholars from Harvard University’s famed Center for Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, a short distance from the church.

 page 31



Center for Family Care The Importance of ‘Story’ in Teaching Children the Faith erature into your life and your children’s lives and ask Him for the gift of discernment as you read what comes your way. Consider using the following prayer with your family: Lord, as you granted Solomon the gift of wisdom, bestow upon us the gifts of wisdom and discernment. Help us to find inspiration and illumination in the words we read. Strengthen our hearts and minds, that we might not be led astray by deceptive or spiritually darkening literature. Fill our lives with wisdom, that we may be educated and edified and that we may ultimately serve you with the gifts you give so freely to those who ask. For you are a good and merciful God who loves mankind, and to you we send up glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I wish I could say that it was the Bible or the lives of the saints alone that brought me to the Christian faith and, later, to the Orthodox Church. by Heather Zydek

Instead, like many of us born after the advent of television, my faith as a Christian was inspired by an amalgam of impressions from weekly Sunday School lessons, stories about death from my mother’s childhood, annual viewings of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments and Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, and frequent readings of Myths and Mythology by Anthony Horowitz, a vividly illustrated book I received as an eight-year-old. The Sunday School lessons made me familiar with the stories of the Bible and the mysterious person of Jesus Christ. The stories of my mother’s biological father’s and step-father’s untimely deaths put subjects like dying and the afterlife on my radar at a very young age. The classic Bible films brought to life the Sunday School lessons that were appealing but abstract to me as a child. If you’re wondering how the book of mythology fit into the picture of my early faith, you may have to think outside of the Judeo-Christian box for a moment. It’s true that not once is Jesus, the Holy Trinity, or the Church mentioned in this secular book. It contains tales of pagan gods and pre-Christian myths. But the book, and others like it, nudged me a little closer to the idea that this life is just one part of a larger story humans have been trying to understand since the dawn of time; it helped me look beyond my small suburban worldview and made me thirsty for a deeper meaning, for universal Truth. No one can deny the sway of all forms of story, whether printed, recited, or projected on the screen. God knows His children learn best through story; that’s probably why Jesus used entertaining stories (parables) to convey timeless truths. “Jesus could just have said, ‘your neighbor is anyone who needs you,’” said Bev. Cooke, author of Keeper of the Light: St. Macrina the Elder. “But the point is so much more clearly made when he tells of the Samaritan man who helped a Jew ... In the writing world, that's SHOWING not telling … Stories show. Maxims and short pithy sayings tell. Lectures and moralizing deaden and put to sleep.” Oftentimes, story is necessary in illuminating abstract ideas. The stories of the Bible, for example, have been used for millennia to teach children about God and His creation. Noah’s Ark, the miracles of Jesus, the Acts of the Apostles–all these

Heather Zydekof Wauwatosa, Wis., is the author of the middle-grade novel Basil’s Search for Miracles. Learn more about her work at stories are useful in teaching children the ancient truths of the Judeo-Christian faith. The lives of the saints, often vivid and compelling, can be instrumental in teaching children about self-sacrifice and the call to be otherworldly. Modern Orthodox Christian children’s books illustrate important spiritual lessons through both retold and new stories. But we Orthodox don’t live in a Holy Spirit–filled vacuum. We live in a fallen world, a place where we must struggle daily to be “in the world, but not of it.” We are constantly bombarded with stories, generated by the larger secular culture, that inform our actions, our identities, our beliefs. How can we discern which stories can be of use and which we should avoid? When it comes to books, author and mother Katherine Grace Bond gives her children titles “with language that sings, plots that engage, characters who are authentic and who undergo transformation.” “I suppose one of the qualities I look for the most,” she said, “is what I call ‘heart.’ When I have a sense that the author cares about human beings and her characters live to give value and dignity to other people then I’m interested in passing her work on to my children.” What’s off limits? Both Cooke and Bond hesitated to make sweeping statements about which books should or should not be banned from a Christian household. Rather, each family needs to determine their own reading guidelines

based on each family member’s maturity level. “Older teens,” said Bond, “are more equipped developmentally to read a book through the filter of their own values and decide whether its characters have the same values or not. The most important first step is years and years of family and one-on-one discussions on the topic of faith. That way young people can see clearly when there is a contrast between the book’s content and Christian virtues.” Here are some basic guidelines to help you on the path: (1) Do your homework. Organizations such as the Orthodox Children’s Writers Guild (orthodoxchildrensbooks@, the Orthodox Christian Education Commission (www.orthodoxed. org), and the Center for Family Care ( can guide you toward inspiring, educational reading materials for your family. A trusted teacher, priest, or librarian might also provide guidance. (2) Read what your kids are reading. Open that book that everyone is talking about and find out what it is all about. Make your own assessments. Properly and prayerfully addressing the challenging materials that cross our paths can lead to spiritual growth and maturity for all involved. (3) Discuss. Talk things out. If something troubles you about one of the books your child is reading, talk about what concerns you. Discuss whether the characters, happenings, and books themselves have any redeeming qualities. (4) Pray. Ask God to put inspiring lit-

Resources for Families: Orthodox Children's Radio Program Readings from Under the Grapevine: Inspirational Stories for Children of All Ages, is a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, presented by Dr. Chrissi Hart. Following the publication of her first children’s picture book, Under the Grapevine: A Miracle by Saint Kendeas of Cyprus (Conciliar Press, 2006), a true miraculous story about her grandmother, Dr. Hart was asked to host an exciting new weekly children’s program. Each week she reads from quality Orthodox and classic Christian literature for children to inspire, teach, and spiritually nourish the heart and soul. The first part focuses on picture books for younger children and the second,

chapter books or longer picture books for older children. Intended as bedtime listening, Dr. Hart’s British accent adds an extra charming quality to each program. Dr. Hart is an author and licensed psychologist. She was born in Cyprus, grew up in England, and now lives in York, Pa., with her husband and two children.

Learn more about her work by visiting her website and podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Readings from Under the Grapevine is broadcast Saturday (9am and 7pm ET) and Thursday (7pm ET) on http://www., or download the podcast for free at any time.

St. John Chrysostom on Storytelling An important part of a child’s education is storytelling, since good stories excite the imagination and strengthen the bond between parent

and child. Stories from the Bible are preferred, and the child should repeat them often, to underscore full comprehension.

Family Activity Corner: Read Basil’s Search for Miracles Together This is a novel about an ordinary 12year-old reporter on a quest: he must find and report on true, modern miracles for his school newspaper. After Basil sees a real weeping icon, meets with people who have been miraculously healed of deadly illnesses, and more, he begins to understand his faith and puts it in motion in his own life. Set aside a time to sit down and read this book with your pre-teenage child(ren)*. After finishing the first chapter, use the following study guide to direct your discussion. To find discussion questions for further chapters, visit * Parents, please note that reading Basil's Search for Miracles will open up many areas of discussion on real life issues and your Orthodox Faith; however, it does deal with some situations that are most appropriate for more mature children. Chapter 1–Study Guide Why did Basil’s mom want him to go to St. Norbert’s Academy? Was Basil excited about his acceptance to the academy? Why or why not? What changed his mind about the school? How do you react when your parents make a decision that you don’t agree with? How does it feel to leave being ‘a little kid’ to becoming a more responsible ‘big kid’? Do you think children are expected to grow up too fast, too soon? Why or why not? What is a newspaper editor? What does she/he do for a newspaper? What is your vision of a perfect school? Ask your parents what their ideal school is and compare to your own. Special thanks to the Amiot, Rutledge and Ogle families for their help creating the study guide. The Archdiocesan Center for Family Care is located at 79 St. Basil Rd., on the grounds of St. Basil Academy and is part of the Department of Marriage and Family. Tel. (845) 424-8175.



PARISH PROFILE  page 21 The resulting iconography serves as a prime example of authentic Byzantine art, the parish history notes.

The Tavlarides era

1956 was also the year of Stamford, Conn., native Fr. Tavlarides’ arrival as assistant priest, along with his presbytera, the former Harriet Anastasiades, a graduate of St. Basil Academy’s teachers college. He helped transform the church into a cathedral, launching new programs and increasing membership. As the metropolitan area’s Greek Orthodox population grew, St. Sophia became the mother church for other parishes. These include St. Katherine, which got its start in Arlington in the 1950s, but eventually relocated to Falls Church; St. George in Bethesda and St. Theodore, now located in Lanham. Over the years, St. Sophia has received visits from Ecumenical Patriarchs Dimitrios (1990) and Bartholomew (2004), and various ambassadors, prime ministers and other dignitaries. Each year, the embassies of Greece and Cyprus hold celebrations of their national holidays at the cathedral each year, which are attended by members of their diplomatic corps and government officials.

Unique programs

For the typical parishioners life in the community is more than visits by dignitaries. One of Fr. Tavlarides’ first actions upon becoming the head priest was to inaugurate the annual 10-week pre-Lenten lecture series, which he has offered continuously over the past 47 years. He places great emphasis on religious education and the cathedral’s 325-student Sunday School, holding evening lectures for Sunday School teachers and other adult classes. As part of their catechetical education, boys age 14 must serve in the altar during the entire year, while the girls attend separate classes for that age group. Both groups then resume regular classes in the ninth grade. Also, for young people under 18 who want to participate in Little Angels, JOY, GOYA and in GOYA basketball or other activities, Sunday School attendance is mandatory. Greek school is offered once a week to about 100 students in three locations to accommodate children of members living in the suburbs. One class meets at the cathedral on Saturdays. Another class takes place in Bethesda on Mondays and the third is offered in Vienna, Va., on Tuesday evenings. Classes at the cathedral meet at the Frosene Education Center, which was dedicated in 2004 by Archbishop Demetrios. The facility also has two large function rooms for banquets, weddings and dances. St. Sophia does not have a large ethnic Greek congregation. Many are young, well educated Greek Americans who come to Washington to work in government or for

Looking to BUY or SELL a Home in Florida? the “think tanks” that have proliferated over the years. However, Fr. Tavlarides says he uses about 80 percent English and Greek in the liturgy, using both languages for many parts of the service. A large percentage are Christians who originally were members of other Christian groups but became Orthodox by choice, either through marriage, or as a personal decision. Fr. Tavlarides estimates that 90 percent of the weddings he has performed over the past several years have been inter-Christian. To minister to such a large, diverse community, he and his assistant priest since 1984, Fr. Zorzos, divide the many duties and responsibilities. Fr. Zorzos officiates at most weekday liturgies and does the record keeping. They both visit hospitals and shut-ins and perform funerals and other sacraments together.

Revenue sources

Much of the parish’s income is derived from dues, not stewardship, and from donations and two Greek festivals during the year. “Stewardship has failed here,” said Fr. Tavlarides. “It seems that conservative parishes don’t adapt easily.” The community also owns three houses that it rents, but they’re currently being renovated and are not generating income, he said. “We’re broke right now,” said the priest. “Rents are very high and that has hurt us.”

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Upcoming congress

The Washington community is preparing for its third Clergy-Laity Congress, with volunteers from the metropolitan area churches helping to organize the event under the leadership of St. Sophia parishioner Tim Maniatis. As the church cannot accommodate such a large turnout for the Sunday Divine Liturgy next July, the service will take place at the congress hotel, the Marriott Wardman Park hotel. The first congress in the District took place in 1956 and was attended by President Eisenhower. In 1990, the congress coincided with the first visit of an Ecumenical Patriarch, Dimitrios, to the United States.

Past is present

Reflecting on his parish and his long tenure at the Cathedral, Fr. Tavlarides remarked, “this is a very different community. It’s a focal point for all the country because of where we are.” Looking back on his five decades, he said, “It seems as if it all happened now. There is no past, no present, no future; because Christ is always now. That’s my theological position. Everything is now. I know it’s past, but I also know it’s happening now, all over again.” While he has no readily available statistics for the sacraments he has performed, Fr. Tavlarides estimates he has performed more than 2,000 weddings and, in any given year, 40 to 50 funerals and about 100 baptisms. — Compiled by Jim Golding

If you have questions regarding The Archdiocesan Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policy or want to report a complaint of clergy misconduct, call the toll-free hotline (877) 544-3382 All complaints will be taken seriously and allegations will be investigated fully and impartially. Callers may speak with a male or female volunteer in either Greek or English.


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I n M e m o r i a m Metropolitan Dionysios of New Zealand Former Head of Cyprus Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos, Dies at 80

NICOSIA, Cyprus – Archbishop Chrysostomos I, former head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Cyprus, died on Dec. 22 after a long bout with an undisclosed illness, the Associated Press reported. He was 80. Chrysostomos reportedly was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and for several years was unable to carry out his duties on the east Mediterranean island. In May 2006, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew chaired a meeting of church elders that called for Chrysostomos’ “honorary removal.” His successor, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, said death had come as “a relief” to Chrysostomos, who had lived his final days in seclusion in his room at the Archbishopric in Nicosia. Chrysostomos’ body lay in state Dec 23 and 24 at St. John’s Cathedral, within Archbishopric grounds. The funeral took place Dec. 24. Chrysostomos was elevated to the church’s senior position in 1977, when he

Fr. William Kehayes Fr. William Kehayes, 81, a retired priest, died Dec. 17. He was born June 22, 1926, in Newark, N.J., and attended public schools in Newark. He attended Holy Cross Theological School and graduated in 1951. He also attended Berkeley Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. He married Christine Papapostolos of Clinton, Mass., in June 1951. They had four children: Spyridon, Peter, Paul and Iphigenia-Maria. He was ordained in July 1951 in Newark by Metropolitan Iakovos of Mytilene, and as a priest by Archbishop Michael on Aug. 15, 1951. His first assignment was at St. Sophia Church in New London, Conn. He also served the parishes of Holy Trinity in Bridgeport, Conn; Annunciation in Rochester, N.Y.; St. Nicholas, Detroit; St. Barbara in New Haven, Conn.; and St. Katherine in Naples, Fla. From December 1979 until October 1983, he served on the faculty of Hellenic College in Brookline, Mass. Fr. Kehayes retired July 1, 2004.

Fr. Antony Sirigos Fr. Anthony C. Sirigos, 77, a priest who served at Three Hierarchs Church, then at the former Old Calendar church of St. Nicholas, also in Brooklyn, died Nov. 29. A native of Siphnos Greece, born June 5, 1930, he attended elementary school there. He came to the United States in November 1947 and attended the High School of Commerce in New York four years. He then enrolled at the City College of New York and studied business administration. He married Katherine Kylitis, a native of Pireaus, Greece, in May 1959. They had three children: Constantine, Calliope and Demetra. He was ordained a deacon Jan. 1, 1984, at Three Hierarchs Church in Brooklyn by Bishop Methodios of Boston, and a priest on Aug. 1, 1985 by Bishop Philotheos of Meloa. Prior to his ordination, he had worked in the private sector. He had been retired for the past three years.

Athena Hatziemmanuel Athena Hatziemmanuel, 81, a former teacher and director of St. Basil Academy’s elementary and high schools and the wife of former director of the Archdiocese Department of Greek Education Emmanuel Hatziemmanuel, died Oct. 18.

succeeded Archbishop Makarios, the first post-independence president of Cyprus. Paphos-born Chrysostomos joined the church as a young monk at the island’s famed Kykkos monastery before earning degrees in philosophy and theology from the University of Athens. After graduate studies in Britain, he worked as a teacher in Cyprus. Chrysostomos was ordained suffragan bishop in 1968 and bishop of Paphos in 1973. Funeral services took place Oct. 22 at Church of Our Savior in Rye, N.Y. Mrs. Hatziemmanuel also served as a professor of English and literature at the School of Education at St. Basil’s. She also authored seven “I Learn Greek” books for children learning Greek as a second language at Greek schools of the Archdiocese. Mrs. Hatziemmanuel was born in Red Bank, N.J., Jan. 23, 1926. At age 7, she moved with her mother and sister to Samos where she was enrolled in a local elementary school to study Greek. When World War II broke out, they were unable to turn to the United States and she continued her education at a local high school, graduating at the top of her class. After the war, the family returned to the U.S. and settled in Richmond, Va. She attended Westhampton College of the University of Richmond on a scholarship and graduated with a degree in psychology. In 1949, she traveled to Birmingham, England and met and married Emmanuel, who was doing graduate work in education under a scholarship from the World Council of Churches. Mrs. Hatziemmanuel returned to the United States in 1953. Archbishop Michael appointed her as an instructor at St. Basil’s, where her husband was serving as a professor. She also attended Columbia University and graduated with a master’s in literature. After many years of service at the Academy, she retired and was recognized by the Greek government as “Headmaster of High Schools.” In addition to her husband, she is survived by three children, Michael, Theodore and Alexis, and four grandchildren. Memorials may be made to St. Basil Academy, 79 St. Basil Rd., Garrison, N.Y. 10524.

George V. Tsounis George Vlassios Tsounis, 84, a founder of Transfiguration Church in Mattituck, Long Island, died Nov. 21, at the Veterans Administration Nursing Home in Stony Brook, N.Y. Born in Aliquippa, Pa., to parents from the island of Limnos, Greece, he was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army. The funeral, with military honors, took place at Holy Trinity Church in Hicksville, Long Island. He is survived by his wife, Cleo; four children, Catherine, Christopher, Nicholas Sotirios and Thomas Angelo; and several grandchildren.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Metropolitan (Archbishop) Dionysios Psiachas, who headed the Greek Orthodox Church in New Zealand and Oceania for 33 years from 1970 till 2003, died Jan. 6 at age 91, the Dominion Post newspaper reported on Jan. 10. Hundreds bid farewell at the open casket service. His funeral was Jan. 9. He was described as a simple man who worked tirelessly to stretch his church to countries where the Greek Orthodox religion was unknown. During 42 overseas trips he traveled widely in Korea, India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia,

where he started churches and ordained local priests. The Metropolis is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Fr. Tsourapas Costantinos of the Church in New Zealand said Metropolitan Dionysios was a simple man, totally devoted to his church. Fr. Daniel Na, of the Orthodox Church in Korea and a graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology, said Metropolitan Dionysios’ body was resting but his spirit was alive. In the early 1960s, the Very Rev. Eugene Pappas, pastor of Three Hierarchs Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., served as a missionary in South Korea under Archbishop Dionysios.

Fr. George N. Bartz

tablishing many of the youth programs and other ministries of the parish. Fr. Bartz and Presbytera Zaferoula expanded the Sunday school and he also launched a fund drive to build a community center. Their son, U.S. Navy chaplain Capt. William “Bill” Bartz, went on to become the first parishioner to graduate from Holy Cross and the first to become a priest from the community. Fr. Bartz also inspired 10 other men to attend the seminary and become priests. His successor at Annunciation, the Rev. Jerry Hall, described Fr. Bartz as “a gentle man who always wanted to show mercy to other people.” In addition to his Presbytera and Fr. Bill, survivors include three daughters, Zoe McClish of Akron, Pamela Plumis of Seattle, and Nicole Keares and son-in-law Fr. Costas Keares, of Harrisburg, Pa., and other relatives. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Father George Bartz Camp Scholarship Fund, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 129 S. Union St., Akron, OH 44304. Funeral services took place Jan. 19 with Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, a close friend of Fr. William Bartz; officiating, assisted by Fr. Jerry Hall and other clergy.

Fr. George N. Bartz, pastor emeritus of Annunciation Church, died Jan. 15. He was 84. Fr. Bartz served the Akron community as proeistamenos for 38 years and was the second-longest serving priest. Even after retiring in September 1994, he continued to be of service in the parish and was associated with Annunciation Church a total of 51 years.He was born in Jackson, Mich., July 29, 1923. After attending public schools and junior college in Jackson, he attended Holy Cross School of Theology and graduated in 1947. He married the former Zaferoula Hadgigeorge of Youngstown, Ohio, a graduate of St. Basil Academy’s teachers college, and was ordained as a deacon at St. John Church in Youngstown July 25, 1948, by Bishop Athenagoras Cavadas, who also ordained him to the priesthood at St. Spyridon Church in Worcester, Mass. Before coming to Akron, Fr. Bartz served the parishes of St. Nicholas in Youngstown from Sept. 13, 1948 to Sept. 3, 1951, and Annunciation in Scranton, Pa., from Sept. 3, 1951 to Sept. 5, 1956. In Akron, he was instrumental in es-

Olga Sarantos Olga Sarantos, two-term president of the Chicago Choir Federation, passed away Sunday, Dec. 30, after an extended illness. She was a lifelong advocate of Orthodox music ministries in Chicago and a founding member of the Chicago Choir Federation. She served as Federation President in 1969 and 1970. She devoted her musical talents to the

Assumption Church in Chicago for over 65 years; first as organist and then as choir director until her retirement in 2004. Last year around this time, she was featured in the Chicago Tribune (Jan 29,2006 - Section 13) because her grandchildren had recorded an album in honor of her called “REHEARSING MY CHOIR.” It won awards and she had great delight in that experience with the kids. Her funeral service was held at Assumption Church in Chicago on Jan. 3.

10,000 Bibles Sent to Greek Fire Victims

NEW YORK – The Archdiocese and the American Bible Society are jointly underwriting the costs to supply over 10,000 copies of the New Testament in modern Greek to those affected by the devastating fires in Greece. The initiative, spearheaded by the Greek Bible Society, will donate Bibles directly to the affected metropolises in Greece , which will then distribute the Bibles at no cost to the individuals impacted. “The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has actively responded to this terrible tragedy in Greece ,” remarked Archbishop Demetrios. “Now, through this initiative from the Greek Bible Society, the Archdiocese of America will be able to support the local, pastoral outreach of the local metropolises in Greece. Supporting such vital programs as this tangibly demonstrates the Church’s concern for both the physical and spiritual well-being

of everyone.” Michail Chatzigiannis, general secretary of the Greek Bible Society, also remarked, “Though materialism and the atheistic spirit of this world may try to demoralize the victims of these tragic fires, we believe that the written Word of God will help those affected experience God as “the Lord of patience and consolation. ”The Archdiocese, the American Bible Society, and the Greek Bible Society have collaborated closely on a number of initiatives such as the publication of the Children’s Bible Reader and the digital publication of the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s 1904 authorized New Testament text. Founded in 1816 and headquartered in New York City, the mission of the American Bible Society is to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford.


The Voice of



Pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate Winter Meeting Approves $504,098 for Philanthropic Work The following is the second in a series of articles offering first hand reflections of the historic National Philoptochos pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Cappadocia in October.

Participants in the Pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate visit the Church of Holy Wisdom (Aghia Sophia) built by the Emperor Justinian.

by Faye Peponis

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – As a result of the combined and dedicated commitment to the mission of Philoptochos by the chapters throughout the United States, the National Board approved the distribution of $504,098 to its philanthropic ministries in America and other parts of the world: The winter meeting took place Nov. 9 prior to the 11th National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon held the following day. Those present included Archbishop Demetrios and Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, the National Philoptochos spiritual advisor, along with National President Georgia Skeadas and the full national board. President Skeadas, addressing the board, stated that, “synergy has allowed the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society to become the dynamic, creative and inspirational force for worldwide philanthropy that it now represents. “We have demonstrated the reality of the synergistic principle that the whole is greater than the sum of its individual components. Synergy is the combined actions of different agents: for us, these agents are the various levels of our organization, namely, the national, metropolis and chapter levels, producing significantly greater results with our combined efforts than can be accomplished individually.” The funds are being allotted as follows: $52,500 – St. Basil Academy Sisterhood Fund for new roofing on girls dorms $37,500 – Hellenic College Scholarship Fund for 25 scholarships to students in good academic standing who are members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese $40,000 – Retired Clergy Benevolent Fund $150,000 – Children’s Medical Fund distribution for seven Metropolis of San Francisco Hospitals and special children’s medical programs $30,000 – IOCC for its work with the Parktown Medical Clinic in the Archdiocese of Zimbabwe to serve children with HIV/AIDS and other ailments. $20,000 – Children’s Medical Fund for the “Autism Speaks/Cure Autism Now” project $20,000 – Archdiocesan Missions $15,000 – IOCC $20,000 - Support A Mission Priest (SAMP) $25,000 – National Emergency Fund to assist Fire Victims in Southern California $94,098 – Proceeds from the National Philoptochos Greek Fire Relief Fund to be presented to the Archdiocese for distribution to appropriate agencies. The National Philoptochos continues to achieve record breaking levels of giving due to the tremendous support from the chapters throughout the country.

The pilgrimage began with services at the Church of St. George at the Phanar and an audience with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. This followed with visits to the Greek Orthodox churches in Istanbul. The pilgrims sang “Te Ypermacho” at the Panagia Blacherna Church, the site of the all night vigils following the circling of the walls of the city with the Icon of the Panagia of Blacherna when the Christians asked and were granted protection against the invaders. At the Church of Zoodochos Pighe, the Life-Giving Spring, in Baloukli Monastery, Bishop Andonios held a Trisagion at the tombs of the Patriarchs. We descended to the lower level of the church renovated in 1833 to see the Shrine of Zoodochos Pighe, the holy spring with fish and partake of Holy Water. While at the monastery we visited the Baloukli Home for the Aged to present a $5,000 donation from Philoptochos. The interaction with the residents who were well cared for and so loving and appreciative of the many visitors eager to exchange a caress or a story with them was one of the highlights of the trip. The pilgrims then visited the beautifully decorated and well-maintained Aghia Triatha Cathedral with its imposing and cascading domes that serves as the current church of the Orthodox faithful. It is one of a very few outlines of cascading domes visible against the Istanbul sky that holds a cross instead of a crescent. The pilgrims’ walk continued through Pera, the former vibrant Greek district of Istanbul before the disasters of 1955. Approaching the well known Zographeion Parochial High School, they were greeted with flowers and smiles by the students who lined the stairs and entry of the school in welcome. The students presented a short program and the school’s director gave each of the group a memento

of the Zographeion School. A check for $500 was presented to the school. This eminent hall of learning where many generations of scholars have passed is modern and well equipped. The students resembled any GOYA group at home but they face major challenges every day. The government no longer allows students from abroad to attend the school. Another highlight of the trip was the visit to the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology. With Europe on one side and Asia on the other the group sailed the Golden Horn on a breezy, sun-filled and absolutely beautiful day by ferry to Halki of the Princess Islands. Perched atop the peak of the island amid the green forests, this historic and venerable institution has served as the seminary for the hierarchy of the Orthodox Church, educator of the theologians of the world, and depository for the wisdom of the ages. Ever hopeful and anticipating the day that classes will resume and the doors of this center of Orthodox learning will again be open to professors and students, gardens are manicured and burst with color, floors are polished, windows sparkle, and not a speck of dust is found on the precious stacks in the library. His Eminence Apostolos, abbot of Halki Monastery, led a short service in the Chapel of Holy Trinity and hosted the group for lunch where he received a $2,000

Five College Students Receive Scholarships from Weston Chapter WESTON, Mass. – The Philoptochos chapter at St. Demetrios Church recently awarded scholarships to five students. Eleni Kmiec, daughter of Jan and Stephanie Kmiec of Waltham, received the first Toula Christopher Memorial Scholarship, presented by Don Christopher, son of the late Toula Christopher. She is a member of the class of 2010 at Wagner College majoring in musical theater. Jennifer Brody, daughter of Robert and Pamela Brody of Weston, received the third annual Dr. Demetre and Ann Hoty Decaneas Family Scholarship presented by Ann Decaneas and her son, Peter. Ms. Brody is a member of the class of 2010 at Clark University majoring in psychology. Alexander Paraschos, son of Emmanuel and Janet Paraschos of Newton, is recipient of the first Caylee Nychils-Florence Memorial Scholarship, presented by Philippa Condakes, Philoptochos president. He is a member of the class of 2009 at Tufts University majoring in American Studies.

Melanie Doukas, daughter of George and Leigh Doukas of Needham, received the 28th James Salas/Maria Salas Papoulias Memorial Scholarship, presented by Philippa Condakes. Ms. Doukas is attending the University of Pennsylvania. She hopes to become a doctor. Peter Hadjigeorgiou and Rhiana Marie Litchfield shared the 21st Nicholas and Effie Voss Scholarship. Mr. Hadjigeorgiou, son of Christos and Jean Hadjigeorgiou of Franklin, Mass., is a member of the class of 2008 at Georgetown University, majoring in international business and marketing. Ms. Litchfield, daughter of Michael and Sharrayne Litchfield of Natick, Mass., is attending Northeastern University. Scholarship Committee members include Amelia Nychis, chairman; Jean Canellos, Philippa Condakes, Angelyn Konugres Coupounas, Amalie George, Kathleen Hamilton, Helen Papoulias O’Leary, Eugenia Romanos, Helen Wojtasik and Cynthia Zervas.

donation from the Philoptochos. The visits to the museum churches of St. Sophia and the Church of Chora were filled with mixed emotions. Seeing the majestic and beautiful structures with remnants of their precious and magnificent icons was so moving and so revealing of the historic longevity, the martyred struggles and theological significance to Christianity and Orthodoxy of these sites. Yet the sadness at seeing the layer of dust and darkness that mirrors the tragedies of the past and present was heavy on our hearts. The tour ended with a visit through the city to understand the pulse of Istanbul, a mega polis with an international flavor where one sees every kind of dress, hears as many languages, views the famous Topkapi Palace, the Hippodrome and the underground Cistern. The ancient walls that protected Constantinople until the advent of gunpowder and huge cannons flanked the pilgrims as they rode through the city, while the harbor teemed with activity of thousands of large and small vessels and the bridges, their rails spanning between continents, were lined with fisherman compacted like sardines in a can. At this juncture a group of pilgrims returned to the United States and the remainder visited Cappadocia.

Save the Date Convention 2008 Chapters throughout the country are urged to mark the date for the upcoming National Philoptochos Biennial Convention scheduled for Sunday, July 13 through Thursday, July 17, in conjunction with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Clergy Laity Congress. The convention will be held in Washington, with events centered at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel and other venues in this historic location. Delegates to the 2004 and 2006 biennial conventions experienced the outstanding and interactive programs and opportunities to meet old and new friends and to convene in small forums to share ideas and learn from other members. The 2008 convention promises to be full of even more innovative and exciting activities and programs to inspire and energize members to further enhance the organization at all levels. Look for updates at chapter meetings and the National Philoptochos website.




Members of St. Katherine’s Church in Redondo Beach with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco at the community’s anniversary celebration.

Archbishop Demetrios with great benefactor Greg Michelis and his grandchildren cut the ribbon at the opening of the new community center at St. Nicholas Church in Flushing. At right is head priest Fr. Paul Palesty.

California Church Celebrates 50 Years REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – St. Katherine Church in Redondo Beach held its 50th anniversary celebration Nov. 10-11 with Archbishop Demetrios and Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco attending Events included a banquet, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and a presentation of a historic video of the church. From its small beginnings, the com-

munity now has more than 600 members. Fr. Michael Courey, pastor at St. Katherine for 10 years, recently produced a six-piece DVD titled “Introduction to Orthodox Christianity, based on Timothy Ware’s (Metropolitan Kalistos of Diokleia) book The Orthodox Church. Women of the parish have published “A Woman’s Wisdom,” a collection of essays to inspire the lives its readers.

Fr. Palesty with building committee members in front of the new center (from left) Jim Mihalios, Costa Mallios, great benefactor Gregory Michelis and Efstathis Michelis and Larry Hatzoglou, parish council president.

Flushing Church Opens Community Center FLUSHING, N.Y. – St. Nicholas parish recently completed the latest addition to its large complex on Northern Boulevard in Flushing-Bayside, a four story brick community center built at a cost of more than $8 million. The dedication took place Dec. 2

Jacksonville Chapel Wins Design Award JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A one of a kind chapel design by Papadatos Partnership, LLP was awarded for Design Excellence by the Society of American Registered Architects. This chapel is part of a proposed 20-acre master plan for St. John the Divine Church. Although the chapel has been designed in modern form, the basic shape is derived from traditional Byzantine style architecture and includes elements of historic significance from St. Stefano Rotondo in the outskirts of Rome and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem which remains the oldest remaining example of a circular-styled church. This design structure is approximately 10 times stronger than that of a conventional church configuration and the circular foot print provides 25 percent more square footage than a square or cruciform design. The nave seating was designed in a modified amphitheatre style, providing the faithful with a more intimate visual contact with the Solea. By eliminating the use of columns, the entire 60 foot diameter dome is self supporting, offering unobstructed view during services. The entire dome will be constructed of

stained glass with the traditional Pantocrator located in the center. Since the dome in Orthodox tradition represents the heavens, stained glass will allow awesome hues of light and color to radiate from the heavens throughout the entire chapel. The arches supporting the dome and spanning the entire diameter will be made of pre-stressed concrete. The will be protected with safety glass on the exterior for hurricanes and other weather related conditions. The architect selected a traditional brick for the exterior with colored mortar matching the masonry of other structures in the master plan. The interior chapel wall finish will be perforated horizontal wood planks to absorb the sound reverberations caused by the hard surfaces of the glass dome surface and stone flooring. Architect Steven Papadatos is quite enthusiastic with the stained glass dome. “It will permit the rays of the sun to enter the chapel offering a richness of colors and shapes.” He said. “Throughout the day, the sun and its movements will create a mystical energy through expressions of light and color that creates a bond between earthly architecture and our heavenly God.”

with Archbishop Demetrios participating. The center includes a large banquet hall, meeting rooms, a library, a new wing of classrooms, full-size gymnasium and a youth loft for GOYA activities. Construction took place over a three-year period.

New Jersey Church Consecrated HOLMDEL, N.J. – Kimisis Tis Theotokou parish recently held its church consecration with Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey officiating, assisted by Fr. George H. Dounelis. The community, formed in 1976, has grown to 425 fami-

lies in the bayshore area of Monmouth County. Construction on the community center began in 1997 and was completed in 1999. The church was built in 1988. Gregory Ploussis served as chairman of the Consecration Committee.

Holiday Season Special at Southampton Church Global assimilation and a discarding of religious and ethnic traditions marked 2007. Christmas and after Christmas shopping with discounts lures persons into shopping areas and away from traditional family settings. “Our young will be with us,” said Fr. Alexander Karloutsos at the Christmas Nativity Program of the Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church of the Hamptons on Dec. 23. by Catherine Tsounis

“We are wise men and women today, because Christ is not in the malls and Christmas shopping,” he said. “Christ makes us Christians. Our young people did a great job with the Nativity Program. What beautiful angels we have.”

A packed rural church with young people listening attentively to Orthodox teachings in a bilingual Greek/English liturgy made an impression on this onlooker. Youth is the key to our survival. Father Alex and his community emphasized youth in an old fashion program that touched everyone’s heart. “We are blessed to have outstanding members who help us in beautifying the Church and our Festival,” continued Father Alex, with the assistance of Fr. Constantine Lazerakis. Parish Council President Demetrios Hatgistavrou presented awards for outstanding service to Tess Zacharia, Perry Bakas, Dimitri Spinaris, Maria Vlahadamas and Jagannath Jayaswal. A holiday coffee hour followed in the church hall



Chicago Metropolis Choirs Hold 50th Conference CHICAGO– The Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Choirs-Chicago Metropolis recently celebrated its 50th annual conference with a combined choir of youth and adult voices. The conference was hosted in midOctober by the St. Demetrios Church choir in Hammond, Ind. John Douglas, who has been a member of the Federation since its inception 50 years ago, conducted the choir members who represented churches from throughout the Metropolis that includes Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Minnesota. More than 125 voices joined in celebrating the hierarchal Divine Liturgy offered by Metropolitan Iakovos. Mr. Douglas is the St. Demetrios choir conductor.

Assisting him were Alexandra Bratsakis who directed the youth choir practices and liturgical service, and Michael Doran, director of the St. Nicholas Church choir in St. Louis, who served as guest organist. In recognition of the 50th anniversary celebration, the Federation board selected liturgical pieces written by Midwestern composers, including Spyros Stamos (St. Demetrios/Assumption - Chicago), Professor Michael B. Petrovich (Assumption - Madison, Wis.), Dr. Nicolas E. Maragos (Sts. Anargyroi - Rochester, Minn.) and John G. Revezoulis (St. Spyridon - Sheboygan, Wis.). Conference highlights included a 50's sock hop, the recognition of Federation presidents, and the awarding of the Athenagoras I medallions.

Chicago Bishop Honored for Dedication to Life’s Sanctity CHICAGO – The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (ICADP) recently celebrated a passion for justice by awarding Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos the 2007 Cunningham-Carey Award. The bishop, in humbly accepting the award, was acknowledged for his “unyielding and powerful voice for human dignity and the abolition of the death penalty.” “The Cunningham-Carey Award is a significant honor presented to those who have struggled in a fight that I prayed would be over by now,” said Bishop Demetrios. “I accept this award with thanksgiving to God. I share it with my brother clergy, colleagues, friends and coalition partners without whom I would simply be a voice in the wilderness … and I pray that together our conversation will allow us to turn hearts and minds together in common

cause to protect life.” The award commemorates Richard Cunningham and Jack Carey, widely known heroes who attempted to abolish capital punishment. Bishop Demetrios followed in Cunningham’s and Carey’s footsteps after serving as Andrew Kokoralies’ spiritual advisor, before he was the last man executed prior to the suspension on capital punishments in Illinois. Identified as one of 18 Illinois social advocates, Bishop Demetrios was recently appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Chicagoan Bishop Demetrios was ordained to the diaconate October of 1989, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1992. He served as assistant and deacon to the bishop and as chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago prior to his election as bishop on Dec. 9, 2006.

EOCS Awards National Scholarships


GOYA Chapter Donates to Fire Victims Fund Archbishop Demetrios converses with a group of GOYA members and young adults from St. Demetrios Church in Merrick, N.Y., during a visit to the Archdiocese on Dec. 27. Led by their pastor, Fr. Nikiforos Fakinos and GOYA chapter Vice President Maria Kaneris (center), they presented the Archbishop with a check for $871 for the Archdiocese Greek Fire Relief Fund. His Eminence presented each person with a silver cross. Afterward, they toured the Byzantine exhibit at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art

where Bishop Savas of Troas, Archdiocese chancellor and former pastor of the Merrick parish, devoted his lunch hour to giving a personally conducted tour of the Jaharis Gallery and the Renaissance religious art, including this rare Madonna and Child by Duccio di Buoninsegna, the Museum’s single most costly artifact. The $43.5 million painting, dating from 1300, is the first known example of the transition between Byzantine and Western art. It is done in tempera and gold on wood.

The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS] Scholarship Committee announces the recipients for the 15th annual national scholarships. First place winner is Dennis J. Andreopoulos from Troop 568 sponsored by the Cathedral of St. Paul, Hempstead, N.Y. The runner up is Leon G. Xanthos from Troop 715 sponsored by Holy Cross Church, Brooklyn, NY. The awards were $1,000 for first place and $500 for the runner up. They were selected by the EOCS Scholarship Selection Committee from a large pool of applicants from throughout the United States and funded by the EOCS Scholarship Endowment Fund. The selection committee had an extremely challenging job in choosing the two winners because of the large number and caliber of the applicants. Both have shown outstanding service and leadership to their parish and community along with deep involvement and participation in high school organizations and activities, where they received numerous awards and recognitions. For information and applications contact: EOCS Scholarship Chairman, 862 Guy

EOCS Chairman George Buloukos congratulates first place scholarship winner Dennis Andreopoulos.

Lombardo Avenue, Freeport, N.Y. 11520. Closing date is May 1 of each year. EOCS is an agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas.

Cincinnati Church Celebrates Centennial CINCINNATI – Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Church recently held its centennial celebration with the participation of Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Nicholas and a former assistant priest who is now chancellor the Archdiocese, Bishop Savas of Troas. Events began with a youth breakfast at the community center with more than 300 young children and adults from Cincinnati and surrounding communities. Fr. Mark Leondis, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, was guest speaker. There followed a tree-planting ceremony in front of the church and the planting of flower bulbs by young people. In the evening, more than 400 persons attended the Centennial Banquet at the Hyatt Regency, where Archbishop Demetrios spoke of the accomplishments of the Cincinnati parish. Parishioner Leslie Ghiz, a member of the Cincinnati City Council who represented the mayor, presented a proclamation from the Council.The following day, Sept. 23, Archbishop Demetrios celebrated the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Nicholas, Bishop Savas and eight

priests. More than 800 people attended the service, including choir members from many area parishes. The Philoptochos and Daughters of Penelope chapters, and members of St. Sophia Mothers Club hosted a reception after the service. Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas got its hyphenated name as a result of a jurisdictional controversy in the 1930s, after a period when the immigrant faction favoring retaining ties with the Autocephalous Church in Greece formed St. Nicholas. The group aligned with the Ecumenical Patriarchate continued to worship at Holy Trinity. World War II helped bring the two groups together and, on May 16, 1945, new incorporation papers were filed under the name “United Community of Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas. The original church was originally housed on the second floor of a bank building, then in a remodeled former theater. The breakaway church held services in a converted synagogue. The present church building was completed in December 1972 on a 12-acre site purchased in 1965.



EXECUTIVE Committee members of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese District Olympics Committee kick off the 30th anniversary of the youth Olympics with a torch-lighting ceremony with Archbishop Demetrios at the Chapel of St. Paul on Jan. 10. The torch will make its way to several Archdiocese District parishes before arriving at the opening ceremony on Memorial Day weekend.

St. Iakovos Church Begins Construction on New Facilities VALPARAISO, Ind. –The Greek Orthodox Church community of St. Iakovos has begun excavation and site work of their new community and education center. This begins the first phase of a project that eventually will see the parish family’s new Church edifice as the cornerstone and crown jewel of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s presence in Valparaiso and as an architectural gem that will enhance the landscape and scope of northwest Indiana. “Our first and foremost objective is to build a church and community complex that glorifies God” commented Fr. James Greanias, pastor, adding, “We want to build a place where our families can center their lives on their relationship to Christ in a manner that will have something for everyone, every age, and marital status. We want to build a church and community complex that will house programs of worship, fellowship, social, athletic, in other words where the fullness of life can be experience in the witness of our Orthodox Christianity.” He continued, “Finally, we want to honor the vision of the founding families of our parish community more than 25 years ago that one day we would build our own Church home to not only worship and honor God, to serve and minister to our faithful families and our community at large but also to be a beacon of light that is Orthodox Christianity in Porter County.” The building process will begin with construction on the building that will temporarily house worship space and

permanently be home to class and meeting rooms, a kitchen and administrative offices. The new facilities will sit on nearly 30 acres that will include a pond surrounded by prairie flowers and grass indigenous to the area so as not to disturb the rural beauty but enhance the area. Care and stewardship of the environment is one of the central tenets of the Greek Orthodox Christian Tradition. The worldwide spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is known throughout the world as ‘the Green Patriarch’ for his strong championing of the environment. Along these lines, the architect, Steven Papadatos of Papadatos Partnership LLP of New York, has included many environmentally friendly qualities to the project. These include natural lighting and the inclusion of a grey water system that will recycle collected rain and snow water to use in non-potable ways in washrooms and sprinkling systems. “Our goal remains very firm to give the people of St. Iakovos a complex that not only will be home for them and their children but for the generations of families and children to come. A place that they will come to love and cherish and find the comfort of Christ’s love and a place to grow with families and in their faith,” commented John Christos, the parish council president. The church community is currently leasing an old Roman Catholic parochial school until the new building is completed.

Anonymous Donor Helps Mission Parish to Build First Church SPRING HILL, Fla. – A five-year-old congregation numbering about 75 families has taken a big step toward building its first church. The Hellenic Orthodox Mission of Hernando County, north of Tampa and Tarpon Springs, and pastored by retired priest and former professor at Holy School of Theology, the Rev. Dr. Stanley Harakas, held a ground-breaking ceremony recently for the construction of a 7,500-sqaurefoot facility expected to be completed in about 15 months at a cost of more than $1 million. Among those attending the ceremony on Oct. 20 was Bishop John of Amorion representing Metropolitan Alexios. Fr. Harakas said in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times that the project came about when an anonymous benefactor who is not a member of the congregation, said he would build a church and that he would pay for any cost overruns.

An artist’s rendering of the Christ the Savior Church being built in Spring Hill, Fla.

The church is being built on a 4.75 acre site that also was donated. “The wonderful thing is that we will be building without a mortgage,” Fr. Harakas told the Times.





What’s Up Makin th Grade? WITH


rom the day we entered kindergarten, and maybe even before, we have been encouraged to do our very best in school. Knowing how to read and write, add and subtract, and memorize and recall are all very important to who we are and what we can achieve in life. by Deacon Paul Zaharas

After all, if we can’t do these, just how are we going to get good grades... and if we don’t get good grades, how are we going to get into college…and if we don’t get into college, how are we going to get a good job…and so on and so on. This constant pressure is probably why a recent study found that at least one-third of American teens are stressed out on a daily basis! Now I’m not going to suggest that we should forget about all of those things and not try to succeed in school. They are important and we must use our talents and abilities to the fullest. But in focusing so strongly on our academic studies, are we devoting enough time to our spiritual growth and development as well? At first glance it is easy to see why many of us have not placed as much emphasis on our spiritual growth as our intellectual development. Total time at school each week is 35 (or more!) hours, with our progress being tracked through constant homework and tests. On the other hand, total time in Sunday school is 1 hour per week, if we're lucky. For most of us, school is usually a chore. If it wasn’t for our parents pushing us out the door in the morning, there are days when we would rather not go at all. However, each of us can think of some subjects or lessons that we find interesting. For you, is it math, English, biology, world history? At some point, these parts of school cease to be a chore and we actually begin to look forward to them. We take ownership of these topics, and we work hard on them, because we enjoy them. In the same way, many of us have grown up with our parents making us get up for Liturgy on Sunday mornings, but as we grow closer to adulthood, we also take ownership of our faith. In fact, eventually we learn that it is the single most important thing in our lives. St. Paul understood this very thing when he wrote to the Colossian people, telling them that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are found in Jesus Christ (Col. 2:3).

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:


In developing a relationship with Him, we have greater interest in our spiritual lives and we begin to own our Orthodox Christian Faith, no longer just experiencing it through others, but really coming into contact with it ourselves. Math, science, languages, history, and all of the subjects that we learn in our schools revolve around the way we understand and communicate aspects of God’s creation. Since we spend so much time dealing with these types of things, we have become comfortable engaging different parts of the world we see around us. As Orthodox Christians, however, we are called to take a step back and look at

the bigger picture. While we work so hard to study science, English, and chemistry, do we work equally as hard to study the originator of science, the one who gave us the gift of language and created each and every particle? While we are gaining knowledge of the created world that we live in, we can also strive to gain knowledge of the one true God who created all things out of nothing. This is the ultimate education. For us, this may not seem easy, especially since our opportunities to formally learn about God and grow closer to Him are often very limited. Let's face it: most schools aren't offering a “Getting to Know God” class between math and history.

For this reason, it is important that as we take ownership of our faith, we challenge ourselves each and every day to move forward in our journey toward God and to recognize His hand in everything around us. Knowing God is not merely a mental exercise, but a true faith and way of life, so let's make a conscious effort to reach out to Him through study, good works, fasting, and prayer. Just as hard work in the classroom lead us toward achieving good grades and college acceptance, effort in our spiritual lives lead us toward Christ and His Kingdom. Life continues after our death in this world, and it is our actions now that will determine whether we spend eternity with God in Heaven or separated from His love. As maturing young adults, now is the time that we must decide to place greater importance on our spiritual progress, taking ownership of our faith, and striving toward getting the ultimate passing grade. Deacon Paul Zaharas is originally from Wyoming and currently lives and works in Denver as the Metropolis director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

For Parents and Youth Workers The National Altar Boys and National Girls Retreat is coming up April 3-6 in Brookline, Mass. Register to reserve your spot now! Check out the new GOYA and JOY sessions available on our website: http://youth.

Be Like the Bee: St. Basil's Advice for Getting the Most Out of Your Education Imagine a university in 4th century Athens: students learning, reading, debating about the great issues of the time. St. Basil of Caesarea, a man whose name is mentioned at every Divine Liturgy with the other two great Orthodox theologians (Gregory and John Chrysostom), was among these students. He studied in both Constantinople and Athens, adding a secular education to the religious education he had received at home. Back then, there were just as many interesting ideas floating around in schools as there are today. However, St. Basil believed that there were good things to be gained from a secular (non-Christian) education. You might be surprised at how many of his observations are just as relevant today: • Guard your soul, and know what to disregard: "Now this is my counsel: that you should not completely give over your minds to these men, as a ship is surrendered to the rudder, to follow where they direct, but that, while receiving whatever of value they have to offer, you recognize what it is wise to ignore." Our soul's well-being is our top priority, and we might learn things in school that are untrue and possibly even harmful. St. Basil says that these are the things it is wise to ignore. • We seek truth and virtue: Our ultimate goal is to seek the truth in all learning.

When we find truth in secular topics, it adorns the sacred truths of our faith. The most important job for a tree is to bear fruit, "and at the same time it gives as decoration the leaves that shake on its branches. Even so, the real fruit of the soul is truth, yet it is not without advantage for it to embrace the pagan wisdom, just as leaves offer shelter to the fruit." • Be like the bee: The bee goes from

G in Culture

flower to flower, taking what is fragrant and colorful and leaving behind the rest. In the same way, St. Basil says, we should take what is beautiful and true from secular learning and leave behind the rest: "If we are wise, we will take from non-Christian books whatever befits us and is allied to the truth, and pass over the rest. And just as in picking roses, we avoid the thorns, from such writings as these we will gather

everything useful, and guard against the harmful." • Look for scriptural truths in secular learning: St. Basil saw this in his studies of the great philosopher Socrates, telling the story of when a man kept on striking Socrates in the face, but Socrates never struck back. "Since these examples almost coincide with our teachings, I hold that such men are worthy of emulation. This conduct of Socrates is like the teaching that to him who strikes you on one cheek, you shall turn the other also (Matthew 5:39)." • Our hope does not rest in this world, but in the next: In all our academic and worldly pursuits, St. Basil reminds us that our ultimate hope, reward, and treasure lie in our eternal life with Christ. Thus, everything we do should serve that purpose. "We place our hopes upon the things which are beyond, and in preparation for the eternal life do everything that we do. So, whatever helps us towards this, we must love and follow after with all our might, but those things which have no bearing upon it should be held as nothing." So, as students in today’s world and today's schools, let's take St. Basil's advice to seek the truth, virtue, and beauty in all our secular learning, since these things point towards the truth of Christ, and leave behind what is harmful to our souls.






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How to Develop a Church Building Program First of two parts

4. Toilet 5. Boys Sacristy 6. Sacristy Sink 7. Side Altar 8. Icon Screen 9. Solea 10. Bishop’s Throne 11. Cantor’s Stand 12. Dome 13. Narthex 14. Stairs leading to Balcony Level The width of the side aisles should be as wide as possible within reason, and should maintain proportion to the nave. The side aisles should provide substantial space for standees during holidays. The side aisles along the walls are an excellent area to place stathidia. Since they are narrow, placement of stathidia does not take away usable space, but adds valuable seating capacity and aesthetics to the interior space of the Church.

Meeting with the Community and Establishing Needs

"Why do we need to build a new church, a cultural center, school or gymnasium?" If you find yourself asking this question, the answer lies within those individuals who experience the transition from a group to an organized cohesive parish community. by Steven Papadatos-AIA

There are many factors that lead to such a transition. Expanding and/or merging communities that outgrow their facilities may see a need to build, or re-build, in order to continue to offer the ministries and programs required for healthy growth. Or perhaps you are an existing community that has decided your changing neighborhood has negatively impacted membership. Whatever the reason for transition, once the community has agreed to take action, that action must be defined in a written program that outlines the community’s present and future needs. To determine those needs first requires interviews with each individual church group (i.e., Philoptohos, Sunday School, Greek School, Choir, GOYA, Seniors, etc). The answers given allow the church community, as a whole, to understand the wishes, needs and concerns of each group. Group interviews, as opposed to individual interviews, provide more accurate responses with a greater focus on the needs of these groups, which in turn, reflect upon the entire community. During the development of a program, it is important to interview everyone, regardless of seniority, position, or wealth in the parish.

Get children involved

Here, I would like to make a particular note about involving the church's youngest members in this process. Young children, kindergarten through GOYA age, have provided some of the most imaginative and intuitive ideas for the building program. Children tend to be more direct when expressing their thoughts. They possess no agendas, nor are they as easily influenced as adults. They say it how it is. It is important to recognize that children influence their parents as much as parents influence their children. As a parent, can you argue against this? The data gathered from interviews with the children is crucial information towards organizing the building process.


The children become an integral part of the decision-making for their new community, and recognizing their input as helpful advice secures their position as members of the developing church community. This experience will stay with each of them throughout their entire lives, creating a positive impact on our Church's future. The more the children are involved now, the stronger the Church will be in the future. For the children to participate further in the design process, we request the Sunday school teachers assign a special project to each child; the task of drawing an Orthodox Church. It is amazing to see their interpretations. So many of the children have a surprisingly keen eye and high level of design

comprehension. For others who do not possess this propensity, the task still serves as a wonderful introduction to Byzantine architecture. The most valuable lesson of all for the children is their achievement and sense of ownership in the final design and completion of the church. Upon completion of all parish interviews, it is the responsibility of the Building Committee to develop the wish list into a feasible and realistic program. If necessary, the Committee should present a project timeline to the parish council. Once the building committee and parish council are in agreement, the final program is to be presented to the general assembly for approval. Upon approval from the parish level, the committee should next submit the timeline to the Metropolis to keep them informed and seek their counsel.

Establishing a Growth Pattern

Establishing a growth pattern for the community will have a substantial impact on the future requirements of your church's program. When analyzing potential growth, specific factors should be considered. Once a pattern is projected, it should be considered in almost every aspect of the design. How is growth determined? In previous times, immigration data served as the main factor for projected community growth. Today, however, this data is inconsequential because the major immigration period has slowed and a new generation of Orthodox Americans has developed. Demographic, economic, and social aspects are now the key factors to determining growth within a community. Increase of membership will come from the following sources: First, families of similar faith who are not living in close proximity to their houses of worship. For example, Russians, Romanians, Bulgarians, and other Orthodox Christians where immigration is still quite active Usually these families will visit for the holidays, and eventually become members, particularly if they have young children and if they are warmly accepted into the community. Second, newcomers to the community will include non-Orthodox individuals who marry an Orthodox parishioner and settle in the vicinity of the church. Once these couples have children, they become very active members, making significant contribution to the growth of the church and taking on leadership positions within the church. Third, there are newcomers of other religions, who are drawn towards Orthodoxy. There is a current trend to recognize

and understand Orthodoxy as the original faith. A cohesive community should understand the value of newcomers of any kind and embrace them. Finally, if your church is located in a desirable upscale area, there may be a tendency to draw new members from other communities not as fortunate. These other communities may be in a less desirable location, or they may lack the opportunity to build the facilities needed for their church’s programs. Another instance may be that they lack the space to accommodate parking, an issue commonly found in urban areas.

What Facilities Does a Community Really Need?

Next is a guide of requirements necessary to develop a preliminary program. The purpose of a preliminary space program is to analyze the required size of a complex, and to determine the financial feasibility of the project, given the projected size. Once the parish retains an architectural firm, the preliminary criterion will be re-analyzed and an accurate square footage allowance is developed. Here, we will discuss the various parts of the complex, the needs of each space, and alternate solutions. Although most parishes appear to have the same needs, programs will always vary, depending on such factors as location and specific requirements of the parish.


A church has several fixed areas that must be designed properly, regardless of the seating capacity. These areas include an altar area and apse. The solea in front of the icon screen must be a minimum of 12 feet deep so it may accommodate the sacraments that take place there, such as baptisms, weddings and funerals. The solea is usually where the bishop’s throne and cantors (psaltis) are situated. In addition, adjacent to both sides of the altar area are spaces for the priest’s and boys' sacristy. On the opposite end of the nave is the location of the narthex, and if preferred, an exo-narthex. The proportion of the narthex is typically one-eighth the size of the nave. These spaces are somewhat fixed and do not change with more or less seating. In cases of significantly large congregations, say 600 to 800 members, the altar; apse, and solea should be larger than average to fit the proportions of the capacity of the nave. (See illustration plan of typical Byzantine church)

Illustration 3:

Plan of Typical Byzantine Church 1. Altar 2. Passage behind Apse 3. Priest’s Sacristy

By tradition, the church must face east

Therefore, select a site that is conducive to proper orientation of the church. The property should also accommodate all other facilities of the project, including pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Site design and orientation will be addressed in detail in the next issue.


A chapel that seats 35 to 40 people can be very valuable for the community. If the new project is replacing an older church, the chapel becomes a perfect place where existing church appointments can be incorporated into the new design. The chapel becomes a testament to the forefathers who built the previous church. The chapel can be used for services during the week where attendance is low. Such usage will have a positive effect on energy savings since the main church is not used for smaller attendance. Families may also prefer to use the intimate space of the chapel for baptisms and small weddings, instead of the large church, which may feel empty and impersonal. Finally, a chapel serves another important purpose: to preserve pieces of the original church to maintain the historical context of a site. Stylistic elements such as iconography and stained glass from the original church are often used in a new chapel to preserve the identity of the older structure. This provides parishioners with familiar interiors, stretching back to their childhood. Who knows – certain elements may have been donated by their parents and grandparents. The chapel becomes a very important design element in the overall project, providing emotional ties to the past. A good example of a chapel is that of Holy Trinity, in Dallas. The existing church’s narthex serves as the entrance to the chapel. Another example is Sts. Constantine and Helen, in Newport News, Va., whose chapel was made a separate structure, connected to the church and community facility via corridor. Both plans work well considering their respective site configurations. A different approach to the chapel design can be seen at the James Pihos Cultural Center at the Annunciation Church in Milwaukee. This chapel was designed within the same structure of the cultural center that is a separate structure from the church. The chapel serves the Sunday school children and any other visitors. The St. Iakovos Chapel in Milwaukee is oriented adjacent to the multi-purpose room that is also utilized as a bride’s room.



Bible Insight ‘So Teach Us to Number Our Days’* The calendar is one of God’s splendid gifts to us. What a blessing it is! It helps us in handling time. It is our way of keeping up with the days, weeks, months and years. It makes possible a record of our activities. It is a great aid to memory and it enables us to make definite plans for the future and to meet our engagements. by Fr. William Gaines

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The calendar is handed to you. You did nothing to get it. It was freely given. The calendar symbolizes the year God has just allowed us all to enter. Sometimes we take our years for granted, but God gives them it us freely, and by his mercy and grace, not by our merit. God expects us to be grateful. He wants us to regard time as a sacred trust and to be good stewards of every day. The calendar is yours. It is personally, intimately your own. You can do anything you please with it. Significant experiences may attach themselves to the days and months. Your calendar will record your thinking, speaking and acting. Be they good or bad, they will be your own. The calendar is brand new. It is not stained, blotted, marked up and torn like the old calendar. There is a human tendency to want to start things anew. The fundamental reason is that we are all imperfect. The essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God will allow us to wipe the slate clean and take a fresh start. It can begin any time anyone determines that he is through with straining, ineffective, shameful living and throws

himself on the mercy of God. The calendar does not have attached to it old blotted sheets. It does not contain pages from future years. The fact that God is giving us a calendar means this: He wants us to live life to the fullest, and does not want us to try to live all over with its mistakes, failures and grudges. He does not want us to pull possible future worries, strains and sorrows of the past. God wants us to say, “Forgetting the things that are behind us and faithfully live in the future. The calendar and the year it represents are going to be used by you. You cannot escape doing something. The daily experience will make or break you. Here is, for instance, Jan. 10. Will that be the day when you will be unkind, lazy or do a shameful thing? Here are 52 Sundays. Will you these days ignore the Church, God and the welfare of your souls? Let’s take another day, say, March 5. Will you on this day try to drive a hard bargain or attempt to hurt someone? The daily experiences may bring you opportunities to serve, to make right you relation with our fellow man and God, and to live abundantly and gloriously. Now we ask this question: “How are we going to rightly use this new year? The primary requirement is your determination to live at your best. It is important to take stock of yourself. In light of Christ examine your heart. Repent of the wrongs you have done. Give yourself to prayer, Bible study, public worship and service. Dwell daily in the presence of Jesus Christ and ask Him to be the companion on your way. *Psalm 90:12



A Last Look at the Spirit of Christmas Past

A long-standing Christmas tradition in the Metropolis of Boston was followed again this year with a visit by the Metropolis Dance Group to sing the Kalanda for Metropolitan Methodios and his staff. The Dance Group is under the patronage of the Metropolis.

Archbishop Demetrios places a small cross on the Christmas tree at Archdiocese headquarters prior to switching on the lights.

Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey and children from St. George Church in Piscataway gather around the Christmas tree at metropolis headquarters. Also shown is Fr. Alexander Kile, pastor. His Eminence and staff members at the Archdiocese headquarters Christmas program listen to a performance by students from the St. Demetrios Day School in Astoria.

Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco and members of the metropolis staff (from left) Kristen Bruskas, executive director of the Family Wellness Center; Pete Sotiras, director of Youth and Family Ministries; Fr. Demetrios-Earl Cantos, chancellor; Fr. James Adams, assistant chancellor; Presbytera Aliki Kyriacou, assistant to the Metropolitan and registrar; and Natalie Schrik, administrative assistant.

Staff members donated many toys for the Toys for Tots Program in New York.

A Holiday Classic Second graders at St. Demetrios Cathedral’s Parochial School in Astoria, N.Y.. put on a performance of the holiday classic, “The Nutcracker,” at the school’s Christmas program on Dec.19.



Orthodox Observer - January 2008  

Orthodox Observer - January 2008