OCTOBER 2008 • Vol. 73 • No. 1243
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Hurricane Ike Inflicts Severe Damage on Galveston Church In an e-mail response to the Observer on the situation with the Greek Orthodox parishes in Texas following Hurricane Ike, Denver Metropolis Chancellor Fr. Luke Uhl reports that three of the parishes “are OK and report no damage.” They are Annunciation Cathedral in Houston, St. George in Port Arthur, near the Louisiana border, and St. John the Theologian in Webster, near the Johnson Space Center and Galveston Bay. The other Houston parish, St. Basil, on the city’s west side, has had “significant damage.” The church roof was damaged, and many water leaks were noted. As a result one lateral wall was internally soaked and has to be taken apart to remediate water, mold, and mildew damage. Some damage was also sustained by the new church under construction. “The Galveston parish was really hit hard,” Fr. Luke also reported. “During the storm the church was flooded with four to six feet of water. Most furnishings in the nave were heavily damaged or destroyed. The church office was left in shambles, although the parish record books were recovered. Water did not reach the level of the Holy Altar, and all sacred vessels have been recovered and are in safekeeping. Mold and mildew is a major problem and the church will require extensive renovation. A fence has been placed around the church to keep people out, since one needs a HAZMAT suit to enter the structure be-
Relics of Russian Saint Presented to Archdiocese
John Mindala Photos
Archbishop Demetrios censes the icon and relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov presented by Bishop Mercurius. Archdeacon Panteleimon (left) and Assistant Chancellor Fr. Michael Kontogeorgis also take part. (below) His Eminence officiates at the doxology service for the acceptance of the icon. Also shown, from left, Fr. Sebastian Skordallos, secretary of the Holy Synod, Bishop Mercurius, Archdeacon Panteleimon and Fr. Mark Arey, ecumenical officer of the Archdiocese.
NEW YORK – The Russian Orthodox Church recently bestowed relics of one of its best known saints of the 19th century, St. Seraphim of Sarov, to the Archdiocese at the request of St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, Ariz. Archbishop Demetrios received the Holy and Sacred Relics of St. Seraphim, who also is a popular saint in Greece, at the Archdiocese headquarters on Sept. 22. The relics were conveyed by Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, head of the Representation of the Patriarchate of Moscow in the United States, led directly from Moscow, and by the express wish of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia. The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, observing the canonical order of the Church, transferred the Relics to the Archbishop, who will make provision for the bequest to the monastery. Bishop Mercurius and his staff, Fr. Alexander Abramov and Yulia McGregor, were received by the Archbishop, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, and clergy and staff of the Archdiocese at the Chapel of St. Paul with a doxology. In presenting the relics to the Archbishop, Bishop Mercurius expressed the fervent desire of the Russian Orthodox Church that this bestowal be a token of fraternal love and a cooperative spirit. The Archbishop received the relics, venerating them and the icon of St. Seraphim in which they are embedded; then he
Heads of the Orthodox Churches Hold Synaxis and Pauline Symposium
Archbishop at Synaxis
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew conducts a prayer service prior to the start of the meetings of all Orthodox Hierarchs from around the world, Oct. 9 -12. Archbishop Demetrios is second from left. Coverage begins on page 4.
NEW YORK – On the occasion of the celebration of the Year 2008 as the Year of Saint Paul and under the presidency of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Synaxis of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches took place in Constantinople, October 9–12. The Synaxis, along with the Pauline Symposium ran until Oct. 16. The biblical symposium was held in honor of St. Paul and focused on aspects of the life, the apostolic activity and the teachings of the great Apostle of the Nations which are connected with our contemporary world. The Pauline Symposium was an academic offering of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Primates of the Church for the enrichment of their pastoral care and work. On Oct.11, the Ecumenical Patriarch deliver the keynote address at the Phanar (see page 4), and in the days
that followed the Symposium continued and was combined with a pilgrimage to places connected with the life and work of St. Paul such as Ephesus, Antalya, Rhodes, Lindos and Kaloi Limenes in Crete. Archbishop Demetrios traveled to Istanbul on Oct. 9 and returned on the 17th. He served as the chairman of the Academic Committee and the moderator of the Pauline Symposium. Metropolitan Gennadios of Sasima was the chairman of the Organizing Committee. Also involved with the Symposium were Archdiocese Ecumenical Officer Fr. Mark Arey, the Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, and Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos. GOTelecom videotaped the activities surrounding these two gatherings and will produce a set of DVDs for distribution on the websites of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Archdiocese.
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Communiqué of the Holy Eparchial Synod
The Holy Eparchial Synod of the Holy Archdiocese of America convened in its regular fall Session in the Synodal Chamber of the Holy Archdiocese in New York on Oct. 1-2. Archbishop Demetrios presided. Present were the following Synodal Hierarchs: Metropolitans Iakovos of Chicago, Maximos of Pittsburgh, Methodios of Boston, Isaiah of Denver, Alexios of Atlanta, Nicholas of Detroit, Gerasimos of San Francisco and Evangelos of New Jersey. Present also was the chief secretary of the Synod, the V. Rev. Archimandrite Sebastian Skordallos. The Holy Eparchial Synod deliberated on issues pertaining to the life of the Church. The following issues were discussed: 1. Liturgical Issues. The Holy Eparchial Synod took action for the drafting of liturgical and ceremonial guidelines and
texts and approved the text on procedures of the burial of priests. 2. Canonical Issues. The Holy Eparchial Synod a) discussed cases of canonical issues relative to Inter-orthodox relations in the United States, b) made relevant decisions on pending cases of disciplinary nature, and c) advanced the process for the drafting of regulations for the Holy Eparchial Synod. 3. Educational Issues. a) Greek Education. There was extensive discussion about the Archdiocese parochial schools, the need for the establishment of more schools and the financial and staffing difficulties that they face. The Synod also discussed the Greek afternoon schools and how they can be strengthened and expanded in all parishes. b) The Special Educational Program for the Diaconate. The Holy Eparchial Synod discussed this program which began this year at Holy
Cross Theological School under its supervision. c) Youth. The Synod also discussed the issue of the Youth and the connection of the young people to the Church. A survey of the Youth Department of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, approved by the Synod, is underway to identify several issues facing our Youth and ways to best apply the theme of the last Clergy–Laity Congress “Gather my people to my Home.” The application of the Clergy–Laity theme to our Church in general will be the subject of a special committee which will be created for this purpose. After the conclusion of the sessions of the Holy Eparchial Synod, her members had the opportunity to participate in the subsequent session of the Executive Committee of the Archdiocesan Council. From the Office of the Holy Eparchial Synod.
Dr. Jane Hickerson discusses the new youth protection policy with chancellors and youth directors.
Chancellors, Youth Directors Prepare Misconduct Policy Manual Chancellors from each Metropolis, along with Metropolis directors of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, held two days of meetings in New York, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, to prepare for the launch of the Archdiocesan Youth Protection Manual, the sexual misconduct policy for Metropolis/Direct Archdiocesan District camps and retreats. The meetings were coordinated by the National Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and were led by Dr. Jane Hickerson, the vice president of Training and Development for Praesidium Inc, a
private organization specializing in sexual misconduct policies for churches. She provided training for both the chancellors and the youth directors on the Youth Protection Manual, as well as a “training for trainers” session on properly training, screening, and selecting youth workers. “This is the first step in executing phase one of the Youth Protection Manual,” stated Fr. Mark Leondis, the director of Youth/Young Adult Ministries, “which will be initiated in each Metropolis/Direct Archdiocesan District camp for the upcoming
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summer.” The purpose of this policy is to establish uniform standards for Metropolis/ Direct Archdiocesan District camps and retreats, ensuring that proper measures will be taken to protect our children across the United States. The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries created the policy, in cooperation with Praesidium Inc, the Office of the Chancellor and the Legal Committee of the Archdiocese. It is important to note that this policy does not replace the Sexual Misconduct Policy for Clergy.
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Public Schedule of Archbishop Demetrios October 4–30, 2008 Sat., Oct. 4–12:00 p.m.–Religious Educators and Youth Workers Retreat of the Direct Archdiocesan District St. Demetrios Church, Merrick, N.Y.–7:30 p.m. Justice for Cyprus Awards Dinner Cyprus Federation of America Honoring Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Terrace on the Park, Flushing, N.Y. Oct. 8-17–Synaxis of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches and Pauline Symposium–Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Sun., Oct. 19–9:00 a.m.–Archieratical Divine Liturgy and one-year memorial service for Fr. Emmanuel Gratsias of blessed memory, Greek Orthodox Church of the Resurrection, Brookville, N.Y. Tues., Oct. 21–6:00 p.m.–Executive Committee meeting of the HC/ HC Board of Trustees Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline, Mass. Wed., Oct. 22–6:00 p.m.–Welcome reception for the Greek educators assigned to the Archdiocesan Greek American Schools, Archdiocese Headquarters, NYC. Thurs., Oct. 23–3:00 p.m.–Visit of AHEPA Supreme President Ike Gulas, Archdiocese Headquarters, NYC. Fri., Oct. 24–9:00 a.m.–Meetings of Leadership 100’s Executive Committee and Board of Trustees, Harvard Club, NYC. Sat., Oct. 25–7:00 p.m.–Patriarch Athenagoras Human Rights Award Banquet, Order of St. Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, honoring Rabbi Arthur Schneier, New York Hilton, NYC. Sun., Oct. 26–Feast Day of St. Demetrios the Myrrh–bearer 10:00 a.m. Archieratical Divine Liturgy, Induction of new Archons, Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, NYC–5:00 p.m. Open House Reception for the name day of Archbishop Demetrios, hosted by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle– Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Holy Trinity Cathedral Center, 337 East 74th St., NYC. Thurs., Oct. 30–6:30 p.m.Annual Prayer Service for the United Nations Community, sponsored by SCOBA and SCOOCH, St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, 630 Second Ave., NYC.
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A Salute to Hellenic College Photos by D. PANAGOS
In conjunction with the opening session of the United Nations in late September, Archbishop Demetrios received visits from several government officials from Greece and Cyprus, including Cyprus’ President Demetris Christofias. Others shown below are: D. PANAGOS
Archbishop and President Archbishop Demetrios and French President Nicholas Sarkozy greet each other on the dais at the Appeal of Conscience Foundation annual awards dinner in New York on Sept. 23. President Sarkozy was the honoree. Also shown is the president’s wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy. The president is one-quarter Greek. His Greek-born maternal grandfather was a physician in Thessaloniki.
CLERGY UPDATE Foreign Minister of Greece Dora Bakoyiannis.
Main Opposition Leader in the Greek Parliament George Papandreou.
Cyprus’ UN Ambassador Minas Hatzimichaelis.
Greece’s Deputy Minister of Finance Andonis Bezas. Not shown, but also visiting the Archdiocese was Konstandinos Michalos,president of the Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare of Greece Sophia Kalantzakou.
Ordination to the Diaconate Panagiotis Sotiras by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco at Holy Cross, Belmont, Calif. 09/07/08 Ordination to the Priesthood Rev. Dn. Panagiotis Sotiras–Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco –Holy Cross, Belmont, Calif. 09/14/08 Assignments Fr. John Katsoulis–Nativity of the Theotokos, Fredericksburg, Va., 08/10/08 Fr. Anthony Demetri–Holy Trinity Cathedral, Camp Hill, Pa., 09/01/08 Fr. Dean Dimon–Annunciation Church, Cleveland, 09/01/08 Fr. Hector Firoglanis–Annunciation Church, Lancaster, Pa., 09/01/08 Fr. Costas Keares–St. Paul Church, North Royalton, Ohio, 09/01/08 Fr. Philippe Mousis–St. Catherine Church, Braintree, Mass., 09/01/08 Fr. Demetrios Simeonidis–Archangel Michael Church, Lecanto, Fla., 09/01/08 Fr. Demetrios Tonias–Taxiarchae Church, Watertown, Mass., 09/01/08 Fr. Agathonikos Wilson–Holy Trin-
ity Church, Concord, N.H., 09/01/08 Fr. George Zugravu–St. George Cathedral, Hartford, Conn., 09/01/08 Fr. Panagiotis Sotiras–Holy Cross Church, Belmont, Calif., 09/14/08 Fr. Demetrios-Earl Cantos–St. Demetrios Church, Tucson, Ariz., 09/15/08 Fr. Simeon Corona–St. Gregory of Nyssa, El Cajon, Calif., 09/15/08 Rev. Dn. Joseph Ruocco-Brown–St. Anna, Roseville, Calif., 09/15/08 Academic Leave Fr. John Pilafas 09/01/08 Retired Priests Fr. Theodore Vaggalis 09/01/08 Fr. George E. Economou 09/12/08 Returned to status of Layman V. Rev. Archimandrite John A. Heropoulos 05/27/08 Fr. Michael G. Pappas 07/23/08 Suspension Rescinded Fr. John Katsoulis 12/13/07 Receptions Rev. Presbyter Simeon Corona–
This academic year, we mark the joyful and auspicious occasion of the 40th anniversary of Hellenic College. These past 40 years give us an opportunity to observe how the core attributes of Hellenic College have remained remarkably consistent in the most praiseworthy of ways. Here, we speak of the commitment of students, faculty, and staff in keeping with the Hellenic ideal to strive for excellence in all things and to cultivate comprehensive growth of the human being in all domains. This involves not only the cultivation of the intellect, but the integration of intellect with faith and the wisdom of our Holy Orthodox Church. In this regard, Hellenic College has always remained and continues to exemplify a community of authentic life and learning in Christ. I join in extending my own words of welcome to all who are coming to know Hellenic College and Holy Cross as their home. As always, I extend my fervent prayers for the well-being of all those who are a part of this most beautiful and sacred place of learning, now in its 40th anniversary year. May the future decades of our beloved Schole, both Hellenic College and Holy Cross, continue to be years of sustained growth, so that all those who come to learn at this sacred institution of higher learning may be edified by the genuine experience of community in Jesus Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
Archdiocese District Principals Meet
ASTORIA, N.Y. – Greek school principals of the Direct Archdiocese District attended a beginning-of-the-year meeting at St. Demetrios High School conducted by Maria Makedon, director of the District’s Office of Education. Ms. Makedon presented a progress report on plans for the annual staff development seminar slated for Nov. 4 at the high school and the Conference of Administrators of Religious and Independent Schools to be held Nov. 17-18 in Albany, where the Conference will present its Leadership Award to Archbishop Demetrios. She also discussed issues relating to the New York City Bureau of Nonpublic Schools Reimbursement Services. Correction Wrong Twin City–In the September issue article about the Archbishop offering prayers at the political conventions, the Republican Convention was not held in Minneapolis; it was in neighboring St. Paul, Minn.
State Senator visits
Archbishop Demetrios recently welcomed New York State Sen. Dean Skelos, the new senate majority leader, to Archdiocese headquarters. Also in attendance were Archdiocesan Council Vice President Michael Jaharis (left) and Council member John Catsimatidis.
Ecumenical Patriarch’s Address to the Synaxis of Hierarchs by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
At the Synaxis of the Heads of Orthodox Churches (Phanar, October 10, 2008) We offer praise and glory to the Trinitarian God that we have been counted worthy once again to gather in the same place, here at this Sacred Center, as persons entrusted by His mercy with the ministry of leadership in the local most holy Autocephalous and Autonomous Orthodox Churches, in order to affirm our sacrosanct unity in Christ and deliberate on matters that concern the Church in the fulfillment of its mission within the contemporary world. It is with much gladness and ineffable joy that our most holy Church of Constantinople and we personally welcome you all, the most venerable and reverend Heads of the local most holy Orthodox Churches, as well as the representatives of those unable to attend in person, together with your honorable entourages. We greet each one of you warmly with a sacred embrace, exclaiming with the Psalmist: “How wonderful and sweet it is for brethren to dwell in the same place.” We express our gratitude to all of you for responding with eagerness and fraternal love to the invitation of our Modesty that we might assemble here; for you have undergone sacrifice and toil in order to travel to our City. We deeply appreciate this response on your part as evidence of brotherly love, but also of concern for the support and reaffirmation of unity within the most holy Orthodox Church, for whose unity we have been assigned guardians, keepers and guarantors by divine grace. Stronger bonds of love and unity From the moment that, by God’s mercy, we assumed the reins of this First Throne among Churches, we have regarded it as our sacred obligation and duty to strengthen the bonds of love and unity of all those entrusted with the leadership of the local Orthodox Churches. Thus, in response also to the desire of other brothers serving as Heads, we took the initiative of convoking several occasions for Synaxis: first, in this City on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1992; then, on the sacred island of Patmos in 1995; and thereafter, we had the blessing of experiencing similar encounters and concelebrations in Jerusalem and the Phanar on the occasion of the beginning and end of the year 2000 as we entered this third millennium of the Lord’s era. Of course, these occasions for Synaxis do not comprise an “institution” by canonical standards. As known, the sacred Canons of our Church assign the supreme responsibility and authority for decisions on ecclesiastical matters to the Synodical system, wherein all hierarchs in active ministry participate either in rotation or in plenary. This canonical establishment is by no means substituted by the Synaxis of the Heads of Churches. Nevertheless, from time to time, such a Synaxis is deemed necessary and beneficial, especially in times like ours, when the personal encounter and conversation among responsible leaders in all public domains of human life is rendered increasingly accessible and essential. Therefore, the benefit gained from a personal encounter of the Heads of the Orthodox Churches can, with God’s grace, only prove immense.
This Synaxis, beloved brothers in the Lord, occurs within the context of a great anniversary for the Orthodox Church and, indeed, for the entire Christian world. While the precise date of the birth of St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, is not known, it is conventionally estimated around the year 8 AD, namely two thousand years ago. This has led other Christian Churches, such as the Roman Catholic Church, to dedicate the present calendar year as the Year of St. Paul; it was clear that the Orthodox Church, which owes so much to this supreme Apostle, could not do otherwise. The first and greatest obligation to St. Paul is the preaching and entire Apostolic ministry of this “chosen vessel of Christ” in founding the Churches that today lie within the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Patriarchates and Autocephalous Churches, for example in Asia Minor, Antioch, Cyprus and Greece. Bearing this obligation in mind, the Ecumenical Patriarchate decided to organize a journey of pilgrimage in certain regions within its canonical confines where St. Paul preached, and fraternally to invite thereto the other Heads of the most holy Orthodox Churches in order that together we may honor the infinite labors and sacrifices, as well as all that was endured and realized by St. Paul “with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless floggings, and often near death … on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from [his] own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked.” (2 Cor. 11.23-27) And all this with in order to found and establish the Churches, whose pastoral care and direction the Lord’s mercy has also assigned to us. Another obligation before St. Paul’s “labor of love” relates to his teaching, articulated in his epistles and the “Acts of the Apostles” written by his coworker
in the Gospel, St. Luke the Evangelist. This teaching expresses “the exceptional character of the revelations” (2 Cor. 12.7), of which St. Paul was counted worthy by the grace of the Lord, and has remained through the centuries a guide and compass for the Church of Christ, the foundation of the doctrines of our faith, and an inviolable rule of faith and life for all us Orthodox Christians. The theology of the Church has always drawn and will continue to draw from the depth and breadth of concepts in St. Paul’s teaching. Celebrating St. Paul This is why we deemed it appropriate, in the context of these Pauline celebrations, to organize an international and inter-Christian scholarly symposium, where select participants from the Orthodox Church and from other Christian Churches and Confessions may address and analyze topics related to various dimensions of St. Paul’s life and teaching as we journey in pilgrimage and visit the sacred places where the Apostle to the Gentiles preached and ministered. The texts of their presentations will be published in a special volume, which will hopefully contribute to Pauline studies. As will undoubtedly become clear from the proceedings of this symposium, the teaching of St. Paul does not simply concern the past; it has – today as ever – immediate relevance in our times. For our own Synaxis in particular, this teaching is extremely significant, chiefly with regard to one of its fundamental aspects, namely its emphasis on the crucial and always topical subject of the unity of the Church, which – as we mentioned earlier – constitutes a great responsibility and concern for all Bishops in the Church, and especially the Heads of Churches. St. Paul is perhaps the first theologian of Church unity. Since its foundation, the Church experienced unity as a fundamental feature of its life. After all, this was an explicit desire of the Church’s founder, expressed with particular emphasis in the prayer to His Father just prior to His passion: “I ask not only on
behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one. I in them and you in me that they may become completely one.” (John 17.20-3) However, St. Paul is the first to develop and explore this unity in detail; and he toiled for this unity like no other among the Apostles. Indeed, just as St. Paul preached the Gospel enthusiastically, so also did he labor for Church unity passionately. His “anxiety for all the churches” (2 Cor. 11.28) and their unity in Christ consumed his entire existence. As St. John Chrysostom observes: “He bore responsibility not only for a home but for cities, provinces, nations and the whole oikoumene; indeed, he was anxious about so many and so diverse important matters, for which he suffered alone and cared even more than a father for his children.” (PG 61.571B) Nothing else brought such sorrow to the Apostle’s heart than the lack of unity and love among members of the Church: “If you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another,” he writes with great pain to the Galatians. (Gal. 5.15) Moreover, addressing the Corinthians, he appeals to them “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no division among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” (1 Cor. 1.10) When he ascertains that the faithful in Corinth are divided into parties, he cries out in sadness: “Has Christ been divided?” (1 Cor, 1.13) Schism is frightening Truly, then, for St. Paul, schism in the Church is as frightening and horrible as the division of Christ Himself. For, ac-
Ecumenical Patriarch’s Address page 4 cording to the great Apostle, the Church is “the body of Christ,” comprising Christ Himself. “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it,” he writes to the Corinthians. (1 Cor. 12.27) We all know how St. Paul insists on characterizing the Church as “the body of Christ,” an image he articulates extensively in the twelfth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. This concept is not metaphorical, but ontological in content. Division in the Church renders the very body of Christ divided. In fact, division is so repulsive and horrible for St. John Chrysostom, according to his interpretation of St. Paul’s letters, that he claims not even martyrdom can erase the sin of someone that causes division or insists on division. Consequently, we could ask what St. Paul might say today if he were to encounter the indifference of so many of our contemporaries for the restoration of unity in the Church. Surely he would rebuke them harshly, as perhaps he might do with each of us in our tolerance or neglect before the numerous schisms and divisions invoking the name of Christ or even the name of Orthodoxy. One cannot properly honor St. Paul if one does not simultaneously labor for the unity of the Church. It is this kind of struggle for the unity of the Church that St. Paul undertook with a view to bridging the gap between the judaizing Christian Jews and those from the Gentiles. Among the churches founded by St. Paul within the world of the Gentiles and that in Jerusalem, it is well known that there existed differences seriously threatening the fabric of the early Church. These differences were related to whether or not one should keep the precepts of the Mosaic Law, culminating especially in the practice or not of circumcision also among the gentile Christians. Paul’s attitude on this matter was particularly instructive. In his attitude, we may discern the first seeds of Church practice, which later became known in the canon law of our Orthodox Church as “economy” (or dispensation, oikonomia). Just like the Law of Moses, the Sacred Canons must be respected; nevertheless, they cannot also fail to take into consideration the human person, for which after all the Sabbath (namely, the Law) was made, in accordance with the familiar phrase of the Lord (cf. Mark 2.27). Echoing the spirit of our Lord, St. Paul insisted on his position and thereby pointed to the way of “oikonomia” in order not to disrupt Church unity by imposing unbearable burdens on the shoulders of the weak. Paul invoked council However, even the manner with which St. Paul chose to preserve Church unity at that very critical moment was enlightening. At Paul’s initiative, a solution was reached by convoking a Council in Jerusalem, which by the grace of the Holy Spirit ultimately safeguarded the unity of the Church (cf. Acts 15). Thus, while Paul was convinced of the correctness of his opinion, he was not satisfied in persisting on what he believed to be true. His passion for the unity of the Church led him to the only possible and valid defense of his position, which lies in the conciliar decision itself. The Church upheld this way through the ages, defining through Synods alone what is truthful and what is heretical. It is only in our times that
we observe among Orthodox the phenomenon of individuals or groups vociferating their opinions, sometimes persistently opposing conciliar decisions of the Churches. Yet, according to the example of St. Paul as well as the Church through the centuries, both truth and Church unity are only preserved synodically. At the same time, for St. Paul, Church unity is not merely an internal matter of the Church. If he insists so strongly on maintaining unity, it is because Church unity is inextricably linked with the unity of all humanity. The Church does not exist for itself but for all humankind and, still more broadly, for the whole of creation. St. Paul describes Christ as the “second” or “final” Adam, namely as humanity in its entirety (cf. 1 Cor. 15.14 and Rom. 5.14). And “just as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.” (1 Cor. 15.22; cf. Rom. 5.19) Just as the human race is united in Adam, so also “all things are gathered up in [Christ], both things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph. 1.10) As St. John Chrysostom remarks, this “gathering up” (or recapitulation, anakephalaiosis) signifies that “one head had been established for all, namely the incarnate Christ, for both humans and angels, the human and divine Word. And he gathered them under one head so that there may be complete union and contiguity.” (PG 62.16) Nevertheless, this “recapitulation” of the entire world in Christ is not conceived by St. Paul outside the Church. As he explains in his letter to the Colossians (1.16-18), in Christ “all things in heaven and on earth were created and … in him all things hold together” precisely because “he is the head of the body, the Church.” “[God] has made him the head over all things for the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” (Eph. 1.22-3) For St. Paul, then, Christ is the head of all – of all people and all creation – because He is at the same time head of the Church. The Church as the body of Christ is not fulfilled unless it assumes in itself the whole world. Duty of mission There are many useful conclusions that we may gain from this ecclesiology of St. Paul. We confine ourselves to pointing out, first, the importance – for the life of the Church in general and for the ministry of us all in particular – of the duty of mission. The evangelization of God’s people, as well as of those who do not believe in Christ, constitutes the supreme obligation of the Church. This obligation – at least, when it is not realized aggressively (as was the case in the past, primarily in Western Christianity) or deceptively (as is the case with various forms of proselytism) but with love, humility and respect for the cultural particularity of each person – responds to the Lord’s desire that, through the unity of the Church, “the world may believe” in Him. (John 17.21) So we must in every way encourage and support the external mission of the Church wherever it is practiced, particularly in the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria within the vast continent of Africa. However, even within our Churches, the need and obligation to evangelize is today rendered imperative. We must become conscious of the fact that in contemporary societies, especially in the context of western civilization, faith in Christ can in no way be taken at all for granted. Orthodox theology cannot
Archbishop Demetrios and other hierarchs at the proceedings of the Synaxis of Orthodox hierarchs.
today be developed or expounded without dialogue with modern currents of philosophical thought and social dynamics, as well as with various forms of art and culture of our times. In this regard, the message and overall word of Orthodoxy cannot be aggressive, as it often unfortunately is; for this is of no benefit at all. Rather, it must be dialectical, dialogical and reconciliatory. We must first understand other people and discern their deeper concerns; for, even behind disbelief, there lies concealed the search for the true God. Peacemaker role Finally, the connection between the unity of the Church and the unity of the world, on which the Apostle to the Gentiles insists, imposes on us the need to assume the role of peacemaker within a world torn by conflicts. The Church cannot – indeed, it must not – in any way nurture religious fanaticism, whether consciously or subconsciously. When zeal becomes fanaticism, it deviates from the nature of the Church, particularly the Orthodox Church. By contrast, we must develop initiatives of reconciliation wherever conflicts among people either loom or erupt. Inter-Christian and interreligious dialogue is the very least of our obligations; and it is one that we must surely fulfill. However, the modern world is unfortunately plagued by a crisis that cannot be reduced to inter-personal relations but extends to the relationship between humanity and the natural environment. According to St. Paul, as we have already observed, Christ constitutes the head of all, of things visible and invisible, namely of all creation, while the Church as His body unites not only humanity but the whole of creation. Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the Church cannot remain idle before the crisis that affects humanity in relation to the natural environment. It is our obligation to assume every possible initiative: first, so that our own flock may become aware of the demand for respect toward creation by avoiding any abuse or irrational use of natural resources; second, so that we may support every effort that aspires to the protection of God’s creation. For, as everyone acknowledges, the cause of the ecological crisis is profoundly spiritual, primarily due to human greed and indulgence, which characterize modern man. With its long ascetic tradition and liturgical ethos, the Orthodox Church can contribute greatly to confronting the
ecological crisis that now threatens our planet. In full recognition of this, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has – already since 1989, as the first church to do so in the Christian world – issued an Encyclical signed by our venerable predecessor Patriarch Dimitrios, establishing September 1st of each year as a day of prayer for the protection of the natural environment. It has also, since that time, promoted a series of activities, such as the organization of international symposia involving scholars and religious leaders in order to ascertain ways of protecting God’s creation from imminent destruction. We invite and appeal to all sister Orthodox Churches to support this endeavor of our Patriarchate; after all, our obligation and responsibility before God and History is something we all bear in common. And now, beloved brothers in the Lord, let us turn our thought to the internal affairs of our Orthodox Church, whose leadership the Lord’s mercy has entrusted to us. We have been deigned by our Lord to belong to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, whose faithful continuation and expression in History is our Holy Orthodox Church. We have received and preserve the true faith, as the holy Fathers have transmitted it to us through the Ecumenical Councils of the one undivided Church. We commune of the same Body and Blood of our Lord in the Divine Eucharist, and we participate in the same Sacred Mysteries. We basically keep the same liturgical typikon and are governed by the same Sacred Canons. All these safeguard our unity, granting us fundamental presuppositions for witness in the modern world. Image of incomplete unity Despite this, we must admit in all honesty that sometimes we present an image of incomplete unity, as if we were not one Church, but rather a confederation or a federation of churches. This is largely a result of the institution of autocephaly, which characterizes the structure of the Orthodox Church. As is known, this institution dates back to the early Church, when the so-called “Pentarchy” of the ancient Apostolic Sees and Churches – namely, of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem – was still valid. The communion or “symphony” of these Sees expressed the unity of the universal Church in the oikoumene. This Pentarchy was severed after the tragic
Ecumenical Patriarch’s Address to the Synaxis of Hierarchs page 5 schism of 1054 AD between Rome and Constantinople originally, and afterward between Rome and the other Patriarchates. To the four Orthodox Patriarchates that remained after the Schism, from the middle of the second millennium to this day, other autocephalous Churches were added until we have the prevailing organization of the Orthodox Church throughout the world today. Yet, while the original system of Pentarchy emanated from respect for the apostolicity and particularity of the traditions of these ancient Patriarchates, the autocephaly of later Churches grew out of respect for the cultural identity of nations. Moreover, the overall system of autocephaly was encroached in recent years, through secular influences, by the spirit of ethnophyletism or, still worse, of state nationalism, to the degree that the basis for autocephaly now became the local secular nation, whose boundaries, as we all know, do not remain stable but depend on historical circumstance. So we have reached the perception that Orthodoxy comprises a federation of national Churches, frequently attributing priority to national interests in their relationship with one another. In light of this image, which somewhat recalls the situation in Corinth when the first letter to the Corinthians was written, the Apostle Paul would ask: Has Orthodoxy been divided? This question is also posed by many observers of Orthodox affairs in our times. Of course, the response commonly proffered to this question is that, despite administrational division, Orthodoxy remains united in faith, the Sacraments, etc. But is this sufficient? When before non-Orthodox we sometimes appear divided in theological dialogues and elsewhere; when we are unable to proceed to the realization of the long-heralded Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church; when we lack a unified voice on contemporary issues and, instead, convoke bilateral dialogues with nonOrthodox on these issues; when we fail to constitute a single Orthodox Church in the so-called Diaspora in accordance with the ecclesiological and canonical principles of our Church; how can we avoid the image of division in Orthodoxy, especially on the basis of non-theological, secular criteria?
Archbishop Demetrios greets Patriarch Philotheos of Jerusalem, All Palestine and Holy Zion.
Greater unity We need, then, greater unity in order to appear to those outside not as a federation of Churches but as one unified Church. Through the centuries, and especially after the Schism, when the Church of Rome ceased to be in communion with the Orthodox, this Throne was called – according to canonical order – to serve the unity of the Orthodox Church as its first Throne. And it fulfilled this responsibility through the ages by convoking an entire series of Panorthodox Councils on crucial ecclesiastical matters, always prepared, whenever duly approached, to render its assistance and support to troubled Orthodox Churches. In this way, a canonical order was created and, accordingly, the coordinating role of this Patriarchate guaranteed the unity of the Orthodox Church, without in the least damaging or diminishing the independence of the local autocephalous Churches by any interference in their internal affairs. This, in any case, is the healthy significance of the institution of autocephaly: while it assures the self-governance of each Church with regard to its internal life and organization, on matters affect-
ing the entire Orthodox Church and its relations with those outside, each autocephalous Church does not act alone but in coordination with the rest of the Orthodox Churches. If this coordination either disappears or diminishes, then autocephaly becomes “autocephalism” (or radical independence), namely a factor of division rather than unity for the Orthodox Church. Therefore, dearly beloved brothers in the Lord, we are called to contribute in every possible way to the unity of the Orthodox Church, transcending every temptation of regionalism or nationalism so that we may act as a unified Church, as one canonically structured body. We do not, as during Byzantine times, have at our disposal a state factor that guaranteed – and sometimes even imposed – our unity. Nor does our ecclesiology permit any centralized authority that is able to impose unity from above. Our unity depends on our conscience. The sense of need and duty that we constitute a single canonical structure and body, one Church, is sufficient to guarantee our unity, without any external intervention. In consideration of all these things, and with a sense of our Church’s obligation before God and History in an age
when the unified witness of Orthodoxy is judged crucial and expected by all, we invite and call on you fraternally that, with the approval also of our respective Holy Synods, we may proceed to the following necessary actions: Necessary actions To advance the preparations for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, already commenced through Pan–Orthodox Pre–Conciliar Consultations. To activate the 1993 agreement of the Inter-Orthodox Consultation of the Holy and Great Council in order to resolve the pending matter of the Orthodox Diaspora. To strengthen by means of further theological support the decisions taken on a Pan–Orthodox level regarding participation of the Orthodox Church in theological dialogues with non–Orthodox. To proclaim once again the vivid interest of the entire Orthodox Church for the crucial and urgent matter of protecting the natural environment, supporting on a Pan–Orthodox level the relative initiative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. To establish an Inter–Orthodox Committee for the study of matters arising today in the field of bioethics, on which the world justifiably also awaits the Orthodox position. We deemed it proper to offer these proposals for your consideration in our desire that this Synaxis, after exchanging more general thoughts, may also conclude with several specific decisions, whereby the unity of our Church will be expressed in deed. After all, this is what public opinion expects of us, both among our own flocks but also in the world around us. You are certainly able to add other proposals to these, should this be deemed necessary, Your Beatitudes and most eminent brothers. In closing our address, we express once again glory to our all–good God, for vouchsafing that we convene in the same place within the context of the Pauline celebrations, and pray that our brotherly fellowship in the Lord during these days will unite us still more in the bond of love. “Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine; to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 3.20-1) Amen.
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The Voice of Philoptochos
Philoptochos Convention Inspires, Informs and Educates WASHINGTON – National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas and the nearly 400 National Philoptochos delegates warmly welcomed Archbishop Demetrios and Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain for the opening ceremonies of the 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention on Sunday, July 13, at the Marriott WardmanPark Hotel. Archbishop Demetrios acknowledged the good works of the National Philoptochos and thanked Bishop Andonios for his guidance as spiritual advisor and Georgia Skeadas for her leadership during the past six years. Archbishop Demetrios charged the members to invest heart, spirit and emotion in the act of caring. Archbishop Gregorios offered the official message from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew recognizing Philoptochos for its labors and successes and for support of the important institutions of the Church. Archbishop Gregorios expressed special thanks for the National Philoptochos Pilgrimage to the Patriarchate in October 2007. National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas then rendered her National President’s Report reviewing the accomplishments of the past two years and addressing the convention theme, “Looking Forward, The Future is Something We Create Not Something We Enter.” (Available at www.philoptochos.org) Convention program Chair Diane Tseckares and Co-Chairs Maria Logus and Pauline O’Neal succeeded in preparing an agenda of programs and activities that were educational, informative and inspiring. Each day’s program began with a spiritual reflection offered by Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, Fr. Mark Arey and Fr. Steven Zorzos. These reflections inspired the delegates and provided a thoughtful period before beginning the business sessions. Delegates actively participated in the National Philoptochos business meetings and had the unique opportunity to hear first hand from the leaders of the Archdiocesan institutions that Philoptochos supports. Each delegate received a beautiful, zippered, leather binder with full schedules and details about the week’s program including supporting materials for the business of the Convention that filled the binder. Most impressive were all the colorful materials to share with their chapters about the ministries Philoptochos so generously supports including the impressive St. Basil Academy informational booklet distributed during Fr. Costas Sitaras’ presentation. Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou offered beautiful handouts depicting the work of Hellenic College and Holy Cross and the unique fold out that reflected the $1 million of giving by Philoptochos to HC/HC in the past six years. Colorful brochures, DVDs and educational materials were received from Fr. Martin Ritsi (OCMC) and Dean Triantafilou (IOCC) as well as Dr. Anthony Limberakis, Commander of the Archons of Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of St. Andrew whose brochures describe the plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Philoptochos Newsletter Convention Edition highlighted the work of the Direct Archdiocesan District and each Metropolis and the mouse pad depicting the Philoptochos logo drew everyone’s
D. PANAGOS Photos
Archbishop Demetrios, accompanied by Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, enters the Philoptochos Convention meeting room.
Archbishop Demetrios gives the opening prayer to begin their session.
November Commitment to Ecumenical Patriarchate In October 2007 the National Philoptochos under the spiritual leadership of Bishop Andonios of Phasiane led its first pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The trip emanated from the work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Committee of the National Board to create a sense of support and connection to the Phanar and its philanthropic ministries beyond the substantial monetary commitment sent each year. The pilgrims visited the institutions that Philoptochos supports to observe and discuss specific needs with leaders and to create a personal experience and bond which would hopefully blossom into fruitful activity throughout the Philoptochos chapters of the United States. The pilgrimage was an organizational and spiritual success and through the chronicles and photos of those who attended we were all able to learn first hand about the Patriarchal needs and ministries. As we approach the feast day of the Philoptochos patron Sts. Cosmas and Damianos on Nov. 1, all chapters and parishioners are asked to honor the great tradition of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate and give generously when the Philoptochos chapters throughout the country circulate trays to benefit the philanthropic programs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Philoptochos delegates at the 2008 National Biennial Convention heard directly from Dr. Anthony J. Limberakis, M.D., National Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Order of Saint Andrew, about the need to take action to protect religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Archbishop Demetrios in his message stated, “We who live in freedom and who enjoy every civil and human right, are obliged to come to the defense of the Mother Church of us all, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. It is our paramount duty to assist the Great Church of Christ to fulfill Her apostolic mission of guiding the Orthodox Churches throughout the world…” Philoptochos members throughout the country join together in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate through the generous contributions of the parishes and chapters.
attention to the newly launched website at www.philoptochos.org. After hearing tips for women on financial planning, delegates each received a full folder with “A Guide to Responsible Planning.” To support the convention theme of “Looking Forward” the program committee engaged the Training Services Department of the Maryland Association of Non Profit Organizations to provide professional expertise to guide the delegates in discussion on Membership, Compassionate Giving and “Looking Forward.” Delegates participated in one of 10 interactive discussion groups on Wednesday that were guided by professional facilitators and a scribe who recorded responses. These responses, observations and suggestions were compiled into a preliminary summary report delivered to the delegates on Thursday by Justin Pollock, director of training services. A full report of this facilitated program will be provided to all the chapters. Some of the guiding themes of the discussion were the charge to the delegates to look at themselves and envision a future where the foundation is based on each person’s actions; to understand the importance of what we do and the value it has for us; to consider others in all our actions; to think what tomorrow might look like and to chart a course to reach these goals, and to reflect on the compelling reasons for participating in Philoptochos. This outstanding finale to the Biennial Convention was greatly appreciated by all the delegates who endorse the interactive discussion groups and the opportunity to learn from each other. Delegates and chapters will find the report of the “Looking Forward” discussions most useful in their planning at all levels of the organization.
Georgia Skeadas welcomes Archbishop Demetrios and Archbishop Gregorios.
The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
The 17th meeting of the Joint SCOBA/SCOOCH (Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas and the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches) Commission took place Sept. 18 at Archdiocese headquarters. Those attending included (Oriental) Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldho, and Frs. Dileeb Alias, Athanasius Farag, Jacob Ghaly, Teklemarian Michael Greene, John Meno and Simeon Odabashian. (Eastern) Bishop Dimitrios Couchell, Fr. Mark Arey, Gabriel Habib, and Frs. Leonid Kishkovsky, Robert Stephanopoulos, Blagoy Topuzliev and Alexander Abramov.
Orthodox-Catholic Bishops Examine Naming of Bishops, Campus Ministry at Alabama Meeting
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NEW YORK – The naming of bishops and the work of campus ministry led topics at the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops’ 24th meeting in Daphne, near Mobile, Ala., Oct. 1-3. Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, retired archbishop of Mobile, hosted the meeting. Archbishop Lipscomb and Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada, currently serving as administrator of the Orthodox Church in America, co-chaired the meeting. Participants reviewed how bishops are named in their Churches. Archbishop Lipscomb presented for the Catholic side, citing the Code of Canon Law. The Orthodox bishops described the process in their jurisdictions, which varies from Church to Church. Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange, Calif., reviewed the 1985 Pastoral Letter on Campus Ministry of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Fr. Mark Arey, the general secretary of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), described how Orthodox Christian Fellowship promotes an Orthodox presence on college campuses. Evening discussions centered on recent events, including the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States last April, the withdrawal of the Jerusalem Patriarchate from North America, the upcoming visit of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch to the United States, the “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” document of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the inclusion of the Moscow Patriarchate in SCOBA, the election of a new primate of the Orthodox Church in America, recent plenary meetings of the USCCB, and relations between the two Romanian Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. On Oct. 2, members examined the recent agreed text of the international Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, “The Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority.” Also known as “The Ravenna Docu-
ment,” the text was adopted by the international dialogue in Ravenna, Italy, Oct. 13, 2007. Bishops viewed DVD recordings of talks on the document by two members of the international commission, Fr. Paul McPartlan, of the Catholic University of America, and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, assistant bishop in the Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. They also heard a presentation of the 1997 USCCB document, “Reflections on the Body, Cremation and Catholic Funeral Rites” by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk and comments by Archbishop Seraphim and Metropolitan Christopher of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Fr. Arey and Paulist Father Ronald Roberson of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, then reviewed the relationship of the Catholic and Orthodox churches to the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The next meeting is expected to be in October 2009, in Syria, hosted by the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate. The committee was established in 1981, and is sponsored jointly by the Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the USCCB and SCOBA. Catholic members of the Committee include Archbishop Lipscomb, Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore; Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati; Bishop Brown; Bishop Dale J. Melczek of Gary, Ind.; Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, Bishop Nicholas Samra, Titular Bishop of Gerasa; Bishop Richard Sklba, auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wis.; and Father Roberson, staff. Orthodox members are Bishop Seraphim, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), Metropolitan Christopher (Serbian Orthodox Church), Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos (Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese), Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada), Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese), and Father Arey, staff.
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Li ght or Twilight? “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans (15:4) by Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos
Who is Sydney Noel? And why has the media focused so much attention on her? Sydney Noel is a 13-year-old girl who won a coveted nationwide sweepstakes to meet Stephanie Meyers, the author of the best-selling novel–trilogy called Twilight. Envied by teens across the country, Noel’s prize included a flight to New York for a private half-hour meeting with Ms. Meyer during which she received the first autographed copy of “Breaking Dawn,” Meyer’s latest novel in the series. With over 8 million copies of Twilight currently in print, and translated into over 20 languages, Meyers’ fictional love story between a teen-age girl and her vampire boyfriend has become a worldwide phenomenon. Why has our society placed so much emphasis on fictional novels and their author’s eccentric world-views? Why is it that both young and old focus their attention on such secular writings, often to the neglect of Holy Scripture and the inspired stories of the prophets, apostles and saints? Throughout his letters, St. Paul warns that there will come a time when humanity will indeed neglect the message of God. As a consequence, society will be “led astray by all kinds of strange teachings” (Hebrews 13:9) that left unrestrained, have the potential of “spreading like gangrene” (2 Tim. 2:17) and leading their readers astray. Paul exhorts his listeners to therefore heed the eternal wisdom of God’s Word “for everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4) It is significant that Jesus Himself quoted extensively from the Scriptures throughout His entire life. “It is written,” Jesus insisted, “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Underscoring the grace of the scriptures, Jesus describes those who “obey as well as hear the Word of God” as “blessed” (Luke 11:28). It is, therefore, not surprising for St. Paul to maintain that as “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) the Word of God may be successfully employed to constrain the onslaught of misleading and perverse teachings! Surprisingly, a careful examination of the ever-so-popular Twilight trilogy reveals significant similarities with the message of Holy Scripture. Like Holy Scripture, Meyer’s novels are also concerned with the timeless issues of faithfulness, truth, and love. “Twilight” centers attention on the issues and problems that pervade our personal and interpersonal relationships. Like the teenage Bella Swan in Myer’s novels, countless Biblical personalities are described as having to choose between two suitors, two grooms that seek humanity’s (Church) attention. While the One is Eternal . . . the other, an image of all that is temporal and material. What is indeed apparent is that the trilogy series shares many common Biblical themes. While this may explain Meyer’s general appeal and popularity with our
youth, its fundamental message, however, should be filtered through the life-giving teaching of God’s Word. Yes – Meyers is correct – all of us want to be loved. All of us want to feel welcome and accepted. All of us desire to overcome self-centeredness and to be a part of a spiritual family, characterized by generosity and sacrifice. The thematic conflicts within Twilight mirror the conflicts and dilemmas that exist within every Church community, family and individual. While both books address similar problems, however, their remedies and solutions are quite different. The advice of Holy Scripture encourages the strong to support the weak. We are warned not to seek our own pleasure but the needs of our neighbor. We are to avoid unhelpful disputes, striving rather for harmony that glorifies God with one voice. This is the wisdom of the Holy Scripture “written in the past...for us today.” It is our Father’s Book written for the light rather than the twilight. Its life–giving message strikes hard against the self-centeredness of ego – the vampire of the family and church – that sucks the joy and life out of the veins of all relationships. It is significant that the main character of Meyer’s novels, Roy Edwards, is a vampire who desires to reject his beastly inclinations. His entire family has chosen to deny their distorted nature and live as vegetarians. Instead of succumbing to their animal instincts, they have chosen a higher path, choosing not to feed on the “blood” of other human beings. This, too, is the primary message of the New Testament! We are challenged to reject the selfcentered urges that characterize our disfigured nature and, through the grace of Christ, strive to live according to a higher calling. We are called to feed each other, rather than feed on one another. This is the reason why it is so important that we offer our respective gifts, strengths, and talents to one another, for the Image of God within invites us to live for the benefit of our spiritual family ever growing and maturing in a bond of love. An insightful theological message concerning the wisdom of Holy Scripture may be discerned in one of Charles Shultz’s humorous Charlie Brown comic strips. While on a cruise, Charlie Brown and Lucy are preparing to open their respective folding chairs on the ship’s deck. “Have you ever noticed how people face their chairs?” Lucy asks. “Some face the back so they can see where they have been. Others face the front of the ship so they can see where they are headed. Still others, open them facing the sides of the ship to see where they are. What direction do you face Charlie Brown?” “I do not know,” Charlie answers, “I am having a problem figuring out how to open my chair!” Who is Sydney Noel? Miss Noel is the face of so many of our teen–agers today who are seeking viable solutions to life’s dilemmas. In the end, the world–view that our contemporary youth choose to accept, and the way they choose to live, will be characterized by their self–image, the way they see themselves. To a large extent, their self–identities will be governed by the books they choose to open, and the groom they choose to accept. Unlike Charlie Brown’s cruise ship deck chair, the Sacred Scriptures are easily opened and can provide them the comfort,
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Commentaries and Opinions
TALES FROM THE STOLÉ
Caesar vs. God
by Fr. John S. Bakas
In the Gospel of Matthew 22:21, the Pharisees trying to entangle Jesus on matters of religion versus the state, ask Him: “Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” The Lord answered, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” St. Paul was more cautious regarding the believer’s relationship to the state. In his letter to the Romans 13:3 he states: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.” If I lived in the 1st century, I would agree with the great saint. But, in the context of our times and 21st century circumstances, even St. Paul might have second thoughts about the state. I am totally convinced that it is easier to please God than to please the many contemporary Caesars. Our St. Sophia Cathedral of Los Angeles is a socially conscious community and ministry, trying to live out the gospel message by doing good. Partnering with our multi-ethnic and multi-religious neighbors, we have developed free camping programs for inner city at–risk youth. Many know them as Camp Axios. We have organized a neighborhood Business Improvement District (BID). We’ve even officially renamed the area as the Byzantine Latino Quarter to better reflect our historic Greek presence in this part of LA. We are currently working on a multimillion dollar grant–funded project to remodel and retrofit a 28,000–square– foot building into a community center which will provide gang and drug prevention programs. The center will be offering job training, educational tutoring and mentoring opportunities for youth in our part of town, where there are 80,000 residents per square mile. This facility is just down the street from our cathedral. It is a beautiful and historic edifice built in the California mission style. Beyond the initial grant, we must raise extra funds to bring the project to completion and make it operational. Fund raising is difficult at best. In light of the enormous amount of “red tape” and government regulations which are attached to the project, costs have risen significantly. This is dampening, from time to time, our enthusiasm to help the disadvantaged to do good. Although the community center is not religiously based, volunteer religious leaders from various faith communities and many other business owners are working very hard to make it a reality. We take the regulatory roadblocks with patience and much needed humor. Just ask any of our parish priests who have undertaken building or remodeling projects. The temptation to give up tugs at our enthusiasm and energy levels. Philanthropic zeal is often anesthetized by excessive and seemingly unrealistic state and city over-regulations…the heavy hand of faceless Caesars. I never thought that God would speak to my frustrated heart through the Internet, but it seems He did so the other day, when a friend sent me a humorous and most appropriate e–mail that had me shaking my head with laughter. God
bless the anonymous author. He or she deserves a special blessing. I think I will send the following story to the mayor, and City Building Department. I hope they have a sense of humor. In the year 2008, The Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States and said: “Once again, the earth has become wicked, immoral, and godless. I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans.” He gave Noah the blueprints saying: “You have six months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.” Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard- but no Ark. “Noah!” He roared. “I’m about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?” “Forgive me Lord” begged Noah, “but things have changed. I needed a building permit. I’ve been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. “Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea. “I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear none of it. Getting the wood was another problem. There’s been a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls-but no go! When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. “Then the EPA ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they conducted an environmental impact study on Your proposed flood. “I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew. “Department of Homeland Security is checking the green card status of most of the people who want to work. The trade unions say I can’t use my sons. They insist I have to hire only union workers with Ark–building experience. “To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. So forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish the Ark. “Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked; “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?” “No” said the Lord. “The government beat me to it.” Fr. Bakas is dean of St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles.
Archiepiscopal Encyclical The Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries Sts. Cosmas and Damian To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On November 1 of each year, our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the holy Feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian, two extraordinary brothers who were renowned physicians and martyrs of the early Church. Born in Asia Minor, these beloved saints of our Church earned a distinctive reputation for offering their services of healing to those in need. In their deeds, Saints Cosmas and Damian were living examples of the commandment of Christ to His disciples: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay (Matthew 10:8). It is for this reason that our Church bestows upon Saints Cosmas and Damian the honorific distinction of “Holy Unmercenaries” (Agioi Anargyroi), for these two great men took these words of Christ to their heart. Yet, what precisely does the Church mean by this term “unmercenary”? In answering this question, it is helpful to recall that a mercenary is one who specifically contracts with another to serve on a “work-for-hire” basis. The loyalty of a mercenary normally is measured by the amount of money which he is promised in exchange for his performance. For the mercenary, the monetary value of his work is of significance. By contrast, an “unmercenary” renders service for a lifetime. Payment is not the basis of his work, but rather the unselfish nature of his labor and his
deep love for the beneficial work he is doing. The example of Saints Cosmas and Damian is a superb, indeed holy example of the mindset and actions of an “unmercenary.” This is because the labor of these beloved Saints was expressed in the task of restoring the health of others in the name of Jesus Christ, and the level of love they had for this labor was equal to the level of love they held for Christ, which was without limit. Today, the legacy of Saints Cosmas and Damian lives on, and their example of giving challenges us to consider concepts of labor, love, and faithfulness in radical ways as we engage in philanthropic actions and service to others. In tribute to the legacy of philanthropy that these great Saints of Asia Minor have bequeathed to us, our National Ladies Philoptochos Society leads us annually on this day in raising funds to support the hospitals, nursing homes, and philanthropic agencies of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, and in turn the venerable Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople. Therefore, you are kindly asked to pass a special tray on Sunday, November 2, in your parish to support the National Ladies Philoptochos Ecumenical Patriarchate Fund, a ministry which is a tangible expression of our love. In supporting this important Fund, you will help to bring both material and spiritual comfort to the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ who know Constantinople as their home. It is my fervent prayer on this day and always, through the intercessions of Saints Cosmas and Damian, and by their sterling example of labor and love, that the virtue of authentic Christian philanthropy may be indelibly inscribed upon our hearts through our charitable acts for all who are in need. May God’s love, mercy, and healing presence be with you all on this day and always.
With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
Reflecting on the Cross Editor, The annual service of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross and Blessing of the Waters at Asbury Park, N.J., on Sept. 21 was beautiful. In addition to the special service, the day was lovely; the sun was shining bright and the sea was full of life, splashing her waves against the rocks and sand. Diving for the cross by our area youth brought excitement and anticipation with the divers ready to enter the cold water in the hopes of retrieving the cross. Yet – this time, something out of the ordinary happened when the boys dove in to retrieve the cross. A young boy found the cross in the turbulent water, and held it in his hand. And then – in their excitement, several boys, like playful dolphins, pushed
him under water in an effort to loosen the cross from his hand. They then competed for the cross amongst themselves. This resulted in the cross being broken into about four pieces, with perhaps a piece being taken out to sea. This was the first time I witnessed a youth retrieving the cross and then the cross being taken from him. Upon reflection, I see this event as symbolic of the Christian journey. Firstly, I believe that no harm was intended. The boys who wrestled the cross from the victor were caught up in their excitement. Their enthusiasm swept them away. I saw this as a metaphor for life; rich with symbolism. It made me think of how in life, embracing Christianity and upholding the cross is so often a challenge and how there are attempts to have it wrestled from us.
by Fr. William Gaines
Back Seat Driver
“Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in thine own eye.” (Matt.7:3) Question: What are the characteristics of a back–seat driver? First: The attitude of some people who ride in the back is one of absolute distrust of a person who is driving. Not that they mean it, for they are much too polite for that; but should any vehicle be seen approaching , even at a remote distance, they are immediately “on the qui-vive” (Latin – on the alert) and they let the driver know “there is something coming.” That is a brief little illustration of an attitude that is not merely confined to motorists. There are those who feel that this world has no driver and is uncontrolled and that, somehow or other, it is necessary for them to put things right, and so they produce all sorts of fantastic schemes about how the world should be made better. If you and I have become back-seat drivers we must be made to understand that this world is not uncontrolled. God is in charge. The first thing we have to learn is to trust God to manage the universe in which we live. Second: The prominent feature about back–seat drivers is they do not possess good sight. They are not in a position to see, and yet they would direct affairs. How many people are there who prefer to sit in the back seat and criticize, but they themselves never do anything to bring what they think ought to be done into realization. In the Church of Jesus Christ there are many who today are content to be back-seat drivers. I do not suggest for one moment there should be an absence of all criticism. Constructive criticism is a splendid asset in any community. Nothing is going
to save this world but the individual acts of Christian men and women who are courageous enough to live their faith.’ Third: A back-seat driver is a timid person. He does not mean to be afraid, but he is. As one of our philosophers wrote: “We always worry most about the things that never happen.” Just think of all the things in life that have disturbed and worried us, and kept us awake at night, and which never happened. Most of our worst troubles are just of that sort. Ask yourselves: How many in this world daily are afraid of life, afraid of the future, of sickness, of unemployment or something happening to their families? They live in constant fear. The blessings of the Gospel of our Lord are meant to free us from this yoke of timidity and terror and to give us peace of mind. The trouble is that we want to manage God’s end as well as our own. All of us would be much happier in life if we would leave God’s end to God and do our own duty faithfully and well. Today, let us be honest with ourselves. Let us realize there is work in life for each of us to do, and no one can do it as well as we can. God has placed us here for that purpose. It is tragic if you are content to be a back-seat driver and let someone else do the work God intended us to do. Are we waiting for leisure time before we give time to God or are we merely timid in life and have no vision of service, doing nothing practical to help humanity along the roadway of life? Think about this. It’s time to get into the front seat and drive, for the Bible states: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” Let us all learn the lesson to daily give our honest loyalty to our Lord, who gave us His eternal love upon His cross at Calvary.
A Saint of the Past for Today – St. Demetrios by Fr. Nikiforos Fakinos
The celebration of the memory of St. Demetrios is significant for all Orthodox people. St. Demetrios is the protector of many people who have his name, for the city of Salonica and for our parishes here. Our churches are adorned with icons of the saint. St. Demetrios was a religious educator, who cultivated the principles of our faith to many people. St. Demetrios had great impact on one of his disciples, Nestor, who, through the saint’s inspiration, takes the courage to face the adversary of Christians, Lyeos the giant gladiator. Just like Nestor, all of us who serve and follow the example of St. Demetrios, receive the saint’s blessing in order to face the adversaries of Christianity. We have to also fight the modern-day gigantic “gladiators” that jeopardize the well-being of our youth, of Hellenism and of Orthodox ideals. Violence, drugs, immorality, unbelief, heresies and corruption are the weapons of this modern giant that challenges every human being in our society. Our Church equips us with the defense to overcome those challenges. The blessing of St. Demetrios will help us face any threat against our spiritual betterment. St. Demetrios illumines us with the
example of his saintly character. He was dynamic, but not violent. He was peaceful, but not passive. He was a person of prayer, but also a person of action. He had faith in God, but he did not follow superstitions. He practiced repentance, although he avoided sinning. He cherished life, but he did not fear death. St. Demetrios inspired many before his death, during his death and after his death. Before he died, he made sure to use his life in serving God and attracting people to Christ. When he martyred, he inspired courage, determination and self-sacrifice for the values of faith, hope and love. After his death, he continues to motivate all of us to confess our faith to the world and to devote our lives for the spiritual welfare of our souls.We ask of him to intercede for our health and salvation. We honor him at the Vespers service with hymns and praises that are due to a holy person, who is an example for millions, even centuries after his earthly life. St. Demetrios is honored as a “Champion of the Faith.” Fr. Fakinos is religious education coordinator for the Direct Archdiocese District and pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Merrick, N.Y.
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Ike Inflicts Severe Damage on Galveston Church page 1 cause of the mold. “As far as we know, the church will have to be gutted and rebuilt from the structural elements.” A staging area has been set up to catalog and photo items that are brought out. These will be salvaged if possible, or discarded. “From what I have been told, the parish insurance policy will not cover the remediation and reconstruction costs,” Fr. Luke said.
“Parishioners throughout the area endured the loss of electricity and water for days, and some sustained moderate to significant damage to their homes from wind and rain. There are no reported deaths or injuries to any of our parishioners. “One of the biggest problems is mold and mildew that has grown super rapidly in homes, businesses, churches, etc. that were damaged. The humid climate in Houston-Galveston makes these places like petri dishes!”
IOCC Responds in Hurricane Ike Aftermath
With Metropolitan Evangelos are the cross retrievers, Consul General of Greece Aglaia Balta, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Valinakis, and Consul General of Cyprus Andreas Panayiotou.
61st Anniversary Holy Cross Celebration Attracts 3,000 ASBURY PARK, N.J. --The 61st anniversary of the Metropolis of New Jersey Holy Cross celebration drew nearly 3,000 at the Paramount Theater on Sept. 21. This year’s event attracted 3,000 Greek Orthodox faithful and visitors, according to the Asbury Park Press (www.app.com/ apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage) from throughout the state of New Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia area. Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey presided over the festivities that included the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, the Elevation of the Holy Cross, the Blessing of the Waters and the subsequent diving for the cross by 70 Orthodox youngsters. Assisting the Metropolitan at the Liturgy were clergy from throughout the state. The Very Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Cottros, proistamenos of St. George Cathedral in Philadelphia, and Fr. Andrew Eugenis, proistamenos of St. George Church in Asbury Park, served as ecclesiarchs. The Paramount Theater, which was standing room only, resonated with the sounds of Byzantine music, chanted by the Byzantine choir of the New Jersey Metropolis; this year directed by Nicholas Chingas, protopsaltis of St. George Church in Trenton, N.J.. Kay Kahayas, choir director of St. George Church in Piscataway, directed the Eastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians Choir that also chanted the responses during the Divine Liturgy. Among those attending the Divine Liturgy and celebration were Greece’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Valinakis, Consul General Aglaia Balta of Greece; and Consul General Andreas Panayiotou of Cyprus. In his remarks, Mr. Valinakis expressed his great joy at being able to attend this year’s event. He also remarked that it was a special occasion for him personally, as this was the second year in a row that he was able to attend the celebration of the Holy Cross in Asbury Park. His Excellency
spoke about the life–long and beautiful relationship between the Greek–American communities here in the United States of America and the mother country of Greece. He encouraged all in attendance to continue supporting their Church and the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey as well as exhorting them to continue teaching the younger generations the values of the Hellenic culture, that has given so much to not only Greece, but the same Hellenic culture, which has given so much to the entire world. His Excellency Valinakis closed his remarks to the Metropolis faithful, by ensuring them that their brothers and sisters in Greece would continue praying for and supporting them here in the United States. The deputy minister also asked for the prayers from the faithful of the Metropolis of New Jersey. Metropolitan Evangelos then conducted a Trisagion service for the late Ecumenical Patriarch and former Archbishop of North and South America, Athenagoras, placing a wreath at the statue erected on the boardwalk by the city of Asbury Park in his honor. He instituted the celebration and Blessing of the Waters in Asbury Park in 1947; with the prayer that the world’s oceans, which connect all peoples of the earth, could also become vessels that transmit the hope and triumph of Christ’s Cross. Following the Agiasmos service held by the waterfront, Metropolitan Evangelos stepped into the water and threw the cross into the ocean four times, each time being retrieved by junior and senior members of GOYA. Those who retrieved the cross receive a special blessing for the coming year. This year’s divers who retrieved the cross were Christina Kolovos from Ascension Church, Fairview, N.J.; Nicholas Hilaris from St. John the Theologian Cathedral, in Tenafly, N.J.; Demetra Michailides from St. George Church in Trenton and Joseph Abadiotakis, from St. George Church in Asbury Park.
GALVESTON, Texas – As residents try to return to their damaged or destroyed homes in Texas, officials are still warning of a secondary health crisis due to the lack of water, power, and running sewers in some areas. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has received an initial assessment of the situation from its Emergency Response Network team, which arrived in Galveston on Sept. 17 and stayed in the area for the several days. IOCC delivered 20 pallets of hygiene kits and medical supplies to local area hospitals and shelters, and also sent its “Frontline,” a team of Orthodox clergy trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), a form of trauma counseling and evaluation. IOCC decided on this course of action after American Red Cross officials reported that shelters are completely full and invited IOCC to provide trauma counselors for those shelters. Earlier this year, IOCC completed training for 40 Orthodox clergy in CISM
at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Boston and at St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in San Francisco. IOCC issued an emergency appeal for its continuing response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Orthodox faithful, including Sunday schools, youth groups and others, are also urged to continue providing emergency clean-up buckets and health kits for shipment to the Gulf Coast (for information on assembling the kits go to http://iocc.org/emergencykits.aspx). IOCC distributed 1,000 such kits in New Orleans and Baton Rouge immediately following Hurricane Gustav. IOCC is accepting relief donations for the Gulf Coast’s devastated communities. Call IOCC’s donation hotline tollfree at 1–877–803–4622, make a gift on-line at www.iocc.org, or mail a check or money order payable to “IOCC” and write “US Emergency Response” in the memo line to: IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225.
Atlanta Metropolis Issues Appeal for Hurricane Victims In response to the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Ike, Metropolitan Alexios issued a special appeal to the faithful of the Metropolis to provide assistance to the hurricane victims. He asked for a special collection to be taken on Oct. 5. The text of his appeal letter to the parishes is as follows: Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Through Love Be Servants Of One Another (Gal. 5:13) Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ! As we continue our journey through the New Ecclesiastical Year, may this year will be a time of peace and blessings for our Metropolis of Atlanta family. As we look back on the past few years, with all of the devastation and destruction in our Metropolis of Atlanta from natural disasters, I am proud of what we have done, the generosity of our Faithful and our response to those in need. Victims of the hurricanes in our Metropolis were assisted by churches and Philoptochos chapters in an incredible outpouring of love, dedication and
generosity to their brothers and sisters in Christ. All across the nation, hearts went out to the victims of this horrific disaster, and through their generosity, assistance and help were offered in hundreds of ways. Now, with Hurricane Ike, and the devastation suffered by the people of Galveston and other Texas areas, it is our turn to help others in their time of need. We have established an account for disaster relief and decided that a second tray should be passed around and a collection taken up for the victims of Hurricane Ike on Sunday, October 5, 2008 . All checks should be made payable to the Metropolis of Atlanta, and sent to the Metropolis office, attention Mrs. Dee Nicolaou, chairman of the Metropolis of Atlanta Disaster Relief Committee, or Mrs. Helen Burleigh. The money will be sent directly to the Metropolis of Denver. We know that with your dedication and commitment, as well as your compassionate hearts, you will be ready and eager to assist those in need at a critical time. † ALEXIOS Metropolitan of Atlanta Dee Nicolaou Chairman, Metropolis of Atlanta Disaster Response Committee
Συνάντηση Κορυφής Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας στο Φανάρι ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ 2008
ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΗ – Η προβολή του Αποστολικού μηνύματος του Παύλου «προϋποθέτει την υπέρβαση των εσωτερικών αντιπαραθέσεων της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας» λένε στο «Μήνυμά» τους οι προκαθήμενοι της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας μετά από μία σπάνια Συνάντηση Κορυφής που συγκάλεσε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, ο «Πρώτος» μεταξύ των Ορθοδόξων Πατριαρχών, στην Κωνσταντινούπολη. Οι Συνάξεις Προκαθημένων είναι θεσμός που εισήγαγε ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος. Εχουν συγκληθεί πέντε τέτοιες Συνάξεις τα τελευταία 15 χρόνια, το 1992 στο Φανάρι, το 1995 στην Πάτμο, το 1998 στην Σόφια, το 2000 στα Ιεροσόλυμα την Πόλη και την Νίκαια της Βιθυνίας, και το 2005 στο Φανάρι. Τη Σύναξη ακολούθησε το Παύλειο Συμπόσιο το οποίο διήρκεσε μέχρι τις 16 Οκτωβρίου κα επικεντρώθηκε με θέματα διδασκαλίας του Αποστόλ��υ Παύλου και συνδυάσθηκε με προσκυνηματικές επισκέψεις σε τόπους απο όπου πέρασε και δίδαξε ο Απόστολος όπως η Έφεσος, η Αττάλεια, η Ρόδος, η Λίνδος και οι Καλοί Λιμένες της Κρήτης. Του συμποσίου προήδρευσε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος ενώ οργανώθηκε από επιτροπή υπό την προεδρία του Μητροπολίτη Σασσίμων κ. Γεννάδιου. (Εκτενές ρεπορτάζ στο επόμενο φύλλο)
Συνέντευξη Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου για Πατριαρχείο, Χάλκη και Τουρκία Τουρκία, Κύπρος, Χάλκη, τα προβλήματα του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου και η προσήλωση του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη στο διάλογο ανάμεσα σε θρησκείες και πολιτισμούς, ήταν τα θέματα που εθίγησαν κατά την συνέντευξη τύπου που έδωσε μετά την ομιλία του στην Ολομέλεια του ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου στις Βρυξέλλες ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος. Στη συνέντευξη παρίστατο κι ο πρόεδρος του Κοινοβουλίου Χανς Γκερτ Πέτερινγκ, ο οποίος δήλωσε ότι είναι απαραίτητη, αλλά όχι ικανή, προϋπόθεση η επαναλειτουργία της Σχολής της Χάλκης για την ένταξη της Τουρκίας. Το θέμα επαναλειτουργίας της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης εθίγη κατά την κοινή συνέντευξη Τύπου που παραχώρησαν ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης, Βαρθολομαίος, και ο πρόεδρος του ΕΚ, Χανς Γκερντ Πέτεριγκ, με αφορμή ερώτηση Τούρκου δημοσιογράφου, περί «στιγματισμού» της Τουρκίας, ως μουσουλμανικής χώρας, ενόψει των επερχόμενων ευρωεκλογών του 2009 και πώς αυτός θα μπορούσε ν΄αποφευχθεί. «Με εκπλήσσει η λέξη ‘στιγματι-
ΕΤΟΣ 73 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1243
Οι προκαθήμενοι της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας κατά τη διάρκεια της Συνάντησης Κορυφής στο Φανάρι.
ΤΟ ΜΗΝΥΜΑ «Η υπέρβαση των αντιπαραθέσεων απαιτεί την εκτόνωση των εθνικιστικών, εθνοφυλετικών ή ιδεολογικών παροξυσμών» ανέφερε το μήνυμα των προκαθημένων που αναγνώσθηκε στο Πατριαρχικό ναό του Αγίου Γεωργίου στο Φανάρι, όπου όλοι οι προκαθήμενοι–σε μια ακόμα και σπάνια στιγμή της εκκλησιαστικής ιστορίας–ετέλεσαν από κοινού τη Θεία Λειτουργία. «Μόνο έτσι ο λόγος της Ορθοδοξίας
θα ευρεί τη δέουσα αφήγηση απήχηση στο σύγχρονο κόσμο», τονίζει στο μήνυμά του προκαθήμενου της. «Ποικίλαι εθνικιστικαί, φυλετικαί, ιδεολογικαί και θρησκευτικαί αντιθέσεις τροφοδοτούν συνεχώς επικινδύνους συγχύσεις όχι μόνο ως προς την αδιαμφισβήτητη οντολογική ενότητα του ανθρωπίνου γένους, αλλά και ως προς τη σχέση του ανθρώπου με την θεία δημιουργία» τονίζει το Μήνυμα συνδέοντάς την υπέρβαση των προβλημάτων της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας
με το οικολογικό μήνυμα, που πρώτη η Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία, διά του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, ήδη από τη δεκαετία του ‘80 ενέταξε στην κατηχητική πρακτική της. Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος που είχε και την πρωτοβουλία τη σύγκλισης της «συνάντησης κορυφής», έθεσε το θέμα της ενότητας των Ορθοδόξων στο κέντρο της συνάντησης, συνδέοντας την ενότητα αυτή και με τη διδασκαλία του Αποστόλου Παύλου, το έτος του οποίου εορτάζουν εφέτος οι περισσότερες χριστιανικές Εκκλησίες. «Οφείλουμε να ομολογήσουμε με ειλικρίνεια ότι ενίοτε παρέχουμε την εικόνα ελλιπούς ενότητας ως να μην είμεθα μια Εκκλησία αλλά συνομοσπονδία ή ομοσπονδία εκκλησιών” είπε στην Σύναξη και εξήγησε ότι αυτό “οφείλεται εν πολλοίς στη φύση του θεσμού της αυτοκεφαλίας ο οποίος χαρακτηρίζει τη δομή της ορθοδόξου εκκλησίας”. «Δε διαθέτουμε–όπως συνέβαινε κατά τη βυζαντινή περίοδο–πολιτειακό παράγοντα εγγηυόμενο ή ενίοτε και επιβάλλονται την ενότητα», είπε και προσέθεσε ότι στην ορθόδοξη εκκλησιολογική παράδοση «δεν επιτρέπεται η συγκεντρωτική εξουσία που θα μπορούσε να επιβάλει άνωθεν την ενότητα».
Επιτυχημένη η 39η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής ΚΕΝΤΡΙΚΗ ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΣΕΒΑΣΜΙΩΤΑΤΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΑΜΕΡΙΚΗΣ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος και Χανς Γκερντ Πέτεριγκ στις Βρυξέλλες.
(Συνέχεια από το προηγούμενον)
σμός’», τόνισε ο κ. Πέτερινγκ και συμπλήρωσε: «Αν κάποιος επιθυμεί να γίνει μέλος της ΕΕ, θα πρέπει να ενστερνίζεται τις αξίες και τις αρχές της. Τούτο ισχύει για τον οποιονδήποτε θα ήθελε να ενταχθεί στην Ένωση. Παντού στην ΕΕ υπάρχουν χώροι λατρείας και πολλά μουσουλμανικά τεμένη και συμφωνώ απόλυτα. Αποτελεί οπισθοδρόμηση όταν κλείνει μία τέτοια Σχολή (σσ. όπως αυτή της Χάλκης) και δεν είναι στιγματισμός της Τουρκίας το να απαιτεί κανείς να επαναλειτουργήσει”. Σε ό,τι αφορά την ευρωπαϊκή προοπτική της Τουρκίας, σε σχέση με το θέμα επαναλειτουργίας της Σχολής, ο πρόεδρος του ΕΚ ξεκαθάρισε: “Είναι απαραίτητη αλλά όχι ικανή προϋπόθεση, το να ανοίξει η Θεολογική Σχολή της Χάλκης για να μπεί η Τουρκία στην ΕΕ. Δεν αποτελεί τιμή για την Τουρκία το κλείσιμο της Σχολής της Χάλκης από το 1970, ενώ προυπήρχε δεκαετίες πριν. Θα πρέπει οι χριστιανοί να μπορούν να λατρεύουν το θεό τους στην Τουρκία, όπως οι μουσουλμάνοι μπορούν να το πράξουν στην ΕΕ. Ακόμα και άπιστος
Οἱ Ἐνορίες, ὅμως, ἀποτελοῦν καλές βάσεις δεδομένων μέ πληροφορίες οἱ ὁποῖες μποροῦν νά ὁδηγήσουν στήν ἀνακάλυψη τῶν μεικτῶν οἰκογενειῶν οἱ ὁποῖες δέν ἔχουν σχέση μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία. Πρέπει νά τούς ἀνακαλύψουμε μέ τή βοήθεια τοῦ Θεοῦ καί νά τούς ὁδηγήσουμε κοντά Του. 3) Ἡ τρίτη κατηγορία ἀνθρώπων τούς ὁποίους ὁ Θεός μᾶς καλεῖ νά συνάξουμε στόν Οἶκο Του εἶναι οἱ ἔφηβοι καί οἱ νέοι καί νέες μας πού γιά κάποιο λόγο ἔφυγαν ἀπό τήν Ἐκκλησία. Ἐνδέχεται κάποιος νά ὑποστηρίξῃ ὅτι αὐτή ἡ τροπή τῶν πρα– γμάτων θά μποροῦσε νά εἶχε ἀποφευχθῇ καί νά μήν εἶχε σημειωθῇ αὐτή ἡ ὀδυνηρή ἀποσύνδεση. Ἀλλά, συνέβη. Πρόκειται περί γενικοῦ φαινομένου τῶν θρησκειῶν στήν Ἀμερική καί τώρα καλούμεθα νά ἀντιμετωπίσουμε τό ζήτημα τῆς συνάξεως αὐτῶν τῶν ἀποσυνδεδεμένων νέων ἀνθρώπων στόν χῶρο τοῦ Θεοῦ, στήν Ἐκκλησία Του, ἀντί νά μεμψιμοιροῦμε παθητικά γιά τό φαινόμενο. Γιά νά ἐπιτευχθῇ ὅμως αὐτό, προϋποτίθεται ὅτι θά προσφέρουμε εὐκαιρίες σ’ αὐτούς γιά τήν ἐκμάθηση τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου κατά τρόπο οὐσιαστικό καί
ἱκανοποιητικό, συνάδοντα μέ τήν σύγχρονη διανοητική καί κοινωνική πραγματικότητα, ἀλλά, ἐπίσης, καί μέ τήν παγκόσμια καί αἰώνια ἀναζήτηση τοῦ Θεοῦ καί τοῦ ὑπέρτατου νοήματος τῆς ζωῆς. 4) Ἡ τέταρτη κατηγορία ἀνθρώπων στήν ὁποία μᾶς στέλλει ὁ Θεός εἶναι οἱ “unchurched”, οἱ ἀνεκκλησίαστοι καί πνευματικά ἄστεγοι. Ὅπως προαναφέραμε, σύμφωνα μέ στατιστικές, στήν κατηγορία αὐτή ἀνήκουν περί τά 60 ἑκατομμύρια ἄτομα στίς Ἡνωμένες Πολιτεῖες. Αὐτή ἡ κατηγορία δέν εὑρίσκεται σέ κάποια συγκεκριμένη τοποθεσία ἤ σέ κάποια συγκεκριμένη κοινωνική ὁμάδα. Οἱ ἄνθρωποι αὐτοί εἶναι διασκορπισμένοι παντοῦ: στά κολλέγια καί πανεπιστήμια, στούς χώρους ἐργασίας, στίς γειτονιές, στά ἀεροπλάνα καί τά αὐτοκίνητα, στήν Washington καί τή Νέα Ὑόρκη, στό Σικᾶγο καί τόν Ἅγιο Φραγκίσκο, στή Βοστώνη καί τό Πιτσβοῦργο, στήν Ἀτλάντα καί τή Νέα Ἰερσέη, στό Ντένβερ καί τό Ντητρόϊτ καί παντοῦ. Ἡ προσέγγισή των ἀποτελεῖ ἔργο ἐξαιρετικά εὐαίσθητο διότι ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία ἀνέκαθεν ἀπέφυγε τήν ἀνά— μειξή της σέ προσηλυτιστικές θρησκευτικές προπαγάνδες. Δέν εἴμεθα ὑπέρ τοῦ προσηλυτισμοῦ ἀλλά ὑπέρ τῆς μεταδόσεως τῶν ὅσων μᾶς ἔδωσε ὁ Θεός. Ἡ σύναξη τῶν “unchurched” στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ διά τῆς μεταδόσεως ἀληθείας καί ἀγάπης ἐκ μέρους
Συνάντηση Κορυφής Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας στο Φανάρι 14
«Η ενότητα εναπόκειται εις την συνείδηση ημών», τόνισε και συνέχισε ότι “η συναίσθηση της ανάγκης και του χρέους ημών όπως αποτελούμε συγκροτημένο κανονικό σώμα, μια Εκκλησία , είναι ικανή να διασφαλίσει την ενότητα ημών, της άνευ οποιασδήποτε έξωθεν επεμβάσεως». Η Σύναξη των προκαθημένων, ένας ιδιότυπος θεσμός που εγκαινιάστηκε από τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίο για την καλύτερη διαχείριση της Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας, κατέληξε σε συγκεκριμένες αποφάσεις προώθησης της ενότητας και υπέρβασης των προβλημάτων που εντόπισε. «Τα τυχόν αναφυόμενα ζητήματα στις μεταξύ μας σχέσεις θα λύνονται ‘εν πνεύματι αγάπης και ειρήνης’», αναφέρει το Μήνυμα των Πατριαρχών και επιβεβαιώνει ότι σύντομα θα επιληφθούν του λεγόμενου προβλήματος της Διασποράς. Της ύπαρξη δηλαδή επάλληλων δικαιοδοσιών, σε περιοχές εκτός των ορίων των ιστορικών Ορθοδόξων Πατριαρχείων. Η Σύναξη επιβεβαίωσε «την βούλησιν διά την ταχείαν θεραπείαν πάσης κανονικής ανωμαλίας προελθούσης εξ ιστορικών συγκυριών και ποιμαντικών αναγκών, ως εν τη λεγομένη Ορθοδόξω Διασπορά» και χαιρέτισε την πρόταση του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου για την σύγκλιση Πανορθοδόξου Διασκέψεως εντός του 2009 που θα εφαρμόσει την αποφάσεις του 1993 για το θέμα . Η Σύναξη επανάλαβε την υποστήριξιν όλων των Πατριαρχείων, «προς τας πρω-
τοβουλίας του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, καθώς και άλλων Ορθοδόξων Εκκλησιών, διά την προστασίαν του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος». «Υποστηρίζομεν την εισαγωγήν του θέματος του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος εις την κατηχητικήν, κηρυγματικήν και εν γένει ποιμαντικήν δράσιν των Εκκλησιών ημών, ως τούτο ήδη συμβαίνει εις ωρισμένας εξ αυτών», αναφέρει το Μήνυμα. Τέλος η Σύναξη ασχολήθηκε με τον προβληματισμό γύρω από τη θέση της θρησκείας στη δημόσια ζ��ή της.«Αι προσπάθειαι παραμερισμού της θρησκείας από την κοινωνική ζωή αποτελούν κοινή τάση πολλών σύγχρονων κρατών. Η αρχή της κοσμικότητας του κράτους δύναται μεν να διατηρείται θα είναι όμως ανεπίτρεπτος η ερμηνεία της ως ριζικής περιθωριοποίησης της θρησκείας που απ’ όλας τας σφαίρας της ζωής και του λαού»,
αναφέρει το Μήνυμα. Η Σύναξη εξήρε την στάση των Εκκλησιών Ρωσίας και Γεωργίας «κατά την περίοδον της προσφάτου πολεμικής συρράξεως και την αδελφική συνεργασίαν αυτών». «Αι δύο Εκκλησίαι επετέλεσαν κατ’ αυτόν τρόπον το χρέος της διακονίας της καταλλαγής», τονίζεται στο Μήνυμα. Το Μήνυμα που επεξεργάσθηκαν στη Σύναξη υπέγραψαν ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, που συνεκάλεσε και τη Σύναξη, ο Πατριάρχης Μόσχας κ. Αλέξιος, οι Πατριάρχες των πρεσβυγενών Πατριαρχείων Αλεξανδρείας κ. Θεόδωρος, Αντιοχείας κ. Ιγνάτιος, και Ιεροσολύμων κ. Θεόφιλος, και οι αρχιεπίσκοποι της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος, κ. Ιερώνυμος, Αλβανίας κ. Αναστάσιος , της Κύπρου, κ. Χρυσόστομος, της Πολωνίας κ. Βρότσλαβ Ιερεμίας, της Τσεχίας και Σλοβακίας κ. Χριστοφόρος.
«Οφείλουμε να ομολογήσουμε με ειλικρίνεια ότι ενίοτε παρέχουμε την εικόνα ελλιπούς ενότητας ως να μην είμεθα μια Εκκλησία, αλλά συνομοσπονδία ή ομοσπονδία εκκλησιών», είπε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, απευθυνόμενος στη Σύναξη των προκαθημένων των Ορθόδοξων Εκκλησιών. «Τούτο οφείλεται, εν πολλοίς, στη φύση του θεσμού της αυτοκεφαλίας, ο οποίος χαρακτηρίζει τη δομή της ορθοδόξου εκκλησίας», είπε ο Πατριάρχης, ο οποίος αναφέρθηκε αναλυτικά στην ορθόδοξη εκκλησιολογία. «Καλούμεθα, λοιπόν, να συμβάλλουμε με κάθε μέσο στην ενότητα της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας, υπερβαίνοντες πάντα τοπικισμό ή εθνικοφυλετικό πειρασμό», τόνισε. Αναφερόμενος στην εκκλησιολογία της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας ο Πατριάρχης επεσήμανε ότι η διατήρηση της ενότητας δεν είναι εύκολη. «Η ενότητα εναπόκειται εις την συνείδηση ημών», τόνισε και πρόσθεσε ότι «η συναίσθηση της ανάγκης και του χρέους ημών όπως αποτελούμε συγκροτημένο κανονικό σώμα, μια Εκκλησία, είναι ικανή να διασφαλίσει την ενότητα ημών». Ο Πατριάρχης στην εισήγησή του επικεντρώθηκε στην «ενότητα», εμπνεόμενος και από τη σημασία που απέδιδε σε αυτήν ο Απόστολος Παύλος. Ο Απόστολος Παύλος είναι ο πρώτος, ίσως, θεολόγος της ενότητας της Εκκλησίας, είπε ο κ. Βαρθολομαίος και υπογράμμισε ότι «η Εκκλησία από της ιδρύσεώς της βίωνε την ενότητα
Εορτή του Πολιούχου Αγίου Δημητρίου Συνέντευξη Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου για το Πατριαρχείο και τη Χάλκη του Πρεσβύτερου Νικηφόρου Φακίνου
Ξεχωριστή η εορτή του Πολιούχου μας, Αγίου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Δημητρίου του Μυροβλύτου, για ολόκ ληρο τον Ελληνισμό, για την ομογένεια, για την πόλη της Θεσσαλονίκης αλλά και για την Παροικία του Μέρρικ. Στην ενορία του Αγίου Δημητρίου στο Μέρρικ της Νέας Υόρκης, έχει αγιογραφηθεί μία εξαίσια εικόνα του Μαρτυρίου του Αγίου Δημητρίου, στην οποία ευλογεί τον μαθητή του και έταιρο Μάρτυρα, τον Άγιο Νέστορα. Ως διδάσκαλος, παροτρύνει τον μαθητή του για το ακατόρθωτο, να αντισταθεί με παρρησία στους Λυαίους που αντιμάχονται τους Χριστιανούς και τα ιδεώδη του Ευαγγελίου. Κι εμείς, η Κοινότητα που φέρει το όνομα του Αγίου, έχουμε ιερό χρέος να αντισταθούμε στους Λυαίους του 21ου αιώνα, που προσπαθούν να καταβάλλουν τη νεολαία, τους πιστούς μας. Σαν σύγχρονοι Νέστορες, όλοι που υπηρετούμε τον Άγιο ζητούμε την ευχή του για να αναδειχτούμε νικητές στους αγώνες της ζωής. Ο Άγιος Μεγαλομάρτυς Δημήτριος ο Μυροβλύτης είναι ένα φωτεινό παράδειγμα και υπόδειγμα Χριστιανού. Η μνήμη του εορτάζεται πανηγυρικά διότι μολονότι ο ίδιος πέθανε (σωματικώς) πριν από αιώνες, το παράδειγμά του παραμένει ζωντανό για κάθε άνθρωπο που επιθυμεί να ζει άγιο βίο. Ο Άγιος Δημήτριος μας εμπνέει με το φωτισμένο βίο του. Μαχητικός αλλά όχι βίαιος. Πράος, αλλά όχι αδρανής. Άνθρωπος προσευχής, αλλά και άνθρωπος δράσης. Πιστός στο Θεό, αλλά όχι μοιρολάτρης. Εξασκήθηκε στη μετάνοια, αλλά δεν επιθύμησε την αμαρτία. Χάρηκε τη ζωή,
αλλά δεν φοβήθηκε τον θάνατο. Ο Άγιος Δημήτριος ενέπνευσε πολλούς πριν το θάνατό του, με τον θάνατό του και μετά τον θάνατό του. Πριν τον θάνατό του, μαγνήτισε πολλούς μαθητές στη διδασκαλία του Ευαγγελίου. Με τον θάνατό του, ενέπ νευσε στους Χριστιανούς την αρετή της ανδρείας, της παρρησίας, της πίστεως και της αυτοθυσίας. Η ομολογία του στο Χριστό διδάσκει κι εμάς, μετά το θάνατό του, να αφοσιωνόμαστε στα θεία νάματα της πίστεως και να μην μας φοβίζουν οι κοσμικές απειλές. Την περιώνυμο ημέρα του Πολιούχου μας έχουμε την ευκαιρία να ανανεώσουμε το συμβόλαιο της πίστεως με βάση τα ιδεατά που καλλιέργησε ο Άγιος Δημήτριος. Εκείνος, ως διδάσκαλος της πίστεως οραματίστηκε μια Εκκλησία δυναμική και ακμάζουσα. Μια Εκκλησία που να μην κρύβεται στην αφάνεια της αφομίωσης, αλλά να προσφέρει σε κοινωνικό έργο και σε φιλανθρωπία. Τα έργα των προγόνων μας, οι βίοι των Αγίων μας εμπνέουν και κάθε σύγχρονο Ορθόδοξο να εργάζεται και να συνεργάζεται στον αγλαόκαρπο αμπελώνα της του Χριστού Εκκλησίας προσφέροντας τα δώρα της πίστεως, την αρετή, την αγιότητα και την σωτηρία. Μπορεί να νιώθουμε ότι οι δυνάμεις μας δεν είναι μεγάλες, όπως ο Άγιος Νέστωρ ήταν μικρόσωμος. Η ευλογία του Αγίου Δημητρίου, όμως, είναι ισχυρή σε χάρη και ο Θεός Παντοδύναμος. Kαλούμαστε να επιτεύξουμε μεγαλεπίβουλα, και μεγαλόπνοα έργα, με την ευχή του προστάτου μας, του Αγίου Μεγαλομάρτυρος Δημητρίου.
να ήμουν, θα υποστήριζα τον Παναγιώτατο, για την Σχολή και για τα άλλα οικήματα. Είναι προφανές και αυτονόητο ανθρώπινο δικαίωμα και απορρέει και από τα δικαιώματα ιδιοκτησίας που έχουμε σε ένα ελεύθερο κράτος”. Και ο κ. Πέτεριγκ κατέληξε: «Θα ήθελα να συστήσω στην Τουρκική κυβέρνηση να κινηθεί πιό γρήγορα και να αναγνωρίσει τις αρχές που έχουμε στην ΕΕ, διότι αν δεν αναγνωρισθούν, τούτο αντιτίθεται στην επιθυμία της να ενταχθεί στην ΕΕ». Τη θέλησή του γιά την ένταξη της Τουρκίας “ως πλήρους μέλους”στην ΕΕ εξέφρασε ο Πατριάρχης απαντώντας σε ερώτηση για το τι είδους σχέση με την ΕΕ ο ίδιος θα έβλεπε γιά την Τουρκία κι αν μία προνομιακή σχέση θα ήταν προτιμότερη. «Πρόκειται γιά μία πολιτική ερώτηση», είπε ο Πατριάρχης και πρόσθεσε: «Ως κάτοικος της Τουρκίας, αυτό που θα επιθυμούσα εγώ, όπως και η μεγάλη πλειοψηφία του τουρκικού λαού, είναι η ένταξη της χώρας μας ως πλήρους μέλους στην ΕΕ, υπό τον όρο ότι θα τηρηθούν τα κριτήρια και οι προϋποθέσεις που ισχύουν γιά κάθε υποψήφια χώρα». Με άλλο ερώτημα ζητήθηκε από τον Πατριάρχη και από τον κ.Πέτερινγκ να τοποθετηθούν σε σχέση με τις νέες διαπραγματεύσεις, που έχουν ξεκινήσει για την Κύπρο. Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης δήλωσε ότι θα απαντήσει ως θρησκευτικός αρχηγός και μόνο, αφήνοντας την πολιτική πλευρά στον κ.Πέτερινγκ. Εξέφρασε δε την ευχή «να επιτύχουν πλήρως οι διαπραγματεύσεις, ώστε να λυθεί το πολιτικό πρόβλημα της Κύπρου που, δυστυχώς, έχει αφάνταστα ζημιώσει και το Πατριαρχείο και την ελληνική ορ-
θόδοξη μειονότητα στην Κωσταντινούπολη. Εάν σήμερα το ποίμνιό μας εκεί έχει συρρικνωθεί και ελαττωθεί κατά τρόπο ανησυχητικό, αυτό οφείλεται, εν πολλοίς, στο κυπριακό πρόβλημα». Ο Χ. Πέτερινγκ δήλωσε ότι από νομικής πλευράς το σύνολο της νήσου Κύπρου είναι μέλος της ΕΕ, παρ’ όλο που γνωρίζουμε ότι στην ουσία είναι μόνο το ελληνοκυπριακό τμήμα. Και πρόσθεσε: «Ελπίζουμε να υπάρξει λύση και να αναγκαστεί κάποια μέρα η Τουρκία να ανοίξει τα λιμάνια και τα αεροδρόμιά της για την Κύπρο. Αυτό δεν έχει ακόμα υλοποιηθεί και παραμένει εμπόδιο στις σχέσεις ΕΕ και Τουρκίας».Σχετικά με τα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο, ο κ.Βαρθολομαίος αναφέρθηκε στο θέμα του Οικοτροφείου στην Πριγκηπόννησο, γιά το οποίο το Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο των Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων στο Στρασβούργο ομόφωνα το εδικαίωσε. Εξήγησε οτι υπάρχει ακόμα εκκρεμότητα και για 24 άλλα ιδρύματα και εφ’οσον εξαντληθούν ολες οι νόμιμες προσφυγές στη χώρα, θα καταφύγουν και πάλι στο ΕΔΑΔ. Αναφέρθηκε τέλος στην Σχολή της Χάλκης υπογραμμίζοντας οτι γιά την Τουρκία που επιθυμεί να ενταχθεί στην ΕΕ θα ήταν «μεγάλο πλεονέκτημα και τιμή το να έχει στο έδαφός της το Κέντρο της Ορθοδοξίας». «Το Πατριαρχείο για να ζήσει», είπε, «χρειάζεται στελέχη και όταν δεν έχει τη δυνατότητα να τα μορφώσει και να τα προετοιμάσει, δημιουργεί κινδύνους και για το παρών και το μέλλον του. Εάν ήρχοντο φοιτητές θεολογίας από διάφορα μέρη του κόσμου να σπουδάσουν θεολογική και κατόπιν να επιστρέψουν στην πατρίδα τους λέγοντας ότι σπούδασαν σε μία μουσουλμανική χώρα με όλες τις ελευθερίες,θα ήταν μεγάλο κέρδος γιά την Τουρκία».
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
ΕΟΡΤΑΣΜΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΤΙΜΙΟΥ ΣΤΑΥΡΟΥ ΣTO ASBURY PARK ΝΕΑΣ ΙΕΡΣΕΗΣ
Σκηνή από νέα κινηματογραφική παραγωγή με θέμα τα Σεπτεμβριανά.
Oμιλία του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου για τα Σεπτεμβριανά
Στα Σεπτεμβριανά αναφέρθηκε ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, μιλώντας στην εκκλησία της Παναγίας στην περιοχή Διπλοκινίου, στο Βόσπορο, όπου χοροστάτησε στη Θεία Λειτουργία. “Την χαρά της εκκ λησιαστικής πρωτοχρονιάς έρχεται να επισκιάσει η ανάμνηση των τραγικών γεγονότων της αποφράδος εκείνης νύχτας της 6ης προς την 7η Σεπτεμβρίου 1955”, είπε ο πατριάρχης και πρόσθεσε: “Τα τραγικά εκείνα γεγονότα αποτέλεσαν την απαρχή του ξεκληρίσματος της ρωμιοσύνης εδώ. “Το ΄55, το ΄64, και το ΄74 υπήρξαν πολύ δύσκολα χρόνια για την ομογένεια της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, έφυγαν χιλιάδες πιστοί, αλλά και όσοι μείναμε έχουμε ακόμη το κουράγιο και με την χάρη του Θεού θα το έχουμε και θα συνεχίσουμε απτόητοι να διαιωνίζουμε την ιστορία μας, την παράδοση μας, τη χριστιανική μαρτυρία μας, την εδώ ζωή και ύπαρξη μας”. “Σήμερα, όντως, είμεθα ολίγοι και κανείς δεν μπορεί να προδιαγράψει, με
μαθηματική ακρίβεια, το μέλλον της χριστιανοσύνης και της ρωμιοσύνης εις αυτή την Πόλη”, τόνισε. “Αισιοδοξούμε ότι η Τουρκία θα εισέλθει αργά ή γρήγορα, ευχόμεθα γρήγορα, εις την μεγάλη οικογένεια της Ευρώπης, δηλαδή εις την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, και τότε θα έχουμε θεαματικές αλλαγές εις την ζωή της Ομογένειας, της Μητρός Εκκ λησίας, των ά λ λων μειονοτήτων, αλλά και γενικότερα εις τη δομή και συγκρότηση της κοινωνίας της χώρας αυτής”, κατέληξε ο Πατριάρχης. “Έχουμε την καρτερία, την υπομονή, την πίστη και την προσδοκία ότι θα έλθουν αυτές οι κα λύτερες ημέρες. Ά λ λωστε, η ορθόδοξος χριστιανική πίστη μας είναι ανεξάντλητος πηγή δυνάμεως, εμπνεύσεως, αισιοδοξίας διότι ο Χριστός μας είπε “εν τω κόσμω θλίψιν έξετε, αλλά θαρσείτε εγώ νενίκηκα τον κόσμον” και πιστεύουμε πάντοτε ότι “μείζων ο εν ημίν ή ο εν τω κόσμω”, όπως λέει το ευαγγέλιο”.
αρχείο ως ένα από τα σημεία «ενιαίας δράσης» της Ορθοδοξίας. «Ζητώ να διακηρυχθεί το ζωηρό ενδιαφέρον του συνόλου της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας για το φλέγον και επείγον θέμα της προστασίας του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος και να υποστηριχθεί πανορθοδόξως η σχετική πρωτοβουλία του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου»,τόνισε. Ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος αφιέρωσε εξ άλλου μεγάλο μέρος της εισήγησης του στην Σύναξη,στα οικολογικά ζητήματα. «Η Ορθόδοξος Εκκλησία με την μακράν ασκητική παράδοση και το λειτουργικό της ήθος δύναται να συνεισφέρει τα μέγιστα εις την αντιμετώπιση της απειλητικής πλέον για τον πλανήτη μας οικολογικής κρίσεως»,είπε και θύμισε ότι το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο «πρώτο αυτό στο χριστιανικό κόσμο, ήδη από το 1989, με μήνυμα του Πατριάρχου Δημητρίου, όρισε την 1ην Σεπτεμβρίου εκάστου έτους ως ημέρα προσευχών για την προστασία του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος». Και πρόσθεσε ότι έκτοτε το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο «προέβη σε σειρά ενεργειών, ως η διοργάνωση διεθνών συμποσίων μεταξύ επιστημόνων και θρησκευτικών ηγετών, προς εξεύρεση τρόπων διαφυλάξεως της κτίσεως του Θεού από την επαπειλούμενη καταστροφή της».
Τήν Κυριακήν 21ην Σεπτεμβρίου, 2008 ἑορτάσθη μέ τήν καθιερωμένην ἐκκλησιαστικήν μεγαλοπρέπειαν ἡ ἑορτή τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ εἰς τό Paramount Theater εἰς τό Asbury Park τῆς Νέας Ἰερσέης. Ἡ συμμετοχή τῶν πιστῶν ἦτο μεγάλη καί περισσότεροι ἀπό δύο χιλιάδες μέλη τῶν Ἑλληνορθοδόξων Κοινοτήτων προσῆλθον ἀπό ὅλα τά σημεῖα τῆς περιφερείας τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μητροπόλεως. Ὁ Μητροπολίτης Νέας Ἰερσέης κ. Εὐάγγελος προεξῆρχε τῶν Ἱερῶν τελετῶν, συμπαραστατούμενος ὑπό πολλῶν Ἱερέων. Τούς Ἱερούς ὕμνους τῆς ἑορτῆς ἀπέδωσεν κατανυκτικώτατα ἡ Βυζαντινή χορωδία τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μητροπόλεως ὑπό τήν διεύθυνσιν τοῦ Πρωτοψάλτου κ. Νικολάου Τσίγκα, καί ἐπίσης ἡ Χορωδία τῆς Ὁμοσπονδίας Ὀρθοδόξων Ἐκκλησιαστικῶν Μουσικῶν ἔψαλλε τούς ὕμνους τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας, ὑπό τήν διεύθυνσιν τῆς κυρίας Κατίνας Κεχαγιᾶ. Τελετάρχαι τοῦ ἑορτασμοῦ ἦσαν ὁ Πανοσιολ. Ἀρχιμανδρίτης Νεκτάριος Κῶτρος καί ὁ Αἰδεσ. Οἰκον. Ἀνδρέας Εὐγενής. Ἀμέσως μετά τήν Θείαν Λειτουργίαν ἔγινε ἡ καθιερωμένη τελετή τοῦ Ἁγιασμοῦ τῶν ὑδάτων, κατά τήν ὁποίαν ό Μητροπολίτης κ. Ευάγγελος ἔριψεν τόν Τίμιον Σταυρόν είς τά ὕδατα τοῦ ὠκεανοῦ τόν ὁποῖον καί ἀνέσυραν νέοι καί νέες. Ἐπηκολούθησε τό Τρισάγιον πρό τῆς προτομῆς τοῦ ἀειμνήστου Πατριάρχου κυροῦ Ἀθηναγόρου, ἡ ὁποία εὑρίσκεται ἐκεῖ τοποθετημένη πρός τιμήν του ἀνεγερθεῖσα ὑπό τοῦ Δήμου τοῦ Asbury Park. Ὁ ἑορτασμός αὐτός τοῦ ἁγιασμοῦ τῶν ὑδάτων ἄρχισε νά τελῆται ὑπό τοῦ τότε Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Ἀμερικῆς κυροῦ Ἀθηναγόρου τό ἔτος 1947, διότι ἐπίστευε ὅτι τά νερά τῶν ὠκεανῶν, πού ἑνώνουν τά μέρη τῆς γῆς, διά τοῦ ἁγιασμοῦ αὐτῶν, γίνονται καί μέσα μέ τά ὁποῖα γίνεται παντοῦ γνωστόν
Συνάντηση Κορυφής Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας στο Φανάρι ως ουσιώδες αυτής γνώρισμα». Ο Πατριάρχης πρότεινε την ενεργοποίηση της συμφωνίας που είχε επιτευχθεί σε διορθόδοξο διάσκεψη το 1993 ως μία από τις συγκεκριμένες ενέργειες που θα μπορούσαν άμεσα να προωθήσουν την ενότητα, με την ενίσχυση του διαλόγου με τις άλλες χριστιανικές εκκλησίες και την αντιμετώπιση των προβλημάτων. Ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος αναφέρθηκε και στον ιδιότυπο θεσμό της Συνάξεως που ο ίδιος εγκαινίασε με την εκλογή του και τόνισε ότι κρίθηκε ως «αναγκαία και λυσιτελής η κατά καιρούς Σύναξις, και εις καιρούς, ως οι σημερινοί, ότε η πρόσωπον προς πρόσωπον συνάντησις και συνομιλία των υπευθύνων ηγετών εις όλους τους τομείς του δημοσίου βίου των ανθρώπων καθίσταται διαρκώς και περισσότερο εφικτή και χρήσιμος». ΓΙΑ ΤΟ ΠΕΡΙΒΑΛΛΟΝ Την «επείγουσα» υποστήριξη της προστασίας του φυσικού περιβάλλοντος ζήτησε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος από τις υπόλοιπες Ορθόδοξες εκκλησίες. Απευθυνόμενος στην Σύναξη των προκαθημένων της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας στο Φανάρι ο Πατριάρχης έθεσε την ενίσχυση της πρωτοβουλίας που έχει πάρει από το 1989 το Οικουμενικό Πατρι-
ὅτι ὁ Τίμιος Σταυρός εἶναι “τῶν πιστῶν τό καύχημα” καί “σκέπη κραταιά,” καί ἡ ρίψις αὐτοῦ γίνεται διά τήν προστασίαν ἐκείνων πού ταιξιδεύουν, ἀνά τά πελάγη καί τούς ὠκεανούς. Ὁ Μητροπολίτης Νέας Ιερσέης ἔρριψε τόν Τίμιον Σταυρόν εἰς τά ὕδατα τέσσαρες φορές καί ἀνέσυραν αὐτόν οἱ ἑξῆς νέοι: Χριστίνα Κολοβοῦ ἀπό τήν Κοινότητα τῆς Θεῖας Ἀναλήψεως τοῦ Fairview, Νικόλαος Χιλάρης ἀπό τήν Κοινότητα Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Θεολόγου, Tenafly, NJ, Δήμητρα Μιχαηλίδης ἀπό τήν Κοινότητα τοῦ Ἁγίου Γεωργίου, Trenton, NJ, καί Ἰωσήφ Ἀμπαδιοτάκης ἀπό τήν Κοινότητα τοῦ Ἁγίου Γεωργίου, Asbury Park, NJ. Ἡ ἐπικρατοῦσα καλοκαιρία καί ἡ ἀθρόα προσέλευσις τῶν χιλιάδων πιστῶν συνετέλεσαν εἰς τήν λαμπράν ἐπιτυχίαν τοῦ ἐφετεινοῦ ἑορτασμοῦ, ὁ ὁποῖος κετέληξεν μέ οἰκογενειακήν συνεστίασιν πλαισιωμένην μέ ἑλληνικήν μουσικήν καί ἑλληνικούς χορούς πού παρουσίασαν χορευτικά συγκροτήματα καί κατενθουσίασαν ὅλους τούς παρευρεθέντας. Ὁ ἑορτασμός αὐτός εἶναι ἕνα ἀπό τά πιό σπουδαῖα ἐκκλησιαστικά γεγονότα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Μητροπόλεως Νέας Ἰερσέης, κατά τόν ὁποῖον Κλῆρος καί λαός ἔχουν τήν εὐκαιρίαν νά συνευρίσκωνται καί ὡς σῶμα Χριστοῦ νά προσκυνοῦν τόν Τίμιον Σταυρόν ὑμνοῦντες τόν Κύριον ἐν ἑνί στόματι καί μιᾷ καρδίᾳ καί ψάλλοντες: ”Τόν Σταυρόν σου προσκυνοῦμεν, Δέσποτα, καί τήν Ἁγίαν σου Ἀνάστασι, δοξάζομεν.” Τόν ἑορτασμόν ἐτίμησαν ἐφέτος διά τῆς παρουσίας των ὁ Ὑφ. Ἐξωτερικῶν τῆς Ἑλλάδος κ. Ἰωάννης Βαληνάκης, ἡ Γενική Πρόξενος τῆς Ἑλλάδος εἰς τήν Νέαν Ὑὀρκην κυρία Ἀγλαΐα Μπαλτᾶ, καί ὁ Γενικός Πρόξενος τῆς Κύπρου κ. Ἀνδρέας Παναγιώτου.
THE STANDING CONFERENCE OF THE ORIENTAL ORTHODOX CHURCHES & THE STANDING CONFERENCE OF THE CANONICAL ORTHODOX BISHOPS IN THE AMERICAS
Cordially invite the public to the eighth annual Orthodox Prayer Service & Reception For the United Nations Community Thursday, October 30, 2008 Six-thirty in the evening õ
GUEST SPEAKER His Excellency Ambassador Negash Kebret Botora Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations
HOMILIST His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian Primate, Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
MASTER OF CEREMONIES Mr. Raffi V. Balian Legate’s Committee, Diocese of the Armenian Church (Eastern) 630 Second Avenue (corner of 34th Street) New York City A reception will follow in the Haik & Alice Kavookjian Auditorium
For more information, please call Maral at the Diocesan Center - (212) 686-0710
Επιτυχημένη η 39η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής óåë. 13 μας εἶναι ἀπαιτητικό ἔργο. Ἀλλά πρέπει νά τό κάνουμε. Αὐτό εἶναι κάλεσμα τοῦ Θεοῦ ὁ Ὁποῖος, ὅπως εἶπε ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος στόν Τιμόθεο, πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι, καί εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν (Τιμ. 2:4). 5. Τό θέμα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας ὅπως ἐφαρμόζεται στή ζωή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας. Ἐπιτρέψτε μου τώρα, στό τέλος τῆς παρουσιάσεώς μου, νά προσφέρω κάποιες προτάσεις μέ σκοπό τήν ἐφαρμογή τοῦ θέματός μας στή ζωή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. 1) Οἱαδήποτε προσπάθεια σοβαρῆς ἐφαρμογῆς τοῦ θέματός μας πρέπει νά ἔχῃ σάν ἀφετηρία τήν ἀλλαγή νοοτροπίας καί συμπεριφορᾶς. Ἀντί νά εἴμεθα ἀποκλειστικά ἀπορροφημένοι ἀπό τήν προσοχή μας στήν ἐνορία μας πρέπει νά συνειδητοποιήσουμε τήν ὕπαρξη ἀνθρώπων ἐκτός τῶν Ἐνοριῶν μας, τῶν Μητροπόλεών μας καί τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς μας. Αὐτοί οἱ ἄνθρωποι ἔχουν τό δικαίωμα νά γνωρίζουν αὐτό πού γνωρίζουμε ἐμεῖς ὡς ἀλήθεια τοῦ Θεοῦ, νά γευθοῦν τήν χαρά τῆς συμμετοχῆς στήν ἐκκλησιαστική κοινό—τητά μας, νά βιώνουν τίς εὐλογίες τῆς κοινωνίας μέ τόν Θεό ὅπως ἐμεῖς ὄντας Ἑλληνορθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί. Τό πεδίο τῆς ἑστιάσεως τῆς προσοχῆς μας πρέπει σταδιακά νά διευρυνθῆ καί νά συμπεριλάβῃ καί τούς ἐκτός, καί νά ἀπασχοληθῇ μ’ ἐκείνους οἱ ὁποῖοι περιμένουν τόν ἀδελφό ἤ τήν ἀδελφή πού θά τούς φέρῃ στόν χῶρο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἡ προσφορά τοῦ καταφυγίου τοῦ Θεοῦ στίς ἄστεγες ψυχές πρέπει ν’ ἀποτελῇ μέρος τῆς φροντίδος καί δράσεως τῶν ἐνοριῶν μας, καί νά καταστῇ οὐσιῶδες στοιχεῖο τῆς νοοτροπίας, τ���ς συμπεριφορᾶς καί τοῦ ὁραματισμοῦ μας, καί ἐπίσης εἶναι ἀπαραίτητο νά καταστῇ κεντρικό θέμα τῆς βασικῆς ἐκπαιδεύσεως πού καλλιεργεῖ ἡ Ἐκ— κλησία. 2) Κάθε ἐνορία πρέπει νά διορίσῃ ἐπιτροπή ἡ ὁποία θά ἐπιφορτισθῆ μέ τήν εὐθύνη συντάξεως καταλόγου Ἑλληνορθοδόξων προσώπων τά ὁποῖα διαβιοῦν στό ἔδαφος τῆς ἐν λόγῳ ἐνορίας καί δέν συνδέονται μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία. Ὅταν ἀρχίσῃ νά καταρτίζεται ὁ κατάλογος, ἡ ἐπιτροπή, ὑπό τήν καθοδήγηση τοῦ Ἱερέως, θά ὀργανώσῃ μεθόδους ἐπικοινωνίας μέ αὐτούς τούς ἀνθρώπους μέσῳ προσωπικῶν ἐπισκέψεων, τηλεφωνικῶν συνομιλιῶν, e-mail, ἐκκλησιαστικῶν συναντήσεων καί διανομῆς ἀπαραίτητου ἐντύπου ἤ ἠλεκτρονικοῦ ὑλικοῦ. Ἡ Ἐνορία ἔχει ἐπίσης τή δυνατότητα νά ἐκμεταλλευθῇ τό ἐτήσιο φεστιβάλ της ὡς ἐξαιρετική εὐκαιρία ἐπανασυνδέσεως τῶν ἀνθρώπων μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία. 3) Ἄλλη μόνιμη ἐπιτροπή πρέπει νά σχηματισθῇ σέ κάθε Ἐνορία ἡ ὁποία θά ἀσχολεῖται ἀποκλειστικά μέ τίς μεικτές καί μή ἐκκλησιαστικά συνδεόμενες οἰκογένειες. Ἡ ἐπιτροπή, κάνοντας χρήση τῶν σχετικῶν στοιχείων τῆς ἐνορίας θά ἀνακαλύψῃ αὐτές τίς οἰκογένειες καί θά τίς φέρῃ στόν Οἶκο
τοῦ Θεοῦ, τήν Ἐκκλησία. Ὡρισμένες Ἐνορίες διαθέτουν εἰδικά προγράμματα εἰσαγωγῆς στήν Ὀρθοδοξία καί στίς ἀνθρώπινες καί πολιτισμικές ἀξίες τοῦ Ἑλληνισμοῦ οἱ ὁποῖες ἀποδεικνύουν ὅτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας δέν εἶναι περιορισμένη καί ἀποκλειστική ἐθνική ὀντότητα ἀλλά μᾶλλον ὁ ἀληθινά παγκόσμιος Οἶκος τοῦ Θεοῦ. 4) Ὡς Ἐκκλησία, πρέπει νά ἐπανεξετάσουμε καί ἀναδιοργανώσουμε τό ἔργο μας ὥστε νά ἐπαναφέρουμε τή νεολαία μας στόν ἱερό χῶρο τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας. Ἡ ἐπαναπροσέλκυση τῆς νεολαίας προϋποθέτει, ἐπίσης, τήν προσφορά μας στούς νέους καί τίς νέες μας ἑνός ἀληθινοῦ ρόλου ἐντός τῆς κοινότητος καί περαιτέρω δυνατοτήτων συμμετοχῆς σέ ἀξιόλογες δραστηριότητες. Γιά τούς νέους κάποιας συγκεκριμένης ἠλικίας, οἱ ἀθλητικές καί καλλιτεχνικές δραστηριότητες ἔχουν ἀποδειχθῇ ἐπιτυχημένος τρόπος συνδέσεώς των μέ τήν κοινότητα. Οἱ Ἀθλητικές Διοργανώσεις, τά Φεστιβάλ Παραδοσιακῶν Χορῶν, οἱ κατά Μητρόπολη Ὀλυμπιακοί Ἀγῶνες ἔχουν ἀποδειχθῇ πράγματι ἐπιτυχεῖς νεανικές δραστηριότητες. Κατά τήν διάρκεια τῶν τελευταίων ἐτῶν ἔχουμε παρατηρήσει τήν ἐπαναλειτουργία τῆς ἐπιτυχημένης προσπαθείας συνάξεως τῶν πανεπιστημιακῶν φοιτητῶν στόν οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ μέσῳ τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανικῆς Ὀργανώσεως [OCF]. Ἐπί τῶν ἡμερῶν μας, διά τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὑπάρχουν 270 ὁμάδες OCF σέ ἰσάριθμα Κολλέγια καί Πανεπιστήμια καί ὁ ἀριθμός των μεγαλώνει συνεχῶς. Αὐτό εἶναι ἔργο ἄξιο αὐξήσεως. Οἱ καλοκαιρινές κατασκηνώσεις προσ φέρουν, ἐπίσης, καταπληκτική εὐκαιρία προσεγγίσεως καί συνάξεως τῶν νέων μας στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Στίς Μητροπόλεις μας, οἱ καλοκαιρινές κατασκηνώσεις ἀποτελοῦν πλέον βασική καί ταχέως διευρυνομένη δραστηριότητα στήν ὁποία συμμετέχουν ἐνεργῶς νέοι ἄνθρωποι ὡς ἡγέτες, σύμβουλοι καί κατασκηνωτές. Ἡ δραστηριότητα αὐτή ἔχει τήν δυνατότητα νά καταστῇ ἀκόμη περισσότερο σημαντική καί ἀποτελεσματική καθώς ἐπεκτείνεται καί πέραν τῶν χρονικῶν ὁρίων τοῦ καλοκαιριοῦ. Στήν περίπτωση τῆς κατασκηνώσεως τοῦ Ἰονικοῦ Χωριοῦ στήν Ἑλλάδα ἐξετάζουμε τήν δυνατότητα διευρύνσεως τῶν προγραμμάτων οὕτως ὥστε νά ἀπευθύνονται ὄχι μόνον σέ παιδιά καί ἐφήβους ἀλλά ἐπίσης καί σέ νέους ἐπαγγελματίες καί φοιτητές πανεπιστημίων καθ’ ὅλη τήν διάρκεια τοῦ ἔτους. 5) Ἡ ἐφαρμογή τοῦ θέματος «Συναγάγετε τόν λαό μου στόν Οἶκο μου» στήν κατηγορία τῶν “unchurched” τῶν ἀνεκκλησιάστων ἀποτελεῖ περίπτωση ἡ ὁποία ἀπαιτεῖ εἰδική φροντίδα καί δράση. Μποροῦμε νά προσκαλέσουμε τούς unchurched στήν Ἐκκλησία μας. Ὅμως πρέπει νά εἴμεθα ἕτοιμοι νά τούς
καλωσορίσουμε, νά εἴμεθα εὐγενικοί καί πλήρεις κατανοήσεως, διαθέσιμοι νά μεταδώσουμε πληροφορίες καί νά ἀπα— ντήσωμε σέ ἐρωτήσεις ἀλλά ὄχι μέ προπαγανδιστικό τρόπο. Ἡ Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία ἐκτιμᾶται ἀπό ἄλλες Χριστιανικές Ἐκ κλησίες ὡς Ἐκκλησία μέ πολύ εὐγενικό πρόσωπο καί συμπεριφορά ἡ ὁποία ἀπο στρέφεται τήν θρησκευτική προπαγάνδα καθ’ ὅτι ἡ τελευταία διαφέρει κατά πολύ ἀπό τήν δι’ ἀγάπης μετάδοση τῆς ἀληθείας τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Δυνάμεθα νά προσεγγίσουμε τούς ἀνεκκλησίαστους προσευχόμενοι γι’ αὐτούς σήμερα. Ἄν καί δέν τούς γνωρίζουμε ἐμεῖς, τούς γνωρίζει ὁ Θεός ὡς παιδιά Του. Θά πρέπει νά συσταθῇ εἰδική ἐπιτροπή σέ συνδυασμό μέ τό Ἀρχιεπισκοπικό Συμβούλιο γιά νά γίνῃ σοβαρή μελέτη ἐπί τοῦ φαινομένου τῶν ἀνεκκλησιάστων καί τῶν τρόπων ἀποτελεσματικῆς ἀντιμετωπίσεώς του. Ἡ βιβλιογραφία ἐπί τοῦ θέματος αὐξάνεται. Βιβλία ὅπως «Surprising Insights from the Unchurched and Proven ways to Reach them” ἤ “The Unchurched Next Door” (Thom S. Rainier) εἶναι ἐνδεικτικά τοῦ ἐνδιαφέροντος περί τῶν μή συνδεομένων μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία καί τῆς ἀνάγκης ἀντιμετωπίσεως τοῦ φαινομένου μέ τρόπο μεθοδικό καί ἐπίμονο. 6) Ἡ προσπάθεια συνάξεως τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοῦ Θεοῦ στόν Οἶκο Του προϋποθέτει τήν διαθεσιμότητα καταλλήλων καί ἐπαρκῶν μέσων ἐν εἴδει βιβλίων, DVD’s, CD’s καί ἐντύπου ὑλικοῦ. Ἔχει ζητηθῆ ἀπό τά τμήματα Θρησκευτικῆς Παιδείας, Ἑλληνικῆς Παιδείας, Προσεγγίσεως καί Εὐαγγελισμοῦ καί Ἐπικοινωνιῶν, τά ὁποῖα παράγουν σχετικό ὑλικό, νά ἐντατικοποιήσουν καί αὐξήσουν αὐτή τήν παραγωγή καί νά ἐφοδιάζουν τίς Μητροπόλεις καί τίς Ἐνορίες μας μέ τά ἀπαραίτητα ἐργαλεῖα. Βεβαίως, τό ἔργο τῆς ἐφαρμογῆς τοῦ θέματος τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας στήν ζωή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας δέν εἶναι εὔκολο. Καί καθίσταται ἀκόμη δυσκολώτερο μέ τήν ἐξάπλωση τῆς ἐκκοσμικεύσεως ἐντός τῶν συγχρόνων κοινωνιῶν. Πρόσφατες ἔρευνες, ὅμως, οἱ ὁποῖες διενεργήθηκαν ἀπό πολιτικούς καί κοινωνικούς ἀναλυτές καί ἱστορικούς, ἔχουν δείξει ὅτι τά τελευταῖα τέσσερα ή πέντε χρόνια ἐμφανίσθηκαν ἀπροσδοκήτως δύο ἰσχυροί παράγοντες παγκοσμίως: ἡ θρησκεία καί ἡ ἐθνικότητα. Παραδόξως, ἡ ἐκκοσμίκευση ἔρχεται ἀντιμέτωπη μέ τήν ἰσχυρή καί κυρίαρχη παρουσία τῆς θρησκείας καί τῆς ἐθνικότητος σέ παγκόσμια κλίμακα. Αὐτό τό φαινόμενο ἀποτελεῖ σημαντική διευκόλυνση τῆς ἀποστολῆς μας, ἤτοι τῆς συνάξεως τῶν ἀνθρώπων στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἰδιαιτέρως ἐπειδή εἴμεθα εὐλογημένοι ὡς ἐκπρόσωποι τῆς τέλειας θρησκείας τοῦ Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανισμοῦ καί τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς παραδόσεως ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖ θαυμαστή
ἔκφραση μιᾶς ἐθνικότητος ἡ ὁποία ὑπερβαίνει τά ἐθνικά ὅριά της καί καθίσταται παγκόσμια. 6. Ἐπίλογος Πέραν ὅλων αὐτῶν, ὅμως, ἔχουμε μιά ὁδηγία ἡ ὁποία ἐμπνέει καί παρακινεῖ, σέ μία παραβολή τοῦ Κυρίου μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖ ἐξαίρετη ἀπεικόνιση τῆς οὐσίας τοῦ θέματος τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας. Πρόκειται γιά τήν παραβολή τοῦ Μεγάλου Δείπνου ἀπό τό κατά Λουκᾶν Εὐαγγέλιο. Κάποιος ἄνθρωπος, εἶπε ὁ Κύριος στήν παραβολή αὐτή, παρέθεσε ἔνα μεγάλο δεῖπνο καί προσκάλεσε πολλούς. Οἱ προσκεκλημένοι ὅμως δέν ἀποδέχθηκαν τήν πρόσκληση προβάλλοντες πολλές δικαιολογίες. Τότε, ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης διέταξε τόν ὑπηρέτη του: «Ἔξελθε ταχέως εἰς τάς πλατείας καί ῥύμας τῆς πόλεως καί τούς πτωχούς καί ἀναπήρους καί τυφλούς καί χωλούς εἰσάγαγε ὧδε˙ καί εἶπεν ὁ δοῦλος, «Κύριε, γέγονεν ὅ ἐπέταξας, καί ἔτι τόπος ἐστίν.» Τότε εἶπεν ὁ κύριος πρός τόν δοῦλο, «ἔξελθε είς τάς ὁδούς καί φραγμούς καί ἀνάγκασον εἰσελθεῖν, ἵνα γεμισθῆ μου ὁ οἶκος» (Λουκ. 14:21-23). Ὁ κατάλογος τῶν προσκεκλημένων εἶναι ἐντυπωσιακός σχεδόν ἀπίστευτος: πτωχοί, ἀνάπηροι, τυφλοί, χωλοί συγκεντρωμένοι ἀπό τίς ὁδούς καί τίς λεωφόρους καί τίς παρυφές τῆς πόλεως! Οἱ προσκεκλημένοι, δέ, δέν εἰσέρχονται ἁπλῶς ἀλλά ὑποχρεώνονται νά εἰσέλθουν. Καμμία διάκριση, καμμία διαφοροποίηση, οὐδείς ἀποκλεισμός, ἀλλ’ ἀντιθέτως οἱ ἄγνωστοι, οἱ περιφρονημένοι ὅλοι εἶναι προσκεκλημένοι! Ἕνας ἀνθρώπινος ἀγρός εὐρύτατα ἀνοικτός χωρίς περιορισμούς. Τό σημαντικό ζήτημα ἐδῶ δέν εἶναι μόνον ὁ καταπληκτικός κατάλογος προσκεκλημένων, ἀλλά ἡ διάθεση τοῦ οἰκοδεσπότου νά γεμίσῃ τόν οἶκο του μέ ὅλους τούς ἀνθρώπους. Ὁ Θεός θέλει τόν Οἶκο Του γεμᾶτο μέ κόσμο διότι ὅλοι οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι ἄνθρωποι δικοί Του. Καί ἐμεῖς εἴμεθα τμῆμα τῆς ἐπιθυμίας καί τοῦ σχεδίου Του. Αὐτό σημαίνει ὅτι πρέπει νά περιηγηθοῦμε τίς ὁδούς καί λεωφόρους τῶν πόλεων, νά ἐπισκεφθοῦμε τίς παρυφές τῆς περιοχῆς μας καί νά συγκεντρώσουμε τούς ἀνθρώπους στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ οὕτως ὥστε ὁ οἶκος αὐτός νά γεμίσῃ. Ὑπάρχει καί μία ἄλλη διακήρυξη ἡ ὁποία προέρχεται ἀπό τό στόμα τοῦ Κυρίου καί σχετίζεται μέ τό θέμα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας. Στό κατά Ἰωάννη Εὐαγγέλιο ὁ Χριστός ἐδήλωσε: καί ἄλλα πρόβατα ἔχω ἅ οὐκ ἐστιν ἐκ τῆς αὐλῆς ταύτης κἀκεῖνα δεῖ μέ ἀγαγεῖν καί τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούσουσιν, καί γενήσονται μία ποίμνη εἷς ποιμήν (Ἰωάννου 10 :16). Ὁ Ἰησοῦς Χριστός ὁμιλεῖ περί ἄλλων προβάτων τά ὁποῖα δέν ἀνήκουν στό ποίμνιό Του, ἀλλά τά ὁποῖα πρέπει ἐπίσης νά συγκεντρώσῃ. Καἰ αὐτά θ’ ἀκούσουν τήν φωνή Του. Ποιά εἶναι τά ἄλλα πρόβατα τά ὁποῖα δέν ἀνήκουν στό ποίμνιό Του; Καί πῶς θ’ ἀκούσουν τήν φωνή τοῦ Χριστοῦ; Κάθε φορά πού εὑρισκόμεθα στίς ἐκκλησίες μας, στίς ὑπέροχες ἐνορίες μας, ἄς σκεφθοῦμε αὐτά τά ἄλλα πρόβατα, αὐτούς τούς ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶναι ἐκτός, γνωστοί καί ἄγνωστοι. Ἄς σκεφθοῦμε ὅλους τούς ἄλλους, τούς πραγματικά σημαντικούς ἄλλους, οἱ ὁποῖοι περιμένουν ν’ ἀκούσουν τήν φωνή τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Τήν φωνή τοῦ Χριστοῦ πού τούς καλεῖ νά συγκεντρωθοῦν στόν Οἶκο Του, νά γίνουν ποίμνιό Του. Ἀλλά πῶς θά μπορέσουν ν’ ἀκούσουν τήν φωνή τοῦ Χριστοῦ; Ἐμεῖς εἴμεθα ἡ φωνή τοῦ Χριστοῦ! Ἀγαπητοί μου, ἄς ἀφήσουμε αὐτή τήν φωνή ν’ ἀκουσθῇ ἐκτός τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν μας, καλῶντας τούς ἀνθρώπους στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἄς εἴμεθα ἐμεῖς ἡ φωνή τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Παντοῦ. Πάντοτε, σέ οἱοδήποτε μέρος τοῦ μεγάλου κόσμου τοῦ Θεοῦ.
PEOPLE A Community That Has Been ‘on the Grow’
New state official
Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine recently named James C. Dimitri, an active member of Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Richmond, as commissioner of the State Corporation Commission, which oversees business and industry in the Commonwealth. Mr. Dimitri has served on the cathedral’s parish council and as Greek School Advisory Committee chairman. Fr. Nicholas G. Bacalis, cathedral dean, offered the invocation at his investiture.
Named ABS trustee Jerry Dimitriou, executive director of Administration of the Archdiocese, recently was named as a member of the American Bible Society board, joining trustee Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit. He also is a member of St. Paraskevi parish in Greenlawn, N.Y. The American Bible Society (ABS) is a group, founded in 1816, that publishes, distributes, and translates the Bible.
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), awarded Past Supreme President Anastasios Steve Betzelos the AHEPA Lifetime Achievement Award at the recent 86th Convention in Athens, Greece. Betzelos, a lifelong resident of Chicago, served as supreme president in 1988 and chairman of the board from 1999 to 2002. He was instrumental in raising funds for AHEPA’s Cooley’s Anemia Foundation in the 1980s with a telethon. Moreover, Betzelos served his country in World War II, in the Army Air Corps reserves, and later the Air Force reserves where he retired with the rank of major.
Publish novel Eugene Maurakis, Ph.D. and his wife, Penelope Maurakis, members of St. Constantine and Helen Cathedral, Richmond, recently published an “informed fiction novel,” The Labrys. The novel is about an aspiring archaeologist and gifted musician in Crete, who discovers startling information about the state of the environment around her. The book is currently available at www.maurakis. com or email@example.com Dr. Maurakis is adjunct professor and a research scientist at the University of Richmond’s Department of Biology.
Celebrates 100 years Olympia Kargopoulos Matinos, a charter and life-long member of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, N.C., celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 26. Mrs. Matinos was born in Constantinople, and immigrated to the United States in 1936. She has three daughters, Katina Severn and Rose Marie Connell of Raleigh, N.C., and Florence Baird of Columbia, S.C., seven grandchildren, and 11 greatgrandchildren. Mrs. Matinos was honored by her family and friends with several festivities the weekend of Aug.15, and she also received a letter of congratulations from President and Mrs. Bush. Mrs. Matinos lived in Columbia, S.C., for 37 years and faithfully attended Holy Trinity Church while residing there.
Growing up with Loukoumi, the children’s book written by New York attorney Nick Katsoris, was recently featured on Channel 2 CBS News, along with the third winner of the “Dream Day” contest which was based on the book. Nika from Ft. Collins Colo., lived her dream day to be a TV chef and cooked on the air with CBS chef Tony Tantillo and Guiding Light actor Frank Dicopoulos.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–Unlike many northern cities and parishes, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city, and Holy Trinity Church have experienced positive growth since the late 1990s. According to information from Fr. Bogdan, as the economy of the city diversified in the late 1980s and 1990s, a population boom resulted and Holy Trinity parish grew from about 125 families to 212, comprised of more than 650 adults and children. Of this total, 38 families were chrismated into the faith. They are mostly
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location could be found. At other times, local Syrian and Russian clergy would serve their spiritual needs. Grand Rapids has six Orthodox Christian communities. In addition to the Greek Orthodox, there are three Antiochian churches, one Russian and one Romanian parish. In the early 1920s, the Greek community held its meetings at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and services took place in a rented hall. In 1927, the parish bought a house and converted it into a church, the first floor serving as the sanctuary and the sec-
community to mount a Greek War Relief effort. The U.S. Treasury Department authorized AHEPA to sell war bonds and the local parish members sold $1 million worth in Grand Rapids alone. With the Americanization of the membership, there no longer is an AHEPA chapter in Grand Rapids. By the late 1940s, the parish outgrew its “house” of worship and purchased the Temple Emanuel synagogue for $35,000 in 1949. Remodeling began within two years.
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Name: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church Location: Grand Rapids, Mich. Metropolis: Detroit Size: about 212 families Founded: 1925 Clergy: Fr. James Bogdan (Masters in Byzantine History, University of Michigan; attended Holy Cross; priest with former lay profession) Web: www.holytrinitygoc.org E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org HOLY TRINITY GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
young couples with children. The number of children in the religious education program rose from 70 students to 135. The increased membership resulted in a need for larger facilities and the process to enlarge the existing facilities began around 1988, with the addition of more classrooms, a library, bookstore and a computer room for students and adults. The existing church, the fourth house of worship the community has had, also has been enlarged to increase the seating capacity by 100. Also added were a new choir loft, foyer, a nursery and a Byzantine bell tower. Historical background According to a parish history, Grand Rapids’ Greek Heritage, compiled and edited by Paul N. Chardoul, the first Greek immigrants arrived in the area in the late 1890s. One Greek is mentioned in the city directory, Peter Smitlis, who owned a bootblack shop. The 1902 city directory had recorded the arrival of Leon Agnon. The first immigrants came from the Peloponnesus, Thessaly and Roumeli, and Asia Minor, especially the area around Trabizond, who were refugees fleeing for their lives. The parish history notes that the refugees from Asia Minor were considered “foreigners” by other Greeks, who kept apart from them for many years. For much of its history, Grand Rapids was known as the “Furniture City,” for its many furniture makers and some Greeks opened restaurants near the factories. During this period, priests would come from Detroit or Chicago once a month to conduct services wherever a
ond floor as the Greek afternoon school. The church’s first regular parish priest, Fr. Asterios Asteriou, also served as the Greek school teacher. During this time, the local AHEPA chapter was founded in 1928. Fr. Asteriou was succeeded in 1931 by Fr. Aristides Palaynes, who had a farreaching impact on the parish. Fr. Palaynes created the first formal school and organized several organizations: the “Golden Rule Society,” also called Pistis, Elpis and Agapi (faith, hope and love) for adolescent girls; the precursor to the Philoptochos chapter, “Ai Myrofori,” and an American-Hellenic Society for the non-Greek wives of the parish “so they might learn more of the culture and religion of their husbands and children,” the parish history noted. He also established the Sunday school, instituted an envelope system for collections, published church bulletins and was the moving force for the founding of the Greek school. During the 1930s, Greeks living in the communities of western Michigan – Muskegon, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, “networked” through social and business ties. Adults and young girls from Grand Rapids would car pool to travel to other communities to sell dinner-dance tickets. The network continues to this day. Another feature of parish life in that era was the holding of “name day parties” at individual celebrants’ homes. As the parish grew, the celebrants hosted the coffee hour after church. The Depression era also was marked by prejudice against Greeks. Ku Klux Klan intimidation drove Greeks out of a nearby town, Big Rapids, and they moved to friendlier surroundings in Grand Rapids, resettling among relatives and friends. World War II mobilized the Greek
The “converted” church was consecrated in 1955 by Archbishop Michael. The GOYA chapter also was established in 1952 and hosted a national convention in 1959. In 1986, the group donated $2,500 to Holy Cross School of Theology. By the late 1960s, the community again needed larger facilities and property was purchased in the northeast part of the city. Construction on a new church complex, the present house of worship, was completed in 1976 at a cost of $700,000. In the 1970s, the Arts Council of Grand Rapids established a festival celebrating the performing and visual arts, which is held the first weekend of every June. It features many ethnic food booths, including that of Holy Trinity, which does not hold a separate Greek festival. Parishioners sell souvlaki on a bun and raise about $30,000. As part of the city’s festival, parishioners founded the organization “Hellenic Horizons” in 1979 to present cultural events and introduce Greek culture to the greater community. Lectures, movies, concerts, skits and costume parties are part of this cultural presentation each year. Through this organization, the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1984 gave a $72,000 grant for the study of the Greek American Family in Transition. The Hellenic Horizons committee produced an exhibit that traveled around the nation and is now housed at the St. Photios Shrine in St. Augustine, Fla. Former President and Grand Rapids native Gerald Ford had cut the ribbon for the opening of the exhibit.
S.F. Metropolis Office Relocates to Cathedral SAN FRANCISCO – The Metropolis of San Francisco has relocated its offices to Annunciation Cathedral. For many years, the offices of the Metropolis were housed in the basement of the Metropolitan’s private residence. The Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos planned three events in October to celebrate the Feast Day of Metropolitan Gerasimos and to help defray the expenses associated with the move: Oct. 11 at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Seattle; Oct. 18 at Annunciation Cathedral in San Francisco, and Oct. 25 at St. John the Baptist in Las Vegas. The events’ proceeds also will benefit the ministries of the Metropolis, especially the ongoing development and expansion of the Family Wellness Center. Through more than 12 vital ministries, including Youth, Religious Education, Philoptochos, Family Wellness, Greek Education, Music, and Missions and Evangelism, the Metropolis is reaching thousands of people through spiritual, educational and cultural resources and programs.
METROPOLIS OF DETROIT CAMPING MINISTRIES by Eva Kokkinos
Metropolitan Iakovos, Chris Tomaras and George Vourvoulias Jr.
Philanthropist Gives $1 Million to Retreat Center CHICAGO–Chris P. Tomaras, a wellknown Chicago businessman, community leader, churchman and philanthropist, announced the fulfillment of a $1 million gift to the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago’s St. Iakovos Retreat Center at a challenge dinner on September 23. Mr. Tomaras, who was instrumental in the early stages of securing the property with two separate gifts of $100,000 each, presented a check for an additional $800,000 at the dinner, after challenging the Retreat Center’s Board of Directors to raise $400,000. A total of $1.2 million
was required to pay off the $2.3 million mortgage for the purchase of the 137–acre property outside Kenosha, Wis., about two hours north of Chicago. The St. Iakovos Retreat Center has been a focal point of the ministry of Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, to acquire a summer camp for the Metropolis’ children and to provide a meeting place to fulfill the needs of the body, mind, and of course the spiritual soul of all its faithful. Metropolitan Iakovos stressed the re-
Boston Metropolis Has New Youth Director BROOKLINE, Mass. – Metropolitan Methodios of Boston has appointed Dino Pappas to be the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Metropolis of Boston. Mr. Pappas, 26, is a 2004 graduate of Boston College where he earned a degree in management, finance and economics. He also studied at Holy Cross School of Theology, which in May awarded him a Master of Divinity degree. He succeeds Fr. Philippe Mousis who was assigned to St. Catherine parish in Braintree. Mr. Pappas said he looks forward to implementing the programs which have been instituted for this important ministry of the Metropolis. Among his responsibilities are the JOY and GOYA retreats that take place throughout the year in various parts of the Metropolis. He will also be responsible for the athletic ministry which includes an active basketball program for boys and girls, the campus ministry and the Vacation Church School program. He will oversee the summer and winter camp programs, working closely with Michael Sintros, the director of the St. Methodios Faith and Heritage Center, and will continue his involvement with the Project Mexico Program, which affords high school graduates the opportunity to go to Mexico and construct a house for a poor family. Dino is the son of the Fr. Angelo and Presbytera Mary Pappas of Portsmouth, N.H.
Dozens of faithful bring their animals to be blessed at Sts. Peter and Paul Church.
Illinois Parish Holds Animal Blessing Service by Louie Pappas
GLENVIEW, Ill. – Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever Adam called each living creature that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. (Genesis 2). Ever since Adam was given this task by God, animals have always had a special relationship with human beings. Scripture gives us many examples of that special relationship. It was God who sought to protect the animals by directing Noah to gather them onto the ark to save them from the waters of the flood. It was Noah who first sent out a dove to help him determine if the waters had subsided. Prophet Elias’ icon depicts him being brought food by a raven to sustain him during the great famine. It was a dog
who showed more compassion on Lazarus than the rich man by licking his wounds. Tradition indicates that St. Anthony tamed wild beasts while in the desert. In keeping with our rich Orthodox tradition of offering blessings for the many gifts God has bestowed upon us, Sts. Peter and Paul Church offered our first annual Blessing of the Animals on Saturday, Sept. 27. More than 50 of the faithful gathered with their pets. Animals included Australian shepherds, Maltese, beagles, boxers, Labs, greyhounds, cocker spaniels, cocapoos, cavaliers, poodles, Siamese cats, cockatiels, Guinea pigs and hamsters, and two Belgian draft horses and a Jersey calf from a local farm. The animals gathered on the front steps and received a blessing and a treat from Fr. Angelo Artemas, pastor. Louie Pappas is pastoral assistant, Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Glenview.
The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit is blessed to have three unique summer camps to serve and gather its youth every year. Every year, each of the camps continues to grow and improve. The mission of the camping programs is to provide a safe, Orthodox Christian environment for youth to develop spiritually, socially, and emotionally. Of course, campers have a great time with old friends and making new ones. Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp MDSC has been serving youth of the Metropolis of Detroit for over 50 years. The camping program offers five one-week sessions for campers ages 7-15. MDSC also offers a teen leadership week for counselors-in-training, called “Week Zero.” MDSC enjoyed another successful summer. MDSC served over 300 campers throughout the summer. With such a long and rich history of camp traditions, MDSC campers enjoy many different activities and programs. Campers participate in daily Orthodox education classes, arts and crafts, canoeing, and much more. MDSC is excited about its most recent facility improvements and future expansion. The pinnacle of these plans is the future construction of a camp chapel. For more information regarding the MDSC camping program, history, and future plans, visit their website at www.detroit.goarch.org/mdsc or e–mail email@example.com. St. Nicholas Summer Camp Established in 2000, St. Nicholas Summer Camp serves the central and southern parishes of the Metropolis of Detroit. St. Nicholas Summer Camp is a week-long program for campers ages 8-18. The program is currently held at the Cedar Ridge Campgrounds in Louisville, Ky. Campers learn about their Orthodox Christian faith every day through worship services, as well as Orthodox discussions. They also take part in many exciting activities, including ropes courses, canoeing, and archery. This year, the camp had a recordbreaking year with 103 campers in attendance. For more information about St. Nicholas Summer program, visit www. southerncamp.com or e–mail youth@ detroit.goarch.org. St. Timothy Summer Camp For almost 20 years, St. Timothy Summer Camp has been serving the New York parishes of the Metropolis of Detroit. The camp is located at the Oswegatchie Educational Facility in Croghan, N.Y. In addition to worship and Orthodox Life sessions, campers always have a unique and exciting experience. With horseback riding, kayaking, and a zip line, campers are kept busy throughout the week. The St. Timothy Summer Camp is a program for campers ages 8-18. This year, the camp was host to 74 campers. Also, a young adult camping program was added to the curriculum. To inquire about the St. Timothy Summer Camp program, call (315) 446–5222. Eve Kokinos is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Metropolis of Detroit.
In Memoriam Fr. Nicholas Trivelas
Serving food at the South Wilmington Street Men’s Shelter are (from right) William Arseniu, son Matthew Arseniu, who is co-vice president of GOYA; Stephen Zevgolis co-president of GOYA, and his father, Paul Zevgolis; Saunda, a volunteer, JoLynn Arseniu, wife of William, and Nada Milkovich, GOYA historian.
Raleigh Parish Offers Success Outreach RALEIGH, N.C. – A question answered unequivocally by the Goyans of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh was, “Is your community your world, or the world your community?” Two years ago, the parish began an outreach ministry with the blessing of their pastor Fr. Paul Kaplanis. The ministry serves the local men’s shelter and Interact Shelter for women of domestic violence. GOYA members serve meals on the last Saturday of each month at the men’s shelter; the parish Orthodox Christian Men’s Club does so on the last Sunday of each month and the local AHEPA chapter on the second Wednesday of each month. Along with serving food, the outreach ministry provides other food to supplement the menu, along with clothing and furniture for men transitioning back into unassisted living. The outreach also pro-
vides bus passes, and a Christmas tree that younger Sunday school and parish pre-school students decorate with handmade decorations. The Philoptochos, along with other parishioners, financially assists the Interact ministry with a twice–annual clothing drive, and supplies various household items from kitchen utensils to furniture in helping the women and their children restart their lives. The parish also provides Bibles for those administering to the people on the streets and through these opportunities have witnessed the Orthodox faith to these people. On several occasions various people have come to experience our Divine Liturgy and services and Interact has been a guest speaker at one of our Lenten discussions held after the presanctified liturgies during Great Lent.
Arizona Church Completes New Building CHANDLER, Ariz. – St. Katherine’s Church recently completed a $3.4 million Byzantine-style structure that features a golden dome, a bell tower and room for about 300 parishioners. More than 25 years ago, the parish began holding services in a small ranch house. The original church was so small that there was no center aisle, until the building was expanded about 10 years ago. The new church has a balcony for the choir and additional seating for congregants in addition to office space, the Arizona Republic newspaper reported. More than two years have passed between the teardown of the old structure and the opening of the new one. Though there are still some details to be completed, such as installing some additional
icons, the new structure recently had its first Divine Liturgy Before the new edifice was built, the church began its expansion with the building of a community center and the Solon Junior Academy Charter School. St. Katherine’s Community Center opened in 2001 and is available for use, for a fee, by the community. The community center was also the home for church services for the nearly two years while the new church was being constructed. The iconography from the front of the former church building was cut into sections and put on wheels so it could be used in the community center for services. Those religious symbols could not be left in place during the week given that the facility was also used by the charter school.
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CHARLESTON, S.C – Fr. Nicholas Christ Trivelas, 87, fell asleep in the Lord on Saturday, Oct. 4, in Charleston. Fr. Trivelas served as priest at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church from 1948 to 1993. He retired in 1993 and continued to serve Holy Trinity as priest emeritus. From 1994 to 2005, he also served as itinerant priest at Holy Resurrection Church in Hilton Head, S.C. He was the son of the late Christ and Kalliopi Trivelas and was born in Altoona, Pa., on Feb. 19, 1921. He graduated from Holy Cross Theological Seminary in Pomfret, Conn., in 1944 and was ordained a deacon in January 1945 in Paterson, N.J., and into the priesthood in February, both times by Bishop Germanos Polizodes. For the next three years, he served as pastor of Sts. Constantine and Helen Church in Webster, Mass., and, at the same time, taught Byzantine music at Holy Cross in Brookline, Mass. Fr. Trivelas arrived in Charleston on Mother’s Day 1948 and he remained in Charleston to serve his beloved Holy Trinity for the rest of his life. Fr. Trivelas served the spiritual and educational needs of the Greek Orthodox community with love and dedication. Led by his magnificent tenor voice, generations of choir members learned to chant the beautiful Byzantine hymns of the Orthodox Church in mixed-voice choirs, male choirs, and children’s choirs that he organized over the years. In addition, generations of parishioners remember going to Afternoon Greek School where he was always a presence, teaching them Greek, instructing them about their faith, practicing hymns with them, or just playing sports with them at recess. During his 47–year ministry, Fr. Trivelas was instrumental in ensuring that the sanctuary of Holy Trinity included authentic Byzantine iconography. He helped commission noted iconographer Photis Kontoglou. As a result, Holy Trinity has the largest collection of Kontoglou icons outside of Greece. Fr. Trivelas is survived by his wife, Despina Ross Trivelas; daughter, Kalliopi and her husband, George Michale of Kansas City, Mo.; daughter, Faye and her husband, Larry Zoeller of
Darnestown, Md.; son, Chris Trivelas and his wife, Diane, of River Forest, Ill.; son, Nick Trivelas and his wife, Peggy of Aiken, S.C.; sisters, Lula Hondras of Clearwater, Fla.; Mia Pappas of Raleigh, N.C.; and Sia (Andrew) Callas of Chicago; grandchildren, Justin Zoeller, Megan Trivelas, Mark Trivelas, Nicholas Trivelas, and Alexandra Trivelas. He was preceded in death by his brother, Angelo Trivelas of Bellevue, Wash. The funeral service was conducted Oct. 8 by Fr. George Tsahakis, chancellor of the Metropolis of Atlanta, and Fr. John Johns, Priest of Holy Trinity Church. Memorials may be made to the Iconography Fund at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 30 Race Street, Charleston, SC 29401.
Fr. Nicholas Dotson BOULDER, Colo. – Fr. Nicholas Dotson, 55, died Sept. 12 of natural causes. He was born Nov. 22, 1952 as Scott Riley Dotson in Canon City, Colo. He became a member of the Orthodox Church in 1983. While attending the St. Tikhon’s Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pa., he was ordained as a deacon in 1989 and as a priest tin 1992 and earned his Master’s of Divinity in 1994. His first parish was St. Michael’s (OCA) in Old Forge, Pa. He was then assigned to St. Mary’s Holy Dormition Church in Calhan, Colo., where he served for 10 years. In August 2003, Fr. Dotson was assigned to Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Boulder, where he served until his death. He was released from the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church in America in October 2003 and incardinated into the Archdiocese. Survivors include his wife, Kedrann; sons Ryan and Nicholas; daughter Rebecca; son-in-law Landon; granddaughters Anastacia and Emily; his mother, Nancy; and brother, Matthew. Services took place Sept. 18 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, with Metropolitan Isaiah officiating. The service was concelebrated by 22 priests and deacons from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and the OCA and Antiochian jurisdictions.
Philanthropist Gives $1 Million to Retreat Center page 18 treat center’s importance as a project that has the possibility to impact so many people. Guests were then transported by trolley to the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue, where dinner and a program followed, during which a special video was presented that depicted scenes from the retreat center. In an emotional presentation, Metropolitan Iakovos thanked Mr. Tomaras for his generosity and presented him with a stunning crystal cross. Mr. Tomaras suggested that the contributors of the challenge grant were the real honorees that motivated him to come forward with the fulfillment of this gift and their widespread support, and the vision of Metropolitan Iakovos, was the ultimate reason for his gift. About the St. Iakovos Retreat Center Located in natural surroundings near most of the Metropolis’ population centers, the retreat center will serve thousands of
youth and adults alike as an ideal gathering place for camp sessions, weekend retreats, clergy meetings and other similar events for the tens of thousands of faithful served by the Metropolis. The center is located in a rural setting adjacent to 35 acres of pristine woodlands and hills, next to an eight-acre lake. It contains a century-old farmhouse and a 2,000-square foot log cabin with game rooms, television viewing areas and a large outdoor swimming pool for recreational activities. Other amenities include an indoor pool with Jacuzzi, various sporting facilities including basketball and volleyball courts, a baseball diamond, a soccer field and a trail for cross-country skiing. Immediate future development plans include a hotel style rooming facility for the camp or adults, a multi-purpose assembly building and a chapel. Later development will deliver two additional residential lodges, eight cottages and many other improvements.
Resources for Parents
The Upbringing of Children According to the Holy Fathers by Fr. Hector Firoglanis
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). If someone told you that you would have no problems with your children if you raised them a certain way, would you be interested in learning more? Who wouldn’t? For parents, the upbringing of children is the most important and sacred duty in life. And if we carry out that duty according to the teachings of the Church Fathers, God will help us to raise up Christian children who will be a joy to behold. Our Number One Priority to Our Children: Raising Them Close to God Of course, as Orthodox Christian parents, we all want to raise children who will grow to become good, responsible and faithful Orthodox Christians. That is why most of us have our children baptized, bring them to church on Sundays, take them to Sunday School, and have them receive holy communion regularly. Many of us might think that is the extent of our parental responsibility for raising up a child close to God, but is it? While it’s a good start, the Fathers of the Church say that it’s not enough. They say that the spiritual well-being of our children should take priority over their material needs, their secular education and their preparation for worldly success as St. John Chrysostom explains: “We are so concerned with our children’s schooling [and worldly success]; if only we were equally zealous in bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. “This, then, is our task: to educate both ourselves and our children in godliness; otherwise what answer will we have before Christ’s judgment-seat?” (St. John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life, SVS Press, 1986, p.67, 71). A recurring theme in the writings of the Fathers is that the upbringing of our children in godliness is the most important task of parents, a 24/7 job. It is a responsibility with eternal implications which requires our utmost personal discipline, vigilance, effort, and dependence on God’s grace. The Example of the Parents During a pilgrimage to the Monastery of St. Arsenios the Cappadocian my wife and I went on when we lived in Greece for a year, we sat down to speak with
Father Theoklytos, a very gentle, humble and surprisingly humorous elder of the monastery. Although we did not yet have children at the time, my wife asked the elder how we could be good parents if, God willing, we were to have children one day. The Elder paused, then looked up at us with his gentle and disarming gaze and said, “To raise good children, you need to love each other.” We will never forget the simplicity and conviction with which he answered a question we thought would require a complicated answer. The Elder’s simple response reinforced a foundational teaching of the Church regarding child rearing: If husband and wife truly love each other, as the Fathers of the Church teach, then the children will have an ideal model of how to love God and their fellow man. St. John Chrysostom, in a more general sense, speaks about the centrality of the parents’ example for molding multiple facets of the child’s development: “For generally the children acquire the character of their parents, are formed in the mold of their parents’ temperament, love the same things their parents love, talk in the same fashion, and work for the same ends” (St. John Chrysostom, On Marriage and Family Life, SVS Press, 1986, p. 64). In addition to the good example of parents, the Fathers speak about the active intervention of parents required to direct and mold the will of the child. Molding the Will of the Child What most of us will discover when we view our child-rearing methods through an Orthodox Patristic perspective is that we are faced with the risk of allowing the child to develop a powerful self-will. A strong self-will, which develops very early in life in the absence of proper parental direction, renders spiritual growth much more difficult. What does this mean? It means that later in life it will be very challenging— in some instances impossible–to get the self-willed child to voluntarily be attentive during church services, to fast, to respect parental authority, and to grow in the image and likeness of Christ as a kind, gentle and forgiving child of God. The words of St. Theophan the Recluse impress upon us the importance of molding the will of a child: “The will of the parents should be imprinted upon each step–of course in a general way. Without this, the behavior of the child can easily become corrupted.” (St. Theophan the Recluse, Raising Them Right, Conciliar Press, 1989, p. 34). Without getting angry when the child tests his limits and without putting exces-
sive pressure on the child, parents can do much good for the child’s soul by setting clear and pronounced boundaries around the child’s self-will. Of course, the parents need to consistently maintain and remind the child of those boundaries in a loving and gentle way. By molding and directing the will of a child, especially at the early stages of development, the parent is teaching the child that he is not the center of the world. Only as such will a child learn later in life to do the will of God (to obey His commandments) and to put the needs of others before his own. Our Ultimate Purpose The successful upbringing of children is in no way disconnected from our ultimate purpose as Orthodox Christians, which is the process of deification, or to become like God – to become saints. It may sound like a lofty and unrealistic goal, but it is nevertheless our ultimate purpose, and if we at least orient ourselves towards that goal, we’ll be on the right track towards becoming the parents God wants us to be. The Orthodox Way according to the Church Fathers is a difficult path which requires continuous effort, prayer, selfsacrifice and repentance. Christ Himself said that “The gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13). Being a good parent and raising virtuous, loving Christian children is also hard, especially in today’s world. In order to make our job as parents a little easier, we can begin by repenting, orienting our lives towards Christ, and making ourselves a little more Christ-like. As a contemporary elder of the Church, Elder Porphyrios, says, “Become saints and you will have no problems with your children” (Wounded By Love, p. 198). Prioritizing our children’s spiritual well-being over their worldly success, offering them a Christ-like example of love and harmony within the home, molding the child’s self-will, and striving continuously to become like Christ – to become saints: This is a brief glimpse into raising our children according the teachings of the Fathers and Holy Elders of the Church. It is a difficult path, but it is the surest way we have of raising children who will grow to love God and their fellow man, and who will be a joy for all of us to behold. Fr. Hector Firoglanis is the assistant priest at Annunciation Church in Lancaster, Pa. He and his wife, Presbytera Katerina, also served in Albania as OCMC long-term missionaries. They have a 17-month-old son, Christo.
On Marriage and Family Life by St. John Chrysostom–Inspired by the epistles to the Corinthians and Ephesians, St. John Chrysostom discusses the reasons God instituted marriage, sexual relations, the mutual responsibility of marriage and parenting. Published by St. Vladimir’s Press. The 10 Building Blocks for a Happy Family by Jim Burns–From affirmation to consistency and communication to spiritual growth, this well–known Christian author offers 10 essential principles for creating a happy, close-knit household. Published by Regal Books. Smart Parenting I: Raising WellBehaved Children and Smart Parenting II: Behavioral Management Techniques by Fr. George Morelli–Two excellent articles that delve further into the upbringing of children from an Orthodox perspective and which offer practical advice as well. They can be read on-line at: www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/MorelliParenting.php and www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/ MorelliParenting2.php. Turning to the Fathers – A podcast by the Orthodox Christian Network, where noted scholar Fr. John McGuckin discusses ancient Christian spirituality in today’s world. You can visit OCN at www. myocn.net.
FAMILY ACTIVITY Nativity Fast Chain Nov. 15 begins the Nativity Fast. For 40 days, we will prepare ourselves through prayer, fasting and almsgiving for the coming of the Lord. Prior to the start, create a linked paper chain to count down the days to the Nativity. To do this, you will need 40 strips of construction paper in any color you like. Put a date on each link starting with Nov. 15 and ending with Dec. 25. Then on each day write something you will do that day as a family. The activities can range from simple to more involved: calling grandpa to tell him you love him, putting up your Christmas tree, or learning how to chant the Nativity Apolytikion. As you prepare your chain, here are some days you may want to keep in mind: Nov. 21–The Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos into the Temple (Read the Gospel and Epistle for the Feast and then read or chant the Apolytikion as part of your family prayers.) Nov. 23–International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Sunday (Visit their website (www.iocc.org) and learn about their ministry to those in need and what you can do to help.) Dec. 6–The Feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra (Learn how St. Nicholas gave gifts to people and how we can follow his example.) Dec. 17–Feast of Daniel the Prophet and the Three Holy Youths (Read about the faith of these young people in the book of Daniel, chapter 3, and discuss how you can follow their example.) For information about the above feasts, visit www.goarch.org. Once you have written on each strip, create your chain by fashioning the strips into circles and interlinking them. Pick a specific time each day that you will remove the link and plan to do what is on it.
Seminar Addresses Question: ‘What Makes Us Orthodox?’ by Jim Golding
MERRICK, N.Y. – For most Orthodox Christians the question of “What Makes Us Orthodox” rarely presents itself as they observe the customs and rituals of the Church. After all, it’s not a topic that surfaces in most daily conversations. It’s ingrained in the practice of the Faith that is mostly taken for granted. Recently, church school teachers and other faithful from parishes in the Direct Archdiocese District attended a seminar at St. Demetrios Church here to consider the significance of this question for Orthodox Christianity in 21st century America. Dr. Anton Vrame, director of the Archdiocese Department of Religious Education, conducted the nearly two-hour program on Oct. 4, along with the participation of Archbishop Demetrios. Dr. Vrame emphasized seven areas characterizing Orthodoxy that religious educators must understand to explain the Faith to contemporary society. “The message of Christ must be reinterpreted again and again to become a challenge to this generation,” he said. “Our task in America is to speak of Orthodoxy in a way that speaks to Americans.” He noted that, unlike the situation in the native lands of Orthodox Christianity, the Church in America is diverse with congregants from varied backgrounds, and that churches are “very modern places, yet very traditional” at the same time. The Religious Education Department director discussed the following themes that help define the Orthodox faith. Seven areas characterizing what makes us Orthodox • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, • In one holy Catholic and Apostolic
Photo ORTHODOX OBSERVER
Participants in the Religious Education Seminar held at St. Demetrios Church in Merrick, N.Y., that featured keynote speaker Dr. Anton Vrame (next to Archbishop Demetrios).
Church • And behold it was very good • At all times at every hour • We are fully alive, and called to be holy • For the life of the world • Everywhere present and filling all things And in one Lord Jesus Christ “Our deep, life giving faith provides the knowledge and experience of Jesus Christ;” said Dr. Vrame. “It’s all about
Christ.” He said that too often the Church is identified with the food festival but, “We have to remind ourselves that we are Christian.” He said that Christ’s message is fairly simple, “God loves the world.” Jesus “got into trouble with the ruling religious leaders of the day, and the Romans. He was flogged, executed between two thieves; a wealthy man had to give him his tomb and after three days He rose from the dead.”
Dr. Vrame noted that the question of who Christ is, was a question that “intelligent and learned men wrestled with” for hundreds of years. It took several councils of bishops to separate what was true from what was false that would lead to the correct worship of God, Dr. Vrame explained. “In Christ is the fulfillment of our humanity; the humanity as God intended us to live when he first
Religious, Government Leaders Caucus in Support of Faith-Based Schools
Archbishop Demetrios and Fordham President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., the Roundtable host. Also shown is Maria Makedon, director of Education for the Direct Archdiocesan District.
His Eminence and Rabbi David Zwiebel, another participant.
The depletion of faith-based schools in the New York region was the focus of the New York City Roundtable on Inner City Children and Faith–Based Schools held on Sept. 23. Among those in attendance were Archbishop Demetrios and the director of Education for the Direct Archdiocesan District, Maria Makedon. Educators and religious leaders from around the region resolved to mobilize in support of faithbased schools that have proven they can help at-risk students. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, moderated the meeting to bring a national issue home to New York. All of New York’s schools, at all levels, share an educational mission that transcends the distinction of public vs. private schools, Fr. McShane said. The forum continued discussions that began in April at the White House Summit on Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools, held in Washington, which Mrs. Makedon also attended. Other Roundtable attendees included Edward Cardinal Egan, Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, and Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president for government affairs for Agudath Israel of America. The meeting also drew state legislators and representatives of the federal government. One official, Karl Zinsmeister, said the government is working to turn around failing public schools. “But that will take a while, and inner-city families can’t wait,” he said. “They need alternatives now, and faith-based schools are a good one. “This is hard work, to turn around existing schools that are failing our children,” said Zinsmeister, assistant to President George W. Bush for
domestic policy and director of the Domestic Policy Council. The forum produced several short- and longterm actions for helping faith-based schools. Catherine Hickey, Ph.D., chairwoman of the New York City Religious Schools Committee, said the state must acknowledge its responsibility to make up recent cuts in reimbursement to private schools for performing state-mandated functions. She also called for tax credits to help parents at faith–based schools, and to encourage corporate and individual donations in support of the schools. She and other speakers said faith–based schools educate children at a lower cost compared with their public counterparts. State Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, said tax credits to encourage donations have succeeded in Pennsylvania, adding that rallying thousands of children in the state capital is a good way to get lawmakers’ attention. “This model is successful in Pennsylvania and other states, and it can work here in New York,” he said. Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, D-Bronx, proposed a longer-term solution: repealing the so-called Blaine Amendment to the New York state constitution, which restricts public support of faith-based schools. Cardinal Egan said the successes of faith-based schools get scant media attention, and that they’re needed to offer competition in the educational system while helping counter the downward trend in popular culture. “What we’re losing is a treasure,” he said. “This is a very, very serious situation. It means we’re not going to have any challenge for a culture that is in real trouble.”
The Relationship Between Hellenism and Christianity Professor Nicholaos Bratsiotis, director of the “Etairia ton Philon tou Laou,” has announced the publication of “The Interrelationship Between Christianity and Hellenism, a new book by the Rev. Dr. Demetrios Constantelos, a retired clergyman of the Archdiocese and the Charles Cooper Townsend Sr. Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and Religion and Distinguished Research Scholar in Residence at the Richard Stockton College in Pomona, N.J. The book should be of interest o Greek Orthodox Christians and non-Orthodox alike. It examines extensively the Hellenic background of early Christianity, its growth and theological development in a Hellenic intellectual and cultural milieu. It was issued in the series for the Center for Byzantine Research of Oi Philoi tou Laou, one of the oldest educational institutions of Greece, established in 1865. Dr. Constantelos’ new book is divided into three sections and includes 12 chapters that examine topics on religion, philosophy and history from late antiquity to the late Byzantine era. The executive editor and director of the publishing arm of the organization provides the prologue to the book and writes that “all the themes discussed in
this volume are of extreme interest and can be read by scholars and the educated laity alike. Anyone with spiritual and intellectual interests will enjoy reading this book, in addition to learning new and challenging points of view.” Professor Constantelos’ previous acclaimed book, “Elleniki Efpoiia kai Ellenochristianiki Philanthropoia,” is a second, revised and improved edition in Greek of his “Byzantine Philanthropy and Social Welfare,” published in 2008 by the Vanias Publishing Company in Thesssaloniki. It has had wide circulation in both English and Greek. Specialists and other researchers alike have characterized it as a classic, a milestone and as an eye-opener, a must read. These two books sell for $30 and $45, respectively, and are available through the office of The Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. All proceeds are donated for the promotion of Hellenic Studies-Greek Orthodox Christianity, Greek language, history, philosophy and the arts at Stockton. For more information contact: Stockton Foundation–Hellenic Studies, and address to: Dr. Tom Papademetriou, Director, ICHS, Richard Stockton College, Pomona, N.J. 08240.
New Book Tells History of Greeks in Phoenix A years-long, painstaking effort by the Historical Committee of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Phoenix, in partnership with the Arizona Historical Foundation, has yielded a 100-page-plus book documenting the early settlers of Greek ancestry in central Arizona. The Greeks in Phoenix, with more than 200 archival photographs begin in 1908 with the arrival in what was still the Arizona Territory of two brothers, Charles Sanichas and Chris Sanichas. Charles opened a fruit and confectionary store in downtown Phoenix at 44 W. Washington St., while Chris established the Sanichas Confectionary Store at 320 E. Van Buren St. By 1912, the year of Arizona
statehood, there were nine Greek-American families in the capital city, including the five brothers of the Georgouses family. As more families migrated directly or indirectly from Greece to the Valley of the Sun, and bringing with them their Greek Orthodox faith, articles of incorporation were signed in 1923 to establish a new nonprofit organization, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. From humble beginnings in the early 1900s, the legacy of the area’s industrious Greek pioneers lives on today through four Greek Orthodox Church communities in the Valley. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral has established a research archive and museum to preserve and celebrate Greek history in Phoenix, now the nation’s fifth largest city. The first copy of Greeks in Phoenix was presented to Fr. James T. Paris, dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral, by Bessie Hotis, a member of the Holy Trinity Historical Committee. “A remarkable achievement,” said Father Jim. “Greeks in Phoenix is a proud testimony to the grit, energy, creativity and determination that exemplifies the love of life, devotion to family and duty to country that is the Hellenic-American experience.” The Greeks in Phoenix volume would not have been possible without the resources and people of Arcadia Publishing, the leading local history publisher in the United States. Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, Arcadia has more than 4,000 titles in print, all chronicling American communities and the people of many ethnic origins who inhabit them. Greeks in Phoenix is available for $19.99 at the Holy Trinity community center on Sundays during the coffee social following the liturgy, and through other outlets. All net proceeds will go toward completing the historical room in the brandnew Education and Cultural Center at Holy Trinity. Telephone orders for the book may also be made by calling Historical Committee member Emily Kimmell at (602) 952-9400.
900 Greek Records by Fr. Nikiforos Fakinos
What do “diva” Maria Kallas, chef Nikolaos Tselementes, basketball player Nick Gallis, tele–detective Aggeliki Nikolouli, author Vasilis Alexakis, music producer Yiannis Petridis and computer “guru” Nikolaos Negreponte have in common? They are all highly renowned in some area of science, sports or the arts and they are Greek. Some of them hold a world record that distinguishes them for their accomplishments. A new book The Greek Book of Records will be published in November (Dioptra publications) to exhibit women and men of our nation with outstanding performance in their areas of expertise. More or less, 900 Greeks (many of whom are Greek American) will be featured in its pages. The book will be an interesting reading, especially for young people aspiring to exceed expectations and make us proud. The Greek Book of Records will not be a rewrite of The Guinness Book of Records for Greek people. The latter already contains famous Greek personalities and it would be redundant to rewrite their accomplishments focusing on just one nation. The Greek Book of Records is more inspirational; it focuses on the lives and the process of attaining such distinctions. It is a book that you read and it instantly motivates you to succeed, no matter what nationality you are! It is a book of everyday people like you and me. Like Stathis Hatjis from the island of Simi, who disproved the theories of Hyper–gravitational Physics regarding the natural limits of a human being under water. Before WWII, Stathis Hatjis was regularly diving to 88 meters (288.71 feet) without equipment. He would stay under water for 3 minutes, 58 seconds to collect ocean sponges. Another feat of defeating nature is attributed to Yiorgos Caralambos, who assembled a team of nine Greeks to cross the Great American desert on the way to California. In their exploration, they brought camels from Syria. Even most impressive is the feat of Sofia Psilolignou, an employee of the Greek electric company. She swam across the English Channel; twice! The year was 1938, the place was the Berlin European Boxing Tournament. Greek boxer and world champion Antonis Christoforidis (light heavyweight, 1941, of Cleveland, Ohio) “beat up” and brutally defeated (in 12 rounds) his German opponent Gustav Eder in front of Adolf Hitler. The Nazi leader left the stadium in a furious rage before the fight was over. Together with the African-American Jesse Owens, a year before, Christofidis (born in Messina, Greece, lived in Geneva, Ohio) was one of the athletes who ruined Hitler’s mood and “theories” of Arian supremacy. It was the turbulence of war conflicts and invasions in Greece that motivated Stamatis Liveris (from Zakynthos) to make the world’s largest flag. Andreas Garyfalis (from Hania, Crete) made the world’s largest newspaper. The name of the paper was “Chillout.” Alexandros Tampouras was the first to insure astronauts (1969). One of the most impressive record holders is Nikos Maggitsis who has done the “Seven Summits.” He has climbed the seven highest and most dangerous mountains of the seven continents.
Now, something for our Golden Years readers: Jim Eriotes (a Chicago native, parents came from the island of Poros) was the oldest professional athlete, He played baseball until he was 84! Yiannis Kotsiopoulos swam a distance of 78 kilometers (48 and a half miles) in 39 hours. When he accomplished this feat he was 50 years old. The youngest Olympic athlete and gold medalists ever was Greek; his name is Dimitrios Lourdas. At 10 years and 218 days old he won the gold as a member of the rowing team for the 1896 Athens Olympics, the first modern Olympic Games. He was in charge of the rudder; his small size and perfect sense of balance made him ideal for the winning Greek team. Takis Ikonomopoulos (cousin of former Greek soccer star Sakis Ikonomopoulos) is the goal keeper with the longest record of not allowing a goal in a professional soccer category (1,088 minutes from 1964-65). Lyssandros Georgamlis (known for his career in AEK Athens) has been recorded for the fastest goal-shot, measured at 122 kilometers per hour (scored against Olympiakos in the period 1988-89 when he was still playing for Ethnikos). The best Greek basketball player of all times was Nick Gallis. His full name was Nikos Georgallis, but he grew up in Bronx, where they were calling him Nick Gallis. He started as a boxer, but his basketball skills were also a knock out! Gallis, a shooting guard, saw his NCAA points average reach 27.5 and his name ranked third among the leading NCCA scorers, behind the great Larry Bird and Balder. When he left Seton Hall, his name was on nearly every record scoring list in the college. In the spring of 1979 Gallis realized that the time had come for him to try and play in the NBA. But this big plan was ruined by the whims of his manager, Bill Manon, who may have ruined Gallis’ career but surely all Greeks are now grateful to him. Bill Manon was the agent of a few basketball players but mostly actors and artists. Among those was Diana Ross who had just launched her solo career from “The Supremes”. ‘Upside Down’ became a big hit and the agent started making money hand–over–fist, neglecting his then 22 year old Greek basketball player. So, from the first round of the drafts, Gallis found himself in the fourth with the number 68 and was picked by the Boston Celtics who had already chosen Larry Bird and wanted Gallis just to make up the numbers. Boston Celtics pick of Larry Bird instead of Gallis in the 1979 draft made sense, but still Gallis deserved to play in the NBA. Unbelievable scorer, in 168 games with the Greek national team, he averaged more than 30 points! Gallis led Greece to win the European Championship in 1987. I would be remiss not to make a reference to the academic achievements of brilliant Greek scientists, authors and professors. Yiorgos Paxinos is a professor in the University of New South Whales, Australia, who mapped the brain of the mouse. His book has been cited more than any other scientific document and it is the foundation of most medical research resources. Dimitris Terzopoulos is a professor of computer science in the United States
OCTOBER 2008 by Fr. Jim Kordaris
The Orthodox Church has a long history of mission activity in the world and has been strongest when active in mission work. Mission-minded parishes instill the importance of mission in their parishioners, sending them on Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC)–sponsored short– term missions as well as trips to Guatemala and Project Mexico. People return from these mission trips forever changed by the experience. Their missionary zeal is then refocused on local mission and outreach within the parish and the local community, and can play a key role in revitalizing the faith of active Orthodox Christians and the entire parish. A new cooperative effort between the Department of Outreach & Evangelism and the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) was launched at the Clergy-Laity Congress in Washington, in a workshop titled “Instilling a Missionary Mindset: How International Missions Benefit the Local Parish.” The workshop took the form of a panel discussion moderated by Fr. Jim Kordaris, director of Outreach & Evangelism and Fr. Martin Ritsi, executive director of the OCMC. The panel consisted of four parish priests whose personal and parish experience includes overseas missions as well as outreach and evangelism in their own communities: Fr. Alexander Veronis of the Annunciation parish in Lancaster, Pa, Fr. Steven Tsichlis of St. Paul’s Church in Irvine, Calif., Fr. Luke Veronis of Sts. Constantine & Helen Church in Webster, Mass., and Fr. Paul Paris of St. Mary’s Church in Minneapolis. What these clergymen each pointed out in their own way is the fact that overseas missions is an experience that fulfills our calling as Christians, transforms individuals who participate and infects the parish with a zeal for sharing the faith – both overseas and in our own backyard. In the words of Fr. Ritsi, “I believe international mission goes hand-in-hand with the spirit of domestic outreach and evangelism. Thus any enthusiasm towards one will naturally encourage the other. “That was evident as a common thread by the speakers during the workshop and this cooperative effort was a shining example of the two sides of the same coin operating together. That is exciting.” Anyone who has gone on an overseas mission will tell you that it is a life-changing experience. It can also have a dramatic ef-
Outreach and Evangelism OVERSEAS MISSIONS & LOCAL OUTREACH:
Two Sides of the Same Coin
fect on parish life. Fr. Alexander Veronis, in addition to his 42-plus years of service to Annunciation Church of Lancaster, is co-founder and president emeritus of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. The Lancaster parish is a prime example of the benefits to the parish of a longstanding missionary mindset. Fr. Alexander shared with those in attendance, “If you want God to bless your parish ministry, start by becoming more generous givers to the needy, to missions, to soup kitchens, to ministries that feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and provide for the lonely and dispossessed of our world. Such ministry inspires people to become more generous stewards.” According to Fr. Alexander, people who have a mission mindset are more inclined to pray regularly for the needs of God’s people everywhere, to attend worship services and the Liturgy every Sunday, to receive Holy Communion regularly, and to get involved with service projects that make Christ more visible through Christian outreach. In Minneapolis, Fr. Paul Paris is building upon a long tradition of mission and outreach established by Fr. Anthony Coniaris, noted author/publisher and long-time member of the OCMC Missions Board. The Minneapolis parish has a number of vibrant ministries including a number of Bible studies, a blossoming prison ministry, and a very active Outreach Committee. Fr. Paul states, “This is the beauty of getting the parish involved with international missions. We start out thinking we are lending a helping hand to others and what results is an infusion of faith and a deeper understanding of the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit in the life of our communities.” Fr. Stephen Tsichlis of St. Paul’s Church in Irvine, and president of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Association, has participated in a number of OCMC mission trips. Fr Steven commented that “We confess that we belong to ‘the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.’ The Church is not apostolic merely because we have pre-
900 Greek Records page 22 and in Canada. He received an Oscar for his digital effects work in the “Lord of the Rings.” In the same field we find Michael Dertouzos, the founder of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is also one of the “founding fathers” of the www. code for the Internet addresses. Sifis Sifakis is a programmer for air-travel software, holder of the Touring Award, equal to the Nobel prize. Constantinos Karatheodori (the final s was lost in translation) was a professor of Albert Einstein. Einstein said for him: “My mentor was an unrivaled Greek, to whom I, as well as mathematics, physics and the wisdom of our century owe everything.” He was a professor in 7 Universities and member of 6 Academies across the globe. Evgenios Michael Antoniadis, an early 20th century astronomer, has mapped the lunar landscape and Mars. Two craters (one on each one of them) have his name. And just in time for your final exams, it is great to read about the Kamvisselis family. All three of the children were ac-
cepted and received scholarships for MIT in the same year. Today, Manolis is an MIT professor, Peter is employed in Google and Maria is in real estate. Maria Tsoukala, a paleontology professor, discovered the largest Mastodon teeth in the area of Grevena, Greece. They are 5 meters, 2 centimeters (17 feet) long. Another famous Greek woman is photographer Nelly Seitaridi, whose photograph was the first picture from a woman photographer on the cover of Time magazine. Paintings of Constantinos Broumbidis comprise the rotunda honoring George Washington; he is also called America’s Michael Angelo. The music industry has been blessed with many top artist of Greek descent. Yianni (Chrysomalis) and Yiannis Villiotis both share a common first name and a common Greek heritage. You all know the former; the latter is actually equally successful. Villiotis is in three Halls of Fame (Rock n’ Roll, Rock n’ Blues, Blues). Demis Roussos is the composer who assembled more than 200,000 fans for his
served and passed on the teaching of the Apostles. That’s absolutely necessary, but there’s more to being apostolic than that. The Church is apostolic in the sense that She – and therefore we – are sent. A parish that is not concerned with courageous and sustained evangelism to the society around us and open to all who desire to join our churches, as well as active in missions work abroad, has failed to observe Christ’s command and is neither apostolic nor catholic in the fullest sense of those words.” Fr. Luke Veronis of Sts. Constantine & Helen parish in Webster, professor of missions at Hellenic College/Holy Cross and former long-term missionary to Albania, stated that support for and involvement in international missions “is a fundamental calling of every Church.” In the words of Fr. Luke, “…if we, the Church, are the Body of Christ, we must continue the work of Jesus here on earth. It is clear that His last command to his followers was to ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.’” “Thus, it is imperative for every Christian and each Church to faithfully follow this command. When the local parish participates in the international mission of the Church, it blesses and nourishes the local parish. ���Parishioners become more excited about their faith, they catch a vision much larger than any parochial view of their home church, and they understand that they are truly a part of the one, holy catholic
23 and apostolic church! These renewed parishioners can only bring new vitality and vigor to their home parishes. So one can really understand how the local parish and international missions can truly bless each other” In his keynote address to the ClergyLaity Congress in July, Archbishop Demetrios said that “God wants His home to be filled with the people because all people on earth are His people. “And we are part of His desire and plan, which simply means that we have to go literally out to the streets and lanes of the cities and to the highways and hedges and gather the people to the House of God so that His House will be filled.” The importance of a missionary mindset is summarized in the following words of the first U.S. Orthodox missionary priest in Africa, Fr. Daniel Christopulos, who served there from 1985-1988: “A quote from an Indian (Malankara) Orthodox bishop to our Orthodox Clergy Association in Houston epitomizes Orthodox Christian Missions for me. His Grace told the brothers assembled, ‘Christianity is a charter flight! It is up to us to bring everybody we encounter home to Jesus Christ. “Our very salvation is dependent upon it. If we fail to fill the plane it might not fly.’ Our Christianity and, indeed, our salvation, is not merely a personal matter. It is not enough to bring ourselves before Christ. We are called to participate in the restoration of all things. This means that we bring the other with us to the throne of God.” Overseas missions and local outreach and evangelism are an investment in the future of our Church. Parish leadership is called to initiate and support programs through which individuals may fulfill our Lord’s final directive at the time of His Ascension to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Mt. 28:19).
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Relics of Russian Saint Presented to Archdiocese page 1 led the clergy into the chapel. After the ceremony, Archbishop Demetrios again expressed his thanks to the Russian Orthodox Church and spoke of his own life history and devotion to St. Seraphim of Sarov, noting the joy and welcome that the saint had for all people. The Archbishop recalled that, as a young boy in Thessaloniki during World War II, he first became aware of the saint in his reading of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Years later, a monk at Mount Athos, who had graduated from the theological seminary at St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), Russia, in the 1960s, presented His Eminence with an icon of St. Seraphim that he had smuggled out of the Soviet Union. The Archbishop said that the icon now is in the home of his brother, Andonis Trakatellis. When the entire assembly had venerated the relics and the hymns to the saint were chanted in Greek and English, the Archbishop retired with Bishop Mercurius and his retinue to a luncheon in honor of the Bishop and his staff, who had offered so much cooperation and work on the official visit of the Archbishop to the Church of Moscow last May. St. Seraphim is regarded as one of three greatest saints born in Mother Russia; the others being Sts. Theodosius and Sergius, Fr. George Poulos notes in his book, Orthodox Saints. At the age of 10, he fell from scaffolding during the construction of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kursk. His injuries appeared to be fatal, but in a vision while he lay stricken the Virgin Mary appeared to him and told him he would survive. After reading the works of St. Anthony of Egypt, St. Basil, St. Macarius and St. John of the Ladder, he became a monk at age 18 in 1786 and was ordained
a priest in 1793. He decided not to preach until he devoted several years to prayer and meditation and dwelt in a forest. At one point, in emulation of St. Symeon, he took up residence on a stone slab for a thousand days. He then resumed residence in a hut and emerged occasionally to tell of his visions of the Apostles Peter and John and the Virgin Mary. He returned to the monastery and became renowned for his spiritual stature. He was visited by countless pilgrims and later designated as spiritual father to nuns of a local convent. He would often return to the wilderness and even the forest animals knew of his friendship. On one occasion, Seraphim prayed to Jesus and Mary after a friend and wealthy benefactor was paralyzed by a stroke. His prayers were answered and the friend was healed. He also showed compassion on three men who had looted his hut and obtained their release from jail. Seraphim died in 1833 while praying and was canonized by the Church in 1903.
LETTERS: Reflecting on the Cross page 10 How, there will always be elements, be it another person, a group of people, and sometimes what feels like the force of nature, like the force of a wave or hurricane, coming upon us, trying to take the cross from us, to loosen the hold that Christ has in our heart. It made me think of how we must always use our common sense and act with integrity and not give in to “group pressure.” How we must respond with compassion regardless of the circumstance. How we must be able to lift ourselves out of the fervor of the moment and remember the peace that it eternal, that is our gift and our blessing. How, as the sea rushes upon us, we must ride the waves and keep our eye on the life-giving cross. How we must not push each other down when someone is holding the cross, or wrestle it from their hand, but rejoice that someone has found Christ. It was such as beautiful day in Asbury Park and the service and the blessings bestowed upon us and indeed in the waters surrounding us were spirit-filled. And yet,
in the midst of all this, the meaning of the cross truly became alive as I watched the youth in the water. Effort had to be made to secure the cross and the challenge of holding the cross continued after it had been found. The boys diving for the cross in their moment of enthusiasm opened a window to show how we are all reaching for the cross and how we have within our hands and hearts in great and small ways, the choice to support each other in our journey to stay above water and keep swimming. And how, consciously or unconsciously, we also have within us the choice to not support each other to hold onto the cross. The boys of the Junior Division competed for the retrieval of the cross in good competitive spirit and in the process, they gave me an opportunity to reflect upon our need to hold onto the cross through both the peaceful and turbulent waves in our lives. Like the young divers who went into the water to retrieve the cross, we too, must keep our eye on the cross, in the sea of life. Zaharati “Jackie” Morfesis Haddon Township, N.J.
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Light or Twilight?
direction and guidance they so desperately need. Based on the historical context of where we as God’s family have been, the Bible offers them valuable wisdom for their current situations, in light of the Church’s future destination. Let us then do what we can to introduce them to this Book of Life – written “in the past” for their current “edification and
900 Greek Records page 23 concert in Brazil; only Frank Sinatra had attracted similar numbers in a solo performance. And we all know Vangelis and many other renowned Greek composers who have left a mark in the industry. According to Wikipedia, “Vangelis is generally regarded by music critics to be one of the greatest composers of electronic music of all time.” Maria Kallas was the greatest opera singer of all time. She was an American– born Greek artist with a very versatile repertoire and unparallel vocal gifts. Vasilis Alexakis translated books in the Sango language of Central Africa; just like Cyril and Methodios did for the Slavic people centuries ago, he created an alphabet for the unknown language and invented grammar for the troubled people of the area. George Bizos was the lawyer of Nelson Mandela. He founded the first school for all races in South Africa (in 1973), where ancient Greek is taught. The Greek Constitution of 1822 is also included since it was the first document of a modern nation deeming racism and slavery illegal and protecting the rights of all peoples in Greece by law. Another George, (Souris) was the author of the world’s longest lasting newspaper that rhymed from the beginning till the end, the Romios. Even classifieds rhymed; it was published for 35 years and its jokes are being told for five generations. Aggeliki Nikolouli is the holder of three world records: fastest time to find a lost hu-
hope” (Romans 15:4). Let us help them live in the Light rather than watch them grope in the twilight! The Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos is the Dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at St. John’s University in Queens. man being, most findings of lost people and fastest finding of the criminals in murder cases. She is the best tele-detective in the world with an unrivaled record of solved cases. She works with Greek police to solve high profile crimes and also televises the documentaries of her work. Stamatis Krimitzis was the designer of the first artificial comet and the designer of space vehicles for the NASA explorations of eight planets (or moons) of our solar system (photo to the left shows the first color picture of the Jupiter moon, Titan). He is considered the top authority in his field. He is also a member of the Academy of Athens. Anna Maria Botsari is the holder of the world record for longest chess game playing. She played without a break 1,102 games in 30 hours and 15 minutes. Leonidas Kestekidis is the sweetest Greek in the world. He was working as an employee in a US chocolate factory, when he visited Belgium. There, he fell in love with a Belgian lady, and he opened a chocolate store. Today he owns more than 1,400 stores worldwide; they are busy every day, especially on Valentine’s Day. The only problem with the The Greek Book of Records is that it has not contained all the tremendous stories that the authors collected. In its more than 400 pages there is not enough space for all the Greek legends of the last century and their stories to be told. A second volume will follow to complete a compilation of total of 900 pages for 900 more amazing Greeks. Fr. Fakinos is pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Merrick, N.Y.
Sept. 15, 2008 (from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America) Rev. Dn. Joseph Ruocco-Brown–Sept. 15, 2008 (from the Orthodox Church in America)
Releases Rev. Hieromonk Andonios Callozzo/ Sept. 15, 2008 (to the Ukranian Orthodox Church of the United States of America) Rev. Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse/ Sept. 19, 2008 (to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America)
A Community That Has Been ‘on the Grow’ page 17 Contemporary setting With the existence of several Orthodox Christian groups, there is a very active Pan Orthodox movement. “”We have a wonderful working situation,” said Fr. Bogdan. “We have a lot of Pan Orthodox activities.” These include holding paraklesis services together at various times of the year and programs where Orthodox speakers are invited. Some in the recent past have included Bishop Kallistos Ware; Fr. Frank Marangos, and Presbytera Jeannie Constantinou. Other joint endeavors include holding concerts to raise funds for the International Orthodox Christian Charities. “We’re not provincial as to just deal with Grand Rapids,” Fr. Bogdan said. “Our approach is really American, which is nice.” The community has a long tradition of providing parishioners for the nation’s
armed forces and currently five of its young members are serving in the U.S. Army and Navy. Fr. Bogdan, a native of Grand Rapids, was ordained in 1984 as a priest with a lay profession. He was dean of instruction at Grand Rapids Community College; and also taught in the area of social sciences. When Fr. Bogdan was ordained, Bishop Timothy, then head of the Diocese of Detroit, told him to stay at the parish, which was in need of a priest. “I’ve been here ever since,” he said. Grand Rapids no longer is the large furniture manufacturing center it once was, though the American Standard Co. still makes steel casings and furniture for the film industry. The city has become an educational and medical center and a number of parishioners work in these areas, while others are in various professions or in business. —Compiled by Jim Golding
Seminar Addresses Question: ‘What Makes Us Orthodox?’ page 21 created us.”
In One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church “We are the people of God. Our faith is not individual, it’s communal and is centered on the Church and family,” said Dr. Vrame. “We are in a relationship with the past and with the future and we’re called by God to experience His kingdom and the Church offers us a way. We are a nurturing, teaching, correcting, serving and worshiping community He explained that the Church is called out and set apart for God’s purpose, the kingdom of God, and there is to be no exclusion of people based on race, social class or gender. “The Church is apostolic, like the Apostles, the original followers of Christ who were sent forth.” And behold it was very good Dr. Vrame said that God has given us creation and that “We have been instructed by God to care for the world. Jesus accepted the material world giving us the message for the world to be saved.” He said Orthodox Christians should see “all things as essentially sacred,” and that the Church uses many substances from creation in its worship of God – holy chrism made from many ingredients, incense from tree sap, gold and silver, silk and cotton, and water. At all times at every hour “Time itself as a gift of God,” he said. “We did not invent time, God created it for us. Time is the framework by which all people are called for salvation, and to allow people to come to God.” The Church has set aside time for God, the director explained. “Time is holy because it comes from God,” he said. “God is beyond time and is greater than time. In time we offer ourselves to God. We set aside time for God…to think of God’s love for us.” Dr. Vrame pointed out that certain hours of each day are set aside for prayer, each day of the year commemorates a saint, each day of the week is set aside to honor Christ, the angels, and other commemorations, and certain seasons are set aside for fasting periods or to remember events in Christ’s life. We are fully alive and called to be holy “Humanity is unique in creation, and that our way to becoming holy is to become as fully human as possible,” Dr. Vrame said. For the life of the world He continued, “We are here for the world. We are here to complete God’s work and He holds us responsible for it.” He said that humanity has been “wandering around, lost and not willing to ask directions,” but that Christ can show the way and give the right direction. Everywhere present and filling all things Dr. Vrame noted that Orthodox Christianity is “continually adaptive to its location.” From the days of the Byzantine Empire, the faith has been spread throughout the world. While in the Latin West, Christianity
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remained Latin for centuries, in the East, missionaries beginning with Sts. Cyril and Methodios have spread the faith in the language of the local people of a given land and adapted to their customs. Archbishop’s thoughts Archbishop Demetrios offered several thoughts following Dr. Vrame’s presentation. His Eminence recalled that, growing up in Greece during World War II, “Sunday school became one of the central things to keep the faith of the youth alive in view of the degree of oppression by the Nazis,” he said. “The Catechetical schools became a tremendous success.” He noted that religious instruction had always been part of the regular public school curriculum and classes were taught by lower–level college students. He said that social conditions involving ideology served as an impetus for the success of the catechetical schools, as they were called. Students in some schools were confronted with communist ideology, but the catechetical teachers were highly successful in presenting the faith. The Archbishop observed how drastically situations change, citing the progress of the Orthodox Church in Russia. Where it had once been heavily persecuted under the Soviet Union with the resulting freedom after its collapse, the Russian Church now has more than 33,000 parishes and 700 monasteries. Orthodox theology is presented as a mandatory part of the curriculum of the schools and serves as “a common denominator” in society, not Marxism. He added that, when Muslim and Jewish parents protested the teaching of Orthodoxy in the schools, they were told they could practice their religion at home. Archbishop Demetrios warned that attacks against the Christian faith have shifted from ideology, such as from Marxism and other secular ideologies, to assaults of sarcasm and ridicule, which has become evident most recently in the media with such films as Bill Maher’s “Religulous,” where he primarily mocks the Christian faith. “This is a time for inventiveness and creativity,” the Archbishop said. “We have to be creative to face this new attack on the faith.” His Eminence also noted another challenge to Christianity: the shift in the percentage of the world’s population that embraces Islam. Where the percentage of the world’s Muslim constituted about 12 percent 15 years ago, that figure is now 19 to 20 percent, while the percentage of Christians has remained constant, about one-third. However, he observed that “under persecution, the Church flourishes.” Referring to the theme of the recent Clergy-Laity Congress, “Gather My People to My Home,” Archbishop Demetrios said this means, “We have to go from the mentality of a closed community, to the concept that we are part of a larger entity. We need to be in a condition of proclaiming the gospel. The moment a parish stops being missionary, it has signed its own end.” Correction The Chapel of Panagia Soumela, where Bishop Philotheos of Meloa conducted a vespers service in August, is located in West Milford, N.J., not New York.
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by Fr. Constantine Lazarakis
“She thinks she really knows exactly what is going on in my life, and she really has no idea.” Those are the words of a 17–year-old interviewed on the radio. She had spent every weekend for the last three years with friends in a park, drinking and getting drunk. She would come home drunk, pretend to be sober, and lie to her mom about where she’d been. With graduation approaching, she started to wonder if she would ever tell her mom the truth. “I do want to be close with my mom again,” she said, “I want to be able to tell her everything; tell her the truth.” Listening to her talk about how her relationship with her mom suffered made me think about how hard it is to be honest, and to do the right thing; and how totally important that is. She felt alone in her relationship with her mom, at least in part, because she had lied. In lying so often, she made it so her mom couldn’t have really known her even if she tried. The relationship had lost its integrity. Integrity is important to our relationships, to our well-being, and to our salvation. So what is integrity and why is it so important? How can we build our integrity and keep it? And what do we do if it starts to slip away? In the first definition of integrity, the dictionary talks about being honest, being moral, doing the right thing. In the second definition, it talks about being whole, unbroken. Integrity is about your whole character; it means telling the truth even if you could get away with lying. It’s not just doing the right thing when people are watching, but doing the right thing even when no one knows. It means knowing that a clear conscience is more important than your comfort, your convenience, and your profit. So that is the first definition, but what about the second: being whole? The two are linked. Striving for integrity can help make you whole. Keep it real When you lie, hurt someone, or take credit for something you didn’t do, you feel broken. Integrity gives you something bigger and more important than any short cut, white lie, or immoral act ever could. Why is integrity so important? Integrity means keeping it real. A student who wants to excel academically might cheat on an exam to get that A+. A senior walking down the hall might
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
isolated. With grades, athletics, friends, and parties, there is a lot of pressure to do and be a lot of things. You might be tempted to take short cuts, tell lies, or cheat. But losing a little integrity here and there for things that seem so urgent today can make telling the truth and respecting others less important to you. Watch out! Integrity starts to slip away. Of course, no one shows integrity ALL of the time. Christ is the only one without sin. Doing something wrong doesn’t mean that your integrity is gone and gone for good. Be honest with yourself and with God. If you slip, ask for God’s forgiveness; schedule a time to go to confession with your priest. Recommit yourself again and again, always trying harder and harder to do the right thing. God’s teachings and forgiveness will make you whole.
get a laugh from his friends by saying something inappropriate to a pretty girl. But what is the cost to your heart? When you deny your conscience and intentionally do something wrong, you bury your true self. With integrity, you present the real you to the world. You know that your friends are really your friends. You know that your grades are yours and not the math genius at the end of the hall selling homework out of his locker. If you walk with integrity, whatever you have is really yours. You can both build and maintain your integrity by committing yourself to honesty and doing the right thing. When tempted to stretch the truth, think twice. When facing the consequences of something you’ve done wrong, take it on the chin and don’t lie to get out of it. If a group is talking trash about someone, change the subject or just bow out of the conversation. Don’t say things that may not be true
or may be hurtful just to be entertaining or part of the conversation. Remember the Ten Commandments, learn the teachings of Jesus, listen to your own conscience, and commit yourself to following those things. When we start to lose our integrity, we enter into isolation. The girl at the beginning of this article isn’t a bad kid. She sounded smart and confident, but she also sounded sad. Even with all of her “friends”, she sounded alone. The person she was and the person she pretended to be at home were so different. Her mother “had no idea” about who she was. She loved and wanted to be close with her mom, but pushed her far away. Be authentic So what’s the bottom line? Without integrity, you’re faking it. When you fake it, people can’t get to know the authentic you. They only know who you are pretending to be. That leaves the real you
Fr. Constantine Lazarakis is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Direct Archdiocesan District.
“Come on…everyone is doing it.” You’ve heard the phrase many times. It’s the stereotypical way friends try to convince us to do something, even if it is wrong. Almost everyone has or will experience some form of peer pressure. Peer pressure comes in many different forms. It could be that a group of popular high school students will include you if you smoke marijuana with them. You might experience peer pressure at a party where everyone is drinking the beers that someone’s older brother bought. These temptations and pressures are constant challenges to our integrity as Christians. It is very difficult to witness our faith when we are being pressured to fit in. So what influence can peer pressure have on teens? • The American Lung Association reports that 3.1 million teenagers smoke. • Approximately 30.2% of youth are given, offered, or sold drugs in high school and middle school, according to the Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base. • Peer pressure statistics, according to a study by the Kaiser Foundation, reveal that 50% of 12-17 year olds feel pressured in sex and relationships. How can we maintain our integrity
with all of these pressures surrounding us? Learn about your Faith It is much easier to stand your ground and to make the right decision if you have a clear understanding of what you believe. As Orthodox Christians, this means we need to take the time to study our faith. We can study the Holy Scriptures, teachings, and Holy Sacraments of the Church. There are many books about Orthodox Christianity. Also, the Archdiocese website offers many articles regarding current topics and issues. Learning builds confidence to stay strong against peer pressure. Get Support It can be very difficult and lonely trying
to battle peer pressure alone. Therefore, we must surround ourselves with people who will be there for us if we feel pressured. Also, we should be around individuals who can offer us good advice on how to respond to peer pressure. We can find this support in our church communities, youth groups, role models, priests, teachers, and of course, our parents. Talk to someone When pressures and frustrations get us down, we cannot let them build up inside of us. It is extremely important to have someone to talk with about our concerns. Talk to your youth group. They might be dealing with the same problems. You also can share your pressures with your priest. The Sacrament of Confession is for repentance, but also for healing. Confession is an opportunity to discuss what’s going on in your life. One of the best communications we can have to help us through any issues is prayer! Make sure to keep an open line of communication to God. We can pray to God for protection, strength, and wisdom to make the right decisions. Picking up a prayer book and saying those words can calm our hearts and clear our minds to see the right thing to do.
For Parents and Youth Workers • SAVE THE DATE: The Orthodox Camping Conference and Youth Worker Conference will be held January 22-24, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Visit www. orthodoxcamps.org for updates and more information. • YOUNG ADULT SURVEY: Check out the results and analysis of the Young Adult Survey by visiting http://www.goarch.org/en/archdiocese/departments/ youth/youthresults.asp. • JOIN THE YOUTH WORKER PULSE: Join the Youth Worker Pulse, the official ListServ of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Visit www. youth.goarch.org to sign up TODAY!!!
Peer pressure God in Culture