APRIL 2009 • Vol. 74 • No. 1248
Patriarchal PROCLAMATION On THE HOLY Pascha í Bartholomew
By the MERCY of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch To the PLENTITUDE of the Church Grace, Peace, and Mercy BY the SAVIOR CHRIST Risen in Glory Dearly beloved brothers, sisters and children in the Lord, Christ is Risen! In sullenness, one day in the 19th century, humankind heard from the lips of the tragic philosopher: “God is dead! We killed him! All of us are his murderers … God will remain dead! What else are the churches but tombs and graves of God?” And only a few decades later, we heard from the lips of his younger colleague: “Gentlemen, I declare to you the death of God!” These declarations of atheist philosophers shook the conscience of people. Much confusion ensued in the field of the spirit and of literature, of art and sometimes even of Theology, where, especially in the West, there was debate even about a “Theology of the death of God.” Of course, the Church never had the slightest doubt that God had died. This occurred in 33 AD, on the hill of Golgotha in Jerusalem, in the reign of Pontius Pilate the Roman governor of Judaea. After suffering an unspeakable passion, He was crucified as a criminal and, at about the ninth hour of the Preparation of the Passover, He said: “It is accomplished!” and surrendered His spirit. This is an unquestionable historical reality. The Only-begotten Son and Word of God, Jesus Christ, the true God, died for our sake. After assuming everything that we have: body, soul, will, energy, toil, agony, pain, sorrow, joy, all things except sin, he finally assumed our greatest concern, namely death – indeed, in its most cruel and humiliating expres-
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A RCHDIOCESE N E WS
Remarks by President, Vice President and Archbishop at East Room Gathering Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the comments of Vice President Joseph Biden, Archbishop Demetrios and President Barack Obama at the East Room ceremony on March 25 commemorating Greek Independence Day.
have a conversation, Your Eminence. He came to Harvard, which as a University of Delaware graduate I will not hold against him – (laughter) – because there's so many Harvard guys in the room. (laughter) But he came to Harvard in the 1960s, and has contributed greatly to the growth of our two nations for decades now. In his Archbishop enthronement address 10 years ago, he said of America, “Here, a remarkably wide field of truly great work is open to us.” Well, he has entered that wide world, he has entered that field, and he has continued to open himself up to the truly great work ever since. And he's shared what he's learned with so many of us, both personally and publicly. I speak in behalf of every American, Greek or otherwise, who cares about the union we share when I say that, Archbishop, we are truly lucky to have you here. And I feel and the President feels fortunate to be able to call you a friend, as well as a leading leader of one of the great faiths in the world. Your endless curiosity, your thirst for knowledge only serve to make all of us stronger. If that old Greek saying is true that curiosity is the beginning of wisdom, well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce one very wise man: His Eminence, the Archbishop Demetrios. (applause) ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS: Thank you so much, Mr. Vice President, for your very kind introduction. Mr. President, on behalf of the Greek American Orthodox community of this blessed land, I have the great honor to wholeheartedly congratulate you on your historic ascendance to the presidency of the United States. In addition to our warmest congratulations to you and to the first lady, you have our fervent prayers and support as you proceed with the awesome task of leading our nation in accomplishing its great mission in our troubled world. You also have our deepest thanks for kindly and personally inviting us to the White House for this commemoration of Greek Independence Day – a presidential – a truly presidential celebration of Greek
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, Your Eminence, as some of my good friends sitting and standing in front of me here said, I'm an honorary Greek not only today – not only today, but every day. It's great to be with you all. And it's great to be commemorating such an important day, quite frankly, not just for Greece, but for America, as well. The great Greek fabulist Aesop once wrote: “In union there is strength.” Today, both literally and figuratively, we stand together – a union forged throughout our history, and a strength that grows each and every day. It’s a strength stemming from, quite frankly, the very core of our existence. When I say I'm Greek every day, it's not merely because my first election the Greek community elected me. But the truth of the matter is that Greece in America – Greece and America share common values, common goals, a common philosophical tradition going back to the great scholars of ancient Greece. And it was once said that except for the blind forces of nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in origin. Nothing moves in this world that is not Greek in origin. And I, for one, am very proud to move in this world with those origins as part of our country's tradition, and as part of my tradition and the President’s. And I'm even prouder to introduce the Archbishop. The Archbishop and I go back a little bit. We've met a number of times, and I was – he was kind enough to have me at his residence. And the Archbishop knows that, at a very deep level, our countries come from the same historical DNA, and that he sets out each and every day not just to enrich his history and the history of Greek and Greek Orthodoxy, not just to educate, but this is a man who impresses me because he is always – always, always – seeking knowledge; always seeking to learn something new. It always amazes me every time we
President Obama welcomes the Metropolitan Youth Choir members as His Eminence looks on.
EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis
In 2009, published bi–monthly except for March and April by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Editorial and Business Office: 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075 TEL.: (212) 570–3555 FAX (212) 774–0239
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President Obama acknowledges a guest at the East Room ceremony, where he spoke to the audience along with Vice President Joe Biden and Archbishop Demetrios.
and American democracy. It was on this day, the 25th of March, in the year 1821, that the Greek people, after suffering for nearly 400 years of tyrannical occupation, stood up, a David against a Goliath, and declared their independence. They fought with astonishing bravery and against all odds, and established the free, modern Greek nation among the free nations of the Earth, bringing democracy once again to its very birthplace. Today, as we offer tribute to the heroes who, with the help of God, produced the miracle of March 25, 1821, we honor them in this unique place which constitutes a preeminent symbol of freedom and peace, justice and democracy, life and abundance of life – to use the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. In this spirit, and in full awareness of the tremendous power, both personal and institutional, over the President of the United States, we feel, and we feel it completely and freely, that we can kindly ask you for your special assistance – an assistance in resolving chronic injustices related to issues of religious freedom, human rights, peaceful coexistence, democratic rule of law, and the pursuit of happiness. I am specifically referring – and allow me to do that – to the following three cases: First, the case of the religious freedom of our Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. This means the free and unfettered exercise of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's purely spiritual mission of leading the Orthodox Christians' world of over a quarter of a billion people; furthermore, his possibility to proceed freely and effectively in his pioneering work for the environment and in his passionate promotion of inter– religious and inter–cultural dialogue. Second, the case of the well–known issue of the Republic of Cyprus; and third, the case of the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We are confident, Mr. President,
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that you, following the brilliant example of Alexander the Great, you will be able to – (laughter and applause) – that you will be able to cut the Gordian Knot of these unresolved issues, and by so doing, enhance peace and reconciliation among the peoples included and involved. The history of unbreakable ties and sincere friendship between the United States and Greece is well known, but there is a special connection prior to 1821. I speak of the famous Barbary War in Tripoli, Libya, North Africa, that involved the newly established Marine Corps in April 1805, a detachment under the command of Lieutenant O'Bannon, consisting of six American Marines, a company of 24 commoners, and another 26 Greeks with their own proper officers engaged the enemy. Seven of these Greeks fell in that battle on African soil, under the Marines and in defense of the American flag in 1805. Mr. President, I offer to you a memorabilia from this event – it's a copy from the Archives of the Marines, including the names – most of the names of the Greeks engaged in this war. That's for you. THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (applause) ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS: I should like – as I do that, I should like in closing, to call to mind that when Greece, a few years later, rose up in 1821, that was in part inspired by the declaration of the American Revolution of independence in 1776. This comes as no surprise as the love of freedom and democracy forges a bond among peoples that knows no boundaries of race, creed, ethnic origin, language or distance. And it also is no surprise that when the war of 1821 began, there were Americans of the time, the Philhellenes who traveled around the land, across land and sea, to help restore democracy in its native land – Greece. As you continue to lead our blessed United States, the world's greatest democracy,
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President Obama Welcomes Archbishop Demetrios by Stavros H. Papagermanos
WASHINGTON – It was a very warm and festive celebration of Greek Independence Day at the White House, on March 25, commemorating the start of the Greek War for Independence of 1821 and celebrating the Greek and American Democracies. President Barack Obama welcomed Archbishop Demetrios first in private for a very cordial and open conversation joined by Vice-President Joe Biden. “I speak on behalf of every American, Greek or otherwise, who cares about the union we share when I say that, Archbishop, we are truly lucky to have you here. And I feel and the President feels fortunate to be able to call you a friend, as well as a leading leader of one of the great faiths in the world,” said Vice-President Biden, as for the first time in the history of this event, the Vice-President introduced the Archbishop to the audience. About 200 invited guests from the Greek-American Orthodox community, from the diplomatic corps and for the first time a good number of U.S. Congress members had gathered in the East Room. The Vice-President talked about the importance of the celebration and the union between the United States and Greece “… a union forged throughout history,” he said and highlighted the fact that “Greece and America share common values, common goals, a common philosophical tradition going back to the great scholars of ancient Greece.” Archbishop Demetrios, in taking the podium, thanked the Vice-President for the introduction and in addressing President Obama congratulated him on his election and thanked him for the “kind and personal” invitation to a “truly presidential celebration.” In his remarks the Archbishop paid tribute to those who fought and died for freedom and liberty during the Greek War of Independence of 1821, acknowledging the importance of doing this in the White House, a “unique place which constitutes a preeminent symbol of freedom and peace, justice and democracy…” Archbishop Demetrios asked the President’s special assistance “… in resolving chronic injustices related to issues of religious freedom, human rights, peaceful coexistence, democratic rule of law, and the pursuit of happiness,” naming three unresolved issues relating to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Cyprus and the name of FYROM. The Archbishop specifically noted the need for “the free and unfettered exercise of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s purely spiritual mission of leading the Orthodox Christians’ world of over a quarter of a billion people; furthermore, his possibility to proceed freely and
President Obama speaks privately with Archbishop Demetrios prior to the start of the ceremony in the East Room.
effectively in his pioneering work for the environment and in his passionate promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue.” “We are confident, Mr. President, that you, following the brilliant example of Alexander the Great, will be able to cut the Gordian Knot of these unresolved issues, and by so doing, enhance peace and reconciliation among the peoples included and involved,” said His Eminence and concluded with the following: “As you continue to lead our blessed United States, the world’s greatest democracy, please know, Mr. President that our fervent prayers are with you, our first lady Michelle, and your daughters Sasha and Malia. We thank you once again for the great honor of this noble celebration of March 25th 1821.” President Barack Obama, in his response, thanked the Archbishop for the favorable comparison to Alexander the Great and said it was a great honor to be with the Archbishop. “It is a great honor to be here with His Eminence as we mark the 10th an-
niversary since he became Archbishop. And it is a privilege to join all of you as we celebrate the contributions of Greece and those of Greek heritage to this country and to the world,” said the President and in making the case for the long and historic ties between the United States and Greece said: “Today, we commemorate the 188th anniversary of Greek independence – and we reaffirm a bond between our two nations born through struggle but also through shared ideals.” At the conclusion of the program President Obama and the Vice-President greeted many of the attendees and the reception continued in a festive atmosphere. The Archdiocesan Metropolitan Youth Choir performed for the second year at the White House event, songs related to the occasion. President Obama asked to see the children of the choir, greeted them warmly and was photographed with them. Among the guests were Minister of Justice Nikolaos Dendias who represented the Greek Government and the ambassadors of Greece and Cyprus.
Earlier in the morning of March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, Archbishop Demetrios presided at the Divine Liturgy in Washington’s St. Sophia Cathedral, followed by the service of Doxology. In the evening and following the White House event, the Archbishop attended a reception hosted by the Ambassador of Greece to the United States Alexandros Mallias at the Greek Embassy. Other Meetings On March 23, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton welcomed Archbishop Demetrios at the State Department, “as a good friend and an inspirational leader.” His Eminence said their meeting which lasted more than 45 minutes was “held in a cordial and sincere atmosphere.” That afternoon Archbishop Demetrios paid a visit to Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), and the next day he met with U.S. Senators Richard J. Durbin from Illinois and Robert Menendez from New Jersey. On March 24, His Eminence was the honored guest and speaker in a roundtable discussion hosted by The Brookings Institution.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extends a warm welcome to Archbishop Demetrios on his arrival to the State Department.
Archbishop Demetrios speaks with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House. Also present is Fr. Alex Karloutsos.
The Complex Demanding Action of ‘Gathering’
Since our 39th Clergy-Laity Congress last summer, we have been consistently and methodically devoting a series of reflections to analyzing various elements of its theme: “Gather My People to My Home.” In past reflections, we have explored whom we precisely mean when we speak of “God’s People.” We have reflected
by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America upon different and equally valid ways of understanding what it is that we reference when we speak of the Church as “God’s Home.” In building upon this foundation, we are now ready to devote our next few reflection pieces to the word “Gathering,” which is a central concept of our Congress’ theme, and perhaps, its most complex and demanding action. As this reflection is the first of many that will explore the concept of “Gathering,” its purpose is to identify the many issues associated with this term by assessing the tremendously diverse religious landscape of America, of which we as the Greek Orthodox Church in America are a vital part. In this way, we will have a greater understanding of how we might appreciate what it truly means to “Gather” God’s people to His Home. Let us begin with an important observation by noting that the term “Gather” is the only verb that is used in our theme. We should also note that this verb is used in the imperative mood. It is not simply a statement or a wish; rather, it is a call to action. Indeed it is properly understood as a command from the Lord that He issues to us on a continual basis as part of what it means for us to be faithful Orthodox Christians. In view of such a degree of importance, we must acknowledge that the issues that pertain to our work of gathering God’s people to His home are numerous and complex. We must also underscore the importance of our active and direct engagement with these issues and the people they concern, no matter how complicated the needs and circumstances of people may be. Among these issues associated with our task of “Gathering” the people of God, is the self-evident reality that in our contemporary society, different people stand in differing relationships to the Church. Here, it is helpful to illustrate a few examples. One such example is presented to us when we encounter our brother and sister Orthodox Christians who, for various reasons over the passing of time, may have lost what had once been for them a close connection to the Church. Another is presented when we encounter the so-called “unchurched,” by which we mean people who have never really identified themselves as affiliated with a Christian church or perhaps even with any religion at all. There are further, more dramatic examples of how different people stand in differing relationships to the Church. One such example presents itself to us when we encounter people who are honestly struggling with religious questions and with their quest for God. Another example is presented to us when we engage in conversations with others who, having arrived at their own conclusions, profess openly that they do not believe in God. Finally, we have examples of those who simply do not care about matters of faith, or, in some cases, who are even hostile to religion. These examples are by no means foreign to us. Indeed, most of us can readily call to mind many people whom we genuinely love as friends or even as family members as we reflect upon each of these above-mentioned examples. In reflections to follow, we will explore together more specific ways of how we might “Gather” the many people of God’s flock to His Home. In all cases, as we reflect upon the social realities which different people face, what is most important is that we continuously remember and affirm that God, out of His abundant love and great mercy, has created all people in His very image and likeness. Therefore, His Home is open to all people, regardless of any previously mentioned “human” categories of distinction. Therefore, let us begin our approach to the “Gathering” of others to God’s Home with a prayerful disposition. In “Gathering,” let us heed the words of the Lord by refraining from casting judgment on others, and let us go forth to share abundantly with all the joyful message of His unconditional welcome, and the peace and the love of Jesus Christ that is within our hearts.
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Seminarians with Archbishop Demetrios at Archdiocese headquarters.
Holy Cross SeminariansVisitArchdiocese Holy Cross School of Theology seniors made their annual visit to Archdiocese headquarters for an orientation on the Church’s organization and role of its ministries from April 1-3. The previous day, March 30, the seminarians visited St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. At the Archdiocese, the students heard presentations from several departments including the Chancellor’s Office, Internet Ministries, Administration and Finance, Communications, SCOBA and Ecumenical Relations, Greek Education, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism, Church and Society, the Archives, the National Philoptochos, Philanthropy and Marriage and Family. The 21 students also met with Archbishop Demetrios and took a tour of Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral, and visited St. Nicholas Church in Flushing, Annunciation Church in Manhattan, St.
Michael’s Home, St. Basil Academy and the Center for Family Care in Garrison, N.Y. Other briefings included the Faith Endowment, and Leadership 100. Seminarians and their hometowns included: Deacon Philemon Patitsas, Brookline, Mass,; Sokratis Dimitriadis, Washington D.C.; Aristidis Garinis, Chicago; Elizabeth Nichols, Memphis, Tenn.; Vasilios Louros, Long Island, N.Y.; Panagiotis Gikas, Chicago; Deacon Thomas Guerry, Savannah, Ga. ; George Scarmoutsos, Lynn, Mass.; Christos Kostouros, Schererville, Ind.; Andrew Aliferakis, Crown Point, Ind.; Deacon Jason Roll, Portland, Oregon; Christopher Peter Xanthos, Dix Hills, N.Y.; George Lamberis, Chicago; Nindy Brand, Chappaqua, N.Y.; Allan Boyd, Scottsdale, Ariz., Andrew Lentz, Cleveland; Nebojsa Pantic, Gurnee, Ill ; Christos Kanakis, Millben, Calif. Priscilla Callos, Cleveland; Georgios Livaditis, Corpus Christi, Texas; Theodoros Putsis, Konitsis, Greece.
Bishop Savas of Troas offers a presentation on the Department of Church and Society.
Fr. Sebastian Skordallos, chief secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod, briefs the students in the library near the Synod meeting room.
The Standing Conference
of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas
Holy Pascha: The Feast of Feasts Faith is the substance of things hoped for, The evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) 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,
Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ανέστη!
From the left: OCMC Board President Emeritus Fr. Alexander Veronis; OCMC Board President Clifford Argue; and OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi at the groundbreaking of the missionary training and administration building.
Missionary Training & Administration Building Set for Dedication by Alex Goodwin
ST. AUGUSTINE – The international mission efforts of North American Orthodox Churches began in 1962 with members of the Lenten Self-Denial Club (LSDC) of Annunciation Church in Lancaster, Pa., which was under the pastoral care of Fr. Alexander Veronis. They used the money saved by forgoing meals to send religious materials and support to newly planted Orthodox communities in Uganda, Mexico, and Korea. With the blessings of Archbishop Iakovos and Bishop Silas, Fr. Veronis expanded the LSDC to other communities, and in 1966 the Greek Orthodox Clergy-Laity Congress established the Archdiocesan Foreign Missions Committee. By 1984, the Committee had become the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Mission Center, with Fr. (now Bishop) Dimitrios Couchell as the first executive director. What was once a program of the Archdiocese is now the inter-jurisdictionally supported Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). After 40 years of a continually growing base of prayer and sacrificial support, the missions movement of the Church in North America will see the completion of the new Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building – the
first permanent structure built cooperatively by the canonical Orthodox Churches in the Americas. Dedication ceremonies for the new building, led by the two honorees, will be held on May 21. This new facility’s placement in St. Augustine is appropriate both historically and developmentally. It was in St. Augustine that the St. Photios Shrine was established to remember America’s earliest Greek settlers. Named after the Patriarch credited with sending two of Orthodoxy’s most prolific missionaries to the Slavs (Sts. Cyril and Methodios), the Shrine was also home to the Archdiocesan Mission Center in the 1980s. Later, the Center moved into an old house which was appropriately named “The Fr. Alexander Veronis Mission Center.” St. Augustine would remain home to the Church’s mission efforts even after the Archdiocesan Mission Center became the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, the official missions agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), in 1994. At that time, the board of directors was expanded to include representatives of all of the SCOBA jurisdictions. From its home in St. Augustine, the
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Announces New Director Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), announces the appointment by the Board of Directors of its first full–time executive director, Chaplain Patrick Tutella. Chaplain Tutella, who has been in prison ministry for 30 years, is a member of the St. Matthew parish (GOA) in Blandon, Pa. For the past 12 years, he has been the supervisory chaplain for the Berks County Prison in Leesport, Pa. At a board meeting which took place in Wichita, Kansas, Feb. 6–7, Chaplain Tutella and the directors charted a strategic plan for the next 12 months that includes the following key components: 1) development of a
training program for parishes that would like to be involved in prison ministry, 2) the expansion of OCPM’s correspondence ministry, and 3) a convocation for Orthodox prison workers and volunteers to be held in the summer of 2009. OCPM brings the light of Christ to those who are in prison in North America by providing encouragement, material support, transition and reintegration services, Christian education, spiritual guidance and the sacramental life of the Church to prisoners and their families. OCPM is a tax–exempt, 501–c–3 not– for–profit organization incorporated in the state of California. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 468, Fleetwood, PA, 19522–0468, and are tax–deductible.
On this great and glorious Feast of our Holy Orthodox Church, I greet you in the abundant joy of our Risen Lord and in the peace of His unchanging promise of salvation and true life. As we gather at night anticipating the dawning of the new day, our churches, our homes, and most certainly our souls are filled with the radiance of the Resurrection and the illuminating Truth of our faith in Christ. The Biblical record is replete with several accounts of the appearances of Christ to His disciples after His triumphant Resurrection from the dead. The Gospel of John (20:19-29) presents us with two such appearances of the Risen Christ to His apostles in the upper room, where they frequently gathered. In the first of these appearances, the Risen Christ showed His apostles His hands and His side, the scars of the physical agony which He endured on the Cross unto death. His presence before them was a visible sign of His Resurrection from the dead. At this first appearance of the Risen Christ in the upper room, however, the Apostle Thomas was not present. Hearing of this encounter from the other apostles, Thomas had clearly stated that he would not believe that Christ had risen from the dead unless he saw Christ and touched His wounds. Eight days later, Christ made a second appearance to His apostles in the upper room. This time, Thomas was present, and he was able to see the prints of the nails and spear in the flesh of the body of the Risen Christ. Thomas recognized the Risen Christ with the following, unique exclamation of his belief: My Lord and my God! (John 20:28) To this, Christ replied to Thomas, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. (John 20:29) Thomas needed to see in order to believe, and Thomas’ struggle with his doubt and his faith is a very human one indeed. Today, we profess our belief in the Risen Christ nearly 2,000 years after the appearances of the Risen Christ to His apostles. We do this within a society that is removed historically by the passage of time since these Divine appearances. For this reason, we can rejoice in our belief in the Risen Christ because we know the beatitude pronounced by Christ which tells us that we are blessed because we are among those who have not seen and yet believe (v.29). On this day of Pascha, we gather to celebrate this continued and real presence of Christ in our midst, Whose Resurrection from the dead is at the very core of our Christian faith. Christ’s authentic presence is experienced by each and every one of us in many ways, such as when we gather together in His name for prayer, or when we hear His Holy Gospel. However, His presence is made manifest in the most superb way when we partake of His very real body and blood in the most blessed sacrament of Holy Communion, through the physical elements of bread and wine. This is why we give thanks to the Lord when we partake of the Holy Communion by acknowledging that we have “received the divine, holy, pure, immortal, life-giving and awesome Mysteries of Christ,” to quote the words of the Divine Liturgy. Thus, paradoxically, while we did not “see” the Risen Christ in the same way in which His apostles did, we nonetheless do “see” Him and experience Him in a total and complete way, just as His apostles. It is here where we are presented with the element of Divine Mystery that is a distinguishing characteristic of our Orthodox Christian faith. It is in this most blessed experience of our receiving the Holy Communion that we are given the ability to see and experience that which Thomas needed to see 2,000 years ago in order for him to believe. It is in this Divine Mystery of Holy Communion that we experience the Risen Christ, that we receive the Son of God physically into our bodies and spiritually within our lives, and that we are continuously renewed by His healing power. My beloved Christians, On this Holy Feast of Pascha, as we fill our churches and our hearts with the light and joy of the Resurrection, let us joyfully profess our belief in the Risen Lord, Who is in our midst. Through faith and our partaking of His body and blood in the Divine Mystery of Holy Communion, let us receive His love and affirm the assurance of His blessings upon us. Let us proclaim to a world in need that we are people of the Resurrection, that we are people of hope and salvation, and that we are people of faith. And let us invite all to come into the loving embrace of the living Lord Who is Risen and to see Him, experience Him, and find everlasting joy and peace in Him, Who has vanquished the power of death so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Once again we joyfully proclaim:
Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Truly He is Risen! Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη! With paternal blessings in the Risen Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
May the Love, Peace and Joy of the Resurrection live in our hearts now and forever more.
Christos Anesti! Stephen G. Yeonas, Chairman Constantine G. Caras, Vice Chairman, George E. Safiol, Treasurer Kassandra Romas, Secretary Paulette Poulos, Executive Director (Interim) Advancing Orthodoxy and Hellenism in America
The Voice of Philoptochos President’s Paschal Message To the National Board, Chapter Presidents and Members of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, At midnight on Holy Saturday we will celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with our families and loved ones. We will be invited to “Come and receive the Light.” We will accept the light of the Lord as it reflects upon our faces the warmth that emanates from the love of God. The light will radiate among the faithful in the Churches where we triumphantly declare the Lord’s victory over death. “Christ is Risen from the dead. By death He has trampled upon death and bestowed life to those in the tombs!” The Resurrection provides us with the hope that indeed we will live forever, the very same hope which Saint Paul addresses in his letter to the Thessalonians (I:3.13): “We do not grieve like those who have no hope.” We have the opportunity to assess our actions, to modify our behavior and to aspire to a Christ-like existence. Each one of us is cognizant how to best respond to the love of God in order that we are offered everlasting life. The Great and Holy Lenten period provides us with a most sacred opportunity for deep prayer, forgiveness, reflection, fasting, retreat and charitable acts. The women of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society actively and consistently offer to those less fortunate. However, more than ever, this is a time for each of us to affirm our relationship with our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, to strengthen our bond with one another through love and to renew our commitment of agape and compassion with those in need. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, along with other women, was the first to discover the empty tomb of our Lord. “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and other certain women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” (Luke 24:1-3) Their willingness to approach the tomb in the midst of great sadness and danger is an indication that they possessed incredibly strong faith in Jesus. This serves as a powerful message to us. We believe there is good reason why women were the first to witness the Resurrection. The women of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society also are first for many reasons. With their deep faith they offer love and compassion through fulfillment of their philanthropic mission. They freely offer their agape and grace through charitable acts and illuminate the beneficiaries by providing hope and relevance. They improve the quality of life for so many by offering nourishment to the hungry, medical assistance to the infirmed, shelter to the homeless, schooling to the less educated, and most importantly, friendship to the lonely. The women of the Society do so much more as they are fearless and faithful as were the women at the tomb of the Lord. The Lord has blessed each of us with many gifts and it is our responsibility to demonstrate our appreciation by example. The compassionate women of the Society are believers and doers living the Resurrection and practicing their Orthodoxy through love. Let us all realize our combined strength when we unite in serving our Lord through the mission of Philoptochos. As the myrrh bearing women went so zealously to anoint the precious body of our Lord despite the great risk so many years ago, we too must continue to anoint the body of the Lord through our love for all humanity. With love and admiration in the Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Kali Anastasi! Aphrodite Skeadas
Partnering to Support OCF Trip to the Patriarchate The National Philoptochos Society joined the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to support the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Real Break trip to Constantinople held March 14-21. Bishop Savas, director of Church and Society for the Archdiocese, led the group of 22 OCF college students, assisted by Fr. Mark Leondis, National Youth director and Fr. Christopher Metropulos, director of the Orthodox Christian Network. The students received the blessings of Patriarch Bartholomew and participated in the refurbishing of the St. Kyriakos Church and the Patriarchal Cemetery of Erikapi which borders the Land Walls close to the Vlachernae Palace. Bishop Savas stated, “Laboring to bring order to a sacred space in disrepair has spiritual as well as physical consequences.” Fr. Kevin Sherer, OCF executive director, stated that OCF is
HOLY CROSS CHAPEL
Philoptochos Gives Ongoing Support to HC/HC The National Philoptochos Hellenic College/Holy Cross Spring Lenten Appeal offers chapters the opportunity to become ambassadors in their parish and community for the beloved Scholi. President Aphrodite Skeadas, along with committee Chairman Diane Miminos and Co-Chairs Yiota Simoglou and Daphne Zaralides, urge chapters to continue their support. “We greet you with agape as we continue the pilgrimage of Holy and Great Lent. For the faithful members of our Society, and for all Orthodox Christians, this is a time for prayer, forgiveness, reflection, fasting and charitable acts. It is an opportunity to affirm our relationship with the Lord, to strengthen our bond with one another, and to renew our commitment of love and compassion to those in need. “How engaging and comforting is this hymn from the feast of the Veneration of our Lord’s Cross. Before Thy Cross we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify” “We, the devoted members of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society have a strong philanthropic history and an enormous responsibility to continue
our mission: To preserve and perpetuate Orthodox Christian concepts and the Orthodox Christian Family, and through them, to promote the Greek Orthodox Faith and traditions, in accordance with its doctrines, canons, discipline, divine worship, usages and customs. “We address that responsibility with grace by supporting our beloved Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology. We have clearly demonstrated our dedication to this institution of higher learning and we continue to be committed to its successful future. The Hellenic College Holy Cross Lenten Event funds raised each year by our Chapters are for the essential upkeep and maintenance of our beloved Scholi. “In recent years, the generosity of our Philoptochos Chapters has provided the necessary funds for new carpeting, desk chairs, perimeter security fencing, a handicapped accessible bathroom in the Chapel, computer lab and new website server. This year, with your assistance, it is our hope to be able to provide new tables and chairs for the cafeteria that are very much in need of replacement.”
“HIT THE STREETS” Nationwide HIV/AIDS Walkathon National Philoptochos Chapters nationwide are preparing to “Hit the Streets” in the inaugural Nationwide HIV/AIDS 5 K Walkathon being organized by Philoptochos chapters in May 2009. Chapters are partnering with their parish, other Orthodox parishes and com-
munity groups to hold their Walkathon or are holding events to raise funds. Information and forms for the HIV/ AIDS WALKATHON may be found on www.philoptochos.org Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
WEBSITE ALERT! honored to assist Patriarch Bartholomew to restore and maintain the parishes of the ancient see. This Real Break trip provides students with a transformative perspective into the struggles of the Church. The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate co-sponsored this project with OCF, to underwrite the materials and supplies. National Philoptochos provides special funding for media coverage of this Real Break trip with the OCN.
CHECK NATIONAL PHILOPTOCHOS WEBSITE www.philoptochos.org OR LATEST NEWS AND RESOURCES LEFT SIDE BAR Chapter President’s Alert with current information for all Philoptochos Presidents, members and interested readers. HOME PAGE Highlights of latest events direct readers to detailed stories TABS Across the top of the Home Page to learn more about Philoptochos.
NEWS AND EVENTS TAB Copies of all correspondence to the Chapters and other news items. NATIONAL PRESIDENT TAB Messages of National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas.. RESOURCES TAB Review and use Philoptochos Chapter forms. Questions may be directed to the National Philoptochos Office at email@example.com
Commentaries and Opinions
TALES FROM THE STOLÉ Over–Serious Religionists by Fr. John S. Bakas
I was filling up my gas tank at a station near our St. Sophia Cathedral the other day, pleased at the price of gas coming down, when a shrill sound pierced the existing cacophony of the traffic. A Christian “evangelist” standing on a milk crate and using a battery powered megaphone was shouting from the opposite corner about the end of the world, the eminent Second Coming of Jesus and the horrible destruction and catastrophe that would afflict all who were “not saved.” He was perspiring profusely, screaming at the top of his hoarse voice like a desperate politician. He was waving a large Bible as though he was swatting flies. No one paid much attention to him. Some going by and shaking their heads. A young man pumping gas next to me, seeing my clerical collar smiled and said: “That’s why I’m not a Christian. It’s guys like that whether on the street corner or on Christian television that really turn me off, with their theatrics, their down, dark, pessimistic B*#% S#%!. All doom and gloom. It’s so pathetic. On the one hand they’re preaching health, wealth, and success or they’re sending someone to the pit of hell.” I didn’t challenge him. I just smiled and tried to say something humorous. “Right now, I’m just trying to find salvation from the traffic jams that plague our congested neighborhood,” I responded. Driving away, I thought about the uptight doom and gloom “corner evangelist” and the young man turned off to
any rational message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by these shenanigans. It is often true that many Christians regardless of denomination seem dour, gloomy and overly serious about life; seeing the devil in every nook and cranny. For them the weight of the salvation of the world is upon their shoulders. I’ve heard some Christians say: “I have a burden for the salvation and conversion of our country.” It is as though they are personally responsible for the process and outcome. It seems for them Christian life is like sucking on an overly ripe pickle…a sour and joyless experience. There is plenty of doom and gloom in life without making God the center of it. In reality, true Christianity should reflect life–changing joy. The Gospel of St. John 10:10 quotes Jesus as saying: “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” Continuing in the same spirit, the Lord says in the same gospel chapter 5:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” The great King Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven; A time to be born and a time to die: a time to plant, a time to pluck up that which is planted: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” As winter has turned into spring, many of us reflect on the passing of time. Some have suffered the loss of
The Building is Yours! by Fr. Al Demos
There comes a point in life when you decide to go to church simply because you want to do so. You walk into the church building. You admire the strong structure, the beautiful Icons and furnishings. You hear the prayers of the priest, the chanter, and the choir, while several people are serving there whose aim is to help you in addressing any needs and concerns you may have. The amazing fact is that this is all free – no charge other than a free–will offering. This is different than going into a museum, a concert, a theatre or a movie that all have a specified entrance fee. In the latter examples, we go to be entertained. But while in church we go to participate and receive God’s blessings. How wonderful it was of our forefathers to make such sterling sacrifices in order to build so many of these magnificent older structures that we have found ready made for our worship. We didn’t have to sacrifice. We didn’t have to give generous donations for years as the Church was built. Many of our forefathers came to this country and struggled for years, giving 10 percent and 15 percent of their pay to help establish the Church in America. Some who owned homes took out a second mortgage in providing
monies for the church to be built. Yet, there the building stands, and I can walk in without contributing a nickel…and it’s mine! But as I think on the history of the establishment of the Church I wonder what would have happened if my forefathers thought as I do. I imagine that there would be only a few churches if no one decided to sacrifice. So, as I find the Church ready made for me, with an educated clergy and dedicated lay people, with services and outreach programs, I feel that somehow I am not doing my part. How can I expect to just walk in, give a small donation and do justice to all the sacrifices that were made by others in providing me with this opportunity to worship Almighty God in such a beautiful Church? As I think on these things I realize that our forefathers were not concerned with themselves but with their children, grandchildren and great–grandchildren… they cared about me! And if they cared about you and me, then don’t we also have to be concerned about the children, grandchildren and great–grandchildren who follow us 10 ,20, 50 and 100 years from now? We are Orthodox. Will they be
On THE HOLY Pascha í Bartholomew
By the MERCY of God, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch To the PLENTITUDE of the Church Grace, Peace, and Mercy BY THE SAVIOR CHRIST RISEN IN GLORY page 1 sion, namely on the Cross. To this point, we are in agreement with the philosophers. We would even accept that the churches, the temples, are “the tombs and graves of God.” Nevertheless … we recognize, experience and worship this God who has died, as “a most life-giving dead.” Only moments after that awful Preparation, in the morning watch of “the first of the Sabbath,” on the day of the Lord, what occurred was the reason for which the divine economy of the flesh and passion and cross and descent into Hades took place. The Resurrection! And this Resurrection is an equally unquestionable historical reality! This reality has immediate and salvific consequences for all of us. The Son of God, who is at the same time the Son of Man, was risen. God was resurrected together with all of humanity that He assumed: in the Body that He received from the pure blood of the Most Holy Theotokos as well as in His sacred soul. He was risen from the dead, “resurrecting the whole of Adam in His loving-kindness.” Christ’s grave, the “empty tomb” of Joseph, is forever empty. Instead of being a grave for the dead, it is a memorial of victory over death; it is a fountain of life! The spiritual Sun of Righteousness has dawned “beautiful, as from a grave,” granting the unwaning light, peace, joy, gladness, and eternal life. It is true that the temples were the “tombs” of God, but they were empty tombs, filled with light and replete with “the fragrance of life” and the smell of Paschal spring, brilliant, splendid, adorned in glory and with life-giving flowers of tangible hope. The death of God overturned the powers of Hades; death itself was reduced to nothing more than a mere incident introducing humanity from death to Life. The Churches, those “tombs of God,” are the wide-open gates of divine love, the opened entrance to the Bridal chamber of God’s Son, who “came out of the tomb as from a Bridegroom,” while we faithful enter therein and “celebrate the death of death, the annihilation of Hades, the beginning of a new, eternal way of life; and, thus rejoicing, we offer hymns to the cause, namely the only blessed and glorious God of our fathers.” It is fortunate, then, that God died because His death became the source of our life and resurrection. It is fortunate that there are so many of His “tombs”
throughout the world, so many sacred temples, where each of can freely enter when we are in pain, tired, and in need of consolation in order lay before God the burden of our suffering, agony, fear and insecurity – namely, in order to become rid of our death. It is fortunate that we have Churches of the crucified, dead, risen and living Christ, where before the hopelessness of our time, the betrayal of all idols, the “lowly gods” that have stolen our hearts, such as the economy, the ideology, the philosophy, the metaphysics and all those “empty deceits” of our “age of deception,” we can find refuge, comfort and salvation. From the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Mother Church, which experiences to the utmost the Passion, Pain, Cross, and Death, as well as the Resurrection of Christ, we extend to all the faithful of the Church our wholehearted Paschal greeting and blessing, together with the embrace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was risen from the dead and lives eternally, granting life to all people. To Him be glory, might, honor and worship, with the Father and Holy Spirit, to the ages. Amen.
Holy Pascha, A.D. 2009 Fervent supplicant for all before the Lord
í Bartholomew of Constantinople
Timely Discussions MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON: on a Wing and a Prayer by Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos
“The Lord is like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions.” Deuteronomy 32:11 “It is a Miracle!” This is how media pundits, politicians and most Americans first characterized the airline crash that occurred on a cold January afternoon in Manhattan. News reports of the incident, complete with amateur photographs, video and eyewitness accounts filled television, the Internet, and radio airwaves. According to the government’s official report, US Airways flight 1549 lost power after departing from LaGuardia Airport when a flock of geese flew into its engines. The pilot, Chesney “Sully” Sullenberger, amazingly glided the airplane over the George Washington Bridge and safely ditched it in the Hudson River. All 155 passengers and crew were safely rescued before the plane slowly began to sink into the frigid waters. Underscoring the unprecedented nature of the remarkable landing, the copilot turned to Sullenberger and remarked, “You know Sully, no one has ever had a successful ditch like this before . . . you pulled it off!” The photograph of the floating plane with its passengers standing on its wings was published on the top front folds of newspapers and magazines throughout the globe with the caption: “Miracle on the Hudson!” Sadly, yet not surprisingly, it was not long for the story’s punctuation to change from explanation point to that of question mark. As the novelty of the extraordinary event began to wane, airplane manufacturers, pilots, sailors, meteorologists, and, curiously, unconvinced theologians all began to offer alternative explanations. Was it a miracle? Or was the astonishing landing merely the result of favorable, yet random factors, that all coalesced behind the calm, focused leadership and expertise of a veteran fighter pilot with small glider plane experience? Did society observe the “Hand of God” or was the safe landing and subsequent evacuation of the passengers due to the pilot, flight crew, the masterful engineering of the aircraft, and to the boats and barges that just happened to be nearby? After seriously taking into account all of the “human” factors and serendipitous circumstances, something inside of us, and primarily in the hearts and minds of the passengers, distinguishes another “Force” at work . . . something greater than mere chance, skill or circumstance . . . something Divine! Most significantly, when interviewed, all the passengers acknowledged, that “everyone was praying” during those stressful moments when they thought the plane was going to crash! The incident on the Hudson raises numerous questions concerning the reality of miracles. Do we believe in them or not? Was God really involved with Flight 1549? Does our contemporary society still believe in miracles or has the miraculous, at best, been confined to the pages of the Bible and the biographies of the saints? Are miracles merely fables for children
and not for the more mature, sophisticated mind? To believe in miracles is to acknowledge that God is, has always been, and is still very much involved in the affairs of His creation! Orthodox Christianity rejects the notion of an exiled or absent God who created the cosmos and then stood back to watch from a safe distance. The intricate theology that explains why Orthodoxy chose the dome instead of the steeple as the architectural structure of every Church sanctuary emphasizes the importance of God’s nearness. He is not exiled in heaven but is here lovingly present. In general, the miracles as outlined in the Holy Scriptures, and, in particular, the account of the healing of the Ten Lepers (St. Luke), all bear witness to this nearness of God and to His continual and intimate involvement with the affairs of humanity. When reflecting upon the miracle stories that he provides in his Gospel, it is important to remember that apart from being an evangelist, St. Luke was also a medical doctor. Consequently, he is an expert witness for the extraordinary nature of the miraculous. Standing at a distance, due to prescribed Levitical requirements, Luke informs us that 10 lepers once requested Jesus’ assistance. “Have mercy on us!” they cried. Jesus’ directive is significantly instructive. “Go,” He commands, “show yourselves to the priests.” (Luke 17:14). The evangelist insists that the 10 lepers were cleansed en route, “as they were on their way.” Tragically, only one of the 10 returned to give thanks. The miracle account concludes with two complementary questions posed by Jesus, “Were not all of you healed? Where are the other nine?” Contemporary denials of the miraculous are often in league with the nine unappreciative lepers in St. Luke’s Gospel story. Like the lepers, we are, at best, often unaware of Jesus’ miraculous interventions, believing that life’s positive outcomes are merely the result of medicine, technology or some other understandable explanation. At worse, however, we are hesitant and often resistant to offer gratitude to God when we experience miraculous events because of the consequences of just what such an acknowledgement may personally involve. Chapter 32 of the Book of Deuteronomy describes God as an eagle that “hovers over His young” and “spreads out His wings to catch and carry them to safety on His mighty pinions” (Deut. 32:11). I believe that we all experienced this very action on the Hudson. It could have happened anywhere around the world. But it did not. It occurred on the worldwide stage of New York . . . during rush hour traffic . . . miles of commuters lining the river’s edge like invited guests to a Broadway theater. Suddenly, a plane without engines glides over the George Washington Bridge . . . landing safely on the waters of the Hudson River on one of the coldest of northeast winter days. Private and public water vessels were ready to provide assistance. No one was seriously hurt. The passengers standing on the wings of the plane like the wings of God! Are you kidding . . . not a miracle? The real question is: where are the other nine?
Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ
Christ is Risen by Lia Lewis, M.Div.
A new day has dawned: The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let us respond in kind: Truly He is Risen. This universal proclamation is for all of us regardless of who and you are or what is happening to you. This simple statement is a message of hope like no other message I’ve encountered. This message fills my heart and soul with such joy and such love that I accomplish impossible through God. I see Christ in everyone who is friend, family and perceived foe (at least I try with my foes even though Yoda says “...there is no try”). Christ is Risen is universal code for “I love you” to your loved ones and “please
forgive me” to those who have harmed you deliberately or not. It is the knowledge of Christ’s willingness to be Crucified for us that carries us through each day. It is our rallying cry through these difficult times (personal and/or economic). We are given hope and triumph over adversity in a fallen world that tempts us towards the “dark side.” Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen. Proclaim this joyous cry to the heavens and to the fallen world for “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down, death by death, and to those in the tombs, granting life!” Lia Lewis is a graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology. She lives and works and writes in New Jersey.
Fordham Professor Speaks at Archons’ Symposium BROOMALL, Pa – The newly constructed Education and Cultural Center of the St. Luke Church, was the setting on March 7th for the inaugural symposium presented in the Philadelphia region by the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, along with several national council members, Archons, and Orthodox faithful from throughout the Greater Delaware Valley attended the symposium, titled, The Ecumenical Patriarchate: A Church
in Captivity and the Religious Freedom Crisis in Turkey. The two-part program began with Fordham University Professor George E. Demacopoulos, Ph.D., whose expertise is Catholic-Orthodox relations between the 5th and 14th centuries, presenting a chronological and ecclesiological overview of why the Ecumenical Patriarchate is so important not only to Eastern Orthodoxy but to the entire Christian world. This historical perspective segued to the second half of the Symposium, the present situation at the Phanar.
National YAL Pilgrimage to Russia GARRISON, N.Y. – The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries is sponsoring the National Young Adult Pilgrimage to Russia, April 24-May 2. Young adults from across the country will experience a unique spiritual and educational journey as they will visit the historic cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg on a pilgrimage of faith. The trip begins in Moscow, the heartland of former Imperial Russia. Participants will visit St. Basil’s Cathedral in the heart of Red Square, the Kremlin, and the Armory, which houses Russian national treasures,
Faberge eggs, carriages, and jewelry. In addition to a sightseeing tour of the city, young adults will visit the Andrey Rublev Central Museum of Ancient Russian culture and art, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and the Zagorsk Monastery, founded in the 14th century. The trip will continue to St. Petersburg, the most European of all Russian cities, today one of the most important cultural, scientific, and industrial cities in Russia. Young adults also will visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral which contains the fourth highest domed construction in the world.
The Symbol of Our Faith: The Nicene Creed by George L. Parsenios, PhD
The Creed that we recite each Sunday is a summary of our faith. There is, of course, much more to say about the God we follow and the way in which we follow Him, but the Creed presents the necessary essentials that every Christian must proclaim. So the Creed is a summary of our faith. Our liturgy books, however, do not call the Creed a “summary” of the faith but the “Symbol of the Faith,” a phrase which in Greek is “To Symbolon tis Pisteôs.” What, though, does it mean to call the Creed a symbol? When we consider Christian symbols, we might think first of the cross that we wear, which symbolizes both our faith in a crucified God as well as the need for us to carry the cross in our own lives. That’s a fairly obvious use of the word symbol. But what does the term symbol mean when applied to the Creed? To reflect on this question in what follows, we can set aside the English word symbol, and think, instead, about the Greek word “symbolon.” In the ancient world, the term symbolon referred to various kinds of tokens that people would use to identify one another. When two people entered into a treaty or a contract, for example, they would break a piece of pottery or an animal bone and each person would keep half the broken item as a symbolon of their contract. The word “symvallo” means to join together, and it was by joining together the two broken pieces that the members of the contract would identify their connection. This was even the way that two relatives might show their kinship. They would each display their symbolon. Even more interesting for our purposes, when the great citizen Assembly would meet in ancient Athens, each citizen would be given a small token called a
symbolon that showed that he was a legitimate citizen. In order to be paid for sitting on a public jury or to be paid for service in the Assembly, one returned this symbolon to the proper authorities at the end of deliberations. The symbolon displayed that a person was a legitimate citizen who earned a legitimate salary. Something like this is what a figure named Rufinus had in mind in the 4th century AD when he explained why the label symbolon was applied to the Creed. A way was needed, he claimed, to distinguish true teachers from false, in order to keep the faithful from being confused. Just like soldiers in battle, therefore, who wear certain insignia to let their fellow soldiers know if they are friend or foe, so too, Christian teachers had to show their symbolon, the Creed, in order to let people know whether or not they were on the side of the true faith. Other significance was also attached to the word symbolon in the ancient Church, but we do not need to pursue this complicated historical question further. What we have said above provides enough helpful material to apply to our lives. After all, the Greek word for the public Assembly in ancient Athens was ekklisia- the very word that comes to mean Church in Christian usage. Where the Athenians used a symbolon to identify legitimate citizens in their civic ekklisia, we rely on the Creed to identify the citizens of the ekklisia of the Church. The Creed is a confession that demonstrates our true and legitimate faith, and helps us to recognize this faith in each other. We announce whenever we recite the Creed that we follow this God, and no other, and that we are citizens of this Church, and no other. The Creed is a token of our identity. It is the criterion of Orthodoxy.
Office of the Press Secretary
THE WHITE HOUSE
GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY: A NATIONAL DAY OF CELEBRATION OF GREEK AND AMERICAN DEMOCRACY, 2009 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION The American people join Hellenes today in commemorating the 188th anniversary of Greece’s independence. As we celebrate the establishment of the Hellenic Republic, we honor the historic contributions of Greeks and Greek-Americans. Americans celebrated the cause of Greek independence during the new nation’s earliest years. In 1824, summarizing support for the Greek struggle among the American people, then-Representative Henry Clay declared, “That it is felt with the deepest intensity, expressed in almost every possible form, and that it increases with every new day and passing hour.” His words are echoed today as Americans celebrate the anniversary of this struggle for independence. The relationship between Greece and the United States owes much to the vision of democracy and liberty forged in Greece. In constructing a modern democratic framework, our Nation’s founders drew upon the immutable principles of the ancient Greeks. All who cherish the ideal of democratic governance are beneficiaries of the Greek legacy. From the literary classics taught in our children’s classrooms to the gleaming monuments of our Nation’s capital, Greek cultural traditions have also found a home in the United States. In classrooms across the country, many of our students still immerse themselves in the epics of Homer, the dramas of Sophocles, and the philosophical innovations of Plato and Aristotle. Among the Greek-influenced structures in Washington, D.C., our Nation’s Capitol Building draws upon the architectural legacy of the ancient Greeks. In recent history, Greece and the United States have stood together to meet the challenges of our times. Greeks and Americans fought for common causes over the course of the 20th century and continue to collaborate in this century, including through membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The strength of the bond between Greece and the United States is exemplified by the GreekAmerican community, which enriches our Nation with its cultural heritage and helps maintain the living relationship between our countries. On the anniversary of Greece’s independence, we celebrate this friendship and look forward to realizing our common goals and aspirations. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 25, 2009, as “Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy.” I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
Remarks by President, Vice President and Archbishop at East Room Gathering page 2 please know, Mr. President, that our prayers, fervent prayers, are with you, our first lady, Michelle, your daughters, Malia and Sasha. And we thank you once again for the great honor of this noble celebration of March 25, 1821. (applause) THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Well, what a great honor. I will tell Michelle that I've been compared to Alexander the Great. (laughter) I will see whether that gets me a little more respect – (laughter) – at home. She knows she's still the boss. Your Eminence, it is a great honor to have you here. And I want to mention a few others who are here that deserve acknowledgment. Father Alex Karloutsos … The Greek Minister of Justice … Dendias – did I say that properly? We also have the Greek Ambassador Mallias. (applause) And we have the Cypriot Ambassador Kakouris. (applause) Thank you, all. And I see a lot of good friends – a few from Chicago; we've got the Chicago contingent in the house. (applause) Wonderful supporters, great friends of mine, welcome to the White House. It is a great honor to be here with His Eminence as we mark the 10th anniversary since he became Archbishop. (applause) And it is a privilege to join all
of you as we celebrate the contributions of Greece and those of Greek heritage to this country and to the world. Today, we commemorate the 188th anniversary of Greek independence – and we reaffirm a bond between our two nations born through struggle but also through shared ideals. It is a bond that's on display today in towns and cities across the United States. In Chicago, we have a thriving Greek American community centered around a neighborhood known as Greektown. There's a parade marking independence each year. In fact, at this very moment, you might find young people in Chicago's streets paying tribute to their Greek heritage by wearing the traditional foustanellas. (laughter and applause) I notice some of you aren't dressed appropriately. (laughter) I haven't seen any around the White House today, but I'm keeping an eye out…As you know, there are many proud Greek Americans in my administration. And this bond we share dates to our founding. America's revolutionaries imagined a new system of government, but they drew upon an ancient precedent. It’s no coincidence that the leaders of the American Revolution – Jefferson and Madison, Adams, Hamilton – were
students of Greek history and Greek philosophy. As a boy, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, was said to prefer spending time with his Greek grammar books than with his classmates. In our darkest days – when our revolution was a fading hope, when friends were few and victories were rare – these leaders found allies in ancient texts. And just as America's founders sought guidance and inspiration from Greece, Greek revolutionaries drew strength and support from the United States, as was just mentioned by His Eminence. In fact, these leaders appealed directly to the American people, offering respect and seeking support. They wrote, “It is your land” – “It is in your land that liberty has fixed her abode. In imitating you, we shall imitate our ancestors and be thought worthy of them if we succeed in resembling you.” In a message to Congress soon after the inception of fighting, President Monroe affirmed our kinship with the Greeks who were “contending in favor of their liberties.” He spoke of a “strong hope that these people will recover their independence and resume their equal station among the nations of the Earth.”
Of course, it’s been a difficult and long–enduring struggle, both in the many centuries before the call for independence and in the nearly two centuries since. It’s perhaps the cruelest of ironies that a people who first tested a free and democratic form of government were doomed to live so long without it. But it’s also one of history’s great triumphs that even in the darkest periods, the light of those ideals were never extinguished: Through brutal wars, instead people who were inspired by the ideals met them with bravery; through occupations that were met with defiance; through hardship met with incredible character – and character of a people that never lost hope in the values Greece has always represented. Today, Greece stands as a testament of that unflinching character – as does the steadfast allegiance between our two nations. And I am proud to welcome so many Greek citizens and Greek Americans to the White House as we celebrate this occasion and our continued partnership in the years ahead. So thank you, Your Eminence. Thanks, all of you, for taking the time to be here. Thank you. (applause)
Holy Trinity in Westfield NJ Hosts 38 Sights & Sounds Event th
by Marissa Costidis
WESTFIELD, N.J. – Holy Trinity Church hosted its 38th annual Sights and Sounds program at its community center on March 21, which drew 545 GOYA participants from 16 parishes. Founded in 1972, the program invites GOYA members from throughout the state to celebrate their individual and group artistic and creative talents. CoChairman Anita Kartalopoulos described “S&S” as “an opportunity for those who may not be athletically inclined to be recognized and celebrated for their artistic talents and an opportunity for participants to learn good competition within the embrace of the church… to be good winners and to be happy for others while gathering as a family in Christ.” Ms. Kartalopoulos, together with her husband, Dr. Stamati, have headed the program for 20 years. This year’s event was unique in that both Archbishop Demetrios of America and Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey attended. Greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Kartalopoulos, parish priest Fr. Peter Delvizis, Fr. Alexander Leondis and the youth, Archbishop Demetrios marveled at the dedication and professionalism of the young people. He told the participants, “This event is significant because it deals with talent in linguistics, dancing, painting and singing. Sights and sounds are very important elements in life and therefore the cultivation of these sights and sounds and the production of word are very important.” He continued, “Normally we think of God as a God of wisdom, of love, of power and of forgiveness. How often do we think that God is beauty? He is the creator of beauty and anything whatsoever that is beautiful in any form of art, is something that relates us to God.” Metropolitan Evangelos also blessed the young people gathered and congratulated them on their commitment to their faith. He encouraged them to stay connected to their Church and to compete fairly and with joy, supporting all, whether or not they win or lose. “Keep up the good and sacred work, for being Greek Orthodox Christians in this country and every country is a mission that must be pursued, not only by the priest and the hierarchs, but by dedicated and the faithful Orthodox Christians everywhere. Congratulations!” he said. Later, both the Archbishop and the Metropolitan took time to view the artwork and enjoy some of the performances. The Sights & Sounds program is comprised of two categories – Sights, which includes categories such as poetry, short story, photography, postermaking, woodworking, mosaic, and others, are awarded blue, red and yellow ribbons. There were more than 1,500 entries in this category and 176 received awards. The best of the Sounds performances, including group and individual singing, Greek American plays and monologues, group and individual instrumentals and dramatic performances, are also awarded trophies. The category featured 243 performances in four different venues throughout the Holy Trinity Community Center. Eighty-five received awards and three trophies were awarded for overall success (first, second and third place). Over
Co-Chairmen Dr. Stamati and Anita Kartalopoulos point out the artistic achievements of the youth of New Jersey to Archbishop Demetrios.
Metropolitan Evangelos (l) watches the Greek Folk Dance competition with the participants behind him.
Participants from St. Demetrios in Union relax before performing their Greek play, H Vendetta. They finished first.
First place overall St. Andrew, Randolph, performed in American singing.
St. George, Asbury Park group was awarded the first place trophy in the Greek Folk Dance category.
the years categories have been revised according to the recommendations of the youth across the state, to adapt with the changing times. Some unique entries in the Sights competition included the Blue Ribbon for Original Design on Ready Made Item, made by Harry Papasavvas of Kimisis Tis Theotokou in Holmdel, who transformed an ordinary lampshade into a touching remembrance of his Papou, by using his grandfather’s ties to decorate the lampshade. “I wanted to use my grandfather’s ties in a special way. He passed away recently and I used to spend a lot of time with him,” said Mr. Papasavvas, who also participated in three other Sounds categories. Another unique piece was made by Phillip Ferreira from Flemington and received the Red Ribbon in the Mosaics category. Ferreira painstakingly created an icon of Jesus Christ with small pieces of paper. Dramatic Pairs first place winners from St. Andrew in Randolph, Zena Hadjiyerou and Niki Ioannou performed a touching, and sometimes comical, piece as Siamese Twins who complain about being attached, but finally realize they
love each other and would not want to be separated. The girls wrote the piece themselves for the competition. One of the most prestigious categories is Greek Folk Dance, where the competition increases every year. This year’s first place team, from St. George, Asbury Park, was comprised of both first year participants and those whose performance will be their last at Sights & Sounds. Team trophies are also given to the churches that receive the most points overall with the two categories combined. This year’s overall winner was St. Andrew of Randolph, N.J., with St. George, Asbury Park in second and Holy Trinity, Westfield in third. About 160 volunteer judges, who are given the very difficult task of determining who received the awards, are professionals in the area that they are judging and include choir directors and folk dance specialists from outside of New Jersey. A walk into the kitchen showed Executive Chef of Nestle Tom Andresakes organizing the volunteers who serve over 1,800 meals to the hungry participants and advisors.
Mr. Andresakes, a former GOYAN who participated in the Sights & Sounds competition in the 80’s and is now a volunteer from St. Barbara in Toms River, N.J. said, “We all put our share of love in whatever way we can to make this day memorable for the kids.” Other former GOYANs who lent a hand were Duke Markos and Nick Churus, professional sound engineers who return every year to offer their services running the professional sound system. They are examples of people who were enriched by Sights and Sounds and now give back for the benefit of our youth today. As Mrs. Kartalopoulos stated, “I truly believe that the secret of our success lies in the cohesiveness of our more than 150 volunteers who all work very hard to provide a high level of experience and opportunity to our youth, all within the loving embrace of the church.” For a complete list of award recipients please see: www.goarch.org/special/ sightssounds2009 Marissa P. Costidis is the Coordinator of the Department of Communications and the Managing Director of GOTelecom.
PEOPLE NATO Commander Nominee Admiral James Stavridis, a GreekAmerican, whose paternal grandparents were immigrants from Greece, has been nominated as supreme commander of NATO by President Barack Obama, subject to Senate confirmation. He currently has been serving as commander of the United States Southern Command, headquartered in Miami, since Oct. 19, 2006. Adm. Stavridis is a 1976 distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a native of South Florida. Adm. Stavridis has served as a strategic and long–range planner on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has also served as the executive assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and as senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Adm. Stavridis earned a doctorate and a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in International Relations in 1984, where he won the Gullion Prize as outstanding student. He is also a distinguished graduate of both the National and Naval War colleges. Adm. Stavridis’ father, George, served as a colonel in the Marine Corps and the family lived in Athens, Greece from 1962 to 1965 while he was the U.S. naval attache there.
HTSF honorees The Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund will honor former chairman of the Leadership 100 Endowment Fund George Behrakis and The Food Network’s Iron Chef Star Cat Cora at its 18th anniversary gala on May 16. The event will take place at the New York Marriott Marquis hotel and will include the awarding of scholarships. Scholarship presenters will include Fox News anchor Ernie Anastos, CBS News anchor Alexis Christoforous, Guiding Light star Frank Dicopoulos Fox-5 meteorologist Nick Gregory, CSI: NY star Melina Kanakaredes, Judge Nicholas Tsoucalas, and others. Dinner chairman is New York Attorney Nick Katsoris, general counsel of the Red Apple Group and also the author of the Loukoumi children’s book series. General chairs are Margo and John Catsimatidis, a member of the Archdiocesan Council, chairman if the Red Apple Group and publisher of the Hellenic Times.
Honored by France Anjelica Mantikas, daughter of Demetrios and Eleni Mantikas of Merrick, N.Y., a 10th grader at John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, was recently honored by the French Embassy’s Cultural Services for her award-winning essay on “What the European Union Means to Me.” Anjelica and another classmate were selected from among 400 students who entered the essay contest from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. She is a member of St. Demetrios Church in Merrick.
Eagle scout Gregory Themistocles Gallanis, son of Themis and Paulette Gallanis of San Diego, attained the rank of Eagle Scout in early March. He and his family are members of St. Spyridon Church in San Diego.
Cathedral Has a Long Presence in Western Massachusetts P A R I S H
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Name: St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral Location: Springfield, Mass. Metropolis of Boston Size: 525 stewards (about 2,000 individuals) Founded: 1907 Clergy: Fr. Christopher Stamas (Holy Cross ’98, U-Mass.-Lowell, BS degree in industrial engineering) Web: www.stgeorgecath.org Noteworthy: First Greek Orthodox church in western Massachusetts SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A key component of this parish in recent years has been its innovative Philoptochos chapter. The chapter has been “at the forefront” in developing a literacy program for the Greater Springfield community, Fr. Stamas said. As a result of this program, the National Philoptochos has recommended its adoption by every chapter. As part of this effort, the local Philoptochos has been working in partnership with the Dolly Parton Foundation, begun by the legendary country music star to promote literacy among poor people; to assist with buying books; and sponsoring children’s reading programs, and also personally visiting classrooms to read to them. Another program the parish has developed benefits its own young people. Each year the community presents its St. Basil Youth Service Award at the end of the school year to a qualified student based on active participation in Sunday school, serving at a local soup kitchen, participating in the St. John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival, and raising funds for and taking part in the annual Crop Walk, a service project that helps feed the hungry. Fr. Stamas described it as a kind of “rite of passage among the youth,” and they also list it on their college applications. The usual ministries for the youth also are present, including GOYA, JOY and Sunday School, which has 125 students. There is a weekly Greek school with a smaller enrollment. The senior citizens group consists of about 50 persons who meet every week and go to lunch, see a movie, or gather to sing songs, and a very active weekly Bible study draws about 60 participants. Current membership consists of third and fourth generation Greek Americans, a few recent immigrants, a substantial number of Lebanese Orthodox Christians who make up a large part of the community and take part in parish life. Several are in leadership positions on the parish council and other organizations. Parishioners also include Orthodox Christians of Russian, Georgian and Romanian origins. Geographically, the parish takes in a wide area of west-central Massachusetts with members in 20 communities.
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL
Historical background The origins of St. George parish go back to the mid–1880s, when the first Greek immigrants settled in this city in the upper Connecticut River Valley, which was heavily industrialized. They mostly came from Crete, though other parts of Greece also were represented. Springfield, now the third largest city in Massachusetts with a population of nearly 160,000, then was closely associated with the manufacture of weapons and other products, including a car called the Duryea Motor Wagon in the 1890s. In the 1920s, there was a Rolls Royce plant here. As early as the 1770s, George Washington selected the city as the site of the National Armory. It soon became a major ammunition and weapons depot. In the1850s, Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed Smith & Wesson to manufacture revolvers. Company headquarters is still in Springfield. Another famous weapon made here was the Springfield Rifle, a mainstay of the military up through World War II. Another kind of activity involving “shooting” is associated with Springfield – basketball. The game was invented here in 1895 by a physical education teacher, James Naismith and the National Basketball Hall of Fame was established here in the 1960s. Currently, one parishioner of the cathedral serves on the Hall’s board. The first Greeks here did not formally organize until the early 1900s. In the meantime, many attended either Roman Catholic or Episcopalian church services. The community members organized in 1906 and rented a hall near downtown, then moved to a brick house nearby which became the first Church of St. George. The first liturgy took place on Nov. 15, 1907. More Greeks arrived from the Constantinople and Smyrna areas around 1912 to avoid being drafted into the Turkish army, according to a parish history. Some of the Greeks established parishes in the nearby cities of Holyoke, Chicopee, and Enfield, Conn. The parish grew, but Greek politics soon had a detrimental effect on the community in the 1920s, with the RoyalistVenizelist controversy. Several families split from the parish and formed Holy Trinity Church, which affiliated itself with an “independent archdiocese” that was headquartered in Lowell, Mass. Eventually, these families returned to St. George in the 1930s through the efforts of Archbishop Athenagoras. Holy Trinity Church closed.
Also during the 1920s, large numbers of the Arabic-speaking Lebanese Christians settled in Springfield. At first, they opened their own church, but several years later the Lebanese families joined St. George church. In 1938, the Archdiocese assigned Fr. Joseph Xanthopoulos, who was half Greek, half Lebanese and fluent in Greek, Arabic and English. He served the parish nearly 20 years. Prior to his arrival, several priests served for brief periods. Around 1940 the community purchased a historic landmark church building from the Congregational Church that still serves as its spiritual home. The building was constructed around the early 1870s for $100,000 and the Congregationalists, an offshoot of the early Puritans, sold it to St. George parish for $40,000. The price included a rectory behind the church, classrooms, offices and a hall. The church was renamed St. George Greek Orthodox Memorial Church, which was its official designation for about 40 years. A large fire at Pascha 1944 heavily damaged the interior and the church undertook a reconstruction project, which was completed in 1945, when Archbishop Athenagoras consecrated the building. Fr. Xanthopoulos left the parish in 1957 and Fr. Stephen Papadoulias was assigned. He served the parish nearly 28 years and became one of the best known priests in western Massachusetts, the parish history noted. He served on the Police Commission and participated in the local YMCA’s bowling league and played racquetball there. During his ministry, a group at the parish formed the Olympians Drum and Bugle Corps that traveled along the Eastern Seaboard and performed at the inauguration of President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. A movement began in the 1970s to move the parish out of Springfield, to the suburb of Longmeadow, east of the city. In the general assembly vote in 1977, one-third of the community voted to relocate and the motion was defeated, but the one-third who voted for the move left the parish anyway and established the present church in East Longmeadow, St. Luke. As a consolation for allowing the es-
Internet Ministries Launches Daily Bible Fr. Kordaris Named Director of Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism Readings Service for Facebook and iGoogle NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios appointment Fr. James Kordaris as director of Stewardship, Outreach & Evangelism. Fr. Kordaris has served the Archdiocese as director of Outreach & Evangelism since 2003. In announcing this appointment, Archbishop Demetrios commented, “This new department, being the result of merging two departments, will renew our focus on stewardship resources and education while advancing outreach and evangelism and producing practical and modern resources for parish ministry. “We entrust the leadership of Stewardship Ministries into the able hands of Fr. James Kordaris. These new responsibilities will surely complement his work in the area of outreach and evangelism and continue our work under the ongoing theme of our last clergy–laity congress, ‘Gather My People to My Home.’” Fr. Kordaris will work with the Archdiocese Stewardship Commission and the Outreach & Evangelism Advisory Board. Both are comprised of representatives from each Metropolis and the Direct Archdiocesan District and were formed to share best practices from parishes throughout the country and support Archdiocesan efforts to provide guidance and practical resources to the parishes. Fr. Kordaris was born and raised in Minneapolis. He has BA (1979) and MBA (1983) degrees from the University of Minnesota. He served St. Mary’s Church in Minneapolis in many capaci-
NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Internet Ministries announces the launch of a daily Bible reading and lives of the saints service for Facebook and iGoogle. The readings are available in either English or Greek. This new service is an extension of the Department of Internet Ministries’ highly acclaimed Online Chapel section of the Archdiocese web site at: www. goarch.org/chapel. Through this new offering, Facebook and iGoogle users will be able to access the daily Bible readings and lives of the saints directly from their customized home pages. Moreover, users will be able to share the Online Chapel program with
other friends and family members on Facebook or iGoogle. Visit the Online Chapel at www. goarch.org/chapel for more information on how to add the new Online Chapel for Facebook and Online Chapel for iGoogle to your home pages. Since its inception in 1994, the award–winning Department of Internet Ministries has been pioneering the use of the Internet, multimedia, and technology for the Orthodox Church. The department is charged with the development and expansion of the Archdiocese’s presence on the Internet, the creation of multimedia programs, as well as the development and integration of new technologies for Orthodox Christian ministry.
CLERGY UPDATE FR. JAMES KORDARIS
ties, including parish council president and stewardship chairman. Following 12 years in the financial services industry, he entered Holy Cross School of Theology, receiving his Master of Divinity degree in 1999. He was ordained to the diaconate in 1998 and to the priesthood in 1999 and served parishes in Jamaica, N.Y. and Roslyn Heights, N.Y.
Ordinations to the Diaconate Jason Roll – Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco – St. Katherine Church, Elk Grove, Calif., 09/08/07 Assignments Fr. Paul Martin – Annunciation-Agia Paraskevi, New Buffalo, Mich. 02/25/09 Fr. David Smith – St. Sophia Church, Syracuse, N.Y. 02/25/09 Appointments Rev. Dn. Jason Roll as camp director of Ionian Village, by Archbishop Demetrios, 03/09/09 Offikia Fr. Thomas Chininis – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan
Methodios of Boston, 11/13/06 Fr. James Gardikes – Office of Economos, bestowed by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, 12/12/08 Fr. Nicholas V. Gambas – Office of Protopresbyter, bestowed by Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, 02/15/09 Releases Fr. Nikolaos Kouvaris-March 20 (to the Church of Greece) Retired Priests Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis. 03/01/09 Suspensions Fr. Nicholas Kastanas, 03/06/09 Suspensions Lifted Fr. Nicholas Kastanas, 03/21/09
Εικόνα με θέμα σκηνές της ζωής του Ιησού με απόσπασμα από την Παρακλητική. Δια χειρός Ανδρέα Ρίτζου, Ηράκλειον, Κρήτη, 15ος αιώνας
ΕΤΟΣ 74 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1248
Αρχιεπισκοπικη Εγκυκλιοσ Ἅγιον Πάσχα Ἑορτή Ἑορτῶν
ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΙΚΗ ΑΠΟΔΕΙΞΙΣ ΕΠΙ ΤΩ ΑΓΙΩ ΠΑΣΧΑ ÿ ÂÁÑÈÏËÏÌÁÉÏÓ
ΕΛΕΩ ΘΕΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ, ΝΕΑΣ ΡΩΜΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗΣ ΠΑΝΤΙ ΤΩ ΠΛΗΡΩΜΑΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΧΑΡΙΝ, ΕΙΡΗΝΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΛΕΟΣ ΠΑΡΑ ΤΟΥ ΕΝΔΟΞΩΣ ΑΝΑΣΤΑΝΤΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ
Ἔστι δέ πίστις ἐλπιζοµένων ὑπόστασις, πραγµάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεποµένων.
Ἀδελφοὶ καὶ τέκνα ἐν Κυρίῳ προσφιλῆ καὶ ἐπιπόθητα,
Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Μέ τήν εὐκαιρία αὐτῆς τῆς µεγάλης καί ἐνδόξου ἑορτῆς τῆς Ἁγίας Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας µας, σᾶς χαιρετῶ µέ τήν ἀπέραντη χαρά τοῦ Ἀναστάντος Κυρίου µας καί
ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! Σκυθρωπὴ εἶχεν ἀκούσει κάποιαν ἡμέραν τοῦ ΙΘ’ αἰῶνος ἡ ἀνθρωπότης ἀπὸ τὸ στόμα τοῦ τραγικοῦ φιλοσόφου ὅτι: «ὁ Θεὸς εἶναι νεκρός! Τὸν σκοτώσαμε... Ἐμεῖς ὅλοι εἴμαστε οἱ φονιάδες του... ὁ Θεὸς θὰ μείνῃ νεκρός! Τί ἄλλο εἶναι οἱ ἐκκλησίες παρὰ οἱ τάφοι καὶ τὰ μνήματα τοῦ Θεοῦ;»1 Καὶ ἐπίσης, ὀλίγας δεκαετίας ἀργότερον, ἀπὸ τὸ στόμα ἑνὸς νεωτέρου ὁμολόγου του, ὅτι: «Ὁ Θεὸς ἀπέθανε! Σᾶς ἀναγγέλλω, κύριοι, τὸν θάνατον τοῦ Θεοῦ!»2 Αἱ διακηρύξεις αὐταὶ τῶν ἀθέων φιλοσόφων ἐτάραξαν τὰς συνειδήσεις τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Σύγχυσις πολλὴ ἐπηκολούθησεν εἰς τὸν χῶρον τοῦ πνεύματος καὶ τῆς λογοτεχνίας, τῆς τέχνης καὶ τῆς ἰδίας κάποτε τῆς Θεολογίας, ὅπου, εἰς τὴν Δύσιν κυρίως, ἤρχισε νὰ γίνεται λόγος ἀκόμη καὶ περὶ «Θεολογίας τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ Θεοῦ». Ἡ Ἐκκλησία βεβαίως δὲν εἶχε ποτὲ καὶ δὲν ἔχει καμμίαν ἀμφιβολίαν ὅτι ὁ Θεὸς
(Πρός Ἑβραίους 11:1)
Πρός τούς Σεβασµιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί Διακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συµβουλίων, τά Ἡµερήσια καί Ἀπογευµατινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυµο πλήρωµα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀµερικῆς Ἀγαπητοί µου ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ,
Χριστός Ανέστη • Αληθώς Ανέστη
Ο Πρόεδρος Ομπάμα συνεχίζει την παράδοση εορτασμού της 25ης Μαρτίου ΚΑΛΩΣΟΡΙΣΕ ΤΟΝ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟ ΚΑΙ ΤΗΝ ΟΜΟΓΕΝΕΙΑ ΣΤΟ ΛΕΥΚΟ ΟΙΚΟ ôïõ Óôáýñïõ Ç. Ðáðáãåñìáíïý
ΟΥΑΣΙΓΚΤΟΝ – Ο πρόεδρος Μπαράκ Ομπάμα συνέχισε την παράδοση του ετήσιου εορτασμού της Ελληνικής Ανεξαρτησίας στο Λευκό Οίκο παραθέτοντας μια πολύ ζεστή δεξίωση ανήμερα της επετείου της 25ης Μαρτίου 1821, και συγχρόνως ανακηρύττοντας την Ημέρα Εορτασμού της Αμερικανικής και Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας. Ο πρόεδρος Ομπάμα καλωσόρισε τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο κατ’ ιδίαν λίγο πριν τη δημόσια τελετή και είχε μαζί του μια πολύ θερμή και ειλικρινή συζήτηση στην οποία συμμετείχε και ο αντιπρόεδρος Τζόζεφ Μπάϊντεν. «Νομίζω ότι εκφράζω κάθε Αμερικανό, ελληνικής καταγωγής ή μη, που ενδιαφέρεται για τους κοινούς μας δεσμούς, λέγοντας Σεβασμιώτατε Αρχιεπίσκοπε, ότι είμεθα όντως ευτυχείς που είστε μαζί μας. Αισθάνομαι λοιπόν, και ο Πρόεδρος αισθάνεται το ίδιο, καλότυχος να σας αποκαλώ φίλο αλλά και ένα διακεκριμένο ηγέτη ενός από τα μεγαλύτερα δόγματα στον κόσμο», είπε ο κ. Μπάϊντεν καθώς για πρώτη φορά στην ιστορία του εορτασμού αυτού,ο ίδιος ο Αντιπρόεδρος προλόγισε τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο ενώπιον του ακροατηρίου διακοσίων περίπου προσκεκλημένων του Λευκού Οίκου από την Ελληνοαμερικανική Ορθόδοξη κοινότητα, το διπλωματικό σώμα της Ελλάδος και της Κύπρου και για πρώτη φορά ενός ικανού αριθμού γερουσιαστών και βουλευτών του Αμερικανικού Κογκρέσου. Ο Αντιπρόεδρος μίλησε για τη σημασία του εορτασμού και των μακρών δεσμών μεταξύ των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών και της Ελλάδος «δεσμών που σφυρηλάτησε η Ιστορία», είπε και τόνισε ότι «η Ελλάδα και η Αμερική μοιράζονται κοινές αξίες, κοινούς σκοπούς, κοινή φιλοσοφική παράδοση η οποία ανάγεται στους μεγάλους στοχαστές της αρχαίας Ελλάδος». Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος λαμβάνοντας το λόγο ευχαρίστησε κατ’ αρχήν τον κ. Μπάϊντεν για την παρουσίαση και προσφωνώντας τον πρόεδρο Ομπάμα τον συνεχάρη για την εκλογή του και τον ευχαρίστησε «για την ευγενή και προσωπική πρόσκληση σε έναν όντως προεδρικού επιπέδου εορτασμό». Στο χαιρετισμό του ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος απέτισε φόρο τιμής στους αγωνιστές του 1821 που θυσιάστηκαν για το υπέρτατο αγαθό της Ελευθερίας και σημείωσε με νόημα την διάσταση του εορτασμού αυτού εντός του Λευκού Οίκου «στο μοναδικό αυτό χώρο που αποτελεί το εξέχον σύμβολο ελευθερίας και ειρήνης, δικαιοσύνης και δημοκρατίας…» Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος ζήτησε την ειδική συμβολή του Προέδρου για «την επίλυση χρονίων αδικιών που σχετίζονται με θέματα θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας, ανθρωπίνων αξιών, ειρηνικής συνυπάρξεως, δημοκρατικής επικρατήσεως του νόμου και επιδιώξεως της ευτυχίας», κατονομάζοντας τρία χρονίζοντα και άλυτα μέχρι στιγμής θέματα δηλαδή των θρησκευτικών ελευθεριών του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, το Κυπριακό, και το θέμα της ονομασίας της πΓΔΜ. Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος αναφέρθηκε ιδιαίτερα στην ανάγκη για «την ελεύθερη και απρόσκοπτη εξάσκηση της σαφώς πνευματικής αποστολής του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου ως ηγέτου των 250 εκατομμυρίων και πλέον ορθοδόξων
Μέλη της Μητροπολιτικής Χορωδίας Νέων με τον Αντιπρόεδρο Τζο Μπάιντεν και τον Σεβασμιώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής Δημήτριο στο Λευκό Οίκο.
χριστιανών ανά τον κόσμο. Επίσης την δυνατότητά του να εκτελεί ελεύθερα και αποτελεσματικά την πρωτοποριακή εργασία του για το περιβάλλον και την μετά πάθους προώθηση των διαθρησκειακών και διαπολιτισμικών διαλόγων». «Είμεθα βέβαιοι κύριε Πρόεδρε, ότι ακολουθώντας το λαμπρό παράδειγμα του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου θα μπορέσετε να κόψετε τον Γόρδιο δεσμό των άλυτων αυτών θεμάτων και με αυτόν τον τρόπο να υποστηρίξετε την ειρήνη και την συμφιλίωση μεταξύ των λαών που συνδέονται με αυτά τα θέματα», τόνισε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος και κατέληξε λέγοντας: «Καθώς ηγείσθε της ευλογημένης χώρας των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, της μεγαλύτερης δημοκρατίας του κόσμου, σας παρακαλώ να γνωρίζετε ότι οι προσευχές μας συνοδεύουν εσάς, την Πρώτη Κυρία Μισέλ και τις θυγατέρες σας Σάσσα και Μαλία. Σας ευχαριστούμε και πάλι για την μεγάλη τιμή του ευγενούς εορτασμού της 25ης Μαρτίου 1821». Στην αντιφώνησή του ο πρόεδρος Μπαράκ Ομπάμα ευχαρίστησε τον Αρχιεπίσκοπο για την ευμενή σύγκρισή του με τον Μέγα Αλέξανδρο και είπε ότι θεωρεί την παρουσία του Αρχιεπισκόπου μεγάλη τιμή. «Αποτελεί μεγάλη τιμή η παρουσία του Σεβασμιωτάτου εδώ καθώς πλησιάζουμε την 10η επέτειο από την ενθρόνισή του. Είναι δε ιδιαίτερη τιμή να συνεορτάζουμε μαζί την προσφορά της Ελλάδος και των συμπολιτών μας ελληνικής καταγωγής, στην χώρα αυτή και στον κόσμο», είπε ο Πρόεδρος και αναφερόμενος στους μακρούς και ιστορικούς δεσμούς μεταξύ των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών και της Ελλάδος σημείωσε: «Σήμερα εορτάζουμε την 188η επέτειο της Ελληνικής Ανεξαρτησίας – και επαναβεβαιώνουμε τους δεσμούς των δύο εθνών που ξεπήδησαν από αγώνες και κοινά ιδανικά». Μετά το τέλος των ομιλιών ο πρόεδρος Ομπάμα και ο αντιπρόεδρος Τζόζεφ Μπάϊντεν χαιρέτισαν πολλούς από τους προσκεκλημένους και η δεξίωση συνεχίστηκε σε μια εορταστική και ευχάριστη ατμόσφαιρα. Η Αρχιεπισκοπική Χορωδία Νέων, η οποία συμμετείχε για δεύτερη χρονιά στην εορταστική εκδήλωση του Λευκού Οίκου τραγούδησε κομμάτια σχετικά με την επέτειο. Ο πρόεδρος Ομπάμα ζήτησε να συναντήσει τα παιδιά της χορωδίας, τα χαιρέτισε θερμά και φωτογραφήθηκε μαζί τους. Στην εκδήλωση παραβρέθηκαν ο Έλληνας Υπουργός Δικαιοσύνης Νικόλαος Δένδιας, εκπροσωπώντας την Ελληνική
Κυβέρνηση και οι Πρέσβεις της Ελλάδος Αλέξανδρος Μαλλιάς και Κύπρου Ανδρέας Κακουρής. Το πρωί της 25ης Μαρτίου, εορτή του Ευαγγελισμού, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος προεξήρχε της Θείας Λειτουργίας στον Καθεδρικό Ναό της Αγίας Σοφίας στην Ουάσιγκτον και τέλεσε πανηγυρική Δοξολογία. Το ίδιο βράδι και αμέσως μετά την εκδήλωση του Λευκού Οίκου ο πρέσβης της Ελλάδος Αλέξανδρος Μαλλιάς παρέθεσε δεξίωση στην Ελληνική Πρεσβεία. Άλλες Συναντήσεις Η Υπουργός Εξωτερικών των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών Χίλαρι Ρόνταμ Κλίντον συναντήθηκε στις 23 Μαρτίου στο γραφείο της στο Στέϊτ Νιπάρτμεντ με τον
Αρχιεπίσκοπο Δημήτριο καλωσορίζοντας τον ως «ένα καλό φίλο και εμπνευσμένο πνευματικό ηγέτη». Για τη συνάντηση που διήρκεσε 45 περίπου λεπτά, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος είπε «ήταν μια πολύ ωραία συνάντηση σε ατμόσφαιρα εγκαρδιότητος, σε ατμόσφαιρα ειλικρινείας και σαφούς θέσεως των θεμάτων τα οποία είναι ανοιχτά εν σχέσει προς το Πατριαρχείο, την Κύπρο και το θέμα του ονόματος της FYROM…. μπορώ να πω είναι ότι ελήφθησαν πολύ σοβαρά υπ’ όψιν τα θέματα και οι θέσεις που ανεπτύχθησαν και επομένως εμείς φεύγουμε με την πολύ σαφή ελπίδα ότι θα γίνει σοβαρή προσπάθεια για την επίλυση των εκκρεμών θεμάτων». Εκείνο το απόγευμα ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος επισκέφθηκε στο γραφείο του τον Ρόμπερτ Γουέξλερ, μέλος της Βουλής των Αντιπροσώπων από τη Φλόριδα και την επόμενη μέρα τους Γερουσιαστές Ρίτσαρντ Ντέρμπιν από το Ιλλινόϊ και Ρόμπερτ Μενέντεζ από το Νιού Τζέρσεϊ. Στις 24 Μαρτίου, ως επίσημος προσκεκλημένος του Ινστιτούτου Brookings, ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος ήταν ο κύριος ομιλητής κατά τη διάρκεια γεύματος εργασίας και συζητήσεως στρογγυλής τραπέζης με τη συμμετοχή διακεκριμένων ακαδημαϊκών του Brookings, εκπροσώπων της θρησκευτικής κοινότητος στην Αμερική, εκπροσώπων της διεθνούς κοινότητος για θέματα περιβάλλοντος και μελών της αμερικανικής πολιτικής σκηνής και της εξωτερικής πολιτικής.
ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ ΣΤΟΝ ΛΕΥΚΟ ΟΙΚΟ ΕΠΙ ΤΗ ΕΥΚΑΙΡΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΕΟΡΤΑΣΜΟΥ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΑΝΕΞΑΡΤΗΣΙΑΣ Κύριε Πρόεδρε, Εξ ονόματος της Ελληνοαμερικανικής Ορθοδόξου κοινότητος της ευλογημένης αυτής χώρας, έχω την εξαιρετική τιμή να σας εκφράσω τα ολόθερμα συγχαρητήριά μας για την ιστορική εκλογή σας στην προεδρία των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών. Τα θερμά συγχαρητήριά μας για σας και την Πρώτη Κυρία συνοδεύουν οι θερμές προσευχές και η υποστήριξή μας καθώς προχωρείτε φέρων την τεράστια ευθύνη της διακυβερνήσεως του Έθνους προκειμένου να πραγματοποιήσει τη μεγάλη αποστολή του στον προβληματισμένο μας κόσμο. Έχετε επίσης τις βαθύτατες ευχαριστίες για την ευγενή και προσωπική σας πρόσκληση στο Λευκό Οίκο για τον εορτασμό της Ελληνικής Εθνικής Επετείου, ένα εορτασμό Ελ ληνικής και Αμερικανικής Δημοκρατίας που τιμάται από τον Πρόεδρο. Σαν σήμερα στις 25 Μαρτίου του 1821, οι Έλληνες μετά από δεινά 400 χρόνων τυραννικής δουλείας ύψωσαν το ανάστημά τους, ένας Δαυϊδ εναντίον ενός Γολιάθ, και διεκήρυξαν την ανεξαρτησία τους. Πολέμησαν με απίστευτη ανδρεία, και παρά τα πολλά εμπόδια, ίδρυσαν το νέο ελεύθερο Ελ ληνικό Κράτος, μεταξύ των ελευθέρων Κρατών της γης, επαναφέροντας ακόμη μια φορά τη Δημοκρατία στο χώρο της γεννήσεώς της. Σήμερα τιμούμε τους ήρωες που με τη βοήθεια του Θεού δημιούργησαν το θαύμα της 25ης Μαρτίου 1821. Τους τιμούμε στο μοναδικό αυτό χώρο που αποτελεί το εξέχον σύμβολο ελευθερίας και ειρήνης, διακαιοσύνης και δημοκρα-
τίας, ζωής και περίσσειας ζωής, όπως είπε ο Ιησούς στο Κατά Ιωάννην Ευαγγέλιο. Στο πνεύμα αυτό και με πλήρη γνώση της τεραστίας προσωπικής και θεσμικής δυνάμεως του Προέδρου των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών αισθανόμαστε ότι μπορούμε να ζητήσουμε την ειδική συμβολή σας. Μια συμβολή για την επίλυση χρονίων αδικιών που σχετίζονται με θέματα θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας, ανθρωπίνων αξιών, ειρηνικής συνυπάρξεως, δημοκρατικής επικρατήσεως του νόμου και επιδιώξεως της ευτυχίας. Ειδικά αναφέρομαι στα ακόλουθα τρία θέματα: Πρώτο: Το θέμα της θρησκευτικής ελευθερίας του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου της Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, πράγμα που σημαίνει την ελεύθερη και α πρόσ κοπτ η εξάσ κησ η τ ης σαφως πνευματικής αποστολής του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου ως ηγέτου των 250 εκατομμυρίων και πλέον ορθοδόξων χριστιανών ανά τον κόσμο. Επίσης την δυνατότητά του να εκτελεί ελεύθερα και αποτελεσματικά την πρωτοποριακή εργασία του για το περιβάλλον και την μετά πάθους προώθηση των διαθρησκειακών και διαπολιτισμικών διαλόγων. Δεύτερο: Το θέμα της Κυπριακής Δημοκρατίας και, Τρίτο: Το θέμα της ονομασίας της Πρώην Γιουγκοσλαβικής Δημοκρατίας της Μακεδονίας. Είμεθα βέβαιοι κύριε Πρόεδρε, ότι
ΣΑΦΕΣ ΜΗΝΥΜΑ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗ ΒΑΡΘΟΛΟΜΑΙΟΥ:
«Είμαστε αποφασισμένοι να επιβιώσουμε»
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
έχουμε αυτά τα διλήμματα. Μένουμε ριζωμένοι στις παραδόσεις των πατέρων μας, των προγόνων μας, αποφασισμένοι να διατηρήσουμε την ταυτότητα μας ως Ελλήνων Ορθοδόξων Χριστιανών».
ôïõ Íéêüëáïõ Ìáããßíá
Στην αποφασιστικότητα και τη θέληση της Ομογένειας της Πόλης να συνεχίσει τη μακραίωνη παρουσία της στην κοιτίδα του πολιτισμού της Ρωμιοσύνης αναφέρθηκε σε Κυριακάτικο κήρυγμα του ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος. Σε ομιλία του στον Ιερό Ναό Αγίου Χαραλάμπους Βεβεκίου, στο Βόσπορο, παρουσία του Γενικού Προξένου της Ελλάδος κ. Β. Μπορνόβα και πλήθους πιστών από την Πόλη και την Ελλάδα, ο Πατριάρχης σημείωσε πως «εναπόκειται στις κοινωνίες των ανθρώπων να αποφασίσουν να επιβιώσουν ή να αποτύχουν και να αυτοκαταστραφούν». Με αφορμή μάλιστα το θέμα που πραγματεύεται το βιβλίο «Κατάρρευση - Πώς οι κοινωνίες επιλέγουν να αποτύχουν ή να επιτύχουν»- που του προσέφεραν προσκυνητές από την Ελλάδα- και στο οποίο παρουσιάζονται πολιτισμοί που αυτοκαταστράφηκαν, ή κατέρρευσαν και υπάρχουν πλέον μόνο στα βιβλία της Ιστορίας, ο Πατριάρχης τόνισε: «Εμείς ασφαλώς έχουμε επιλέξει να επιτύχουμε και να επιβιώσουμε. Βεβαίως δεν εξαρταται αυτό πάντοτε από μας. Και τουτο διότι υπάρχουν οι εξωτερικές συνθήκες, οι πολιτικες συγκυρίες, οι περιστάσεις και οι καταστάσεις, οι παράμετροι που δεν εξαρτώνται από την θέληση μας, οι λεγόμενοι αστάθμητοι παράγοντες. ΄Οσο εξαρτάται όμως από μας είμαστε αποφασισμένοι να επιβιώσουμε και να συνεχίσουμε την ύπαρξη μας, την ιστορία μας, την ταυτότητα μας, την χριστιανική μαρτυρία μας εδώ όπου ζούμε. Ιδιαιτέρως τα λέγω αυτά για την Πόλη μας, για την Ομογένεια μας, για την κοιτίδα αυτή του πολιτισμού της ρωμιοσύνης. Ο Θεός δεν αφήνει αυτούς που θέλουν να επιτύχουν και να επιβιώσουν, οι οποίοι παρά τις ανακατατάξεις και τις περιπέτειες στο τέλος επιτυγχάνουν και επιβιώνουν». «Η παρουσία σας όλων υμών εξ Ελ-
ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης κ. Βαρθολομαίος χοροστάτησε στην ακολουθία του Ακαθίστου Ύμνου εν Συνοδική συγχοροστασία, με τη συμμετοχή πλήθους πιστών από την Πόλη και την Ελλάδα στις 3 Απριλίου στο Φανάρι.
λάδος σήμερα εν τω μέσω ημών» συνέχισε ο Πατριάρχης, «είναι μια ένδειξις της αφοσιώσεως στη Μητέρα Εκκλησία η οποία αίωνες τώρα αγωνίζεται να επιζήσει, να ξεπεράσει, να υπερπηδήσει τις θύελλες και τους ανέμους». Προσέθεσε δε πως η «εξαφάνιση των επαρχιών του Πατριαρχείου στην Μικρά Ασία και στην ανατολική Θράκη αλλά και το κλείσιμο της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης ήταν καίριο πλήγμα κατά της Μητρός Εκκλησίας» και επισήμανε: «Παρόλα αυτά το Πατριαρχείο μας αγωνίζεται και ελπίζει ότι θα ξεπεραστούν οι δυσκολίες και θα έχουμε ένα λαμπρότερο αύριο». Αναφερόμενος στην εκκοσμίκευση που είναι ιδιαίτερα αισθητή στις δυτικές κοινωνίες αλλά και στον επανευαγγελισμό των πιστών που προβάλλεται από κάποιους ως λύση για την αντιμετώπιση της, ο Πατριάρχης υπογράμμισε: «Στις δικές μας κοινωνίες δεν αισθανόμεθα την ανάγκη να μιλήσουμε για τον επανευαγγελισμό των ανθρώπων όπως συμβαίνει στην Καθολική Εκκλησία και γενικότερα στις δυτικές Κοινωνίες όπου αισθάνονται
ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ ΣΤΟ ΛΕΥΚΟ ΟΙΚΟ óåë. 16 ακολουθώντας το λαμπρό παράδειγμα του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου θα μπορέσετε να κόψετε τον Γόρδιο δεσμό των άλυτων αυτών θεμάτων και με αυτόν τον τρόπο να υποστηρίξετε την ειρήνη και την συμφιλίωση μεταξύ των λαών που συνδέονται με αυτά τα θέματα. Η ιστορία των αρρήκτων δεσμών και της ειλικρινούς φιλίας μεταξύ των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών και Ελλάδος είναι πολύ γνωστή, αλλά υπάρχει ένας ειδικός σύνδεσμος προ του 1821. Αναφέρομαι στον περίφημο «Πόλεμο της Βαρβαριάς» (Barbary War) στην Τρίπολη της Βορείου Αφρικής που συνδέεται με το νεοσύστατο σώμα των Πεζοναυτών. Τον Απρίλιο του 1805, ενα απόσπασμα υπο την διοίκηση ενός Υπολοχαγού O’Bannon αποτελούμενο από έξι αμερικανούς πεζοναύτες, μία ομάδα είκοσι τεσσάρων πολιτών και είκοσι έξι Έλληνες με τους δικούς τους αξιωματικούς, αντιμετώπισαν τον εχθρό. Επτά από τους Έλληνες έπεσαν στην μάχη πάνω στο Αφρικανικό έδαφος υπερασπιζόμενοι την Αμερικανική Σημαία. Κύριε Πρόεδρε, Σας προσφέρω ένα αντίγραφο του καταλόγου που περιλαμβάνει μερικά
από τα ονόματα των Ελλήνων ανδρών που πολέμησαν για τις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες το 1805, και θα ήθελα να τελειώσω υπενθυμίζοντας ότι όταν μερικά χρόνια αργότερα, δηλ. το 1821, η Ελλάδα αντιστάθηκε καί κήρυξε την επανάσταση για την ανεξαρτησία της, το γεγονός αυτό οφείλετο εν μέρει στην διακήρυξη της Ανεξαρτησίας της Αμερικανικής επαναστάσεως του 1776. Αυτό δεν αποτελεί έκπληξη, διότι η αγάπη γιά την ελευθερία και δημοκρατία διαμορφώνει ένα δεσμό μεταξύ των ανθρώπων που δεν γνωρίζει σύνορα φυλής, πίστεως, εθνικής καταγωγής ή γλώσσας. Και δεν αποτελεί έκπληξη ότι όταν άρχισε ο Πόλεμος του 1821, οι Αμερικανοί Φιλέλληνες διέσχησαν γή και θάλασσα γιά να βοηθήσουν στην αποκατάσταση της δημοκρατίας στον χώρο της γεννήσεώς της, την Ελλάδα. Καθώς ηγείσθε της ευλογημένης χώρας των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, της μεγαλύτερης δημοκρατίας του κόσμου, σας παρακαλώ να γνωρίζετε ότι οι προσευχές μας συνοδεύουν εσάς, την Πρώτη Κυρία Μισέλ και τις θυγατέρες σας Σάσσα και Μαλία. Σας ευχαριστούμε και πάλι για την μεγάλη τιμή του ευγενούς εορτασμού της 25ης Μαρτίου.
αυτή την ανάγκη διότι εισήλθε η εκοσμίκευση και πάρα πολλά πράγματα στην παραδοσιακή ζωή των Χριστιανών στην Ευρώπη και γενικότερα στη Δύση έχουν ανατραπεί». Δεν παρέλειψε πάντως να αναφερεθεί και στην ανατροπή που προκάλεσε ο αθεϊσμός στην παραδοσιακή ζωή των Ορθοδόξων στην Ρωσία και να εξάρει τις προσπάθειες τόσο του μακαριστού Πατριάρχη Μόσχας Αλέξιου όσο και του νεοεκλεγέντος διαδόχου του, Κυρίλλου, για την ενδυνάμωση του Ορθόδοξου φρονήματος του ρωσικού λαού. «Ο νέος Πατριάρχης της Ρωσίας, ο αδελφός Κύριλλος από τις πρώτες ημέρες της αναρρήσεως του στον πατριαρχικό θρόνο της Αγιωτάτης Εκκλησίας της Ρωσίας αισθάνθηκε την ανάγκη και εκείνος να μιλήσει για την εκκλησιοποίηση ή εκκλησιαστικοποίηση. Ο άνθρωπος δικαίως ύστερα από τόσα χρόνια αθείας και διωγμών στην χώρα του και στην Εκκλησία του θέλει να αποκαταστήσει τις χριστιανικές αξίες και να επαναφέρει το Ευαγγέλιο στο κέντρο της ζωής των Ρώσσων Ορθοδόξων. Στα περίπου 20 χρόνια που διέρρευσαν από την κατάρρευση του αθειστικού καθεστώτος, στις αρχές της δεκαετίας του ’90, έχουν γίνει πολλά βήματα και ο μακαριστός πατριάρχης Αλέξιος πέτυχε πολλά. Όμως ασφαλώς υπολείπονται πολύ περισσότερα και σε αυτόν τον αγώνα απεδύθη ήδη ο νέος πατριάρχης Ρωσίας» ανέφερε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης και εξέφρασε τη βεβαιότητα πως «Στις Κοινωνίες μας, εμείς στην Πόλη μας και εσείς στην Ελλάδα, δεν
Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος: Η Ομογένεια τολμά να ελπίζει Με τον τίτλο του βιβλίου του Μπάρακ Ομπάμα «Η τόλμη της Ελπίδος» ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης, παρομοίασε την δράση και την προσπάθεια για επιβίωση, της Ομογένειας και του Πατριαρχείου στην Πόλη, όπου για χρόνια τώρα αντιμετωπίζουν με αξιοπρέπεια πολλά και ποικίλα προβλήματα και εξακολουθουν κάτω από αντίξοες συνθήκες να ελπίζουν για το μέλλον. Στους στενότατους δεσμούς Εκκλησίας και Κοινότητος, Πατριαρχείου και Ομογενείας αναφέρθηκε ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος τονίζοντας ότι «Πρόκειται για ένα δεσμό παραδοσιακό και ιστορικό. Η ζωή της Ομογενείας συνυφαίνεται με την ζωή του Πατριαρχείου και πιστέυω ακράδαντα ότι, όταν το ιερό μας Κέντρο, το Πατριαρχείο, είναι καλά, είναι καλά και όλη η Ρωμιοσύνη. Και αντιστρόφως, όταν έχει προβλήματα η Εκκλησία, αυτά τα προβλήματα επεκτείνονται και στην Ομογένεια και τα συμμεριζόμεθα όλοι. Και τα καλα και τα κακά, πάντοτε με την ελπίδα και την προσδοκία ενός καλυτέρου μέλλοντος». Ο Πατριάρχης, στην συνέχεια, αναφέρθηκε στο βιβλίο του προέδρου των Η.Π.Α., Μπάρακ Ομπάμα, με τίτλο Η τόλμη της ελπίδος, και θέλοντας να υπογραμμίσει περισσότερο τη σημασία της τόλμης πρόσθεσε ότι θα μπορούσαμε να μιλήσουμε «ακόμη πιο προχωρημένα το θράσος, η αυθάδεια της ελπίδος. Δηλαδή, εκεί όπου ο κόσμος δεν βλέπει ελπίδα, αυτός που έχει το σθένος, αυτός που έχει το κουράγιο, εγώ θα έλεγα ο χριστιανός λόγω της πίστεώς του εις τον Χριστόν, μπορεί να έχει ελπίδα εκεί όπου όλοι βλέπουν απελπισία και χάος και σκότος. The audacity of Hope (Η τόλμη της Ελπίδας). Η Ομογένεια εδώ και το Πατριαχείο που τόσα πολλά τράβηξαν αδίκως χωρίς να φταίνε σε τίποτα, εξακολουθούμε να έχουμε αυτό το θράσος, αυτήν την τόλμη, αυτήν την αυθάδεια, της ελπίδος για το μέλλον. Και με την χάρη του Θεού και στον καινούργιο χρόνο και τα επόμενα χρόνια θα έχουμε καλές εξελίξεις.
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Αρχιεπισκοπικη Εγκυκλιοσ Ἅγιον Πάσχα Ἑορτή Ἑορτῶν óåë. 15 µέ τήν εἰρήνη τῆς ἀναλλοίωτης ὑποσχέσεώς Του γιά σωτηρία καί ἀληθινή ζωή. Καθώς συγκεντρωνόµαστε αὐτή τή νύκτα καί προσµένουµε τήν αὐγή τῆς νέας ἡµέρας, οἱ ἐκκλησίες µας, τά σπίτια µας, καί βεβαίως οἱ ψυχές µας εἶναι γεµάτες ἀπό τήν λάµψη τῆς Ἀναστάσεως καί τήν ἀπαστράπτουσα Ἀλήθεια τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ πίστεώς µας. Τά Βιβλικά κείµενα εἶναι γεµάτα µέ διηγήσεις τῆς φανερώσεως τοῦ Χριστοῦ στούς µαθητές Του µετά ἀπό τήν θριαµβευτική ἐκ νεκρῶν Ἀνάστασή Του. Τό κατά Ἰωάννην Εὐαγγέλιο (20:19-29) µᾶς παρουσιάζει δύο τέτοιες ἐµφανίσεις τοῦ Ἀναστάντος Χριστοῦ στούς ἀποστόλους Του στό «ὑπερῷον» ὅπου συχνά συγκεντρώνονταν. Στήν πρώτη ἀπό τίς ἐµφανίσεις αὐτές, ὁ Ἀναστάς Χριστός ἐπέδειξε στούς ἀποστόλους τά χέρια Του καί τήν πλευρά Του, τά σηµάδια τῆς σωµατικῆς ἀγωνίας τήν ὁποία ὑπέµεινε ἐπί τοῦ Σταυροῦ µέχρι θανάτου. Ἡ παρουσία Του ἐνώπιον τῶν µαθητῶν ἦταν ἕνα ὁρατό σηµεῖο τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν Ἀναστάσεώς Του. Ὡστόσο, σ’αὐτήν τήν πρώτη φανέρωση τοῦ Ἀναστάντος Χριστοῦ στό «ὑπερῷον» δέν ἦταν παρών ὁ Ἀπόστολος Θωµᾶς. Ἀκούγοντας γιά τήν ἐµφάνιση αὐτή ἀπό τούς ἄλλους ἀποστόλους, ὁ Θωµᾶς δήλωσε σαφῶς ὅτι δέν θά πίστευε ὅτι ὁ Χριστός εἶχε ἀναστηθεῖ ἐκ νεκρῶν ἐάν ὁ ἴδιος δέν ἔβλεπε τόν Χριστό καί ἐάν ὁ ἴδιος δέν ἄγγιζε τίς πληγές Του. Ὀκτώ µέρες ἀργότερα, ὁ Χριστός ἐµφανίστηκε γιά δεύτερη φορά στούς ἀποστόλους Του στό «ὑπερῷον». Αὐτή τήν φορά, ὁ Θωµᾶς ἦταν παρών καί ἦτο σέ θέση νά δεῖ τόν τύπο τῶν ἥλων καί τῆς λόγχης στό σῶµα τοῦ Ἀναστάντος Χριστοῦ. Τότε ὁ Θωµᾶς ἀναγνώρισε τόν Ἀναστάντα Χριστό µέ τήν ἀκόλουθη, µοναδική διακήρυξη τῆς πίστεώς του: Ὁ Κύριός µου καί ὁ Θεός µου (Ἰωαν. 20:28). Στήν διακήρυξή του αὐτή, ὁ Χριστός ἀπάντησε στόν Θωµᾶ: ὅτι ἑώρακάς µε, πεπίστευκας• µακάριοι οἱ µή ἰδόντες καί πιστεύσαντες (Ἰωαν. 20:29). Ὁ Θωµᾶς χρειάσθηκε νά δεῖ γιά νά πιστέψει καί ὁ ἀγώνας του µεταξύ ἀµφιβολίας καί πίστεως εἶναι ὄντως ἀνθρώπινος. Σήµερα, ὁµολογούµε τήν πίστη µας στόν Ἀναστάντα Χριστό σχεδόν 2000 χρόνια µετά ἀπό τις ἀναστάσιµες παρουσίες Του στούς ἀποστόλους Του. Καί τό πράττουµε ἐντός µιᾶς κοινωνίας, ἡ ὁποία, µέ τό πέρασµα τοῦ χρόνου, εἶναι ἱστορικά ἀποµακρυσµένη ἀπό τίς Θεῖες αὐτές ἐµφανίσεις. Γι’ αὐτό τόν λόγο, µποροῦµε νά χαροῦµε γιά τήν πίστη µας στόν Ἀναστάντα Χριστό, διότι γνωρίζουµε τόν µακαρισµό τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὁ ὁποῖος µᾶς εἶπε ὅτι εἴµαστε µακάριοι ἀφοῦ εἴµαστε ἀνάµεσα στούς µή ἰδόντες καί πιστεύσαντες (Ἰωαν. 20: 29). Σήµερα, Γιορτή τοῦ Πάσχα, συγκεντρωνόµαστε γιά νά γιορτάσουµε αὐτή τήν συνεχιζόµενη καί ἀληθινή παρουσία τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀνάµεσά µας, Τοῦ Ὁποίου ἡ ἐκ νεκρῶν Ἀνάσταση βρίσκεται στό κέντρο τῆς Χριστιανικῆς πίστεώς µας. Ἡ γνήσια παρουσία τοῦ Χριστοῦ βιώνεται ἀπό τόν κάθε ἕνα ἀπό ἐµᾶς µέ πολλούς τρόπους, ὅπως ὅταν συγκεντρωνόµαστε ἐν τῷ ὀνόµατί Του γιά προσευχή ἤ ὅταν ἀκοῦµε τό Ἱερό του Εὐαγγέλιο. Ὡστόσο, ἡ παρουσία Του καταδεικνύεται µέ τόν πιό ὑπέροχο τρόπο ὅταν ἐµεῖς µεταλαµβάνουµε τό Σῶµα καί τό Αἷµα Του στό µυστήριο τῆς Θείας Κοινωνίας, µέσω τῶν φυσικών στοιχείων τοῦ οἴνου καί ἄρτου. Γι’ αὐτό τόν λόγο, στό τέλος τῆς Θείας Λειτουργίας, εὐχαριστούµε τόν Θεό ὅταν µετέχουµε τῆς Θείας Κοινωνίας, ὁµολογώντας ὅτι ἔχουµε µεταλάβει «τῶν θείων, ἁγίων, ἀχράντων, ἀθανάτων, ἐπουρανίων, και ζωοποιῶν, φρικτῶν τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μυστηρίων». Ἔτσι, παραδόξως, παρά τό ὅτι δέν «εἴδαµε» τόν Ἀναστηµένο Χριστό µέ τόν ἴδιο τρόπο πού τόν εἶδαν οἱ ἀπόστολοί Του, Τόν «βλέπουµε» καί ἔχουµε τήν ὁλική καί πλήρη ἐµπειρία Του, ὅπως ἀκριβῶς εἶχαν καί οἱ ἀπόστολοι. Αὐτή εἶναι ἡ περίπτωση πού βλέπουµε τό στοιχεῖο τοῦ Θείου Μυστηρίου, τό ὁποῖο εἶναι εὐδιάκριτο χαρακτηριστικό τῆς Ὀρθόδοξης Χριστιανικῆς πίστεώς µας. Σέ αὐτή τήν ἐξαιρετικά εὐλογηµένη ἐµπειρία τῆς συµµετοχῆς στήν Θεία Κοινωνία µᾶς δίδεται ἡ δυνατότητα νά δούµε καί νά βιώσουµε αὐτό πού ὁ Θωµᾶς χρειάστηκε νά δεῖ πρίν 2000 χρόνια γιά νά πιστέψει. Στό Ἱερό Μυστήριο τῆς Θείας Κοινωνίας ἔχουµε τήν ἐµπειρία τοῦ Ἀναστάντος Χριστοῦ, λαµβάνουµε τόν Υἱόν τοῦ Θεοῦ σωµατικῶς στόν φυσικό µας ὀργανισµό καί πνευµατικῶς στίς ζωές µας καί ἔτσι συνεχῶς ἀνανεωνόµαστε διά τῆς θεραπευτικῆς Του δυνάµεως. Ἀγαπητοί µου Χριστιανοί, Στήν Ἁγία αὐτή Ἑορτή τοῦ Πάσχα, καθώς γεµίζουµε τίς ἐκκλησίες µας καί τίς καρδιές µας µέ τό φῶς καί τήν χαρά τῆς Ἀναστάσεως, ἄς ὁµολογήσουµε χαρµοσύνως τήν πίστη µας στόν Ἀναστάντα Κύριο, ὁ ὁποῖος εἶναι ἀνάµεσά µας. Διά µέσου τῆς πίστεως καί τῆς κοινωνίας µας στό σῶµα Του καί στό αἷµα Του διά τοῦ Ἱεροῦ Μυστηρίου τῆς Θείας Εὐχαριστίας, ἄς δεχθοῦµε τήν ἀγάπη Του καί ἄς ἐπιβεβαιώσουµε τήν ἐγγύηση τῆς εὐλογίας Του. Ἄς ἐξαγγείλουµε στόν κόσµο, πού ἔχει ἀνάγκη, ὅτι εἴµαστε ἄνθρωποι τῆς Ἀναστάσεως, ὅτι εἴµαστε ἄνθρωποι τῆς ἐλπίδος καί τῆς σωτηρίας, καί ὅτι εἴµαστε ἄνθρωποι πίστεως. Καί ἄς καλέσουµε ὅλους τούς ἀνθρώπους νά ἔρθουν στήν στοργική ἀγκαλιά τοῦ Ἀναστάντος καί ζῶντος Κυρίου, γιά νά Τόν δοῦν, νά Τόν βιώσουν, καί γιά νά ἀνακαλύψουν τήν ἀτέλειωτη χαρά καί εἰρήνη ἐν Αὐτῷ, ὁ Ὁποῖος κατήργησε τήν ἐξουσία τοῦ θανάτου ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτόν µή ἀπόληται, ἀλλ’ἔχῃ ζωήν αἰώνιον (Ἰωαν. 3:16). Γιά µιά ἀκόµη φορά γεµᾶτοι χαρά διακηρύσουµε: Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη! Μετά πατρικῶν εὐχῶν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἀναστάντι,
ÿ ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
Πατριαρχικη Εγκυκλιοσ óåë. 15 ἀπέθανε. Τοῦτο ἔγινε τὸ 33 μ.Χ. ἐπάνω εἰς τὸν λόφον Γολγοθᾶ τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ, ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου τοῦ Ρωμαίου Ἡγεμόνος τῆς Ἰουδαίας. Ἀφοῦ ἔπαθεν ἀνήκουστα Πάθη, ἐσταυρώθη ὡσὰν κακοῦργος καί, περὶ ὥραν ἐνάτην τῆς Παρασκευῆς, εἶπε «Τετέλεσται!» καὶ παρέδωκε τὸ πνεῦμα! Αὐτὸ εἶναι μία ἀναντίρρητος ἱστορικὴ πραγματικότης. Ὁ Μονογενὴς Υἱὸς καὶ Λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, ὁ ἀληθινὸς Θεός, ἀπέθανεν «ὑπὲρ πάντων» τῶν ἀνθρώπων!3 Ἀφοῦ ἀνέλαβεν ὅλα τὰ ἰδικά μας: σῶμα, ψυχήν, θέλησιν, ἐνέργειαν, κόπον, ἀγωνίαν, πόνον, λύπην, παράπονον, χαράν, τὰ πάντα, παρεκτὸς ἁμαρτίας, ἀνέλαβε, τέλος, καὶ τὸ μεγαλύτερον ζήτημά μας, τὸν θάνατον, καὶ μάλιστα εἰς τὴν πιὸ βασανιστικὴν καὶ ταπεινωτικὴν ἐκδοχήν του, δηλ. τὸν Σταυρόν. Μέχρις ἐδῶ συμφωνοῦμεν μὲ τοὺς φιλοσόφους. Θὰ δεχθοῦμε ἀκόμη καὶ τὸ ὅτι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι, οἱ ναοί, εἶναι «οἱ τάφοι», «τὰ μνήματα» τοῦ Θεοῦ! Ὅμως!... Ἐμεῖς γνωρίζομε, ζοῦμε καὶ προσκυνοῦμε τὸν θανόντα Θεόν, ὡς «νεκρὸν ζωαρχικότατον»! Ὀλίγον μετὰ τὴν φοβερὰν Παρασκευήν, εἰς τὴν πρωϊνὴν ἀμφιλύκην τῆς «Μιᾶς τῶν Σαββάτων», τῆς Κυριακῆς, συνέβη αὐτό, διὰ τὸ ὁποῖον ἔγινεν ὅλη ἡ διὰ σαρκὸς καὶ πάθους καὶ Σταυροῦ καὶ καθόδου εἰς τὸν ᾃδην οἰκονομία τοῦ Θεοῦ: Ἡ Ἀνάστασις!... Καὶ αὐτό, ἡ Ἀνάστασις, εἶναι μία ἐξ ἴσου ἀναντίρρητος ἱστορικὴ πραγματικότης!.. Καὶ ἡ πραγματικότης αὐτὴ ἔχει ἀμέσους καὶ σωτηρίους ἐπιπτώσεις εἰς ὅλους μας. Ἀνέστη ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὁ Ὁποῖος εἶναι συνάμα καὶ Υἱὸς τοῦ Ἀνθρώπου! Ἀνέστη ὁ Θεὸς μὲ ὅλον τὸ πρόσλημμα τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος: τὸ Σῶμα ποὺ ἔλαβεν ἀπὸ τὰ ἄχραντα αἵματα τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου καὶ τὴν ἁγίαν Ψυχήν Του. Ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, «παγγενῆ τὸν Ἀδὰμ ἀναστήσας ὡς φιλάνθρωπος»!... Ὁ Τάφος τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, τὸ «καινὸν μνημεῖον» τοῦ Ἰωσήφ, εἶναι πλέον διὰ παντὸς κενός! Ἀντὶ διὰ μνημεῖον νεκρικόν, εἶναι μνημεῖον νίκης κατὰ τοῦ θανάτου, εἶναι πηγὴ ζωῆς! Ὁ νοητὸς Ἥλιος τῆς Δικαιοσύνης ἀνέτειλεν «ἐκ τοῦ τάφου ὡραῖος», χαρίζοντας φῶς ἀνέσπερον, εἰρήνην, χαράν, ἀγαλλίασιν, ζωὴν αἰώνιον! Ναί, οἱ ναοὶ εἶναι οἱ «τάφοι» τοῦ Θεοῦ! Ἀλλὰ Τάφοι κενοί, ὁλοφώτεινοι, γεμάτοι ἀπὸ «ὀσμὴν ζωῆς», 4 ἀπὸ ἐαρινὸν μύρον πασχάλιον, ὡραῖοι, ἐρατεινοί, καταστόλιστοι μὲ μυρσίνες δοξαστικὲς καὶ μὲ ἄνθη χειροπιαστῆς ἐλπίδος, τάφοι ζωοδόχοι καὶ ζωοπάροχοι! Ὁ θάνατος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀνέστρεψε τὰς δυνάμεις τοῦ ᾃδου, ὁ θάνατος εὐτελίστηκε πλέον εἰς ἁπλοῦν ἐπεισόδιον ποὺ εἰσάγει τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἀπὸ τὸν βίον εἰς τὴν Ζωήν. Αἱ ἐκκλησίαι, οἱ «τάφοι» τοῦ Θεοῦ, εἶναι αἱ διάπλατοι θύραι τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ, οἱ ὀρθάνοιχτες εἴσοδοι τοῦ Νυμφῶνος τοῦ Υἱοῦ Του, ποὺ «ὡς Νυμφίος προῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ Μνήματος» καὶ οἱ πιστοὶ εἰσερχόμενοι, «θανάτου ἑορτάζομεν νέκρωσιν, ᾃδου τὴν καθαίρεσιν, ἄλλης βιοτῆς, τῆς αἰωνίου, ἀπαρχήν• καὶ σκιρτῶντες ὑμνοῦμεν τὸν αἴτιον, τὸν μόνον Εὐλογητὸν τῶν πατέρων, Θεὸν καὶ ὑπερένδοξον»!5 Εὐτυχῶς, λοιπόν, ποὺ ἀπέθανεν ὁ Θεός, καὶ ὁ θάνατός Του ἔγινε ζωὴ καὶ ἀνάστασις ἰδική μας! Εὐτυχῶς ποὺ ὑπάρχουν τόσα «μνήματά» Του εἰς τὸν κόσμον, τόσοι ἅγιοι ναοί, ὅπου ἠμπορεῖ νὰ εἰσέλθῃ ἐλεύθερα ὁ πονεμένος, ὁ κουρασμένος καὶ ἀπαρηγόρητος ἄνθρωπος, νὰ ἀποθέσῃ τὸ φορτίον τοῦ πόνου του, τῆς ἀγωνίας του, τοῦ φόβου καὶ τῆς ἀνασφαλείας του, νὰ «ξεφορτωθῇ» τὸν θάνατόν του! Εὐτυχῶς ποὺ ὑπάρχουν αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τοῦ Ἐσταυρωμένου, Ἀποθανόντος, Ἀναστάντος καὶ αἰωνίως Ζῶντος Χριστοῦ, ὅπου ὁ ἀπελπισμένος ἄνθρωπος τῶν ἡμερῶν μας, ὁ καταπροδωμένος ἀπὸ ὅλα τὰ εἴδωλα, ὅλους τοὺς «χαμοθεοὺς» ποὺ ἔκλεψαν τὴν καρδιά του, τὴν οἰκονομίαν δηλαδή, τὴν ἰδεολογίαν, τὴν φιλοσοφίαν, τὴν μεταφυσικήν καὶ ὅλας τὰς ὑπολοίπους «κενὰς ἀπάτας» 6 τοῦ παρόντος αἰῶνος «τοῦ ἀπατεῶνος», 7 εὑρίσκει καταφύγιον καὶ παραμυθίαν καὶ σωτηρίαν. Ἀπὸ τὸ Οἰκουμενικὸν Πατριαρχεῖον, τὴν Μητέρα Ἐκκλησίαν ποὺ βιώνει εἰς τὸ πλήρωμά τους τὸ Πάθος, τὸν Πόνον, τὸν Σταυρὸν καὶ τὸν Θάνατον, ἀλλὰ ἐξ ἴσου καὶ τὴν Ἀνάστασιν τοῦ Θεανθρώπου, ἀπευθύνομεν πρὸς ὅλα τὰ τέκνα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἐγκάρδιον πασχάλιον χαιρετισμὸν καὶ εὐλογίαν, μαζὶ μὲ ἀσπασμὸν ἀγάπης Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ ἐκ νεκρῶν Ἀναστάντος καὶ αἰωνίως Ζῶντος καὶ ζωοποιοῦντος τὸν ἄνθρωπον. Εἰς Αὐτὸν ἡ δόξα, τὸ κράτος, ἡ τιμὴ καὶ ἡ προσκύνησις, σὺν τῷ Πατρὶ καὶ τῷ Ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. Ἀμήν! 1) Φρειδερῖκος Νίτσε. 2) Ζὰν Πὼλ Σάρτρ 3) Β΄ Κορ. 5: 14. 4) Β΄ Κορ. 2: 16.
5) Τροπάριον ζ΄ ὠδῆς Κανόνος τοῦ Πάσχα. 6) Πρβλ. Κολ. 2: 8. 7) Ἀκάθιστος Ὕμνος.
Ἅγιον Πάσχα 2009 ÿ Ὁ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως διάπυρος πρός Χριστόν Ἀναστάντα εὐχέτης πάντων ὑμῶν
Στον Παναγιώτατο Οικουμενικό μας Πατριάρχη κ. Βαρθολομαίο Στον Σεβασμιώτατο Αρχιεπίσκοπο Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριο Στους Ιεράρχες της Ιεράς Επαρχιακής Συνόδου Στον Ιερό Κλήρο Στο Τάγμα των Αρχόντων του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου Στην Ηγεσία των 100 Στους εκπαιδευτικούς και τη μαθητιώσα νεολαία Σε όλη την Ομογένεια της Αμερικής και στον απανταχού Ελληνισμό
ΚΑΛΟ ΠΑΣΧΑ Είθε το Ανέσπερο Φως της Αναστάσεως να φωτίζει τις καρδιές μας και να χαρίζει Ειρήνη σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο
Missionary Training & Administration Building Set for Dedication page 5 OCMC has helped Orthodox Christians across North America to answer their call to share the Faith with others. Over the years, they have witnessed and participated in the resurrection of the Church in Albania and Romania after decades of communist oppression, the explosive growth of the Church across Africa, and the establishment of new communities in Asia. Though the financial support of these Churches, which was the aim of the LSDC, remains an integral part of international Orthodox missions, the efforts of the Church in regards to this work have expanded and evolved in the decades since the LSDC. As awareness of missions grew, the availability of financial resources rapidly expanded, facilitating the training and support of priests serving mission churches around the world. In 1969, Fr. Eugene Pappas was sent by the Archdiocese to assist the struggling Orthodox Church in Korea, becoming the first of many Americans to serve in foreign lands. Fr. Dan and Presbytera Nancy Christopulos arrived in Kenya in 1985, becoming the first Orthodox missionaries to serve through what would become the OCMC; and by 1987, a team of faithful from across the United States would join the Kenyan effort by acting as the first Orthodox Mission Team. Also at this time, fundraising initiatives like the Agape Canister Program and Coin Boxes were being employed to raise support for the Church’s many philanthropic projects that served to witness to people in mission lands. Long-term Missionary service, Orthodox Mission Teams, the theological training and financial support of mission priests, and the funding of ministry and philanthropic projects of the Church abroad have become the core initiatives of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center and the primary means through which North American Orthodox Christians share the Gospel. This is not an accidental model. The hierarchs of SCOBA have taken great care to encourage the installation of OCMC staff and board members who bring increasingly deep missiological training and understanding to an agency commissioned by them to facilitate this work on behalf of Jesus Christ and His
Church. This ensures that the implementation of OCMC’s core initiatives are done in a way that preserves Orthodox theology while respecting the language and culture of a given people group. This modality, and the Church’s vision to make disciples of all nations, has born much fruit. In Kenya, for example, North American Orthodox Christians, through the OCMC, have supported and taught at an Orthodox seminary in Nairobi, which trains priests who may receive support from American donors to serve a community, whose church was built by an Orthodox Mission Team, and whose school and clinic may have been equipped with an Agape Canister Grant. For Orthodox Christians the sanctification of a culture and welcoming people into the body of Christ requires ministering to the whole person. Today, OCMC programs work in an integrated fashion to provide this holistic witness. With the completion of the new Missionary Training and Administration building, under OCMC’s Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi, who also served as a missionary in Africa and Albania, the Orthodox faithful of North America are poised to share the Gospel of Christ at an entirely new level and in ways that may have been unimaginable to those early supporters of missions. In 1987, 25 people served on one Orthodox Mission Team. In 2008, nearly 100 people served on 16 teams. In 1985 only Fr. Dan and Presbytera Nancy were serving as missionaries. Today there are 12 people serving as missionaries in three countries. Five more people are preparing to serve, and over 100 people have inquired about long-term service in the past year alone. The program to support a handful of priests in the 1980s has become a vital resource for 354 priests in 18 countries, allowing them to dedicate themselves full-time to ministry. Many of these priests were trained in the seven seminaries that the faithful in North America have come to support over the years. In fact, Orthodox Christians, through the programs of the OCMC, have served as a living witness to the faith in some 35 countries, but this is just the beginning. The new building is a symbol to the Church’s unwavering commitment to share the light of Christ with the world, and it is a necessary tool in making this work possible. With over half of the facility’s 12,000 square feet dedicated to training new generations of missionaries and mission workers, the new Mission Center has been built for the needs of today, with a vision for tomorrow. The new building, along with its 20 acre campus, is an icon of Orthodox missions, and it reflects the intent of the North American faithful to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth. It is a monument to those who denied themselves, including Fr. Alexander Veronis, who is still active as president emeritus on the OCMC Board of Directors, in order to support their brothers and sisters half a world away, and it is a promise that the work of missions will continue for God’s glory and the love of humankind. Visit www.ocmc.org to learn more about the Orthodox Christian Mission Center’s new Missionary Training and Administration Build, its history, or its ministries. Alex Goodwin in communications director for the OCMC.
The Symbol of Our Faith: The Nicene Creed page 11 But here a certain clarification is in order. When we speak of the legitimate members of the Church, and of the criterion of Orthodoxy, we must not confine such things to the words we utter in the Creed. Those words are absolutely essential, but they are weak if they are not also lived out. We cannot claim to have true knowledge of God if we do not express this knowledge in the true way of life. We need to live the Creed. And yet, what does that mean? How does one live the Creed? To answer this question briefly and, in a perhaps surprising fashion, we can turn to some recent comments of Archimandite Zacharias, where he reflects on the work of St. Silouan the Athonite. Archimandrite Zacharias writes, “With apostolic conviction, St. Silouan… says somewhere that the criterion for the presence of the Holy Spirit, the criterion of the truth, is the love for one’s enemies.” When applied to our present concern for living out the Creed, this means that, if
we really understand the Creed and if we really understand that we have been given new life in Jesus Christ, then we are called to reverse the patterns of this world. In this world, people help their friends and harm their enemies. But, if what we confess in the Creed is true, which we personalize with the words “I believe,” then we have committed ourselves to follow the crucified God, becoming citizens of His Kingdom, living by His laws and standards. And the vibrant symbolon of our citizenship in the commonwealth of Christ is to love our enemies. That is a strange and hard teaching. To understand what it means and to understand how to live it requires reflection and discernment. But Great and Holy Lent provides the perfect opportunity to consider how we might live out the Creed in this way, and to let such a life be the articulate symbol of our faith. George L. Parsenios is assistant professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Parish Profile page 13 tablishment of the new parish, Archbishop Iakovos designated St. George as a cathedral church and named several members as Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Also, as a reward for remaining in the city, Springfield gave the parish the former city library building built in 1905 by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, for one dollar. Springfield native Christ Kamages, now a noted architect in San Francisco who designs Byzantine churches, was hired to redesign the library building’s interior as a new hall. The land around the building was transformed into a large parking lot, which to this day serves as the site of the Greek festival. Fr. Peter Atsales arrived in the community after Fr. Stephen retired in 1985. He began a Bible study group and built the Panagia Chapel to accommodate baptisms and weekday services. He then transferred to the church in Miami. He was succeeded by Fr. Kyriakos Saravelas. Fr. Saravelas expanded the Bible study to 60 participants and ended the bingo nights that were a fund-raising source. He promoted stewardship giving, which came into regular
use years later under Fr. Stamas. In 2001, Archbishop Demetrios visited the parish to celebrate the observance of 100 years of the Orthodox presence in western Massachusetts. Fr. Stamas arrived in October 2001. At the age of 35, he was the youngest priest to serve the community in about 50 years. A native of Lowell, he worked as an industrial engineer for a commercial firm before entering the priesthood. He was the assistant priest at St. Demetrios Church in Weston, Mass., prior to arriving in Springfield. With such a diverse group of members and wide geographic area (some individuals drive from the Berkshires in far western Massachusetts), Fr. Stamas said he makes an effort “to take time out a few times a week to meet with people on a very personal level,” including visiting shut-ins. He describes his ministry as “mostly program driven” and his greatest challenge has been “the secularization of society” and its affects on his parish. “People are influenced by things around them and it’s a constant battle to combat societal forces,” he said. — Compiled by Jim Golding
Over–Serious Religionists page 8 loved ones, jobs, homes, illnesses and broken relationships. The turndown in the economy has negatively impacted so many. We have been shaken, we have wept and mourned. But to everything there is a season. Even the weight of the burdens on our shoulders must be set aside, from time to time. For there is also time to laugh, sing and dance. To rejoice even for the much or the little we have. It is time to let go of some “over– religiosity” and simply rest in the knowledge that God is in control. St. Athanasius of Alexandria the 4th century saint and biographer of St. Anthony the Great, the father of Eastern Monasticism, wrote the following story about this notable ascetic who had an intimate relationship with the Lord. A hunter wandering through the desert came upon Abba Anthony while he was making jokes and laughing with the brethren; and he was shocked. Wishing to teach that hunter that it is necessary sometimes to relax with the brethren, the old man said to him; “Put an arrow in your bow
and bend it.” The hunter did so. “Bend it a little more,” said Anthony. The hunter obeyed. “And still more,” Anthony told him. “But if I draw the string too tight,” said the hunter, “The bow will snap.” And the old man said to him: “It is the same in the work of God. If in the case of the brethren we draw the string too tight, they will snap under the strain. So it is necessary to relax and laugh with them.” When the hunter heard this he was filled with compunction, and profiting much from what the old man said he went his way. And the brethren, greatly strengthened, departed to their own place. If we draw the string of the bow of our own spiritual life too tight with real and self–imposed burdens, we may snap. Psalm 150, says it with a flourish: “Praise the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. Praise Him with the lute and harp: praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” A true believer can have some fun and joy and still maintain a balanced life as an integral part of spirituality.
The Building is Yours! page 8 Orthodox? Will they be Christian? We already know that these children will face many challenges that the world has never seen before due to terrorism, AIDS and environmental concerns. Who will be there for them? What Church programs will they have that nurture their lives? Will they have a Church or even a priest there for them? All of a sudden you realize that you are the deciding factor here. Your involvement and support of the Church will determine whether or not they have Churches to worship in, youth programs, religious education programs, and an Orthodox identity. Whenever we have a problem we expect God to come through for us 100
percent...and God also expects to receive 100 percent from you – 100 percent of your heart and soul, then your outreach to others and also your stellar support of His Church, i.e., 100 percent of your whole self, whatever you can give to others and even just 1 percent or more of our income to support His ministries. The next time you walk into YOUR old Church, know that the building is yours – a gift from our forefathers. They only expect of you that you help to maintain it as an overseeing custodian. They expect that you will hand it down to others as they handed it down to you!
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After extinguishing a devastating tree fire in Yellowstone Park a group of forest rangers began the arduous task of assessing the inferno’s damage. One of them discovered the body of a petrified eagle, literally covered in ashes, at the base of a tree. The dead bird was still standing in a statuesque pose with its wings outspread. Sickened by the eerie sight, the forest ranger knocked the bird over with a stick. Only then were her three tiny chicks discovered . . . alive and unharmed. Keenly aware of the impending danger, the eagle had carried her offspring to a safe location and there covered them with her pinions. While the eagle had the power to fly high and save itself, it refused to abandon her children. “The Miracle on the Hudson,” like that of the Ten Lepers, depicts mankind’s unfortunate hesitancy to acknowledge the action of God in history. Yes, it is important that in all circumstances, we must also
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Fr. Demos is Archdiocesan Vicar for the Direct Archdiocesan District, former chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston and was previously a pastor of several parishes of the Archdiocese.
MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON: on a Wing and a Prayer page 9
ROUND TRIP – FALL 2008
do our part . . . contribute the very best of our intellect and strength. However, we need to likewise develop adequate discernment to realize the occasions of divine intervention and then to express our gratitude and praise to God! Like the Yellowstone eagle, our Lord is always willing to sacrifice Himself for His children. At Golgotha, he refused to abandon His creation but chose to be scorched by the inferno of death that was raging on the tree of the cross. This is the miracle from which all other miracles find their source. Let us not miss the opportunities to see such love in action . . . always guiding and gliding us to safety on a wing and a prayer! Fr. Marangos is dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York, and is also an adjunct assistant professor at St. John’s University. Visit http://www.thecathedral. goarch.org/OnlineSermons.dsp to view the on–line sermon that inspired this article.
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Metropolitan Methodios Presides at Ecumenical Vespers Service WORCESTER, Mass. – Metropolitan Methodios of Boston presided at an ecumenical lenten Vesper Service at the St. Spyridon Cathedral on March 15 before a group of Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic worshippers. In December, the Metropolitan was invited to preach at the St. Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral in Worcester, in observance of the jubilee year of the birth of St. Paul. The Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of
Worcester offered the homily. Participants in the March service included the dean of St. Spyridon Cathedral, Fr. Dean N. Paleologos; Fr. Nicholas Krommydas, pastor of St. Demetrios Church in Weston; Fr. Harry Providakis, priest at Holy Trinity Church in Fitchburg, Fr. Luke Veronis, pastor of Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish in Webster, Fr. Gregory Christakos, the assistant priest at the St. Spyridon Cathedral, and Fr. Anastasios Majdalani, pastor at St. Vasilios parish in Newport, N.H.
NJ Sunday School Teachers Attend Religious Education Seminar TOMS RIVER, N.J. – The Metropolis Religious Education Department held a seminar for Sunday School teachers at St. Barbara Church on March 14 that featured Dr. Maria Khoury as keynote speaker. Dr. Khoury (Ed.D), a graduate of Hellenic College and a member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Taybeh, Palestine, is also the author of Witness in the Holy Land, distributed by Holy Cross Press, and the children’s books series: “The Christina Books” Dr. Khoury gave a three–part presentation. Part one was a personal reflection on her life and experiences in living in the Holy Land and the difficulties faced in that part of the world by Orthodox Christians. Parts two and three focused on being a living witness for Christ, and included specific methods and ideas for Sunday School teaching. In his remarks, Metropolitan Evangelos commented on the mission of Sunday School teachers. “The teaching of our Greek Orthodox faith to our young people is one of the primary and fundamental tasks that we must accomplish with passion and enthusiasm as a Church, and as concerned parental figures for our children, who comprise the future generations of Greek Orthodox Christians,” he said. “We must not allow this education to take place only on Sunday, but rather Sunday School must take place everyday.
When we accomplish these goals we will then truly become ‘Living Witnesses of Christ.’” The metropolis parishes were very well represented with more than 120 Sunday School teachers from many communities. Fr. Anargyros Stavropoulos, director of religious education for the Metropolis of New Jersey, said he was “very pleased” with the response to the seminar. He stated at the end of the event, “The Religious Education Seminar was a great success. The first part of seminar gave all in attendance a clear picture of how difficult life is for Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land today, as well as how thankful we here in the United States should be for the freedoms we have. The second half of the presentation was very helpful to the teachers. Teaching methods were discussed by Dr. Khoury, who led discussions presenting teaching methods that can be applied in the classroom setting, as well as to what happens outside the classroom.” For more information concerning Dr. Maria Khoury, and/or Witness in the Holy Land and the Christina book series, visit: (www.saintgeorgetaybeh.org) For information concerning the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey Department of Religious Education contact: Fr. Anargyros Stavropoulos at St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church in Paramus, N.J. (201) 368–8881.
Parishioners of Assumption Church in front of the recently completed church begin their community’s observation of its half-century milestone.
Long Island Church Celebrating its 50th Anniversary PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. – Parishioners of Assumption Church recently began their year–long celebration of the community’s 50th anniversary with a procession to unveil the 50th anniversary banner. The procession included 12 newly recruited altar boys carrying the ceremonial fans, lanterns and candles, the 40–member choir, followed by the more than 300 parishioners, friends, fellow Orthodox, village and city officials. The banner read: “50 Years, 1959– 2009 serving the Port Jefferson faithful.” After blessing the banner, which marked the start of the year–long observance, Fr. Demetrios Calogredes stated: “This year our community celebrates 50 years of progress and spiritual growth serving the needs of the Port Jefferson faithful. Today we open up a new book, a new chapter in the history of our church. We now embark upon the future years of dynamic spirit, revitalized faith, and great successes.”
Several events are being planned to commemorate the anniversary. On Palm Sunday, April 12, the Philoptochos Society will host a luncheon in honor of its’ founders. Archbishop Demetrios will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on May 3, and bless the congregation. The annual Grecian festival will be held Aug. 20–23 on the church’s seven– acre complex. The Port Jefferson festival is the biggest Grecian festival on all of Long Island. This year the festival will feature over 300 prizes in the annual raffle including eight cars, a fishing boat, jet skis, ATV’s, and a host of other great prizes. The climax of the 50th anniversary celebration will be the dinner dance at the Watermill Caterers in nearby Smithtown. The emcee at the dance will be the renowned comedian, Basile, who will delight the audience with his humor. Basile grew up in the Port Jefferson community.
AHEPA Chapter Gives $25,000 to Medical Center ALBANY, N.Y. – The AHEPA chapter of St. Sophia parish recently raised and donated $25,000 to the Morrell Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Albany Medical Center for the creation of an AHEPA Family Room. Dr. Jennifer Pearce received the donation on behalf of the medical center from AHEPA Albany Chapter 140 President George Pappis. Funds were raised through the gen-
erous contributions of parishioners of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church and citizens of the greater Albany community as the members of the Albany AHEPA Family Christmas-Caroled throughout the city during the holiday season. “We wish to thank Fr. Patric Legato for his support and for blessing the AHEPA family room,” said Mr. Pappis. “We also are deeply grateful for the dedication and support of the Arthur Kontogiannis family.”
Church Musicians Mark Anniversary
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Parish council members of St. Sophia Church prepare to burn the mortgage on their church in March with Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco (center) and parish priest Fr. John Contoravdis. Also shown, from left: Bassam Boulos, vice president; George Monsour; Emmanuel Polichronakis; Georgia Sentkowski, secretary; Mary Hulbush, treasurer; Nick Toulouhas, president; and Fred Fotis. The parish serves northwestern Washington between Seattle and the Canadian border. (Photo by Donette Studio)
GREENLAWN, N.Y. – The Direct Archdiocesan District Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians celebrated their 25th anniversary the weekend of Feb. 28–March 1, at St. Paraskevi Church. Activities included the annual business meeting, workshops for both choir members and directors, delivered by Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos and the Rev. Dr. Dimitrios Moraitis, pastor of St. Paraskevi, a rehearsal of the music for the Divine Liturgy arranged by Presbytera Anna Geotheou Gallos, and a banquet honoring all past presidents of the Federation.
On Sunday, the Direct Archdiocesan Federation Choir, under guest conductor Paul Mavromihalis from Maryland, celebrated the Liturgy officiated by Archbishop Demetrios. After the Liturgy, a luncheon reception was held in the St. Paraskevi Community Center, where His Eminence and National Forum Chairman Dr. Vicki Pappas, presented several awards, including the Patriarch Athenagoras Award to Kon Kontos, Angela Arettines and Dr. Strati Demertzis, the District’s annual Scholarship Award to Maryann Vlahos and Stacy Anagnostopoulos and the Choir Member of the Year Award to Terri Macris.
Cathedral Receives Grant
NEW YORK – Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral recently was awarded a financial grant from the Kallinikeion Foundation to develop and implement an innovative Cathedral Television (CTV) communications project. The grant includes the use of a large flat-screen television installed at the entrance foyer of the church. The monitor will be connected via cable and wireless router system to a computer, DVD player, and sanctuary television cameras. According to the Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos, cathedral dean, “The large screen monitor will be used to broadcast a biweekly multi-media show that will communicate the current programs, events, and projects of the cathedral and Archdiocese to members and visitors.” Presentations will include interviews, photographs, news briefs and video clips of Youth Discussion, Bible Studies and Sunday sermons. Apart from continuously playing video clips of Cathedral programs and events, the weekly “Television Show” will include livetime broadcasts of Sunday and weekday worship services. Video clips from existing GOTELECOM videos will be shown in order to promote Archdiocesan institutions and departmental programs. The bi-weekly broadcast will include occasional interviews with cathedral and archdiocesan leaders. Special attention will be focused on the educational life of the Cathedral School, a nonprofit, co-educational, independent school serving New York families from a variety of backgrounds from nursery through 8th grade. Established in 1993 the Kallinikeion Foundation’s primary aim is to promote the Greek language and Orthodoxy. The Kallinikeion Summer Greek Language Institute at Hellenic College, Brookline, Mass. is one project of the Foundation. The Foundation also financed the construction of a library at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. For more information, contact Steve Hatzaridies, cathedral administrator.
Metropolises Hold Summer Camps With the approach of summer, a number of camps are being offered for the youth in several metropolises, including the following: Atlanta: St. Stephen’s Summer Camp Sessions I, II, & III are filled! There are spaces for Session IV- dates: Aug. 2-8 Please send in forms immediately! Registration is not complete by phone or email....forms must be sent in to be registered. They may be scanned or faxed if paying by credit card. New Jersey: $400 registration fee per camper deadline: June 15 ($50 late fee after June 15) For a registration packet, see your parish priest or GOYA advisor or call George Tomczewski 908-301-0500 (Information is also available online at www.nj.goarch.org) GOYA : Ages 13-18 July 12-18, 19-25 Detroit:The Metropolis of Detroit offers three wonderful Orthodox Christian summer camping programs. Each program seeks to bring youth closer to Christ through faith, fellowship, and lots of fun. MDSC (Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp) Located in Rose City, Mich. June 21-Aug. 1 Visit www.detroit.goarch.org/ mdsc for details. St. Nicholas Summer Camp Located at Camp NaCoMe in Nashville July 1-6 Visit www.southerncamp.com for details. St. Timothy Summer Camp Located at Oswegatchie Educational Center near Croghan, N.Y. Aug. 8-14 Contact Fr. Tom Zaferes at (315) 446-5222.
Metropolis Retreat More than 100 clergymen from the Metropolises of Boston and New Jersey participated in a joint clergy retreat hosted by the Metropolis of Boston in February. Metropolitan Methodios and Metropolitan Evangelos attended the day-long retreat which featured two special presentations and offered the opportunity for reflection, discussion and fellowship among the clergy. Dr. Lewis Patsavos, professor of canon law and director of field education at Holy Cross School of Theology presented “Canonical Responses to Pastoral Concerns.” Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou, associate professor of theology, associate chair for undergraduate studies in the Fordham University Theology Department, and co-founding director of the Orthodox Studies Program at Fordham, spoke on the theme “Honest to God: Confession and Desire.”
South Florida Goyans Help IOCC through “Souper Bowl”
Bishop Demetrios with Frs. Nicholas Jonas, Byron Papanikolaou and members of the Quilt-athon committee.
Quilt-a-thon Benefits Cancer-Stricken Children PALOS HILLS, Ill. – St. Helen’s Philoptochos Chapter held its eighth annual quilt-a-thon on March 21, under the direction of Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago. The program originated as “The Bishop’s Task Force on Children With AIDS”. The number of infants and children with AIDS has been substantially reduced, so this out reach effort has been expanded to include hospitalized infants, children and teens. The past Quilt-a-thons have yielded
colorful quilts, fleece blankets and cuddly pillows numbering over 4,000. These have been distributed to Children’s Memorial Hospital, Hope Children’s Hospital, Comer Children’s Hospital, Stroger Hospital, LaRabida Children’s Hospital, Mass General Children’s Hospital, Mayo Children’s Hospital, Little Company of Mary Neo-Natal Unit, Medical Missions in Mexico and the Philippines, to Aids children in the Ukraine, to a Monastery in Greece caring for orphaned children, The Southwest Crisis Center and to many suffering children.
If you have questions regarding The Archdiocesan Clergy Sexual Misconduct Policy or want to report a complaint of clergy misconduct, call the toll–free hotline (877) 544–3382 All complaints will be taken seriously and allegations will be investigated fully and impartially. Callers may speak with a male or female volunteer in either Greek or English.
For the past 10 years, the South Florida District GOYA, composed of St. Andrew parish in Kendall, St. Catherine West Palm Beach, St. Demetrios in Fort Lauderdale, St. Mark Boca Raton, St George Hollywood, and St. Sophia Miami. Since 1999, the Goyans have raised more than $17,000 for various charities including the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) through the Souper Bowl of Caring. In 2008, the SoFla District GOYA raised $4,200 for the IOCC, which was targeted for Greece’s recovery of the ravaged of the forest fires. In late January the St. Demetrios GOYA in Fort Lauderdale hosted a Souper Night of Caring. More than 70 Goyans and parents donated either $5 or two canned food items for admission to the dance and social. The next day each GOYA went to their respective parishes to collect for the Souper Bowl of Caring. it was amazing to see that even though we are in the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, we were still able to raise over $3,000 for local charities and IOCC. What it is The Souper Bowl of Caring is a youthled movement to end hunger and poverty through collecting money and canned foods during Super Bowl football weekend. Not one penny goes to the Souper Bowl of Caring, all donations go to the organization’s (churches, schools, social groups, and businesses can all participate) favorite charity. Hunger and poverty have a negative impact on individuals and the communities in which they live, yet there is joy in serving and giving to those in need. Youth strive to make Super Bowl Weekend the biggest weekend of giving and serving during the year. The Souper Bowl of Caring stresses that any action is so simple yet significantthe Souper Bowl is easy to participate in: Register at souperbowl.org, collect donations, report total collected to souperbowl. org, and donate to your charity. The Souper Bowl is eagerly working with the Orthodox Church to bring this ministry to the many churches across the country. Since its inception in 1991, the Souper Bowl of Caring has raised over $43 million and over 16 million pounds of perishable food items for thousands of charities and organizations.
Marriage and Family
Three Powerful Words: “I am Sorry” by Fr. Charles Joanides, Ph.D., LMFT
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“…and be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 I recently worked with a couple who initially made some marked progress in therapy and then just as quickly slipped back into some old destructive patterns. As a result, several sessions in a row were filled with lots of anger and resentment. In an effort to get them back on track, I decided to intervene in the following manner. Feigning confusion and discouragement, I shook my head back and forth and stated, “These last few sessions I keep trying to help you both see the two good people I see, but I can’t seem to get you to see beyond your hurt feelings and unresolved misunderstandings. So, maybe this homework assignment might help.” The Homework I want the two of you, on your own, to develop a “Top 10 List” of things you’ve done to one another that you regret doing because they have hurt your partner. Then I’d like you to schedule a time to share this list with your partner. But here’s the most important part of the exercise, after sharing each item on your list, in a respectful, sincere manner end with the following three words: “I am sorry.” After I finished describing this assignment, I asked if either partner had any concerns or questions. At first, both seemed stunned and speechless by what I had asked them to do. Discerning they needed some encouragement to help them embrace and complete this request, I added the following, “I know this is a very hard assignment, but what do you have to lose? Your relationship is already riddled with strife, and it doesn’t appear you’re going to get past these issues anytime soon.” After offering these observations there was more silence. Then finally, the husband said, “How do I know this will help?” “You don’t,” I answered. “And quite frankly, I don’t either. But one thing I do know is that if you both don’t find a way to get past all the anger and resentment you have for one another and begin reconnecting, I’m afraid you’ll continue to slip–slide further away from one another and into more and more anger and resentment.” I allowed more silence to fill the room, deliberately waiting for the two of them to carefully consider what I stated. This time the wife spoke up. “I don’t believe we can do this on our own, so the only way I’ll agree to participate in this exercise is if we can create our list at home and read them in front of you.” “That sounds reasonable,” I stated, and then looked at her husband and continued. “So what you think, are you in agreement with this change?” With a little more prodding, he reluctantly agreed. A week later, the couple came back. To be honest I was fully prepared to hear one or both partners state that they hadn’t completed their homework. But to my surprise, when I finally asked about it, both pulled out a sheet of paper indicating they were ready to proceed. This might be good news, I reasoned, and then said, “Before proceeding, I’d like to set in place a few ground rules. You have to turn to face one another
to do this exercise. Each partner will read an item from their list in a respectful tone of voice which will end with the statement, “I am sorry.” After each statement, there will be a brief 10 second pause to permit both to process each other’s statements. There also won’t be any room for conversation until you’ve finished reading your lists.” The Outcome Both agreed to these basic rules. I then had them flip a coin to determine who would go first. They flipped the coin and the husband won. Appearing tentative and nervous, he began. There was a 10 second pause then his wife read an item from her list. After the first few apologies were made, neither partner showed much emotion. But as the exercise continued, the wife appeared to soften and was beginning to look tearful. As a result, she stated. “I can’t go on. This is too hard.” “Come on,” I said. “Give it a chance. It might help.” She grudgingly agreed and they continued. By the time the couple reached their sixth apology, both were tearful and unsettled. So, I slowed the process down and asked them to self–sooth themselves with some deep breathing. When they both seemed more collected, we resumed. With each apology offered, I sensed the tension lifting and connection forming, until they reached the end of the exercise and there was more silence. But this time, the silence was qualitatively different. It was evident that the power behind this exercise touched them and I knew not to speak. Whatever needed to be said must come from them. The husband spoke first. “I never knew you regretted these things.” “And I didn’t know you were sorry about what you mentioned.” “I’m sorry,” he said again. “I am too,” she stated. We used the remainder of the session to reconnect further. It was a turning point for them and this therapy. Conclusion This technique doesn’t always work. Sometimes it fails miserably. Still, when it does work, it usually has a significant impact on both partners. With regard to this couple, this was a small, but significant turning point in their efforts to reinvigorate their marriage and begin cultivating connection and oneness. That’s because forgiveness helps neutralize the toxic effects of anger and resentment, helping us to move past the underlying anger, resentment, guilt, shame, frustration, anxiety and fear that often drives a couple’s disagreements and arguments. Moreover, like the verse from Holy Scripture that stands at the top of this article, when we are able to “be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32) seemingly immovable couple problems are removed paving the way for increased oneness and connection. So, in your efforts to get past couple gridlock, don’t forget three powerful words, “I am sorry.” They can often be the catalyst that makes a difference in a couple’s efforts to reconnect and respectfully move toward oneness.
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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
Talk it out! Tattoo Barbie? Mattel has just released their newest doll, Totally Stylin Tattoos Barbie. The Barbie comes with tattoo stickers and a tattoo gun. It also includes temporary tattoos that kids can put on their clothes and on their bodies. Some parents are really upset about this new Barbie. What do you think? What sort of message does this send kids if any? Would you want your little sister to play with this toy? Are tattoos just a form of self-expression or are they defiling our bodies, the temple that God gave us? Texting Mania! One California teenager named Emilee Cox, sent over 35,000 text messages in one month! That’s around 1,200 text messages a day. What do you think about her texting habit? How many texts are too many? Do you know how many texts you send in a month? Why do people prefer texting to phone calls? Do you remember a time before you texted? How did you communicate with your friends? Whadya Think? Please email us at email@example.com with your thoughts or suggestions for upcoming issues. And check out our website too: www.youth. goarch.org.
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!! “A Pascha of delight, a Pascha of the Lord, Pascha; an all-venerable Pascha has dawned for us; a Pascha on which let us embrace one another with joy, O Pascha . . .” (Aposticha of Pascha) It is truly a day for new beginnings as we enter into this Paschal period. Our Lord has “pass-overed” from death to eternal life. We are joyously singing, “Christ is Risen from the dead . . .” As we celebrate this great Feasts of Feasts, we are reminded of our re-birth with our Lord. We were with him in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, traveled with him to Gethsemane, were with him at Golgotha; and now we truly experience His glorious three-day resurrection. During this Paschal period, we are bringing you a new look and feel to the Challenge supplement. Our aim is to What’s up this month: Prom is supposed to be one of the best nights of your high school career. You’ve probably been preparing for it for some time now. What to wear, who to ask, whether or not to get a limo? Prom can be a ton of fun and a night full of great memories, but it can also be full of temptations. You might feel pressure to do things you normally wouldn’t -things you know your mom and dad or your priest might not approve of. The Bible says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) So how can you resist peer pressure
In the News
bring our youth contemporary topics, critical analysis of current events, the Orthodox response to issues being dealt with in the world, and thoughts on daily living and spiritual development. Spiritual development is not an event – but a way of life that leads to a deeper communion with God; it is not about doing what one wants – but doing what God wants; spiritual development is not a retreat from the world – but a venture into. It is our prayer that this new Challenge supplement will challenge you as continue to strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Faith. Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
There has been a lot of talk recently about teen physical abuse after what happened with Chris Brown and Rihanna. One in five female high school students reports being physically or sexually abused by a partner. Girls between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most likely to be abused- Rihanna is 21. Remember that no one deserves to be threatened or abused. If you are in an abusive relationship, know that you cannot change your abuser and chances are things will only get worse. If you are being abused, talk to a trusted adult, call this abuse hotline:1-866-331-9474 or visit www.loveisrespect.org. Together, you can talk about making a plan to end the relationship and remain safe.
Fr. Mark Leondis, Archdiocesan director, Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministires.
Top 5 Awesome things in the month of April
and stay true to who you know you are in your heart? Remember that people who are truly your friends will never try to make you do something you don’t feel comfortable doing. If you’re going in a group make sure you go with other people who you’re on the same page with, people who you trust and feel safe with. Talk about your plans before hand and make sure you’re ok with it. Keep your cell phone on you in case you need to bail for any reason and need to call home. Prom should be a night full of fun, not regrets. So remember who you are, what you stand for, and who you represent. As a Christian you set an example to people around you. Make sure it’s a good one!
1. Easter! Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead! O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? 2. The sermon of St. John Chrysostom. Gets us every time! 3. Baseball season opening day! Bring on the hot dogs and cracker jacks. 4. Buying all the leftover Easter candy after the non-Orthodox Easter! 5. Getting ready for summer vacation, graduation & summer camp!
Media Spotlight On: U2- No Line on the Horizon Review by Bishop Savas
When “No Line on the Horizon,” U2’s twelfth studio album in 29 years, was released in February, it entered the US pop music charts at number one. It was the seventh time the band had debuted in the top spot, an achievement only matched by Led Zeppelin, and only bettered by The Rolling Stones (9) and The Beatles (19). On the basis of sales alone, there can be little doubt that U2 is the Biggest Rock Act in the World (at the moment). What set U2 apart from so many of its contemporaries are the scale, and nature, of its ambitions. “At the heart of U2,” says lead singer Bono in the cover story of Rolling Stone magazine’s March 17, 2009 issue, “is the idea that the problems we face in the world start and end with the human spirit. And our music, I would like to think, reminds people what the human spirit is capable of. The greatest obstacles to people realizing their potential are of a spiritual nature—and I’m speaking personally.” About the latest album, Bono claimed, “There’s this theme running through it of surrender and devotion and all the things I find really difficult.” According to Daniel Lanois, one of the album’s three
producers, and co-writer of more than half its songs, the band’s intention was “to write a body of work that would qualify as hymns for the future – songs that will last forever.” The Edge, the band’s unmistakable guitarist, added, “We were fighting to hold up the idea that an album can be a sacred art form.” Or, as Bono put it, “All music for me is worship of one kind or another.” Allowing for the possibility of such a thing, did U2 indeed create “sacred art” with this album? Are the 12 songs on NLOTH “future hymns that will last forever”? I’m not (yet) convinced of the first, and, well, forever is a mighty long time. That said, this is an unexpectedly serious effort to say serious things about the spiritual life. It may take some effort initially to hear those serious things, as these are some of the band’s least immediate songs. Few if
any of them boast a memorable melody, or even a hook. I’ve listened to them several times already, and can’t yet call to mind the sound of them when looking at their titles or reading their lyrics. There are notable exceptions: the title song and “Get on Your Boots,” the first single, while they can’t compare to, say, “Mysterious Ways” and “Vertigo” for initial impact or staying power, are nonetheless imaginative and fun, and in “Magnificent,” the closest thing here to an anthem, and the top contender for a “hymn of the future,” Bono is at his most confident (“I was born to sing to you.../ I give you back my voice / From the womb, my first cry,/ it was a joyful noise”), delivering a strong lyric in a soaring melodic line: “Only love, only love can leave such a mark / But only love, only love can heal such a scar / Justified till we die, you and I will magnify / The Magnificent.” Throughout most of the album, Bono is less direct, speaking to us through characters who are less confident in God or self than he seems to be. The title song is sung by a traffic cop in a French-speaking city in northern Africa who “wants to get away.” In “The Cedars of Lebanon,” a journalist’s thoughts of his absent wife slide into a challenge to God: “Unholy clouds reflecting in a minaret / You’re so high above me, higher than
everyone / Where are you in the Cedars of Lebanon?” In “White as Snow,” the speaker, who comes “from where there are no hills at all,” confesses, “Once I knew there was a love divine / Then came a time I thought it knew me not.” Conflicted though he may be - and it’s a conflict he celebrates to humorous effect in “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” - in the end, Bono comes out firmly for a loving, caring God. In “Unknown Caller,” he even dares to put words in his mouth: “Escape yourself, and gravity / Hear me, cease to speak that I may speak.” Even though “a change of heart comes slow / It’s not a hill but a mountain,” he is confident trhat “we’re gonna make it all the way to the light.” Although, in “Breathe,” he admits that “Every day I have to find the courage / to walk out into the street / with arms out,” Bono nonetheless finds that courage, or rather, recieves the grace: “I’ve found grace inside a sound / I’ve found grace, it’s all I’ve found / And I can breathe, / Breathe now.” “Here’s what we gotta be,” he sings in “Boots”: “love and community!/ Laughter is eternity / if joy is real.” Bono’s joy in the Lord seems very real, and it gives him great confidence. “The future,” as he puts it, “needs a big kiss.”
Fr. Dennis Cavanos HIGH POINT, N.C. – Fr. Dennis Canavos, 80, priest of St. George, High Point, N.C. and assistant priest at Annunciation, Winston-Salem, N.C., died March 27. He was a native of Karpenision, Greece, and attended public school there. He immigrated to the United States in 1946 and was married in October 1958. He and his wife had two children, George and Alexandra. He attended Holy Cross School of Theology for two years. As a layperson, he served his parish in many ways and various capacities for almost 60 years. Upon his ordination in 1978, he was appointed by Bishop John of Amorion to assist Fr. George Kiricoples at Annunciation, and assigned as a part–time priest at St. George. After Fr. George’s retirement, Fr. Dennis continued to assist Fr. Demetri Kangelaris, and to serve as the priest in High Point. He became a protopresbyter in 2003. Fr. Dennis also served the community prior to his ordination as president of the parish council numerous times, as the chanter for many years, and as a member of the building committee, along with many other church-related activities. He had recently asked to be relieved of his duties as assistant priest at Annunciation, due to ongoing health concerns, in order to concentrate on his priestly ministry in High Point.
Fr. Constantine Palassis SANDY, Utah – Fr. Constantine Savvas Palassis, 81, a retired priest, died March 7. He was born in Oklahoma City on Jan.
M e m o r i a m
1, 1927 and attended public schools in Oklahoma City. He attended Holy Cross Seminary and received a B.A. in Theology in 1950. He also attended Idaho State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in history and masters degrees in literature and history. He earned his teaching credentials for the secondary education and junior college levels. He married Panagiota Fotopoulos in February 1952. They had one daughter, Maria Katherine. He was ordained as a deacon April 7, 1952 in Steubenville, Ohio, and as a priest in Worcester, Mass., on April 13. Both ordinations were performed by Bishop Ezekiel of Nazianzos. Fr. Palassis served the following parishes: St. Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif. (April 1, 1954-Sept. 1, 1957); Prophet Elias, San Bernardino, Calif. (Sept. 1, 1957-Sept. 1, 1960); St. Nicholas, San Jose, Calif. (Sept. 1, 1960-Dec. 30, 1962); Assumption, Pocatello, Idaho (June 13, 1962-June 30, 1968); St. Barbara, Santa Barbara (July 1, 1968-August 1970); Assumption, Detroit (Oct. 1, 1971-May 20, 1973); Panaghia Pantovasilissa, Lexington, Ky. (May 22, 1973-Aug. 6, 1981); Transfiguration, Mason City, Iowa (Aug. 7, 1981-Aug. 31, 1983); Assumption, Price, Utah (Sept. 1, 1983-June 30, 1987); Sts. Constantine and Helen, Cheyenne, Wyo. (Dec. 15, 1987-Dec. 31, 1988). He retired Jan. 1, 1989. In Idaho, he led efforts for the recognition of Eastern Orthodoxy as the fourth major faith. In Price, he also taught a course in western civilization at a local university. Funeral services took place March 12 at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Salt Lake City. Memorial donations may be made
to the International Orthodox Christian Charities or to Holy Cross/Hellenic College, c/o Holy Trinity in Salt Lake City.
Fr. Philemon Payiatis NORTH MIAMI, Fla. Fr. Philemon Payiatis died March 14. Born in Corfu, Greece, Oct. 18, 1927, Fr. Philemon came to America in 1947 to study at the Holy Cross Seminary in Pomfret under Bishop Athenagoras Cavadas who personally sponsored his invitation. Fr. Payiatis graduated in 1950, married Efrosine nee Kyriazos, in June and was ordained as a deacon by Bishop Germanos Polizoides in July 1950 and as a priest at the clergy conference in St. Louis, on Nov. 30, 1950, by Archbishop Michael and Bishop Polizoides with Frs. Ezekiel Tsoukalas and Demetrios Makris participating. His first assignment was in Dayton, Ohio, first as a deacon and later as the proistamenos. In serving Annunciation Church in Dayton for 25 years, Fr. Payiatis gained the love, respect and admiration of not only his parishioners but also the general Dayton community. When Fr. Payiatis retired in Dayton a grand banquet was held where parishioners and friends outside the Annunciation community gathered to express their gratitude and to wish him and his family well. In 1975 Fr. Payiatis was asked by the Archdiocese to serve a parish in North Miami, and it was there - in another Annunciation Church - that he manifested the same leadership qualities he had before, serving not only the parishioners but also the greater North Miami Community, as chaplain of the Grand Jury and other civic endeavors. Fr. Payiatis was one of the original members of the Presbyters Council and represented the Metropolis on various occasions. He served the North Miami parish with the same vitality and enthusiasm until his early 1992 retirement. When the time came for Fr. Payiatis to retire, in his simplicity and humility, he requested that no banquet or testimonial be held in his honor, not wanting to tax the people with additional expenses. He rather chose to mark the end of his priestly service in the North Miami community by celebrating Divine Liturgy on Oct. 25, 1992. However, even after his retirement, he continued to serve the church. Together with the late Fr Demosthenes Mekras, they served congregations without a full-time priest. Both served on the Retired Greek Orthodox Clergy board. Fr. Payiatis served as treasurer of the RCA board for eight consecutive years. In 2004 he was selected by Metropolitan Alexios for the honor of the Metropolitans Choice Clergy Award, at the Metropolis of Atlanta Archangel Michael Feast Day and Honors. Fr. Philemon Payiatis is survived by his wife, Presbytera Efrosine, his son, Paul, wife Patricia and three grandchildren Nicholas, Nina and Peter. Services took place March 17 at Annunciation in North Miami, with Bishop John of Amorion presiding, on behalf of Metropolitan Alexios who was in Greece. Burial was in Massachusetts.
Fr. Antony Spirtos NORTH CANTON, Ohio – Rev. Protopresbyter Anthony Spirtos, 87, died March 2 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Community Hospital after a brief illness. Fr. Anthony was born July 25, 1922 in Kalymnos, Greece to the late Rev. Theodore and Niki (Billiris) Spirtos. He was preceded in death by brothers, Charles Spirtos and Theofilos Spirtos and his wife of 52 years, Anna Spirtos. He was a member of St. Haralambos Church and a 45-year member of the Order of Ahepa. Fr. Anthony led a most remarkable life, dedicating himself to the service of others. In 1943, he enlisted in the Greek Navy in Egypt, where he volunteered to become a spy, working for the United States OSS, (Office of Strategic Command - the forerunner of today’s CIA) to aid in the liberation of Greece from the Nazis. He was assigned as a radio man in the western part of Greece and dropped behind enemy lines with a secret identity to report on German troop movements. He was discharged in 1945 and recognized by the Greek and United States governments as one of the unknown heroes of World War II. He then enrolled at the National University of Athens in Greece and graduated a doctor of dentistry (DDS) in 1953. In 1955, he married Anna Ballas of Youngstown and came to America, where he worked at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. In 1964, he pursued a lifelong dream and was ordained a priest. He was assigned to St. Anagyri Church in Rochester, Minn. from 1964 to 1970, where he also served as chaplain to all Orthodox patients treated at the Mayo Clinic. In 1970, he was transferred to St. George Church in Huntington, W.Va., remaining until 1989, when he retired and moved to North Canton. Upon his retirement, the St. George community honored Fr. Anthony by naming the church social hall after him. During his “retirement” in Canton, he continued to actively serve all of the area Orthodox churches and was highly regarded by all who came in contact with his kind and caring ways. He is survived by nephews and nieces, Nick and Virginia Ballas, grand nephews, William and Thomas Ballas, all of North Canton; Michael Ballas of Boardman; Drs. Theodore, George and Emmanuel Spirtos, all of Youngstown; a sister-in-law, Helen Ballas of Campbell; nieces, Vickie Spirtos (Sr. Seraphima) and Mary (Spirtos) Sebest, along with brother, Nick Spirtos; sisters Sevasti Tsouni, Maria Zavalari and Lina Magriplis, all of Greece. Services were held March 7 at St. Haralambos Church, with hierarchs Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh and Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit (nephew), Bishop Mark of Toledo, assisted by the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gamvas Proistamenos of St. Haralambos Church and the Stark County Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood and other Metropolis Clergy. Interment was at Archangel Michael Church Cemetery in Campbell, Ohio.
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Orthodox Observer - April 2009