MARCH 2009 • Vol. 74 • No. 1247
www.observer.goarch.org • e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fordham U. Creates Chair in Orthodoxy Honoring Archbishop
The Feast of the Annunciation and Day of Greek Independence
by Jim Golding
BRONX, N.Y. – Fordham University, a private Jesuit institution of higher learning with a strong Orthodox studies program, has established the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture through a $2 million endowment from the Jaharis Family Foundation. Fordham is the first university to name an endowed chair for the Archbishop. Fordham President Joseph M. McShane, S.J., made the announcement Feb. 17 at the annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture, which this year was presented by the Rev. Dr. Stanley Harakas, Th.D., the Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology Emeritus at Holy Cross School of Theology. Fr. McShane, a longtime friend of the Archbishop, noted in his announcement that, “Fordham has a great ambition to be a center of Orthodox Studies in America” and expressed his appreciation to Michael Jaharis, who is also the vice president of the Archdiocesan Council, and his wife, Mary, for their generous donation. He also praised Archbishop Demetrios as “a learned and holy man” and said he is “thrilled that his name will be forever paired with Fordham.” Following his comments, Fr. McShane announced that Ecumenical Patriarch Bar-
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, I am lovingly and joyfully writing to you on this solemn day, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary. This Feast is celebrated in the midst of the season of Great and Holy Lent, and, thus, it provides us the blessed possibility to enjoy the unending love of God for us as we continue along our spiritual journey to Holy Week. On this unique day, the God-sent Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and announced to Her future things to come, the nature of which no other human being in the history of humankind had ever heard nor will ever hear again: Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus (Luke 1: 28-31). The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God (Luke 1: 35).
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ABC Network to Air Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ GOTelecom, the television ministry of the Archdiocese, will premiere “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ, “ a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter. The program, produced for the ABC television network, and sponsored by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, is scheduled to air on ABC affiliates across the country in mid to late April. “This is a wonderful opportunity to portray our meaningful Holy Week and Resurrection Services to a nationwide audience,” commented Nicholas J. Furris, senior producer and director of GOTelecom. “The program, videotaped at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity during Pascha last year, depicts our faith not only as beautiful and sacred, but also very relevant. GOTelecom is blessed to have the opportunity to provide ABC with this
program.” This one-hour special will highlight Holy and Great Week focusing on the deeply moving and ancient services that recount the Gospel narrative leading to the Death and Resurrection of Christ. The climax of the service includes a procession to the exterior of the church, where, after proclaiming the Gospel of Resurrection, the faithful, led by Archbishop Demetrios, take up the joyous hymn “Christ is Risen!” “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ” is being been coordinated with ABC by Marissa P. Costidis, coordinator of the Department of Communications and managing director of GOTelecom. The program is being produced and directed by Mr. Furris. Mrs. Costidis and Mr. Furris have been working with the National Council of Churches and the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC), through
which America’s faith community provides television programming to the affiliates of the three major broadcast TV networks each year. Previously, “Epiphany: A Festival of Lights” was broadcast on NBC affiliates nationwide and enjoyed tremendous success. Each network distributes productions to its affiliates by satellite. Each local station may then present the program in a time slot of its choice over a period of several weeks. As the air date approaches, local station broadcast dates and times will be made available on the website www. PaschaABC.goarch.org DVD copies of the program will be available for sale in late April ($25, includes shipping). To pre-purchase contact the Department of Communications at 212.774.0244 or e-mail email@example.com
A RCHDIOCESE N E WS
St. Photios National Shrine Holds 27th Annual Pilgrimage Luncheon ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The Casa Monica hotel in historic St. Augustine was the setting for the 27th annual St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine Feast Day Luncheon. The annual St. Photios National Shrine Pilgrimage commemorates the Feb. 27, 1982 opening of its doors. This event is held in conjunction with the celebration of the feast of its patron saint, St. Photios the Great. This year’s luncheon guests included St. Photios Foundation Shrine President Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta and Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos, as well as author Eleni Gage. The luncheon featured a musical interlude by the choir of St. John the Divine Church in Jacksonville, conducted by Maria Chryssavergis. Toastmaster Harry Tom Cavalaris welcomed the attendees. Judge John Alexander, president of the AHEPA Speedway Chapter 410 introduced his chapter’s former president, Constantine Rizopoulos. Judge Alexander cited the historical relationship between the Shrine and AHEPA. He showed an image of the New Smyrna Memorial, fashioned in the Greco-architecture of the encasement of Plymouth Rock, emphasizing that this memorial and St. Photios Shrine is our Plymouth Rock. He then recognized the number of AHEPA members in attendance, including former District Governor Michael Pantel of Clearwater who introduced Bill and Sophie Caras of West Palm Beach (Mrs. Caras served as past President of the Daughters of Penelope), Connie Pillalis of Boca Raton (district governor of the Daughters of Penelope) and Karen
MEMBERS OF THE ST. PHOTIOS NATIONAL SHRINE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Denning of Daytona Beach. Mr. Pantel committed AHEPA support to the Shrine in 2009. St. Photios Shrine Director Polly Hillier introduced the event’s keynote speaker, author Eleni Gage. Ms. Gage spoke of her personal journey that began as a project to rebuild her grandparents’ home in Lia, Epirus, Greece that resulted in healing not only a family but a village traumatically affected for decades by events leading to the deaths of many Liotes, including Ms. Gage’s grandmother during the
Greek civil war (1942-49). Most endearing was Ms. Gage’s love and respect for not only the past and how it affected her own family but her sensitivity and insight into the humanity of the villagers. Metropolitan Alexios congratulated chairpersons Archon Dr. Manuel and Elaine Tissura as well as the Shrine staff and Foundation volunteers for the work they have accomplished. The Leonardi family of Leonardi’s Nursery in St. Augustine donated the centerpieces in memory of Stella Kalivas. She and
her husband, James, were two of the founders of the Shrine and long–time St. Augustinians. Metropolitan Alexios commended Eleni Gage for touching every attendee with her stories and also congratulated Mrs. Chryssavergis and the beautiful voices of the choir of St. John the Divine. The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine is the only national shrine of the Archdiocese in America. Located in downtown St. Augustine, it is referred to as the “Jewel of St. George Street.”
The Feast of the Annunciation and Day of Greek Independence page 1
condition, so that, in Christ, all human beings could live in authentic communion with God as He intended for us since the beginning of the cosmos. Beyond Her exemplary words of obedience to the will of God, the Theotokos also demonstrated unparalleled courage when she accepted God’s most awesome charge of giving birth to His Son. For in the months and years that followed, the Virgin Mary, the Panaghia, faced unprecedented difficulties which called for uncommon bravery. It is enough for us to remember the birth of Christ in a cave in Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt to escape the dangers to the newborn Jesus’ life imposed by Herod’s wrath, and the sight of Her Son hanging upon the Cross. Hers was a level of courage that human language fails to express and which can only be attributed to the Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary and Theotokos, a courage most unique in its grandeur and in its authenticity as compared to the courage of all other human beings.
The response of the Virgin Mary to the greeting of the Archangel was definitive: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your word (Luke 1:38). With these words, the Virgin Mary accepted the immense responsibility of giving birth to the Son of God. With these words, she accepted the unique and amazing blessing of becoming the very Mother of God, the Bearer of God, as we so address Her with the most holy and reverential title Theotokos. Her obedience to the will of God to give birth to His only-begotten Son, the Christ, and to be His Mother carry monumental significance. By Her full and unwavering acceptance of God’s will, the Theotokos reversed the terrible consequences of Eve’s tragic choice to disobey the will of God. By Her words and actions, the Virgin Mary made it possible for us to experience a full and total restoration from our tormented human
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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These characteristics of obedience to the will of God, and the courage of the Most Holy Theotokos have inspired Christians of all ages to ask for Her divine intercessions before God whenever in time of need. For us as Greek Orthodox Christians, it is precisely these attributes which serve as the basis for our associating this great Feast of our Church, the Annunciation, with the Day of Greek Independence, March 25, 1821. For on that day in history, our Hellenic forebears wanted to reestablish the God-given right of life and liberty as had been previously bequeathed to them by their fathers and mothers. With obedience to the eternal will of God, they conformed their actions to the teachings of the Orthodox Christian faith, and they demonstrated extraordinary levels of courage in their righteous struggle for enduring conditions of freedom and independence. With unceasing prayers to God, through the intercessions of the Theotokos, and with their obedience and courage, they restored a
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lasting independence to the nation of Greece, which had been oppressed for four centuries far too long. In memory of these fallen heroes, who gave their lives for freedom, we offer our prayers of profound gratitude especially to God on this Day of Greek Independence. As we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, I pray that we may remember and take to our hearts the sterling examples offered by the Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary of obedience to the Divine will and the courage to act in accordance with it. Through Her intercessions, let us beseech God to protect our Genos, that it may be preserved in conditions of freedom, independence, and the readiness to conform to the will of God in all things. With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
The 2009 edition of the Archdiocese Yearbook is now available. The book includes directories of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Archdiocese and metropolises, parishes and clergy, national ministries, departments, institutions, and related agencies and organizations. Copies can be ordered from the Dept. of Communications for $18 plus $6 shipping. Call (212) 774-0244.
Great and Holy Lent “Let us set out with joy upon the season of the Fast….” Vespers of the Sunday of Forgiveness
Fordham University Lecture – With Archbishop Demetrios (from left) Dr. George Demacopoulos, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, Michael and Mary Jaharis, President Fr. Joseph M. McShane S.J., Fr. Stanley Harakas, Metropolitans Methodios of Boston and Nicholas of Detroit, Bishop Savas of Troas and Dr. Aristotle Papanikolaou.
Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology at Fordham page 1 tholomew, who plans to visit the United States in late October, will receive an honorary degree and deliver a major address at Fordham on Oct. 27. The new Archbishop Demetrios Chair of Orthodox Theology and Culture will be one of the components of Fordham’s Orthodox Christian Studies Program, cofounded by Associate Professors of Theology George Demacopoulos, Ph.D., and Aristotle Papanikolaou, Ph.D. The elements of the program consist of the Solon and Marianna Patterson Triennial Conference Endowment Fund for the Theological and Historical Examination of the Orthodox/Catholic Dialogue, an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor in Orthodox Christian Studies, the annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture and the campus chapter of Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Fordham was founded in 1841 by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and placed in the care of the Society of Jesus. Its enrollment includes 8,000 undergraduate and 7,000 graduate students, including a sizable number of Orthodox Christians. Fordham also has a Greek students club whose members march in New York’s annual Greek Independence Day Parade. Orthodox Lecture Fr. Harakas spoke on “The Future of Orthodox Christianity in America,” in which he discussed the growing trend towards “a European-style secularization” in this country and how Orthodox Christians should respond. “Some trends are worrying,” he said. In discussing the state of the Church in this age of secularism, Fr. Harakas cited some recent studies on worship and participation in the Church in this country. He noted that, while there is a 72 percent use of English in parishes, “the rate of church growth is troubling,” he said. “Parishes are doing little to reach out to the larger community.” Another study reported that 90 percent of Orthodox Christians in the United States are American-born, with 28 percent considering themselves as conservative, 40 percent as traditional, with the rest moderate to liberal, he said. On the plus side, “Loyalty to the Orthodox Church is extremely high,” said Fr. Harakas, “and there is significant respect for clergy.” He added that, “three-fourths of the respondents would encourage their sons to be priests.” But he also discussed findings that take
a more pessimistic view, which “foresees vastly diminished parishes in numbers and membership.” As to what its societal role should be in the 21st century, he said the Orthodox Church “should penetrate society at many levels.” With the erosion of Protestantism, Fr. Harakas said American society is undergoing a radical secular change and there is “an increasing marginalization of Christianity in the public forum.” He noted that, while “lip service” is paid to Christian ideals, “Christian values are being undermined.” A scholar in Greece has describes this trend as the “malaise of Western culture” with its negation of spiritual values and the spiritual foundation of Christianity. “This is an age characterized by material and cultural failure and a constant rejection of the Christian world view,” said Fr. Harakas. He warned that American society “is not far behind the European situation, citing repeated calls during the political campaigns in 2008 for America to become “more like Europe,” which Fr. Harakas feels could happen especially in the coming decade “unless there is some radical intervention.” Fr. Harakas said there “has to be an acceptance that life in the Church cannot be identified with society,” and the Church must not be “co-opted by the culture.” He remarked that trends toward political correctness “should be eliminated” and, instead Orthodox should accept “the fundamental principles of freedom and community as outlined in the Constitution.” He added that various political “isms” that have characterized European politics, are not part of what it means to be American and “as the European secular spirit invades America, we must not succumb to it, but engage it with truth and a spiritual
FR. STANLEY HARAKAS addresses an audience of nearly 300 at the Orthodoxy in America Lecture Series at Fordham.
way of life.” Fr. Harakas drew an analogy between the culture of contemporary America and that of fourth century Alexandra, Egypt, then a major cultural and political center in the eastern Mediterranean. He said that its religious pluralism, with a wide range of philosophies and beliefs, offers a “striking sociological similarity” to contemporary American culture. The life of St. Athanasius, who lived in that era, presents a model of maintaining the Orthodox faith in such a diverse culture where he faced a major theological battle against the heresy of Arianism. “In the face of such diversity, Athanasius functioned as the voice of Orthodoxy; and urged Christians to keep faith unaltered and unadulterated,” he said. Fr. Harakas explained Athanasius saw the importance of training children in the Orthodox faith and ensuring they participate in the worship services of the Church. In contemporary society. He stressed the importance of the camping experience offered by parishes and metropolises in America in forming and strengthening young people’s faith. There also is a lesson in ecumenism to be learned from Athanasius’ exile to the West on five different occasions. These exiles enabled him to recruit like-minded allies in support of his views and teachings and can serve as a model for a new kind of ecumenism in our own era, Fr. Harakas said. “Athanasius stands as a supreme model for survival, learning and living for Christians in a hostile world. He is a useful model for Orthodox in this country.” As for the Church’s involvement in the ecumenical movement through the World Council of Churches and National Council of Churches in Christ, he described this as “not entirely helpful regarding the cause of the faith … Both bodies have moved further and further away from the original faith.” Instead, his view is that the only meaningful dialogue has been the longestrunning dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic churches. “We are speaking to each other on a proper level,” he said, and urged joining with “like-minded” Roman Catholics and Evangelical Christians in presenting a common front against the encroachment of secularism in American society. Fr. Harakas concluded his presentation by underscoring that the mission of the Church “is to be as fully Orthodox as we can be through our message and way of life in answer to the downward spiral of secular society,” he said. “Our task is to love America. You can’t save if you don’t love.”
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this first day of Great and Holy Lent, which our Holy Orthodox Church designates as “Clean Monday,” we are called to intensify the manner by which we contemplate our lives. Through the sacred services and commemorations of the Church, and through prayer, fasting and sacrificial gifts of service and resources, we participate within a complete environment of holiness and reflection so that we may examine our relationship with God and the spiritual state of our souls. Through repentance and obedience to the will of God, we strive to return to that which was lost. Through struggling with and confronting our earthly temptations and passions, we travel along the path to salvation. Through renewal and commitment to holiness, we return from the exile of the Fall to Life-giving communion with our Creator and Redeemer. The hymns and commentaries of Great and Holy Lent often refer to this effort as a journey. One of the analogies used to help us understand this spiritual pilgrimage is that of the Hebrew people and their journey from bondage in Egypt to the land of promise. Their commitment to the will of God, His provision for their freedom, and His presence with them throughout every step of their journey began with faith. By faith they began the journey that would lead them home. This journey was not easy. The Hebrew people struggled to remain faithful to God. Sin and disobedience resulted in forty years of wandering in the wilderness, with many never reaching the Promised Land. But for those who remained faithful to the covenant, the promise was fulfilled. Like the children of Israel, we too are called to have faith as we set out on a journey that we know is not easy. The days and sacred services of this holy season lead us to the Holy Week, to the Cross of our Lord whereupon we venerate His crucifixion, the supreme act of sacrifice and love by God for us. At the same time, we enter this Lenten journey today with hearts filled with faith, hope, and love; because we know that the destination of this journey, after the spiritual intensity of the Holy Week, culminates with the glorious Resurrection of Christ and His complete triumph over sin, evil, and death. Today, as we embark upon this great Lenten journey, these forty days of the Great Fast, let us be mindful of all of those before us who also wandered in the wilderness. Let us not squander this beautiful opportunity for repentance and renewal; but rather, let us remain faithful to our calling to holiness and continue on our journey ahead. May our good and gracious Lord grant us all strength for this journey, and may this season of Great and Holy Lent be a blessed time for all our Greek Orthodox communities as we direct our steps towards an encounter with our Lord, Who is waiting for us with His open arms on the Cross, ready to embrace us with the brilliant light of His Resurrection. With paternal love in Christ,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America
Y UTH MINISTRY Archdiocese ‘Youth Protection Manual’ Created by Elisabeth Lourie
In response to a request from Archbishop Demetrios and the Holy Eparchial Synod, the National Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries has created the Youth Protection Manual for Metropolis/Direct Archdiocesan District Camps and Retreats (YPM). The YPM is designed to guide clergy and laity charged with the task of selecting, training, and supervising those who work with young people at camps and retreats. This manual has been created with the assistance of Praesidium Inc., a risk management organization that specializes in training and prevention. It consists of policies and procedures for the protection of children and youth participating in camps and retreats of the Archdiocese. Beginning in 2009, each Camp/ Metropolis retreat of the Archdiocese is mandated to use the YPM within their program. Fr. Mark Leondis, director of the department, states in the manual “Youth ministry and camping programs are entrusted with the spiritual upbringing of the young people who participate in them. Those working with young people are first and foremost accountable to God, as well as their wider communities, for the well-being and spiritual formation of our children. The Church must be a secure and safe environment where young people can grow and mature in the Faith.” The YPM outlines among other
Youth workers and clergy from around the country at the Youth Ministry Conference in Florida.
things, definitions of types of abuse, a code of conduct for camp/retreat personnel, guidelines for monitoring and supervision of children and youth, guidelines for appropriate affection, and guidelines for screening and selection of staff and volunteers. Initial training was offered to Metropolis/Direct Archdiocesan District chancellors and youth directors in October 2008 at the Archdiocese. A second training session was held for all camp directors of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and camp and youth workers from other jurisdictions. This training took place at the Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference, from Jan. 22-24, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Dr. Jane Hickerson,
vice president of Praesidium Inc., led both sessions. Dr. Hickerson provided extensive training on the prevention of child abuse, and the proper screening, selecting and training of volunteers and staff members. Almost every chancellor/youth director and camp director of the Archdiocese is now certified in the policies so they can properly train their respective camp/retreat staff. At the Camp Conference, participants received a copy of the Youth Protection Manual as well as sample forms to be used at their camps or retreats (staff applications, voluntary disclosure form, notice of concern, etc.) Additionally, two workshops were offered: YPM “Roll Out” by Fr. Leondis and Elisabeth Lourie from the Depart-
ment of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and a social networking workshop led by Eva Kokinos, Metropolis of Detroit youth director. With the creation of the Youth Protection Manual, additional work will be required of Archdiocesan camps. However, all who work with young people would agree that providing them with a safe environment where they can grown and mature in their Faith is our first priority. The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries has posted the final draft of the Youth Protection Manual, as well as sample forms to be downloaded, on its website. Visit www.youth.goarch.org for updates. Contact the Department at (646) 519-6180 with any questions.
Gearing up for Summer Fun @ Ionian Village With more than 20 years of youth related experience, new Ionian Village Camp Director Deacon Jason Roll, is excited about adding a few new surprises to the already solid camp program. “Working at various camps over the years - including St. Nicholas Ranch in California, Camp Good Shepherd, and Camp Angelos in Oregon- I’ve gained valuable knowledge of how to create a fun, loving and educational program for the campers. I look forward to sharing this experience with the Ionian Village staff and, most importantly, with the campers.” Located in the western Peloponnese, the Ionian Village camp program offers participants a memorable experience filled with education in learning Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Day-trips and excursions include exploring the islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Aegina, visiting monasteries and venerating the relics of Sts. Gerasimos, Dionysios, Nektarios and Andrew. Campers and staff also spend time walking the marketplaces of Athens, including Monastiraki and Plaka. Time spent on the grounds of Ionian Village consists of activities designed to bring the campers closer to God and each other. Discussions about the Orthodox faith and the many challenges that face young adults occur during catechetical sessions called “Orthodox Life.” Music and Greek culture sessions offer campers the opportunity to learn about the life of the ancient and modern people of Greece. Other activities include aquatics, athletics and arts and crafts. Summer camp at Ionian Village would not be complete without a bonfire on the beach, swimming in the Ionian Sea and
for campers to arrive in late June. This summer marks the 38th season of summer camp at Ionian Village. Over the years nearly 16,000 Orthodox young adults, clergy and staff have called Ionian Village their home for part of the summer. This year, among the nearly 100 staff applications received, 27 qualified young adults were selected to serve as staff members for the upcoming summer. The experienced and diverse staffers are dedicated to serve the Orthodox youth while contributing their unique talents to the program. Campers in grades 8-12 are invited to register for either the Summer Travel Camp program (June 26-July 16) or the Byzantine Venture program (July 24-Aug. 13). For more information, visit www. ionianvillage.org or call (646) 519-6190 a traditional Panagiri celebration. The Orthodox faith is the heart of the Ionian Village program. Chapel begins and ends the busy days and Divine Liturgy is celebrated on Sunday mornings and feast days. “Night with God” discussions held in the amphitheater bring campers closer to God, their faith and one another. Over the course of the camp session, friendships are built among campers that last beyond their time spent together at Ionian Village. In January, Deacon Roll and Archdiocese Youth Director Fr. Mark Leondis traveled to Greece to survey the grounds of Ionian Village. In preparation for the summer ahead they met with the camp’s on-site staff to begin preparing the facility
Orthodox Christian Fellowship Announces New Development Director With the blessings of Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), the official collegiate campus ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) announces the hiring of Presbytera Shyla Hadzellis as the new development director. Presbytera Shyla replaces Chip Southworth, who has served in the position since 2007. Presbytera Shyla holds a masters degree in business management from Oklahoma City University and gained
fundraising experience working for the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Recently she worked for Elderhostel as business operations specialist in Boston. She is originally from Oklahoma and resides in Houston with her husband, Fr. Nicholas Hadzellis, assistant priest at Annunciation Cathedral and their two daughters. Presbytera Shyla serves as a committee chair for the National Sisterhood of Presvyteres and is a member of the Philoptochos Society.
God’s Presence in Human Suffering by Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Clapsis
The way that we understand and experience communion with God differs in times of joy and of suffering. When everything goes well in our lives, it is possible to acknowledge with thanks God’s blessings and benevolence. In times of affliction and, especially of undeserved suffering, people have difficulty to discern and experience the benevolent presence of God in their lives. In such circumstance they may even question His providence, love and righteousness. Yet, it is also true in situations of suffering and affliction that people come to terms with their vulnerability, their limitations and thus open themselves to God and to others. Today, it is widely recognized that human beings are intrinsically relational. In other words, they are not self-sufficient, selfcontained, and self-enclosed beings. They live as they relate and they relate as they live. Interdependence is the basic structure and dynamic of personal existence. Our humanity depends on our loving disposition, which has its origins in the love of God and of the love as it is given to us by those that love us and we love. The cost of love is suffering. Suffering is not accidental to love; it is an essential element of love. Personhood demands mutuality, and because love lies at the core personhood, suffering occurs. Suffering is the potential result of the malfunctioning of the interdependence of love; love abused is traumatic. There can be no interdependence; there can be no love without suffering. The most serious form of suffering consists in relations violated, in intimacy destroyed, in various forms of alienation, in betrayal and abandonment. Suffering that comes about because of the interpersonal nature of our existence takes two basic forms: that of affliction and that of tragedy. Affliction has to do with the social nature of personhood. As social beings dependent for much of our identity on others, we are vulnerable to the fragility of social worlds. The need for social solidarity makes us vulnerable. Affliction involves abandonment and degradation or the fear of them in some form or another. The degradation is felt in the isolation that accompanies affliction. The loss of solidarity experienced by the afflicted is a common phenomenon. Affliction is suffering that has at the same time physical, psychological, and social elements. Suffering can also be tragic. The ancient Greek tragedians described the dynamic of tragic suffering against a background of conflict, of forces beyond control. Love exists in a tragic world where love and lovers are constantly threatened. All vulnerabilities, all loses, and all specific suffering are for the person indications and symbols of the ultimate loss, which is death. This is the most tragic form of suffering. No life can be managed so as to render it invulnerable to the anxiety engendered by the anticipation of death – our beloved’s and our own. Suffering, as we have presented it, is not something incidental or external to a person. Suffering enters into the very texture of one’s life journey. As a constitutive component of personal existence, it is always a negative reality that cannot easily be transformed into a positive. No one can pretend to have ultimate answers to the why of suffering. There is a question of intractability about suffering. The real anguish of suffering is found in its perceived meaningless. There is so much innocent and meaningless suffering that no easy interpretation is possible. History presents itself to us as a mixture of meaning and meaninglessness, of sorrow and happiness. Such a mixture raises the question whether, in the last resort, we can trust life at all. Faith in God addresses the meaningless of “undeserved’ human suffering in its task to
interpret human existence. It communicates the belief that life is good and meaningful despite the suffering it entails. Suffering as a spiritual challenge refers not to ways to avoid suffering but how to suffer, how to make physical pain, personal loss, worldly defeat, or the helpless contemplation of other’s agony something bearable, something, as we say, sufferable. Suffering in Christian tradition has often been understood as a great teacher, as a source of wisdom and maturity. But there are limits to perceiving suffering as a fundamental cause for the promotion of human maturation. Yet all forms of Christian life need to be grounded in a refusal to ignore suffering. For Christianity, Christ is the way, the model by which Christians give meaning to suffering. To suffer with Christ, the claim is made, transforms mere suffering into renewed trust in God and openness to the life-giving spirit. The willingness to accept suffering as a means to perfect one’s total personality is difficult to be accepted in the present world. We consider suffering to have a negative value, an experience that inescapably diminishes human existence. But is suffering all bad? Is it always a net of loss, or can it sometimes be the occasion for real growth? Despite the fact that the best human creativity has been disclosed and expressed in situations of suffering, we cannot say, “suffering is good for us”. There is much too much suffering in the world that can in no way be of any value for anyone. Can suffering be the occasion for real growth? Spiritual writers and psychologists have used the term “false self” to suggest how illusory our self-image can be when aspects of the self are denied and repressed. In suffering, I am most totally alone. My suffering is exclusively mine: it bears my name as no other experience does, because it seems to insulate me from others. This painful isolation gives access to the bottom depth of selfhood – the locus of transcendence – that can remain unsuspectingly hidden to the untroubled mind. Suffering makes us aware of the self’s hidden depth and of its insufficiency. To reject one’s suffering marks the beginning of the loss of selfhood. The making of the self depends upon the self’s courage to face fully the negativity of suffering. When fully faced and accepted, suffering can be incorporated into the creativity of the self. Acceptance can be the most difficult, and at the same time most important element of one’s spiritual existence. Acceptance does not eliminate the negativity of suffering and/ or transform it into a positive reality. “Every acceptance of suffering,” writes Dorothy Soelle, “is an acceptance of that which exists. The denial of every form of suffering can result in a flight from reality.” Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane shows a way to move from the realm of meaningless suffering to creative suffering. Acceptance of suffering is acceptance of mystery that no logic can resolve. It is this acceptance that we are set on the road to meaning. In the following psalm, note the acceptance of suffering and the acceptance of mystery. Hasten to answer me, O Lord, For my spirit fails me. Hide not your face from me Lest I become like those who go Down to the pit. At dawn let me hear of your kindness, For in you I trust. Show me the way, in which I should walk, For to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, For in you I hope (Ps 143:7-9)
CATECHETICAL HOMILY for holy and great lent í Bartholomew
By God’s grace, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch To the PLENTITUDE of the Church, Grace and Peace from our SAVIOR jesus CHRIST and prayers, blessings and forgiveness from us “Come, all peoples, let us today welcome The gift of fasting The period of repentance granted to us by God” (Monday, First Week of Fasting)
Brethren and beloved children in the Lord, The fast proposed to us by our Holy Church is not any deprivation, but a charisma. And the repentance to which it calls us is not any punishment, but a divine gift. When the Church urges us, through the words of Scripture, not to store up for ourselves treasures on earth “where most and rust consume” but instead to store up treasures in heaven, where there is no danger of corruption, it is telling us the truth. For the Church is not of this world, even though it lives in this world and knows it. It knows humanity: our real need and distress. It knows our time well: the time of great development and speed, the plethora of information and confusion, the time of many fears, threats and collapses. This is why – with calmness and steadiness – the Church invites everyone to repentance. This is why it discourages its children from taking the wrong path by treasuring their labors and basing their hopes on unstable foundations. Rather, it encourages them to store up treasure in heaven; for where our treasure lies, there also our heart is. The treasure that cannot be corrupted and the hope that does not shame is precisely God’s love, the divine force that binds all things together. It is the incarnate Word of God, who stays with us forever. He is the sanctification of our souls and bodies. For, He did not come to judge but to save the world. He did not come to criticize but to heal. “He wounds with compassion and demonstrates compassion with fervor.” He abolished he one who held the power of death, namely the devil. He annihilated the sorrow of death, namely the joyless form and dark presence of death, which darkens and poisons all of our life and joy. This is why, when our heart and love are directed toward the divine-human Lord, who has authority over the living and the dead, then everything is illumined and transformed. Indeed, when the Apostle exhorts us “not to set our hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Tim. 6.17), he is assuring us that the true enjoyment of life is exactly what God offers us, while we simply receive it with gratitude and thanksgiving. Then, the little becomes abundant, because it is blessed; and the fleeting and momentary shine with the light of eternity. Then, not only do the joys of life contain something eternal; but the troubles and sufferings become occasions of divine comfort. The divine economy of salvation is certain. For, God is “the one who provides everything with depth of wisdom and loving-kindness.” And the deposit of our labors is secure, for “we surrender all of our life and hope” to the incarnate Word. So when the Gospel refers us to heaven, it is speaking literally. It brings us down to the reality of the earth, which has become heaven. This is the certainty experienced and confessed by the Church. Through your Cross, O Christ, there is one flock and one church of angels and human beings. Heaven and earth rejoice together. Lord, glory to you.” The Church grants us the opportunity to experience this miracle of earthbecome-heaven. Our roots lie in heaven. Without the Church, we are uprooted and homeless. For the Church is our home. So long as we return to the Church, we are returning home; we come to ourselves. So long as we are estranged from the Church, we are lost and meaningless. So long as we approach the Church, we perceive the authenticity of what is true. We behold the heavenly Father awaiting us outside the house. We are convinced by the sense of goodness and beauty; we sense the presence of God’s powerful love, which overcomes death; we no longer sense the corruption and doubt, which mock the world. Therefore, let us heed the divine invitation to enter the ocean of fasting in order to reach the harbor of light and resurrection with all the saints.
Holy and Great Lent 2009 Your fervent supplicant before God
í Bartholomew of Constantinople
Leadership 100 25 Anniversary Conference Celebrates Record Growth by George Schirra
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The 25th Anniversary Celebration Conference of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund took place in early February, marking record growth in membership and continued success in raising new funds for grants despite the economic downturn. Stephen G. Yeonas, Leadership 100’s chairman, told an estimated 340 members and their guests that membership has increased to a record 813 with 64 new members joining in 2008 and 374 members fulfilling their pledges of $100,000 each. In reviewing the past year, the chairman said, “We have had a very successful year despite the economic downturn and the future looks bright. We have reached 813 members in all with 64 new members in 2008 alone and managed to raise in excess of $1 million in special grant funds to allow our Endowment Fund to recover over 2009. There is no question in my mind that our ultimate goal of 1,000 members and $100 million in the Endowment Fund will be achieved before our 30th anniversary. We are strivers and optimists by nature, faith and heritage and we will prevail!” The conference began with meetings of the executive committee and trustees who heard reports on membership, investments, finances, administration and communications. The highlight was a report by Charles H. Cotros, chairman of the newlyformed Leadership 100 Grant Fund, who said that despite the economic downturn, $1,060,350 had been raised in cash and pledges from Leadership 100 members to continue support of scholarships for seminarians studying for the priesthood at Holy Cross School of Theology. After two days of forums featuring the traditional Bible study led by Archbishop
Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence Founder-Recipients at Grand Banquet, left to right, Founder Peter M. Dion with wife, Diana; Eugenia Hasiotis who accepted on behalf of her father, Founder George K. Chimples; Dr. William A. Athens and wife, Angie, who accepted on behalf of Founders Andrew A. Athens and the late Thomas A. Athens; Founder Michael Jaharis with wife, Mary; Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, President of Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, who accepted for the late Founder George P. Kokalis; George D. Behrakis, chairman of the Conference, Archbishop Demetrios, Founder Arthur C. Anton with wife, Madeline; and Thelma and Stephen G. Yeonas, L100 chairman.
Demetrios, a business panel moderated by George D. Behrakis, (the Conference chairman, with his wife, Margo), which included Charles H. Cotros and John G. Pappajohn, and special appearances by prominent trial attorney Jacob Stein and Deborah Norville, host of Inside Edition. At the grand banquet held Feb. 7, conferees honored Leadership 100 Founders, presenting them with the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence, named for Archbishop Iakovos who initiated the organization in 1984. Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico, exarch of Central America and the Caribbean Islands, and Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta also attended. The entertainment was highlighted by the country soul singer, Ronnie Milsap, winner of seven Grammy Awards, and
the Alpha Band, one of the best in Greek music. New members and fulfilled members in attendance received special recognition and Leadership 100 Partners, the young professionals and future leaders, now numbering 74, met at two special events. In honoring Leadership 100’s Founding Members, Arthur C. Anton Sr., Andrew A. Athens, George K. Chimples, Peter M. Dion, Michael Jaharis and, posthumously, Thomas A. Athens and George P. Kokalis, with the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence, Mr. Behrakis said: “In the lead were always the best example of leaders, our Founders, who always and everywhere rejoiced in hope, each and every one, Arthur C. Anton, whom my own father pointed to as a shining example of what we can achieve, Andrew
A. Athens, an apostle of Hellenism around the world, George K. Chimples, who has inspired us to ever greater heights, Peter M. Dion, who has offered us a special wisdom in our affairs and Michael Jaharis, whose generosity of spirit has no match. We remember too, with gratitude, Thomas A. Athens, who built up Leadership 100 like no other, and George P. Kokalis, who whipped us into action. What truly great examples for us and our children and their children.” From an initial 100 members at its historic beginning, Leadership 100 now counts 813 memberships. Having surpassed its goal of 63 members in 2008, it has set a new goal of 70 members for 2009.
The Voice of Philoptochos
National Board Discusses Upcoming Programs at Winter Meeting National Philoptochos Board members held their winter meeting at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in New York City on Jan. 30-31. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas opened the meeting and Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, the Philoptochos spiritual advisor, offered the opening prayer and provided a spiritual reflection on the major feast days of January. Mrs. Skeadas welcomed the board members and congratulated them on their attendance at their first meeting of 2009. She stated that the Greek Orthodox faith is the focus of the Society and dictates all that we do. The primary focus and responsibility of this administration and the National Board is to increase the growth and awareness of the Society. She encouraged National Board members to remain steadfast in spite of the current, difficult economic times. President Skeadas reported that the relocation of the National Office is ongoing and she has appointed three committees: Relocation, Office Move, and Technology to assist with a smooth transition. President Skeadas thanked the Philoptochos members nationwide for their response to the Christmas Stocking Stuffer Appeal to assist with the relocation expenses and technology upgrading. To date, approximately $4,000 has been received. This appeal is ongoing and she asked National Board members to return to their chapters and seek support for this appeal. Mrs. Skeadas announced the following National Board appointments: Anita Kartalopoulos, legal advisor; Kassandra Romas, parliamentarian; and Haeda Mihaltses, protocol officer. She reviewed her visitation schedule that included Metropolis and chapter celebrations and Vasilopita events. Mrs. Skeadas was present on the eve of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration in Washington at the event honor-
ing Archbishop Demetrios. She stated that “We were represented by Archbishop Demetrios when he offered prayers and caring of our faith for the benefit of all the citizens of the United States and the entire world at the National Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral during the Presidential Inaugural program.” Treasurer Joanne Kakoyiannis presented her report stating that each year our Society surpasses the philanthropic distributions of the previous year, which is a credit to the dedication of the chapters and members. In 2007, National Philoptochos distributed $1,373,000 and in 2008, $1,430,000. The National Board approved disbursements from the following accounts: The Sisterhood of St. Basil Academy: $64,000 ($38,000 for a new rubber gym floor, and $26,000 for a new boiler for the Main House, Hellenic College Lenten: $34,000 for 27 round tables and 225 chairs for the Cafeteria, National Sisterhood of Presbyteras:$30,000, Retired Clergy Association Benevolent Fund: $35,000, Ecumenical Patriarchate: $50,000.
National Philoptochos Announces Nationwide HIV/AIDS Walkathon The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society announces the “Hits the Streets” Nationwide HIV/AIDS 5 K Walkathon to be supported by Philoptochos chapters by May 30. At the 2008 biennial convention held in Washington, delegates overwhelmingly endorsed holding a nationwide HIV/AIDS Walkathon under the sponsorship of the National Philoptochos Society. Chapters nationwide will organize the HIV/AIDS Walkathon in cooperation with their parishes. National President Aphrodite Skeadas, along with the HIV/AIDS Walkathon Co-Chairs Elaine Cladis and Barbara Latsonas, stated in their letter to the Philoptochos chapters regarding the Walkathon: “With compassion and love, the Walkathon will serve to unite and bond our families, our parishes and our communities in a common cause, ‘I was sick and you took care of me’ (Matthew24:36). “HIV/AIDS is a worldwide virus. The virus threatens everyone, everywhere. In Ethiopia, a predominantly Orthodox country, HIV/AIDS has reached alarming epidemic levels and there are
over 1.8 million AIDS orphans living in Ethiopia. “The National Philoptochos is partnering with IOCC and with the help of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, will serve to aid these orphans. IOCC solicits matching funds through the United States government and various U.S. agencies. “In the United States, funding is needed to assist the less fortunate, underprivileged and impoverished who are afflicted with the HIV/AIDS virus. Funds will assist the National AIDS Fund through its 400 service organizations in the United States to provide services to those most in need. “Let us respond positively to this challenge with the same Christian love and commitment that Philoptochos has shown over the years. The caring for children in Ethiopia and the indigent without adequate means to combat this virus in our country, indeed afford us the opportunity to be true members of the ‘Body of Christ,’ where ‘Orthodoxia’ is lived in practice, ‘Orthopraxia.’” HIV/AIDS Walkathon Information may be found on the National Philoptochos website: www.philoptochos.org
The complete treasurer’s report is on file at the National Philoptochos Office. Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon – Metropolis of Atlanta Philoptochos President Evan Scurtis reported that the 12th Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon will be held at the Boca Raton Resort, in Boca Raton, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 14. Philoptochos members are encouraged to attend with their families. HIV/AIDS Walkathon – Co-Chairs Elaine Cladis and Barbara Latsonas stated that the Walkathon is a nationwide activity and each chapter should schedule its Walk to take place by the end of May. The two organizations designated to receive funding from the Walkathon are IOCC, working with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and the National AIDS Fund through its 400 service organizations in the United States. Information about the Walkathon is available on www.philoptochos.org Following the Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Three Hierarchs at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Archbishop Demetrios greeted the National Board. His Eminence
spoke about the presidential inaugural festivities and discussed the National Prayer Service where the Archbishop took part in reading a passage from the New Testament: “Love God with all your heart. Love your neighbor.” His Eminence celebrated the cutting of the Vasilopita with the Board members. The Standing and Special Committees convened to review their mission statements and responsibilities and to develop a plan of action that will raise awareness and the profile of the Society as a national organization. The National Philoptochos president stated, “Once again we are at the beginning. With optimism and without limiting beliefs, we shall do our best to address our philanthropic mission. Our Ladies Philoptochos Society may not have created the slogan, ‘Yes we can,” but we live by that phrase!” Mrs. Skeadas announced the formation of three new permanent special committees: Environment Responsibility, New Philanthropic Initiatives and Arts and Education. The new Environment Responsibility Committee was created in response to the critical need to raise awareness and engage the membership to become good stewards of those gifts which God has provided. Preserving the natural resources and protecting the environment of the world are the responsibility of every human being for future generations. National Board members participated in a most informative and educational session about the environment that included the viewing of the video “Living Waters: Saving our Seas and Rivers” featuring Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and a presentation by Suzanne Mattai, New York State Environmental Regional Director. President Skeadas announced that the spring National Board meeting will be held May 1-2, 2009 at Hellenic College/ Holy Cross in Brookline, Mass.
Philoptochos Establishes Autism Assistance Fund The 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention delegates in Washington, established a National Philoptochos Autism Assistance Fund to enable Philoptochos to heighten awareness of autism and to provide assistance and support to persons within the autism spectrum. February is designated as the month for chapters to support this national discretionary fund. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects development in areas of social in-
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Metropolis of Atlanta Philoptochos will host the 12th National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon “Let Us Rejoice and Embrace the Children,” Saturday, Nov. 14, 2009 at the Boca Resort and Hotel, Boca Raton, Fla. Reservations and additional information will follow.
teraction and communication skills and is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. Early intervention is crucial for the treatment of autistic children and although autism emerges in childhood, it’s not simply a childhood disorder. Autistic children often have a normal life span and families cope with the costly disability for decades. Funds will assist to provide research, information, education and awareness.
The Department of Social Services The Department of Social Services provides individuals and families with free and confidential assistance to ensure people get the help they need from the best resources available. The department addresses issues such as health and mental health, housing and homelessness, poverty and income inadequacies, aging and family services, alcohol and other drug use, domestic violence, immigration, employment, government entitlements, legal services and adoption referrals. Evaluations, referrals and services provided by bi-lingual (Greek/ English) social workers. Contact the Department of Social Services at 212.744-4774 or Grkorthsocialwrk@aol.com.
Commentaries and Opinions Archpastoral Reflections TALES FROM THE STOLÉ ‘God’s Home’ Can Be Understood in Many Ways Fasting and Feasting by Fr. John S. Bakas
Our culture does not know what to do with fasting and Lent. We do a pretty good job with the feasting right before Lent, mind you – more and more people even outside of New Orleans celebrate Mardi Grass with beads and floats, and more and more people devour sausages, pancakes and waffles at pre-lenten celebrations. Any excuse for a feast is welcome! But what to do with the subdued penitential meaning of Lent. A few years ago I saw a restaurant sign that summed up our cultural uncertainty about this 40–day season on the Christian calendar: Lent Seafood Buffet: All You Can Eat! We Orthodox Christians who come out of a highly developed theology of fasting are confused by the rules and guidelines of what we should or should not eat during the fast of Great Lent. Orthodox calendars and resource guides indicate all the days for fasting with symbols for appropriate foods permitted. It never fails. Every year in anticipation of Lent the same people ask the same questions about food. “May I eat veggie burgers?” “Do I use cremora or cream in my coffee?” “I’m told I can eat olives but not olive oil.” “I can eat shrimp, oysters and lobster, but not fish.” What’s the difference and why? I chuckle to myself when I hear parishioners wishing each other “kali dymani” as a way to really encourage each other in the sacrifices of Lent and then down two bowls of lentils and half a loaf of french bread smothered with tarama and finished off by “nistisimo baklava or karidopita.” There is no “dynami” required when all we have is food substitutions and not real fasting where the stomach is disciplined and subdued with less, so that our higher spiritual nature can be fed. True fasting is not substituting one food for another only. It is not just replacing pork chops with platefuls of spaghetti or teaching our children to gorge themselves on french fries and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Fasting is marked by bodily sacrifices, a taming of our passions for the purpose of purifying and sanctifying our souls. If fasting was marked just by food contents, then vegetarians and vegans especially, would have it made according to our rules. A person needs to experience God and God’s love first. Fasting and other ascetic practices is the response that naturally follows. Fasting should not be a public “show of piety” but rather a personal experience that is filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Moreover when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you they have their reward but you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your
Father who is in the secret place; and your Father will reward you openly.” Matt. 6:18 It is not my intent to make this message a full commentary on the discipline of our Orthodox fasting, but rather to encourage the reader to seek prayerful counsel and guidance of their parish priest and spiritual father and to seek a deeper meaning that transcends just the recognizable formulas. The paradox of Great Lent is that we also take on other particular spiritual disciplines in addition to fasting. Prayer and service are crucial in conforming ourselves more closely to the life and death of Christ, all the while recognizing that Christ has already come to us before we sought Him. This is the paradox of the baptized life. We have been joined to Christ once, but we spend the rest of our lives trying to live into that union. Turning to Christ means turning also to all our neighbors who suffer. According to Isaiah, “Fasting and praying that brings us to act on behalf of our neighbors is the fast that is acceptable to God.” St. John Chrysostom says it another way: “This is the rule of the most perfect Christianity…CARING FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR.” Indeed, even though you fast, or sleep on hard ground, or even suffer unto death, yet take no thought for your neighbor, you have done nothing great; despite what you have done, you will still stand far from this model of a perfect Christian.” Several businessmen in our parish put St. John’s words into practice by missing one meal a day during their fasting periods and giving the money they would have paid for the meals to the local centers feeding the hungry and homeless. Imagine what a regular 40–day fast and Holy Week fast of missing one meal a day can do for those who are hungry not by choice but by circumstance. If more and more of us would do this as well, imagine how much good we can do for ourselves and for the needy around us. So fasting and feasting can be harnessed as enhanced spiritual disciplines that once again transcend just what goes in and out of the stomach. Consider the following as well: Fast from criticism, and feast on praise. Fast from self-pity, and feast on joy. Fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace. Fast from resentment, and feast on contentment. Fast from jealousy, and feast on humility. Fast from selfishness, and feast on service. Fast from fear, and feast on faith. Fast from bitterness and feast on forgiveness. Fast from discontent and feast on gratitude. Delight in fasting and feasting for the right reasons.
Last month we began to reflect more deeply into what we precisely mean when we refer to “God’s Home” as the gathering place for His people, in view of the theme of our most recent Clergy-Laity Congress, “Gather My People to My Home.” In doing so, we began with identifying God’s Home as the Church, and specifically the Church as a man-
by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America made structural edifice; and we arrived at a clearer understanding of how the Church presents us with the very dwelling place of God on earth. At the same time, we also acknowledged that this strict definition of “God’s Home” is by no means exhaustive. Indeed, there are many other ways of understanding “God’s Home” that are not confined to physical, earthly places. This reflection piece will endeavor to describe these other ways of understanding “God’s Home,” as we anticipate the task of gathering His people to His home. One particularly descriptive text that offers an alternative understanding of “God’s Home” is Christ’s dialogue with the Samaritan woman, which we read in the Gospel of John (John 4:1-42). In this text, Jesus is presented as sitting by a well in Samaria, and He is approached by a Samaritan woman who came there to draw water. In a dynamic conversation, the Samaritan woman challenges Jesus by raising a question referring to what was, at that time, a long-standing controversy between the Jews and the Samaritans as to the appropriate place where God was to be worshipped. Christ responds to the Samaritan woman by entirely changing the level of the conversation with the following, astonishing words: Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him (John 4:21-23). By responding to the Samaritan woman in this way, and by reinforcing that God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (v.24), Jesus moves the focal point of discussion from the location of our worship of God to the manner of our worship of God. This text greatly expands our understanding of God’s Home because Christ’s words to the Samaritan woman clarify the spiritual and unearthly dimensions of “God’s Home,” of God’s place of worship as located in the non-material realm of spirit and truth. Understood in this way, whenever we speak of “God’s Home” as a destination for the gathering of His people, we reference not only the physically accessible and identifiable Church on this earth, but also the spiritually accessible Kingdom of Heaven which is not of this world. In our work of applying our Congress’ theme of gathering God’s people to His Home, the above–mentioned text from the Gospel of John also is very helpful, in another sense, because it presents us with a unique example of Christ, Who as the Lord Himself, engages in the task of gathering the people to God’s Home. Despite the clear knowledge that His act of speaking with a woman, let alone a Samaritan woman, would be met with criticism, even from His own disciples; Christ nonetheless is the one who initiates a direct dialogue with her. By taking such initiative, Christ directly confronts the social prejudices and barriers of His day, and He takes the necessary, courageous, caring, and healing steps to transform a life and bring a human being to God’s Home. As a result, the repenting Samaritan woman speaks to the people of her village about Christ; and they come to Christ, believe in Him, and, in essence, are gathered in God’s Home (John 4:39-42). This is the task of “gathering” exemplified in the most superb of ways. It is this perfect example which we ourselves are called to emulate as we enter into genuine conversation and dialogue with men and women of other religious beliefs, ethnicities, national backgrounds and races. This example offered to us by Christ naturally leads us to the topic of “gathering” God’s people to His home, a topic of immense and complex scope. By appreciating the nature of God’s Home as both earthly and heavenly, as both the Church on earth and the Church as Kingdom of Heaven, we stand more fully equipped with the tools that we need to gather His people to His Home. With the example that Christ offers to us today, we will continue our exploration of the theme of our last Clergy-Laity Congress, “Gather My People to My Home,” concentrating on the word “gather” in our next reflection.
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Timely Discussions FATE OR FAITH? A Question of Personal Valkyrie by Rev. Dr. Frank Marangos
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) What does a soldier think when he is seriously wounded? How would you feel if you woke up in a hospital and discovered that you had lost your right hand, left eye and three fingers from your left hand? Would you be bitter and resentful if you also realized that your injuries were a result of fighting for the wrong side? Would you rely on your idea of fate or faith to help you make sense of the ordeal? The aforementioned questions provide the framework for the recent movie titled Valkyrie. Starring Tom Cruise as Colonel Stauffenberg, the film wonderfully presents the circumstances surrounding the last of 15 known attempts by German officers to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the malevolent leader of the Third Reich. Caveats aside, the motion picture narrates an exciting story about moral responsibility, bravery and faith in the face of evil. The word “valkyrie” in Old English, literally means “the chooser of the slain.” Norse mythology purported that Fate, a minor god, chose who was to live and who was to die in battle. Anglo-Saxon scholars also used the term to gloss the names of the GrecoRoman goddesses of vengeance and retribution. The retelling of this Norse myth by the composer Richard Wagner in his famous “Flight of the Valkyries” had a major impact on Hitler’s idealized image of Germany. Code named Valkyrie, the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler was devised by Colonel Stauffenberg to demonstrate to the world that not all of Germany’s soldiers, politicians and citizenry accepted the dictator’s evil ideals. In a letter home, Stauffenberg writes: “My duty is no longer to save my country, but to save human lives.” Minutes later, allied planes strike his body with bullets destroying his left eye, his entire right hand and two fingers on his left hand. The title of the film is therefore an eerie metaphor that examines the way in which fate appears to have selected Hitler to live while the lives and plans of his conspirators failed. According to the historical record, Claus von Stauffenberg was a proud military man and a practicing Catholic. In a benign yet critical scene in the movie, the colonel gazes at his reflection in a mirror while shaving with the help of only three fingers. The camera focuses on a cross and ring hanging on a chain around his neck. The ever so silent message is clear. A spiritual Valkyrie must be waged on behalf of Church and family. An earlier meeting with his coconspirators in a roofless, bombed-out church, amidst the image of an anguished face of a crucified Jesus, underscored the fact that it was Stauffenberg’s faith rather than his fateful circumstances that justified his dangerous yet
righteous pursuit. A fellow insurgent recalls the biblical story of Sodom, and how God would have saved the city if only there had been five righteous people living in it. When God judges Germany, the man says, “It may come down to one.” Valkyrie, celebrates the power of faith over fate. Colonel Stauffenberg is an example of valiant individuals who, throughout history, were not deterred by their circumstances or physical limitations but were able to overcome their quandaries by relying on the transforming power of faith. The young colonel had greatly suffered in combat and sustained major injuries. However, rather than resign himself to his unfortunate historical context, claiming fatigue and weakness due to his injuries, Stauffenberg joins forces with the German Resistance. Rather than claim that fate had stolen his strength and his ability to have a useful impact, he relied on his faith to provide the necessary power. St. Paul is the classic example of an individual whose fate was radically altered after an encounter with the Risen Lord while traveling on the road to Damascus. The event forced him to re-examine his previously held assumptions. Prior to this life-changing experience, Paul was a zealous Pharisee, a religious soldier, who meticulously persecuted Christians. Like a spiritual bomb-blast, however, his roadside encounter with Jesus left him physically blind and dependent on others. When his eyesight gradually returned, Paul’s allegiance had also changed. Like Colonel Stauffenberg and countless faithful followers of Christ throughout history, Paul overcame his misguided circumstances and became a dedicated spiritual insurgent of the Gospel. As participants in a “Spiritual Valkyrie” these historical figures desired that the world know the power of faith over fate! Webster’s Dictionary defines fate as that which unavoidably befalls one, that which is inevitably predetermined by destiny. The common usage of the word implies a set of random circumstances that will serendipitously make something happen or work out a certain way. It is often used to infer a secular rather than a spiritual reason for what is happening in someone’s life. As such, fate implies a sense of helplessness. For many, it describes a feeling of being trapped, that things will happen a certain way regardless of any effort to the contrary. Faith, on the other hand, may be defined as confidence or trust in a specific person or thing. It is a belief and a trust that is not based on empirical proof. Christian faith, therefore, is a confidence and trust in a relationship with the Risen Lord who can help us change our current situations. Such faith is rooted in love and not merely in reason. It is based on relationship and not in a doctrine or principle. Because we know, trust and depend on the lovebased relationship we have with Jesus Christ, faith provides us with the spiritual guidance needed to overcome life’s
ARCHDIOCESE NEWS Bishop Savas to Direct Office of Church and Society NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios has named Bishop Savas of Troas as director of the Office of Church and Society, with a charge to develop programs and ministries that promote a creative Orthodox Christian engagement with contemporary societal and cultural realities. “This Office,” remarked Archbishop Demetrios, “will address matters of current relevance, such as the effects of online social networking, the popularity of so-called ‘reality’ television and video games, and the resurgence of atheism. It will also oversee the Archdiocesan Advisory Committee on Science and Technology (AACST) and will work closely with the Archdiocesan Youth Department. “Bishop Savas, one of our younger hierarchs, is a person of genuine administrative and pastoral experience who has served for the past nine years as chancellor of the Archdiocese and the past seven as a bishop. “His extensive education, mature grasp of current issues, deep appreciation of and engagement with contemporary culture, and above all great love for Christ and
His Holy Church make him particularly well qualified to direct such an office. I am confident that his appointment will bear much fruit, especially for our young people, who look to us to assist them in meeting the challenge of living lives that are both fully and authentically Greek Orthodox and fully and authentically, twenty-first-century American.” Bishop Savas assumed his new responsibilities as of March 2 Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis continues as assistant chancellor and Fr. Athanasios (Al) Demos as archepiscopal vicar of the Direct Archdiocesan District. Bishop Savas (Zembillas) of Troas is a graduate of Colby College (1979, BA in philosophy and English Literature) and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (1985, with High Distinction). He pursued doctoral studies at Oxford University, under the supervision of Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, from 1987 to 1994. He is an adjunct professor at St Vladimir’s Orthodox School of Theology, where he has taught a course on “Looking for God in Popular Culture.”
Metropolis of Chicago Holds Hellenic Letters Celebration C HI C A GO - C e l e bra ti ng th e contributions of Greek literature throughout the ages and its ongoing worldwide appeal, this year’s annual Hellenic Letters observances offered a series of spiritual and cultural programs. The celebration began with the annual Aristeion literary competition for youth on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 10 at St. Demetrios Church, in the heart of Chicago’s historic North Side Greek enclave. “GREEK WORD,” presentations by students from the various Metropolis Greek schools, were offered on Jan. 24 at St. Nicholas Church in Oak Lawn. This unique program highlighted the importance of Hellenic education through various art forms, including poetry, music, dance and drama. The following morning, the DePaul area church of St. George hosted a memorial service, led by Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, and offered for departed educators, broadcasters and journalists who tirelessly worked to preserve Greek fluency and literacy amid the waves of Anglicization that often marginalize immigrant cultures and languages. A new highlight of the week was “A Journey through Hellenic Reflections, Images, Music, Dance and Poetry,” hosted by St. Demetrios Church, Elmhurst, Ill., on Wednesday, Jan. 28. Guest speaker, Chris P. Tomaras, delighted attendees with his engaging presentation regarding Hellenic education outside of Greece. Liturgical celebrations for the
Feast of the Three Hierarchs – all Christian transformers of Hellenistic culture in their early Byzantine world – began with great vespers at the Palos Hills church of Sts. Constantine and Helen, led by Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, chancellor of the Chicago Metropolis. The following morning, Chicago’s Metropolitan presided at the Feast’s Divine Liturgy at the northwest side parish of Holy Trinity. Both services were followed by programs presented by the parish’s respective Orthodox elementary schools. Joined by (native Chicagoan) the Rev. Dr. Chrysostom (John) Nassis, Metropolitan Iakovos, along with Bishop Demetrios, concelebrated the Sunday Divine Liturgy on Feb. 1 at St. Demetrios Church in Chicago. The week’s celebrations culminated in the annual Hellenic Letters luncheon that followed the liturgy, an event uniquely honoring pre-eminent educator Fotis Litsas, and awarding winners of the Aristeion. Perhaps the highlight of this year’s celebration was the presence and participation, for the entire week, of its keynote speaker Fr. Chrysostom. He presented, in modern Greek, the real universality of the Orthodox faith, and the classical consciousness that the ‘letters’ of the ancient Greeks are indeed a heritage and an inspiration for and belonging to all the world’s peoples. His presentation was followed with gratitude for his respect and appreciation for the Hellenic spirit.
CLERGY UPDATE Ordinations to the Diaconate Clifford Macarius Ayres – Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey – Holy Trinity, Roanoke, Va. 11/16/08 Assignments Fr. John Kuehnle – Sts. Constantine & Helen Church, Honolulu 08/01/08 Fr. Michael Monos – St. Luke the Evangelist Church, Columbia, Mo. 02/01/09 V. Rev. Fr. Cleopas Strongylis
– Annunciation Cathedral, Boston 03/01/09 Receptions Fr. Paul Martin - Feb. 10, 2009 (from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America) Retired Priests V. Rev. Fr. Konstantinos Kostaris 09/30/08 Suspensions Rescinded Fr. Demetrios Kavouras 01/01/09
Oakland Cathedral Honors Fr. Thomas J. Paris’ Retirement OAKLAND, Calif. – Parishioners of Ascension Cathedral honored their pastor and dean of 37 years, Fr. Thomas J. Paris, who retired in January after 47 years in the priesthood. Festivities began the morning of Jan. 6, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy led by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, assisted by Fr. Robert Stephanopoulos, retired dean of Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral in New York; Fr. Aristotle Damaskos of Holy Trinity Cathedral, Toledo, Ohio; Ascension’s assistant priest Fr. Michael Tervo; and Fr. Paris and his two sons, Frs. Paul T. Paris of St. Mary’s Church in Minneapolis and James T. Paris of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix,. On Jan. 11, the cathedral held a “Day of Gratitude and Celebration” for Fr. Paris, which concluded with a dinner that featured ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos, Fr. Paris’ godson, serving as master of ceremonies In 1959, Father Tom completed six years of study at Holy Cross School of
Theology in Brookline, Mass. He received his Licentiate of Theology, with honors, at the Theological School of the University of Athens in 1961 and was ordained a priest at St. Andrew’s, his hometown parish in Chicago, later that same year. Fr. Tom’s first assignment was at St. Paul Church in Savannah, Ga., where he served from 1962-1971. He arrived in Oakland in August 1971, and has since guided the growth of the Ascension parish into a congregation of 1,200 families, the largest in the Metropolis of San Francisco, serving members from all nine Bay Area counties and beyond. Among the numerous ministries and programs Fr. Tom helped to create, is the Oakland Greek Festival, held annually in May since 1972. Fr. Paris and his wife, Presbytera Vaso, reared five children and they have eight grandchildren. The couple will continue to reside in Oakland and remain members of the Ascension parish.
Baltimore Church Starts Bilingual Day School BALTIMORE – St. Demetrios Church recently held inaugural ceremonies with Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey for its Bilingual Day School, the first in the metropolis. St. Demetrios’ pastor, Fr. Louis Noplos, said the entire community has been involved in ensuring the success and advancement of the day school. He also noted, “The day school has become a ministry which supports the community of St. Demetrios Church –not the other way around.” Upon his arrival Metropolitan Evangelos was welcomed by the principal,
Jenny Cocoros–Kegel and the first grade class, which sang several hymns. The Metropolitan was given a tour of the school and visited with children in the chapel where they also sang additional hymns in honor of his visit.
page 20 For the Record Correct spellings – It’s Metropolitan Jonah and Deacon Hanley. The web address for All Saints Church in Weirton, W.Va. is www.allstswwv.org
Northern Arizona Community Gets a New Name FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Greek Orthodox Mission of Northern Arizona recently held a name-change ceremony officiated by Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco as it has become a full-fledged parish. The mission parish developed in the 1980s and, for several years, the small number of Greek Orthodox
families were served by part-time priests from the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese. The parish is now served by a full-time priest, Fr. Nicholas Andruchow, under the Metropolis of San Francisco. Services are held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Flagstaff.
SF Folk Dance Festival: Combines Faith, Dance and Fellowship by Kristen Bruskas
The winners of FDF scholarships.
The Diakonia Project participants with Metropolitan Gerasimos.
Viva Las Vegas - The Argonaftes from St. John the Baptist perform a Pontian suite.
The Astrapi dancers from Holy Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix performing in their final round.
Thavma St. Barbara Santa Barbara – Dancers display their ornate costumes.
The 2008 Choral Sweepstakes winner, St. Katherine Choral Group from Redondo Beach.
fellowship, and witnessing the friendly embraces of ONTARIO, Ca- all the dancers and singers. lif. – The theme of Seeing the dancers in their “Faith, Dance, Fel- ornate costumes roaming lowship” was the the corridor of the Convenessence of the 2009 tion Center was an amazMetropolis of San ing sight, as it transported F r a n c i s c o F o l k one to nearly every region Dance and Choral of Greece, evoking a deep The Romiosini dancers from Holy Trinity Cathedral Festival (FDF) held sense of cultural pride. in Portland, Oregon. Feb.12-15. NinetyA carnival was available during the t h r e e d a n c e a n d day for the younger participants to vas, Michael Syrengelas and Elizabeth choral groups dem- enjoy foosball, video games, pool, and Syrengelas. The Metropolitan Anthony Leaderonstrated their tremendous skill more. Friday evening provided the opand precision, mastered through portunity for everyone to rest their feet ship Award was presented to FDF Manmonths of arduous rehearsals, and enjoy a musical comedy routine by agement Team member Voula Kolios, and presented their performances Jimmy “Super Greek” Santis, who ser- the director of competition. Voula is to an enthusiastic crowd of fellow enaded the crowd with familiar tunes a member of St. Demetrios parish in dancers and singers, directors, “turned Greek,” evoking thunderous Seattle. Results of the competition are as laughter from a robust audience. Each spectators, parents, and friends. More than 3,000 people at- night following the festivities, a Glendi follows: The top Sweepstakes Award in tended, making it one of the larg- was held providing an opportunity for the Division I dance competition went est and most successful events in more dancing and fellowship. For a brief period of time on to the Olympians from Assumption the 33-year history of FDF. O p e n i n g c e r e m o n i e s o n Saturday afternoon, the competition Church in Long Beach, Calif. The Division II Sweepstakes Trophy Thursday, Feb. 12 included a pa- stopped and all attention was given to rade in the Ontario Convention the youngest FDF participants in Divi- went to Spartakia from St. Demetrios in Seattle. The Youth Choir from St. John sion III. Center of all groups. This “exhibition only” Division the Baptist Church in Las Vegas, took An Agiasmos service followed, officiated by Metropolitan Gerasi- prepares young dancers for future home the Choral Sweepstakes Award. First-place winners in each submos, who was assisted by more competition, and provides them with than 20 priests of the Metropo- valuable experience to be on stage and category were as follows: perform for an audience of adoring lis. Division I This same evening, groups fans. When the over 100 young dancers Instrumental Award: Eleni Govetas, were honored for their partici- had assembled on stage, Metropolitan pation in the Diakonia Service Gerasimos led them in a traditional St. Demetrios, Seattle; Special Achievement: Seizmos, Annunciation Cathedral, projects which provided an op- Kalamatiano. Over the weekend, youth and San Francisco; Nick Varvitsiotis Memoportunity for dancers and singers to reach into their parish and local young adults participated in workshops rial Dance Director’s’ Award: Vasili Dikeakos, St. Demetrios, Seattle. communities to offer support in a led by several priests. Intermediate - Neo Kyma, AnThe Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on variety of ways. Projects included participa- Sunday was celebrated by Metropolitan nunciation, Sacramento; Advanced tion in a blood drive, Kids Helping Gerasimos, along with Bishop Ilia of Intermediate - Paradosi, Holy Trinity, Kids 5K Walk-a-Thon, learning to Philomelion, and more than 25 priests San Francisco; Senior - Fourtouna, St. Sophia Cathedral, Los Angeles; Admake Koliva for the parish, Relay from the Metropolis. Youth Choir members, under the vanced Senior - Chrysi Aeti, Ascension for Life Cancer Walk, United Way Adopt a Family, clothing and toy direction of Presbytera Maria Hondros Cathedral, Oakland. Division II drives, Christmas Cards to US sol- from St. John the Baptist in Las Vegas, Kim Efstathious Memorial Dance Didiers serving in Iraq, feeding the sang the hymns and responses. At the grand banquet that evening, rector’s Award: Teresa Vorgias, St. Anthony, homeless and more. These young people were acknowledged with Metropolitan Gerasimos addressed Pasadena; Instrumental Award, Bobby Govetas, St. Demetrios, Seattle; Special certificates presented by Metro- more than 2,300 attending. The Metropolitan congratulated Achievement,: Ekrixi, St. Demetrios, politan Gerasimos. Friday and Saturday were everyone on their accomplishments and Concord, Calif. Primary - Filarakia, St. Anthony, filled with competition, but what also spoke about the “seamless line – was most impressive was the the continuum” of our Orthodox faith, Pasadena, Calif; Advanced Primary true camaraderie and Christian as well as the similar lineage of our Hel- Ta Angeloudakia, Assumption, Long lenic heritage through the Beach; Junior – Terpsichoreans, St. rich traditions of dance, song Anthony, Pasadena; Advanced Junior and costumes which have – Stavroforoi, St. John the Baptist, Las been handed down through Vegas; Choral Competition the generations. Division I – Kariatides, St. DemMetropolitan Gerasimos also congratulated the 2009 etrios, Seattle. Division II – Aidonakia, St. DemFDF Management Team, under the leadership of Fr. etrios, Seattle. Scholarship winners Gary Kyriacou, FDF board Chris Papadimitrakis Scholarship chairman and six young adults who labored tirelessly Award - Greggory Keller (sponsored to lead this ministry: Spiro by FDF) Cynthia Anderson Scholarship Beckas – vice chairman, Eleni Beckas, Katia Bakas Award - Constantine Konugres (sponThe Seizmos dancers from Annunciation Cathedral Boudouvas, John Boudou- sored by FDF) in San Francisco shake things up. Fr. Homer Demopoulos Scholarship Award - Christopher Retelas (sponsored by FDF) Katherine Velthoen Scholarship Award - Angelic Papacalos (sponsored by Modesto community) Jim Papangellin Scholarship Award - Catherine Jaureguy (sponsored by George Papangellin family) Dean Phillips Scholarship Award - Alexis Captanian (sponsored by George Metropolitan Gerasimos with Sideri Kosaris Demos family). Souliotes Dancers of St. Demetrios, Seattle. and Grace Laliotis.
ΕΤΟΣ 74 • ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1247
Ἑορτή τοῦ Εὐαγγελισμοῦ τῆς Θεοτόκου καί Ἡμέρα Ἐθνικῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας Πρός τούς Σεβασμιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί Διακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συμβουλίων, τά Ἡμερήσια καί Ἀπογευματινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυμον πλήρωμα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Ἀγαπητοί μου ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Μέ ἀγάπη καί χαρά ἐπικοινωνῶ μαζί σας αὐτή τήν ἐπίσημη ἡμέρα τῆς Ἑορτῆς τοῦ Εὐαγγελισμοῦ τῆς Θεοτόκου καί ἀειπαρθένου Μαρίας. Αὐτή ἡ Ἑορτή γιορτάζεται μέσα στήν Ἁγία καί Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή, καί, ἔτσι, μᾶς προσφέρει τήν εὐλογημένη δυνατότητα νά χαροῦμε τήν ἀπέραντη ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ γιά μᾶς καθώς συνεχίζουμε τό πνευματικό ὁδοιπορικό μας πρός τήν Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάδα. Αὐτή τήν μοναδική ἡμέρα, ὁ θεόσταλτος Ἀρχάγγελος Γαβριήλ ἐμφανίσθηκε στήν Παρθένο Μαρία και τῆς ἀνεκοίνωσε τά μέλλοντα νά συμβοῦν τά ὁποῖα κανείς ἄνθρωπος στήν ὅλη ἱστορία τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος δέν εἶχε ἀκούσει οὔτε θά ἀκούσει ποτέ στό μέλλον: Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ Κύριος μετά σοῦ! Μή φοβοῦ Μαριάμ, εὗρες γάρ χάριν παρά τῷ Θεῷ. Καί ἰδού συλλήψῃ ἐν γαστρί καί τέξῃ υἱόν καί καλέσεις τό ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν (Λουκ. 1: 28-31)
Πνεῦμα ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπί σέ καί δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι • διό καί τό γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται Υἱός Θεοῦ (Λουκ. 1: 35)
Ἡ ἀπάντησή τῆς Παρθένου Μαρίας στό μήνυμα τοῦ Ἀρχαγγέλου ἦταν σαφής: Ἰδού ἡ δούλη Κυρίου• γένοιτό μοι κατά τό ῥῆμα σου (Λουκ. 1:38). Μέ αὐτούς τούς λόγους ἡ Παρθένος Μαρία ἀπεδέχθη τήν τεραστία εὐθύνη τῆς γεννήσεως τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ. Μέ αὐτούς τούς λόγους ἀπεδέχθη τήν μοναδική καί θαυμαστή εὐλογία νά καταστῇ Μητέρα τοῦ ἰδίου τοῦ Θεοῦ, Θεογεννήτωρ, ὅπως τήν ἀποκαλοῦμε ἀποδίδοντάς της τόν τίτλο Θεοτόκος. Ἡ ὑπακοή της στό θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ νά γεννήσῃ τόν Μονογενῆ Υἱό Του, τόν Χριστό, καί νά εἶναι ἡ Μητέρα Του ἔχουν μνημειώδη σημασία. Μέ τήν πλήρη καί ἀταλάντευτη ἀποδοχή τοῦ θελήματος τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἡ Θεοτόκος Παρθένος Μαρία ἀντέστρεψε τίς φοβερές συνέπειες τῆς τραγικῆς ἐπιλογῆς τῆς Εὔας ὅταν ἐκείνη παρήκουσε τήν ἐντολή τοῦ Θεοῦ. Μέ τούς λόγους καί τίς πράξεις της ἡ Παρθένος Μαρία μᾶς ἀξίωσε νά βιώσουμε τήν πλήρη καί ὁλοκληρωτική ἀποκατάσταση τῆς θλιβερῆς ἀνθρωπίνης καταστάσεώς μας, οὕτως ὥστε ἐν Χριστῷ ὅλα τά ἀνθρώπινα ὄντα νά ἔχουμε τή δυνατότητα νά ζήσουμε τήν αὐθεντική κοινωνία μετά τοῦ Θεοῦ ὅπως εἶχε σχεδιάσει ὁ Θεός γιά μᾶς ἀπό τήν ἀρχή τῆς δημιουργίας τοῦ κόσμου. Πέραν τῶν παραδειγματικῶν λόγων ὑπακοῆς της στό θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἡ Θεοτόκος ἐπέδειξε ἐπίσης ἀσύγκριτο θάρρος ὅταν ἀπεδέχθη τήν τεραστία εὐθύνη νά γεννήσῃ τόν Υἱό τοῦ Θεοῦ. Διότι
στούς μῆνες καί τά χρόνια πού ἀκολούθησαν, ἡ Παναγία ἀντιμετώπισε πρωτοφανεῖς δυσκολίες πού ἀπαιτοῦσαν ἀσυνήθιστη γενναιότητα. Ἀρκεῖ νά θυμηθοῦμε τή γέννηση στό σπήλαιο τῆς Βηθλεέμ, τήν φυγή στήν Αἴγυπτο γιά τήν ἀποφυγή τοῦ κινδύνου τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ νεογέννητου Ἰησοῦ ἀπό τό μένος τοῦ Ἡρώδη, καί, τήν θέα τοῦ Υἱοῦ της κρεμαμένου ἐπί τοῦ Σταυροῦ. Πρόκειται περί θάρρους τό ὁποῖο ἡ ἀνθρώπινη γλῶσσα ἀδυνατεῖ νά ἐκφράσῃ καί τό ὁποῖο μπορεῖ νά ἀποδοθῇ μόνο στή Μητέρα τοῦ Θεοῦ, τήν ἀειπάρθενο καί Θεοτόκο Μαρία, θάρρους μοναδικοῦ γιά τό μέγεθος καί τήν γνησιότητά του σέ σύγκριση μέ τό θάρρος ὅλων τῶν ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων. Τά χαρακτηριστικά αὐτά τῆς ὑπακοῆς στό θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ καί τοῦ θάρρους τῆς Ὑπεραγίας Θεοτόκου ἐνέπνευσαν τούς Χριστιανούς ὅλων τῶν αἰώνων νά ζητοῦν τίς πρεσβεῖες της πρός τόν Θεό σέ ὧρες ἀνάγκης. Γιά μᾶς τούς Ἕλληνες Ὀρθοδόξους Χριστιανούς, εἶναι ἀκριβῶς αὐτά τά στοιχεῖα τά ὁποῖα ἀποτελοῦν τήν βάση γιά τή συσχέτιση αὐτῆς τῆς μεγάλης Ἑορτῆς τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας, τοῦ Εὐαγγελισμοῦ, μέ τήν Ἡμέρα Ἐθνικῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας, τήν 25η Μαρτίου 1821. Τήν ἱστορική αὐτή ἡμέρα, οἱ Ἕλληνες πρόγονοί μας θέλησαν νά ἐπανακτήσουν τό θεόσδοτο δικαίωμα ζωῆς καί ἐλευθερίας τό ὁποῖο τούς εἶχαν κληροδοτήσει οἱ πατέρες καί μητέρες τους. Δείχνοντας ὑπακοή στό αἰώνιο θέλημα τοῦ
Θεοῦ, προσάρμοσαν τίς πράξεις τους στά διδάγματα τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανικῆς πίστεως καί ἐπέδειξαν θαυμαστό θάρρος στό δίκαιο ἀγώνα τους γιά τήν ἐπικράτηση τῆς ἐλευθερίας καί ἀνεξαρτησίας. Μέ ἀσίγαστες προσευχές στόν Θεό, μέ τίς πρεσβεῖες τῆς Θεοτόκου, μέ τήν ὑπακοή καί τό θάρρος τους ἀποκατέστησαν τήν ἀνεξαρτησία στό ἔθνος τῶν Ἑλλήνων τό ὁποῖο τελοῦσε ὑπό ἀνελεύθερο καθεστώς ἐπί τέσσερεις μακρούς αἰῶνες. Στή μνήμη αὐτῶν τῶν πεσόντων ἡρώων, οἱ ὁποῖοι ἔδωσαν τή ζωή τους γιά τήν ἐλευθερία προσφέρουμε προσευχές βαθειᾶς εὐγνωμοσύνης στόν Θεό ἰδιαίτερα τήν Ἡμέρα αὐτή τῆς Ἐθνικῆς Ἀνεξαρτησίας. Καθώς πανηγυρίζουμε τήν Ἑορτή τοῦ Εὐαγγελισμοῦ, εὔχομαι νά ἀναλογισθοῦμε καί νά ἐνστερνισθοῦμε τά γνήσια παραδείγματα τά ὁποῖα μᾶς προσφέρει ἡ Θεοτόκος καί ἀειπάρθενος Μαρία τῆς ὑπακοῆς στό θεῖο θέλημα καί τοῦ θάρρους νά ἐνεργοῦμε σύμφωνα μέ αὐτό. Διά πρεσβειῶν της, ἄς ζητήσουμε ἀπό τόν Θεό νά προστατεύῃ τό Γένος μας, διατηρῶντας το σέ κατάσταση ἐλευθερίας, ἀνεξαρτησίας καί ἑτοιμότητος πρός ἐφαρμογή τοῦ θελήματος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐν πᾶσι. Μέ πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη,
ÿ ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΤΗΣ Α.Θ. ΠΑΝΑΓΙΟΤΗΤΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΟΥ ΒΑΡΘΟΛΟΜΑΙΟΥ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΕΣΠΕΡΙΝΟΝ ΤΗΣ ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗΣ ΤΗΣ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑΣ Προσφιλέστατοι ἀδελφοί καί τέκνα ἐν Κυρίῳ περιπόθητα, Μέ πολλήν χαράν σᾶς καλωσορίζομεν εἰς τό Σεπτόν Κέντρον τῆς μαρτυρικῆ ς Ἁγία ς τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μεγάλη ς Ἐκκλησίας καί εἰς τόν πανίερον καί ἱστορικόν τοῦτον Πατριαρχικόν ἡμῶν Ναόν τοῦ Ἁγίου Γεωργίου. Τό μοναστικόν τοῦτο συγκρότημα, τό ὁποῖον στεγάζει τά Πατριαρχεῖα κατά τά τελευταῖα τετρακόσια χρόνια, εἶναι τό σπίτι σας. Ἡ Ἐκκλησία τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως εἶναι ἡ πνευματική Μήτηρ καί Τροφός τοῦ Γένους καί ὅλη ἡ Ρωμηοσύνη, ὅλα τά τέκνα τοῦ Γένους, δικαιοῦνται, δικαιοῦσθε, δικαιούμεθα ὅλοι μας, νά τό θεωροῦμεν ὡς τήν πατρικήν ὅλων μας οἰκίαν. Ἐδῶ ρέει ἡ εὐσεβής πηγή τοῦ Γένους! Αὐτό τό Φανάρι, τό κατά κόσμον μικρόν καί ἀδύναμον, φωτίζει ὡς ἄλλος φάρος τηλαυγής, τό φῶς τῆς Εὐαγγελικῆς Ἀληθείας, τό Φῶς τῆς Ὀρθοδοξίας, τό φῶς τῶν ἱερῶν παραδόσεων τῆς Μιᾶς καί ἀδιαιρέτου Ἐκκλησίας, εἰς τά πέρατα τῆς οἰκουμένης! Ἡ χάρις τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως δέν περιορίζεται στόν γεωγραφικό χῶρο πού τήν φιλοξενεῖ, ἀλλά ἁπλώνεται μέχρι τίς ἐσχατιές τοῦ τετραπεράτου κόσμου, καί ἡ εὐχή της, ἡ εὐλογία της, ἡ προσοχή καί ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Πατριάρχου, ἀγκαλιάζουν ὅλους, ὅσοι, ὅπου γῆς, αἰσθάνονται νά ρέῃ στάς φλέβας των τό Αἷμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καί ἡ εὐγένεια καί ἀρχοντιά τῆς Ρωμηοσύνης. Ἀνάμεσά σας εὑρίσκονται τόσοι νέοι καί νέαι, μαθηταί καί μαθήτριαι, ἀπό τήν Καρδίτσαν, τό Διδυμότειχον, τήν Ματαράγκαν. Πόσην χαράν καί συγκίνησιν αἰσθανόμεθα ὅταν βλέπωμεν νά ἔρχωνται νέοι στήν Βασιλεύουσα! Ὄχι μόνον διότι οἱ νέοι πού ἔχουν μείνει πλέον ἐδῶ δέν εἶναι πολλοί, παρά τήν θέλησίν μας, τήν θέλησιν τῆς Ὁμογενείας καί τοῦ Γένους, ἀλλά διότι ἡ ἐδῶ ἔλευσίς των καί ἐξ Ἑλλάδος καί ἀπό ἄλλα μέρη τοῦ κόσμου, προδίδει δίψαν πνευματικήν, σεβασμόν εἰς τάς ρίζας καί τήν ἱστορίαν, ἀγάπην εἰς τό Γένος, ἀναζητήσεις πέραν ἀπό τά εἰθηνά, τά ἐφήμερα καί τά τετριμμένα τῆς πεζῆς καθημερινότητος. Σᾶς καμαρώνομεν, ἀγαπητά μας παιδιά καί στηρίζομεν ἐπάνω σας πολλάς ἐλπίδα ς! Μήν ἀφήσετε τό νοσηρόν πνεῦμα τῆς ὑλοφροσύνης καί τῆς ἀδιαφορίας νά σᾶς καταλάβῃ. Κάμετε τόν σταυρόν σας, ἀνασκουμπωθῆτε, τώρα πού εἶσθε γεμᾶτα σφρῖγος καί δυνάμεις, βάλετε θεμέλια διά μίαν ζωήν πνευματικήν, μέ ἰδανικά ὑψηλά, μέ
Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος: “Η μουσική ενώνει τους ανθρώπους” Επ’ ευκαιρίαν της συναυλίας της Ὀρχήστρας Συγχρόνου Μουσικῆς της Ελληνικής Ραδιοφωνίας και Τηλεοράσεως (ΕΡΤ) η οποία παρουσιάστηκε στην Κωνσταντινούπολη με συμμετοχή τῆς τραγουδίστριας Ἐλευθερίας Ἀρβανιτάκη, ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος αναφέρθηκε στη μοναδική αξία της μουσικής και είπε μεταξύ άλλων τα εξής: «Ἡ μουσική δέν εἶναι μόνον ἡ παγκόσμιος γλῶσσα, τήν ὁποίαν δέν ἤγγισεν ἡ τραγῳδία τῆς Βαβέλ, οὔτε ἁπλῶς ἡ ἠχητική ἔκφρασις τῆς ἁρμονίας, τοῦ μέτρου καί τῆς εὐταξίας. ‘Ἡ μουσική’, ὅπως θαυμάσια ὑπογραμμίζει ὁ Πλάτων, ‘ἑνώνει τούς ἀνθρώπους ὡς νόμος ἠθικός’. Καί βεβαίως ὅλοι ἐκ πείρας γνωρίζομεν, ὅτι καί εἰς τήν χαράν καί εἰς τήν λύπην, καί εἰς τόν ἐνθουσιασμόν καί εἰς τόν φόβον, καί εἰς τήν εὐφορίαν καί εἰς τό πένθος, πρόχειρον καταφύγιον καί πανανθρώπινον εἶναι ἡ μουσική. Διά τῶν φθόγγων της ἐκφράζεται ὅλος ὁ πλοῦτος τοῦ συναισθήματος, χρωματίζονται ὄνειρα, καταθύμια, ἐλπίδες, στερήσεις, παράπονα καί κινήσεις τοῦ θυμικοῦ. Μέ μουσικόν ἔνδυμα στολίζεται ἡ ἀγάπη πρός τόν Θεόν καί τόν ἄνθρωπον. Μέ μουσικήν πορφύραν ἐνδύεται ἡ προσευχή! Ἡ λογική λατρεία τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἀγλαΐζεται ἀπό τό πατροπαράδοτον βυζαντινόν μέλος.
Ἡ μουσική ἁρμονία καί ὁ ρυθμός λειαίνουν τόν χαρακτῆρα καί ἐξευγενίζουν τήν ψυχήν. Ἡ ἁμαρτία χαρακτηρίζεται ὡς παραχορδία, δηλαδή φάλτσο! Ὁ Θεός ἐποίησε τά πάντα καλά λίαν. Δηλαδή, ἁρμονικά, εὔρυθμα καί καλλίμετρα. « Ἡ ἁμαρτία λυμαίνεται τήν θείαν ἁρμονίαν τῆς Δημιουργίας, διαταράσσει τόν ρυθμόν τῆς ζωῆς καί καταλύει τό μέτρον μέ τά γνωστά τραγικά ἀποτελέσματα. Ἡ Εἰκονομ αχία ἦτο μία φοβερά παραχορδία καί παραφωνία μέσα εἰς τό ἐναρμόνιον μέλος τῆς Θεολογίας. Μία ἀπαισία ‘τσιρίδα’, ἕνας φρικαλέος ὀρυμαγδός, πού ἔκαμε τούς Ἀγγέλους νά κλείσουν τά ὦτα μέ φρίκην καί ἀηδίαν. Οἱ Ἅγιοι Πατέρες ἦσαν οἱ καλλικέλαδοι ἀοιδοί τῆς Ἀληθείας, αἱ καλλίφθογγοι λύραι τοῦ μεγάλου Μουσουργοῦ, τοῦ Παναγίου Πνεύματος. Καί ἡ διδασκαλία των, χάρμα ἀκοῆς καί ἦχος καθαρός ἑορταζόντων! Οἱ ‘φάλτσοι’ ἐλησμονήθησαν. Οἱ καλλίμουσοι ἔμειναν καί μακαρίζονται! Ἡ ἀποψινή ἐκδήλωσις ἦλθε νά συμπληρώσῃ τήν ἑόρτιον εὐφροσύνην τῆς ἡμέρας καί νά χαρίσῃ πολλήν εὐθυμίαν εἰς τήν ἐδῶ προσφιλῆ Ὁμογένειαν καί εἰς τούς πολλούς καί ἐκλεκτούς φίλους μας ἐκ τοῦ ἐπιτοπίου πνευματικοῦ, ἐπιχειρηματικοῦ, δημοσιογραφικοῦ καί καλλιτεχνικοῦ κόσμου».
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Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος συναντήθηκε με τον γερουσιαστή του Ιλινόι Ρίτσαρντ Ντάρμπιν στο Φανάρι.
Στο πλευρό του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου ôïõ Íéêüëáïõ Ìáããßíá
Στο πλευρό του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου για την επίλυση των προβλημάτων που αντιμετωπίζει τάχθηκε ο γερουσιαστής του Ιλινόι Ρίτσαρντ Ντάρμπιν ο οποίος συναντήθηκε στο Φανάρι με τον Οικουμενικό Πατριάρχη Βαρθολομαίο. «Είναι ιδιαίτερη τιμή που επισκέπτομαι το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο» δήλωσε ο αμερικανός γερουσιαστής αμέσως μετά την 45λεπτη ιδιαίτερη συζήτηση που είχε με τον Πατριάρχη και αναφερόμενος στην προσωπικότητα του κ. Βαρθολομαίου επισήμανε: «Είναι ένας θαυμάσιος θρησκευτικός, παγκόσμιος ηγέτης. Είναι αγαπητός από εκατομμύρια ανθρώπους σε όλο τον κόσμο, μεταξύ των οποίων και πολλοί φίλοι μου ΕλληνοΑμερικανοί, μέλη της ελληνορθόδοξης Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής. Άνθρωποι όλων των θρησκειών τον σέβονται πάρα πολύ για την σοφία, την καλοσύνη και την ηγεσία του». Ο γερουσιαστής Ντάρμπιν, «επίσημος φίλος», όπως δήλωσε, του προέδρου των ΗΠΑ Μπαράκ Ομπάμα δεσμεύθηκε να συμβάλει στην επίλυση των προβλημάτων του Πατριαρχείου. «Υποσχέθηκα στον Πατριάρχη να κάνω ότι μπορώ για να βοηθήσω
στην επιτυχία του έργου του θέτοντας στη διάθεση του τις υπηρεσίες μου για την επίλυση ορισμένων ζητημάτων που υπάρχουν στις σχέσεις με την Άγκυρα. Ελπίζουμε στην επανέναρξη ενός νέου κύκλου διαλόγου με την Άγκυρα βασισμένου στις παραδόσεις της χώρας αυτής και στις παραδόσεις της Μεγάλης Εκκλησίας ώστε να βρούμε τρόπους επίλυσης των προβλημάτων». Σε δηλώσεις του προς τα τουρκικά ΜΜΕ αναφέρθηκε στο ζήτημα της Θεολογικής Σχολής της Χάλκης και έκανε γνωστό πως στις συνομιλίες που είχε στην Άγκυρα με Τούρκους κυβερνητικούς αξιωματούχους εξέφρασε το αμείωτο ενδιαφέρον πολλών Αμερικανών, για την επαναλειτουργία της. Κατά τη διάρκεια της συναντήσεως που πραγματοποιήθηκε σε εγκάρδια ατμόσφαιρα συζητήθηκαν επίσης θέματα που απασχολούν το Πατριαρχείο και την Ομογένεια της Πόλης. Τον Αμερικανό γερουσιαστή συνόδευαν, μεταξύ άλλων, η γενική πρόξενος των ΗΠΑ στην Κωνσταντινούπολη κυρία Σάρον Βίενερ αλλά και ο κ. Αυξέντιος Ζεμενίδης, διευθυντής του πολιτικού γραφείου του Ελληνο-Αμερικανού πολιτικού κ. Αλέξη Γιαννούλια, 32 ετών, υπουργού οικονομικών της Πολιτείας του Ιλινόι και στενού φίλου του προέδρου Ομπάμα.
Ο ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΔΙΟΡΙΣΕ ΤΟΝ π. ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟ ΚΟΥΦΑΛΛΑΚΗ ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΤΗ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΤΙΚΟΥ ΚΕΝΤΡΟΥ ΑΣΤΟΡΙΑΣ, ΝΕΑΣ ΥΟΡΚΗΣ
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Ο Σεβ. Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος ανακοίνωσε την ανάθεση της Διευθύνσεως του Πολιτιστικού Κέντρου της Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής στον Πανοσιολογιώτατο Αρχιμανδρίτη κ. Απόστολο Κουφαλλάκη, ιερατικώς προϊστάμενο του Καθεδρικού Ναού του Αγίου Δημητρίου Αστορίας. Με την ανάθεση αυτή, ο Σεβασμιώτατος προέβη στην ακόλουθη δήλωση: «Είμεθα βέβαιοι, ότι παρ’ όλο ότι η ως άνω ευθύνη προστίθεται εις το ήδη βεβαρυμένο πρόγραμμα της προϊσταμενίας του π. Αποστόλου στον Ι. Καθεδρικό Ναό του Αγίου Δημητρίου Αστορίας, με τη βοήθεια του Θεού θα καλύψει και τα πρόσθετα νέα καθήκοντά του επαρκώς. Το Πολιτιστικό Κέντρο Αστορίας της Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής έχει μακρά ιστορία προσφοράς στην Ομογένεια, αλλά και σημαντικές δυνατότητες περαιτέρω αναπτύξεως, και η υπεύθυνη παρουσία του π. Αποστόλου εις αυτό αναμένεται ότι θα παραγάγει πλούσιους πνευματικούς και πολιτιστικούς καρπούς». Το Ελληνικό Πολιτιστικό Κέντρο της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής ιδρύθηκε το 1986 με σκοπό τη καλλιέργεια της πλούσιας Ελληνορθόδοξης πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς. Διαθέτει αίθουσα εκδηλώσεων 200 θέσε-
ων, το παρεκκλήσιο του Αγίου Κοσμά του Αιτωλού, βιβλιοπωλείο, αίθουσα δεξιώσεων και άλλους βοηθητικούς χώρους. Παρουσιάζει ετησίως πολιτιστικά προγράμματα θεάτρου, χορού, μουσικής, εικαστικά εκθέματα και διαλέξεις. Ο π. Απόστολος Κουφαλλάκης (κατά κόσμον Ευάγγελος) γεννήθηκε στη Ρόδο και ολοκλήρωσε τις εγκύκλιες σπουδές του κατ’ αρχήν στην ιδιαίτερη πατρίδα του και στη συνέχεια στην Πατμιάδα Εκκλησιαστική Σχολή. Το 1993 εκάρη μοναχός, τον ίδιο χρόνο χειροτονήθηκε διάκονος και το 1996 πρεσβύτερος από τον Μητροπολίτη Ρόδου Απόστολο δίπλα στον οποίο και υπηρέτησε. Είναι πτυχιούχος Θεολογίας του Αριστοτελείου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης. Το 2002 ο π. Απόστολος ήρθε στις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες για μεταπτυχιακές σπουδές και το 2004 αποφοίτησε από τη Θεολογική Σχολή του Πανεπιστημίου της Βοστώνης (Boston University) με το Πτυχίο Masters. Υπηρέτησε στις ενορίες της Μασαχουσέτης του Ευαγγελισμού του Brockton, του Αγίου Γεωργίου του Southbridge και των Αγίων Αναργύρων του Marlborough. Από το 2004 υπηρετεί ως ιερατικώς προϊστάμενος του Καθεδρικού Ναού του Αγίου Δημητρίου Αστορίας στη Νέα Υόρκη.
ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ ORTHODOX OBSERVER
ΕΔΡΑ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ ΣΤΟ ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟ FORDHAM ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Ο πρόεδρος του Πανεπιστημίου Fordham π. Joseph McShane, S.J. ανακοίνωσε την Τρίτη 17 Φεβρουαρίου μεγάλη δωρεά του Ιδρύματος Οικογενείας Τζαχάρη προς το Πανεπιστήμιο για την δημιουργία Έδρας με την επωνυμία «Έδρα Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου Ορθοδόξου Θεολογίας και Πολιτισμού» που θα αποτελέσει μέρος του προγράμματος Ορθοδόξων Χριστιανικών Σπουδών του επιφανούς Ρωμαιοκαθολικού πανεπιστημίου της Νέας Υόρκης.
Έκτη ετήσια διάλεξη για την Ορθοδοξία στην Αμερική από τον π. Στυλιανό Χάρακα Η ανακοίνωση πραγματοποιήθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια ετήσιας εκδηλώσεως του Πανεπιστημίου Fordham που παρουσιάζει σειρά διαλέξεων με θέμ α «Ορθοδοξία στην Αμερική». Τη φετεινή έκτη κατά σειρά διάλεξη παρουσίασε ο πρωτοπρεσβύτερος Στυλιανός Χάρακας, διδάκτωρ της Θεολογίας και καθηγητής Ορθοδόξου Θεολογίας της Ελληνορθοδόξου Θεολογικής Σχολής του Τιμίου Σταυρού. Το θέμα του π. Χάρακα «Το μέλλον του Ορθόδοξου Χριστιανισμού στην Αμερική: Τι πρέπει να κάνουμε;» αιχμαλώτισε το πολυπληθές ακροατήριο ακαδημαϊκών, κληρικών, φοιτητών και άλλων ορθοδόξων και μη ακροατών. Ο π. Χάρακας εξέθεσε τις απειλές
Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμεριικής Δημήτριος σε εγκάρδιο χαιρετισμό με τον πρόεδρο του Πανεπιστημίου Fordham, π. Joseph McShane.
και τις παγίδες αλλά και τις ευκαιρίες που παρουσιάζει η κοινωνική και πολιτισμική πραγματικότητα της Αμερικής και εισηγήθηκε τρόπους του τι πρέπει να κάνουμε, ως Ορθόδοξοι. Μετά το πέρας της διαλέξεως ο πρόεδρος του Πανεπιστημίου Fordham π. Joseph McShane ανακοίνωσε την
δωρεά του Ιδρύματος Οικογενείας Τζαχάρη ύψους δύο εκατομμυρίων δολαρίων μέσω της οποίας δημιουργείται η «Έδρα Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου Ορθοδόξου Θεολογίας και Πολιτισμού». Ο π. McShane καλωσόρισε το ζεύγος Εμμανουήλ και Μαίρης Τζαχάρη εκφράζοντας τη μεγάλη χαρά και ευγνω-
μοσύνη του, έπλεξε το εγκώμιο του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου και τόνισε ότι η επάξια και εις το διηνεκές σύνδεση του ονόματος του Αρχιεπισκόπου Δημητρίου και του ονόματος της Οικογενείας Τζαχάρη με το Fordham είναι ιδιαίτερη τιμή για το πανεπιστημιακό αυτό ίδρυμα. Την εκδήλωση παρουσίασαν και διοργάνωσαν οι ομογενείς καθηγητές θεολογίας του Fordham Γεώργιος Δημακόπουλος και Αριστοτέλης Παπανικολάου και οι δύο απόφοιτοι της Ελληνορθόδοξης Θεολογικής Σχολής του Τιμίου Σταυρού και συνιδρυτές του Προγράμματος Ορθοδόξων Χριστιανικών Σπουδών του εν λόγω πανεπιστημίου. Να σημειωθεί ότι στην εκδήλωση περευρέθησαν ο πρόεδρος και ο γραμματέας του Διοικητικού Συμβουλίου του Fordham John N. Tognino και John P. Kehoe, ο αντιπρόεδρος Ιεραποστολής και Διακονίας π. Patrick J. Ryan καθώς και πολλοί άλλοι καθηγητές και φοιτητές. Εκ μέρους της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής παρευρέθησαν οι Σεβασμιώτατοι Μητροπολίτες Βοστώνης κ. Μεθόδιος, Ντιτρόϊτ κ. Νικόλαος, Νέας Ιερσέη ς κ. Ευάγγελος, ο Θεοφιλέστατος Επίσκοπος Τρωάδος κ. Σάββας, η πρόεδρος της Εθνικής Φιλοπτώχου Αδελφότητος Αφροδίτη Σκιαδά, ο διοικητής του Τάγματος των Αρχόντων Δρ. Αντώνιος Λυμπεράκης και πολλοί ορθόδοξοι κληρικοί, άρχοντες του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου, καθηγητές και πιστοί των γύρω περιοχών.
ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΟΥ ΒΑΡΘΟΛΟΜΑΙΟΥ Ο ΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΣΑΒΒΑΣ ΘΑ ΔΙΕΥΘΥΝΕΙ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΕΣΠΕΡΙΝΟΝ ΤΗΣ ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗΣ ΤΗΣ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΙΑΣ ΤΟ ΓΡΑΦΕΙΟ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑΣ
ἀρετήν καί τόλμην –πού θέλει ἡ ἐλευθερία, κατά τόν ποιητήν-, μέ στόχους εὐγενεῖς, μέ πνεῦμα ἀλτρουϊσμοῦ καί ἀγάπης, πιστοί εἰς τάς ρίζας καί τάς παραδόσεις σας, πιστοί στόν Χριστόν καί στήν Ἐκκλησίαν Του, στήν ἱεράν κληρονομίαν τοῦ Γένους μας καί τάς ὑψηλάς ἀξίας τῆς Ρωμηοσύνης. Καί, μήν ξεχνᾶτε τόν ποιητήν: «Πάντ’ ἀνοιχτά, πάντ’ ἄγρυπνα τά μάτια τῆς ψυχῆς σας», διότι οἱ πειρασμοί εἶναι πολλοί καί οἱ κίνδυνοι πού σᾶς κυκλώνουν μεγάλοι. Δέν σᾶς τό λέγομεν διά νά φοβηθῆτε, ἀλλά διά νά γρηγορῆτε, νά ἔχετε τάς κεραίας τοῦ νοῦ καί τῆς ψυχῆς σας εἰς ἐντατικήν λειτουργίαν. Ὁ Χριστός, φίλος, ἀδελφός καί πατέρας σας, εἶναι μαζί σας. Σᾶς ἀγαπᾶ. Τοῦ εἶσθε πολύτιμοι. Σᾶς νοιάζεται καί ἀκούει τήν φωνή σας. Μήν τό ξεχνᾶτε! Ἀλλά ἀνάμεσά σας εὑρίσκονται καί πολλοί προσκυνηταί ἀπό τά Νέα Ρόδα τῆς Χαλκιδικῆς. Καλῶς μᾶς ἤλθατε καί σεῖς, τέκνα ἀγαπητά. Αἱ ρίζες τῶν πατέρων σας εὑρίσκονται στήν Προικόννησον, ἐξ ὅσων γνωρίζομεν. Ἐδῶ, στό βόρειον κλῖτος τοῦ Ναοῦ μας, εἶναι ἡ Παναγία ἡ Φανερωμένη τῆς Κυζίκου, ἡ προστάτιδα ὅλης τῆς περιοχῆς ἐκείνης τῆς καταγωγῆς τῶν πατέρων σας. Προσκυνήσατέ Την καί πέστε Της ὅσα ἔχῃ νά πῇ ἡ καρδιά τοῦ παιδιοῦ στήν μητέρα του. Ἡ χάρις Της νά σᾶς ἐπισκιάζῃ καί ἡ εὐχή τοῦ Ἁγίου Τιμοθέου Ἀρχιεπισκόπου Προικοννήσου. Καί ὅλους τούς παρόντας, βεβαίως! Ἀκόμη ἔχομεν πολλούς ἐκ τῆς Δω-
δεκανήσου, καί μάλιστα ἀπό τήν Κῶ. Ἤλθατε, ἀγαπητοί, διά τήν αὐριανήν χειροτονίαν τοῦ νέου Μητροπολίτου Κώου, τοῦ Θεοφιλεστάτου ἐψηφισμένου κυρίου Ναθαναήλ, τοῦ ἐκλεκτοῦ καί διακεκριμένου συμπατριώτου σας. Καλῶς ἤλθατε! Βλέπετε ὅτι ἡ Μητέρα Ἐκκλησία, εἰς τήν ὁποίαν ἔχετε τό ἀκριβόν προνόμιον νά ἀνήκετε ἀπ’ εὐθείας, σᾶς ἀγαπᾶ ἰδιαιτέρως καί ἐφρόντισε νά ἐμπιστευθῇ τήν πνευματικήν προστασίαν καί διαποίμανσίν σας εἰς ἄνδρα θεοφοβούμενον, ἱεροπρεπῆ, τίμιον, φιλάνθρωπον, ταπεινόν, μέ θυσιαστικήν ἀγάπην διά τόν συνάνθρωπον καί μέ ὑποδειγματικήν ἀφοσίωσιν εἰς τόν Χριστόν καί εἰς τήν Ἐκκλησίαν. Νά προσευχηθῆτε μέ τήν καρδιάν σας ὑπέρ αὐτοῦ! Καί ἀπόψε, καί αὔριον! Νά τόν καταστήσῃ ὁ Θεός ἄξιον τῶν προσδοκιῶν σας καί τῶν ἐλπίδων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, ἄξιον τῆς ὑψηλῆς ἐπισκοπικῆς εὐθύνης, ἀλλ ά καί ἄξιον τῶν καιρῶν καί τῶν περιστάσεων. Καλόν ποιμένα, μιμητήν τοῦ Ἀρχιποίμενος Χριστοῦ καί λαμπρόν κοινωνικόν ἐργάτην, ὁ ὁποῖος θά ἀνυψώσῃ τήν Μητρόπολίν του πρός χάριν σας καί χαράν σας καί χαράν ὅλης τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Καλῶς μᾶς ἤλθατε! Εἰς ὅλους ἀπονέμομεν ἀπό καρδίας τήν πατρικήν ἡμῶν εὐχήν καί Πατριαρχικήν εὐλογίαν. Νά εἶσθε ὅλοι πάντοτε ἄξιοι τοῦ ὀνόματος τοῦ Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανοῦ, πορευόμενοι σύμφωνα μέ τό ἅγιον θέλημα τοῦ Κυρίου. Νά μᾶς ἔλθετε ξανά! Σᾶς ἀναμένομεν μέ πολλήν ἀγάπην καί πάλιν καί πολλάκις! Χρόνια πολλά καί κάθε καλόν εἰς ὅλους!
ΝΕΑ ΥΟΡΚΗ – Ο Σεβασμιώτατος Αρχιεπίσκοπος Αμερικής κ. Δημήτριος ανακοίνωσε ότι ανέθεσε στον Θεοφι λέστατο Επίσκοπο Τρωάδος κ. Σάββα την διεύθυνση του Γραφείου Εκκλησίας και Κοινωνίας της Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπής με την ευθύνη της δημιουργίας προγραμμάτων και διακονιών που θα προωθούν την υπεύθυνη και δημιουργική Ορθόδοξη Χριστιανική δραστηριότητα εντός της σύγχρονης κοινωνικής και πολιτιστικής πραγματικότητας. «Το Γραφείο αυτό», είπε ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Δημήτριος, «θα ασχοληθεί με θέματα τρεχούσης επικαιρότητος όπως είναι μεταξύ άλλων οι επιπτώσεις των on-line κοινωνικών διαδικτύων, οι συνέπειες της λεγόμενης ρεαλιστικής τηλεόρασης, τα προβλήματα των τηλεοπτικών παιχνιδιών και το φαινόμενο της αθεΐας. Θα επιβλέπει επίσης την Αρχιεπισκοπική Επιτροπή Επιστήμης και Τεχνολογίας (AACST) και θα συνεργάζεται στενά με το Τμήμα Νεολαίας της Ι. Αρχιεπισκοπής. Ο Επίσκοπος Σάββας είναι ένας από τους νεότερους ιεράρχες με γνήσια διοικητική και ποιμαντική εμπειρία, ο οποίος υπηρέτησε τα τελευταία εννέα χρόνια ως Πρωτοσύγκελλος της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής και τα τελευταία επτά ως Επίσκοπος. Η ευρεία του μόρφωση, η ώριμη γνώση του επί των συγχρόνων θεμάτων, η βαθιά του κατανόηση και συμμετοχή στο πολιτιστικό γίγνεσθαι και πάνω από όλα η μεγάλη του αγάπη για
τον Χριστό και την Εκκλησία Του είναι στοιχεία που τον καθιστούν κατάλληλο να διευθύνει αυτό το γραφείο. Είμαι βέβαιος ότι η τοποθέτησή του ως διευθυντού του Γραφείου αυτού θα αποφέρει καρπούς, ιδιαίτερα για τους νέους οι οποίοι προσβλέπουν στη δική μας βοήθεια ώστε να αντιμετωπίσουν τις σύγχρονες προκλήσεις και να ζήσουν μια ζωή πλήρως και απολύτως ελληνορθόδοξη και πλήρως και απολύτως συμβατή με την Αμερικανική πραγματικότητα του 21ου αιώνος». Ο Επίσκοπος Σάββας ανέλαβε τα νέα του καθήκοντα την Δευτέρα 2 Μαρτίου. Ο π. Μιχαήλ Κοντογιώργης θα συνεχίσει ως βοηθός Πρωτοσύγκελλος και ο π. Αθανάσ ιος Δήμος ως Αρχιεπισκοπικός Επίτροπος της Αμέσου Αρχιεπισκοπικής Περιφέρειας. Ο Επίσκοπος Τρωάδος Σάββας (Ζεμπίλας) είναι απόφοιτος του Colby College (1979, BA Φι λοσοφίας και Αγγλικής Φιλολογίας) και της Ελληνορθοδόξου Θεολογικής Σχολής του Τιμίου Σταυρού (1985, με ανώτατη διάκριση). Έκανε διδακτορικές σπουδές στο Πανεπιστήμιο της Οξφόρδης υπό την εποπτεία του Πανιερωτάτου Μητροπολίτου Διοκλείας Κάλλιστου Ware, από το 1987 μέχρι το 1994. Είναι επίκουρος Καθηγητής στη Θεολογική Σχολή του Αγίου Βλαδίμηρου Νέας Υόρκης όπου διδάσκει μαθήματα γύρω από το θέμα της αναζητήσεως του Θεού στην σύγχρονη λαϊκή κουλτούρα.
Αγια και Μεγαλη Τεσσαρακοστη Α ρχιεπισκοπικη Εγκυκλιοσ
Τόν τῆς Νηστείας καιρόν, φαιδρῶς ἀπαρξώμεθα... Ἑσπερινός τῆς Κυριακῆς τῆς Μετανοίας
Πρός τούς Σεβασμιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί Διακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συμβουλίων, τά Ἡμερήσια καί Ἀπογευματινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυμον πλήρωμα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Ἀγαπητοί μου ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Τήν πρώτη ἡμέρα τῆς Ἁγίας καί Μεγάλης Τεσσαρακοστῆς, τήν ὁποία ἡ Ἁγία Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία μας ὀνομάζει «Καθαρά Δευτέρα», καλούμεθα νά ἐντείνουμε τόν τρόπο μέ τόν ὁποῖον ἀντιμετωπίζουμε τήν ζωή μας. Μέσῳ τῶν ἱερῶν ἀκολουθιῶν καί ἑορτασμῶν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, καί μέ τήν προσευχή, τήν νηστεία καί τά δῶρα τῆς διακονίας καί προσφορᾶς μας, συμμετέχουμε σ’ ἕνα κλίμα ἱερότητος καί περισυλλογῆς ὥστε νά μπορέσουμε νά ἐξετάσουμε τή σχέση μας μέ τόν Θεό καί τήν κατάσταση τῆς ψυχῆς μας. Μέ τήν μετάνοια καί τήν ὑπακοή στό θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, προσπαθοῦμε νά ἐπανέλθουμε σ’ αὐτό πού χάθηκε. Μέ τούς ἀγῶνες καί τήν ἀντιμετώπιση τῶν ἐγκοσμίων πειρασμῶν καί παθῶν μας, ὁδεύουμε τήν ὁδό τῆς λυτρώσεως. Μέσῳ τῆς ἀνανεώσεως καί δεσμεύσεώς μας στήν ἁγιότητα, ἐπιστρέφουμε ἀπό τήν ἐξορία τῆς Πτώσεως στήν Ζωοποιό κοινωνία μέ τόν Δημιουργό καί Λυτρωτή μας. Οἱ ὕμνοι καί τά ἑρμηνευτικά σχόλια τῆς Ἁγίας καί Μεγάλης Τεσσαρακοστῆς συχνά ἀναφέρονται στήν παραπάνω προσπάθεια ὡς ἕνα ὁδοιπορικό. Μία ἀπό τίς ἀναλογίες ἡ ὁποία χρησιμοποιεῖται ὥστε νά κατανοήσουμε αὐτό τό πνευματικό προσκυνηματικό ταξίδι εἶναι αὐτή τοῦ λαοῦ τῶν Ἑβραίων καί τῆς μεταβάσεώς των ἀπό τά δεσμά τῆς σκλαβιᾶς στήν Αἴγυπτο στή Γῆ τῆς Ἐπαγγελίας. Ἡ ἀφοσίωσή των στό θέλημα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἡ πρόνοιά Του γιά τήν ἐλευθερία των, καί ἡ παρουσία Του μεταξύ των σέ κάθε βῆμα τοῦ ὁδοιπορικοῦ των στηρίχθηκε στήν πίστη. Μέ πίστη ξεκίνησαν τό ταξίδι τό ὁποῖο θά τούς ὁδηγοῦσε στό σπίτι τους. Τό ὁδοιπορικό δέν ἦταν εὔκολο. Οἱ Ἑβραῖοι ἀγωνίσθηκαν γιά νά παραμείνουν πιστοί στόν Θεό. Ἁμαρτία καί ἀνυπακοή ἦταν τά ἀποτελέσματα τῆς περιπλανήσεως στήν ἔρημο ἐπί σαράντα ἔτη γι’αὐτό καί πολλοί ἐξ αὐτῶν δέν ἔφθασαν ποτέ στή Γῆ τῆς Ἐπαγγελίας. Ἀλλά γι’ αὐτούς οἱ ὁποῖοι παρέμειναν πιστοί στή διαθήκη, ἡ ὑπόσχεση πραγματοποιήθηκε. Ὅπως τά παιδιά τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, ἔτσι καλούμεθα καί ἐμεῖς νά ἔχουμε πίστη καθώς ξεκινοῦμε ἕνα προσκυνηματικό ὁδοιπορικό τό ὁποῖο γνωρίζουμε ὅτι δέν θά εἶναι εὔκολο. Οἱ ἡμέρες καί οἱ ἱερές ἀκολουθίες αὐτῆς τῆς ἁγίας περιόδου μᾶς ὁδηγοῦν στή Μεγάλη Ἑβδομάδα, στόν Σταυρό τοῦ Κυρίου μας ὅπου καί προσκυνοῦμε τήν Σταύρωσή Του, τήν ὑπέρτατη πράξη θυσίας καί ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ πρός ἐμᾶς. Ταυτοχρόνως, ξεκινοῦμε αὐτό τό Σαρακοστιανό ταξίδι μέ καρδιές πλήρεις πίστεως, ἐλπίδος καί ἀγάπης• διότι γνωρίζουμε ὅτι ὁ προορισμός αὐτῆς τῆς πορείας, μετά τήν πνευματική ἔξαρση τῆς Μεγάλης Ἑβδομάδος, κορυφώνεται μέ τήν ἔνδοξη Ἀνάσταση τοῦ Χριστοῦ καί τόν ἀπόλυτο θρίαμβό Του ἐπί τῆς ἁμαρτίας, τοῦ κακοῦ καί τοῦ θανάτου. Σήμερα, καθώς ξεκινοῦμε αὐτό τό ὑπέροχο ὁδοιπορικό τῆς Μεγάλης Τεσσαρακοστῆς, αὐτές τίς σαράντα ἡμέρες τῆς Μεγάλης Νηστείας, ἄς μήν λησμονοῦμε ὅλους αὐτούς οἱ ὁποῖοι ἐπίσης περιπλανήθηκαν στήν ἔρημο. Ἄς μήν σπαταλήσουμε αὐτή τήν ὡραία εὐκαιρία γιά μετάνοια καί ἀνανέωση. Ἀντιθέτως, ἄς παραμείνουμε πιστοί στήν κλήση μας πρός τήν ἁγιότητα καί ἄς συνεχίσουμε τό ταξίδι μας πρός τό μέλλον. Εἴθε ὁ καλός καί φιλεύσπλαγχνος Κύριος νά χαρίζῃ σέ ὅλους μας δύναμη γι’ αὐτό τό ὁδοιπορικό καί εἴθε αὐτή ἡ Ἁγία καί Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή νά εἶναι εὐλογημένη γιά ὅλες τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες κοινότητές μας καθώς πορευόμεθα γιά νά συναντήσουμε τόν Κύριό μας, ὁ Ὁποῖος μᾶς περιμένει μέ ἀνοικτή ἀγκάλη στόν Σταυρό, ἕτοιμος νά μᾶς γεμίσῃ μέ τό ὑπέρλαμπρο φῶς τῆς Ἀναστάσεως. Μέ πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη,
ÿ ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος
ΕΛΕΩ ΘΕΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ, ΝΕΑΣ ΡΩΜΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗΣΠΑΝΤΙ ΤΩ ΠΛΗΡΩΜΑΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ,ΧΑΡΙΣ ΕΙΗ ΚΑΙ ΕΙΡΗΝΗ ΠΑΡΑ ΤΟΥ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣΚΑΙ ΚΥΡΙΟΥ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ, ΠΑΡ’ HΜΩΝ ΔΕ ΕΥΧΗ, ΕΥΛΟΓΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΣΥΓΧΩΡΗΣΙΣ
«Δεῦτε λαοί, σήμερον ὑποδεξώμεθα τῶν νηστειῶν τὸ χάρισμα ὡς θεοδώρητον καιρὸν τῆς μετανοίας. . .» (Δευτέρα Α΄ Ἑβδομάδος Νηστειῶν)
Ἀδελφοὶ καὶ τέκνα ἀγαπητὰ ἐν Κυρίῳ, Ἡ νηστεία, τὴν ὁποίαν μᾶς προτείνει ἡ Ἁγία μας Ἐκκλησία, δὲν εἶναι στέρησις, ἀλλὰ χάρισμα. Καὶ ἡ μετάνοια, εἰς τὴν ὁποίαν μᾶς καλεῖ, δὲν εἶναι τιμωρία, ἀλλὰ θεῖον δώρημα. Καὶ ὅταν ἡ Ἐκκλησία διὰ τῆς εὐαγγελικῆς περικοπῆς, τὴν ὁποίαν μόλις ἠκούσαμεν, μᾶς προτρέπῃ νὰ μὴ θησαυρίζωμεν θησαυροὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, «ὅπου σὴς καὶ βρῶσις ἀφανίζει», ἀλλὰ νὰ θησαυρίζωμεν θησαυροὺς ἐν οὐρανῷ, ὅπου καμμία ἀπειλὴ φθορᾶς δὲν ὑπάρχει, μᾶς λέγει τὴν ἀλήθειαν. Διότι ἡ Ἐκκλησία δὲν εἶναι ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, ἀλλὰ ζῇ εἰς τὸν κόσμον τοῦτον καὶ τὸν γνωρίζει. Γνωρίζει τὸν ἄνθρωπον· τὰς πραγματικάς του ἀνάγκας καὶ ταλαιπωρίας. Γνωρίζει καλῶς τὴν ἐποχήν μας. Τὴν ἐποχὴν τῶν μεγάλων ἐξελίξεων καὶ ταχυτήτων. Τοῦ καταιγισμοῦ τῶν πληροφοριῶν καὶ τῶν συγχύσεων. Τῶν πολλῶν φόβων, ἀπειλῶν καὶ καταρρεύσεων... Δι’ αὐτό, ἤρεμα καὶ σταθερὰ καλεῖ τοὺς πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν. Δι’ αὐτό, ἀποτρέπει τὰ τέκνα της νὰ πάρουν ἐσφαλμένον δρόμον μὲ τὸ νὰ θησαυρίζουν τὸν κόπον τους καὶ νὰ στηρίζουν τὴν ἐλπίδα τους ἐπὶ βάσεων σαθρῶν. Ἀλλὰ τὰ προτρέπει νὰ θησαυρίζουν ἐν οὐρανῷ. Διότι ὅπου εἶναι ὁ θησαυρὸς ἡμῶν, ἐκεῖ εὑρίσκεται καὶ ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν. Ὁ θησαυρὸς ποὺ δὲν φθείρεται καὶ ἡ ἐλπὶς ποὺ δὲν καταισχύνει, εἶναι ἡ θεία Ἀγάπη· ἡ συνεκτικὴ τῶν πάντων Δύναμις. Εἶναι ὁ σαρκωθεὶς Θεὸς Λόγος, ποὺ μένει μεθ’ ἡμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. Αὐτὸς εἶναι ὁ ἁγιασμὸς τῶν ψυχῶν καὶ τῶν σωμάτων ἡμῶν. Καὶ δὲν ἦλθε νὰ κρίνῃ ἀλλὰ νὰ σώσῃ τὸν κόσμον. Δὲν ἦλθε νὰ ἐπιπλήξῃ ἀλλὰ νὰ θεραπεύσῃ. «Πλήττει συμπαθῶς καὶ σπλαγχνίζει θερμῶς». Κατήργησε τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου, τοῦτ’ ἔστι τὸν διάβολον. Ἐξήλειψε τὸ ἀμειδὲς τοῦ θανάτου. Δηλαδὴ τὴν χωρὶς μειδίαμα σκοτεινὴν μορφὴν καὶ παρουσίαν τοῦ θανάτου. Ἡ ὁποία ὅταν ὑπάρχῃ, ἀμαυρώνει καὶ δηλητηριάζει ὅλην τὴν ζωὴν καὶ τὴν χαρὰν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Δι’ αὐτό, ὅταν ἡ καρδία καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη μας εἶναι ἐστραμμέναι εἰς τὸν Θεάνθρωπον Κύριον, τὸν καὶ νεκρῶν καὶ ζώντων τὴν ἐξουσίαν ἔχοντα, τότε ὅλα φωτίζονται καὶ μεταμορφώνονται. Καὶ ὅταν ὁ Ἀπόστολος προτρέπῃ νὰ μὴ στηριζώμεθα «ἐπὶ πλούτου ἀδηλότητι, ἀλλ’ ἐν τῷ Θεῷ τῷ ζῶντι, τῷ παρέχοντι ἡμῖν πάντα πλουσίως εἰς ἀπόλαυσιν» (Α΄ Τιμ. 6, 17), μᾶς διαβεβαιώνει ὅτι ἡ ἀληθινὴ ἀπόλαυσις τῆς ζωῆς εἶναι ἐκεῖνο ποὺ μᾶς δίδει ὁ Θεὸς καὶ ἡμεῖς τὸ δεχόμεθα μὲ εὐγνωμοσύνην καὶ εὐχαριστίαν. Τότε τὸ ὀλίγον εἶναι πλούσιον ὡς εὐλογημένον· καὶ τὸ πρόσκαιρον καὶ στιγμιαῖον λάμπει μὲ φῶς αἰωνιότητος. Τότε, ὄχι μόνον αἱ χαραὶ τῆς ζωῆς ἔχουν κάτι ποὺ δὲν παρέρχεται. Ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ δοκιμασίαι καὶ αἱ θλίψεις γίνονται ἀφορμαὶ θείας παρακλήσεως. Ἡ θεία οἰκονομία τῆς σωτηρίας μας εἶναι βεβαία. Εἶναι «ὁ βάθει σοφίας φιλανθρώπως πάντα οἰκονομῶν». Καὶ ἡ παρακαταθήκη τῶν κόπων μας ἐξησφαλισμένη, διότι «παρακατατιθέμεθα τὴν ζωὴν ἡμῶν ἅπασαν καὶ τὴν ἐλπίδα» εἰς τὸν Θεάνθρωπον Κύριον. Δι’ αὐτό, ὅταν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον μᾶς παραπέμπῃ εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, κυριολεκτεῖ. Μᾶς προσγειώνει εἰς τὴν πραγματικότητα τῆς γῆς ἡ ὁποία ἔγινεν οὐρανός. Αὐτὴν τὴν βεβαιότητα ζῇ καὶ ὁμολογεῖ ἡ Ἐκκλησία. «Διὰ τοῦ Σταυροῦ σου, Χριστέ, μία ποίμνη γέγονεν Ἀγγέλων καὶ ἀνθρώπων καὶ μία Ἐκκλησία· οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ ἀγάλλεται, Κύριε, δόξα σοι». Μᾶς χαρίζει τὴν δυνατότητα νὰ ζήσωμεν τὸ θαῦμα ὅτι ἡ γῆ ἔγινεν οὐρανός. Καὶ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐντὸς ἡμῶν ἐστι. Αἱ ρίζαι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εὑρίσκονται εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. Χωρὶς τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν εἴμεθα μετέωροι καὶ ἀνέστιοι. Ἡ Ἐκκλησία εἶναι τὸ σπίτι μας. Ὅσον ἐπιστρέφει ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς αὐτήν, τόσον ἐπιστρέφει εἰς τὸν ἑαυτόν του, ἔρχεται εἰς ἑαυτόν. Ὅσον ἀπομακρύνεται, χάνεται καὶ ἐξαχρειοῦται. Ὅσον πλησιάζομεν τὴν Ἐκκλησίαν, αἰσθανόμεθα τὴν γνησιότητα τοῦ ἀληθινοῦ. Βλέπομεν τὸν οὐράνιον Πατέρα νὰ μᾶς περιμένῃ ἔξω ἀπὸ τὴν οἰκίαν. Μᾶς πείθει ἡ αἴσθησις τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ τοῦ κάλλους. Ἡ παρουσία τῆς κραταιᾶς ἀγάπης ποὺ νικᾷ τὸν θάνατον. Καὶ ὄχι τοῦ φθαρτοῦ καὶ ἀμφιβόλου ποὺ ἐμπαίζει τὸν ἄνθρωπον. Ἄς ἀκούσωμεν, λοιπόν, τὴν θείαν πρόσκλησιν νὰ εἰσέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πέλαγος τῆς νηστείας, διὰ νὰ φθάσωμεν εἰς τὸν λιμένα τοῦ φωτὸς καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως σὺν πᾶσι τοῖς Ἁγίοις.
Ἁγία καὶ Μεγάλη Τεσσαρακοστή ,βθ´
+ Ὁ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως διάπυρος πρός Θεόν εὐχέτης πάντων ὑμῶν
Celebrity narrators “Loukoumi’s Good Deeds,” the third in a series of books by New York attorney Nick Katsoris is due out on April 1 and includes a bonus CD, which features the voices of Jennifer Aniston, her father Days of Our Lives star John Aniston, Olympia Dukakis, Guiding Light star Frank Dicopoulos, CBS News anchor Alexis Christoforous, American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis, and Grammy winner Gloria Gaynor (“I Will Survive”). Proceeds from sales will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
Medal recipient Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, a member of the Archdiocesan Council, a community leader, philanthropist and president of AKT Development in Sacramento, Calif., was bestowed the highest honor of the Archdiocese for a layperson when she received the Medal of St. Paul from Archbishop Demetrios. The presentation took place when Ms. Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis and her husband, Markos, were in Washington for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She and her husband have established two endowed professorships dedicated to the advancement of the Hellenic ideals of democracy: The Eleni and Markos Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Chair at Georgetown University in 2006 and the TsakopoulosKounalakis Chair in honor of Constantine Mitsotakis at Stanford University in 2005. She also engages in interfaith work through a decade of service as a trustee to the World Conference of Religions for Peace.
Elected judge James Plakas of Northville, Mich., recently won election as judge of the 35th Judicial District Court, which serves five suburban communities west of Detroit. He went on to win the general election after finishing first in the primary among six candidates. Mr. Plakas received the endorsement of over 50 judges, the county prosecutor and the Michigan attorney general. Judge Plakas previously served as an assistant prosecutor and city attorney. He is a member of Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish in Westland, Mich.
Museum hopes Efforts are under way to establish a Greek Museum and Center for Greek American Heritage in New York. Cofounders are Katherine R. Bouloukos and Anastasia Nicholas. Thus far they have been spearheading a fund-raising drive. A site has yet to be selected. The museum would include exhibition space, an oral history department, gift shop, and space for concerts, lectures, play performances and receptions.
Elected chairman Archdiocesan Council member Demetri Moschos of Worcester, Mass., recently was elected chairman of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is a former Archdiocesan Council president.
Major leaguer University of Washington senior George John, son of Archdiocesan Council member John John of Seattle, recently became a first-round draft pick by the Major League Soccer team FC Dallas. He is the third highest selection by the MLS in University of Washington history and, in 2008, was selected Pacific 10 Conference Men’s Soccer Scholar Athlete. He also is featured in the “Northwest and Pacific notes” column of Theodora Dracopoulos Argue in the March issue of the Hellenic Journal.
Northern N.J. Community Offers Many Activities for Spiritual Growth P A R I S H
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Name: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Location: Wyckoff, N.J. Metropolis of New Jersey Size: about 500 families Founded: 1970 Clergy: Fr. James Moulketis (Holy Cross ’68) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.stnicholasnj.org Noteworthy: Parishioners are very serious about their faith and heritage. ST. NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
WYCKOFF, N.J. – St. Nicholas parish is a “spin-off” from St. Athanasius Church that was formerly located in Paterson, N.J. According to Fr. James Moulketis, the 1960s saw the neighborhood where the church was located in the heart of Paterson deteriorate and one group of parishioners decided to establish a new parish in this part of northern New Jersey, a few miles from the New York border. The other group re-established St. Athanasius in nearby Paramus. About 100 families started the new parish of St. Nicholas. A parish history prepared as a Girl Scout Gold Award service project by Catherine Zymaris, now a student at the College of New Jersey, notes that Bible and prayer services began in 1970 at a local school and at a Methodist church in this township of about 17,000 in the northeast corner of the state. It was under the supervision of Fr. Demetrios Stephanopoulos, a retired priest. He was joined in late October 1970 by a lay priest, Fr. Milton Stamatos. Later that year, Fr. Nicholas Ksethias became the first permanently assigned priest. Efforts began to buy property. A multi-purpose building eventually was constructed to house the church, fellowship hall and classrooms. Meanwhile, a portable icon screen served the community in the school gymnasium until the new building could be completed. From 1973-75, Fr. Charles Serelis, the parish’s second permanent priest, was assigned to St. Nicholas. He, in turn, was succeeded by Fr. Moulketis in October 1975. He has served the parish continuously since then. Church services were held in the multi-purpose building for 15 years. The altar was on the stage. There were no pews and each fam-
ily donated enough folding chairs to seat their family members. The present church was built in the mid-1980s, with the first services taking place in November 1985. The consecration took place in 1998 with Archbishop Spyridon officiating. A parish center was later built that houses a high school-size gymnasium, an office center and conference room, and classrooms for the Sunday school and Greek school. Fr. Moulketis, a native of Stamford, Conn., is also the first Orthodox Christian priest to attain the rank of captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve, where he served for 25 years. (Fr. George Paulson attained that rank first, in the active Navy). Over the years, Fr. Moulketis also served as president of the National Presbyters Council, as president of the New Jersey Metropolis Clergy Syndesmos, and as president of the clergy pension program. He currently serves as the vicar of the Northern Region of New Jersey, representing Metropolitan Evangelos at many official events. Fr. Moulketis said he credits Fr. Leonidas Condos, and Fr. George Poulos as strongly influencing him. An active parish Life at St. Nicholas Church is characterized by many activities and ministries. The Sunday school has an enrollment of 300 children. The Greek school, which meets once a week on Friday afternoons, has 130 students. The GOYA chapter has nearly 60 members who meet monthly and participate in statewide dances, arts competitions, Junior Olympics, and other activities including community service projects and religious retreats. A Vacation Bible School is held in summer and two Bible study groups
meet regularly throughout the year. A senior citizens group, Kali Parea, meets each week to participate in various activities. While Fr. Moulketis does not have an assistant priest assigned to the community, the director of the Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Fr. Mark Leondis, has been participating in parish life there on Sundays for the past eight years. He established the Faith, Hope and JOY group and also assists with youth retreats. “It’s very refreshing,” Fr. Moulketis said of Fr. Leondis’ contribution to the life of the parish. AHEPA and the Daughters of Penelope provide cultural and educational programs for those involved, the parish history noted. The two organizations offer college scholarships, create educational programs for the youth of the church and support various church projects. Revenue sources St. Nicholas parish has been on the Stewardship Program for nearly 30 years. “We’re one of the first,” said Fr. Moulketis. “It’s been a blessing for us in terms of spiritual growth and to meet the needs of the parish.” The church hosts other fundraising events, including bake sales and flea markets, art shows, fashion shows, rug sales, car raffles and the annual Greek festival held in September. The main challenge that Fr. Moulketis said he faces is “Keeping focused on being truthful to values; keeping Christ at the heart of everything in the church. That’s a challenge.” He describes his parish as very harmonious, very loving. “There is a very harmonious spirit in this church,” he said. — Compiled by Jim Golding
Metropolitan Methodios Appoints Fr. Strongylis as Dean of Boston Cathedral BOSTON – Metropolitan Methodios has appointed the Very Rev. Dr. Cleopas Strongylis, the director of Greek Education for the Metropolis of Boston, and since 2004 the pastor of Holy Trinity parish in Lowell, as dean of Annunciation Cathedral. Metropolitan Methodios installed Fr. Strongylis at the cathedral on March 1. Fr. Cleopas was born in Athens, Greece, on Aug. 20,1966. Following his primary and secondary education, he en-
rolled and subsequently graduated from the School of Theology of the University of Athens. Thereafter he studied at the University of Durham, England, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in 1992. Coming to America he studied at and later graduated from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology earning a Master of Theology degree. After taking courses at Boston University and Harvard Divinity School, Fr. Cleopas earned a doc-
torate degree from the University of Thessaloniki in 1994. He is the author of several books including his latest, “St. Nectarios of Pentapolis and the Rizareios Seminary of Athens (1984-1908), published in 2008. The tome was presented late last year at a special ceremony in Athens attended by the author and more than 400 clergy and laity, including Archbishop Ieronymos and professors from various universities and colleges.
by Presbytera Vassi Makris Haros
What does your heart desire? This question was put to me one summer while I was living in New York City. I was a fashion design student and participating in a three-month co-op, a college work/study program where students alternate quarters between classes and work. It was a great chance to see what the “fashion world” demanded. I was definitely up for the challenge and creative enough to make it worth my while. But was participation in the fashion world the right choice for me? My first sign that it was not was the day I played hooky from work to attend Liturgy. I couldn’t tell you the saint or the special feast that pulled me from work, but I must have been homesick. I had been on several co-ops across the country at this point, and I consistently found church to be comforting and familiar. What I do remember is the widow at the bus stop who was also in church that morning. As the bus doors opened, I helped her up the high steps. In her thankfulness she blessed me with the most beautiful prayer, one that changed my life: “May you have all that your heart desires.” Although I understand now that this is a common Greek saying, it was the most profound thing I had ever heard: “my heart’s desire.” What could my heart desire that would be different from any other part of my body? I suppose my feet desire comfortable shoes. My stomach desires healthy food. My ego desires attention... but my heart? What could my heart desire that would be so unique it was singled out in the prayer of the widow? For days and months I struggled to understand what my heart’s desire was and how it was different from following my ambition. Eventually, it became clear that the fashion industry was not providing what my heart was craving. My heart’s desire was to be near God, to serve God through ministry and to work in the church. In the season of the Annunciation, I often wonder about the Virgin Mary. I’m sure if you asked her when she was young about her ambitions, her list would not include: give birth to the Son of God, raise Him to be a grown man, and then watch Him hanging, crucified, on a cross. But—considering that as a young girl she was raised in the temple where prayer and awareness of God’s presence was a daily reality—if you asked her if
CENTER FOR FAMILY CARE Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America 79 Saint Basil Road Garrison, New York 10524 845-424-8175 email@example.com www.familyaschurch.org The Center for Family Care was established with a major grant from the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment Fund, Incorporated. We are grateful for its support.
The articles on this page are provided by the Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. For further information, visit www.familyaschurch.org or call (845) 424-8175
Being at Home with God
she wanted to be near God and to please Him, she would reply, “Yes!” just as she had in the Gospel of Luke, 1:28-38. Being near God was familiar and comforting to her. Being near God was home. Although we are not called to the high honor of the Virgin Mary, we are all called to find our home in God. How, then, do we teach our children and family that being near God is home—and the answer to their heart’s desire? We must begin by establishing a connection between church and home using the tools of worship, so worship is familiar and God’s presence is welcomed. We need to have a strong understanding of liturgical time by celebrating the feasts and the fasts, so we can experience the Orthodox Faith in our time. And finally, we must pray so that, in a dialogue with God, we might understand who He is and who we are. How can we make room for God in our homes so that we are at home with God? Are the tools of worship available and familiar to everyone in the family? The tools of the Church incorporate all our senses. They are things we can touch, smell, see, taste and hear. One tradition in Orthodox countries is to burn incense in the house to bless the family members and the icons once a week. This can be done on Saturday mornings or evenings in preparation for Liturgy the next day. There can be an icon collection of patron or favorite saints displayed in all the bedrooms with a more formal family prayer corner (iconostasis) in a public area. Liturgical music can be played in the home or in the car when traveling. There
are many adult and children’s choirs with chanting and singing of Orthodox hymns and folk songs. I recently came across a new CD of the Akathist of the Panagia, Nurturer of Children. Unlike the akathist prayers that are read and chanted during Great Lent, the prayers in this akathist are written as a parent’s petition to the Panagia to intercede in the raising of their children. With church bookstores expanding and the Internet readily available, every household should have a prayer corner where one can find icons, incense, prayer ropes, prayer books, and church music. When the tools of worship are available, liturgical worship is familiar and comforting, not distant or foreign. How can we include God in our day so that we are at home with God? Second, in order to experience Church in our homes, we should have a good understanding of liturgical time. If you find that you have to miss church to tend to young children or due to illness, restrict entertaining activities until afternoon when the Liturgy is over. The Archdiocese’s website www.goarch.org lists several parishes that live–stream liturgy on Sundays, so even if you can’t be there you can be reminded of what is taking place. Celebrate the feasts and name days. Have gifts, cake and a special meal for each family member’s name day, study the saints’ lives and learn their special hymns. During prayers, sing the hymns of your patron saint or parish’s feast day. Commit to learning the hymns of the 12 major feasts. When children are old enough, have them begin fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays.
As they get older extend it to the 40 days before Christmas and Pascha, and then include the fasts for the Panagia, the Apostles, and St. John the Baptist. In time your family will find themselves celebrating the feasts, having experienced the discipline of the fasts; the liturgical calendar will have more meaning. In addition to participation in the fasts, always practice the lesson in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46. Show generosity to those who have less. Feed the poor. Clothe the naked. Visit the lonely. These are very real ways to include God in our daily lives and be near Him. How can we make room for God in our hearts so that we are at home with God? The third aspect of experiencing the church in our homes is prayer. Prayer is more than our talking to God with a list of troubles and blessings. It is also a time to be silent and aware that He is present. Prayer can be spontaneous or structured. Pre-established prayers offer us the appropriate language for understanding our relationship with God and are important regardless of a person’s spiritual level. Prayers can be long and elaborate or as simple as, “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” Regardless of the length, they must be said, not so that God can hear us, but so that in the silence of prayer, we might hear God. And then the relationship can really begin to grow. Besides establishing a family prayer rule of morning and evening prayers, there are many reasons to pray throughout the day. Prayer books available in most Orthodox bookstores have prayers for every aspect of human life: meals, sick people, before taking a test, and even when traveling. One important note: it is important that each person in the family has a prayer book that is age appropriate. Young children, teenagers, young adults and parents all need to be able to read prayers according to their age and ability. Adults need to move beyond their childhood prayers into a more mature prayer rule. Like any other “exercise,” you need a coach; be sure to consult your parish priest or spiritual father before beginning a prayer rule, so that a healthy discipline can be established. Home is where the heart is If we continue to establish a connection between the Church and home in these ways, we will find plenty of room for God in our homes, our daily lives, and our hearts. And when we are at home with God, like the Virgin Mary, we will truly have our hearts’ desire. Presbytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of Holy Cross School of Theology. In the past, she served the Metropolises of Detroit and Pittsburgh as their director of youth and young adult ministries. Her husband, Fr. Athanasios, is the parish priest at Transfiguration Church in Florence, S.C. They have a 6–year–old son.
Volunteers Needed to Participate in Orthodox Family Study The Center for Family Care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is looking for volunteers to participate in the first national study titled: “Orthodox Family in America at Home and in Church.” Family is the most essential unit of our society. St John Chrysostom wrote, “The human family constitutes the primary and essential element of human society… peace in society will be a direct result of peace in the family.” But for many of us there is no peace from the stresses and demands of our modern life. We have often heard that our Church should be an important part of our family—our spiritual family. But how does this part of our family help us with our lives and challenges we face? How do we live out our Orthodox Christian Faith daily? “The Orthodox Family in America at
Home and in Church” study is a first step towards a better understanding of how our Church ministers to the particular needs of families and how Orthodox families in America organize their everyday lives with regard to living their faith. In brief, this study addresses several broad questions: How is the family life of parishioners related to their Church life? To what degree is our Church present and helpful in the everyday routines of the families of her faithful? What are major sources of stress in the family lives of our faithful? What are the greatest challenges for the maintaining of Orthodox Christian traditions in their family homes? What types of family oriented programs and activities are presently offered in the individual Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
parishes? What do parishioners think about these programs? We need volunteers interested in being a part of this project. There are only two requirements to be eligible for participation: you must be a parishioner of a Greek Orthodox community, and, you must have children 18 and under living at home (single parents are equally welcomed to participate as well as intermarried families—where the parents are Orthodox/ non-Orthodox) If you are willing to participate in the “Orthodox Family in America” study or if you have any further questions, send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (845) 424-8175. You can also download the form at www.family.goarch.org We look forward to hearing from you!
“FAITH: AN ENDOWMENT FOR ORTHODOXY AND HELLENISM”
to sponsor scholarship awards through the Archdiocese
“Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism” is pleased to announce the it will once again support a series of academic scholarships and travel fellowships for young people throughout the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America scholarship award program for academic excellence and leadership in 2009. In 2007, Faith launched one of its most prominent funding initiatives by underwriting several merit-based scholarship awards offered by the Archdiocese to the graduating valedictorians and salutatorians of its parochial schools. The Faith Scholarships for Academic Excellence are merit-based scholarships designated for educational purposes and underscore the commitment to excellence in education throughout the Archdiocese. In 2008, Faith increased its funding for the scholarship programs to include Greek Orthodox valedictorians of any public or private high school in the United States as well as offering a series of scholarships for young people wishing to attend Ionian Village. In addition to the academic scholarships, as part of its 2009 scholarship program, Faith will once again fund a limited number of Archdiocese travel scholarships for students to participate in the Ionian Village summer program this summer. These need-based scholarships will be awarded by the Archdiocese to students who display financial need, assisting to cover the tuition and travel fees to the program. In 2008, there were fifteen recipients of Faith Ionian Village Travel Scholarships. Ionian Village is located in Greece and operated by the Archdiocese, under the spiritual
direction and guidance of Archbishop Demetrios. Established in 1970, Ionian Village offers its participants a unique experience to travel across Greece, venerate the relics of saints, walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, and visit significant sites of Greek history and culture. Peter T. Kikis, president and one of the Original Founders of Faith, remarked on last year’s scholarship recipients, “We are very proud to be able to support the Archdiocese scholarship programs. The past recipients of the Faith Scholarships for Academic Excellence are truly outstanding candidates - unilaterally, they not only excelled academically but they are also the young leaders in our community by commendably donating their time and effort to volunteering and actively building our community through their extracurricular activities. We are also happy to support young people wishing to participate in Ionian Village, which is a truly transformative experience – one can see the intellectual, spiritual and emotional growth that takes place for young people attending the summer camp.” Faith looks toward continuing support of these vital educational programs as well as to working with the Archdiocese to inaugurate a series of new opportunities related to its mission and the development of new programs that will support the enrichment and enlightenment of future community members and leaders. Michael Jaharis, one of the original founding members of Faith, stated, “I
Denver Tournament Breaks Attendance Record ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The community of St. George recently hosted the annual Metropolis of Denver Basketball Tournament, which broke the attendance record with 810 registrants. With a 10-year history of being the largest Orthodox gathering of any kind in the Metropolis, the Albuquerque tournament engulfed the Johnson Athletic Center on the University of New Mexico campus, playing 68 basketball games on eight courts over the course of one day. The following day, Jan. 18, 16 semifinal and final games were played, along with a timed contest for each team’s top threepoint sharpshooters. Prior to the Sunday games, nearly
1,000 players, coaches, advisors, clergy and local parishioners participated in a Divine Liturgy in the ballroom of the downtown Hyatt Regency hotel. Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver presided over the Liturgy in which Fr. Paul Patitsas of St. George, and other Metropolis clergy served. At the awards dinner that followed in the evening, GOYA representatives made donations of $5 and $10 retail gift cards totaling $3,000, which they presented to the director of the Safehouse of New Mexico, a shelter for battered women and children. The next Metropolis of Denver Basketball Tournament will be held Jan. 1518, 2010 in Dallas.
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Total grants since the inception of Leadership 100 will exceed $28 million in 2009. This is because Leadership 100, in response to the current economic crisis and its effect on its Endowment Fund, has raised in excess of $1 million for the special Leadership 100 Grant Fund, which was formed by the Executive Committee in October 2008 to continue its grant program until such time as the earnings from the Endowment Fund allow the organization to resume grant distributions. Paulette Poulos, executive director (interim), in addressing the General Assembly, said: “It is with great humility and a heart full of gratitude that I stand before you this morning to express my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you who came to Puerto Rico to help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Leadership 100. As we gather to honor our Founders, we are reminded of the monumental challenges each of them has faced in their lives and their amazing achievements and
Archbishop Demetrios with Ronnie Milsap and wife, Joyce, and George D. Behrakis at Leadership 100 Conference.
perseverance in support of our Church and Leadership 100, a shining example to all of us as we enter the next 25 years of our mission. None of this would have been possible without the support of our chairman, officers, and Board of Trustees, and the guidance of our spiritual leader, Archbishop Demetrios and our Metropolitans to whom we owe deep respect and heartfelt appreciation.”
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strongly feel we are at a time and place when an endowment such as Faith is crucial and more importantly, its success, as one can see, is possible, evident, and tangible. On behalf of all the Founders, we are especially honored to be able to support the young people of our community by funding programs such as the Archdiocese scholarships and travel fellowship programs to Ionian Village.” For more information about the Archdiocese scholarship programs, please contact the Archdiocese office of Administration at 212-774-0566 or administration@goarch. org. For application guidelines and forms, please visit: www.faithendowment.org
Mission Statement: The core mission of Faith is to promote Hellenism and an understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith through a series of high quality innovative educational programs and cultural initiatives under the auspices of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Founded by a group of Greek American leaders representing a diversity of professional fields and philanthropic values, our first priority is to fund the development and expansion of educational and cultural programs that focus on our Orthodox and Hellenic heritage and cultural legacy. Our mission is to promote a diverse series of educational and cultural programs that will be available to our community.
Groundbreaking Held for New Florida Church OCALA, Fla. – The Greek Orthodox Mission of Greater Ocala, first organized in January 2004, held a ground-breaking ceremony for their new church structure on Feb. 21, with Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta presiding. Currently the Mission holds its Sunday Divine Liturgy and other holiday services in the chapel of the Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala. Their spiritual leader is Fr. George Papadeas, a 91-year-old retired priest from Daytona, who drives from Daytona to Ocala every Sunday to perform the service. Fr. George was the first Greek Ameri-
can graduate of the newly founded Greek Theological Seminary, Pomfert, Conn, where he graduated as valedictorian in June 1942. He organized the first church community on Long Island serving Nassau and Suffolk Counties, now St. Paul’s Cathedral in Hempstead, N.Y. He has served in many areas of responsibility in the U.S. and in Europe and has been the recipient of numerous honors and recognitions both here and abroad. His life is now totally dedicated to the establishment of The Greek Orthodox Mission of Greater Ocala church community.
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Metropolitan Evangelos and those present then went into the main church and celebrated an Agiasmos service for the blessing of a school, which was followed by a brief brunch that was hosted by the St. Demetrios Philoptochos. Demetrios Makres, parish council president remarked, “The day school has been a tremendous success and it is wonderful to have the children in the Church. The kids truly bring life to the Church of St. Demetrios.”
The school includes pre-kindergarten through second grade classes. Plans call for expansion to upper grade levels. St. Demetrios Church is the spiritual home for more than 600 families. Commenting on his visit, Metropolitan Evangelos remarked, “The efforts of the faithful of St. Demetrios Church are a true testament to what can be accomplished when we place our faith in Jesus Christ first.” For more information, contact Fr. Louis Noplos at St. Demetrios in Baltimore.
What is Almsgiving? by Rev. Dr. Dimitrios Moraitis
Each year in our journey through Great Lent and towards the passion of Christ, the Church reminds us of three pillars of our faith: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer and fasting are two aspects of the faith that most Orthodox Christians know well. Almsgiving, on the other hand is a nebulous concept to many. Often, while leading GOYA and even Young Adult retreats, I encounter numerous Orthodox Christians who do not know that almsgiving means “the making of voluntary contributions to aid the poor—the act of giving.” It is an expression of love and selflessness that has a direct and often profound affect on those who receive it. And as Orthodox Christians, it also has a direct effect on our own salvation. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Gospel reading on Meatfare Sunday, that of “the Final Judgment.” In the Gospel of Matthew (25:31-46) Christ uses the imagery of a shepherd separating his calm and submissive sheep from the chaotic and uncontrollable goats, and parallels it to the way God will separate all people—those who will enter the Kingdom of God and those who will not, at the final judgment. The basis for this separation in this parable is the works of mercy that people performed to those less fortunate. In the Old Testament, the prophets warned the ancient Israelites of the judgment they would receive if they did not care for the widows and the orphans and those less fortunate. In the New Testament, the message could not be clearer: Caring for the needy is a direct expression and representation for one’s love for God. When Christ was asked, “What do I need to do to inherit eternal life,” He responded that “one must love God and his neighbor as himself.” The neighbor, as is evident from the Parable of the Good Samaritan, is anyone in need. But how do we participate in these programs? How do we motivate our young people and the parishioners to take an active role in almsgiving and social outreach ministries? The answer is simple. It begins at each parish. The church that I serve, St. Paraskevi in Greenlawn, N.Y., has always had a keen awareness of the needs of those less fortunate. Almost a decade ago, my predecessor established two wonderful ministries. The first is the Care Ministry which is run by volunteers most of whom belong to the Philoptochos who visit shut-ins and people in nursing homes—those who cannot come to church by themselves. They bring love and fellowship to these lonely people on a weekly basis, and about once a month I accompany them and bring the sacraments. The second is the Life Center, which provides diapers, wipes, children’s clothing, formula and toys to new mothers who are struggling financially. These needy parents are referred to the Church by the local hospital and Social Service agency and receive the most basic needs to raise their children in a healthy way. In 2004, when I arrived at St. Paraskevi, I was shocked to find out there were between 30 and 50 homeless
people living in cardboard shacks near the railroad station by the church. Several had frozen to death the winter before and I, along with over 30 other leaders of the congregations in the greater Huntington area, decided to form a coalition to house these homeless, most of who were men, but occasionally women and children as well. The first year, four congregations including our St. Paraskevi, volunteered their congregation’s facilities as respite sites. By the following winter seven congregations took a different day of the week and the homeless had a place to stay, a hot dinner and a hot breakfast and a lunch to go, seven days a week. This ministry continues today, and we partner with the local Catholic Church to staff all the shifts needed to minister these homeless people. Every winter, over 2,000 volunteers participate in this program that came together to save 30 to 50 lives from freezing to death. As a result, 2,000 souls are in the process of being saved. Other Greek Orthodox churches on Long Island, especially their Goyans, have volunteered with this homeless ministry. Finally this year, St. Paraskevi opened a food pantry. The pantry is used not only by those needy who come to our community for assistance, but also by some of our own parishioners who have found themselves victims of these tough economic times. In addition to these four wonderful outreach ministries, our community adopts over 300 families during the Christmas holiday season and purchases Christmas presents for needy children. Every other summer our young people participate in Project Mexico, where they build homes for needy families outside of Tijuana. The community is also active with many of the other philanthropic institutions of the Archdiocese including IOCC, St. Basil Academy, and St. Michael’s Home. Many of the programs are supported by our generous Philoptochos, others simply by private donations. Whatever the case, our parishioners have many opportunities to support and actively participate in social outreach ministries right in the comfort of our own Church. Any Greek Orthodox Church can begin these programs in their local community. The needy are everyone. St. Paraskevi is located on the North Shore of Long Island, one of the most affluent areas in the world, and yet it’s not difficult to find those who need assistance. All these ministries, which are in place at St. Paraskevi can and should be in place at every church so that when Christ asks us, “I was hungry did you feed me? I was thirsty, did you give me drink? I was naked, did you clothe me? A stranger did you take me in? I was in the hospital and in prison, did you visit me?” We can say, “Yes Lord, we did all of these things. We did them because we knew when we did it to the least of our brethren, we did it to you.” Almsgiving and social outreach are in reality an extension of the ministry that Christ offered while He walked on the earth, continued by the people who follow in His footsteps and call themselves Christians.
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Collector wants established and old Greek (American) paintings. Please call Tina at (718) 278-6368 or send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
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FATE OR FAITH ? A Question of Personal Valkyrie
page 9 fateful circumstances by courageously choosing to change the very course of our lives. In his famous Homily on Divine Love, St. John Chrysostom underscores the significance of such faith. He does so by insisting that the idea of fate is a nonsensical myth. “Our lives,” he writes, “are subject to no unavoidable fate. Everything points to the beauty of free will.” He concludes his homily by emphasizing that “faith triumphs over the nature of events, because we are the masters of our fate.” In a most profound liturgical hymn of the Feast of Epiphany, the personified waters of the Jordan River are described as having changed their fate by the presence of Jesus. “The waters saw You, O Lord, and they changed their course. The Jordan reversed its flow having discovered a New Source.” Like St. Paul and Colonel Stauffenberg, each and every one of us may one day gaze at our spiritual reflection in the waters of our respective Jordan River and choose to change the flow and course of our lives – to either ignore or accept the call of our own personal Valkyrie. Although we may discern personal limitations and deformities, it is, nonetheless, a “great a dignity,” declares Chrysostom, to use whatever talents and strengths we may have as “a soldier of Jesus Christ.” He insists that, like St. Paul, we “are all spiritual soldiers” and should therefore strive to fight the good fight, finish the course, and to keep the faith. “The good fight,” for Chrysostom is defined as “the cause of Christ,” from which “great crowns” are won. “There is no worthier contest,”
he writes. “It has no human umpire, nor men for spectators. The theater is crowded with angels. The victors receive a crown that continues forever in brightness, glory, and honor. The course is not a mere display of strength and of rivalry.” And yet, through faith, “it draws all up to heaven.” By defining our ultimate ideals and allegiances, in this fashion, the choices that we make in life will, to a large extent, characterize the very nature of our respective contest. In Valkyrie’s final scene, Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators prepare to be executed for treason. They have run the course of their race! As they take their respective turn before a firing squad, the Colonel encourages them to look their executioners in the eyes. “They will remember you,” he insists. The film ends with Stauffenberg’s defiant declaration, “Long live sacred Germany!” The opportunity to choose to live our lives according to the ideals of such a fate-defeating faith, to courageously participate in a personal Valkyrie that perpetually contests the forces of evil in the world on behalf of our Lord’s Sacred Church, is always present. Colonel Stauffenberg lost an eye, a hand and several fingers in the service of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. His life, however, was not defined by this unfortunate tragic event. As a soldier of Christ he chose to fight the good fight, to finish the race by keeping the faith . . . a faith that overcame his fate. Fr. Marangos is the dean of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City. He is also an adjunct assistant professor at St John’s University (NY).
God’s Presence in Human Suffering page 5 When Job listened to God in abandonment and solitude, Job saw his place in the mystery of things. I know that you can do all things,
And that no purpose of yours can be hindered. I have dealt with things that I do not understand; Things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know. I had heard of you by word of mouth, But now my eye has seen you. Therefore I disown what I have said, And repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:2-6). In its journey of transcending, the person must finally arrive at the fundamental conclusion that God alone is God and that what counts ultimately is the love of God. When everything goes, God alone remains: nothing is God but God. From early on, Christians have been made aware that there can be no suffering that separates us from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39). Simone Weil was familiar with the consequences of affliction: God appears to be absent, here is her advice: The soul has to go on loving in the emptiness, or at least to go on wanting to love, though it may only be with an infinitesimal part of itself. Then one day God will come to show Himself to this soul and to reveal the beauty of the world to it, as in the case of Job. In this passage Simone is describing what is the main task of a spiritual journey; to go on loving in darkness and emptiness until God discloses the fullness of His love.
Congratulations to the Recent Graduate of
St. Stephen’s Course in Applied Orthodox Theology upon his ordination into the Holy Diaconate!
Rev. Deacon Macarius (Clifford) Ayres
At Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Roanoke, VA The Laying of Hands by
His Eminence Evangelos
Metropolitan of the Metropolis of New Jersey On November 18, 2008
or the past 28 years, the St. Stephen’s Course in Applied Orthodox Theology has been educating men and women – Orthodox and non-Orthodox – from all parts of the world. It is, as one of our faculty members, Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh labeled it, a theological “school without walls” – a directed distance reading program with an integrated three year program. The students are from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius, Turkey, England, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Armenia, Uganda, The Middle East, North and South America. These students have had a strong desire to learn more about the Greek Orthodox Church, its faith, doctrine and traditions. They are not, or were not, able to attend a seminary or an Orthodox Theological School due to pursuing a secular career or family obligations, etc. There are over 1,000 graduates who now serve, not only as deacons, but also the local parish as church school directors, teachers, youth ministers, etc. If you are interested in learning more about the program, please fill out the form below or contact the St. Stephen’s Office at 201-569-0095 or email@example.com for a catalogue. Name: ___________________________________________________________ Please Print
Address: _________________________________________ City: _______________ State:______________ Zip Code:____________ Country:______________________ Telephone: _________________________e-mail: ___________________________ Mail to St. Stephen’s Course, 385 Ivy Lane, Bergenfield, NJ 07621 USA
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