1 FATHER S MESSAGE Dear Parishioners, We will enter again this year into the purifying period of Great and Holy Lenten season. Monday, February 23rd begins our Lenten journey. This journey leads us from desolation, found in the corrupted nature of this world, to the beautiful gates of paradise, found in Christ s resurrection. The Orthodox faithful are asked to engage these special holy days to make spiritual progress in their personal passage to salvation. The formula, given to us by the church, to accomplish this task is simple: prayer, fasting, forgiveness and charity. An increase in corporate prayer is seen with the addition of the Presanctified Liturgy, the Salutations, Compline and Lenten Vespers. Here the Church lays out its program for your spiritual edification. By attending a number of these services each week, your spirit is led by the conscious of the Church. Likewise, in imitation of the Church, our own personal prayer life increases. As we pray at home, you will see your own prayer life blossom forth bearing fruit worthy of God s incorruptible kingdom. Fasting is self sacrifice, a denial of the body to control carnal impulses. The body is more than food. It is spiritual and divine. We remember the words of the Saviour Himself when He said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). By denying our flesh, as the Holy Fathers indicate, our spirit feasts on God s commandments. Forgiveness is an act of returning to the Father. The model of this is perfectly described in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32). Our selfish devices leave us spiritually abandoned and left to die in the corrupted nature of this world. By identifying sin that is rooted within, we are assisted by the Church, through Holy Confession, to receive healing from God. This is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. And when he saw him (the Samaritan, who is a symbol of one afflicted by the tortures of sin), he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, brought him to the inn (a symbol of the Church) and took care of him. (Luke 10:33-34). For your benefit, a more extensive article regarding Holy Confession is included in this publication. Charity is love in action. Therefore to demonstrate out love for one another and for God, we give out of our abundance. We give to help those in need. We give to provide for the welfare of Christ s Holy Church. We give to advance the Kingdom of God in this world. To give makes us imitators of the Divine Person for in love He gave His only begotten Son.
2 As we embark on the Lenten journey, we do so with faith and joy being reminded by our Lord that, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance.but, 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 who sees in secet will reward you openly. (Matt. 6:15-18) Have a blessed Lent.Kali Sarakosti With Love in Christ, Fr. Anargyros Αγαπητοίί Ενορίίτες, Πλησιάάζουν οι ηµμέέρες της Μεγάάλης Σαρακοστήής, περίίοδο πνευµματικώών αγώώνων, και πρίίν µμπούύµμε στην ευλογηµμέένη αυτήή περίίοδο, η Εκκλησίία πάάλι µμας προετοιµμάάζει γιάά τον δύύσκολο αγώώνα, τόόν πνευµματικόό, που µμας περιµμέένει και µμας ετοιµμάάζει µμε εφόόδια που θα τα πάάρουµμε απο τις τέέσσερες εβδοµμάάδες, που αρχίίζουν µμε το άάνοιγµμα του Τριωδίίου. Κατάά την Κυριακήή του Τελώώνου ακούύµμε γιάά την αξίία και το µμεγαλείίο της ταπεινοφροσύύνης, όότι γιάά να νοιώώση ο άάνθρωπος το Θεόό, πρέέπει να είίναι ταπεινόός καίί όόχι περήήφανος και εγωϊστήής. Κατόόπιν έέρχεται η Κυριακήή του Ασώώτου, γιάά να µμας δώώση θάάρρος στην προσπάάθειάά µμας και στον αγώώνα µμας να µμετανοιώώσουµμε, να αλλάάξουµμε µμυαλόό, να αφήήσουµμε το δρόόµμο της ασωτίίας, και να επιστρέέψουµμε στην αγγαλιάά του Θεούύ. Ακολουθείί η Κυριακήή της Κρίίσεως η οποίία µμας οµμιλείί γιάά την αγάάπη και το ενδιαφέέρον προς τον πλησίίον µμας, πούύ είίναι η βάάση της σωτηρίίας µμας. Γιάά να δούύµμε πρόόσωπο Θεούύ, µμέέσα στήήν ψυχήή µμας, πρέέπει να φυτρώώνουν λουλούύδια αγάάπης πρόός όόλους. Καίί τελικάά, κατάά την τετάάρτη Κυριακήή, της Τυροφάάγου, ακούύγεται «το σάάλπισµμα της εξόόδου, το σάάλπισµμα της νηστείίας», όόχι µμόόνο απόό διάάφορα φαγητάά. Αλλάά ιδιαίίτερα απόό πάάθη και κακίίες και αµμαρτίίες.
3 Καλούύµμεθα να συγχωρέέσουµμε ο έένας τον άάλλο, να πετάάξουµμε το ρούύχο της ζήήλειας και του µμίίσους, και να φορέέσουµμε το φόόρεµμα της καλοσύύνης και της αγιόότητος. Καλούύµμεθα να επαναλαµμβάάνουµμε κάάθε στιγµμήή τα ολόόγλυκα και παρήήγορα λόόγια της Εκκλησίίας: «Κύύριε Ιησούύ Χριστέέ, υιέέ του Θεούύ, ελέέησόόν µμε». Ευλογηµμέένος ο Χριστιανόός που θα µμπορέέσει να αγωνισθείί µμε αυτάά τα εφόόδια, κατάά την περίίοδο αυτήή των πνευµματικώών αγώώνων. Θάά νοιώώσε το χέέρι του Θεούύ να αγγίίζει την καρδιάά του, και θα βλέέπει το φώώς Του στο δρόόµμο της ζωήής του Με αγάάπη Χριστούύ, Πατήήρ Ανάάργυρος
4 LENTEN MEALS - ORTHODOX MISSIONS This year, we will once again have Lenten meals, held after the Clean Monday Great Compline Service and after each Wednesday evening Pre- sanctified Liturgy. All free- will monetary donations collected from the Lenten meals will benefit the Orthodox Missions KATHARA DEFTERA - CLEAN MONDAY On Monday, February 23rd, Kathara Deftera - Clean Monday, we encourage everyone to attend the special service The Great Compline for the beginning of Lent. We would like everyone, including the Greek & Sunday Church School Students, JOY and GOYA, to attend this special service and join in the circle of forgiveness. The ladies of our Philoptochos will be hosting a Lenten Dinner following the Great Compline Service. PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is conducted only during the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent and on the first three days of Holy Week. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, as its name implies, is unlike other Liturgies, such as that of St. John Chrysostom, in that there is no consecration of the elements. Rather, the consecration takes place on the preceding Sunday. These Presanctified Liturgies exist in order to offer more opportunities for the faithful to receive Holy Communion without the general splendor of the regular Divine Liturgy. The service consists of the first part of a Vespers and the last part of the Divine Liturgy. The mood is inspired by the repentance characteristic of the Lenten Period. One way of showing the spirit of repentance and humility, while acknowledging the Holy Gifts carried in the Great Entrance procession, is for the priest to cover his head with the aer cloth, rather than placing it on his back (Greek Tradition) or shoulder (Slavic Tradition). It is not that you are prohibited from looking at the priest, but that the solemnity of the transfer of the already consecrate Holy Gifts of the Body and Blood of Christ, is being emphasized by this practice. HERETISMOI - SALUTATIONS The Akathyst Hymn was composed and sung, according to tradition, as a thanksgiving to the Theotokos for the protection of Constantinople from a siege by the Persians in 626 A.D. The twenty-four verses, each beginning with a letter of the Greek alphabet form a beautiful religious poem regarding the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world. The hymns honor the Theotokos. The Heretismoi services are portions of these verses (six each week) and are sung on the first four Fridays of Great Lent. The whole Akathyst Hymn is sung on the fifth Friday of Lent. GREAT LENT AND EASTER FLOWERS The Great Lent and Easter Season is approaching quickly and once again we are asking for your contributions and donations towards the adornment of our St. Athanasios Church during the Lenten and Pascha season. Please keep in mind
5 that Great Lent begins on Monday, February 23rd. Please call the Church Office if you are interested in donating any of the following items: Flowers for the 5 Icons 1 st Salutations 2 nd Salutations 3 rd Salutations 4 th Salutations Akathyst Hymn Daffodils for the Veneration of the Holy Cross Palms and Vaia for Palm Sunday Flowers for the Icon of the Nymphios (Bridegroom) 2 Candles for the Bridegroom Holy Wednesday, Holy Unction Items Flowers for the Icon of the Last Supper 12 Candles for the 12 Gospels 9 Candles for Cross, Holy Thursday Wreath of flowers for the Crucified Floral Arrangement for the foot of the Cross 1 White Single Flat Sheet for Good Friday Flowers for the Epitaphio 8 Candles for Altar Table Rosewater for the Epitaphio Flowers for Resurrection Icon Wreath for the Resurrection Lavaro 30 Easter Lily plants Incense 6 Paschal Candles Communion Wine (Koumantaria, St. John s or Nama) MYROPHORES If any young girl age 9 and up is interested in being a Myrophora during Holy Week and Pascha, please contact Athena Georgotas or the Church Office. Myrophora sign up is on a first -come first-serve basis, along with parental consent. ORTHODOX EASTER (PASCHA) This year, Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on April 12th. The Orthodox date for Easter is based on a decree of the Council of Nicae, Asia Minor, held in 325 A.D. under Emperor Constantine the Great. According to this decree, Easter must be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon of the vernal equinox but always after the Hebrew Passover to maintain the Biblical sequence of events of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The Orthodox Christian Churches have adhered strictly to this formula, but the Easter of other Christian Churches is not necessarily preceded by the Passover. ΚΑΘΑΡΑ ΔΕΥΤΕΡΑ Την Δευτέέρα 23 Φεβρουαρίίου, Καθαράά Δευτέέρα, προσκαλούύµμεν όόλους συµμπεριλαµμβανοµμέένων και µμαθητώών των σχολείίων µμας, να παρακολουθήήσουν την Ακολουθίία του Μεγάάλου Απoδείίπνου και να λάάβουν µμέέρος και στον κύύκλο της συγχωρήήσεως, στη συνέέχεια. Οι κυρίίες της Φιλοπτώώχου θα προσφέέρουν το νηστήήσιµμο δείίπνο µμετάά την Ακολουθίία του Αποδείίπνου.
6 HOW MUCH DOES YOUR CHURCH SCHOOL COST? A little boy visited Church School for the first time, he liked it, and wanted to return. Fearful that the family could not afford it and before she sent him again, his mother called the church and asked, How much does your Church School cost? Before determining the cost of Church School, let s think of its worth. How much is it worth to have the direction of the lives of boys and girls and young people changed through Christian education? How much is it worth to instill in them the basic values and principles of human dignity, right and wrong? Each of these are measured by the only authentic and dependable way which is God s divinely inspired Word. How much is it worth to see young people diverted from juvenile delinquency to Christian citizenship? Why did a famous judge say that those brought up in Church School seldom are brought up in court? Because he knew its worth. The education available in Church school is unique. It is no longer offered in public schools to any degree. It is less and less offered in homes. Society is turning away from, rather than toward, spiritual principles. Despite these facts, Church Schools remain the strongest bulwark in our nation against evil destruction. How much is it worth to our community? How much is it worth to our church? How much is it worth to our children? When you determine its worth, then, and only then, figure the cost. You will realize that whatever Church School costs, it is America s biggest bargain. HOW TO BUILD A GREAT CHURCH It takes very little planning to wreck a building or a business but it takes skillful planning and diligent work to build. It is easy to kill a church, but it takes thought and persistence to build a great church. The great churched of our land did not just happen. They have been built through persistent effort. Here are a few suggestions for building a great church. Never allow a day to pass without taking time to pray for your church and its ministry. Never speak to anyone without praising your church and your pastor. The criticism will be spoken loud and often; see that the praise is louder. Never fail to be friendly to anyone in all church services, especially to newcomers and absentees. Nothing in the world can substitute for old-fashioned friendliness. Never make your church of less importance than social engagements, secular meetings, or anything else. There is no greater power for a church than that of members who quietly but emphatically put it first. Never refuse an opportunity to serve. Be willing to serve anywhere you are asked. All service ranks the same with God. Attend church every Sunday.
7 ST. ATHANASIOS DIAKONIA AGAPE MINISTRY MISSION STATEMENT AND REPORT St. Athanasios Diakonia Agape Ministry and Food Pantry were established to alleviate the physical and emotional hunger of the poor and needy in a dignified and supportive manner. The Diakonia Agape (Service of Love) program takes a comprehensive approach in providing and supporting services that eradicate not only hunger, but the structural causes of hunger and poverty. Our program supports a network of charitable programs that provide a broad range of services for those in need, including the provision of food, clothing, shelter, and related social services. We are working together with various locations and organizations to promote emotional and physical well-being through programs sponsored by Churches, health facilities, social service providers, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and the corporate community. In the year 2014, we have distributed over 325 bags of groceries, 1154 boxes and 1050 cans, of nonperishable food items and have provided financial assistance and support to needy families of our parish and community. This accomplishment of distribution and assistance is afforded to the generosity of time, talent and treasures from our St. Athanasios parishioners and friends. Let us continue to do the work of our Lord and reach out to our brothers and sisters in Christ that need our help. Thank You to all for the love and support shown for the benefit of this Church ministry.
8 SUNDAY CHURCH SCHOOL It s hard to believe that we are more than half way through the Church school year! The Sunday Church School teachers continue to be eager to see our students attending Church and participating in classroom activities. Lessons are prepared weekly and much time and thought is given to teaching our children in grades Pre-K through 12 about our Greek Orthodox faith. We have noticed recently, however, that there has been a gradual trend toward later Church arrival on the part of our students. We recognize the many factors that are impacting this trend, but are asking parents to make an extra effort to bring their children to church earlier so that they can hear the gospel reading and participate in Sunday worship services. This is the only way for children to learn about their faith and for the teachers to help them integrate what they are learning in the classroom. Church School Update: Since the last Newsletter The Sunday Church School sponsored a very successful and meaningful Christmas Retreat entitled Vessels of Prayer, where the children learned about different forms of prayer and made an iconostasis that they took home. We had a lot of positive feedback and the children enjoyed the hands on activity and learning about the importance of prayer. Other events included a heartwarming visit to St. Michael s home where we donated a Christmas gift to each resident, and our annual Christmas play that featured the Greek School children singing Christmas Carols in Greek and English. Upcoming Sunday Church School Events: Godparent Sunday Oratorical Festival Easter Activities God s Blessing to all, Athena Georgotas
9 PHILOPTOCHOS The ladies of St. Irene s Philoptochos greet you with love. We started off the year with our beautiful tradition of the cutting of the vasilopita for our St. Athanasios community, on January 11 th. A special tray was passed to support our St. Basil s Academy. We visited our St. Michaels home on December 27th. Our elderly were very happy to see us. We sang the kalanda and songs for Christmas and the New Year. They enjoyed the glyka, the gifts, and our company. Thank you for participating and making a difference in the lives of our Greek elderly. We hosted the vespers and the luncheon for St. Athanasios day. As always many people attended our church from the neighboring communities. We would like to thank our donors and all the ladies of Philoptochos that assisted. Special thanks to Ann Kamvosoulis and Vaso Panagopoulos who chaired both of these days. On Monday February 23rd is the first Monday of lent Kathara Deftera, which marks the beginning of Lent. Please plan to attend the Great Compline service at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Lenten dinner sponsored by our Philoptochos chapter. Our Tricky Tray will be on March 10 th. Please bring your parea and come to this event. We will have great gifts, Greek food, Greek sweets and refreshments available. We are currently accepting donations. The proceeds benefit our charity cases and many worthy charitable organizations. We are having our Philoptochos membership drive. Please consider becoming an active member of St. Irene s Philoptochos. Together we can accomplish many things, enjoy long time friendships and make a difference in the lives of the many people (the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, the handicapped the victims of disaster) who need our assistance. As Jesus said Assuredly, I say to you, In as much as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (Matthew 25:4). Our meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30p.m. Have a happy and healthy New Year. With Love in Christ, Dr. Karen Scoullos President
10 Saint Irene Philoptochos Society of Saint Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church Presents our ANNUAL TRICKY TRAY Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm Snow date Thursday, March 12, 2015 St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church 51 Paramus Road Paramus, NJ Coffee and Pastry will be served Refreshments will also be available from our concession Tickets $10.00 For tickets, please call Xanthippi Nakopoulos at / Anna Gourmos at or the Church Office at (201)
11 GREEK SCHOOL Nέέα του Ελληνικούύ Σχολείίου Καλήή Χρονιάά µμε υγείία και ειρήήνη σε 'ʹολους! Την Κυριακήή 21 Δεκεµμβρίίου, οι µμαθητέές του Κατηχητικούύ και του Ελληνικούύ σχολείίου, παρουσίίασαν την αναπαράάσταση της Γέέννησης του Χριστούύ, σε µμίία πολύύ συγκινητικήή και όόµμορφη ατµμόόσφαιρα, στην κοινοτικήή αίίθουσα της εκκλησίίας µμας. Τα κουστούύµμια, τα τραγούύδια, η διακόόσµμηση,η αφήήγηση, όόλη η παρουσίίαση ενθουσίίασε τους παρευρισκοµμέένους, που επευφηµμούύσαν τα παιδιάά µμας για την τέέλεια απόόδοσήή τους.ευχόόµμαστε και του χρόόνου καλύύτερα! Στις 16 Φεβρουαρίίου το Ελληνικόό σχολείίο θα είίναι κλειστόό (ηµμέέρα που τιµμούύµμε τους προέέδρους της Αµμερικήής). Στις 23 Φεβρουαρίίου θα εορτάάσουµμε την Καθαρήή Δευτέέρα µμε έένα νηστίίσιµμο γεύύµμα που θα προσφέέρει ο Σύύλλογος Γονέέων. Την Τετάάρτη 25 Μαρτίίου, θα εορτάάσουµμε την Ηµμέέρα της Ελληνικήής Ανεξαρτησίίας, και όόλοι η µμαθητέές πρέέπει να είίναι παρόόντες. Καλήή Σαρακοστήή σε όόλους! Ευχαριστώώ Σοφίία Σταµματίίου On Sunday the 21st of December, the students of the Sunday and Greek schools presented a beautiful festive Christmas program in our community hall, and our children did a wonderful job! Congratulations in order! On February 16th the Greek school will remain closed (Presidents' Day ) On February 23rd- Clean Monday-the PTO will offer a lenten meal to the students On March 25th, we will celebrate the Greek Independence Day at 5:OO pm. All students must be present. Thank you Sophia Stamatiou Principal
12 GOYA As the hectic holiday season rolled around, our GOYA took charge to prepare for both Jesus s birth and to contribute our holiday spirit to those who need it most. GOYAns attended a Sunday school retreat in which we learned about how to include prayer more in our daily lives and how to keep our lifeline with God. We also participated in the Bridges Outreach Program to prepare lunch and toiletry bags for the great population of homeless families no farther than Newark, NJ. Our annual Christmas play also took place and was once again a success (alpacas and all). The GOYAns were also able to enjoy the holidays with our annual grab bag Christmas party, which took place along with a Lenten dinner, and the state Christmas dance in Piscataway, NJ. January holds our Applebee s fundraiser and the start of Sights and Sounds rehearsals. GOYAns will participate in numerous categories and practice weekly throughout the next couple of months until the Sights and Sounds competition takes place the first weekend in March. Also, Stella Kovoros, Alexandra Katechis, and Dina Christopoulos, will be representing our parish in the Metropolitan Folk Dance Festival in Maryland this month. In February, the GOYAns will attend the annual Valentine s Dance. As a group, we would like to thank all those who have made our Vasilopita fundraiser a success once again. Kali Xronia! With Christ s Love, Stella Kovoros and Elias Marcopoulos GOYA Co-Presidents Please support our breakfast fundraiser - the GOYAns will be hosting and serving! Applebee's FlapJack Breakfast Fundraiser Saturday January 31, 2015, 8-10 am- 450 Hackensack Ave, Hackensack NJ Tickets are $11 per person. You can speak to any GOYAn or advisor to pre-purchase tickets, or buy them at the door.
13 HOPE/JOY Dear St. Athanasios Families, For those of you that are new to HOPE and JOY, these are ministries of our Church and of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Our mission is to provide our families with a venue where we could reinforce Orthodoxy in the lives of our children while giving them a recreational and creative outlet. HOPE is open to children between the ages of 4 and 7 and JOY is for children between the ages of 8 and 11. We will be hosting the following events. Exact dates and additional details will be included in the Weekly Church Bulletins, on our website, and via . February Bowling Night & Pizza Party Time: 6:30 8:30 pm Location: Montvale Lanes Montvale, NJ March Lenten Event We will hold a discussion about Holy Week and Holy Easter. The children will also be doing an Easter craft. Lenten snacks will be served. For more information, please stop by the Church Office for an application or us at Your Advisor, Penny Αntonopoulos
14 PARISH COUNCIL Dear St. Athanasios Stewards and Supporters: We wish to report on the great success we had this past November at the 2014 Church Dance, held at Biagio s. The Dance was a reunion of our past GOYA Members and the proceeds are being dedicated to the renovation of the Gym/Community Center. We had 287 individuals in attendance, young and old, coming together to reconnect and talk about the days in GOYA. We are truly pleased to report that the event netted over $37,000 in profit, with more funds still coming in. The profit was earned from the following areas, Ticket Sales, Journal Ads, Raffle and the bulk of the profit came from pledges. We have received to date $24,575 in pledges and we still have funds being sent in. We have to make a special thank you to our Grand Benefactors, Mr. & Mrs. Christos Gourmos, Mr. & Mrs. George Hrissikos and Mr. & Mrs. James Kourgelis. We also extend a thank you to all of our contributors that sent in pledges and supported the event. For all our businesses and individuals that placed ads in our Journal, you will be happy to know that the Journal netted $8,000 in profit. Please take note that part of the success of the evening came in the form of reduced expenses, the Band and the DJ each donated their services, many thanks for some wonderful entertainment. The flowers & candles were all donated and our printer donated the tickets, poster and flyers. Proceeds will be going towards, new backboards, repairing/refinishing the floor and adding safety mats at each end of the court. On the stage the doors below the stage will be replaced. The plan is to have all the work completed by this summer. In fact the New Backboards will be installed sometime in February. It is impossible to thank everyone that made this evening a success since we would not want to leave someone out. So in simple words, THANK YOU for making our 2014 Church Dance a great success and we look forward to seeing everyone at our next Church Dance. Thank you again and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. Andy Hios and Peter C. Paizis Event Co- Chairs