1 SEPTEMBER 2008 Vol. 73 No $1.00 Archbishop Offers Prayers at Both Party Conventions NEW YORK Both the Republican National Convention Committee and the Democratic National Convention Committee invited Archbishop Demetrios to deliver prayers at their respective conventions in Minneapolis and Denver. The Archbishop delivered a prayer of Invocation at the Democratic National Convention in Denver on Aug. 27 at the session where the official nominations for president and vice president took place. On Tuesday evening, the day before the Invocation, His Eminence met privately with vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden for a brief discussion of issues addressed in previous meetings between the two. During his visit to Denver, the Archbishop also met with members of Congress and other state and government officials. In his prayer, Archbishop Demetrios included all of the participants of the Convention saying, Almighty God Guide the work of all the delegates who have assembled here as they vigorously promote the institutions of our democracy. Remember, Lord, Your servants who will be nominated as candidates for the highest offices of our land. Bless them and grant them strength and wisdom, as they work for our nation, and for its great mission among the nations of the Earth. (FULL TEXT BELOW) Let us bow our heads in prayer. Almighty God, the Giver of all that is good and true and noble, we bow our heads before You in thanksgiving for bringing us together at this Democratic National Convention. We offer thanks to You for the great gift of liberty and for the privilege of being residents and citizens of a nation that is called to be a model of justice, peace, and the rule of law. As we give thanks for these blessings, we humbly beseech You, Lord, to remember all of those who have given their lives in defense of these ideals over the course of our nation s history, so that through their sacrifices we may partake of the fruits of freedom which we enjoy today. Guide the work of all the delegates who have assembled here as they vigorously promote the institutions of our democracy. Remember, Lord, Your servants who will be nominated as candidates for the highest offices of our land. page 26 N. MANGINAS New Ecclesiastical Year Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signs the book of the Indiction marking the beginning of the new ecclesiastical year on Sept. 1, and the day dedicated to the protection of the environment. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Receives Swedish Delegation, Visits Athos Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received a visit in August from members of the Cultural Committee of the Swedish Parliament on a fact-finding visit to Turkey. Delegation members sought to learn about the plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the problems it faces. Sweden will hold the presidency of the European Union in the second half of The group also traveled to Ankara to meet with Turkish parliament members In late August, His All Holiness traveled to the Monastery of St. Dionysius on Mount Athos to commemorate the relics of St. Nifon II, who served as ecumenical patriarch on two separate occasions in the late 15th century. D. PANAGOS Seventh anniversary Archbishop Demetrios marks the seventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 with a memorial service. Parishioners of St. Nicholas Church, the only church destroyed when the towers collapsed, and family members of some of the victims attended. About 35 Greek Orthodox Christians died in the attacks. His Eminence recalled that, on the day of the attacks, he had been in Boston preparing to go to Logan Airport when he received the news of the catastrophe. The flights that hit New York originated at Logan. The Archbishop traveled to New York by car the following day and received a police escort to the site that has become known as Ground Zero. He also noted that the air around the site was thick with debris from the dust and building materials and possibly human remains that had been vaporized. The Archbishop was joined at the September 11 service by several other clergy, including Fr. John Romas, pastor of St. Nicholas. Archdiocese Welcomes New Vicariate NEW YORK Below is the full text of the Archdiocese press release of Aug. 5. Since that time, there have been some questions raised as to the nature of the Vicariate. Following the text of the press release, the director of the Office for Inter-Orthodox Relations, Fr. Mark Arey, offers some commentary for purposes of clarification. Decisions on some Palestinian and Jordanian Communities in the U.S. After a long process that began in 1993 related to the ecclesiastical status of a portion of the Palestinian and Jordanian communities in the United States, the portion connected to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, there has been a final agreed decision by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem concerning these communities. The Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Jerusalem Patriarchate have agreed that the canonical and pastoral supervision of these communities and their clergy should belong to the canonically established jurisdiction in the United States which is the Eparchy of the Ecumenical Throne in America, that is, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Henceforth, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem no longer asserts any jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere. On Tuesday, April 1, 2008, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, together with the senior member of the Holy Synod of the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Metropolitan Vasilios of Caesaria (Palestine) and other clergy. Final details for the implementation of the agreements were completed, with a mutual decision that these communities come under the canonical jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of America. Following the meeting at the Phanar, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America was directed to proceed with the implementation of the agreements by the creation of a Vicariate for the inclusion of the clergy and communities within the Archdiocese of America. The official name of the Vicariate is: Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA. The clergy and communities of the Vicariate will be directly under the Archbishop of America and will report to the Archdiocese through the Vicar. Through the Archdiocese, all of these clergy and communities will be able to participate in the programs and agencies of SCOBA. The process by which these parishes have been placed within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople under the pastoral care and supervision of the Archbishop of America, as Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has been a long and complicated one. When the Jerusalem Patriarchate sought an ecclesiastical presence both in the New World (as well as in Australia) in page 8
2 2 A RCHDIOCESE N E WS 39th Clergy-Laity Congress SEPTEMBER 2008 Exaltation of Holy Cross Climate Change Topic of Workshop by Lila Prounis who introduced the DVD, Living Waters, a series of seven ecumenical symposia organized by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Four speakers presented analyses and views from four different perspectives: George Kostakos, senior policy advisor of the United Nations Climate Change Team; Dr. George Nassos, associate professor at the Stuart School of the Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business; Dr. Adamantiades on the U.S. scientific, technical, regulatory and policy environment; and Dr. John Chryssavgis of the Archdiocese Ecumenical Office on the Orthodox theological perspective. In his plenary session report to the congress, Dr. Adamantiades said many workshop participants expressed the need for a wider dissemination of the workshop presentations among parishes, including the DVD of the Ecumenical Patriarch s green activities. He urged that parishes have environmental concerns as a primary focus by setting an example of what it means to be a responsible steward of the natural world, by encouraging the interest of youth and offering them a good cause for creative work; and becoming partners with His All Holiness in his quest for safeguarding the world. One workshop participant noted that his parish of Ascension of Our Lord in Lincolnshire, Ill., has become one of the first to seek leadership in energy and environmental design certification for its new parish building. A workshop on the subject of Ethics of Global Climate Change took place July 15 during the 39th Clergy Laity Congress, under the auspices of the Archdiocesan Advisory Committee on Science and Technology, Achilles G. Adamantiades, executive secretary of the AACST, served as chairman. Co-chairman was Lila Prounis, the NGO representative of the Archdiocese to the United Nations. Among those in attendance was Archbishop Demetrios, who addressed the gathering. The potential for climate change in the next 50 to 100 years has spread alarm to the inhabitants of the world and has caused concern among leaders, policy makers, international organizations, businesses and common citizens. The scientific consensus is that serious climate change is inevitable and has manifold consequences in agriculture, water supplies, sea levels, forest coverage, survival of plant and animal species and human health unless serious measures are taken in the short term and decisive changes take place in energy and industrial policy and in personal lifestyle. The issues of intergenerational responsibility, concern for the poor, a wasteful lifestyle, the future of the planet and the ultimate survival of mankind become critical ethical questions in light of the evangelical command that we be stewards of nature. The session began with Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco Photos D. PANAGOS NSP Convenes During Congress WASHINGTON The National Sisterhood of Presvyteres (NSP) held its biennial conference July at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel concurrently with the 39th Biennial Clergy Laity Congress. The week s events were highlighted with an ice-breaker and tea, clergy marriage workshops, a luncheon at the Greek Embassy and a clergy family appreciation dinner. Throughout the week the NSP conducted business meetings that were important to the entire National Sisterhood, and spend time sharing and learning from each other. The Executive Board officers elected for are Presbyteres Cynthia Paleologos, Worcester, Mass, president; Alice Noplos, Baltimore, vice president; Jeannie Monos, Charlottesville, Va, treasurer; Eleni Dem- etri, Cleveland, corresponding secretary; Ranae Strzelecki, Town & Country, Mo., recording secretary; and Past President Flora Chioros of Newport News, Va. Presbyteres elected to the National Board are: Archdiocesan District-Paula Strouzas; Metropolis of Atlanta-Georget Photos; Metropolis of Boston-Vicki Toppses; Metropolis of Chicago Chrysanthie Bessinas; Metropolis of Denver Angie Constantinides; Metropolis of DetroitAnastasia Cassis; Metropolis of New Jersey Pauline Pavlakos; Metropolis of Pittsburgh-Becky Touloumes; Metropolis of San Francisco Barbara Retelas; retired representative Ellie Dogias; and widows representative, Mary Scoulas. EDITOR IN CHIEF Jim Golding (Chryssoulis) GREEK SECTION EDITOR Eleftherios Pissalidis USPS ISSN Published monthly except combined issue in July-August by the Greek Ortho dox Archdiocese of America. Editorial and Business Office: 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY TEL.: (212) FAX (212) PRODUCTION & ADVERTISING Eleftherios Pissalidis GRAPHIC ARTIST Abel Montoya ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Soula Podaras BUSINESS MANAGER Marissa Costidis CONTRIBUTING CORRESPONDENT & PHOTOGRAPHER: Nicholas Manginas BROOKLINE, Mass. Archbishop Demetrios presided at the service of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on Sept. 14 in the Chapel of Hellenic/Holy Cross Subscription rates are $12 per year. Canada $ Overseas Air Mail, $55.00 per year. $1.50 per copy. Subscriptions for the membership of the Greek Orthodox Church in America are paid through their contribution to the Archdiocese. Of this contribution, $5.00 is forwarded to the Orthodox Observer. School of Theology, the occasion of the name day of the school. The Archbishop was joined by, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, HC-HC President Nicholas Triantafilou, and Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas in celebrating the service. The chapel was filled to capacity with faculty, seminarians and their families and area residents attending the service. The feast day celebration was preceded on Sept. 13 by the stavroforia ceremony, at Great Vespers where the seminarians were presented with the cross of the school. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: ORTHODOX OBSERVER, 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY (Coverage on page 9) Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. The Orthodox Observer is produced entirely in-house. Past issues can be found on the Internet, at: Articles do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America which are expressed in official statements so labeled.
3 SEPTEMBER 2008 FR. AL DEMOS. ORTHODOX OBSERVER Fr. Athanasios Demos Named Archepiscopal Vicar NEW YORK Archbishop Demetrios has appointed Fr. Athanasios (Al) Demos as archiepiscopal vicar of the Direct Archdiocesan District. Fr. Demos will be working with Fr. Michael Kontogiorgis, assistant chancellor of the Archdiocese. Bishop Savas of Troas, the Archdiocese chancellor, is on leave of absence until the end of December. Fr. Demos, a native of Chicago, has served as a priest of the Archdiocese for 40 years. He has served parishes in Rochester, Binghamton and Greenlawn, N.Y; Charleston, W.Va; Bethesda, Md; and Boston and Peabody, Mass. He has also served Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, Mass., in a variety of capacities, including dean of admissions and development officer. For the past seven years, Fr. Demos has served as chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston. He holds a Masters of Divinity in Theology from Holy Cross and a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral psychology from Andover-Newton Seminary in Newton, Mass. While serving as archiepiscopal vicar, Fr. Demos will also pastor St. John the Baptist Church on East 17th Street in New York. Fr. Demos and his wife of 40 years, Presbytera Carol (Psaros), are the parents of two sons, Constantine and Mark. ARCHDIOCESE NEWS Archpastoral Reflections Gathering God s People in His Home The theme of our Clergy-Laity Congress this past July, Gather My People to My Home, presents several challenges and questions that are important to consider. For example, what images do we call to mind when we hear the term Home as used in the theme? How are we the voices of Christ, who act as His servants to Gather God s people to His Home? What do we exactly mean when we use the term Gather? And what is the precise meaning of the word People as employed in the theme? These and related questions and challenges will serve as topics for reflection over the next few months. by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America We begin this month by rising to the challenge of more fully appreciating the term My as used in the language of the theme. The term My in our theme is a clear reference to God, the Creator of the universe and of all humanity. Note that this term is used in the first person possessive case. The theme, in other words, understands the terms people and home as meaning God s people and God s home. As it applies to people, it is appropriate to speak of a broad rather than narrow understanding of humanity as God s people. A broad interpretation of humanity without any exclusions, discriminations, or exceptions is entirely consistent with Christ s parable of the Great Banquet in the Gospel of Luke, where the substance of our theme is vividly expressed. In that parable, the householder, who symbolizes God, tells his servant to Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:21-23). Notice the great lengths to which the householder goes. He goes to the people on the streets and lanes, on the highways and the hedges, in other words, to those people who make their homes in the margins of society. In this sense, God s home is also identified in broad rather than narrow terms. This passage from Luke is compelling of how God communicates directly to us that His people includes the entirety of humankind and that His home includes the entirety of our planet. The implications of this understanding for our theme of Gathering God s people to His Home are tremendous because it means that our work is unlimited. It means that our mission has no boundaries. It means that we are called to gather every human being of every continent to God s Home. We do this not in a propagandistic way or in a manner that proselytizes people of other faiths, but, rather, to share with others the love that God extends equally to all people regardless of our level of familiarity with them, or of their social or economic position. It also means that as we invite others to our parishes, and thus to the House of God, we do so with unconditional love and respect, and that we view all others as icons of God, created in His image and likeness. This brief reflection has endeavored to serve as a preview of the next series of reflections over the forthcoming months. Many of the ideas presented here require independent space in order to be developed thoroughly. This will be our collective task which all are invited to join, as we, the Greek Orthodox faithful of America, embrace the challenge of gathering God s people to His home. 3 Archons to Present Athenagoras Award to Rabbi Schneier NEW YORK -- Arthur Schneier, a noted rabbi who has continually pushed for religious freedom and human rights will be the recipient of this year s Athenagoras Human Rights Award from the Order of St. Andrew. The award will be presented during the Order of St. Andrew s banquet to be held as part of the Order s annual three-day assembly, Friday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Hilton hotel in New York. The award will be presented Oct. 25. Rabbi Schneier is founder and president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and is internationally known for his leadership on behalf of religious freedom, human rights, and tolerance with specific interest in Turkey, China, Russia, Central Europe, and the Balkans. As head of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an interfaith partnership of corporate and spiritual leaders from all faiths who promote peace, tolerance and ethnic conflict resolution, Schneier has long held that a crime committed in the name of religion is the greatest crime against religion. The Athenagoras Human Rights Award is presented annually by the Order to a person or organization, that has consistently exemplified by action, purpose and dedication, concern for the basic rights and religious freedom of all people. Sekulow to Address Archons Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), and one of the leading voices in the world on behalf of religious freedom, will address the Archon General Assembly, together with the participants of the Ladies Tea on Saturday, Oct. 25. Sekulow is a nationally recognized expert on religious freedom and is a popular guest on nationally televised news programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, and PBS. Sekulow will speak at the Archon General Assembly on issues regarding religious freedom rights and will outline a new cooperative effort between the ACLJ and ECLJ and the legal committee of the Order of St. Andrew. CLERGY UPDATE Ordination to the Diaconate Kerkeres, Chrysanthos, by Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, at Holy Cross Church, Justice, Ill. - 01/13/08 Vanderhoef, Richard Michael, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Assumption Church, Madison, Wis. - 02/24/08 Malamis, Sotiris, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, St. Demetrios Church, Elmhurst, Ill. - 03/02/08 March, Nicholas, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Glenview, Ill. - 06/29/08 Ordination to the Priesthood Rev. Dn. Chrysanthos Kerkeres, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Holy Taxiarchai/St. Haralambos Church, Niles, Ill. - 03/23/08 Rev. Dn. Richard Michael Vanderhoef, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Assumption, Madison, Wis. - 04/20/08 Rev. Dn. Michael Bahlatzis, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, Annunciation Church, Vestal, N.Y. - 06/21/08 Rev. Dn. Peter Day, Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, Sts. Peter and Paul, Haverhill, Mass. - 06/29/08 Rev. Dn. David Eynon, Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, Assumption Church, Chicago - 07/06/08 Rev. Dn. Thomas Newlin, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, St. Mark Church, Boca Raton, Fla. - 07/20/08 Rev. Dn. Jason Krokos, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, St. George Church, New Port Richey, Fla. - 07/27/08 Assignments Dn. Sotirios Malamis, Holy Trinity Church, Chicago - 03/03/08 Fr. Chrysanthos Kerkeres, Holy Taxiarchai/St. Haralambos Church, Niles, Ill. - 03/23/08 Fr. Richard Michael Vanderhoef, Assumption, Madison, Wis. - 04/20/08 Fr. Jon C. Emanuelson, St. Elpis Church, Hopewell, Va. - 05/01/08 Fr. Anthony Evangelatos, Annunciation, Brockton, Mass. - 07/01/08 Fr. Athanasios Haros, Holy Transfiguration, Florence, S.C. - 07/15/08 Fr. Michael Condos, Three Hierarchs, Champaign, Ill. - 08/01/08 Fr. David Eynon, Annunciation Church, Decatur, Ill. - 08/01/08 Fr. Athanasios Demos St. John page 26 9 th Anniversary ORTHODOX OBSERVER Members of the Archdiocese staff gather at a reception Sept. 18 th to celebrate Archbishop Demetrios ninth anniversary at the helm of the Archdiocese of America. After a congratulatory speech by Bishop Savas of Troas, the Archdiocese chancellor, the Archbishop thanked the staff members for their diligent work. Noting the collapse of major Wall Street financial institutions, he stressed that the Church is the only institution that has endured through crises over the past 2,000 years, while others have fallen by the wayside.
4 4 SEPTEMBER 2008 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE Ecumenical Patriarch s Encyclical on the Protection of the Environment For creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it... For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. (Rom , 22) BARTHOLOMEW By The Mercy Of God Archbishop Of Constantinople, New Rome, And Ecumenical Patriarch,To The Plenitude Of The Church, Grace And Peace From the creator of the entire universe, our lord, god and savior jesus christ Last May s visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the mountain of Parnitha, Greece. Parnitha had suffered extensive damage from fires, which threatened the wild life of the mountain. ity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it... For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. (Rom. 8: 20, 22) At this point, however, we are obligated to state that this spiritual and moral dimension of the environmental problem constitutes today, perhaps more so than ever before, the common conscience of all people, and especially young people, who are well aware of the fact that all of humanity has a common destiny. An increasing number of people comprehend that their overall consumption namely, their personal involvement in the production of particular goods or their rejection of others touches not only on ethical, but also N. MANGINAS on eschatological parameters. An increasing number of people understand that the irrational use of natural resources and the unchecked consumption of energy contribute to the reality of climate change, with consequences on the life and survival of humanity created in the image of God and is therefore tantamount to sin. An increasing number of people characterize either virtuous or else vicious those who correspondingly treat created nature either reasonably or unreasonably. Nevertheless, by the same token, even as people s awareness of the environmental crisis grows, unfortunately the image presented by our planet today is the opposite. Especially disturbing is the fact Beloved Brothers and children in the Lord, Once again, as the ecclesiastical year begins, we are called to reflect with renewed spiritual intensity in Christ and especial sensitivity on the state of our bountiful planet, and to offer particular prayers for the protection of the whole natural world. Many things have changed since our predecessor, the late Patriarch Dimitrios decided, over two decades ago, that September 1st should be dedicated as a day of supplication for the preservation of God s beautiful creation. In assuming that initiative, the late Ecumenical Patriarch also issued a message of warning about the destructive consequences of abusing the environment. He noted that, in contrast with most other forms of human misuse and violation, environmental pollution has the potential to cause vast and irreversible damage, by destroying virtually all forms of life on the planet. At the time, of course, this warning may have sounded exaggerated to certain skeptical ears; however, in the light of what we know now, it is abundantly clear that his words were prophetic. Today, environmental scientists expressly emphasize that the observed climate change has the potential to disrupt and destroy the entire ecosystem, which sustains not only the human species but also the entire wondrous world of animals and plants that is interdependent upon one another like a chain. The choices and actions of what is otherwise civilized modern man have led to this tragic situation, essentially comprising a moral and spiritual problem, which the divinely inspired Apostle Paul had articulated with colorful imagery in underlining its specifically ontological dimension in his Letter to the Romans nineteen centuries ago: For creation was made subject to vanthat the poorest and most vulnerable members of the human race are being affected by environmental problems which they did not create. From Australia to the Cape Horn of Africa, we learn of regions experiencing prolonged drought, which results in the desertification of formerly fertile and productive areas, where the local populations suffer from extreme hunger and thirst. From Latin America to the heart of Eurasia, we hear of melting glaciers, on which millions of people depend for water supply. Our Holy and Great Church of Christ, following in the footsteps and example of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios, is working tirelessly to raise awareness not only among public opinion but also among responsible world leaders. It achieves this by organizing Ecological Symposia that deal with climate change and the management of water. The ultimate purpose of this endeavor is to explore the interconnectedness of the world s ecosystems and to study the way in which the phenomena of global warming and its anthropogenic effects are manifested. Through these academic gatherings, attended by representatives of various Christian Churches and world religions as well as diverse scholarly disciplines, our Ecumenical Patriarchate is striving to establish a stable and innovative alliance between religion and science, based on the fundamental principle that in order for the goal to be achieved and for the natural environment to be preserved both sides must show a spirit of good will, mutual respect, and cooperation. The collaboration of science and religion at these Symposia organized in different regions of the planet, seeks to contribute to the development of an environmental ethic, which must underline that the use of the world and the enjoyment of material goods must be Eucharistic, accompanied by doxology toward God; by the same token, the abuse of the world and participation therein without reference to God is sinful both before the Creator and before humanity as creation. Beloved Brothers and children in the Lord, we know that the creation participated in the fall of Adam from the original beauty; as a result, it groans and travails in pain together. Moreover, we know that the abuse, deviation, violation and arrogance of humanity contribute to the destruction of the travailing nature, which is subjected to the corruption of creation. Finally, we also know that this destruction actually comprises selfdestruction. Therefore, we invite all of you, irrespective of position and profession, to remain faithful to a natural use of all God s creation, offering thanks to the God, who created the world and granted everything to us. For to Him is due all glory and power to the ages. Amen. N. MANGINAS Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with members of the Swedish parliament s Culture Committee delegation on its fact-finding visit. Your beloved brother in Christ and fervent supplicant before God, BARTHOLOMEW Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
5 SEPTEMBER ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE Archbishop Issues Statement on Commission s Action NEW YORK The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom on Sept. 9 threw its weight behind the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights that had ruled in favor of the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, specifically as to its historic orphanage on the island of Pringkipos. (See official release below). Archbishop Demetrios, who was part of the delegation that appeared before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France last year, commenting on the statement of the Commission, said: We wholeheartedly welcome this affirmation by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom of the judgment of the European Court in favor of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The significance of such a call for action by the U.S. government cannot be underscored enough. Europe and the United States are speaking loud and clear for the protection of the most basic human rights and religious liberties of our Holy Mother Church. We pray that such calls will not go unheeded, and that the purely spiritual ministry of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Ecumenical Patriarchate will be recognized for what it is a service to all humankind. U.S. Urges Turkey to Implement Recent European Court Decision Regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate WASHINGTON The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate welcomed the strong statement released Sept. 9 by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom urging Turkey to implement the recent European Court decision regarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Text of full statement The European Court ruled unanimously this summer in a case brought by the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate that Turkey was in violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned an orphanage on the Turkish island of Buyukada owned by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the body that is the spiritual leader of almost 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has monitored and reported on this and other religious freedom concerns in Turkey and calls on the U.S. government to urge the Turkish government to implement the judgment as soon as possible. This is a landmark decision for the rights of all religious minorities in Turkey, not least because it recognizes the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate as a legal entity, said Commission Chair Felice Gaer. The Commission calls on the U.S. government to urge the government of Turkey to demonstrate its commitment to observe the rule of law for all citizens of Turkey by implementing this important ruling. During the Commission s November 2006 visit to Turkey, though people from almost every religious tradition said they were free to gather and worship as provided for in the country s constitution, the Commission also learned of significant restrictions on religious freedom for religious minority communities that violated those rights. Among them are state policies and actions that deny non-muslims the right to own and maintain property, to train religious clergy, and to offer religious education above high school. Many of the most serious problems faced by religious minorities in Turkey involve property rights and ownership. The Turkish state has consistently used convoluted regulations and undemocratic laws to confiscate without opportunity for legal appeal or financial compensation thousands of religious minority properties, particularly those belonging to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Greek Orthodox community under patriarchal jurisdiction. Turkey s policies have led to the decline and in some cases, virtual disappearance of some of these religious minorities on lands they have inhabited for millennia. The European Court s ruling comes at a time of another momentous court ruling: the July decision of Turkey s Constitutional Court against closing down the government s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was elected to government with a strong plurality in July 2007 national elections in Turkey. After the parliament voted to alter the country s 1982 constitution to allow women who wear headscarves to attend university which is currently prohibited in Turkey a public prosecutor filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court in March 2008 to shut down the AKP and ban the party s senior officials from politics. The U.S. government and the European Union had criticized the lawsuit, suggesting that it was an attempt to disrupt the democratic process in Turkey. It is hoped that the ruling by the Constitutional Court will enable the government of Turkey to resume the path toward democratic reform and respect for the human rights of all persons, regardless of their religious conviction or affiliation. Swift and full implementation of this recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the property rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be an important first step in demonstrating genuine commitment to that reform process, Gaer said. Background Although legally purchased by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in 1902, the orphanage was registered as the property of the orphanage s foundation in 1936 because the Turkish legal system no longer recognized the Patriarchate as a legal entity. In 1997, Turkey s General Directorate for Foundations (Vakiflar), which regulates all activities and property of non-muslim religious groups, determined that the orphanage foundation was no longer operational and assumed management of the property. In 1999, the Vakiflar initiated proceedings to deprive the Ecumenical Patriarchate of ownership and to re-register the property in the name of the orphanage, now under the Vakiflar s management. After a series of appeals in the Turk- page 24 Orthodox Christianity under Threat by Nicholas Gage (Editor s note The following article appeared in the Sept. 8 issue of the International Herald Tribune based in Paris). When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and his Islamic-rooted party came under fierce fire this summer from secularists, who came close to persuading the country s supreme court to bar both from politics, he called the campaign an attack against religious freedom and a threat to Turkey s efforts to join the European Union. Yet in nearly six years in power, Erdogan has shown no inclination to extend even a modicum of religious freedom to the most revered Christian institution in Turkey the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the spiritual center of 300 million Orthodox Christians throughout the world. As a result, Turkey s persecution of the Patriarchate looms as a major obstacle to its European aspirations, and rightly so. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, which was established in the fourth century and once possessed holdings as vast as those of the Vatican, has been reduced to a small, besieged enclave in a decaying corner of Istanbul called the Phanar, or Lighthouse. Almost all of its property has been seized by successive Turkish governments, its schools have been closed and its prelates are taunted by extremists who demonstrate almost daily outside the Patriarchate, calling for its ouster from Turkey. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is often jeered and threatened when he ventures outside his walled enclave. He is periodically burned in effigy by Turkish chauvinists and Muslim fanatics. Government bureaucrats take pleasure in harassing him, summoning him to their offices to question and berate him about irrelevant issues, blocking his efforts to make repairs in the few buildings still under his control, and issuing veiled threats about what he says and does when he travels abroad. Successive Turkish governments have followed policies that deliberately belittle the patriarch, refusing to recognize his ecumenical status as the spiritual leader of a major religious faith but viewing him only as the head of the small Greek Orthodox community of Istanbul. Last year 42 of the 50 members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Erdogan urging his government to end all restrictions on the religious freedom of the Patriarchate, described by Tom Lantos, who then chaired the committee, as one of the world s oldest and greatest treasures. The congressmen urged the Turkish government to join the rest of the world in recognizing the ecumenical standing of the Patriarchate, to return expropriated property, to reopen its schools, including the renowned theological seminary on the island of Halki, and to end all interference in the process of selecting the patriarch, particularly the continued insistence that he be a Turkish citizen. As Orthodox Christians have been systematically persecuted in Turkey and there are now less than 2,500 of them left in the country, the congressmen wrote, the Patriarchate will soon cease to exist if future patriarchs have to be Turkish citizens. It is the church, not the Turkish state, that should determine who becomes ecumenical patriarch, their chairman declared. Despite their letter and other efforts by statesmen from many countries to try to persuade the Turkish government to liberalize their policies toward the Patriarchate, its leaders have not budged - even though they know their stand may harm their chances of entering the European Union. Their intransigence clearly demonstrates that while they want to enter Europe for its economic advantages, they are not prepared to liberalize their policies enough to alleviate Western concerns about allowing them to join. Until Turkey moves to make the fundamental changes necessary, starting with its policies toward the Patriarchate, admission of the country into the EU will pose major risks. When I was covering Turkey for The New York Times in the late 1970s, its population was 34 million. Today it is 71 million and growing, while the birthrate in Europe is falling precipitously. In addition, Turkey s combined troop strength of 1.1 million overwhelms the armed forces of even the biggest European nations. If Turkey becomes a full member of the European Union, will it accommodate to Europe s liberal traditions or will it use its demographic and military prowess to bend Europe to its will? The EU has already ruled that Turkey must allow the ships of Cyprus, an EU member, to use Turkish ports, but Turkey has completely ignored the ruling despite its eagerness to join Europe. So the key question is whether Turkey is willing to adapt to Europe or wants only to join the EU on its own terms. It is crucial for Europe to know Turkey s real intentions before opening its doors to the country. Turkey s treatment of the Patriarchate, therefore, must remain a litmus test of its readiness to join the European Union. If Turkey cannot recognize the value of one of the world s oldest and greatest treasures in its own midst, how can it be expected to appreciate and respect the liberal values and traditions that define Europe? If Turkey insists on entering Europe on its own inflexible terms, the danger that it will overwhelm Europe, engulf it and change it radically cannot be underestimated. The Patriarch of Constantinople himself has said that he believes the risk is worth taking and that he strongly supports Turkey s admission. I, too, believe that Turkish membership holds great benefits for all concerned, especially the Turkish people, but not as Turkey is constituted today - intolerant, suspicious, inflexible. For Turkey to join Europe, it must show that it is ready to take great strides in adopting a European outlook, not the baby steps it has taken until now. The best way to begin is with the Patriarchate at the Phanar, the Lighthouse, which can become a beacon to light a path for Turkey into Europe, if only the country s leaders find the wisdom to see it. Nicholas Gage, an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, is a former New York Times reporter, author of Eleni and other books, and writes often about the Eastern Mediterranean.
6 6 ECUMENICAL (Second of two parts) KIEV, Ukraine Following the Divine Liturgy on July 27, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew addressed the divisions in Ukraine at a banquet given in his honor by Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kiev: With the divine liturgy that we today celebrated, together with Their Beatitudes, our beloved brothers and Prelates of the Autocephalous Churches, and your most beloved Reverence Metropolitan of Kiev, and of the other beloved brothers, the festivities of the one thousand and twenty year anniversary of the collective baptism of the Kievites which signified the entrance of the Ukrainian people and the rest of the Russian tribes into the Church of Christ have reached their climax. Around the holy altar, united in one ecclesial body indiscriminately of national or linguistic differences, we confessed in one mind and love our one faith and orthodox piety, we preached unanimously our one hope to the one Lord and God, and we partook of the one Chalice and the one Bread of Life and the salvific blood of the only Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Glory be to God who gave us this great blessing. However, our joy is far from being complete: many dear children of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy, for many reasons the examination of which is not of the present moment, were unable to participate of the faith s common banquet and of the common feast for the great anniversary, finding themselves, as they ought not, outside the canonical ecclesiastical structure and hierarchical order. This is exceedingly sad because it tears apart the seamless tunic of our Lord; it divides His mystical body and gives to the enemies of our faith the chance to ridicule the Church by repeating, and not unjustly, the saying by St. Paul can Christ be divided? (I Cor. 1:13). This division amounts to the abolition of the church whose very name is a name of unity and gathering into one place. It is heard, therefore, loudly in the ears of each one of us the demanding voice of God Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words (Deut. 4:10), and again: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23) We know that you, most reverend Metropolitan of Kiev Vladimir as well as the Hierarchs around you, have always your ears attuned to the will and the commands of the Lord, you burn by the love for the flock that was entrusted to you and you work with eagerness, zeal and the fear of God in order that those of the children who, for the time being, are outside the holy walls of the Church return in the fold of the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine. The same is true for His Beatitude and most beloved and esteemed Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexei II. It is fortunate that both the esteemed Ukrainian State and His Excellency, the President of Ukraine, desire fervently the extinction of every disruptive and divisive tendency, the abolition of every schism and the unity of all the pious Orthodox Ukrainian into one flock according to God s will. We are confident that each, as it befalls him, will do whatever is possible to achieve that holy and God-loving goal. During the three-day visit, the Ecumenical Patriarch was honored numerous times by the government of Ukraine, and had an opportunity to meet privately with Patriarch Alexy of Moscow. Face-to-face encounters such as this are generally infrequent, because of the extraordinary PATRIARCHATE SEPTEMBER 2008 Ecumenical Patriarch Addresses Divisions on Ukraine Visit N. MANGINAS Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. demands made on the heads of Autocephalous Churches. Their next meeting will be in the fall, when Patriarch Alexy and all the heads of the Autocephalous Churches will gather, at the invitation of His All Holiness, at the Phanar to meet and celebrate the 2,000-year ministry of the Holy Apostle Paul. Address to Ukrainian people In the major address to the Ukrainian people and the nation of Ukraine (given below in its entirety) His All Holiness outlined with great clarity the historical poreia and challenges of the Ukrainian Church, as well as the canons and precedents of ecclesiastical polity that will ultimately bring a solution to a nation of over 60 million Orthodox Christians. It is a model of Orthodox canonical and historical analysis. Blessed Children of the Church, Christ-loving people of Ukraine, the initiative of the civic, political, religious and spiritual leaders of the great people of Ukraine to organize the official festivities of the one thousand and twenty year anniversary since the Grand Duke s (Velikiy Knjaz) Volodymyr resolute decision to accept the Christian faith from the Ecumenical Patriarchate as the official religion for the people of the Duchy of Kiev and, by extension, for all autonomous Russian Duchies, is not only an obligation to the pious people of Ukraine, but also significant for its future promises in an age of rapid and crucial changes worldwide. This initiative is an obligation insofar as all great nations ought to guard most zealously their historic memory, especially of those events that have sealed indelibly the proper spiritual identity of their national consciousness and determined, more or less, their perennial contribution to the community of nations. It is also and particularly significant today, for the depth of the great people s history constitutes an inexhaustible resource of strength and radiation to those near and afar. 1. It is a common and indisputable assertion that the choice of faith was, under different perspectives, a decisive factor for the historic destinies of all nations of the world, on the one hand because it informed their peculiar characteristics of their intellectual identity, and on the other hand because it determined, more or less, the content of their national consciousness. These festive events constitute a clear expression of the gratitude of the pious people of Ukraine towards the Grand Duke for his personal care and wise decision in choosing a religion for his people, as it is described in the extensive narration of Kievite monk Nestor (XI century) It is obvious that the decision of the Grand Duke of Kiev to choose for his people the Christian faith and to ask for the baptism from the Ecumenical Patriarchate was the ripe fruit of an evaluation in wisdom and discernment of all the main and side consequences of that decision that covered not only personal sensibilities but also his vision for the happiness of his people. Thus, he chose Christianity and indeed the Christianity of the Byzantine tradition because, on the one hand, the political, economical and spiritual relationships of the Kievan-Rus with Constantinople have had a long and official history already since the time of the Ecumenical Patriarch Photius, the Kievites beloved Patriarch, and on the other, because by doing so he was connecting his people with the most advanced civilization of that time. In this sense, the Duke of Kiev, through the baptism of the Kievites by the numerous missionaries of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, grounded not only the indissolvable spiritual bonds of the pious Ukrainian nation with the Mother Church such bonds were further developed through the Byzantine evangelization of the other autonomous Russian Duchies but also the new prospects of their relation to the rest of the Christian world, as witnesses now to the Byzantine spiritual inheritance and to the Orthodox tradition. Kiev became the administrative center for the dissemination of the Byzantine cultural heritage to all autonomous Russian Duchies, while the Grand Duke of Kiev became the supporter of that mystagogy. The Ecumenical Patriarchate spared no pains and sacrifices in this century-long process of evangelization. At stake was not only the wider dissemination but also the correct utilization of Byzantine spiritual heritage, which permeated all the aspects of public, ecclesial and intellectual life of the autonomous Duchies and enriched by the sanctified Orthodox tradition the liturgical character of the national consciousness of the people, on the basis of the spiritual signification of the Baptism, by which all the secular divisions are transcended in the union of the ecclesial body. On the basis of that criterion, the Orthodox tradition gave shape to, on the one hand, the peculiar spiritual relationship between the Church and nationality, and, on the other hand, the conventional relationship between Church and State for both, the scattering of the nations in the Old Testament as well as their gathering through the baptism in the New Testament have determined the national consciousness of the Orthodox people. Thus, the Orthodox tradition remains faithful to the mission of the Church to preach to all nations, without however subordinating her mission to those national aspirations that are alien to her character. For this reason, she brought the spiritual relationship to nationality under the absolute and canonical criterion of territoriality of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions as well as under the conventional arrangement of her relation to the State. In this sense, the Great Synod of Constantinople (1872) condemned every arbitrary ethnophyletic or nationalistic claim as ecclesiological heresy, insofar as such a claim would disregard the territorial character of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions or the conventional authority of the State in arranging the relationships between the Church and itself. Disregarding those two criteria is not only against the Orthodox tradition but introduces a dangerous confusion in the very liturgical structure of the Church. It is therefore self-evident that the Orthodox Church cannot tolerate any violation or change of that relationship to the State or the Nation. For this reason she always answered any conventional arrangement using the criteria of her own law, even as she accepted, out of pastoral considerations, the principle that it is customary for the ecclesial things to change together with the political entities. However, the recent legal culture of the state ideology doubted or even rejected the statutory role of the Church in the structure or in the function of the modern state. It didn t succeed, however, in attacking the traditional, spiritual relation of the Church to nationality which remained unscathed and certified the impressive historical endurance of the Church s relationship to the society, even under the most adverse circumstances. The source of this spiritual relationship of the Church with the body of the faithful (corpus fidelium) is the baptismal font, in which man s spiritual rebirth is effected and the ecclesial body is wrought within the framework of the national or civic body. Thus, the Church is fully aware that the body of her members constitutes a community of faithful, as the State is fully aware that it constitutes a community of citizens. Nevertheless, there is a specific distinction in the constitution and the operation of these two communities: for the State is born by its citizens, while the Church gives birth to her members in a new spiritual relation that is distinguishable but does not abolish the legal relations among the citizens. The maternal relationship of the Church to her members, a relationship that is continuously nourished by the ecclesial body s sacramental experience, explains the historical endurance of that relationship with nationality but does not allow any doubt of the State s established role to determine the statutory framework of perfect co operation between Church and State for the benefit of both faithful and citizens, especially in the case of irregular or unsettled ecclesial divisions. 2. The Orthodox Church is an orderly community of autocephalous or autonomous Churches, while she is fully aware of herself as the authentic continuation of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. She fulfills her spiritual mission through the convocation of local or major Synods, as the canonic tradition has established it, in order to safeguard and affirm the communion of the local churches with each other and with the Ecumenical page 30
7 SEPTEMBER The Voice of Philoptochos National President Georgia Skeadas Honored at Banquet for Promoting Literacy through Love by Christine Karavites WASHINGTON One of the highlights of the 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention was the banquet that featured speakers and programs making a difference for children and adults through literacy and love. The program opened with the singing of the National Anthems by National Board member, Diane Tseckares of Baltimore. Barbara Spyridon Pope, former assistant secretary of state and assistant U.S. Navy secretary, served as toastmistress and with her charm and wit guided the guests through a program filled with inspiring testimony about the philanthropic initiatives promoted by Philoptochos. National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas spoke about the National Philoptochos Literacy Outreach Program which promotes literacy for children and adults with goals that encourage motivation, success and enjoyment of reading in school age children. Attendees viewed a video presentation highlighting the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral Philoptochos of Baltimore s Literacy Outreach Project that involved the entire parish community in building a school library at the George Washington Elementary School. President Skeadas thanked the banquet Chairs Barbara Pasalis and Crystal Thomas and their entire committee for creating such an inspirational program focused on the theme of Literacy and Love. Georgia Skeadas receives the Medal of St. Paul from Archbishop Demetrios. Also present is Archbishop Gregorios. The attendees enjoyed a delightful musical interlude by the Concert Artists of Baltimore and special greetings from Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain who presented Patriarch Bartholomew s message to the audience. Keynote speaker Genevieve Piturro, founder and executive director of the Pajama Program, reflected on her experience when she learned of the number of forgotten children in the United States D. PANAGOS The 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention convened on Sunday, July 13 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Three hundred ninety four registered delegates attended the convention s general assemblies, discussion groups and social events. With their boundless enthusiasm and dynamic spirit, convention program Chair and Co-Chairs Diane Tseckares, Maria Logus and Pauline O Neal succeeded in preparing an exciting agenda of programs and activities that were educational, informative and inspiring. Our 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention represents the next step in our journey, as we Look Forward to the Future Philoptochos a new vision a new spirit a new day a new opportunity. With zeal and enthusiasm, in a positive spirit, we are creating a blueprint for the future of Philoptochos and our philanthropic work, as we strive to achieve an even higher level of success in our philanthropic ministry, always remembering that the future is something we create, not something we enter. Professional facilitators led the delegates in discussions regarding membership, leadership and compassionate giving. Our program was designed to provide our delegates with a wide array of information that is specifically relevant to the successful operation of each level of our Society, capitalizing on our strengths and improving our weaknesses. We were also moved and inspired by spiritual programs offered by three most dynamic clergymen, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, the Society s spiriand around the world who are waiting to be adopted and have no one to read them a bedtime story, no pajamas to sleep in and no one to tuck them into a cozy bed at night. This experience inspired her to establish the Pajama Program in 2001 with more than 70 Pajama Program chapters throughout the United States providing new pajamas and new books to children. The Pajama Program has sent pajamas to needy children in countries around the world including Armenia, Bosnia, Brazil, Columbia and Greece. Since 2001 the Pajama Program has provided more than 210,000 pairs of pajamas and 110,000 books to children in need. President Skeadas announced that the Ladies Philoptochos Society is thrilled to support the Pajama Program as Partners in Love Benefiting Children in Need, by presenting a donation of $25,000 to Ms. Piturro for the program. The banquet centerpieces, consisting of books and school supplies, were distributed to schools in the Metropolitan D.C. area and to the Pajama Program. Over 550 warm pajamas donated by the nearly 400 delegates at the convention will be presented to the program. Archbishop Demetrios in his remarks recognized the National Philoptochos for its many philanthropic activities and commended them for this latest initiative that promotes literacy through love. It is critical to the fabric of society that we support physical, emotional and educational needs of children and adults and once again Philoptochos demonstrates its response to that mission. Archbishop Demetrios concluded the evening with a presentation of the Medal of St. Paul, the highest honor of the Archdiocese bestowed on a layperson, to National Philoptochos President Georgia Skeadas and thanked her for her outstanding six years of leadership as national president. President s Address to the Biennial Congress Plenary Session tual advisor, as well as Fr. Mark Arey and Fr. Steven Zorzos. The delegates gave careful attention to, and successfully and unanimously passed, the budget for The general assemblies provided an opportunity for the delegates to hear reports from Rev. Martin Ritsi, director of the OCMC, Fr. Constantine Sitaras, director of the Academy of St. Basil, Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology president; Dean Triantafilou, executive director of IOCC; and Dr. Anthony Limberakis, national commander of the Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The assembly unanimously pledged its support for religious human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The mission of the Philoptochos Society is to promote charitable, benevolent and philanthropic outreach, to preserve the sanctity of family, and to perpetuate and to promote our Orthodox faith and tradition. The Society is renowned for its support of the institutions of the Archdiocese and its commitment to assist the needy. In the hearts and minds of Philoptochos members, philanthropy has no boundaries. During my administration, in the past six years, Philoptochos as of today has contributed more than $8.7 million to philanthropic causes and to the institutions of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. During the convention, donations of $715,258 were distributed as follows: $230,000 to pediatric hospitals and organizations in the Direct Archdiocesan District and each of the eight Metropolises an additional $ 370,258 to St. Basil Academy, St. Photios Shrine, International Orthodox Christian Charities, Orthodox Christian Mission Center, Support-A-Mission-Priest Program, National Sisterhood of Presvyteres and UNICEF. In addition, $15,000 was contributed to the Metropolis of Chicago for the floods in Iowa $25,000 to Autism Speaks $50,000 to Alzheimer s Association Medic Alert and Safe Return and $25,000 to the Pajama Program. Autism is a complex, life-long, neurological disorder that inhibits a person s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, affecting all racial and social groups. As reflection of our Christian Faith and tradition, the delegates adopted the resolution proposing the establishment of the National Philoptochos Autism Assistance Fund. This new fund of the Society would provide assistance and support to persons within the autism spectrum. I would like to inform this body that the delegates of the Philoptochos Convention adopted a resolution requesting that the duration of the Clergy Laity Congress and Philoptochos Conventions be shortened so as to facilitate the participation of more delegates who otherwise would not be able to attend. Let it be noted that the OCF, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship was adopted as a discretionary commitment by the Ladies Philoptochos Society. All of these resolutions will be submitted to His Eminence the Archbishop for his approval before they can be implemented. While focused and invigorating discussions and debates were the hallmark of our business meetings, the Convention offered the delegates the opportunity to meet one another and to make lasting friendships. On Tuesday we joined with the Clergy/Laity Congress and enjoyed a wonderful Greek cultural celebration. We are indebted to the organizers of this event for a spectacular evening of Orthodox Christian fellowship and Hellenic culture. The Philoptochos Banquet, on Monday evening, truly exemplified the Philoptochos mission and the fellowship of the combined conventions produced a memorable and moving event. The banquet theme was Promoting Literacy Through Love. We were sincerely honored to have as our keynote speaker Ms. Genevieve Piturro, founder and executive director of the Pajama Program. The Pajama Program provides pajamas and books to children in need and children waiting for a permanent home. More than 550 pajamas were collected as well as over 4,200 books. The books will be distributed to the Pajama Program and the Roosevelt High School and its feeder schools, the McFarland Middle School and five elementary schools in Washington. We are extremely grateful to all of the 2008 Convention committee chairs, their committees and the Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos, our host committee, and all of the exceptional members and volunteers, for their endless energy and tireless efforts to bring us a Convention that surely was a shining beacon of excellence. By this standard, and indeed, by any other, the 2008 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention was a resounding success Thank you.
8 8 SEPTEMBER 2008 Archdiocese Welcomes New Vicariate page 1 the 1980 s, the initiative was rebuffed by the Autocephalous Churches as being uncanonical and even divisive to the already established presence of the other Churches in these locales. In the early 1990 s, when a split occurred in the Antiochian Archdiocese parish of St. Nicholas in San Francisco, the Jerusalem Patriarchate moved to establish this splinter community, named St. George, under its aegis. Thus, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem created its jurisdictional presence in America through a spilt in this Antiochian community. It is important to note here that divisive movements within parishes occur from time to time, and as a result a faction of parishioners sets up a parallel parish. A recent example of this is the establishment (2006-7) of St. Andrew s Antiochian Church in Pensacola, Fla., which was a direct split from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox parish in Pensacola. Now, while it is true that this specific new parish of St. George was formed out of the group that splintered from the Antiochian Archdiocese, the parishes that gradually were added to it comprised of members of Palestinian and Jordanian origin (except one, mentioned below), were formed independently and directly under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Indeed, although the majority of the parishioners involved with these communities have come from Arabic-speaking backgrounds, and even though the historical presence of the Antiochian Archdiocese in the Western Hemisphere has served Arabicspeaking Orthodox Christians, the ethnic identities of the majority of these faithful hail from lands (Jordan and Palestine) that canonically belong to the Jerusalem Patriarchate (whose See is the Holy City of Jerusalem), and not the Antiochian Patriarchate (whose See is in Damascus, Syria). It is also important to note that most of the clergy for these newly formed parishes were ordained by the Jerusalem Patriarchate. There are people who assume that every Orthodox Christian of an Arabicspeaking background belongs to the Antiochian Archdiocese. Such an assumption cannot be sustained. Among other reasons, with the mobility of American society, the growth of the convert-base of the Orthodoxy in America, and the widespread usage of English throughout most of the churches, the phenomenon of ethnically and linguistically monolithic or absolutist parishes is becoming increasingly rare. Adding to this confusing picture was the inclusion in this group of parishes under the Jerusalem Patriarchate of the parishioners of a splinter group made up entirely of converts that were part of the so-called Evangelical Orthodox which converted and whose clergy were ordained en masse by the Antiochian Archdiocese in the late 1980 s. The impetus for the creation of the Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA began in 2006, when the Patriarchate of Jerusalem entered into talks with the Ecumenical Patriarchate. As a result, for canonical reasons the Patriarchate of Jerusalem decided to voluntarily withdraw from any jurisdictional presence in the Western Hemisphere. The withdrawal of the Jerusalem Patriarchate was directly connected to the proper arrangements for the ongoing care and pastoral supervision of its communities. The clergy and parishioners of these communities were advised to return to, or join for the first time, the Antiochian Archdiocese, but for the most part, they did not want to and preferred to remain with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The subsequent assignation of these communities in the United States to the Ecumenical Patriarchate through the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese came about as a solution to their canonical status, inasmuch as the Jerusalem Patriarchate was withdrawing any ecclesiastical presence in America. The Vicariate is designed solely to accommodate the cultural and spiritual needs of these flocks, who have, over the past fifteen years, achieved a sense of solidarity with one another, and a renewed sense of connection with the Mother Church of their ancestral lands, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. All clergy and parishes that were under the Patriarchate of Jerusalem have been informed that it is the express desire of their Mother Church (Jerusalem) that they should join the Vicariate, which offers them a fully canonical basis and at the same time a clear self-identity and connection with their traditions. The Archdiocese of America has never sought to incorporate these communities in any way. Rather, by implementing the agreement between the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem, the Archdiocese is offering a tremendous service to these communities and encourages them to preserve their pastoral, liturgical, philanthropic, cultural and canonical life. The actions of the Archdiocese in this regard have been taken with the utmost respect for the Patriarchates involved, with unfailing care for promoting unity, and with the objective of promoting the spiritual well-being of the Communities. The only thing that did not happen during the long and painful process ending in the creation of the Vicariate was any unilateral, selfish, or arbitrary action on the part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. So, the actions of the Archdiocese in the establishment of the Vicariate have been decidedly multilateral, mutually beneficial for all Orthodox, and in keeping with the reality of Orthodoxy in America. This reality includes a plurality and multiplicity of often competing jurisdictional presences, the overlapping of episcopal Sees, the complexity of communities with deep ties to mother lands overseas, and the variety of cultural, linguistic and ethnic expressions, all of the above being factors that require mature, reasoned and practical solutions. This reality has always been the case, because the canonical and organizing structures of the Orthodox Faith came to America not in an organized program of evangelical mission, but rather through the emigration and displacement of populations from Eastern Europe and the Middle East that occurred at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. In this heterogeneous environment, local communities looked to their motherlands for guidance. The myth of a unified Orthodox Church in the Western Hemisphere prior to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 needs to be debunked by serious historical and factual research. But the good news is that from the point of view of a consciousness of unity, there is today a much broader understanding of the meaning of our essential unity in Christ in the Church. The voluntary withdrawal of the Jerusalem Patriarchate from the American scene where it had no historical reason to be present reduces jurisdictional tension and jurisdictional competition. The success of the Archdiocese in establishing this Vicariate is in the interest of every Orthodox presence in America, because it keeps the faithful within the sheepfold of the Church, without establishing yet another jurisdictional presence. The Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA is filled with communities of worshipping Orthodox Christians. They should be recognized for who they are: valid, living expressions of the Orthodox Faith, whose roots run deep in the land where our Lord and Savior lived, died and rose again. Let us embrace our brothers and sisters in the Same Lord and in the unity of our Holy Orthodox Faith.
9 9 SEPTEMBER 2008 Holy Cross Encyclical HC/HC NEWS The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross 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, Each year on September 14, our Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross. This important event in the liturgical life of the Church reminds us of the continuous presence of Christ in our midst. Specifically, it reminds us of His redemptive work of dying on the Cross for our salvation. Christ s crucifixion on the Cross serves as the precursor to his Resurrection; and it is for this reason that we refer to the Cross, once a horrifying instrument of death, as a sacred symbol of that which is Precious and Life-giving. In contemplating the significance of the Cross as the core symbol of our Orthodox Christian faith and as the sign of the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over death, we are called to a more refined understanding of power in Christian terms. St. Paul explains such power in terms of humility, for Jesus Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). St. Paul recalls this power as, power made perfect in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). The Lord Jesus Christ explained to the multitudes and to the disciples that the Cross is also a symbol of selfless service and sacrifice to others: If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mark 8:34). On this day, when we gather as communities to raise the Cross visibly in our parishes, we are in effect raising that symbol collectively as standard-bearers of our Christian identity. Through raising the Cross, we engage in the act of elevating humility and selfless service to others as great virtues, and we pronounce power in Hellenic College Holy Cross Students begin a new year at the school. Christian terms as the ultimate victory of Christ over sin and death. Also, as we remember the Cross and its message of service to others, we are celebrating the feast of our Holy Cross School of Theology, our beloved Seminary in Brookline, Massachusetts. There, diverse students from all over the world learn the value of Christian service. Many of these students are men who are dedicating their time at the Seminary in preparation to enter the Holy Priesthood, which is a most sacred and perfect way of serving the Lord Jesus Christ in ministry. Thus, on this day, our prayers extend to all the students, benefactors, trustees, staff, alumni, and faculty of Holy Cross School of Theology. As is our custom on this day, our faithful are encouraged to offer not only their prayers but also gifts of financial support to the Seminary, which is critical to sustain the formation of our clergy, so that future generations of Greek Orthodox faithful in America may be nourished with the Life-giving message of the Gospel. Please consider giving generously to the Seminary this year. It is my heartfelt prayer that as we reflect upon the significance of this day, we may come to a closer understanding of the great love and mercy of our Lord. Let all of us, through the power of His Precious and Life-giving Cross, enjoy this victory over the forces of sin and death, and let us make this victory our own victory. With paternal love in Christ, See list on Page 26. D. PANAGOS (Right) Archbishop Demetrios greets the daughter of this seminarian and his wife following the Stavroforia service. The presence of married seminarians and their families is becoming more and more common at the seminary. (Below) The Archbishop bestows the cross of the school to the new students. Archbishop Demetrios of America Students Participate in the Stavroforia Ceremony At ceremonies held Sept. 13 at the chapel of Hellenic College-Holy Cross, Archbishop Demetrios presented the cross of the school to six new students in the college and to 19 in the school of theology. They are as follows: Helllenic College Students Mark Huggins, Samuel Johnson, Kostantinos Kollias, Nicholas Nashi, Francis Ochom and Alexander Orphanos Holy Cross Students Ion Comas, George Demas, Jan-Henrik Ehrs, Christopher Fahlbeck, Panagiotis Gikas, David Hostetler, Dimitrios Kyritsis, John Mafouz, Eric Michael Marcantoni, Antone Jack Myer, Fr. Athanasios Nenes, Fr. David Niklasson, George Panagakos, Athanasios Papagiannis, James Pietronuto, Charles Powell, Jacob Saylor, Ivan Synevskyy, Fr. Evangelos Thiani and Andrew Williams. Seminarians wearing their new crosses are joined by Archbishop Demetrios, HC-HC President Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou and Holy Cross Dean the Rev. Dr. Thomas Fitzgerald.
10 10 What s That Around Your Neck? by Fr. John Bakas Commentaries and Opinions TALES FROM THE STOLE I was privileged to have spent almost two weeks in Greece this summer. I had the pleasant task of baptizing the granddaughter of a very dear friend. Greece is the premier laboratory of Western history and civilization. Whatever period of time or era one wishes to examine, it is all there. For Christians who study the New Testament scriptures, there is no better place to walk in the footsteps of St. Paul than Greece. On Sunday, Aug. 3, I took the commuter train from Kifissia, a northern suburb of Athens, to go to Monastiraki, the closest station to the ancient Athenian agora or market place just under the shadow of the Acropolis. I wanted to walk through the ancient city ruins and end up on Mars Hill, known in the Book of Acts chapter 17 as the Areopagus. It is a small rocky hill where St. Paul stood and addressed the Athenian philosophers and skeptics, preaching to them the gospel message of Jesus Christ. I wanted to stand where Paul stood nearly 2,000 years before and to vicariously sense through my spiritual imagination a little of what he saw and experienced. The train was packed standing room only. A few feet away from me stood a young man who was intently looking at me. At every station stop he inched his way closer to me. Half way on the 30 minute ride into downtown Athens, we were almost face to face. Excuse me, may I ask you a question? he said in Greek. Are you from Crete? Why do you ask? I responded. Well I noticed you re dressed all in black and since Cretans love the color of black, I just thought you were from Crete as I am, he said. I m dressed in all black because I m a priest, I replied. An Orthodox priest? he asked, somewhat surprised. Yes I answered. Bah, po, po, po. You re kidding me! Our priests wear the long black robes and stove pipe type hats, he reminded me. Well I said, I m a Greek Orthodox priest from the U.S. and there most of our priests when not in church wear the black suit and clerical shirt. By the way he continued, in a form of Greek slang, What s that white bihlibidi (thingamajig) in your collar? It is a symbol; a simple white tab representing my priestly calling, I said. He looked puzzled but reluctantly accepted my answer. With a dialogue now open, I asked this 20-something young man, who was wearing an open shirt down to his belt buckle, a question of my own. May I now ask you a question? I said in Greek. Sure, no problem, he answered. Tell me, I inquired with some humor in my voice. That bihlibidi (thingamajig) hanging around your neck, what is it? It s a gold cross, he answered somewhat caught off balance by my question. I can see that, but what does it mean to you, and why do you wear it? I quickly responded. He seemed stunned by my question. I m convinced no one ever asked him such a thing. I don t know, I ve worn it most of my life. And besides that, it s very trendy and fashionable. I think it is sexy, he said with a satisfied smile. Our conversation ended as he got off the train at Omonia Station and we went our separate ways. I thought about his answer for a long time. Look around, and you will find literally countless people, like that young man, who wear crosses around their necks as items of jewelry as accessory accents to their wardrobes. We have them in gold, silver, and brass; crosses in every shape configuration and design, from cheap trinkets to the most exquisite precious stone settings. Crosses are worn by people like you and me, without much thought given as to why we wear them. The fundamental question for St. Paul on Mars Hill speaking to the Athenians and for us today is: What does the cross mean to us? Why do we wear them? What is our response if asked the question by an inquiring stranger? No answer can be all inclusive, since it must be personal and be backed up by sincere conviction. For me, it means that as Orthodox Christians who bear witness to the true cross of Christ, we have by grace crucified our old sinful nature and can now have the potential be partakers of what St. Peter calls the divine nature. It follows that to be cross bearers, we are released from the limitations of living for the flesh alone for the self alone. We spiritually die to the delusion of sin, being transformed daily by the Holy Spirit and opening ourselves up to the divine infusion of energy and light, while remaining fully engaged in the world we live in. We are saved from the corrosiveness of our own ego and narcissism. Our old self states St. Paul, was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed for sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under the law but under grace. (Romans 6:6 and 14) As I stood on that Athenian hill where Paul stood and looked at the Acropolis as he once did, I took my pectoral cross in my hands and reflected with renewed enthusiasm the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:23-25) Fr. Bakas is dean of St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles. SEPTEMBER 2008 Archiepiscopal Encyclical Beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year and Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment 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 greet you in the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ following the inspiring and edifying 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of our Holy Archdiocese. In a spirit of love and in mutual commitment to the mission of the Church, we enjoyed our fellowship with one another, carefully analyzed current needs and challenges, and affirmed our faith in God s guidance. We also expressed our willingness to offer more so that others will find salvation and life in Him. We remember the theme of our Congress: Gather My People to My Home. This emphasis on the Church as a spiritual home for all people directed our thoughts and discussions concerning current and potential ministries at all levels of our Archdiocese. It also challenged us to consider the needs of so many around us who are unchurched, who are uncommitted, or who are struggling spiritually. As Orthodox Christians and as Greek Orthodox Church in America, we have the sacred calling from the mouth of Christ Himself to Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in (Luke 14:23), so that God s house may be filled and many more may join us in the great and glorious banquet of life and love. It is from our spiritual home in the Church that we understand the Priest is important Editor, Having grown up in the Orthodox faith, I realized only now that I have my own family how important it is to keep our religion alive and our values strong. I also strongly believe that as Orthodox Christians, we are eternally united by a special bond of faith, tradition and culture. The special bond, of course, is nurtured by the family, the church and, more often than not, the priest of one s local parish. I am writing this letter to stress the importance of the latter as a vital and crucial element in an Orthodox Christian s life. Recently, I attended a party in which With paternal love in Christ, Archbishop Demetrios of America deeper spiritual meaning and reality of life and love. With the Church as our spiritual home, our concern and care for others logically extends also to our care for all of God s creation. This is a fitting issue to address on this day, the beginning of a New Ecclesiastical Year, because our Ecumenical Patriarchate has designated September 1 of each year as the Day for the Protection of our Natural Environment, and its survival for posterity. Although we witness the effects of evil and sin upon the natural world, we have faith in God s promise that He will redeem and renew all things. As we await the coming of a new heaven and a new earth at the end of time, we have been given the sacred task of being stewards of the existing heaven and earth, the Creation of God. This is the awareness and truth that we celebrate as Orthodox Christians on this first day of a New Ecclesiastical Year. From our spiritual home in the Church and our relationships with our Creator and one another, we are able to contribute to the global initiatives on the environment and offer a spiritual perspective that wisely and methodically gives greater meaning to life on our planet. As the Church is our home, let us also recognize our earthly home and our responsibility for it. Let us give thanks to God for the Creation and the provision for our needs. Let us praise Him for the beauty and wonders of the natural world. And let us also show our love for Him through our efforts to protect what He has made in goodness, wisdom, and love. As we begin this New Ecclesiastical Year, may we join in worship and fellowship in our spiritual home, and, from this home, may we go out into all the world with a message of life, hope, and renewal. there were other Greek Americans such as myself and one woman in particular was quite distressed. She was explaining how the priest at her church was leaving and the parishioners were upset because they weren t emotionally ready to welcome someone new. It had never dawned on me what a critical role the priest of a church plays in the lives of its parishioners. One day in the hair salon, I was listening to some women describe their own experiences in the church and how they were each looking for that warm and fuzzy feeling in their place of worship and how the priest played a large role in fulfilling that emotional need. We recently became members of
11 SEPTEMBER Bible Insight The Kingdom of Priests by Fr. William Gaines Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and holy nation, a peculiar people that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of the darkness into His Marvelous light. The first duty of the Church s people the kingdom of priests is to offer sacrifice in reconciliation for sin. A priest has always been, and is, one who offers sacrifice on behalf of himself and his people, for the sins of the world. The only sacrifice that is worth anything is the sacrifice of a perfect life; the only thing that can atone for sin or take away the barrier created by that sin between God and selfish, stupid, wicked men. What we have to offer is the perfect life and death of the only sufficient One, Jesus Christ, every time we pray. Christ has made it possible, in His holy supper, for His Church with perfection to do it everywhere, sowing Him until He comes at the end of time. The bread and wine become vehicles of His sacrifice and sacrificing presence. The second duty of the Church is a prophetic one. We are to speak for God the wisdom and the righteousness of God. Our proper speech is to tell the truth about life, which includes conduct and behavior, sorrow, loneliness, pain and death, God s grace, which alone can rescue, invigorate and make life worth the living. It also includes telling about destruction which comes to the state of reason by iniquity, about obeying the divine law, which brings freedom from tyranny of self; about the spiritual way, wherein God walks, unperceived, beside the seeker till at last the seeker turns and finds God there, and about the mystic path and what lies at the end. We are called upon, in Jesus name, to denounce oppression, plunder, deceit and lies, no matter how entrenched, and to pray that God help the poor and the dispossessed. We learn that message not only from the present, but also from the past. We are custodians of the great tradition, of the wisdom that has withstood the test of time. The Church can rarely be popular in the sense that it preaches what people like to hear. People will listen if they know we speak of God s wisdom, not ours, and because they believe our speaking comes from a study of God s revelation in men s lives from the Book of what God tells us. The third thing our Lord does for human beings is to strengthen their weak mortal nature, to comfort and help transmit our inescapable burdens from occasions of despair and to transform them into sources of strength. All Christians everywhere who are His priestly helpers must do the same. The good Christian is ever filled with compassion. What men and women need is not maudlin sympathy, but rather strength and courage to face life as it is, with its pain, loneliness, the death of loved ones and our own passing, to realize that earthly ambition ends in disappointment. God alone can impart redeeming power God Incarnate who tasted all woes, even death, and made them stepping stones to greatness. We lesser priests must know, as Christ knew, what these deep things are that lie at the heart of man s problem. With Christ, the royal priesthood of believers must suffer with and for the world as those who have learned what it means to die daily yet live. Only such a Church can be sufficiently a friend to man, or worthy of the name of a God who wills to die for love. Reaching and connecting our faithful across the nation for over 70 years! Don't take it for granted, Subscribe today! Every Month... Parishes, Youth, Faith, Education, Opinions, Missions, Pan-Orthodox, Philoptochos, Metropolis, Family & Marriage, Book Reviews, Orthodoxy Worldwide, Announcements, Church Ministries, Ecumenical Patriarchate and more. Yes, I want to Subscribe Enclosed is my $ subscription/renewal* to the ORTHODOX OBSERVER for one year. ** $15 00 Puerto Rico $2500 Canada $5500 International Name: Address: a church and we are very excited to partake in its services and activities. Sadly, the priest that was there had to retire but the young generation is quite excited because the new priest is quite young and he seems to be attempting to create that feeling that we are all looking for. One last note, we as Orthodox Christians need to stay united and the priests of our parishes are the bridges to keeping us together as a community. Maria Lappas-Anninos Pembroke, Mass. Tel.: (212) Fax: (212) City: State: Zip: Phone: Fax: *For Renewal, please attach your mailing label, located in the top of the newspaper. I authorize the ORTHODOX OBSERVER to charge my: Card No.: Expiration Date: Name on Card: Signature: Thank you for your generosity. Please allow 4 weeks for delivery of first issue. Mail this form and/or make your check payable to: Orthodox Observer 8 East 79th Street, New York, NY We are in more than 150,000 Orthodox homes every month and we want to do better...
12 12 OPA! Let the fun begin. SEPTEMBER 2008 GREEK EDUCATION Welcome Aboard Our 3rdAnnual Greek Cultural Cruise 2009 February 8-15, 2009 Aboard the Magnificent Costa Fortuna Departs Ft.Lauderdale,Florida to: San Juan,Puerto Rico; St.Thomas,USVI; Casa De Campo,Dominican Republic; Grand Turk,Turks & Caicos Islands. $757 RATES START AT ONLY PER PERSON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY INCLUDES TAXES, FUEL SURCHARGES & ENTRANCE TO PRIVATE OPA! EVENTS Experience an Authentic Greek Festival at Sea! In addition to the traditional cruise activities, casinos, shows and food, you ll enjoy Greek Dances, Movies, Lectures and more! Enjoy the music of Nick Trivelas, as well as the Night in Athens Trio featuring George Antonopoulos & Joanna. Join us in song, dance and an occasional Opa as you sail the Eastern Caribbean and celebrate Greece! Please Note! Only passengers booked through TravelGroup International will be eligible to attend any and all OPA! events Travel insurance is highly recommended. Information is subject to change without notice Sponsored by the Greek Orthodox Mission of Ocala, Father George Papadeas, Pastor For reservations & info contact: TravelGroup International or ext: 102 or 108 or Fax: Office: 125 SE Mizner Blvd., #14, Boca Raton, FL Greek teachers and Dr. Efthymiopoulos with Cyprus President Christofias. Greek Educational Seminar in Cyprus Ends Successfully NICOSIA, Cyprus The training seminar for 20 Greek teachers from parochial schools of the Archdiocese successfully concluded its second year at the University of Cyprus. At the Aug. 1 closing ceremony of the seminar, Professor A. Kakas, the university s vice rector, awarded the participating educators with the certificates of attendance. He also acknowledged the work of the director of the Archdiocese Department of Greek Education, Dr. Ioannis Efthymiopoulos, praising him for his unwavering commitment and collaboration with University of Cyprus officials in leading, organizing and executing the seminar, now an annual tradition, and for his decisive and essential contribution throughout its duration. Addressing the teachers, Professor Kakas expressed hope that participants benefited from it educationally and culturally. He asked them to become advocates of the continued effort for justice in Cyprus and supporters of the island s historical, cultural and geopolitical integrity. Mrs. Lemani, on behalf of the teachers, First Greek School in U.S. Celebrates 100 th Anniversary DEERFIELD, Ill. This year marks a historic milestone for Chicago s Greek community as it celebrates the 100th anniversary of Socrates School, the first full time Greek day school in the nation. This event will be formally celebrated Sept. 27, when the Socrates School Centennial Ball will be held at the Hyatt Regency O Hare in Rosemont. An estimated 1,000 persons are expected to attend this tribute to the school s history. The Centennial Ball theme is Reunite, Reminisce, Revitalize. In the early 1900 s, Chicago experienced an exponential growth in its population, fueled in great part, by the arrival of immigrants from central, eastern, and southern Europe. Among these immigrants were the Greeks, forming the largest Greek community in the nation at that time. By 1897, they had established Holy Trinity Church, the first permanent Greek Orthodox parish in the Midwest and third in the U.S. Wishing to instill their language, cultural ideals and faith in their children and to perpetuate these values in their newly adopted homeland, the parish began offering Greek language classes in 1907 on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings at Hull House, the institution founded by the great philanthropist and philhellene, thanked Archbishop Chrysostomos and the director of Greek Education for offering a well organized, effectively delivered, and highly useful seminar providing valuable training to Greek-American educators. In his closing remarks, Dr. Efthymiopoulos acknowledged all parties for contributing to the program s success, including the University of Cyprus and Ministry of Education for hosting the seminar. Near the end of their stay, the educators visited the Kykkos Monastery, venerated the monastery s icon of the Virgin Mary and paid their respects to the tomb of Archbishop Makarios. The monastery s Abbot, Fr. Agathonikos, hosted lunch for them. Teachers also visited the Presidential Palace, where they were received by President Demetrios Christofias of the Republic of Cyprus. The president asked Dr. Efthymiopoulos to convey the country s appreciation to Archbishop Demetrios for his unceasing efforts to find a solution to the plight of Cyprus. Jane Addams. This was the precursor to Socrates School. The school opened its doors in 1908 at 742 Ada St. In 1917 it became Socrates Greek American School when an English curriculum was added. In the years that followed, Socrates would become a significant influence in the lives of countless children of Greek descent, and in Chicago s Greek American community at large. Socrates Greek American School is now a full time, dual language day school serving pre K through 8th grades as well as part time Greek language instruction through the 12th grade. Notable alumni include Judge James A. Geroulis and Dr. Steven Economou, former chair of the Department of Surgery at Rush University Medical Center. Socrates School has undergone several relocations and has evolved into an integral part of the Hellenic American Academy, located in Deerfield, founded in 2004 by Holy Trinity Church as a pre-eminent educational and cultural center for Hellenism. From its humble beginnings at Hull House, to its evolution as a cornerstone of the Hellenic American Academy, it has steadfastly fulfilled its mission of providing high quality education, while instilling the language, culture, heritage, and the faith.
13 SEPTEMBER Calif. Orthodox Bishops Announce Support of Marriage Amendment The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed to exist at those couples discretion as marriages, but that the state of California is forbidden to refer to these couplings as anything but marriages. Orthodox Christianity holds in high regard the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family. The Orthodox Church must and shall remain true to its faith and tradition, and affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, given by God to one another for mutual support, encouragement, love and the ability to bear children. As members of the Church and as citizens of this great land, we cannot withdraw from the society in which we live. Our parishes and our faithful are called upon to be salt and light, to paraphrase Christ, and as such, they engage with their neighbors in acts of charity and love. We will continue our charitable works, and our engagement with society including to faithfully teach the truth about Christian principles of living. The Orthodox Church in the United States thrives and grows, in many respects, Metropolitan GERASIMOS Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Bishop MAXIM Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America NEW YORK The Orthodox Christian Studies program at Fordham University has received a $100,000 commitment and a challenge grant of $200,000 to establish a conference examining Orthodox/Catholic relations. The program hopes to build a $500,000 endowment through the initial gift and matching funds. The conference, which will occur every three years in perpetuity, was created through the generosity of Solon and Marianna Patterson of Atlanta. The first installment is being planned for June MONESSEN, Pa. St. Spyridon Church recently honored Metropolitan Maximos, of Pittsburgh, for his 50th Anniversary as a clergyman, and 30 years as a hierarch. The activities in Monessen began with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Eminence and Fr. Demetrios Gardikes, pastor of St. Spyridon. William Manus, president of the parish council, served as master of ceremonies at the dinner that followed. The special gift presentation made by Fr. Demetrios to His Eminence included a large, framed portrait. Entertainment was provided by the St. Spyridon youth dancers. Helen Pamela Lagios, Metropolis Philoptochos president, was special With Archpastoral Blessings, because of the enduring principles upon which this great country was founded. Our definitions of basic institutions such as marriage, shaped by the unfathomable forces of love and nature coupled with the experience of all recorded human history, rightly derive from what the Founders of our country knew as the natural law of nature and nature s God. It is in this light that the Orthodox Christian bishops of California reject the decision of the California Supreme Court in marriage cases. The institution of marriage emanates from something transcending our passing political institutions, and cannot be unilaterally altered in this way. We therefore must act when that promulgation directly contradicts our faith and threatens the very foundation of Orthodoxy s flourishing in America. Therefore, we, the Orthodox bishops of California, call upon the faithful, as responsible and concerned citizens of California, to overturn this ruling by the California Supreme Court by voting in favor of Proposition 8 this coming November. This proposition is a regrettably necessary measure to restore the true definition of marriage in the eyes of our state. A state that believes same-sex couplings constitute marriage implicitly and sooner or later, explicitly denies the role of the Church and all faiths that adhere to traditional values in public life. Please exercise your citizenship and vote in November. The passage of Proposition 8 is an imperative. Bishop JOSEPH Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Antiochian Archdiocese of North America Bishop BENJAMIN Orthodox Church in America Diocese of the West August Fordham Receives Orthodox Studies Grant This is the largest gift to the program, and it will ensure scholarly conversations and publications in this area for generations to come, said George E. Demacopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor of theology and co-director of the Orthodox Christian Studies program. We are honored that Mr. and Mrs. Patterson so clearly value the work of the program, and we are deeply appreciative of their support. Fordham now has the charge of raising $200,000 to complete the Solon and Marianna Patterson Endowed Fund, Demacopoulos said. Pa. Parish Honors Metropolitan Maximos guest. Program committee members included Mr. Manus, Fr. Demetrios, Michael George and Mary Elenitsas. Metropolitan Maximos serves as spiritual leader for 52 parishes in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, including six monastic communities. Fluent in French, Italian, Latin, Turkish, Greek and English, he served as vice president of Hellenic College and academic dean of Holy Cross, co president of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation and is active in the dialogue between the Orthodox and Lutheran churches. At the request of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, he served on the Holy Patriarchal Synod of Constantinople for one year. Boston Philoxenia Metropolitan Methodios of Boston recently visited with residents of the Philoxenia House and was greeted by Philoptochos members from Annunciation parish in Brockton, Mass. This dedicated group of ladies has made the facility an integral part of their ministry and spend time there on a regular basis. Omaha Community Celebrates Centennial OMAHA, Neb. St. John the Baptist Church recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with a weekend-long celebration in mid-june. In attendance were Archbishop Demetrios, Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Archbishop Elden Curtiss of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha and Fr. Schlegel, president of Creighton University. The event featured keynote speakers Nicholas Gage (author of Eleni), accompanied by his daughter Eleni Gage (contributing editor to INSTYLE magazine and freelance writer), who touched upon their Greek American experience. Also present was artist and iconographer Rip Kastaris. He is the first Hellenic- American to be chosen by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to commemorate U.S. athletes. St. John s commissioned him to do a special centennial icon that now hangs prominently in the church. Mr. Kastaris offered an iconography workshop for the children on June 14. On Sunday, the centennial icon was blessed ATLANTA Through the intricate footwork to folk music from various parts of Greece, dance is a way for individuals to express themselves, their way of life, and the rich culture and heritage of Greece that has spanned millennia. The need for us to perpetuate our tradition of Greek dancing in the Metropolis of Atlanta was the idea of Metropolitan Alexios and the Hellenic Dance Festival Executive Director Gerry Clonaris who together began the Hellenic Dance Festival and Byzantine Weekend eight years ago. The Hellenic Dance Festival and Byzantine Weekend 2009 will be held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Atlanta, Jan The event takes place over Martin Luther King weekend and communities from the East Coast are expected to attend. For more information, contact Victoria Tsurutis at or Sandy Papadopoulos at The weekend encompasses dance competitions, choral competitions, evening by Archbishop Demetrios during the Divine Liturgy, prior to the ground-breaking ceremony that ended the weekend celebration. The weekend concluded with the groundbreaking of a renovation project that included Omaha s mayor and a ball attended by more than 300 that raised more than $50,000. The three chairmen for the event were Anastasia Koliopoulos, Stephanie Patsalis and Christina Piperis. One of St. John s youth dance troupes performed a few traditional Greek dances, opera singer and theater performer James Anest (originally of Bayard, Neb, and now living in Los Angeles) sang a variety of songs and a video presentation comprised of many photos from the past 100 years also captivated the crowd. The band Hellas from Chicago closed the evening s festivities with live Greek music. Guests from throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, New York, Florida, Washington, North Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee and Arizona attended the celebration. Atlanta Metropolis Dance Festival Taking Place in January events including dance functions and a grand banquet awards presentations, spiritual workshops, costume exhibits, and a gift shop; a weekend for the entire family. This year, 1,000 dancers are expected to compete, with 1,500 to attend the grand banquet and glendi on the last evening. There are also workshops throughout the year that communities can attend to prepare for the dance and choral exhibitions. A spiritual and dance workshop, the Panegyri Workshop, took place over Labor Day weekend Aug at the Diakonia Center in Salem, S.C. Dances from Metsovo were taught by Joe Kaloyianides Graziosi and dances from Pontos were taught by Sandy Papadopoulos. There also was a choral workshop conducted by Dr. Michael Rallis, a director s workshop, a spiritual workshop, as well as a newly developed technology workshop. A workshop also was held for new participants and directors to the Hellenic Dance Festival program on Aug. 31.
14 14 SEPTEMBER 2008 Camps Enhance Children s Summertime Experiences More Than 600 Attend Boston Metropolis Camp CONTOCOOK, N.H. More than 600 campers gathered at the St. Methodios Faith & Heritage Center in Contoocook this summer for another successful season in the picturesque woods of the Granite State. They came from throughout New England and from Florida, Texas, New York, New Mexico, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Montreal, Canada! Metropolitan Methodios visited the campers every week and had received positive feedback of the campers experiences on a daily basis. The campers enjoyed a carefully planned camp program that featured workshops, sports activities, camp fires, dancing, chanting, baking prosphora and koulourakia, to name a few activities. Children with special needs who attended this summer s program stayed in the newly constructed cabin for children with special needs which was donated by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. The cabin was formally dedicated at the Sept. 13 Open House when those attending also had the opportunity to see the progress of the Retreat House construction already begun. Many campers and their families returned to Contoocook on Sept. 13, for the Open House. Metropolitan Gerasimos (center) surrounded by campers and staff at St. Nicholas Ranch Summer Camp. Story on page 25 N. J. Metropolis Holds Camp Good Shepherd WESTFIELD, N.J. Camp Good Shepherd, the official summer camp of the Metropolis of New Jersey attracted a record number of campers for the fourth consecutive year, representing an increase of more than 700 percent since its relocation within the boundaries of the Metropolis in The two-week summer camp was held July 6-12 for GOYA and July for JOY at the Linwood MacDonald YMCA Center in Branchville, N.J. More than 175 campers, counselors and clergy from throughout the Metropolis attended. Activities during the week included page 25 (clockwise, from upper left) METROPOLITAN METHODIOS watches Livia Sintros, a retired teacher and steward at the Transfiguration Church in Lowell, Mass., teaching children how to make koulourakia. METROPOLITAN GERASIMOS with some of the younger campers. BOSTON METROPOLIS campers are having a great time as they gather in the dining hall to enjoy the delicious food prepared by the camp chefs. NEW JERSEY Metropolis children toast marshmallows at Camp Good Shepherd. Goyans who participated in Camp Good Shepherd with Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey. More Metropolis News on Page 21, 25
15 ΣΕΠΤΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2008 ΕΤΟΣ 73 ΑΡΙΘΜΟΣ 1242 Αρχιεπισκοπικη Εγκυκλιοσ Ἔναρξη Νέου Ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ Ἔτους καί Ἡμέρα Προστασίας Φυσικοῦ Περιβάλλοντος Πρός τούς Σεβασμιωτάτους καί Θεοφιλεστάτους Ἀρχιερεῖς, τούς Εὐλαβεστάτους Ἱερεῖς καί Διακόνους, τούς Μοναχούς καί Μοναχές, τούς Προέδρους καί τά Μέλη τῶν Κοινοτικῶν Συμβουλίων, τά Ἡμερήσια καί Ἀπογευματινά Σχολεῖα, τίς Φιλοπτώχους Ἀδελφότητες, τήν Νεολαία, τίς Ἑλληνορθόδοξες Ὀργανώσεις, καί ὁλόκληρο τό Χριστεπώνυμο πλήρωμα τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς. Προσφιλεῖς ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Σᾶς χαιρετῶ μέ τήν χάρη καί τήν εἰρήνη τοῦ Κυρίου μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ μετά ἀπό τήν ἐμπνευσμένη καί ἐποικοδομητική 39η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς μας. Mέ πνεῦμα ἀγάπης καί κοινῆς δεσμεύσεως στήν ἀποστολή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, χαρήκαμε τήν ἀδελφοσύνη μας, ἀναλύσαμε προσεκτικά τίς τρέχουσες ἀνάγκες καί προκλήσεις, καί ἐπιβεβαιώσαμε τήν ἐμπιστοσύνη μας στήν καθοδήγηση τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἐκφράσαμε ἐπίσης τήν ἐπιθυμία μας νά προσφέρουμε περισσότερα, οὕτως ὥστε καί ἄλλοι ἄνθρωποι νά ὁδηγηθοῦν στή σωτηρία καί τήν κοινωνία μαζί Του. Δέν ξεχνοῦμε τό θέμα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας Συναγάγετε τόν λαό μου στόν οἶκο μου. Αὐτή ἡ ἔμφαση στήν Ἐκκλησία, ὡς πνευματικοῦ οἴκου προορισμένου γιά ὅλους τούς ἀνθρώπους, κατηύθυνε τίς σκέψεις καί συζητήσεις μας ἐν σχέσει πρός ὑπάρχουσες καί ἐνδεχόμενες διακονίες σέ ὅλα τά ἐπίπεδα τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς μας. Τό θέμα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς ἀπετέλεσε ἐπίσης πρόκληση στό νά ἀναλογισθοῦμε τίς ἀνάγκες πολλῶν συνανθρώπων γύρω μας, οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶναι ἀνεκκλησίαστοι, πνευματικῶς ἀσύνδετοι, ἢ σέ ἐσωτερικό ἀγῶνα. Ὣς Ὀρθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί, καί ὡς Ἑλληνική Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία Ἀμερικῆς, ἒχουμε τήν ἱερά κλήση πού ἀπευθύνεται στόν καθένα μας ἒξελθε εἰς τάς ὁδούς καί φραγμούς καί ἀνάγκασον εἰσελθεῖν (Λουκᾶ 14:23), οὕτως ὥστε ὁ Οἶκος τοῦ Θεοῦ νά γεμίσῃ καί πολλοί συνάνθρωποί μας νά μοιρασθοῦν μαζί μας τό μεγάλο καί λαμπρό δεῖπνο ζωῆς καί ἀγάπης. Ζωῆς καί ἀγάπης, τό βαθύτερο νόημα τῶν ὁποίων μποροῦμε νά κατανοήσουμε μέ τήν ἐμπειρία μας μέσα στόν πνευματικό οἶκο μας, μέσα στήν Ἐκκλησία. Ὃταν ἒχουμε τήν Ἐκκλησία ὡς πνευματικό οἶκο μας, τότε ἡ φροντίδα καί ἡ στοργή γιά τούς ἄλλους, λογικά, ἐπεκτείνεται σ ὁλόκληρη τήν κτίση τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἡ ἀναφορά στήν κτίση τοῦ Θεοῦ ταιριάζει ἀπόλυτα μέ τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή κατά τήν óåë. 17 ΚΕΝΤΡΙΚΗ ΟΜΙΛΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΣΕΒΑΣΜΙΩΤΑΤΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΥ ΑΜΕΡΙΚΗΣ ΔΗΜΗΤΡΙΟΥ (Συνέχεια από το προηγούμενον) 3) Ἡ τρίτη αἰσθητή ἐξέλιξη εἶναι ἡ πρόοδος ἡ ὁποία ἔχει ἐπιτευχθῆ στόν τομέα τῆς Παιδείας. Ἡ πρόοδος αὐτή εἶναι ἔκδηλη σέ ζητήματα ὅπως ἡ συγγραφή νέων βιβλίων γιά παιδιά Νηπιαγωγείου καί ἡ ἀποτελεσματική διδασκαλία τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς ὡς δευτέρας γλώσσης στήν Ἑλληνοαμερικανική νεολαία μας, τά εἰδικά σεμινάρια γιά διδασκάλους τά ὁποῖα διοργανώνονται στίς Μητροπόλεις μας, στήν Ἑλλάδα καί τήν Κύπρο, οἱ προσπάθειες οἱ ὁποῖες καταβάλλονται μέ τή συνεργασία τοῦ Ὑπουργείου Παιδείας τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἐν σχέσει μέ προγράμματα ὑποβοηθούμενα ἀπό ἠλεκτρονικούς ὑπολογιστές καί εἰδικές ἐπιμορφωτικές εὐκαιρίες γιά τούς διδασκάλους μας, καί ἡ δημιουργία νέων ἐπιχορηγουμένων ἑδρῶν καί Ἱδρυμάτων τά ὁποῖα προάγουν τήν Ὀρθοδοξία καί τόν Ἑλληνισμό. Ἀνάμεσα σ αὐτά συγκαταλέγεται τό Ἵδρυμα Βυζαντινῶν Τεχνῶν καί Πολιτισμοῦ Μαρία Τζαχάρη στό Ἑλληνικό Κολλέγιο/Θεολογική Σχολή Τιμίου Σταυροῦ μέ ἐπιχορήγηση 3 ἑκατομμυρίων δολλαρίων, Ἀδελφοί καί τέκνα ἐν Κυρίῳ ἀγαπητά, Διά μίαν εἰσέτι φοράν, εἰς τήν ἀρχήν τοῦ νέου ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ ἔτους, καλούμεθα νά ἀναλογισθῶμεν, μετά καινῶν ἐν Χριστῷ πνευματικῶν δυνάμεων καί ἰδιαιτέρας εὐαισθησίας, τήν κατάστασιν τοῦ εὐφόρου πλανήτου ἡμῶν καί νά ἀναπέμψωμεν ἰδιαιτέρας προσευχάς διά τήν προστασίαν τοῦ σύμπαντος κόσμου. Πολλά ἔχουν ἀλλάξει, ἀφ ἧς στιγμῆς ὁ ἀοίδιμος προκάτοχος ἡμῶν Πατριάρχης Δημήτριος ἀπεφάσισε, πρό δύο καί πλέον δεκαετιῶν, νά καθιερωθῇ ἡ 1η Σεπτεμβρίου ὡς ἡμέρα προσευχῆς ὑπέρ τῆς διατηρήσεως τῆς καλῶς ποιηθείσης ὑπό τοῦ Θεοῦ κτίσεως. Διά τῆς ἀναλήψεως τῆς πρωτοβουλίας ἐκείνης ὁ ἀείμνηστος προκάτοχος ἡμῶν ἀπεσκόπει εἰς τήν ἀποστολήν προειδοποιητικοῦ μηνύματος περί τῶν ὀλεθρίων συνεπειῶν ἐκ τῆς κακῆς χρήσεως τοῦ περιβάλλοντος. Ἐπεσήμαινεν ὅτι, ἐν ἀντιθέσει πρός τάς πλείονας τῶν λοιπῶν μορφῶν τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης κατά χρῆσιν παραβατικῆς συμπεριφορᾶς, ἡ ρύπανσις τοῦ φυσικοῦ περιβάλλοντος δύναται νά προκαλέσῃ τεραστίαν καί μή ἀναστρέψιμον ζημίαν, διά τῆς καταστροφῆς ἁπασῶν σχεδόν τῶν μορφῶν ζωῆς ἐπί τοῦ πλανήτου. Τήν ἐποχήν βεβαίως ἐκείνην, ἡ προειδοποίησις αὕτη ἴσως νά ἤχησεν ὡς ὑπερβολική εἰς τά ὦτα ὡρισμένων σκεπτικιστῶν, ἀλλά ὑπό τό φῶς τῶν ὅσων σήμερον διαπιστώνομεν, καθίσταται πλέον φανερόν ὅτι οἱ λόγοι του ἦσαν προφητικοί. Σήμερον, οἱ ἐπιστήμονες, οἱ ἀσχολούμενοι μέ τό φυσικόν περιβάλλον, ἀπεριφράστως τονίζουν ὅτι ἡ παρατηρουμένη κλιματική ἀλλαγή δύναται νά διαταράξῃ καί νά καταστρέψῃ ὁλόκληρον τό οἰκολογικόν σύστημα, τό ὁποῖον συντηρεῖ οὐχί μόνον τό ἀνθρώπινον εἶδος ἀλλά καί ἅπαντα τόν θαυμαστόν, ἀλληλοεξαρτώμενον ὑπό μορφήν ἁλύσεως, κόσμον τῶν ζώων καί τῶν φυτῶν. óåë. 17 Επιτυχημένη η 39 η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής ΔΗΜ. ΠΑΝΑΓΟΣ Εναρξη των εργασιών της 39ης Κληρικολαϊκής Συνελεύσεως στην Ουάσινγκτον. και ἡ ἕδρα Καινῆς Διαθήκης στή Θεολογική Σχολή Τιμίου Σταυροῦ μέ ἐπιχορήγηση 2 ἑκατομμυρίων δολλαρίων. Ἐπιπλέον, εἴχαμε τά χρηματικά βραβεῖα τά ὁποῖα ἐχορήγησε τό Κληροδότημα Πίστις στούς πρωτεύσαντες ἀποφοίτους (Valedictorians καί Salutatorians) μαθητές τῶν ἡμερησίων σχολείων καί Κοινοτήτων μας καθώς καί ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΙΚΗ ΕΓΚΥΚΛΙΟΣ Β Α Ρ Θ Ο Λ Ο Μ Α Ι Ο Σ ΕΛΕΩ ΘΕΟΥ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΟΣ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΙΝΟΥΠΟΛΕΩΣ, ΝΕΑΣ ΡΩΜΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΙΚΟΥΜΕΝΙΚΟΣ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΗΣ ΠΑΝΤΙ ΤΩ ΠΛΗΡΩΜΑΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑΣ ΧΑΡΙΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΙΡΗΝΗΝ ΠΑΡΑ ΤΟΥ ΔΗΜΙΟΥΡΓΟΥ ΠΑΣΗΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΤΙΣΕΩΣ ΚΥΡΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΘΕΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ «τῇ γάρ ματαιότητι ἡ κτίσις ὑπετάγη, οὐχ ἑκοῦσα, ἀλλά διά τόν ὑποτάξαντα, [...] οἴδαμεν γάρ ὅτι πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις συστενάζει καί συνωδίνει ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν» (Ρωμ. η 20,22) στούς ἐπικεφαλῆς (Finalists) τοῦ Ρητορικοῦ Διαγωνισμοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου Χρυσοστόμου. 4) Ἡ τέταρτη ἐξέλιξη ἡ ὁποία εἶναι ἄξια μνημονεύσεως εἶναι ἡ αὔξηση τῶν δραστηριοτήτων μας σχετικά μέ τό Οἰκουμενικό Πατριαρχεῖο μας. Αὔξηση ἡ ὁποία ὀφείλεται κυρίως στό ἄξιο ἐπαίνου ἔργο τῶν Ἀρχόντων τοῦ Τάγματος Ἁγίου Ἀνδρέου τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς μας. Οἱ δραστηριότητες αὐτές περιλαμβάνουν: τήν ἐπαγγελματική ὑπο-στήριξή μας σέ νομικά θέματα τοῦ Πατριαρχείου μας μέχρι καί τοῦ σημείου τῆς οὐσιαστικῆς συμμετοχῆς μας στό Εὐρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο τοῦ Στρασβούργου, Γαλλίας, τόν παρελθόντα Νοέμβριο. Εἶναι σημαντικό νά γνωρίζετε ὅτι τήν περασμένη ἑβδομάδα, στίς 8 Ἰουλίου, τό Εὐρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο ἐδικαίωσε τό Πατριαρχεῖο μας. Οἱ δραστηριότητές μας συμπεριλαμβάνουν τήν συγκέντρωση 80% τῶν ὑπογραφῶν Ἀμερικανῶν Γερουσιαστῶν οἱ ὁποῖοι συντάσσονται ὑπέρ τῶν θρησκευτικῶν δικαιωμάτων τοῦ Πατριαρχείου καί τήν σημαντική αὔξηση τῆς οἰκονομικῆς μας ἀρωγῆς πρός τό Οἰκουμενικό μας Πατριαρχεῖο γιά ν ἀναφέρουμε μερικές ἀπ αὐτές. 5) Ἡ πέμπτη αἰσθητή ἐξέλιξη σ αὐτή τήν ἀνασκόπηση εἶναι ἡ αὔξηση τῶν φιλανθρωπικῶν δραστηριοτήτων κατά τά τελευταῖα δύο χρόνια. Αὐτή ἡ αὔξηση σχετίζεται μέ τό ἀξιέπαινο ἔργο τῶν Κυριῶν τῆς Φιλοπτώχου Ἀδελφότητος τῆς Ἱ. Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς. Σχετίζεται, ἐπίσης, μέ ἐξαιρετικές φιλανθρωπικές δραστηριότητες ὅπως ἡ óåë. 16
16 16 ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ óåë. 15 βοήθεια τήν ὁποία ἡ Ἱ. Ἀρχιεπισκοπή παρέσχε στίς περιοχές τῆς Ἑλλάδος πού ἐπλήγησαν ἀπό τίς καταστροφικές πυρκαϊές τοῦ περασμένου καλοκαιριοῦ. Τό ποσό πού συγκεντρώθηκε ἀνῆλθε στά τέσσερα ἑκατομμύρια δολλάρια καί ἡ παρεσχεθεῖσα βοήθεια χορηγήθηκε κατόπιν προσεκτικῆς καί συστηματικῆς διαδικασίας. Ἀφοροῦσε δέ στήν κάλυψη πραγματικῶν καί ἐμφανῶν ἀναγκῶν οἱ ὁποῖες ἐκτιμήθηκαν μέσῳ προσωπικῶν ἐπισκέψεων καί ἐπιτοπίου αὐτοψίας. 6) Ἐπιτρέψτε μου στό σημεῖο αὐτό ν ἀναφέρω ἐπίσης τρία σημαντικά γεγονότα πού ἔλαβαν χώρα ἐκτός τῶν Ἡνωμένων Πολιτειῶν στά ὁποῖα ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας εἶχε τήν μεγάλη τιμή νά συμμετάσχῃ. Τό πρῶτο ἦταν ἡ ἱστορική ἐπίσκεψη τοῦ Πάπα Βενεδίκτου XVI στό Οἰκουμενικό Πατριαρχεῖο μας τόν Νοέμβριο τοῦ 2006, ὅπου εἴχαμε προσκληθεῖ ὡς Ἀρχιεπισκοπή καί ὅπου προσφέραμε ἀποφασιστική ὀργανωτική βοήθεια στήν ἐκπλήρωση ἑνός πολύ ἀπαιτητικοῦ πρωτοκόλλου ὑψηλοτάτου ἐπιπέδου. Τό δεύτερο ἦταν ἡ παρουσία μας στήν ἐξ ἴσου ἱστορική ἐπίσκεψη τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριάρχου μας κ.κ. Βαρθολομαίου στήν Ρώμη δύο ἑβδομάδες πρίν ἐπ εὐκαιρίᾳ τῆς Ἑορτῆς τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Πέτρου, Θρονικῆς ἑορτῆς τῆς Ρωμαιοκαθολικῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Εἴμεθα ἐκεῖ, μία ὁμάδα μελῶν τοῦ Κληροδοτήματος Πίστις συνοδεύοντες τόν Πατριάρχη μας καί δεχόμενοι ὑψηλές τιμές καί ἐγκάρδιες περιποιήσεις ἀπό τόν Πάπα καί τό προσωπικό του. Τό τρίτο σημαντικό γεγονός ἦταν ἡ ἐπίσκεψή μας στό Πατριαρχεῖο τῆς Μόσχας τόν παρελθόντα Μάϊο. Προσκεκλημένη ἐπί τούτῳ ἀπό τόν Πατριάρχη Μόσχας κ. Ἀλέξιον, ἡ ἀντιπροσωπεία τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς ἀποτελουμένη ἀπό 12 ἄτομα, κληρικούς καί λαϊκούς, ἔτυχε τῆς ἐξαιρετικῆς φιλοξενίας του ἐπί μία ἑβδομάδα στή Μόσχα. Μᾶς περιποιήθηκε μ ἕναν ἐντυπωσιακά φιλόφρονα τρόπο ἐκδηλώνοντας τήν ἐκτίμησή του πρός τό πρόσωπό μας καί πρός τό ἔργο τό ὁποῖο ἐπιτελοῦμε στίς Ἡνωμένες Πολιτεῖες καί στήν ὑπηρεσία τοῦ Οἰκουμενικοῦ Πατριαρχείου, προάγοντες τήν συνεργασία καί ἑνότητα μεταξύ Ὀρθοδόξων. 7) Θά ἤθελα ἐπίσης νά ἀναφερθῶ σέ ἕνα πολύ συγκινητικό γεγονός τοῦ παρελθόντος ἔτους, ἤτοι τήν δυναμική ὑποστήριξη τήν ὁποία προσφέραμε στόν μακαριστό Ἀρχιεπίσκοπο Ἀθηνῶν καί πάσης Ἑλλάδος κυρό Χριστόδουλο κατά τήν διάρκεια τῆς ἡρωϊκῆς πάλης του μέ τόν καρκίνο. Ἰδιαιτέρως κατά τήν περίοδο μεταξύ Αὐγούστου καί Ὀκτωβρίου 2007 τῆς διαμονῆς του στό Μαϊάμι, Φλόριδας, καθώς ἀνέμενε τήν ἐξεύρευση συμβατοῦ μοσχεύματος ἤπατος, τά μέλη τῆς ἐκεῖ Ἐκκλησίας μας προσέφεραν στόν μακαριστό Ἱεράρχη καί ΣΕΠΤΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2008 Επιτυχημένη η 39 η Κληρικολαϊκή Συνέλευση της Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής τήν συνοδεία του βοήθεια ἐκπληκτική σέ εὐγένεια καί ἀποτελεσματικότητα ἐπί εἰκοσιτετραώρου βάσεως. 8) Αἰσθάνομαι ὑποχρεωμένος ν ἀναφέρω ἕνα ἀκόμη σημεῖο τῶν τελευταίων δύο ἐτῶν τό ὁποῖο σχετίζεται μέ τά παιδιά μας καί ἀποδεικνύει πῶς μποροῦν νά καταστοῦν ὑπέροχες φωνές προσκλήσεως ἀνθρώπων στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀκόμα καί ἐκτός τῶν Ἡνωμένων Πολιτειῶν. Ἀναφέρομαι στήν Μητροπολιτική Χορωδία Παιδιῶν τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς μας, ἡ ὁποία ἀποτελεῖται ἀπό 60 ἕως 70 παιδιά σχολείων περιοχῆς Νέας Ὑόρκης. Αὐτή ἡ Χορωδία ἡ ὁποία δημιουργήθηκε πρίν ἀπό 5 ἔτη ἐπέδειξε τόση μεγάλη καλλιτεχνική ὡριμότητα ἐντός ὀλίγου χρονικοῦ διαστήματος ὥστε ἔτυχε τῆς προσκλήσεως τῆς Πρώτης Κυρίας τῆς Κυπριακῆς Δημοκρατίας πέρυσι τό καλοκαίρι γιά νά δώσῃ δημόσια συναυλία στό Προεδρικό Μέγαρο πρός ὄφελος τοῦ Ἱδρύματος παιδιῶν ἐργαζομένων μητέρων ἐπ ὀνόματι «Μάννα». Ἡ συναυλία εἶχε τεράστια ἐπιτυχία. Πρίν ἀπό δύο ἑβδομάδες, τήν 3η Ἰουλίου 2008, ἡ ἴδια Χορωδία παιδιῶν, μέ τήν γενναιοδωρία δύο εὐλογημένων μελῶν τῆς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς μας οἱ ὁποῖοι ἐπωμίσθηκαν τίς ταξιδιωτικές δαπάνες, παρουσίασε μέ ἐξαιρετική ἐπιτυχία στήν Ἀθήνα, συναυλία πρός ἐνίσχυση τοῦ Ἱδρύματος «Ἐλπίς», ἱδρύματος γιά παιδιά πού πάσχουν ἀπό διάφορες μορφές καρκίνου. Δύο δέ ἡμέρες ἀργότερα, ἔδωσε καί ἄλλη δημόσια συναυλία στά πλαίσια τοῦ συνεδρίου τῆς ΑΧΕΠΑ στήν Ἀθήνα. Εὐχαριστοῦμε τόν Θεό γιά ὅλα τά παιδιά τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας, τά ὁποῖα προσφέρουν δυναμική μαρτυρία πίστεως μέ πολλούς τρόπους. Εὐχαριστοῦμε ὁλόθερμα τόν Θεό, πού εἶναι ἡ ἀκατανίκητη ἰσχύς καί τό ὁδηγητικό φῶς μας, γιά ὅλα τά προαναφερθέντα καί γιά ὅλα τά σημάδια ζωτικότητος καί ἀναπτύξεως μέσα στήν Ἱερά Ἀρχιεπισκοπή μας στά ὁποῖα ὁ περιορισμένος χρόνος δέ μοῦ ἐπιτρέπει νά ἀναφερθῶ ἐπί τοῦ παρόντος. Καί τώρα ἄς προχωρήσουμε σέ μία σειρά σχολίων καί σκέψεων ἐπί τοῦ θέματος τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας «Συναγάγετε τόν λαό μου στόν Οἶκο μου». 3. Τό θέμα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μας στό πλαίσιο τοῦ συγχρόνου θρησκευτικοῦ τοπίου 1) Τό θέμα τῆς παρούσης 39ης Διετοῦς Κληρικολαϊκῆς Συνελεύσεως τῆς Ἱερᾶς Ἀρχιεπισκοπῆς Ἀμερικῆς δέν παρέχει μόνον ἕνα σύνθημα γιά τή συγκέντρωσή μας. Ἀποτελεῖ πρόσκληση, θεόσδοτη ὁδηγία, τήν ὁποία καλούμεθα ν ἀκολουθήσουμε λαμβάνοντας ὑπ ὄψιν τήν καταγωγή μας, τήν ποιότητά μας καί τόν ἐκ Θεοῦ προορισμό μας. Ἐπί πολλά ἔτη ὀργανώναμε τίς κοινότητές μας, παρέχοντας ἐκπαιδευτικές, λατρευτικές καί φιλανθρωπικές εὐκαιρίες σ ὅλα τα μέλη μας, κτίζοντας ὄμορφες Ἐκκλησίες, Κοινοτικά Κέντρα καί Σχολεῖα γιά δική μας ἀποκλειστική χρήση. Αὐτή ἦταν ἡ συνήθης τακτική, ἡ φυσική πορεία πού ἔπρεπε ν ἀκολουθήσουμε καθώς προσπαθούσαμε νά ἐγκαταστήσουμε καί νά ἑδραιώσουμε τήν παρουσία μας σταθερά ὡς σημαντικῆς ὁμογενειακῆς ὀντότητος καί φορέως ἐντός τῆς Ἀμερικανικῆς κοινωνίας. Ἡ Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Κοινότητα κατά τά πρῶτα ἔτη τῆς παρουσίας τῆς πρώτης γενεᾶς της ἀπετέλεσε κοινότητα στήν ὁποία ἡ συμμετοχή τῶν μελῶν στίς δραστηριότητες τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἦταν ὁλοκληρωτική. Ἀπό τό μικρότερο παιδί τῆς Ἐνορίας ἕως τό μεγαλύτερο μέλος της ὅλοι ἦσαν πάντοτε παρόντες ὡς οἰκογένειες στίς λειτουργικές, ἐκπαιδευτικές καί φιλανθρωπικές δραστηριότητές της. Ἡ Ἐκκλησία στή συγκεκριμένη μορφή τῆς ἐνορίας ἀποτελοῦσε τό φυσικό κέντρο ὅπου συγκεντρωνόταν ἡ κοινότητα, εἰδικά κατά τά πρῶτα δύσκολα ἔτη τῆς προσπαθείας προσαρμογῆς καί ἐπιβιώσεως στή νέα χώρα ὅπου εὑρέθησαν οἱ ἡρωϊκοί πρῶτοι μετανάστες, οἱ ἀληθινοί πρωτοπόροι. 2) Μέ τήν πάροδο τῶν ἐτῶν καί τήν ἐμφάνιση τῆς δευτέρας γενεᾶς, τῆς τρίτης, τῆς τετάρτης καί τώρα καί τῆς πέμπτης γενεᾶς, τά πράγματα ἄρχισαν βαθμηδόν ν ἀλλάζουν. Μία καινούργια πραγματικότητα ἄρχισε νά διαφαίνεται ἡ ὁποία ἔχει τά ἑπόμενα χαρακτηριστικά: α) Πρῶτον, παρά τό συνεχές ἀλλά περιορισμένο κατά τά τελευταῖα ἔτη φαινόμενο τῆς μεταναστεύσεως, ἡ Ἐκκλησία μας δέν ἀποτελεῖ κατ οὐδένα τρόπο Ἐκκλησία μεταναστῶν, ἤ ἐκκλησιαστική ὀντότητα τῆς διασπορᾶς, ἀλλά Ἐκκλησία ἡ ὁποία ἔχει φυσικές, σταθερές καί ὑπερήφανες ρίζες στό Ἀμερικανικό χῶμα. Αὐτό σημαίνει ὅτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία στίς ἡμέρες μας δέν ἀσχολεῖται πλέον μέ τό ζήτημα τῆς κοινωνικοοικονομικῆς ἐπιβιώσεως τῶν μεταναστῶν μελῶν της σέ μία νέα χώρα. Σαφῶς ἔχουν δημιουργηθῇ καινούργιες συνθῆκες. Πρόσφατη στατιστική δείχνει ὅτι στίς ἡμέρες μας περίπου 45% τῶν μελῶν τῆς Κοινότητός μας κατέχουν τοὐλάχιστον ἕνα Πανεπιστημιακό πτυχίο, καί ἐπίσης 45% ἔχουν ἐτήσιο εἰσόδημα ἴσο ἤ ἀνώτερο τῶν $ , καί ὅτι καί στίς δύο περιπτώσεις κατέχουμε τήν δεύτερη θέση ἀνάμεσα στίς μεγάλες θρησκευτικές κοινότητες τῶν Ἡνωμένων Πολιτειῶν ὅπως εἶναι οἱ Ρωμαιοκαθολικές, οἱ Προτεσταντικές καί οἱ Ἑβραϊκές. Ἡ Ἐκκλησία τῶν ἡμερῶν μας ἔχοντας ὑπερβῆ τό σημεῖο τῆς κοινωνικο οικονομικῆς ἐπιβιώσεως ἤ καί τῆς ἐπιτυχίας ἀκόμη, ἀπολαμβάνοντας τήν ἐλευθερία ἀπό πιεστικές κοινωνικο-οικονομικές ἀνησυχίες, εἶναι σέ θέση νά ἑστιάζῃ τήν προσοχή της πλήρως καί ἐντόνως στήν προαγωγή τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Πίστεως καί νά καλλιεργῇ τίς παγκόσμιες ἀνθρώπινες ἀξίες τοῦ Ἑλληνισμοῦ οἱ ὁποῖες χαίρουν ἐκτιμήσεως καί σεβασμοῦ σέ ὅλες τίς πολιτισμένες κοινωνίες καί χῶρες. β) Δεύτερον, σήμερα δέν ὑπάρχει πλήρης ὁμοιογένεια στίς Κοινότητές μας, κατά τόν τρόπο πού ὑπῆρχε κάποτε ἀνάμεσα στίς πρῶτες κοινότητες μεταναστῶν. Σήμερα, ὑφίσταται συγκεκριμένη διαφορά μεταξύ τῶν μεταναστῶν πρώτης γενεᾶς καί τῶν Ἑλληνο Αμερικανῶν πέμπτης γενεᾶς. Ἐπίσης, ὁ συνεχῶς αὐξανόμενος ἀριθμός μεικτῶν γάμων ἔχει ἐπιφέρει ἀλλαγή στή σύνθεση τῶν μελῶν τῆς Ἐκκλησίας. Μία τυπική, καλά ὀργανωμένη Ἐνορία τῶν Μητροπόλεών μας παρουσιάζει ἐσωτερική διαφοροποίηση ἐξ αἰτίας τῆς διαφορᾶς ἐν σχέσει πρός τά ἐπίπεδα τῶν γενεῶν ἀπό τήν πρώτη μέχρι τήν πέμπτη καί τῆς ἐθνικῆς ἤ καί τῆς θρησκευτικῆς προελεύσεως ἀρκετῶν μελῶν της. γ) Τρίτον, στήν παροῦσα νέα πραγματικότητα τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ὑπάρχει σοβαρό πρόβλημα μέ τήν νεολαία. Γυμνασιόπαιδες ἔφηβοι, φοιτητές Κολλεγίων καί Πανεπιστημίων καί νέοι ἐνήλικες, δηλαδή ἄτομα ἡλικίας 16 ἕως 35 ἐτῶν, γιά κάποιο λόγο ἀποσυνδέονται ἀπό τήν Ἐκκλησία καί τή ζωή της. Τό φαινόμενο αὐτό παρατηρεῖται σέ ὅλες τίς κύριες θρησκευτικές Κοινότητες τῶν ΗΠΑ, ἀλλά ὁ γενικός χαρακτήρας του δέν μειώνει τό γεγονός ὅτι ἀποτελεῖ λυπηρό φαινόμενο, κύριο πρόβλημα καί σοβαρή ἀνησυχία γιά μᾶς. δ) Τέταρτον, ὑπάρχει νέα πραγματικότητα στό θρησκευτικό τοπίο τῆς σύγχρονης Ἀμερικῆς. Αὐτή εἶναι ἡ πραγματικότητα τῶν 60 ἑκατομμυρίων ἀνθρώπων πού χαρακτηρίζονται ἀνεκκλησίαστοι, ὡς unchurched. Οὐδόλως πρόκειται περί ἀθέων. Πρόκειται περί ἀτόμων τά ὁποῖα λόγῳ διαφορετικῶν αἰτίων δέν συνδέονται μέ καμμία Ἐκκλησία ἤ κάποιο ὀργανωμένο ἐκκλησιαστικό σῶμα. Πολλοί ἐξ αὐτῶν ὑπῆρξαν μέλη κάποιας θρησκευτικῆς κοινότητος ἀλλά ἀπεχώρησαν. Ἄλλοι δέν ὑπῆρξαν ποτέ μέλη οἱασδήποτε Ἐκκλησίας. Οἱ παραπάνω παρατηρήσεις μᾶς βοηθοῦν νά κατανοήσουμε τή σημασία τοῦ θέματος τῆς παρούσης Συνελεύσεώς μας: «Συναγάγετε τόν λαό μου στόν Οἶκο μου». Δέν εἴμεθα πλέον μία ἐκκλησιαστική κοινότητα σέ ἀναζήτηση ἐπιβιώσεως. Αὐτή ἡ θεώρηση τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ μας ἀνήκει στό παρελθόν. Δέν μποροῦμε νά εἴμεθα ἕνα ἐγωκεντρικό αὐτο απομονωμένο Ἑλληνορθόδοξο ἐκκλησιαστικό σῶμα, περιορισμένο στόν ἑαυτό του τό ὁποῖο διοχετεύει ὅλη του τήν ἐνέργεια ἀποκλειστικά ἐντός τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ του. Δέν μποροῦμε νά εἴμεθα Ἐκκλησία Γκέτο. Ὁ Θεός μᾶς καλεῖ νά συνάξουμε τόν λαό Του. Γιά νά συνάξουμε τόν λαό τοῦ Θεοῦ πρέπει νά τόν ἀναζητήσουμε, νά τόν ἀνακαλύψουμε ὅπου καί ἄν βρίσκεται καί νά τόν ὁδηγήσουμε στόν Οἶκο τοῦ Θεοῦ. Τό θέμα τῆς Κληρικολαϊκῆς μᾶς καλεῖ μέ σαφῆ τρόπο νά κινηθοῦμε ἐκτός τῶν τειχῶν καί νά συνάξουμε τίς ψυχές οἱ ὁποῖες ἀναζητοῦν μία πνευματική ἑστία, μία ζωντανή κοινότητα καί τελικά μιά ἐπικοινωνία μέ τόν Θεό. Πῶς μποροῦμε νά ἀνταποκριθοῦμε σ αὐτή τήν ἱερή κλήση; Ἡ ἀπάντησή μας ἀρχίζει μέ μιά ἐρώτηση: Ποιοί εἶναι αὐτοί οἱ συγκεκριμένοι ἄνθρωποι τούς ὁποίους μᾶς στέλλει ὁ Θεός νά συνάξουμε καί νά μοιρασθοῦμε μαζί τους τούς θησαυρούς μιᾶς ζωοποιοῦ πίστεως; 4. Ποιοί εἶναι οἱ ἄνθρωποι τοῦ Θεοῦ τούς ὁποίους πρέπει νά συνάξουμε στόν Οἶκο Του; 1) Εἶναι πρῶτον, οἱ Ὀρθόδοξοι ἀδελφοί καί ἀδελφές, μέλη τῶν οἰκογενειῶν μας οἱ ὁποῖοι βαπτίσθηκαν καί ἴσως ἔκαναν καί τόν γάμο τους στήν Ἐκκλησία ἀλλά δέν εἶναι πλέον συνδεδεμένοι μαζί της μέ τρόπο στενό καί ἰσχυρό. Τούς συναντοῦμε τήν Κυριακή τῶν Βαΐων, τήν Μεγάλη Παρασκευή καί κατά τήν νύκτα τῆς Ἀναστάσεως. Ὑπάρχουν χιλιάδες, δεκάδες χιλιάδων αὐτῶν τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Ποῦ εἶναι ὅλοι αὐτοί τόν ὑπόλοιπο χρόνο; Προφανῶς δέν ἔχουν οὐσιαστική σχέση μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία ἤ ἡ σχέση των εἶναι χαλαρή. Πρέπει νά τούς ἀνακαλύψουμε καί νά τούς συγκεντρώσουμε καί ὄχι νά περιμένουμε νά ἔλθουν μία ἤ δύο φορές τό χρόνο ἤ σέ κάποια κηδεία μέλους τῆς οἰκογενείας των. Ἡ ἀναζήτηση αὐτῶν πρέπει ν ἀποτελῇ πρωταρχικό μέλημα κάθε ἐνορίας, τό ὁποῖο θά ἔχη ὡς στόχο του τήν συστηματική καί ἀδιάκοπη προσπάθεια προσεγγίσεως τῶν Ὀρθοδόξων ἀδελφῶν μας αὐτῶν οἱ ὁποῖοι εἶναι ἤ πλήρως ἀποσυνδεδεμένοι ἤ χαλαρά συνδεόμενοι μέ τήν Ἐκκλησία καί ἀνήκουν δημογραφικά στή γεωγραφική ἀκτίνα ἑκάστης ἐνορίας. 2) Ὑπάρχει μία δεύτερη κατηγορία λαοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀνθρώπων τούς ὁποίους πρέπει νά προσκαλέσουμε καί νά φέρουμε στόν ἱερό χῶρο τοῦ Θεοῦ: αὐτοί εἶναι πολλά μέλη τῶν μεικτῶν γάμων τά ὁποῖα μετά τόν γάμο των ἀπεκόπησαν ἀπό τήν Ἐκκλησία ἤ δέν ἐτέλεσαν κἄν τόν γάμο των στήν Ὀρθόδοξη Ἐκκλησία καί, ὡς ἐκ τούτου, δέν τούς γνωρίζουμε. Ἡ προσέγγιση αὐτῶν ἀπαιτεῖ μεγαλύτερη προσπάθεια. Γιά νά συγκεντρώσουμε αὐτούς τούς ἀνθρώπους πρέπει νά τούς ἀνακαλύψουμε. Αὐτή ἡ ἀποστολή δέν εἶναι εὔκολη λόγῳ πολλῶν αἰτίων, μία ἐκ τῶν ὁποίων εἶναι ἡ συνεχής καί μεγάλη μετακίνηση τοῦ πληθυσμοῦ. Συνέχεια και επίλογος στο επόμενο τεύχος του ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΥ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗ
17 ΣΕΠΤΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2008 ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ORTHODOX ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ OBSERVER 17 Ἔναρξη Νέου Ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ Ἔτους καί Ἡμέρα Προστασίας Φυσικοῦ Περιβάλλοντος óåë. 15 ὁποία ἑορτάζουμε τήν ἔναρξη τοῦ Νέου Ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ Ἔτους, διότι τό Οἰκουμενικό Πατριαρχεῖο μας ἔχει ἀνακηρύξει τήν 1η Σεπτεμβρίου ἑκάστου ἔτους σέ Ἡμέρα γιά τήν Προστασία τοῦ Φυσικοῦ Περιβάλλοντος, καί τήν ἐπιβίωσή του γιά τίς ἑπόμενες γενεές. Παρόλο πού βιώνουμε τίς συνέπειες τοῦ κακοῦ καί τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἐπί τοῦ φυσικοῦ περιβάλλοντος, ἒχουμε ἐμπιστοσύνη στήν ὑπόσχεση τοῦ Θεοῦ ὅτι, Ἐκεῖνος θά λυτρώσῃ καί θά ἀνακαινίσῃ τά πάντα. Καθώς περιμένουμε τήν δημιουργία ἑνός νέου οὐρανοῦ καί μιᾶς νέας γῆς στό τέλος τῆς ἱστορίας τοῦ κόσμου, ἔχουμε ἐπιφορτισθῆ μέ τό ἱερό ἔργο τῆς διαχειρίσεως τοῦ ὑπάρχοντος οὐρανοῦ καί τῆς ὑπάρχουσας γῆς, τῶν δημιουργημάτων τοῦ Θεοῦ. Αὐτήν τήν συνειδητοποίηση καί ἀλήθεια ἑορτάζουμε ὡς Ὀρθόδοξοι Χριστιανοί, τήν πρώτη αὐτήν ἡμέρα τοῦ Νέου Ἐκκλησιαστικοῦ Ἔτους. Ἀπό τόν πνευματικό οἶκο μας τήν Ἐκκλησία, καί ἀπό τή σχέση μας μέ τόν Δημιουργό μας καί μέ τούς ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους, ἔχουμε τή δυνατότητα νά συμβάλουμε στίς παγκόσμιες πρωτοβουλίες γιά τό περιβάλλον, καί νά προσφέρουμε τήν πνευματική προοπτική μας, ἡ ὁποία σοφά καί μεθοδικά δίδει μεγαλύτερο νόημα στή ζωή ἐπί τοῦ πλανήτου μας. Ὃπως ἀναγνωρίζουμε ὃτι ἡ Ἐκκλησία εἶναι ὁ οἶκος μας, ἄς ἀναγνωρίσουμε ἐπίσης καί τόν γήινο οἶκο μας, τό φυσικό περιβάλλον, καί τήν εὐθύνη μας ἀπέναντί του. Ἄς εὐχαριστήσουμε τόν Θεό γιά τήν Δημιουργία Του καί γιά τήν κάλυψη τῶν ἀναγκῶν μας. Ἄς Τόν δοξάσουμε γιά τήν ὡραιότητα καί τά θαυμάσια τοῦ φυσικοῦ κόσμου. Ἄς δείξουμε ἐπίσης τήν ἀγάπη μας γιά τόν Θεό, διά τῶν προσπαθειῶν μας νά προστατεύσουμε ὅ,τι Ἐκεῖνος ἔχει δημιουργήσει μέ τήν ἀγαθωσύνη, τήν σοφία, καί τήν ἀγάπη Του. Καθώς ξεκινοῦμε αὐτό τό Νέο Ἐκκλησιαστικό Ἔτος, ἄς συναντηθοῦμε ἐν προσευχῇ καί ἀδελφοσύνῃ στόν πνευματικό οἶκο μας, καί ἀπό τόν οἶκο αὐτό, ἄς μεταφέρουμε σέ ὁλόκληρο τόν κόσμο τό μήνυμα ζωῆς, ἐλπίδος καί ἀνακαινίσεως. Μέ πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη, ÿ ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος Αποκαλύψεις της Ραντικάλ ôïõ Íéêüëáïõ Ìáããßíá Απόρρητα έγγραφα της διοίκησης της Τουρκικής στρατιάς του Αιγαίου που αναφέρονται στην παρακολούθηση του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου από τις στρατιωτικές μυστικές υπηρεσίες αποκάλυψε χθες στην κυριακάτικη έκδοση της η Tουρκική εφημερίδα «Ραντικάλ». Συγκεκριμένα η εφημερίδα δημοσιεύει δύο έγγραφα του Ιουνίου του 2005 τα οποία χαρακτηρίζονται ως «απόρρητα» και φέρουν το τίτλο «Ο ρωμιός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος και οι δραστηριότητες του». Είναι χαρακτηριστικός ο βασικός τίτλος στο πρωτοσέλιδο της εφημερίδας. «Στενή παρακολούθηση του Πατριάρχη από τις υπηρεσίες πληροφοριών. Αυτή είναι η πληροφόρηση; Αυτή είναι!» τονίζεται στον κεντρικό τίτλο και στον υπότιτλο σημειώνει: «Η διοίκηση της Στρατιάς του Αιγαίου κατέγραψε με κάθε λεπτομέρεια τις κινήσεις του Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου από το ξενοδοχείο όπου κατέλυσε μέχρι και την συναυλία που παρακολούθησε». Σύμφωνα με το δημοσίευμα τα έγγραφα αυτά που βρέθηκαν στα αρχεία της εθνικιστικής οργάνωσης «Εργκενεκόν», της οποίας ο πυρήνας εξαρθρώθηκε πρόσφατα. Όπως προκύπτει η εντολή παρακολούθησης δόθηκε από τις μυστικές υπηρεσίες της «Στρατιάς του Αιγαίου» που ασχολούνται με την αντιμετώπιση απειλών κατά της Τουρκίας. Τα έγγραφα χρονολογούνται από τον Ιούνιο του 2005 και αφορούν σε επίσκεψη του Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου στην Σμύρνη, ύστερα από πρόσκληση της Πρεσβείας της Ρουμανίας στην Άγκυρα, προκειμένου να παραστεί σε συναυλία ρουμανικής παραδοσιακής μουσικής. Όπως σημειώνει η εφημερίδα ήταν τέτοιος ο ζήλος των στελεχών των μυστικών υπηρεσιών που ακολούθησαν τον Πατριάρχη σε κάθε του βήμα, κατέγραψαν το περιεχόμενο της συναυλίας που παρακολούθησε- κάνοντας μάλιστα ειδική μνεία στον βασικό μουσικό ο οποίος έπαιζε φλάουτο- καθώς επίσης αναφέρθηκαν και στην παρουσία της υπουργού Πολιτισμού και Θρησκευμάτων της Ρουμανίας κ. Μόνικα Οκτάβια Μούσκα στην ίδια εκδήλωση. Πάντως με ειρωνική διάθεση η εφημερίδα επισημαίνει πως μια τέτοια μεγάλης κλίμακας παρακολούθηση ήταν μάλλον περιττή αφού οι περισσότερες πληροφορίες που αφορούσαν την συναυλία είχαν γνωστοποιηθεί από τις αφίσσες του Φεστιβάλ Σμύρνης ενώ οι κινήσεις του Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου ση μειώνεται εμφατικά γίνονται γνωστές από τα δελτία τύπου που εκδίδει το Πατριαρχείο. «Δεν έχουν άλλη δουλειά να κάνουν οι στρατιωτικές μυστικές υπηρεσίες ;» διερωτάται η εφημερίδα και με καυστικό ύφος επικρίνει τους παράγοντες των στρατιωτικών υπηρεσιών οι οποίοι δεν έδειξαν το ίδιο ενδιαφέρον για την παρακολούθηση εκείνων που εκπόνησαν το σχέδιο δολοφονίας του αρμενικής καταγωγής δημοσιογράφου Χράντ Ντίνκ. óåë. 18 óåë. 15 Αἱ ἐπιλογαί καί αἱ ἐνέργειαι τοῦ κατά τά ἄλλα πεπολιτισμένου συγχρόνου ἀνθρώπου ἔχουν ὁδηγήσει εἰς τήν θλιβεράν ταύτην κατάστασιν ἥτις συνιστᾷ οὐσιαστικῶς ἠθικόν καί πνευματικόν πρόβλημα, τό ὁποῖον γλαφυρῶς εἶχε προεκθέσει, ἐξάρας τήν ὀντολογικήν κυρίως διάστασίν του, ὁ οὐρανοβάμων Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος εἰς τήν πρός Ρωμαίους ἐπιστολήν, δεκαεννέα αἰῶνας πρίν, εἰπών «τῇ γάρ ματαιότητι ἡ κτίσις ὑπετάγη, οὐχ ἑκοῦσα, ἀλλά διά τόν ὑποτάξαντα, [...] οἴδαμεν γάρ ὅτι πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις συστενάζει καί συνωδίνει ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν» (Ρωμ. η 20,22). Εἰς τό σημεῖον ὅμως τοῦτο, ὀφείλομεν νά εἴπωμεν ὅτι ἡ σήμερον προβαλλομένη πνευματική καί ἠθική διάστασις τοῦ οἰκολογικοῦ προβλήματος, συνιστᾷ, εἴπερ ποτε καί ἄλλοτε, κοινήν συνείδησιν πάντων τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἰδιαιτέρως τῶν νέων, οἱ ὁποῖοι, σύν τοῖς ἄλλοις, συνειδητοποιοῦν ὅτι σύμπασα ἡ ἀνθρωπότης ἔχει κοινήν μοῖραν. Ὁλονέν μεγαλύτερος ἀριθμός ἀνθρώπων κατανοεῖ ὅτι ἡ καταναλωτική των συμπεριφορά, ἡ προσωπική ἑκάστου συμβολή εἰς τήν παραγωγήν συγκεκριμένων προϊόντων ἤ ἡ ἀπόρριψις ἑτέρων ἅπτεται εὐρυτέρων παραμέτρων ἐχουσῶν οὐ μόνον ἠθικήν ἀλλά καί ἐσχατολογικήν διάστασιν. Ὁλονέν μεγαλύτερος ἀριθμός ἀνθρώπων ἀντιλαμβάνεται ὅτι ἡ ἀλόγιστος χρῆσις τῶν φυσικῶν πόρων, ἡ ἄμετρος κατανάλωσις ἐνεργείας, συμβάλλει εἰς τήν κλιματικήν ἀλλαγήν, ἐπίπτωσιν ἔχουσαν εἰς τήν ζωήν καί τήν ὕπαρξιν τοῦ συνανθρώπου, τοῦ πλησίον, τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ Θεοῦ, καί ὡς ἐκ τούτου ἀποτελεῖ ἁμάρτημα. Ὁλονέν καί περισσότεροι ἄνθρωποι χαρακτηρίζουν ὡς ἐναρέτους ἤ φαύλους αὐτούς οἱ ὁποῖοι ἀντιστοίχως χειρίζονται εὐλόγως ἤ παραλόγως τά πράγματα τῆς κτίσεως. Ἀντιστρόφως, ὅμως, ἀνάλογος πρός τήν εὐαισθητοποίησιν τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐπί τοῦ οἰκολογικοῦ προβλήματος τυγχάνει, δυστυχῶς, ἡ εἰκών τήν ὁποίαν ἐμφανίζει σήμερον ὁ πλανήτης μας. Ἰδιαιτέρως ἀνησυχητικόν εἶναι τό γεγονός ὅτι τά πτωχότερα καί πλέον εὐάλωτα μέλη τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης κοινωνίας ὑφίστανται τάς συνεπείας περιβαλλοντικῶν προβλημάτων τά ὁποῖα αὐτά δέν ἐδημιούργησαν. Ἀπό τῆς Αὐστραλίας μέχρι τοῦ Κέρατος τῆς Ἀφρικῆς καταφθάνουν πληροφορίαι περί παρατεταμένης ἀνομβρίας, ἡ ὁποία ἔχει ὡς ἀποτέλεσμα τήν ἐρημοποίησιν εὐκράτων καί παραγωγικῶν ἄλλοτε περιοχῶν καί τήν ἐξ αὐτῆς ἀπειλήν τῶν ἐκεῖσε κατοικούντων πληθυσμῶν ἐκ τοῦ φάσματος τῆς πείνης καί τῆς δίψης. Ἀπό τῆς Λατινικῆς Ἀμερικῆς μέχρι τῆς καρδίας τῆς Εὐρασίας λαμβάνομεν ἀναφοράς περί τῆς τήξεως τῶν παγετώνων ἀπό τούς ὁποίους ἑκατομμύρια ἀνθρώπων ἐξαρτῶνται διά τήν προμήθειαν ὕδατος. Ἡ καθ ἡμᾶς Ἁγία τοῦ Χριστοῦ Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, στοιχοῦσα τῷ παραδείγματι τοῦ ἀειμνήστου προκατόχου ἡμῶν Πατριάρχου Δημητρίου, ἐργάζεται ἀόκνως ὑπέρ τῆς εὐαισθητοποιήσεως ὄχι μόνον τῆς κοινῆς γνώμης ἀλλά καί τῶν καταστάντων ἄρχειν ἐπί τῆς γῆς, διοργανοῦσα Οἰκολογικά Συμπόσια, ἀσχολούμενα κυρίως μέ τήν κλιματικήν ἀλλαγήν καί τήν διαχείρισιν τῶν ὑδατίνων πόρων. Ἀπώτερος σκοπός τῆς προσπαθείας ταύτης τυγχάνει ἡ μελέτη τῆς σχέσεως τῶν οἰκοσυστημάτων τῆς γῆς καί τοῦ τρόπου ἐκδηλώσεως τοῦ φαινομένου τῆς ὑπερθερμάνσεως τοῦ πλανήτου καί τοῦ ἀνθρωπογενοῦς ἀντικτύπου. Διά τῶν ἐπιστημονικῶν τούτων συναθροίσεων, εἰς τάς ὁποίας συμμετέχουν ἐκπρόσωποι διαφόρων χριστιανικῶν ἐκκλησιῶν καί θρησκειῶν ὡς καί διαφόρων κλάδων τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου ἐπιστητοῦ, τό Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον ἐπιθυμεῖ νά πήξῃ μίαν στερράν πρωτοποριακήν συμμαχίαν μεταξύ θρησκείας καί ἐπιστήμης, ἐρειδομένην ἐπί τῆς θεμελιώδους ἀρχῆς ὅτι διά νά ἐπιτευχθῇ ὁ στόχος - ἡ διάσωσις τοῦ φυσικοῦ περιβάλλοντος- ἀμφότεραι αἱ πλευραί ὀφείλουν νά ἐπιδείξουν διάθεσιν ἀλληλοσεβασμοῦ καί συνεργασίας. Διά τῆς συνεργασίας θρησκείας καί ἐπιστήμης εἰς Συμπόσια διοργανωθέντα εἰς διαφόρους περιοχάς τοῦ κόσμου, ἐπιθυμεῖ νά συμβάλῃ εἰς τήν ἀνάπτυξιν μιᾶς περιβαλλοντικῆς ἠθικῆς, ἡ ὁποία θά πρέπει νά καταδείξῃ ὅτι ἡ χρῆσις τοῦ κόσμου καί ἡ ἀπόλαυσις τῶν ὑλικῶν ἀγαθῶν πρέπει νά εἶναι εὐχαριστιακή, νά συνοδεύεται μέ δοξολογίαν πρός τόν Θεόν, ἐνῷ ἡ κατάχρησις τοῦ κόσμου καί ἡ δίχα ἀναφορᾶς εἰς τόν Δημιουργόν μετοχή εἰς αὐτόν τυγχάνει ἐφάμαρτος, ἐφάμαρτος ἐνώπιον τοῦ Ποιητοῦ καί Θεοῦ ἀλλά καί ἐνώπιον τοῦ ποιήματος καί συνανθρώπου. Ἀδελφοί καί τέκνα ἐν Κυρίῳ ἀγαπητά, Γνωρίζομεν ὅτι ἡ κτίσις, ὡς συμπεσοῦσα μετά τοῦ πεπτωκότος ἐκ τοῦ ἀρχαίου κάλλους ἀνθρώπου, συνωδίνει καί συστενάζει γνωρίζομεν, ἐπί πλέον, ὅτι ἡ κατά χρῆσιν, ἡ κατά παρέκκλισιν, ἡ παραβατική καί ἐγωϊστική συμπεριφορά τοῦ ἀνθρώπου συμβάλλει εἰς τήν καταστροφήν τῆς συμπασχούσης καί συνυποκειμένης εἰς τήν φθοράν τοῦ κτιστοῦ φύσεως γνωρίζομεν ὅτι ἡ καταστροφή αὕτη συνιστᾷ ἐν τῇ πράξει αὐτοκαταστροφήν, διό καί καλοῦμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον, οἱασδήτινος ἰδιότητος, νά μένῃ εἰς τήν κατά φύσιν χρῆσιν ὅλων τῶν κτισμάτων τῆς δημιουργίας «εὐχαριστῶν τῷ ποιήσαντι καί δεδωκότι αὐτῷ τά πάντα Θεῷ, Ὧ ἡ δόξα καί τό κράτος εἰς τούς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. βη Σεπτεμβρίου α Ὁ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Βαρθολομαῖος Ἀγαπητός ἐν Χριστῷ ἀδελφός καί διάπυρος πρός Θεόν εὐχέτης
18 18 ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΤΗΡΗΤΗΣ Αρχιεπισκοπικη Εγκυκλιοσ Ἡ Παγκόσμια Ὕψωση τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ 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. Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ, Κάθε χρόνο, στίς 14 Σεπτεμβρίου, ἡ Ἁγία Ὀρθόδοξος Ἐκκλησία μας ἑορτάζει τήν Ἑορτή τῆς Παγκοσμίου Ὑψώσεως τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ. Αὐτό τό σημαντικό γεγονός στή λειτουργική ζωή τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μᾶς ὑπενθυμίζει τήν διαρκῆ παρουσία τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀνάμεσά μας. Ἰδιαίτερα, μᾶς ὑπενθυμίζει τό σωτήριο ἔργο Του πού πραγματοποιήθηκε μέ τόν θάνατό Του ἐπί τοῦ Σταυροῦ γιά τή σωτηρία μας. Ἡ σταύρωση τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀποτελεῖ προπομπό τῆς Ἀναστάσεώς Του, καί εἶναι ἀκριβῶς αὐτός ὁ λόγος πού ἀναφερόμεθα στόν Σταυρό, ὡς σύμβολο «Τίμιο καί Ζωοποιό», ἐνῶ προηγουμένως ἦτο φρικτό ὄργανο θανάτου. Ἀναλογιζόμενοι τήν σπουδαιότητα τοῦ Σταυροῦ ὡς κυρίου συμβόλου τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Χριστιανικῆς πίστεώς μας καί ὡς σημείου τῆς ὁλοκληρωτικῆς νίκης τοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐπί τοῦ θανάτου, προσεγγίζουμε στήν ὑψηλοτέρα κατανόηση τῆς ἐννοίας τῆς δυνάμεως ὑπό τό πρῖσμα τῆς Χριστιανικῆς θεωρήσεως. Ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος παρουσιάζει αὐτοῦ τοῦ εἴδους τήν δύναμη ὡς συνδεδεμένη μέ τήν ταπείνωση ὅταν γράφει ὅτι ὁ Κύριος ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν γενόμενος ὑπήκοος μέχρι θανάτου, θανάτου δέ σταυροῦ (Φιλιπ. 2:8). Ὁ Ἀπ. Παῦλος ἀναφέρεται σ αὐτή τήν δύναμη ὡς δύναμη ἡ ὁποία ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ τελειοῦται (Β Κορ. 12:9). Ὁ Κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός ἐξήγησε στά πλήθη καί τούς μαθητάς ὅτι ὁ Σταυρός ἀποτελεῖ ταυτόχρονα σύμβολο ἀνιδιοτελοῦς διακονίας καί θυσίας χάριν τῶν ἄλλων ὅταν διεκήρυξε εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἀκολουθεῖν, ἀπαρνησάσθω ἑαυτόν καί ἀράτω τόν σταυρόν αὐτοῦ καί ἀκολουθείτω μοι (Μάρκ. 8:34). Τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή, καθώς συγκεντρωνόμεθα ὡς κοινότητες γιά νά ὑψώσουμε εἰς προσκύνηση τόν Σταυρό στίς ἐνορίες μας, κατ οὐσίαν ὑψώνουμε τό σύμβολο αὐτό ὡς κοινότητα, ὡς φορεῖς τῆς Χριστιανικῆς ταυτότητός μας. Μέ τήν ὕψωση τοῦ Σταυροῦ, προβάλλουμε τήν ταπείνωση καί τήν ἀνιδιοτελῆ διακονία τῶν συνανθρώπων μας ὡς μεγάλες ἀξίες καί κηρύσσουμε τήν χριστιανική ἀντίληψή μας περί δυνάμεως ὡς τελεσιδίκου νίκης τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐπί τῆς ἁμαρτίας καί τοῦ θανάτου. Ἐπίσης, καθώς ἐνθυμούμεθα τόν Σταυρό καί τό μήνυμα διακονίας στούς ἄλλους, ἑορτάζουμε τήν ἑορτή τῆς προσφιλοῦς μας Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ στό Brookline, Massachusetts. Ἐκεῖ, διάφοροι φοιτητές ἀπ ὅλο τόν κόσμο μαθαίνουν τήν ἀξία τῆς Χριστιανικῆς διακονίας. Πολλοί ἀπ αὐτούς τούς σπουδαστές εἶναι ἄνδρες οἱ ὁποῖοι ἀφιερώνουν τόν χρόνο τους στή Θεολογική Σχολή προετοιμαζόμενοι γιά τήν εἰσαγωγή τους στόν Ἱερό Κλῆρο, τήν ἱερώτατη καί τελειώτατη μορφή διακονίας τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Ἔτσι, αὐτή τήν ἡμέρα, οἱ προσευχές μας ἀναφέρονται σέ ὅλους τούς φοιτητές, εὐεργέτες, ἐφόρους, προσωπικό, ἀποφοίτους καί διδακτικό προσωπικό τῆς Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς τοῦ Τιμίου Σταυροῦ. Σύμφωνα μέ τό ἔθιμο αὐτῆς τῆς ἡμέρας, οἱ πιστοί μας καλοῦνται νά προσφέρουν ὄχι μόνον τίς προσευχές των ἀλλά καί τά δῶρα οἰκονομικῆς στηρίξεως τῆς Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς, τά ὁποῖα εἶναι ἀναγκαῖα γιά τήν συνέχιση τῆς ἐκπαιδεύσεως τοῦ κλήρου μας, ἔτσι ὥστε νά δοθῇ ἡ δυνατότητα στίς μελλοντικές γενεές Ἑλληνορθοδόξων πιστῶν στήν Ἀμερική νά γαλουχηθοῦν μέ τό ζωοποιό μήνυμα τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου. Σᾶς παρακαλοῦμε, ἐφέτος ἐνισχύσατε γενναιόδωρα τήν Θεολογική Σχολή μας. Προσεύχομαι ὁλόθερμα καθώς ἀναλογιζόμεθα τήν σπουδαιότητα αὐτῆς τῆς ἡμέρας, νά κατανοήσουμε βαθύτερα τήν μέγιστη ἀγάπη καί τό ἔλεος τοῦ Κυρίου μας. Εἴθε ὅλοι μας, μέ τήν δύναμη τοῦ Τιμίου καί Ζωοποιοῦ Σταυροῦ Του, νά πανηγυρίσουμε τήν νίκη ἐπί τῶν δυνάμεων τῆς ἁμαρτίας καί τοῦ θανάτου, καί νά καταστήσουμε αὐτή τήν νίκη δική μας νίκη. Μέ πατρική ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπη, ÿ ὁ Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Ἀμερικῆς Δημήτριος Αποκαλύψεις της Ραντικάλ óåë. 17 «Οι στρατιωτικές υπηρεσίες της Τραπεζούντας γνώριζαν 6 μήνες πριν την ύπαρξη σχεδίου δολοφονίας του δημοσιογράφου Χραντ Ντίνκ» τονίζεται μεταξύ άλλων. Αξίζει πάντως να σημειωθεί πως η αποκάλυψη της «Ραντικάλ» έρχεται να επιβεβαιώσει ουσιαστικά τις φήμες και τις πληροφορίες που κατα καιρούς φθάνουν και στην Αθήνα πως οι τουρκικές μυστικές υπηρεσίες παρακολουθούν συστηματικά κάθε κίνηση του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχου Βαρθολομαίου. Κύκλοι του Φαναρίου σχολίαζαν πως δεν έχουν λόγο να ανησυχούν και ότι «Το Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο δεν έχει να κρύψει τίποτα από κανέναν. Όλες οι ενέργειες του ήταν και είναι νόμιμες» τονίζουν. Για ερωτήματα σχετικά με τον Κανονισμό για θέματα επιλήψιμης σεξουαλικής συμπεριφοράς κληρικών της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής Αμερικής ή για σχετικές καταγγελίες καλέστε χωρίς χρέωση τον ειδικό αριθμό (877) Όλες οι καταγγελίες θα ληφθούν σοβαρά υπ όψιν και θα διερευνηθούν πλήρως και με απόλυτη αμεροληψία. Μπορείτε να μιλήσετε Αγγλικά ή Ελληνικά σε εθελοντή ή εθελόντρια. ôïõ Íéêüëáïõ Ìáããßíá Ομόνοια, ειρήνη και αγάπη ευχήθηκε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος προς σύσσωμη την Ιερά Κοινότητα του Αγίου Ορους που συγκροτείται από αντιπροσώπους τον είκοσι Μονών η οποία παρέστη στη Δάφνη με επικεφαλής τον Πρωτεπιστάτη Στέφανο τον Χιλανδαρινό, για να αποχαιρετήσει τον Πατριάρχη και Επίσκοπο της Αθωνικής Πολιτείας το πρωί της Τρίτης 26 Αυγούστου μετά από πενθήμερη παραμονή στο Άγιον Όρος. Ο Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, πριν την αναχώρησή του από το αεροδρόμιο «Μακεδονία» της Θεσσαλονίκης δήλωσε τα εξής: «Φέρνω σε όλους σας ευχή από το Άγιον Όρος. Μετά από ένα πενθήμερο εντόνων πνευματικών εμπειριών εις το Άγιον Όρος επιστρέφω εντός ολίγου συν Θεώ στην Κωνσταντινούπολη. Άύριο συνεδριάζει η Ιερά Σύνοδός μας, μετά θα έχουμε την εορτή της Ινδίκτου, η 1 η Σεπτεμβρίου, είναι η Έκκλησιαστική πρωτοχρονιά. Εν συνεχεία θα έχουμε την Σύναξή των Ιεράρχών μας της Ευρώπης 1 και 2 Σεπτεμβρίου και αργότερα, τον Οκτώβριο, θα έχουμε την Σύναξη όλων των Προκαθημένων των Ορθοδόξων Έκκλησιών στο Πατριαρχείο μας και θα κάνουμε μία περιοδεία σε Παυλικές Πόλεις δηλαδή σε πόλεις της Μικράς Ασίας και εν συνεχεία στη Ρόδο και την Κρήτη απ όπου πέρασε ο Απόστολος Παύλος, επειδή το έτος αυτό, το τρέχον (το 2008), το έχουμε αφιερώσει ως Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο εις τον Απόστολο Παύλο. Όσον αφορά το Άγιον Όρος ήταν μία ευλογημένη επίσκεψη με πολλές πνευματικές εμπειρίες. Ο σκοπός της μεταβάσεώς μου αυτή τη φορά ήταν να προστώ των εορτασμών των 500 ετών από την κοίμηση ενός αγίου και μεγάλου Πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, ο οποίος, συγχρόνως, ήταν και Αγιορείτης καλόγερος, του Αγίου Νήφωνος, ο οποίος έζησε στη Μονή Διονυσίου γι αυτό και το επίκεντρο των εορτασμών ήταν η Μονή Διονυσίου. Φυσικά πριν μεταβώ εκεί συνήντησα την Ιερά Κοινότητα στις Καρυές, είχαμε Δοξολογία στο Πρωτάτο, και προσφωνήσεις και επισκέφθηκα, εκτός από την Μονή Διονυσίου, και ωρισμένα άλλα Μοναστήρια όπως την Μονή Ξηροποτάμου, την Σιμωνόπετρα και τις Μονές Αγίου Παύλου και Οσίου Γρηγορίου και επιστρέφω τώρα κατάφορτος από συγκινήσεις και βιώματα. Η αγάπη μου γιά το Άγιο Όρος ενισχύθηκε με αυτή την επίσκεψή μου κατά την οποία είχα καλούς συνοδούςσυνεκδήμους τους αδελφούς Μητροπολίτας Αυστρίας, Μοσχονησίων και Δράμας. Την Μητρόπολη Δράμας θα την επισκεφθώ, συν Θεώ, αρχές Νοεμβρίου εξ αφορμής της κατατάξεως εις το Αγιολόγιο της Έκκλησίας μας, ενός νέου Αγίου ο οποίος έζησε στον Καύκασο, του Αγίου Γεωργίου του Καρσλίδη. Με προσεκάλεσε ο Άγιος Δράμας και με πολλή χαρά θα επισκεφθώ εκ νέου την Δράμα με το έντονον προσφυγικόν στοιχείον. Με αυτά τα αισθήματα αφήνω την ÍÉÊ. ÌÁÃÃÉÍÁÓ ΣΕΠΤΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ 2008 Ομόνοια, Ειρήνη και Αγάπη ευχήθηκε ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος Μακεδονία, την Ελλάδα και επιστρέφω εις το Φανάριον, εις το Κέντρον της Ορθοδοξίας. Στέλνω γιά μία ακόμη φορά όλες τις ευχές, την ευλογία και την αγάπη μου στον ευσεβή Ελληνικό λαό με επικεφαλής τους Άρχοντες και κυβερνήτας του. Ο Θεός μαζί σας και εις το επανιδείν». Ο Άγιος Νήφων Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης, όταν επαύθη μετά την δεύτερη βίαιη απομάκρυνσή του από τον Σουλτάνο μετέβη στη Βλαχία με προτροπή του ηγεμόνος Ράδουλου. Εκεί ανέπτυξε πλούσιο ποιμαντικό έργο και ανασυγκρότησε την τοπική Εκκλησία. Αργότερα ο Άγιος Νήφων ήλθε σε ρήξη με τον ηγεμόνα, διότι δεν συνεφώνησε να ευλογήση τον γάμο της αδελφής του Ράδουλου με ηγεμόνα της Μπογδανίας, ο οποίος είχε σύζυγο και οικογένεια. Αποτέλεσμα αυτού ήταν να διωχθή από τον ηγεμόνα Ράδουλο. Να σημειωθή ότι ο Άγιος Νήφων διετέλεσε Μητροπολίτης Θεσσαλονίκης ( ) και στη συνέχεια ως Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης. Κατόπιν τούτων εγκατέλειψε την Βλαχία και φθάνει στο Άγιον Όρος με τελικό προορισμό και πάλι τη Μονή Διονυσίου. Εκεί δεν εμφανίζεται ως Πατριάρχης αλλά ως απλούς μοναχός χωρίς την ιδιότητα του Πατριάρχη και του ανατέθηκε το διακόνημα του βουρδουνάρη δηλαδή η φροντίδα των ημιόνων. Κάποια μέρα με θαυματουργικό τρόπο αποκαλύφθηκε ότι ήταν ο πρώην Πατριάρχης Νήφων ο Β. Ο τότε ηγούμενος της Μονής Διονυσίου είδε όραμα κατά το οποίο ο Τίμιος Πρόδρομος τον προέτρεπε να προϋπαντήσουν έξω από τη Μονή τόν Πατριάρχη Νήφωνα. Έτσι λοιπόν ένα βράδυ επιστρέφοντας ο Πατριάρχης Νήφων από το διακόνημά του με τους ημιόνους, του επιφυλάχθηκε μεγάλη υποδοχή ως εκδήλωση του απεριόριστου σεβασμού τους προς τον πρόσωπό του ως Πατριάρχου και ως Αγίου και εναρέτου μοναχού. Αναπαράσταση του γεγονότος αυτού, της υποδοχής του Αγίου Πατριάρχου Νήφωνος, έγινε αργά το απόγευμα της Πέμπτης ( ), όταν ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος, πριν φθάσει στη Μονή Αγίου Διονυσίου κάθησε σε ημίονο και ανήλθε το λιθόστρωτο μέχρι του σημείου όπου οι μοναχοί πρίν από πεντακόσια και πλέον χρόνια είχαν υποδεχθή τον Άγιο Πατριάρχη Κωνσταντινουπόλεως Νήφωνα. Ο Οικουμενικός Πατριάρχης Βαρθολομαίος με χαρά αλλά και ιδιαίτερη συγκίνηση, εις ανάμνησιν του γεγονότος εκείνου κατήλθε από τον ημίονο, στάθηκε μπροστά στο προσκυνητάρι όπου πραγματοποιήθηκε το γεγονός της αποκάλυψης του Πατριάρχου Νήφωνος και προσκύνησε την εικόνα και ευλογώντας τον ηγούμενο και τους αδελφούς της Μονής εισήλθε στη Μονή Διονυσίου για τη δοξολογία. Στις 11 Αυγούστου του 1508 εκοιμήθη οσιακώς στη Μονή Αγίου Διονυσίου.
19 SEPTEMBER PEOPLE Awarded Ph.D. Despina Siolas, daughter of Dr. John G. Siolas and Catherine Tsounis of Bayside and Mattituck, N.Y., received a doctorate in genetics in May at ceremonies at Stony Brook University. She was awarded her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from St. John s University with summa cum laude honors in 2001 and was the first student in the history of St. John s to be accepted in the MD/ PhD Program of SUNY Stony Brook Medical School. Her mother and late maternal grandparents, George and Cleo Tsounis, were founders of the Transfiguration of Christ Church in Mattituck, Long Island. Completes poetry book John Manesis of Fargo, N.D., and Sun City-Palm Desert, Calif., a retired physician who has been writing poetry for 20 years, recently completed his second book of poetry Other Candle Lights, was published in June by Seaburn Publishing Group. His first book of poetry, With All My Breath, was published by Cosmos in 2003 He and his wife, Bess, are members of St. George Church in Palm Desert. His book can be ordered through seaburnbooks.com or amazon.com. In Christian-Muslim dialogue Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, senior program director for faith and order and interfaith relations of the National Council of Churches in Christ, and a former Archdiocese employee, was part of a dialogue July where more than 150 Christian and Muslim leaders gathered at Yale University to promote understanding between the two faiths. The conference is the first of several worldwide interfaith events planned over the next two years to respond to the call for dialogue, A Common Word Between Us and You, issued by major Islamic leaders. The conference was organized by Dr. Miroslav Volf, director of Yale Divinity School s Center for Faith and Culture, and by Joseph Cumming, director of the center s Reconciliation Program. Nassau County honorees Six Greek Orthodox parish leaders from Nassau County, N.Y., were honored for their accomplishments at the annual Greek Night celebration held July 8 at Eisenhower Park. County Executive Thomas Suozzi presented citations to Barbara Kolis Miciotta, former Philoptochos president at St. Demetrios, Merrick; Nick Malafis, past president at St. Markella Church, Wantagh; Katherine Boulukos, Philoptochos; Antonia Kourepinos, Philoptochos, and Zoe Psaltis, co-creator of Little Angels, all of St. Paul s Cathedral in Hempstead; and Michael Demetriou, for his pro-bono legal work for a number of Long Island parishes. Two others honored were Bill and Jim Germanakos, who recently appeared on the TV program Biggest Losers. Bill was one of the winners, but Jim was eliminated. Both received special recognition certificates from the county executive. Event chairmen were Jim Demos, Maria Karagiannis and Peter Louca, who also served as master of ceremonies. Orthodox Have Long-time Presence in Iowa s Capital DES MOINES, Iowa Few people may know that this part of Mid-America, in the heart of the Corn Belt, is home to several Orthodox Christian groups. In addition to Greek Orthodox communities, Iowa has Antiochian Orthodox and OCA parishes, and Oriental Orthodox Christian churches that include Coptic, Syrian, Armenian, Eritrean and Malankara (Indian) Orthodox. Des Moines is home to St. George Church and to a Serbian Orthodox parish. St. George is a microcosm of the Orthodox Christian groups. In addition to PARISH profile Name: St. George Greek Orthodox Church Location: Des Moines, Iowa Metropolis: Chicago Size: about 180 families Founded: 1928 Clergy: Fr. Basil Hickman (Holy Cross 93) Web: Noteworthy: Church is listed in National Register of Historic Places the American-born and immigrants from Greece, its members include Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian and some Serbian and Ethiopian Orthodox. There also are several from other Christian backgrounds who became Orthodox through marriage or on their own initiative. Parishioners in this economically diverse region in central Iowa work in a variety of occupations. Several own restaurants while others are in the insurance and computer industries that are important sectors of the city s economy. One parishioner serves on the Des Moines City Council. Ministering to the faithful The church ministers to parishioners and to the greater community through several organizations and activities, including the very active Philoptochos chapter that supports many local philanthropic causes. For the youth, there is JOY and GOYA and the Sunday school, with an enrollment of nearly 50 children. The small Greek school has 15 students. After several years absence, the vacation church school has been reactivated. Fr. Hickman, a native of Mason City, Iowa, who previously served St. John the Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids, has been active in community outreach. He takes part in the Orthodox Christian Fellowship program at Iowa State University, and occasionally at Grinnell College near Des Moines. He also is active with the Des Moines area Religious Council, an interfaith group, and serves on its administrative board. Fr. Hickman describes his parish ministry as One in which I try to instill a sense of reverence for God; and the importance of spiritual life and prayer life. I strive to reach out to them and be there for them. He describes St. George parish as a very active community in its church participation. Fr. Basil regularly holds an adult synaxis gathering that includes discussions about the Bible and various religious and theological topics. Historical background The Greek Orthodox presence dates officially to 1895, according to a parish history, when the Iowa State Register reported on May 19 that two Greeks will open a big confectionary and fruit house. The city directory of 1898 listed the name John Metrakos, confectioner. ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH By 1920, 230 foreign-born Greeks were included in the U.S. Census. Most of the first arrivals came from the Peloponnesus, including the villages of Feliatra, Pyrgos and Antretsena, the history noted. Some came from Sparta, Corinth, Athens, Salonika and the Aegean islands. As in other parts of the Midwest, South and West, the first immigrants worked on the railroads. Others opened businesses that included shoe repair shops, candy stores and restaurants. The parish history notes that 200 Greek immigrants representing eight communities in central Iowa formed a Greek society in 1924 and, since many of the men were named George, they unanimously chose to name the church for St. George the Great Martyr. Visiting priests would hold services at the YMCA building near downtown on an irregular basis until a new location was selected, a hall owned by St. Mark s Episcopal Church. The first permanent priest was Fr. Meletios Kestekides, who arrived in the community from Greece in 1929 after a lengthy ordeal with U.S. Immigration officials. The following year, the parish purchased the building on the near West Side of the city from Westminster Presbyterian Church that continues to serve as its spiritual home. The facility was almost made to order. The Greek Revival-style church was built by the Presbyterian congregation, of Scottish origin, in 1906 at a cost of $12,000. The neoclassical design features Doric columns and a portico reminiscent of a Greek temple. Though it is not visible from the outside because of the roof, the ceiling contains an interior dome above the nave. The church has three sections and two aisles. Shortly after the community purchased the building for $22,000 in 1930, an iconostasion was installed and other iconography was completed over the next several years. The iconostasion icons have a Western Renaissance-style appearance, while more recent icons are in the formal Byzantine style. In November 1937, the $16,000 mortgage was burned and Bishop Kallistos of Chicago consecrated St. George Church. In the early 1980s, the parish considered moving to a new building west of the city, but members voted to stay in the neighborhood near Drake University. Major building and renovation projects for a fellowship center and Sunday school classrooms, and other improvements have taken place over the past 20 years. The church building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 1997 and the parish commemorated the event in a doxology with members of Westminster Presbyterian Church was also a memorable year for the community for another reason the visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who was making his first official visit to the United States later in the year. Patriarch Bartholomew s visit in November 1997 was a huge blessing, said Fr. Basil. It did a lot for our parish. It put us on the map. Youth choir In cooperation with the adult choir, Fr. Basil has initiated a youth choir program. It s an opportunity for the kids to learn the hymnology of the Church and increase their participation in the Liturgy, he said. He also hopes its presence will help encourage congregational singing. St. George Church relies mostly on Stewardship for its revenue, supplemented by the Greek festival which takes place on the first full weekend in June. Over the past several years, it has really picked up, the priest said of the festival. The parish also holds a cultural unity dinner on a Sunday during the fall. The event is headed by the Philoptochos and parishioners are invited to sign up and prepare foods from their ethnic backgrounds. The dinner has featured Greek, Russian, Ethiopian and Korean dishes, Fr. Basil explained. It s a wonderful way to celebrate the fact that we re all one in Christ regardless of our backgrounds; that we are one Orthodox family. Compiled by Jim Golding
20 20 The Hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas. Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. We, the Hierarchs of SCOBA, have established the first Sunday after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Most Precious Cross as College Student Sunday. Since this designation was first made in 2003, we have witnessed an increased awareness and support of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) among all the Orthodox Faithful, even as the OCF continues to grow on college campuses all across our Nation. Orthodox Christian Fellowship, the official campus ministry agency of SCOBA, manifests the loving and guiding presence of the Orthodox Church to our young people, who have ventured away from the security and stability of their parents homes to advance their education. Many young students are forced to face this new chapter of their lives without a substantive connection to the The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas College Student Sunday local Church community of their youth. OCF fills this gap by building a strong Orthodox fellowship on campus, and by providing a bridge to the local parishes. By the grace of God, OCF has expanded the reach of its ministry to college students significantly in the five years of its Agency designation from SCOBA. Since the year 2000, OCF has grown from 50 chapters to over 260 throughout North America. But there are still so many colleges and universities that need the presence and ministry of OCF. By offering our prayers to the Lord and our financial support to OCF, we empower our clergy chaplains and lay campus coordinators to expand this holy endeavor, the nurture of our young people in our Holy Orthodox Faith. On Sunday, September 21, 2008, the Sunday after the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, we ask all faithful Orthodox Christians to prayerfully call to mind our students on college campuses. We also encourage all of our parishes to take up a collection to support this vital ministry, and support the workers in this Vineyard of the Lord. With abundant thanks to God and to all those who share in the OCF ministry, we pray that our college students may continue to deepen their relationships with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church. With paternal blessings and love in Christ, Archbishop DEMETRIOS, Chairman Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Metropolitan PHILIP, Vice Chairman, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER, Secretary, Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada Metropolitan NICHOLAS of Amissos, Treasurer American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese in the USA Bishop MERCURIUS of Zaraisk, Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate Archbishop DMITRI Locum Tenens, Orthodox Church in America Archbishop NICOLAE, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada Metropolitan JOSEPH, Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church Metropolitan CONSTANTINE, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA Bishop ILIA of Philomelion, Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America missions Orthodox Church in Ghana Recognizes OCMC LARTEH, Ghana The Orthodox Diocese of Ghana recently completed the year-long celebration of its 25th anniversary and enjoyed the first Archpastoral visit to Ghana of His Beatitude Theodoros, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. The three-day culminating festivities took place primarily in Larteh, Ghana, in the Eastern Region. As part of the celebration, a chapel, a church, and a special monument were consecrated, and a Silver Jubilee durbar (a traditional Ghanaian community gathering) was held after the Divine Liturgy at the end of the weekend. As part of the Jubilee celebration, the Orthodox Diocese of Ghana presented the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) with a memento plaque celebrating the anniversary. In a letter, His Grace Damaskinos, Bishop of Ghana, thanked OCMC Executive Director Fr. Martin Ritsi for OCMC s generous contribution towards the growth of Orthodoxy in Ghana. Over these 25 years, OCMC has been involved in Ghana in many ways, especially through the Support A Mission Priest (SAMP), Mission Team, and Missionary programs. SAMP has been SEPTEMBER 2008 active in Ghana for many years, and there are currently 20 priests in the Diocese supported through SAMP. Over the past 19 years over 75 team members have participated on 8 mission teams that offered a living witness to Christ through construction and catechism. This year s team is helping the Diocese of Ghana to create teaching curriculums for religious education. Andrew Lekos, OCMC Mission Teams director, is a past Ghana Team member and has maintained an active relationship with the Diocese. He was also recognized personally by His Grace. In response, Mr. Lekos said, Your Grace and all my brothers and sisters in Ghana, please know that it has been your witness that has contributed to my personal growth in Christ, and I cannot thank you enough. OCMC is a non-profit organization that has been commissioned by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) to proclaim the fullness of the Christian Faith by establishing and nurturing vibrant, Eucharistic communities, which evangelize those around them and minister to the poor. YOUTH & Young Adults Clergy-Laity a Success for Youth and OCF The importance of ministering to our Orthodox youth was underscored at the 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Archdiocese in Washington. In his keynote address, Archbishop Demetrios spoke glowingly about the ministry of OCF. In recent years we have seen the beginning of a successful reaching out to gather to God s home our university students by means of OCF, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Today, by the grace of God, we have 270 OCF groups in an equal number of Colleges and Universities, a number steadily increasing. This is a work worth intensifying, he said. OCF Executive Director Fr. Kevin Scherer spoke to a standing room only crowd at a workshop on youth ministries about creating a safe context for our youth as they transition into college. Many of the Congress attendees showed their support for young people by prominently wearing save the youth! ocf.net buttons throughout the week. Apparent everywhere was the obvious partnership and cooperation between OCF and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Fr. Mark Leonidis, OCF Board chairman, presented a slide show of OCF s Real Break Constantinople trip to the entire congress at the plenary session. He also announced a joint effort to produce a 24 hour online radio network with programming specifically aimed at youth and young adults. GET RESULTS advertise Tel.: (212) Fax: (212)