The Annunciator. Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation

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1 Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation The Annunciator Rev. Fr. Paul A. Kaplanis, Dean Rev. Fr. Christos P. Mars, Presbyter Jonathan Resmini, Pastoral Assistant 2500 Clairmont Road N.E. Atlanta, GA Phone (404) Fax (404) Volume 40 Issue 2 April 2013 Dear Parishioners and Friends, During this Holy Season of Great Lent, we are given the opportunity to reflect on our relationships and evaluate where we are in our spiritual lives. Our Holy Church affords us with a great number of spiritual tools in order to assist us, as we delve into our hearts and minds with some trepidation in order to discover our true selves. Allowing ourselves this opportunity we are able to strive for repentance and a real transformation in Christ. As spiritual leaders of our Cathedral Parish Family, we are responsible for setting an example by doing our best to live our faith. This responsibility begins with our prayer life, both personally and corporately and our participation in the Sacramental life of the Church. We are also called to the awesome duty of overseeing the spiritual welfare of our entire community as well as every parish ministry and physical facility in our care. With this in mind, we find it useful to offer a State of the Cathedral update in order to communicate effectively where we are today and as best as possible what we envision for the future. As St. Paul describes, 1 st Corinthians, chapter 9, 22, we would like to be all things to all people, praying that God will use us as His vessels to bring everyone to salvation in Him, but we realize that we fall short as sinful human beings. However, with everyone s prayers and effort, we humbly petition our Lord for many blessings in order to accomplish the His work. Below are three keys areas we would like to address: A. Spirituality, Worship and Religious Education Everything we do as Greek Orthodox Christians begins with our worship. As your priests our hope is to encourage everyone to worship on a regular basis and participate in the Sacramental life of the Church. We also want the worship to be as meaningful and as spiritually enriching as possible. Along with our ongoing programs, here are a few of our initiatives to offer more opportunities to teach and learn more about our Faith through: 1. Thematic children sermonettes immediately following the Gospel 2. Interactive dialogue through the Stump the Clergy Q&A; 3. Adult Sermons addressing themes of the day. 4. Enhancing the worship experience by having books, booklets and handouts to offer each parishioner the maximum opportunity to participate in worship and grow spiritually. 5. We would like to encourage more participation by parishioners singing along with the clergy, chanters and choir and by reciting in unison the Creed and Lord s Prayer, Memorial Hymns, etc. as one Body of Christ. 7. We have been blessed to offer a great program on Wednesdays entitled, Wednesday Nite Life : On these evenings we offer, Orthodox Lessons for young children, Road to Orthodoxy Classes; Sacrament of Baptism Seminars for Parents and Godparents; Journey to Marriage Pre-Marital Counseling Sessions, Bible Study and Spiritual Book Club; Adult Greek Language Classes and guest speakers. We ask that more families dedicate Wednesdays as a Family day for enrichment in Orthodoxy. 7. A new program for the young girls of our Cathedral is coming soon and will be launched in August 2013! B. Fiscal Responsibility and Physical facility needs 1. We would like to first thank everyone for their support of all the needs and ministries of our Cathedral. We have been blessed with a few good financial years. 2. Because of the generosity and love of our parishioners, we have been blessed to have two consecutive years of our General Fund being in the black. This is helped us to address so many issues within our Cathedral, adding back and increasing personnel and aggressively tackling many maintenance issues, (a huge task, with a huge list that is ongoing). Our goal is to continue to improve, enhance and maintain our facilities. We are grateful to the many parishioners have offered their support in these areas. 3. We have made great progress in reducing our debt from $3.8 million in November 2010 to $736,097 as of March 31 st, We have not eliminated our debt yet, but with everyone contributing in all ways, we pray to have a Zero balance by year s end. Once again we thank each parishioner and organization who has given generously and sacrificially to improve our financial position. C. Vision for the Future Faith Map, Road Full of Promise 1. FAITH MAP - Where do we go from here? Once of the most crucial initiatives for our Cathedral Parish Family is creating a future plan. Our Parish Council has led the way by creating what we know today as the Faith Map. With the input of our parishioners our goal is to create a Map for our future which identifies all of our goals and initiatives, prioritizes and implements them. EVERY PARISHIONER can assist in this effort by completing the FAITH MAP SURVEY. 2. THE ROAD FULL OF PROMISE CONTINUES In case you may be thinking that once our debt is eliminated our work is completed, we want to reassure everyone that the Road Full of Promise is not our past, but our future! In order to continue to provide the excellence that we expect from our Cathedral in all areas of faith and life, we will all need to continue to be supportive. Our Faith Map will include many realistic initiatives and together we will need to offer ourselves in every way possible. This involves a continuous spirit of sacrificial giving, hard work, dedication and a great deal of prayer. Faithfully in Christ, Fr. Paul and Fr. Christos

2 OUR LORD S RESURRECTION IS OUR HOPE TRANSFUSION By Father Paul A. Kaplanis In the Epistle Reading of the Orthodox Funeral Service, taken from 1 st Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 13, St. Paul writes, Brethren, I would not have you ignorant [unknowing] concerning those who are asleep [those who are dead] that you may not grieve as those who have no hope. Hope is a very interesting word. It is one of the three great pillars of the Christian Faith. St. Paul writes in 1 st Corinthians chapter 13:13, Faith, hope and love abide, these three. Although St. Paul clearly states that the greatest of these three is love, since everything begins with God s love for us, hope is something God fills our hearts with in order to replace a deep void. In English, we use hope interchangeably to mean, I wish, I desire, wouldn t it be great if The Greek word, ελπίδα, is a much stronger word for hope. In its formal definition, it means a promised, warranted and certified guarantee. Hope is characteristically a Christian virtue and it is something, which for the non-christian is on shaky ground. Fr. Paul Tarazi, an Orthodox New Testament scholar asserts that, The Apostle [Paul], starts by saying that only non-believers grieve in the fact of death, and the reason for this is that they have no hope The believer is the one who hopes for victory over death in Christ. The essential message of the New Testament is the hope of the resurrection of the dead. The believer in Christ and in His resurrection does not die, as we read in the Funeral Gospel taken from St. John, but passes from death to life. In the resurrection, we celebrate the death of eternal death. In St. Paul s letter to the Colossians, he says, It is hope which is laid up for us in heaven. Hope looks forward to something already prepared for us. St. Paul also reiterates in several of his epistles, By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also (1 Cor. 6:14; Rom 8:11; Eph. 1:19-20,3:7). His 2 Grace Bishop Gerasimos of Abydou, of blessed memory, who served our Archdiocese for many years, declared, The hope of our own resurrection helps us carry our own small cross of life with the satisfaction of knowing that we are co-workers with God. If we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified with him (Rom.8:17). St. Paul summarizes the concept of Christian hope in Romans 5, verse 4, We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God s love have been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us. This is why Easter Pascha and hope are synonymous. That special day never arrives without its fresh reminder that there is life beyond this life; beyond the grave; true life; eternal life. Each year we arrive at our church on Holy Saturday evening and we may well be living on the outer fringe of hope. This is why we need a hope transfusion. The celebration of our Lord s Resurrection and everything that our Orthodox Church provides us with in its incredibly profound and reflective services provides us a transfusion that promises to transform our lives. As I now reflect back on my nearly three decades of my priestly ministry, I can recall vividly so many parishioners who had to live with dread diseases, endure human frailties and disabling maladies and encounter the certainty of their mortality. So many who were hanging on to this life, which is a gift from God, they fought gallantly and endured horrible reactions to treatments, and anxiously awaited the results of the next checkup; all the men and women, boys and girls for whom a hope transfusion was essential. Easter Pascha provided it then and it continues to provide it now. The Feast of Feasts is the hope warrantee, and the true Divine promise of hope, assured by the Risen Christ. From Him, Who trampled down Death through Death, bestowing life upon those in the tombs. Jesus comforts us with the words, Because I live you shall live also (John 14:19). Along with my own experience of grief, I have seen others grieve over the loss of a mate, a child, a parent, a brother, a sister, or a friend. Death had come like a ruthless thief snatching away a treasured presence, leaving only the cherished memories of what once was. The sadness of those who mourn casts a spell of loneliness too powerful for spoken words to begin to describe. What is missing? Hope! Hope that was misplaced; hope that was set aside and then slowly forgotten. Hope became less and less important and less and less useful until it slowly died for us. Oftentimes, many of us struggle more intensely to question and not believe rather than placing our intensity into accepting and believing. It appears our own arrogance

3 and sophistication prevents us from allowing us to soften our hearts. The question we must ask ourselves is, Why do we torture ourselves in this way? Believers are not simple-minded people because we believe. When we believe we are being humble and faithful. We recognize that we are not all-powerful and that we need God. There is nothing like Easter Pascha to bring hope back to life. There is nothing like Easter Pascha Hope to jumpstart our lives and to refresh our faith. When darkness descends upon us on Holy Saturday evening, once again this year, we will experience the power of the Resurrection anthems. The Scriptures, the Proclamations by St. Paul, reinforced by the homily of St. John Chrysostom and a host of hymnographers. The angel at the empty sepulcher tomb (the real tomb of Jesus Christ), said it all! He is not here, for He has Risen, just as He said (Matt. 28:6). I am not sure if anyone can explain what happens on Easter Pascha. Is it a euphoric feeling? Is it the wonder for God s power? Is it the anticipation of lighting my candle? Is it the roar and joy of the Resurrection Proclamation and Hymn? The simple fact is this: There is something altogether magnificent, therapeutic and reassuring about Pascha. When we gather, as millions will gather around the world to lift up their voices and sing over and over the signature hymn proclaiming our Lord s Resurrection, something mysterious and miraculous takes over. Even if only for a short amount of time, we are changed, transformed persons. We are renewed. We are joyful and glad. There is a special look in our eyes. There is a special beat in our hearts. A special warmth, joy and exuberance literally permeate amongst us. When we release all that harnessed hope within us and declare the unshakable, undeniable facts of the bodily resurrection of Jesus and the assurance of ours as well, the empty message of skeptics and cynics is momentarily silenced, scientific discoveries and documentaries are put to rest. And do you know what else happens? The devil himself is temporarily paralyzed because of our excitement and enthusiasm. This is just a foretaste and small indication of how powerful the hope of Easter Pascha is, changing our lives for the better, providing the answers regarding our purpose in this life. Over the years, there have been many things written about the Orthodox midnight Resurrection Service and perhaps the most profound reflections have come from visitors who for various reasons found themselves in an Orthodox Church. Michael Bourdeaux, an Anglican Priest, who studied in Russia in the 1970 s wrote a book entitled, Risen Indeed, Lessons in Faith from the USSR. He writes about his Orthodox Easter experience, he says, I was standing in the church in total darkness. Although I was protected in a little enclosure at the front I knew the church must be full. [It was] not only because we had to shoulder our way through the thousands of people, nor because of any murmur from the crowd that broke the silence, but because I could feel the tension, the spiritual expectancy if you like, which the faithful generated. [Suddenly] there was the first sign of light from one candle that penetrated the darkness. And then there was 3 another and another. Swiftly the flame passed from hand to hand. I began to see what I had not known. Every one of the worshippers held a candle. In less than a minute the church was a blaze of light no, not the impersonal glare of electricity it was five thousand individual flames united in one faith. Each candle lit up a face behind it. A face that bore the deep lines of sorrow, of personal tragedy. Yet, as it was illuminated, the suffering turned to joy, to a certain knowledge of the reality of the risen Lord. He asked himself, How could they be so sure? [He answered] They do not debate the resurrection: they have experienced its reality in their own lives, They have not preserved their faith in hostile surroundings; it has preserved them. Their joy is truly a glimpse through the curtain which divides us from heaven. At the sight of the Resurrected Christ, the Prophet Isaiah foretold and St. John Chrysostom expands to declare that death was vexed or embittered. Death was annoyed, angry and aggravated. Death encountered Heaven and it was irritated, displeased and exasperated. Death has lost its power, its sting. The evil ones lost to Christ. The score did not add up, millions of them and only One Christ, One Savior, One Anointed Savior! Through Christ s victory over death, our lives are liberated and the hope transfusion we all need, will be offered to us, once again on Holy Saturday evening, as our faces shine behind our own candle, as we receive the Holy Eucharist and as we receive the blessed egg of life. It is with great anticipation that we open our hearts to receive the hope and joy that our Risen Lord so graciously bestows upon us. To Him be glory and power to the ages of ages. Amen! Καλή Ανάσταση! A Blessed Resurrection to everyone! Rev. Father Paul A. Kaplanis The Cathedral s Clergy, Parish Council and Staff wish everyone a Blessed Pascha!

4 Great and Holy Friday Explained By Father Christos P. Mars The Orthros of Great Friday (Sung on Holy Thursday Night) This service is the longest of all the divine services currently in use by the Church. It has several distinctive and unique features which give it its own special identity and character. The first unique feature of this service is that it contains a series of twelve Passion readings. Because of this, the Orthros is known in popular terms as the Service of the Twelve Gospels ( ) The twelve pericopes are read at various times throughout the service. The first pericope, from the Gospel of John ( ), relates the account of the Lord's discourse with the disciples at the Mystical Supper. The next ten pericopes deal with accounts of the Lord's sufferings as they are told in the Gospels. The last pericope gives an account of the Lord's burial and the sealing of the Tomb. Another striking feature of this service is the solemn procession with the large Cross of the sanctuary, known in the liturgical language as the - The Crucified One. After the fifth Gospel, at the fifteenth antiphon, the priest brings the Cross out of the sanctuary in a solemn procession and places it in the middle of the Church. It originated in the Church of Antioch and was introduced into the Church of Constantinople in the year 1864 during the patriarchal reign of Sophronios. From there it found its way into churches. The rite is rooted in an ancient liturgical practice of the Church of Jerusalem. There was a custom in Jerusalem to display the relic of the true Cross at the Church of the Anastasis on Great Friday. The procession of the Cross has become the focal point of the service. Hence in popular language the service is often referred to as the Service of the Crucified One Another characteristic of this Orthros Service is the inclusion of a group of fifteen antiphons, i.e. a set of hymns that were once used as responses to a corresponding number of Psalms. The Psalms have long since been suppressed. Only the troparia of the antiphons have remained in use. The most celebrated hymn of the Orthros service is the hymn of the fifteenth antiphon, Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Tree (Cross) Still another feature of this service is the inclusion of the Beatitudes ( ). They are chanted after the sixth Gospel. Hymns are interpolated between the verses of the Beatitudes. [The Great (Royal) Hours In addition to the Vespers and the Orthros, the daily cycle of worship contains the Apodeipnon (Compline), the Midnight Service (Mesoniktikon) and the Service of the Hours. These latter services have their roots in the devotional practices of the early Christians, and especially in the communal worship of the monastic communities. Each of the four Hours bears a numerical name, derived from one of the major daylight hours or intervals of the day as they were known in antiquity: the First - Proti - (corresponding to our sunrise); the Third - Triti - (our midmorning or 9 am); the Sixth - "Ekti - (our noonday); and the Ninth -'Enati - (our midafternoon or 3 pm). Each Hour also has a particular theme, and sometimes even a subtheme, based upon some aspects of the Christ-event and salvation history. The general themes of the Hours are: the coming of Christ, the true light (First); the descent of the Holy Spirit (Third); the passion and crucifixion of Christ (Sixth); the death and burial of Christ (Ninth). The main prayer of each Hour is the Lord's Prayer. In addition, each Hour has a set of three Psalms, hymns, a common prayer ( ), and a distinctive prayer for the Hour. Slight variations occur in the Service of the Hours on feast days as well as on fast days. For example, in the place of the regular troparia, the apolytikia of the feast are read; or in the case of the Great Fast, penitial prayers are added at the end. A radical change in the Service of the Hours, however, occurs on Great Friday. The content is altered and expanded with a set of troparia and Scripture Readings (Prophecy, Epistle, and Gospel) for each Hour. In addition, two of the three Psalms in each of the Hours are replaced with Psalms that reflect themes of Great Friday. While the other Psalm of the service reflects the theme of the particular Hour, the variable Psalms reflect the theme of the day. In their expanded version these Hours are called The Great Hours. They are also known as the Royal Hours. The Great Vespers (Apokathelosis) On the afternoon of Great Friday, we conduct the service of the Great Vespers with great solemnity. This Vesper service concludes the remembrance of the events of the Lord's passion, and leads us towards watchful expectation as we contemplate the mystery of the Lord's descent into Hades, the theme of Great Saturday. In piety the Vesper Service of Great Friday is often called the Apokathelosis, a name derived from the liturgical reenactment of the deposition of Christ from the Cross. The service is characterized by two dramatic liturgical actions: The Deposition or Apokathelosis ( -literally the Un-nailing); and the Procession of the Epitaphios ( i.e. the icon depicting the burial of Christ encased within a large embroidered cloth). The rite of the Apokathelosis originated in the Church of Antioch. During the course of the nineteenth century it came to Constantinople and from there it passed gradually into the Church of Greece. At Constantinople it received the form we know and practice today. Before the introduction of the solemn procession 4

5 In the Church of Antioch these two rituals developed along different lines. First, instead of an icon a large cross was carried in the procession at the Orthros. Fastened to the cross was a movable figure of the crucified Christ. Second, at the Vesper service the Epitaphios was carried in procession at the appointed time and was placed in the kouvouklion. Then, the figure of the crucified Christ was removed from the cross and placed in the kouvouklion. The figure was covered with a cloth and flowers. Last, the Gospel was placed in the kouvouklion. These rites received a new form as they passed into the Greek Church. The rite of the Apokathelosis was lifted up and especially accentuated by attaching it to the reading of the Gospel at the Vesper service. As the priest intoned the passages of the lesson that narrate the event of the Deposition, the deacon re-enacted the Un-nailing. The figure of the Crucified Christ was removed from the Cross and wrapped in a new linen cloth. The figure was received by the priest, brought into the sanctuary and laid upon the Holy Table. After this the priest concluded the Gospel lesson. This dramatic representation of the Deposition has -become the prevailing practice in the Greek Church. The procession with the Epitaphios is the second significant liturgical act of this service. It appears that the rite developed around the fifteenth century. Holy and Great Saturday (Epitaphios) This is the only day in the entire liturgical year, for which the Church may not assemble for a eucharistic celebration. The Fast - In the tradition of our Church, Saturday like Sunday is considered a festal day. Even during the Great Lent the rules of fasting are relaxed on Saturdays and Sundays. However, Great Saturday is the one important exception. The day is observed with xerophagia. The fast is so strict that Great Saturday is observed with profound silence. I mean by this, that the Divine Liturgy is not celebrated. Candles - It is customary for the clergy and people to hold candles during the singing of the Lamentations and at the procession of the Epitaphios. This practice is rooted in ancient Christian burial practices. Candles were lit in order to symbolize the victory of Christ over death, and to express as well the Church's belief in the resurrection. The Egkomia Encomia The Encomia or Praises are short poetic verses lamenting the passion, death and burial of Christ. The Encomia are also known as - Lamentations. The early manuscripts do not mention these hymns. The first reference to encomia is found in manuscripts of the thirteenth century in connection with Psalm 118 (119), known as the -Amomos. Their number, however, is undefined. It appears that the collection grew gradually to its present form. Also, there are variations in the collections. 5 The Amomos is the longest of the Old Testament Psalms, containing one hundred seventy six verses. It plays an important role in the liturgical tradition of the Orthodox Church. Divided into three sections, it comprises the entire Seventeenth Kathisma of the Psalter. The Amomos forms part of the Saturday and Sunday Orthros. On Sundays the Amomos is read as the third Kathisma, while on Saturday it is always read as the second Kathisma. The first, second and third Kathisma always precede the Canon in the order of the Orthros. (See articles on Orthros) As late as the turn of this century, the time for the celebration of the Great Saturday Orthros had not yet been definitively settled. Some places continued to celebrate the service after midnight in the early morning hours of Great Saturday, while most other places had already shifted the service to the evening of Great Friday. In either case, the change in the order of the service allowed more time for the faithful to assemble and participate in this highly popular part of the service. The Encomia are interpolated short refrains of lamentation added to the Amomos. The division of the Encomia into three stasei (stanzas) corresponds to the Amomos, which, as we have already noted, is divided into three sections and forms the Seventeenth Kathisma of the Psalter. The Encomia were sung after each verse of the Psalter. This arrangement continues to be observed in monasteries. The full repertoire of the Encomia are no longer said in parish usage. The tendency to decrease the number of verses has always been operative for a variety of reasons. In our own country, the number of verses varies from parish to parish. The Evlogetaria - are the - Sessional hymns of the Amomos. In our liturgical tradition there are two types of Evlogetaria, the resurrectional and funeral. The resurrectional Evlogetaria are sung on Sundays. The funereal are always chanted on Saturdays and at funeral services. On Great Saturday, however, we sing the resurrectional Evlogetaria and not the funeral, even though we are observing the burial of Christ. The reason for this is clear. On Great Saturday we contemplate the defeat of death. The Author of life is trampling down Hades and is transforming death into life. Funeral hymns are not appropriate to Him Who is the source and giver of all life. Also, the funeral evlogetaria as written would be inappropriate for Christ, since they presuppose deceased Christians. With this our understanding of Holy Friday, and what it means comes to an end. Let us all pray, in our Lenten Journey, that Christ makes us worthy to see the light of the Resurrection once again shine brightly in our hearts. Rev. Father Christos P. Mars

6 Conforming to the Image of Christ: Joseph the All-Comely and Being Christ-Like By: Jonathan Resmini Christ, according to Orthodox Christian theology, is the archetype of perfected humanity. He is the recapitulation of everything humanity was supposed to be from the beginning. When we look at the image of Christ we see not only the image of the infinite God, but also our own perfected humanity. Therefore Christ shows us exactly how we are to live our lives. We are to be exactly what he is, sons and daughters of God the Father, but by Divine Grace not by nature. It is by Grace that we become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4 NKJV) Although Christ is our example par excellence as The Archetype, we have many examples of those who were modeled after type of Christ (Typos Christou). They are what we call in theological language a prototype, a pre-figurement of Christ s saving work. One such prototype is Joseph the Allcomely, the son of the Patriarch Jacob, about whom we read in the last portion of the book of Genesis (ch ). When the Fathers of the Church, those holy and learned men and women of Orthodox Christian history, read the story of St. Joseph s they saw a pre-figurement of Christ s saving work. Although some of us might be familiar with the story of Joseph either from reading the Scripture or from the Musical or film adaptations of his life, I will recount a brief outline of his story. Joseph, the son of Israel (Jacob) and Rachel, lived in the land of Canaan with ten half-brothers, one full brother and one half-sister. He was Rachel's firstborn and Israel's eleventh son. Of all the sons, Joseph was loved by his father the most. Israel even arrayed Joseph with a "long coat of many colors". Israel's favoritism toward Joseph caused his half brothers to hate him, and when Joseph was seventeen years old he had two dreams that made his brothers plot his demise. In the first dream, Joseph and his brothers gathered bundles of grain. Then, all of the grain bundles that had been prepared by the brothers gathered around Joseph's bundle and bowed down to it. In the second dream, the sun (father), the moon (mother) and eleven stars (brothers) bowed down to Joseph himself. When he told these two dreams to his brothers, they despised him for the implications that the family would be bowing down to Joseph. They became jealous that their father would even ponder over Joseph's words concerning these dreams.(genesis 37:1-11) Joseph's half-brothers were jealous of him. (Genesis 37:18-20) One day, while they were feeding the flocks, the brothers saw Joseph from afar and plotted to kill him. However, the eldest brother, Reuben, did not want Joseph to die. He suggested throwing Joseph into an empty well until they could figure out what to do with him, intending to rescue Joseph and return him to his father. They turned on him and stripped him of the coat his father made for him, and threw him into the 6 well. As they pondered what to do with Joseph, the brothers saw a camel caravan of Ishmaelites, the people Ishmael the eldest son of Abraham, coming out of Gilead, carrying spices and perfumes to Egypt, for trade. Judah, the strongest, thought twice about killing Joseph and proposed that he be sold. The traders paid twenty pieces of silver for Joseph. The brothers smeared Joseph s coat with the blood of a goat and showed it to Jacob, who deeply mourned for his son, believing him dead. (Genesis 37:12-35) In Egypt, Joseph was later sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh's guard. While serving in Potiphar's household, due to his faithfulness God was with Joseph giving him prosperity in everything he did. Joseph found favor in the sight of Potiphar and so he became his chief servant and eventually chief steward. After some time, Potiphar's wife began to desire Joseph and sought to have an affair with him. Despite her persistence, he refused her advances fear of sinning against God. One she grabbed him by his cloak, but he escaped from her leaving his garment behind. Angered by his running away from her, she made a false claim against him by charging that he tried to take advantage of her. This resulted in Joseph being thrown into prison. (Genesis 39:1-20) Soon afterward two servants of Pharaoh were thrown into prison with Joseph. The two both had dreams, and Joseph offered to interpret them. Joseph told them that within three days one would be reinstated but the other would be executed. After Joseph was in prison for two more years, Pharaoh had two dreams which disturbed him. Pharaoh's wise men were unable to interpret these dreams, but the chief cup bearer remembered Joseph and spoke of his skill to Pharaoh. Joseph was called for, and interpreted the dreams as foretelling that seven years of abundance would be followed by seven years of famine, and advised Pharaoh to store surplus grain during the years of abundance. Pharaoh acknowledged that Joseph's proposal to store grain during the abundant period was very wise. Pharaoh then released him from prison and put him in charge over "all the land of Egypt" as Vizier. The Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph's hand, then clothed him in fine linen and put a gold necklace around his neck. He Married Asenath. During the seven years of abundance, Joseph ensured that the storehouses were full and that all produce was weighed until there was so much that it became immeasurable. In the sixth year, Asenath bore two children to Joseph: Manasseh and Ephraim. When the famine came, it was so severe that people from surrounding nations "from all over the earth" came to Egypt to buy bread. The narrative also indicates that they went straight to Joseph or were directed to him, even by Pharaoh himself, so as to buy from him. (Genesis 41:37-57) In the second year of famine, Joseph's half brothers were sent to Egypt, by their father, Jacob, to buy goods. When they came to Egypt, they stood before the Vizier but did not recognize him to be their brother Joseph. However, Joseph did recognize them and did not receive them kindly, rather he disguised himself. After questioning them as to where they came from, he accused them of being spies. They pleaded with him that their only purpose was to buy grain for their family. After they mentioned that they had left a younger brother at home, the Vizier (Joseph) demanded that he be brought to Egypt. This brother was Joseph's full brother, Benjamin. The brothers conferred amongst themselves speaking in Hebrew, reflecting

7 on the wrong they had done to Joseph. Joseph understood what they were saying and removed himself from their presence because he was caught in emotion. When he returned, the Vizier took Simeon and bound him as a hostage. Then he had their donkeys prepared with grain and sent the other brothers back to Canaan. Unbeknownst to them, Joseph had also returned their money to their money sacks. (Genesis 42:1-28) The remaining brothers returned to their father and told him all that had transpired in Egypt. They also discovered that all of their money sacks still had money in them, and they were dismayed. Then they informed their father that the Vizier demanded that Benjamin be brought before him to demonstrate that they were honest men. After they had consumed all of the grain that they brought back from Egypt, Israel told his sons to go back to Egypt for more grain. With Reuben and Judah's persistence, they persuaded their father to let Benjamin join them for fear of Egyptian retribution. (Genesis 42:29-43:15) Upon their return to Egypt, the brothers were received by the steward of the house of Joseph; they became afraid because of the returned money in their money sacks. So they immediately informed the steward of what had transpired to get a feel of the situation. On the contrary, the Steward put them at ease telling them not to worry of the money, and then he brought out their brother Simeon. They all went into the house of Joseph and were received with hospitality. When the Vizier (Joseph) appeared, they gave him gifts from their father. That night, Joseph ordered his steward to load the brother's donkeys with food and all their money. The money they brought was double what they had from the first trip. Deceptively, Joseph also ordered that his silver cup be put in Benjamin's sack. The following morning the brothers began their journey back to Canaan. At Joseph's command, the steward was to apprehend them and question them about the silver cup. When the steward caught up with the brothers, he seized them and searched their sacks. The steward found the cup in Benjamin's sack just as he had planted it the night before. This caused a stir amongst the brothers. However, they agreed to be escorted back to Egypt. When the Vizier (Joseph) confronted them about the silver cup, he demanded that the one who possessed the cup in his bag become his slave. Judah appealed to the Vizier begging that Benjamin be released and that he be enslaved in his stead. Tearful Joseph revealed to them that he was in fact their brother, Joseph. He assured them that God had allowed everything to happen to him so that he might be the salvation of his brethren. Then he commanded them to go and bring their father and his entire household into Egypt. (Genesis 45:1-28) Having heard the story of Joseph the All-comely we can begin to understand why he was seen as a prototype of Christ a pre-figuration of the saving work which Christ would accomplish by his Incarnation, death, and Resurrection. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by them. In the same way, 7 the Lord was rejected, betrayed by his own, and sold into the slavery of death and like Joseph forgave and spared his brothers during the famine when they came to him, so too, Jesus Christ offers himself as a sacrifice and forgives all those who come to him in faith. We began by saying that Jesus Christ is the Archetype of our humanity the perfect example of what we are called to be as human beings. Thus to be truly as we are meant to be is to strive to be in the image and likeness of Christ, who is the express image of God the Father (cf. Hebrews 1:3) and the Archetype of perfected humanity. Therefore to be really human is to reflect the qualities of Christ, which we also see in St. Joseph. We are to have un-waning faith in God. We ought to always strive to do what is good, while running from evil as Joseph did from the advances of Potiphar s wife. We strive to be pure and virtuous, not weighed down by the passionate desires of this life, such as fame, power, or honor. For even Christ Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8) Joseph did not seek his position; rather it was given to him because of his virtuous life and his deep faith in the Lord. Even by receive this position Joseph did not use his stature to lord over those he was entrusted to govern, but rather he became their salvation. Furthermore just as Joseph was the salvation of the people of Egypt and his brethren, and Christ is the Salvation of the world, we too are called to manifest the saving work of Christ in our own lives. We are called to deny ourselves, pick up our, cross, and follow Christ. (cf. Luke 9:23) We are to carry within us the joy of Pascha, so that through us, everyone might encounter the risen Christ the one who like Joseph is the Salvation of His brethren. Through the prayers of Joseph the All-Comely may we all reach the joy of Pascha, the salvation from the slavery to sin and death to eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord Who is blessed together with His Father Who is without beginning and His All-Holy and Life-giving Sprit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen. Jonathan Resmini

8 Behold the Bridegroom Comes in the Middle of the Night By: Jonathan Resmini Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, and blessed is the servant He shall find vigilant; but unworthy is he whom he shall find neglectful. Beware therefore, O my soul, lest you be weighed down by sleep, lest you be given over to death and be closed out from the kingdom; but rise up crying out: "Holy! Holy! Holy are You our God; through the intercessions of the Theotokos, have mercy on us." Palm Sunday Evening During the first service on Palm Sunday evening, the priest carries the icon of Christ the Bridegroom into the church. The Bridegroom troparion is sung during this procession, and the icon is brought to the front of the church and remains there until Holy Thursday. The icon depicts Christ as the Bridegroom 8 of the Church, bearing the marks of his suffering, yet preparing the way for a marriage feast in his Kingdom. He is dressed in the icon according to the mockery of the Roman guards just prior to his crucifixion. The crowns - a symbol of his marriage to the Church. The rope- a symbol of bondage to sin, death and corruption which was loosed with Christ's death on the Cross. The reed - a symbol of his humility; God rules his kingdom with humility. Throughout Great Lent and Holy Week the Liturgical Services of the Orthodox Church are replete with symbolism. One could write for pages on a particular line, from Sunday evening also includes this kontakion: a particular hymn, sung on a particular day of the Lenten Period. My task here is to introduce the rich symbolism of a particular series of services, which are offered during the opening days of Holy Week. The Bridegroom Orthros is a service specific to the first four evenings of Holy Week, and commemorates the last days in the earthly life of the Lord. These services structurally are not any different than the Othros services conducted other times during the year, aside from the Lenten additions namely the insertion of the Royal Psalm (Ps ) and the substitution of the Alleluia in place of the God is the Lord Incorporated into these services is the theme of the first three days of Holy Week; which is the last teachings of Christ to his disciples. As such, these services incorporate readings and hymns inspiring this theme. The mood of the services is to experience sorrow and to feel Christ's voluntary submission to His passions and highlight the purpose behind the evil that is about to take place against the Lord. The atmosphere is one of mourning (for sins) and is symbolic of the shame the Christian should feel for the Fall of Adam and Eve, the depths of hell, the lost Paradise and the absence of God. The vestments of the Priest and the altar clothes are deep purple to symbolize and enhance the atmosphere of mourning and remembrance of sins. The main emphasis of the Bridegroom Service is metanoia and each service has its own particular theme on repentance and watchfulness. One of its primary features is its troparion: Jacob lamented the loss of Joseph, but that noble one was seated in a chariot and honored as a king; for by not being enslaved then to the pleasures of the Egyptian woman, he was glorified by Him that beholdeth the hearts of men and bestoweth an incorruptible crown. Holy Monday On Holy Monday, the Blessed Joseph, the son of Jacob the Patriarch, is commemorated because he is seen as a prototype of Christ. I my other article in this edition of the Annunciator I will discuss the story and significance of Joseph in light of his commemoration during Holy Week. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by them. In the same way, the Lord was rejected, betrayed by his own, and sold into the slavery of death and like Joseph forgave and spared his brothers during the famine when they came to him, so too, Jesus Christ offers himself as a sacrifice and forgives all those who come to him in faith. The Gospel reading for the day is of the Barren Fig Tree, which Christ cursed and withered because it bore no fruit. The fig tree is representative of those who have heard God's word, but who fail to bear the fruits of faith. The fruit of the Spirit about which Fr. Paul, Fr. Christos, Fr. Ken and I spoke throughout this semester-- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self -control. (Gal. 5:22-23) Originally the withering of the fig tree was a testimony against those Jews who rejected God's word and his Messiah. It is also a warning to all people, in all times, of the importance of not only hearing the God's word, but putting it into action. It is not enough for us to accept Christ s teachings through intellectual assent, but rather we must live our lives in Christ, being his very members members who bear fruit that abides (cf. John 15). Monday evening also includes this kontakion: Being mindful of the hour of the end, O my soul, and fearing because of the cutting down of the fig tree, labor diligently with the talent that was given thee, O hapless one, and be watchful and cry: Let us not remain outside the bridal chamber of Christ. Our time in this life is limited. We are urged by this hymn to labor diligently and to be watchful lest we remain outside the bridal chamber of Christ. Through Christ s Incarnation,

9 Passion, and Resurrection we are joined to Him as if through marriage. We become one flesh with the bridegroom just as those who are joined in the service of matrimony. We are reminded through this prayer that this relationship take great effort and we must labor to sustain it lest we are cut off like a fig tree that bears no fruit. Holy Tuesday On Holy Tuesday, the Parable of the Ten Virgins is read. It tells the story of the five virgins who filled their lamps in preparation for receiving the bridegroom while the other five allowed their lamps to go out and hence were shut out of the marriage feast. This parable is a warning that Christians must always be prepared to receive the Lord when he comes again. During the Midnight Service celebrated throughout the year this hymn is offered: As thou bringest to mind the most fearful day, rouse thyself, O my soul, and be vigilant; enkindle thy darkened lamp and with oil make it radiant; for thou knowest not when thou wilt suddenly hear that voice that shall cry out: Behold thou, thy Bridegroom is come to thee. Mark, then, O my soul, lest like those five foolish virgins, thou sleep and remain without vainly knocking upon the door; but endure in all watchfulness, so that thou mightest meet Christ our God with rich oil, and that He might grant unto thee the fair divine bridal-chamber of His glory evermore. We are again, as in the previous evening, reminded through the parable of the ten virgins to be vigilant and watchful. We must always live in anticipation of the coming of Christ. The oil of the virgins is not literal oil, which is why those who wise could not share with those who were foolish. The oil is rather our own preparedness for the coming of Christ. It is the readiness of each of us to be joined to Christ fully in his heavenly bridal chamber. The theme of the day is reinforced by the exaposteilarion hymn: I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me. The wedding garment is not something we must purchase for ourselves, rather as in ancient times the garment is given by the host of the wedding feast. We need not get our own radiant garment; we have received this garment at our baptism. Our wedding garment is Christ himself our bridegroom for as we hear in the baptismal service All those who have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. (Gal. 3:27) 9 Holy Wednesday Holy Tuesday's Bridegroom Orthros also includes commemoration of Kassiani (Sept. 7), a great hymnographer from the 9th century. According to the Synaxarion, the book containing accounts from the lives of the saints, not many details of her life have been recorded but she has remained in ecclesiastical history for her great hymns. His Eminence Metropolitan Sophronios Eustratiadis of Leontopoleos writes that Kassiani was "an orphaned girl from the Byzantine era, beautiful and wise, a saintly ascetic and respectful virgin". Kassiani is also linked to the Emperor Theophilos (9 th century) and his search for a bride. Theophilos was angered with a reply by Kassiani to a question of his, and he impulsively chose St. Theodora, who was standing next to Kassiani, to be his elected bride. Kassiani also played a great role in the restoration of the Holy Icons. As a hymnographer Kassiani was a beautiful poet. One of her poems was the beautiful hymn of Kassiani, which is the Doxastikon the hymn that follows the Glory to the Father of the apostika, or the final section of hymns, sung at the Holy Tuesday Orthros. Her repentance and love for Christ is the theme of the wonderful Hymn of Kassiani which is chanted on this night, reminding all that they may be forgiven if they repent. The text of the hymn, based on the account of the sinful woman who is introduced by the Evangelist St Luke in his Gospel (7:36-50). Kassiani contrasts the repentance of the sinful woman with Eve's fall (Gen. 3:8-11): The woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Your divinity, O Lord, received the dignity of a myrrh-bearer, for with lamentation she brought fragrant myrrh to You before Your burial. And she cried: Woe is me, for love of sin and stings of lustful passion envelop me as the night, dark and moonless. As You cause the clouds to drop down the waters of the sea, accept the fountain of my tears. As by Your indescribable condescension You bowed down the heavens, so incline to the groaning of my heart. I shall kiss Your most pure feet and wipe them with the hair of my head, those same feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise when she hid herself in fear. Who can count the multitude of my sins? Who can measure the depths of Your judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Do not turn away from me, Your servant, for You have immeasurable mercy. The story concerning the composition of this hymn was that a heartbroken Theophilos searched for Kassiani in her monastery, while she was writing this hymn. Before he could find her Kasiani hid herself in a closet. Unable to find her he began to read the hymn she was composing offering the line, those same feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise when she hid herself in fear. This beautiful story, and the hymn that came of it reminds us of the immense mercy and love of God for His creatures even when we fall so far from Him. The same humble loving mercy that we see depicted in the icon of the Bridegroom. Jonathan Resmini

10 Η Οσία Κασσιανή Η Οσία Κασσιανή (ή Κασσία ή Ικασία ή Εικασία) η Υμνογράφος γεννήθηκε μεταξύ του 805 και του 810 μ.χ. στην Κωνσταντινούπολη και έζησε στα χρόνια του βασιλιά Θεοφίλου ( μ.χ.). Όταν μεγάλωσε συνδύαζε τη σωματική ομορφιά με την εξυπνάδα της. Τρεις βυζαντινοί χρονικογράφοι, ο Συμεών ο μεταφραστής, ο Γεώργιος Αμαρτωλός και ο Λέων ο Γραμματικός, αναφέρουν ότι έλαβε μέρος στην τελετή επιλογή νύφης για τον αυτοκράτορα Θεόφιλο, την οποία είχε οργανώσει η μητριά του Ευφροσύνη. Σε αυτή ο αυτοκράτορας επέλεγε τη σύζυγο της αρεσκείας του δίνοντας της ένα χρυσό μήλο. Θαμπωμένος από την ομορφιά της Κασσίας, ο νεαρός αυτοκράτορας την πλησίασε και της είπε: «Ως άρα δια γυναικός ερρύη τα φαύλα» «Από μία γυναίκα ήρθαν στον κόσμο τα κακά [πράγματα]», αναφερόμενος στην αμαρτία και τις συμφορές που προέκυψαν από την Εύα. Η Κασσία, ετοιμόλογη, του απάντησε: «Αλλά και δια γυναικός πηγάζει τα κρείττονα» «Και από μία γυναίκα [ήρθαν στον κόσμο] τα καλά [πράγματα]», αναφερόμενη στην ελπίδα της σωτηρίας από την ενσάρκωση του Χριστού μέσω της Παναγίας. Με βάση την παράδοση ο ακριβής διάλογος ήταν:- Εκ γυναικός τα χείρω.- Kαι εκ γυναικός τα κρείττω. Ο εγωισμός του Θεόφιλου τραυματίστηκε με αποτέλεσμα να απορρίψει την Κασσιανή και να επιλέξει τη Θεοδώρα για σύζυγό του. Οι επόμενες πληροφορίες που σώζονται για την Κασσιανή είναι ότι το 843 μ.χ. ίδρυσε ένα κοινόβιο στα δυτικά της Κωνσταντινούπολης, κοντά στα τείχη της πόλης, του οποίου έγινε και η πρώτη ηγουμένη. Αν και πολλοί ερευνητές αποδίδουν την επιλογή της αυτή στην αποτυχία της να γίνει αυτοκράτειρα, μία επιστολή του Θεόδωρου του Στουδίτου αποδίδει διαφορετικά κίνητρα στην ενέργεια της αυτή. Διατηρούσε στενή σχέση με τη γειτονική Μονή Στουδίου, η οποία έμελλε να διαδραματίσει σημαντικό ρόλο στην επανέκδοση βυζαντινών λειτουργικών βιβλίων τον 9ο και το 10ο αιώνα μ.χ., με αποτέλεσμα τη διάσωση των έργων της (Kurt Sherry, σελ. 56). Με βάση την παράδοση ο αυτοκράτορας Θεόφιλος, συνεχίζοντας να είναι ερωτευμένος μαζί της, επιθυμούσε να την δει για μία τελευταία φορά πριν πεθάνει κι έτσι πήγε στο μοναστήρι όπου βρισκόταν. Η Κασσιανή ήταν μόνη στο κελί της γράφοντας το γνωστό τροπάριο της, που ψάλλεται στις Εκκλησίες το βράδυ της Μεγάλης Τρίτης, όταν αντιλήφθηκε την άφιξη της αυτοκρατορικής ακολουθίας. Τον αγαπούσε ακόμη αλλά πλέον είχε αφιερώσει τη ζωή της στο Θεό γι αυτό και κρύφτηκε, μη επιθυμώντας να αφήσει το παλιό της πάθος να ξεπεράσει το μοναστικό της ζήλο. Άφησε όμως το μισοτελειωμένο ύμνο πάνω σε ένα τραπέζι. Ο Θεόφιλος ανακάλυψε το κελί της και μπήκε σε αυτό ολομόναχος. Την αναζήτησε αλλά μάταια. Εκείνη τον παρακολουθούσε μέσα από μία ντουλάπα στην οποία είχε κρυφτεί. Ο Θεόφιλος στενοχωρήθηκε, έκλαψε και μετάνιωσε που για μία στιγμή υπερηφάνειας έχασε μία τόσο όμορφη και έξυπνη γυναίκα. Στη συνέχεια βρήκε τα χειρόγραφα της Κασσιανής επάνω στο τραπέζι και τα διάβασε. Μόλις ολοκλήρωσε την ανάγνωση κάθισε και πρόσθεσε ένα στίχο στον ύμνο. Σύμφωνα με την παράδοση ο στίχος αυτός ήταν «ὧν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ Εὔα τὸ δειλινόν, κρότον τοῖς ὠσὶν ἠχηθεῖσα, τῷ φόβῳ ἐκρύβη». Φεύγοντας εντόπισε την Κασσιανή που κρυβόταν στην ντουλάπα αλλά δεν της μίλησε, σεβόμενος την επιθυμία της. Η Κασσιανή βγήκε από την κρυψώνα της μετά την αναχώρηση του αυτοκράτορα, διάβασε την προσθήκη του και στη συνέχεια ολοκλήρωσε τον ύμνο. Η μεγάλη αυτή ποιήτρια, υμνογράφος και μελωδός της εκκλησίας μας, η Αγία Κασσιανή, ταξίδεψε στην Ιταλία και την Κρήτη και κατέληξε στην Κάσο ετελείωσε η επίγεια ζωή της. Μετά το θάνατό της, τοποθέτησαν το σώμα της σε μαρμάρινη λάρνακα και την έβαλαν σε παρεκκλήσιο, που ήταν αφιερωμένο στο όνομά της. Σώζεται σήμερα η λάρνακα και το βυζαντινό ψηφιδωτό του 9ου αιώνα μ.χ. Επίσης στο εκκλησάκι υπάρχει εντοιχισμένη πλάκα με σημείο του σταυρού και χρονολογία 890 μ.χ. Κατά πληροφορίες, πάλι από την Κάσσο, τα οστά της Οσίας έχουν μεταφερθεί στην Ικαρία. Παρόλο που την μνήμη της δεν την αναφέρει κανένας Συναξαριστής, οι Κάσιοι, από τη συγγένεια του ονόματος της με το νησί τους, καθιέρωσαν τη μνήμη αυτής την 7η Σεπτεμβρίου και ο Γεώργιος Σασσός ο Κάσιος φιλοπόνησε και ειδική Ακολουθία, που δημοσιεύθηκε στην Αλεξάνδρεια το 1889 μ.χ. στο τυπογραφείο της «Μεταρρυθμίσεως». Το παράδοξο όμως είναι, ότι η Ακολουθία αυτή αφιερώθηκε στον Πατριάρχη Αλεξανδρείας Σωφρόνιο, που ο ίδιος στην συνέχεια την έδωσε για εκτύπωση στον Μητροπολίτη Θηβαΐδας Γερμανό (την 1η Σεπτεμβρίου 1889 μ.χ.) και έτσι, επισημοποιήθηκε κατά κάποιο τρόπο η αγιοποίηση της Κασσιανής από την Εκκλησία της Αλεξανδρείας, όπως το ποθούσαν οι κάτοικοι της Κάσου. 10

11 Η παρουσία της Κασσιανής έχει επισκιάσει τους υμνογράφους και μελωδούς της εποχής της, διότι αποτελεί την πλέον επιφανή γυναίκα μελωδό (έγραφε και τους ύμνους και τη μελωδία) στην ιστορία της βυζαντινής μουσικής. Έχοντας ιδιαίτερο ταλέντο, ευφυΐα, ευαισθησία και εκφραστικό πλούτο διακρίθηκε στον τομέα της μελουργίας (σ' αυτό τη βοήθησε η μεγάλη μόρφωση, που η ευγενής καταγωγή της, της επέτρεψε να έχει). Γι' αυτό και το έργο της είναι διαχρονικό και πάντα επίκαιρο, και συγκινεί ιδιαίτερα τον ορθόδοξο κόσμο. Στην Κασσιανή αποδίδονται γύρω στα 45 έργα, από τα οποία τα 23 τουλάχιστον είναι χωρίς αμφιβολία δικά της, ενώ τα υπόλοιπα είναι αγνώστου προελεύσεως. Έχει επίσης μελοποιήσει κείμενα διαφόρων υμνογράφων. Από τα πιο γνωστά τροπάρια είναι το περίφημο «Κύριε, ἡ ἐν πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις περιπεσοῦσα γυνή», σε ήχο πλ. δ, που ψάλλεται στους ναούς το βράδυ της Μεγάλης Τρίτης, καθώς και οι ειρμοί από την Α Ε ωδή του Κανόνος του Μεγάλου Σαββάτου «Κύματι Θαλάσσης» ). Το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του έργου της αποτελείται από στιχηρά για εορταζομένους Αγίους. Στην ίδια αποδίδεται και ο τετραώδιος κανόνας: «Ἄφρων γηραλέε», όπως και πολλά δοξαστικά, μεταξύ των οποίων και ένα περίφημο δοξαστικό των Χριστουγέννων, το «Αὐγούστου μοναρχήσαντος», σέ ήχο β. Κατά τον βυζαντινολόγο Κρουμβάχερ «η Κασσιανή ήταν μια εξαίρετη μορφή και το έργο της το διακρίνει ισχυρά πρωτοβουλία, βαθεία μόρφωσις, αυτοπεποίθησις και παρρησία. Πολύ συναίσθημα και βαθεία θεοσέβεια». Και ο Σωφρόνιος Ευστρατιάδης, αναφερόμενος στο έργο της, έγραψε ότι «το χαρακτηρίζει γλυκύτης μέλους ακορέστου». Μερικές σημαντικές επισημάνσεις για το Τροπάριο της Κασσιανής Αρκετοί πιστοί πιστεύουν (λανθασμένα) ότι η Κασσιανή ήταν αμαρτωλή και διεφθαρμένη γυναίκα, και μιλώντας η Κασσιανή για την πόρνη γυναίκα του Ευαγγελίου βρίσκει ευκαιρία να μιλήσει για τον εαυτό της. Όπως όμως διαβάζουμε στον βίο της, από πουθενά δεν φαίνεται αυτό. Η Κασσιανή ήταν μία οσία μοναχή του Βυζαντίου, προικισμένη με καταπληκτικό ποιητικό ταλέντο. Αντί για τη βασιλική αλουργίδα προτίμησε το ταπεινό σχήμα της μοναχής και έγραψε πολλούς ύμνους. Ποιά λοιπόν είναι η πόρνη γυναίκα, για την οποία μιλάνε όλα τα τροπάρια της Μεγάλης Τρίτης (βράδυ); Στην ερώτηση αυτή, αρκετοί απαντούν (λανθασμένα) ότι αφού δεν είναι η Οσία Κασσιανή, τότε η αμαρτωλή και διεφθαρμένη γυναίκα θα πρέπει να είναι η Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή! Η αλήθεια όμως είναι ότι η Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή δεν υπήρξε διεφθαρμένη και πόρνη ποτέ. Ήταν μια ύπαρξη, που έπασχε, και την θεράπευσε ο Χριστός. Ο ευαγγελιστής Λουκάς λέγει χαρακτηριστικά για τη Μαρία τη Μαγδαληνή: «Ακολουθούσαν τον Ιησού οι δώδεκα μαθηταί και γυναίκες, μεταξύ των οποίων η Μαρία, που ονομαζόταν Μαγδαληνή, απ την οποία είχε βγάλει εφτά δαιμόνια» (Λουκ. 8, 2). Η Μαρία η Μαγδαληνή ήταν λοιπόν δαιμονισμένη και ο Χριστός της έβγαλε τα δαιμόνια, όπως έβγαλε και τα δαιμόνια τόσων άλλων ανθρώπων. Και τότε ποιά είναι η πόρνη, που άλειψε με μύρο τα πόδια του Χριστού, η πόρνη, για την οποία μιλάνε τα τροπάρια της Μεγάλης Τρίτης (βράδυ); Η αμαρτωλή και διεφθαρμένη πόρνη, αυτή που άλειψε με μύρο τα πόδια του Χριστού, μας είναι άγνωστη, είναι ανώνυμη. Ακούσατε σε κανένα τροπάριο το όνομα της πόρνης; Διαβάσατε στον Ευαγγελιστής Λουκά, που περιγράφει τη σχετική σκηνή, να αναφέρει πουθενά το όνομα της; Όχι! Είναι χαρακτηριστικό, ότι οι Απόστολοι, ενώ δεν έκρυβαν τις δικές τους ατέλειες και πτώσεις, όταν μιλάνε για μεγάλους αμαρτωλούς που μετανοούν, δεν αναφέρουν το όνομά τους. Δεν θέλουν να τους διαπομπεύσουν. Το Τροπάριο της Κασσιανής Κύριε, ἡ ἐν πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις περιπεσοῦσα Γυνή, τὴν σὴν αἰσθομένη Θεότητα, μυροφόρου ἀναλαβοῦσα τάξιν, ὀδυρομένη μύρα σοι, πρὸ τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ κομίζει. Οἴμοι! λέγουσα, ὅτι νὺξ μοι, ὑπάρχει, οἶστρος ἀκολασίας, ζοφώδης τε καὶ ἀσέληνος, ἔρως τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Δέξαι μου τὰς πηγὰς τῶν δακρύων, ὁ νεφέλαις διεξάγων τῆς θαλάσσης τὸ ὕδωρ κάμφθητί μοι πρὸς τοὺς στεναγμοὺς τῆς καρδίας, ὁ κλίνας τοὺς Οὐρανούς, τῇ ἀφάτῳ σου κενώσει καταφιλήσω τοὺς ἀχράντους σου πόδας, ἀποσμήξω τούτους δὲ πάλιν, τοῖς τῆς κεφαλῆς μου βοστρύχοις ὧν ἐν τῷ Παραδείσῳ Εὔα τὸ δειλινόν, κρότον τοῖς ὠσὶν ἠχηθεῖσα, τῷ φόβῳ ἐκρύβη.ἁμαρτιῶν μου τὰ πλήθη καὶ κριμάτων σου ἀβύσσους, τίς ἐξιχνιάσει ψυχοσῶστα Σωτήρ μου; Μὴ με τὴν σὴν δούλην παρίδῃς, ὁ ἀμέτρητον ἔχων τὸ ἔλεος. 11

12 PARISH REGISTRY BIRTHS Baby Boy born to Alexandros & Kelly Demestihas Baby Boy born to William & Victoria Simitses WEDDINGS Dimitri Osborne & Anna Muraveva BAPTISMS Parents: George & Amy Kasimatis Baby: Alexandros Godparents: Chip & Demetra Boardman Parents: Tony & Janeen Rumanes Baby: Xavier Joseph Godparents: Chris & Susan Demos Parents: Stella & Josh Mayes Baby: Konstantinos Serafim Godparents: Alex & Daysi Nicolaides ASLEEP IN OUR LORD Daisy Soublis Sophia Papadopoulos Mary Spanos Monroe Dr. George V. Pryles Mary Wellman Estelle Gregerson Joanna Poolos Peter Zervakos Tula Kanes Antigone Petkas (Funeral & Interment - West Palm Beach, FL) 2013 Atlanta Greek Festival October 3 rd - 6 th Co-Chairmen Charlie Burland & Ted Kipreos PHILOPTOCHOS SCHOLARSHIPS Our Cathedral Philoptochos Society will be awarding 2 scholarships this year: $2000 to a high school senior entering college and $2000 to a current college or graduate student. The scholarships are awarded based on financial need foremost as well as scholastic achievement and involvement in the church & community. Students who have not previously received the scholarship will be prioritized. Applications are available by ing The deadline to submit the application is April 19, All information is held in strict confidence. For questions please call or Claire Gilmore , EPITAPHION COLLECTION Philoptochos will begin the Epitaphion collection on Sunday, April 21 st and Sunday, April 28 th. Please donate at the designated tables in the Narthex and outside of Carlos Hall. Donations may also be mailed to the Cathedral: 2500 Clairmont Road NE, Atlanta, GA Please make checks payable to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral Re: Epitaphion Collections 2013 Summer Day Camp June 10 th - 14 th & June 17 th - 21 st 2013 Basketball Camp June 24 th - 28 th KAFENION Everyone is invited to come enjoy good conversation, Tavli, Prefa, Xeri & Kolitsina, coffee & refreshments and Greek television every Tuesday morning from 9:00 a.m. in the Kafenion located in the Community Center. GOOFS Breakfast Every other THURSDAY at 9:00 a.m. in the Kafenion. Open to everyone!!! Come join us for a full breakfast and great fellowship! Full breakfast includes fruit, waffles and much more! Hope to see you there! Donation $5 per person Contact the Cathedral office for the breakfast dates

13 Golden Group News Mark Your Calendars! Thursday, May 9 th The final Golden Group gathering of the season will be held at the Cathedral Picnic pavilion at 6:00 pm. The dinner will be sponsored by the Laconian Society. Saturday, May 11 th Join us for the Pascha picnic at the Diakonia Center in Salem, South Carolina. We plan to go as a group. We may possibly rent a coach bus that holds up to 55 people, depending on participation. We will publish the price and a departure time at a later date. Thursday, May 23 rd Join us for an outing to Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, GA. Look for details in the Weekly Bulletin. On Sunday, January 27 th the Evrytanian Association, represented by Bess Dimos and Jerry Odenwelder, presented Greg Pappas, chairman of the Road Full of Promise debt reduction campaign and Fr. Paul Kaplanis a gift of $5,000 to complete their $10,000 pledge. On behalf of our beloved Cathedral Greg and Fr. Paul would like to thank the Evrytanian Association for their very generous and thoughtful gift, which along with many so many individuals and organizations have reduced our debt. May the Lord continue to bless our Cathedral and all its members. 3 rd Annual Annunciation Cathedral of Atlanta Golf Classic Monday, May 13, 2013 Windermere Golf Club Davis Love Drive; Cumming, GA Tournament Proceeds to support Annunciation Cathedral of Atlanta Road Full of Promise Debt Reduction Campaign Sponsored by: AHEPA Chapter # 1, The Danaos Society, The Laconian Society Entry/ Sponsorship Deadline: May 6, 2013 Be sure to buy raffle tickets from members of the sponsor organizations $500 grand prize plus numerous other great raffle prizes! Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20 For more information and to register please contact : Alec Alexander or or Ted Kipreos or IOCC US MISSION TRIP FOR ALL PARISHIONERS Join our GOYA group on the U.S.-based Habitat for Humanity Mission Trip on June 3 rd -June 8 th to New Orleans. IOCC is looking for another 8 people to fill the spots for the same week that our GOYA group is going. For more information or to register online visit look under the Get Involved tab and click on Volunteer in U.S. (If you are a GOYAN and want to participate as part of the GOYA Mission Team, DO NOT register online. GOYANS must contact Susan Lambros at GREEK ORTHODOX MEALS ON WHEELS Please visit our meal calendar to sign up to take a meal to one of our parishioner who needs our help. All details can be found on that website! George Pilafas needs our help to provide meals on Sundays. Go to and use recipient last name Pilafas with password Thank you! If you know of anyone in the parish that needs temporary assistance with meals please contact Susan Lambros at 13

14 Annual Palm Sunday Luncheon Sunday, April 28, 2013 Immediately following both Divine Liturgies in the Kartos Ballroom Menu will include: Fresh Fried Fish or Plaki, Pasta Marinara, Green Beans, Skordalia, Greek Salad & Dessert Donation: Adults $15.00 Children (12 & under) $8.00 SPECIAL FEATURE: Holy Week Play Presented by our Sunday School Students! In order to get an approximate number of attendees, please RSVP to the Cathedral Office by Monday, April 22 nd by calling or Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral Atlanta, Georgia 14

15 Annunciation Cathedral Family Easter Picnic Immediately following the AGAPE SERVICE at 11 AM May 5, 2013 Lunch is Served 12:30-1:30 PM GREAT FOOD! GREAT CELEBRATION! Music and Dancing! Come to the Agape Service at 11 AM, and then enjoy the food and fellowship as we celebrate our Lord s Resurrection. Each child attending the Service will receive a special Easter Treat and during the Picnic we will have an Easter Egg Hunt. MENU: Oven Roasted Lamb Dinner or Oven Baked Greek Style Chicken with all the trimmings, Children s meal hot dogs/hamburgers Donation: $18 Adults choice of Lamb or Chicken; Children s meal, 12 and under $10 Call or Stacie Nefos at home: Deadline to purchase your tickets is April 28 th. Tickets available after church in April or you can mail your check to the Cathedral. Please indicate which meal you prefer. 15

16 Lenten Community Saturday of Service Saturday, April 20 th Annunciation Cathedral Outreach Committee Announcing our first annual Lenten Community Saturday of Service - a half day of service projects for our entire church community to come together to work in our Atlanta community, spreading the Greek Orthodox Christian word through our actions! There are six service projects to choose from - ages 8 to 108 can participate - families are encouraged! There are limited opportunities available - so volunteer early - but remember, when you sign up, you are making the commitment to be there - these service project coordinators are counting on the number we volunteer to show up! In general, we will meet in Carlos Hall on Saturday morning, April 20 th, to sign in, have coffee and doughnuts, get more information and directions to your service project, and then carpool to the destination. Each service project has its own requirements as to the time to arrive at Carlos Hall, departure from Carlos Hall and ending time of project. There are also age restrictions on some of the projects, so please read carefully! Join us - and enrich your Lenten journey this year! Project Open Hand This organization prepares and delivers 5500 meals in the Atlanta area EVERY DAY! Wow! We will be providing 5-10 teams of 2-3 people who will go to their food prep facility and be given a delivery route. Each team will have to have its own driver. This is a great service project for families. Drivers will need to have an SUV as the foods cannot be placed in trunk space and they said that back seats do not provide enough space. Each delivery route will take 2-3 hours, so there will be multiple meals for each team to deliver. 9:00am-1:00pm. Meet at Church at 8:00am; Leave church at 8:30am. Medshare This organization accepts donations of medical supplies to be shipped worldwide. We will be supplying 10 people (ages 14 and older) to sort the medical supplies and maybe even package them for shipment. This is in the Decatur area. 8:50am- 12:00pm. Meet at church at 8:00am; Leave church at 8:20am Reece Center This organization provides equine therapy for Metro Atlanta s physically and mentally challenged children and adults. We will provide 10 people ages 10 and up (there has to be 1 adult per 5 kids) to do such things as saddle the horses, polish saddles, clean horse stalls, sidewalking or perhaps build a wooden shelter - whatever is needed for that day. If someone has horse experience, they will be allowed to lead the horses while the patients ride. This is in Palmetto which is 10 minutes outside the perimeter past the airport on I-85. 9:00am-12:00pm. Meet at church at 8:00am; Leave church at 8:25am. Habitat for Humanity - Restore We will be providing 8 people to work in their store which provides low-cost items for home (including furniture) and lawn (which are typically donated to Habitat) and all proceeds go to Habitat. Must be 16 years old. This is located on Memorial Drive across the street from Oakland Cemetery. 8:30am-1:00pm. Meet at church at 7:45am; Leave church at 8:00am. Global Soap Project This organization takes donated soap from hotels and prepare it (melting down, making new soap, cutting and packaging soap) to be sent to refugee camps and communities affected by poverty around the world. This includes the following tasks: Sort soap by brand Inventory soap in warehouse Inspect, sort and clean the previously used soap Cut bars of soap (must be 18) Pack soap for shipping Help with cleaning / housekeeping projects We will be providing 5 people to work in the soap factory from 10:00am-12:00pm. Must be 12 or older. Must be 18 or older to cut the soap. Meet at church at 9:15am; Leave church at 9:30am. Crossroads Community Service This group outreaches to the poor through worship experiences. They also provide 1000 sandwiches EACH week to the poor. - So we will make as many sandwiches as we can! This is a great opportunity for those people whose children are too young to participate in the other service projects, but who still want to be a part of our day. Ages 8 and over. Meet at Carlos Hall from 9:00am-10:30am. To Sign up go to click on FIND A SIGN UP, enter the address: and click on the project in which you would like to participate. For more information and to ask questions find us at our table in Carlos Hall on Sundays following the Divine Liturgy. 16

17 Our Parish Level Oratorical Festival was held on Sunday, February 24 th in Carlos Hall. We had thirteen 7 th -12 th graders give their speeches on various topics. These topics are chosen by the Archdiocese and available to all students. Thank You to our Oratorical Chairman, Glykeria Hadjisimos, who organized workshops and secured mentors for the speakers. During the months preceding the Oratorical Festival, participants attended weekly workshops to help prepare them. They were fortunate to have the following mentors work with them. Thank you to Nick Kostopoulos, Demetrius Mazacoufa, Jonathan Resmini, Cathy Sinatra & Irene Williams. On the day of the Oratorical Festival, we had three judges who had the tough decision of picking the top finalists. Thank you to Barbara Massoudi from St. Mary of Egypt, Helen Pantelis from Annunciation Cathedral & Michaela Staskiewicz from St. Mary of Egypt. We also had a timekeeper, Costa Panos, who timed each speech. Part of the Archdiocese requirements is the length of the speech. Senior Division speeches must be between 4 and 5 minutes and Junior Division speeches must be between 3 and 4 minutes. Congratulations to all of our participants for doing an excellent job with their speeches: Michael Alexander, Nicholas Alexander, Alexia Anthony, Elena Jordanov, Constantine Katsoudas, Nicolas Keenan, Ryan Marinos, Charles Nastopoulos, Nikolaos Odenwelder, Christos Panagiotopoulos, Kassi Vastakis, Yeoryia Vastakis and Robert Weimar. The top two finalists in each division received a scholarship which covers a week at St. Stephens Camp. The third place finalists in each division received $100. All of the participants received icons of St. John Chrysostom which were made for them at the Paracletos Monastery. The top two finalists Senior Division: Elena Jordanov & Yeoryia Vastakis 3 rd Place Senior Division: Ryan Marinos The top two finalists Junior Division: Charles Nastopoulos & Robert Weimar 3 rd Place Junior Division: Nikolaos Odenwelder Good Luck to our top two finalists in both divisions. They will be participating in the District Level Oratorical Festival in Cumming, Georgia on Saturday, April 20 th. If you would like to attend and support our finalists, the Festival will begin at 9:00 am and will be held at the Cumming Church - Sts. Raphael, Nicholas & Irene. The Greek School was excited to be included in the community's March 25 th Luncheon Celebration! Our students led both the American and Greek National Anthems and each class presented either a poem or a song for the occasion. Our celebration continued on Monday evening with all classes presenting songs and poems that were enjoyed by parents, family and friends of the Greek School. Other highlights of our program over the past few months include classes reciting The Lord's Prayer and The Creed during Sundays' Liturgies, special presentations for the Three Hierarchs and Greek Letters Day, and our annual Clean Monday Dinner. Kindly note that no Greek School classes will be held the week of Holy Week, April 29 th through May 3 rd as well as Bright Monday, May 6 th. Please plan on joining us for your End of the Year Celebration, Eξετασεις, Monday, May 20 th at 5:00pm in Carlos Hall. Are you interested in Greek School? Registration for our school year is now open. Registration fee of $75 is due by May 15 th. Please consider scheduling a tour of our afternoon Greek language program. For further information and Registration forms, please contact our Greek School Coordinator, Michelle Constantinides, at or by calling

18 Sunday School Class Presentations During the months of January, February & March, several of our Sunday School classes did presentations in the Cathedral. All of the teachers and students did a wonderful job. We are very proud of them. If you missed these presentations, please look at the list below. PreKA (2 yrs) sang a prayer PreKB & PreKC sang Kyrie Eleison Kindergarten led the parish in reciting the Lord s Prayer 1 st Grade talked about their favorite Bible verses 2 nd Grade read their Letters to God 3 rd Grade students did a skit about "Our Church" 4 th Grade students talked about "Growing with God" 5 th Grade students talked about "Faith-God Calls Us" 6th Grade students talked about the highlights of "Knowing Christ, Honesty & Peer Pressure" (3 of their 4 textbooks Pre-K B 3 rd Grade 4 th Grade 5 th Grade 6 th Grade 18

19 A Vision of Our Faith : Sights & Sounds Displays in Carlos Hall In March, our Sunday School classes had displays in Carlos Hall. These displays were various forms of artwork done by the students to highlight what they are learning in class each week. The artwork displayed tied in with the class presentations in the Cathedral. In addition to the class presentations and displays be classes PreKA-6th Grade, the 7th Grade also created a display of The Sacraments. Pre-K A Pre-K B 3rd Grade Kindergarten 5th Grade Pre-K C 4th Grade 1st Grade 6th Grade 19 7th Grade

20 The children at the Day School have been very busy learning and exploring! We were so happy to have a wonderful puppet show performance at our Cathedral entitled Dr. Dinosaur. The puppeteer taught our students about a variety of dinosaurs and incorporated some fun songs too. The puppet show was made possible by a generous donation from the Philoptochos Ladies Society! In addition, the Daughters of Penelope also made a donation that enabled us to bring in Lego workshops that focused on the STEM areas for our elementary classes. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This is a concept of learning that has been getting a lot of attention due to its concentration in these areas. Thank you so much for these generous donations and for the continued enrichment of our children! On March 1 st, we also celebrated Dr. Seuss birthday. We read many Dr. Seuss classics and enjoyed seeing our students dressed as the fun characters we have come to love. We have several events coming up. In celebration of the Cathedral s Name Day and Greek Independence Day, we will have a small ceremony and host our own Olympic games on Friday, March 22 nd. Also, please mark your calendars! The second A.D.S. Gala & Auction will be held on Friday, May 10 th, at 103 West. We would love for the community to come enjoy a wonderful evening of delicious food and spectacular auction items. We are currently accepting registrations for our school year. As we continue to expand our Elementary School, we will be adding Fourth Grade for the upcoming school year! We anticipate adding Fifth grade the following school year and we continue to focus on our goal to also expand to include a Middle School! We have limited spaces and tend to go to a wait list for some of our classes. If you are interested, please register as soon as possible to hold a space for your child. In addition, if you would like a tour of the school and the opportunity to see our classrooms and meet our teachers, please call the office at (404) **REGISTER NOW FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR** AGES 18 MONTHS FOURTH GRADE 20

21 82 boys and girls of our Annunciation Cathedral participated and proudly represented our parish in the 2013 North Atlanta Church Basketball League. Congratulations to all of our teams! We thank all our coaches who volunteered their time and talents to teach our young parishioners the fundamentals of basketball and sportsmanship. 7 & 8 GIRLS Coaches: Michael Halkos & Angelo Spetseris 7 & 8 BOYS 9 & 10 GIRLS Coaches: Jimmy Kostopoulos & Panos Constantinides Coaches: Mark Moraitakis, Tasso Costarides & Costa Hadjipanayis 11 & 12 GIRLS 9 & 10 BOYS Coaches: Ann Marie Moraitakis & Chris Demos Coaches: Demetrios Constantinides Chris Demos & Zorba Mookas 11 & 12 BOYS Coach: Demetrios Constantinides 13 & 14 GIRLS 13 & 14 BOYS Coaches: Peter Lamas & Stella Hondros Coach: Sandy Papadopoulos 21

22 22

23 Live Spring Lambs Available for Easter! Spiros P. Kuluberis 2229 Calhoun Falls Highway Elberton, Georgia PLACE YOUR AD HERE! SPOTS AVAILABLE Contact the Cathedral office today at for a price list. Ways to stay in touch with us Facebook Twitter YouTube Tout Instagram Like, Follow, Subscribe, Watch and See and our website 23

24 Locations in: 855 Virginia Ave, Hapeville Lawrenceville Hwy, Tucker Old Dixie Hwy, Forest Park Medlock Bridge Rd #50, Johns Creek Coming Soon Once A Week Go Greek!! Home of Atlanta's Best Gyro 4468 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd, Dunwoody Visit the for our full menu. EDITOR: Fr. Paul A. Kaplanis, Dean MANAGING EDITOR: Fr. Christos P. Mars DESIGN: Andrea Koulouris PARISH COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Stephen Georgeson Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation 2500 Clairmont Road, NE Atlanta, Georgia Phone (404) Fax (404) Studio Apartment in Private Home for Rent Great Location Easy Access to 78, I-285, Emory & CDC *Separate Entrance *Newly Renovated *Separate Kitchen *Large Bathroom w/shower *Spanish Tile Throughout *Includes Utilities, Internet & Alarm Non-Smoker No Pets Allowed $ Contact Kaliopy Kitas at for photos and more information All news can be ed to or put on a disk and brought to the Cathedral office during office hours (Mon-Fri 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.) by May 15 th All Cathedral mail goes to the Post Office on the same day. If you do not receive your Annunciator in a timely manner, please call your Post Office and notify them.

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