06/05/2013

St. GEORGE THE GREAT MARTYR






By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

In the year 296 A.D., during the reign of Diocletian, a man named George was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Roman army in Asia Μinor. This man was later to suffer martyrdom and to become known as St. George the Great Martyr.
In the same year that St. George d his command, Diacletian began his persecution against the Christians. He launched a two-pronged attack against them. Those who agreed to foreswear their faith in Christ were promised high positions in the Empire, whereas those who refused to betray their Lord and Saviour were to be put to death.
At the time the decree suppressing Christianity was promulgated, St. George was travelling alone in Lydia (Asia Minor). Now in that part of the world there was a city, the citizens of which worshipped a large snake, which lived near the lake close by. Every year they would offer a young girl as a sacrifice to the snake, which was known as Dragon, the god of the lake. The annual sacrifice was about to take place and the young victim was already bound and left waiting at the entrance to the cave where Dragon lived. At that moment St. George happened to pass by. He immediately stopped and asked what had be fallen her. She replied that she was a οffering to the god of the lake. St. George reforted that that was iniquitous and that there was One True God, the Creafor of heaven and earth, and that He did not require human sacrifice. Bidding her to be brave and to hold fast, he promised to save her from the monster.
It was not long before Dragon appeared at the mouth of the cave and began attack­ing his prey. The moment he did this, St. George charged at him, and making the sign of the Holy Cross, ran him through with his lance and kilied him.

03/04/2013

Lesvos Island - Agiasos - "The Virgin Mary Festival"


Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts




By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, informally the Presanctified Liturgy, is a liturgical service for the distribution of the Holy Gifts on the weekdays of Great Lent.

Communion during Great Lent: Because Great Lent is a season of repentance, fasting, and intensified prayer, the Orthodox Church regards more frequent reception of communion as especially desirable at that time. However, the Divine Liturgy has a festal character not in keeping with the season. Thus, the Presanctified Liturgy is celebrated instead; the Divine Liturgy is only performed on Saturdays and Sundays. Although it is possible to celebrate this service on any weekday of Great Lent, the service is prescribed to be celebrated only on Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent, Thursday of the fifth week of Lent (when the Great Canon of St. Andrew is read), and Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week. Common parish practice is to celebrate it on as many as possible of these days.

During Lent, many Orthodox faithful fast sometimes from midnight and sometimes the entire workday, not eating anything after the morning meal until they break the fast with Holy Communion at this evening service. They have this anticipation to help them with this somewhat difficult ascetic discipline.

Presanctified Liturgy: The service consists of Daily Vespers combined with additional prayers and communion. The communion bread has already been consecrated and intincted with the precious Blood and reserved at the previous Sunday's Divine Liturgy. Unconsecrated wine is placed in the chalice. Local practice also varies as to whether or not this wine must be thought of as the Blood of Christ. The only practical effect of this variety is that the celebrant who must consume all the undistributed communion at the end of the service might or might not partake of the chalice when he communes himself.

The service is preceded by the reading of the Typical Psalms, and the Divine Liturgy's opening blessing, Blessed is the Kingdom... is used at the start of the part of the service that resembles daily vespers. Psalm 103, Bless the Lord, O my soul is read. The Great Litany is then intoned and then Psalms 119–133 are read. Then the choir sings Lord, I have cried unto Thee with stichera. The priest makes an entrance with the censer. If the occasion is a feast, the entrance is with the Gospel Book and there is then an epistle and gospel reading for the feast day.

The choir sings O Gladsome Light, and the first reading, from Genesis (or Exodus), is read with a prokeimenon. Then the priest intones Wisdom, let us attend. The Light of Christ enlightened all men, and those praying prostrate themselves. The second reading, from Proverbs (or Job) is read.

In the second part of the service, the choir chants Let my prayer be directed as incense before Thee, after which the prayer of St. Ephraim is read. After a litany the choir sings Now the powers of Heaven with us invisibly do worship, and the presanctified Gifts are brought into the holy altar in a procession resembling the Great Entrance at a Divine Liturgy but in silence. There is no anaphora because the gifts are pre-consecrated.

The prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian is repeated, and the Litany of Petition is proclaimed. The choir sings the Lord's Prayer, after which the priest intones: The Presanctified Holy Things are for the holy. The Holy Sacraments are brought out through the Royal Doors, and the faithful receive Holy Communion. After the Litany of Thanksgiving and the prayer before the Ambo ("Every good and perfect gift is from above..."), the believers venerate the Holy Cross.

Second Sunday οf Lent St. Gregory Palamas



By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
On the second Sunday of Lent our Church commemorates St. Gregory Palamas, who played a leading role in the triumph of Orthodoxy at a very difficult time in its history.
St. Gregory was born in the Emperor's palace in Constantinople. He grew up there and was educated as a prince. Although the Emperor showered favours on him and established him in a high position, St. Gregory's heart leaned towards Christ. For this reason he left the palace at an early age and went to Mount Athos to become a monk.
His stay on Mount Athos enabled him to go deeply into the writings of the Fathers and to experience the fruits of the Prayer of the Heart.
The “Prayer of the Heart” or the “Jesus Prayer” is that of the Publican, "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner", is a prayer that is repeated constantly and which has as its aim the cleansing of the heart of all thoughts and desires, so that he who prays, may with the Grace of God, experience the Divine Light.
The Divine Light is uncreated and is revealed only after great and intense spiritual struggle, which the monk undertakes under obedience to his Abbot or Spiritual Father. It is the same light that the three Apostles, namely Peter, James and John, saw on Mount Tabor, when our Lord was Transfigured before them. His face becoming as radiant as the sun and His clothes as white as snow. The vision of Divine Light may be vouchsafed to any Orthodox Christian who sincerely strives to clean his heart, soul and body, of all unclean thoughts and desires, thus becoming a true temple of the Holy Trinity. Our Lord promised that He would come down and make His abode in the heart of any man who loves Him and keeps His commandments.

To the 2nd Salutations to the Theotokos



By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

            The incarnation of “Christ’s presence” was for man’s history the miracle of all miracles, the greatest of all miracles. Man because of his fall day by day was alienated from his God and Creator. AS time was passing, he was going down to the path of catastrophe. The heart of the fallen man was infected and his will was crushed.
            From the ruins of man’s moral and spiritual condition, the joyful sound of the angelic hymns was heard, glorifying “the presence of Christ’s incarnation”.  The Word and Son of God is incarnated and becomes perfect man. God descends from heaven to raise man to heaven. The Son of God takes up all the human nature in order to make man a god. God the Word, who created man in the “image and likeness” of God, vests Himself with that which He Himself had created. The Son of God humbles Himself in order to correct the pride of His creation.
            This incarnation of “Christ’s presence” was the saving solution which God provided to save man. Man by his own was unable to be saved and to restore his relationship with God. All men were guilty of sin. No one was just, so that he might offer the unique Sacrifice which was required “for the world’s life and salvation”.

01/04/2013

Program of Holy Services April 2013 - May 2013



Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of New Zealand
Holy Church of the Dormition of Virgin Mary, Christchurch
Program of Holy Services April 2013
3  Wednesday
9th Hour, vespers and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
8:30 – 11:30 am

5  Friday        2nd Salutation to Theotokos   6:00 pm 

7 Sunday      It will not work the church          

12 Friday      3th Salutation to Theotokos 6:00 pm

14  Sunday      4th Sunday of Lend. St. John Climacus Matins,
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil  9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

17 Wednesday  Small Compline and the Great Canon of Saint Andreou of Creta.
5:00 – 7:00 pm           

19  Friday       The Akathist Hymn.  5:30 – 7:00 pm    

21  Sunday      5th Sunday of lend. St. Mary of Egypt.
Matins, Divine Liturgy of St. Basil  9:00 – 11:45 a.m.  

24  Wednesday           9th Hour, vespers and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
8:30 – 11:30 am
           
27  Saturday   Lazarus Saturday. Matins, Divine Liturgy   9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Great Vespers 5:00-5:45 pm  

28  Sunday      Palm Sunday: Triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Fish permitted )
Matins, Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Divine Service of the Bridegroom (Nymfios).  6:00 – 7:30 pm 

29  Monday  Great and Holy Monday. Divine Liturgy  of the Presanctified
9:00 – 11:00 am
Great Compline  5:00 – 6:00 pm
Divine Service of the Bridegroom (Nymfios) 6:00 – 7:30 pm   

30 Tuesday     Great and Holy Tuesday . The 10 Virgins .
Divine Liturgy  of the Presanctified Gifts 9:00 – 11:00 am
Great Compline  5:00 – 6:00 pm
Divine Service of the Bridegroom (Nymfios) and Hymn of Cassiane 6:00 – 7:30 pm.   

Program of Holy Services May 2013

1 Wednesday              Great and Holy Wednesday.
Divine Liturgy  of the Presanctified Gifts 9:00 – 11:00 am
The Sacrament of the Holy Unction   5:00 – 7:00 pm  

2 Thursday     Great and Holy Thursday. The Mystical Supper & the Passion of the Lord
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.
Divine Service of Nymfios , Our Lord’s Passion & the 12 gospel readings
 6:30 – 9:00 pm          

3 Friday   Holy & Great Friday Unnailing & Burial of our Lord
Royal hours, Vespers,  Apokathelosis 8:30 –11:00 am
Lamentation and Holy Ceremony of the Burial of Christ. 7:00 – 9:30 pm.        

4 Saturday Great and Holy Saturday. Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 7:00 – 8:30 am
Matins, Divine Liturgy of Our Lord’s Resurrection  23:00 pm – 1:45 am         

5 Sunday         Great and Holy Pascha.
Service of Love 11:00am – 12:30 pm 

6 Monday       Renewal Monday. George the Great Martyr & Triumphant
Matins, Divine Liturgy 9:00 – 11:45 a.m.        

7 Tuesday       Renewal Tuesday Matins, Divine Liturgy  9:00 – 11:45 a.m.    

Father Amphilochios, along with the president and the Community Council wishes you a Holy and Blessed Easter.
Christ is Risen!  Truly Risen!!!

29/03/2013

PROPHECIES by St. Kosmas Aitolos (Concerning wars in Greece / Balkans)

1.One day this will become Romaiko (Greek) and fortunate is he who will live in that kingdom.
(St. Kosmas would say this in different places in Greece, then under the Turkish yoke, that later on fought and acquired their freedom.)

2.Oh! Blessed mountain, how many souls, women, and children will you save during those difficult years.
(This prophecy was said in Siatista (northwestern Greece) and elsewhere where there were mountains. Women and children made them their refuge during the revolution.)

3.Those who will seek refuge up here in these high mountains will be fortunate; they will protect you from many dreadful sufferings. You will hear of but not see the dangers. You will suffer for three hours, or three days (prophesied by the Saint in Siatista).

4.That which is longed for will take place in the third generation. It will be seen by your grandchildren.
(This exceedingly important prophecy of the Saint, which nursed the sweetest hope of the enslaved Greek people, received astonishing fulfillment. For the years of the liberation of the Nation are in fact the third generation from the time when the Saint made this prophecy, isasmuch as is known, each generation is reckoned as twenty-five years.)

16/03/2013

WISHES FOR GREAT LENT



Dear Fathers and beloved brothers and sisters,
With the Grace of God our Father we are on the once again on the threshold of Great Lent,
and I wish you wholeheartedly
A GOOD AND BLESSED GREAT LENT!
May the Lord make us all worthy to experience it 
in health and  an uplifting of the soul. 
And to be ready spiritually to worship His Holy Passion
and celebrate His Glorious Resurrection.
With much love in Christ,
Fr. Amp

24/02/2013

16th SUNDAY OF ST MATTHEW THE TALANTS (Matth. 25:14-30)



By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes


In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ spoke about the Parable of the Talents. He brings us before a serious subject, which concerns each and every one of us. Every man has been gifted by God with various talents, different charismata, various skills. These talents one must concern as gifts from God, who entrusted them to us so that we will give an account to God.
St. John Chrysostom, interpreting the Parable of the Talents explains, that with the term “talent” our Lord Jesus Christ means the abilities and skills of each and every one of us to practice every good deed with responsibility. So, if we hold an official public position, or we have a special place in society, or if we have been blessed with wealth, or we are gifted with capability of knowledge and teaching, or with whatever other spiritual gift, All the “talents” are God-given.
According to the Parable, the “talents” are given by God to man. But, in Holy Scripture God calls men generally as His children, but here He calls them “servants”. This God does in order to reveal, that we are responsible before Him, and that we should obedient in a perfect way; not because we are considered as “servants”. But, because God’s Law is perfect and beneficial to all. He who follows God’s Law becomes truly free and offers himself to perfect obedience to God. Even our Lord Jesus Christ became the prototype example for all faithful. For us He became a “servant”, and humbledHimself so much, and became obedient to the Divine Will till death. “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself           and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
The Parable’s lord gave the talents to his servants and immediately departed to a country far away. God gives us His Talents, then various gifts, but never stands over us as a despot or tyrant to force us in any way, but He leaves us to use our talents freely as we wish. If we do not use them properly, then although He continuous to respect our free will, He shows mercy and patience till the moment when He will return to demand an account from us.
The talents are given in order to be used with responsibility, as we will give an account. Time goes by and we will give our account. This account is necessary and Christ assured us many times that it will take place (see Matth. 18:23-24; Luke 19:11-26).
But, if thetalents are ours, then why should God demand an account from us? The skills might be ours, but we have them from God. Our skills our either naturally, or they have been given by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, consequently, they are from God. For this reason our Lord in the Parable says, that the lord gave his belonging to his servants. The charismata which we have, we must see them as belongings of God, which have been given to us by God. Thus, we should use them as divine gifts and use them and increase them to a perfect level, according to God’s instructions.
Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself recognized this obligation for Himself, as He considered as His duty to preach the Kingdom of God to all the cities and country side.
The responsibility for our deeds and use of our talents and skills is generally for all of us. Our Lord assured us that each of us will give an account according to his works (Rom. 14:12).
This understanding that one day we will give an account should guide us throughout our lives. Our skills, small or big, should be used with great responsibility. It is not enough to do something, but we should struggle to increase the talents. Woe, to that person who had received a talent and he hid it!
Let us accept with humbleness and gratitude the various talents and charismata and let us struggle to multiply them for the glory of our True God, the Holy Trinity. Amen.

The Canaanite Woman Matth. l5:2l-29



By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes


           In today's Holy Gospel our beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ meets with a gentile woman near the region of Tyre and Sidon. The woman was a Greek living in Canaan.  She had a daughter which was "severely demon-possessed".  In her distress of finding a way to heal her daughter, she took the path and climbed the mountains of that region just with the taught, that she might meet with the great Teacher of Israel, whose fame travelled around the country.  This great Rabbi can heal all infirmities of men!  He is the solution, the woman said, of my family's problems.
         And behold, seeing Christ from a distance, she cried out to Him:  "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!"  Have mercy on me and show compassion, for my daughter is suffering not from any sickness of the flesh, but from spiritual illness.  She has been possessed by a demon! 
         But Jesus does not give any attention to her words.  He ignores her completely.  At her cry of pain, He does not show any sympathy.  In addition to this unusual behaviour of Jesus, when the Apostles came and urged Him to "send her away, for she cries out after us", He answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matth. l5:24).  But the poor woman did not lost her hopes.  She insists and came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!"
         Now, we have before us a woman, whose child is spiritual ill.  She is crying out to the Creator of the whole Universe to help her.  She is crying out to the One, who heals with His command all illnesses.  She is kneeling before Him, who all the angelic hosts in Heaven worship.  She is crying out for help, and He is doing nothing!  And though the woman has enough problems, He says to her, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs" (Matth. l5:26).
         Now, what type of answer is this?  She is asking desperately for help, and He is insulting her on the top!  Is this a type of a joke?  Is Jesus truely turning His back on this woman's request?  Is the God of Love not hearing the prayers of this woman.  She is not asking anything for her self, she is praying for her daughter's health.  She is asking to deliver her from the power of satan, and to make her a free person.  Therefore she does not feel insultated, but insists even more on her request saying, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table" (Matth. l5:27).
         Jesus Christ answered, "O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be to you as you desire" (Matth. l5:28).  This is what our Lord wanted to bring out as an example for all generations which will follow.  The woman's faith in Him.  If He had just cured the child right from the beginning, then the woman's faith was not to be shown. 
         Christ on purpose ignores her, in order to glorify her faithfulness in Him.  He does not answer her, in order that she insists on turning to Him.  He delays the healing, in order to strengthen her hope in Him.  He humbles her in order to teach us her humbleness and that with true humbleness we should approach God.
         My beloved friends,
         Many times in our personal life, we had found our selves under diffucult situations.  We then turned to God for help and assistance.  In the hour of depress, we asked God to do this or that for us.  And how many times there was just no answer to our prayers?  
         When we pray to God Almighty, we must always stand before  Him with faith.  Our prayers cannot be accepted, unless they are addressed with faith and hope in God.  When we stand before God to pray, we must humble ourselves before Him.  You cannot stand before God with a pride heart or praying disrespectful. 
         Many ask the question:  Can we pray lying down, when we are very tired? 
         And I ask you: Can you lie down, if you are expecting an important guest?  Can you lie down, when the President of the country is before you?  Can you lie down, when you are invited to a special dinner?  And you all know the answer to these questions.  No you cannot lie down.
         Speaking to God is more important than anything else in the world.  It is essential that when we pray, we must stand before God's presence with the proper manner.  We must also approach him with true faith, without any doubts.  If we doubt, then are prayers are not heard.  Doubts are the obstacles to our prayers.  Christ our Lord and Saviour assured us saying, that  "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.  And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matth. 2l:2l-22),  and again He says, "For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there', and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you" (Matth. l7:20).
         My beloved friends,
Let us remove from our hearts all doubts.  Let us approach Christ with faith.  Let us stand before Him, as the Canaan woman stood, with humbleness, faith and hope that our prayers will be heard.  Let us pray to God, not only when we need something from Him, but let us practice the virtue of prayer daily in our homes, shops and even when we travel.  Finally let us allow God's Will to take up the important role in our life, and not our own selfish human will.

21/02/2013

Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee



Luke l8: l0-l4
By His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
It was very characteristic of our Lord Jesus Christ that in order to teach the Divine Truth, He used examples taken from the daily life of His times. In this way He was able to help those who believed in Him to apply the Divine Truth in their own lives.
In the Parable of today's Gospel, our Lord showed us two different types of men, who both went up to the Temple to pray. He also mentioned a very significant point, their different religious and social class. The first was a Pharisee and the second a Publican.
Now, amongst the Jews of the time, there were different religious parties. The most important of these were the Pharisees, who were strict observer of the Law of Moses; the Sadducees who believed that there is no resurrection; the Ninevees, who were dedicated to God, and the Essenes, who were ascetics.
The Pharasees boasted that they followed the Law of Moses literally. They wore special clothes and could always be easily recognised in a crowd of people. Το use the words of our Lord, "they do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honour at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the marketplace, and being called rabbi by men" (Matt. 23:5-7). They separated themselves from the rest of the people, believing themselves to be the just in the Eyes of God. The Publican on the other hand, belonged to a group who were hated and despised by rich and poor alike.
As we saw in last Sunday's sermon, the Publican’s job was to collect taxes. However they did not stop at collecting the tax that was legally due to the Roman Empire, but imposed heavy surcharges which went into their own pockets, and which were a crushing burden for the people to bear. But they were especially hated and despised not only for their corruption, but for the fact that they collaborated with the Romans.

11/02/2013

Great Martyr Theodore Stratilates



Great Martyr Theodore Stratilates (meaning “The Commander”) was born in Euchait (Marsivan in Asia Minor, presently Turkey) of an eminent family. He was well-schooled from birth in the military tradition, displaying excellence and aptitude for military science and tactics. Quickly rising through the ranks, he was only in his twenties when he assumed command of the garrison at Galatia. The Emperor Licinius soon recognized him as a brilliant general and an excellent peacetime administrator. Licinius decided to honor Theodore and to bestow on him the emperor’s highest award at a pagan celebration to be held in the city of Nicomedia.
St. Theodore realized that he would not be able to participate fully in the ceremonies and that the time had come when he would have to declare and witness for his faith. He had only one thing in mind, and that was to declare Christ publicly among the many Christians in the city.
The emperor brought a number of gold idols that were set around the place of the pageant, but at the direction of St. Theodore, the golden images were broken into pieces and taken away to be distributed among the poor. When the emperor demanded to know who had perpetrated this outrage, St. Theodore presented himself as the culprit and declared himself a Christian. He denounced paganism as he had so many years ago when he accepted Christ, and now he was prepared to die for his Savior.
At the emperor’s order, St. Theodore was flogged with more than 1,000 lashes on the back and stomach. He was then crucified and pierced through with arrows, and finally slain with the sword. During the whole of his torture, St. Theodore repeated unceasingly: “Glory to Thee, my God, glory to Thee!” He died and entered into the Kingdom of Christ in the year 319. He is regarded as the protector of soldiers. His wonderworking relics were taken from Euchaita to Constantinople and buried in the Church at Blachernae.

08/02/2013

St. Haralambos the Martyr




By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes

 "As pillar unshaken of Christ's Holy Church and lamp ever-burning to all the world, you emerged, O wise Haralambos. In all the world you shined with the martyrdom you suffered. You dispelled the dark night of the idols O blessed. Thence with daring do intercede to Christ that we may be saved." (Tone 4)

"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things…" (2Timothy 2:1-7)

In the early Church, the term "martyr" was originally used when characterizing the Apostles as witnesses of Christ's life and resurrection [Acts 1:8, 22]. Due to the persecutions that the early Christians endured, however, the term was applied to those who gave their lives for the Christian Orthodox Faith. In Greek, the word martyr means "witness" and, the verb form, martyred, means to "bear witness" or "give evidence."

Though martyrdom was not a constant experience for the early Church, it was a possibility with which the early Christians had to reckon. It was the consummate act of faith for as the Lord said: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends" (John 15:13). Before actually being executed, however, the martyr usually endured extreme physical and moral sufferings.

03/02/2013

Tattoo and Holy Bible:



"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD."
Leviticus 19:28

28/01/2013

Tο the three Hierarchs 30th January



By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
In order for us to understand the role and importance which the holy Fathers have within the life of the Orthodox Church, we must examine it under the light of the Divine Economia. But, what to we mean when we speak about “Divine Economia”?
Divine Economia is the entire work of salvation. It is the realization of God’s Will concerning man’s salvation. Man, because of Satan’s envy, was led to disobey the Divine Commandment with the result that sin entered into the world and through sin death ruled. St Gregory the Theologian teaches, that ‘God created man, because He was not satisfied moving within His own vision, but His Love had to be outpoured to other creatures.’ God wanted to raise man from the condition of innocent, ignorance and the lack of experience of good and evil, and lead him into the knowledge and free choice of good. But, the disobedience towards the simple Commandment of God brought upon mankind dramatic consequents.
The direct communion of man and the Grace of God ceased. Man was left to his own powers, deserted in the world of carnal passions, which became his nature’s master and tyrant. Man’s mind was darkened and his conscience became weak, disfigured and became hardened to such extent that he was unable to distinguish the unholy and evil from the holy and good. Man’s will lost its power and became a slave to evil desires. Love was replaced by pride, selfishness and hatred. The truth was replaced by lies; the True God was abandoned and His place was taken by the numerous false gods of idolatry. These were the few fruits of man’s apostasy and departure from God.

25/01/2013

Sunday of Zacchaeus




Luke l9: l-l0
By
His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
The Son and Logos of God had one basic aim, namely the salvation of mankind.  Man wandered far from the true knowledge of God and was anxious to find the truth which would guide him to salvation and the longed for union with his Creator.
Man’s mind and heart were darkened by sin, and as a result he did not attain to divinity as promised by the serpent in Paradise, "and the serpent said to the woman, you will not die. For God knows that, when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:4-5), but the consequences of disobedience to God’s Commandment were catastrophic for mankind.
St. Paul in the epistle of Romans teaches us: ''Ever since the creation ofthe world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honour Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies amongst themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever" (Rom. l:20-25).
More and more man gives his attention to material things rather than to things of spirit, and in his heart puts matter above all. He enslaves himself with matter and his inordinate desire for riches and material things often causes him to be unjust.
Man, drunk with greed, always wants more and more. Nothing satisfies him. He uses any and every means to increase his possessions with complete indifference to the needs and claims of his fellow men; he doesn't care if he exploits others; he doesn't care how other men are to live. The cries of the women he oppresses fall on deaf ears. Confronted with the hungry faces of children this cruel man feels nothing; his onlΥ aim is to be rich.

18/01/2013

12th Sunday of St Luke Sunday of the Ten Lepers



(Luke 17:12-19)

By His Eminence
Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes
 
Leprosy in the past was considered an incurable illness which was vanished from Europe only during the last decades of the 20th century.
Death was slow and accompanied with great pain. The lepers were seeing their body’s parts decaying, rotting and breaking off, and their faces deforming. The worst of all was their isolation and loneliness. No one was allowed to approach them, for the danger that they might be exposed to the illness. But, even, if they had the courage to surpass this fear, then, only the view of their wounds was enough to scatter away even the closest and most beloved relatives. They were as living dead, awaiting death as their only deliverance.
Ten lepers, among so many thousands, condemned to continuous isolation, hopeless of any human help, had only one hope. They have heard about Jesus of Nazareth, the Teacher who was God sent and performed miracles. But, their problem was, how to meet with Him. They could not approach the cities or villages and for this reason the Lord Who knows the secrets of men’s hearts, guides Himself to the territory of the ten lepers. 
      The Ten lepers stood from a distance and with a loud voice the cried out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” The Lord, regardless of His tiredness, stood with great compassion and replied immediately to their request: “Go and show yourselves to the priests”, in order that they may, according to the Mosaic Law, confirm your healing. As they went their way towards Jerusalem, the miracle took place. The leprosy was cleansed. Their body’s parts were restored and healed; new skin appeared and covered their wounded bodies.  The miracle was completed. Now, one should wait to see all ten to return back to Jesus with joy, to give thanks. But, unfortunately, the nine did not return to give thanks to their benefactor. Only one as grateful enough to return and he was a Samaritan. The one who was a stranger to the Jewish nation returned and felt down to the ground to show his appreciation.

16/01/2013

A mother’s will



This is the hand written last will and testament of a mother, who passed away at the age of ninety.
This old lady, had four daughters, one son and fifteen grandchildren.  At the time of her death she had nothing to leave them, only this, her last testament, with its many spelling mistakes, and poor handwriting.  As poor as its appearance was, so vast was the wealth of its spiritual content.
“My beloved children,” she begins, and proceeds to make reference to each of her children by name as well as the names of each of their spouses and each of her grandchildren, making a total of 25 names.
‘’ With kisses I take my leave of you.  You will open and read this letter after my death and in it I bequeath to you the following advice.’’
‘’Your first task, as you wake each morning  is to wash,  light the kadelaki, and bless all of your home with Holy Incense and prayer.  When this is done you should say your Morning Prayers from your prayer book as I have taught you to do.  You should all do this together, husbands wives and grandchildren of each family.   When this has been completed carry on with your daily work, only in this way will the Lord protect and bless your every task, your work and your families.
Each Sunday you must all go to church, as well as at every great Feast Day.   Each evening, young  and old should gather round before bed time and read the evening prayers, the Psalms for the Theotoko, the new testament  and ‘’The Saving of the Sinner’’.
Don’t ever forget the fasts, please keep all of them, as I kept them and as I made you keep them through your entire childhoods from the tender age of six years old.
When you keep these precepts beloved children, it will be as though, you light a candle in my memory each day.  I see this as the best and beautiful daily memorial.

07/01/2013

SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS



  By   His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes 
“Herod seeks to kill the Child”
The events which followed the Nativity of our Lord, as these appeared in the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, describe the path which the Messiah will follow in His worldly life. The new born Infant of Bethlehem experienced, right from the beginning, the hatred of men and that of the rulers of this world.  The events which were realized by Herod the King, confirm the truth of the above words as these are witnessed by the historians of that period.
Christ’s appearance in the world created new and true ways of life for man, which directs him to the one path which offers him salvation, meeting the descending Love of God. It is a progress which all the demonic powers are crushed and man is able to embrace the authentic messages which the Divine Infant of Bethlehem sends.
It might seem that Satan’s power still rules over mankind, with all its consequences; but, its prevalence is deceptive and temporary. And this takes place because in history the divine work of salvation is realized and no one is able to prevent it or cancel it. Neither, Herod’s inhumanity and aggressiveness which were revealed with the slaughtering of the innocent infants at Bethlehem and the surrounding region weren’t able to cancel the work of the new born Messiah Who was under the protected Providence of God.

He will Shelter you with his wings.



Reminds me of Psalm 91:4, He will cover you with his feathers. He will 
Shelter you with his wings.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

There is absolutely nothing to fear about tomorrow; for God is already there.