Dormition August 15, 2010

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1 T HE VOICE OF ST.. P. PAUL S GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH Monthly August 2010 Volume 8 Dormition August 15, 2010 St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church 14 West Anderson St. Savannah, GA Phone: Fax:

2 Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15) On August 15, Orthodox Christians from everywhere celebrate the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Κοιµησις της Θεοτοκου). Like all major feasts of the Church, Dormition of the Theotokos is preceded by a fast, in our case a fifteen days fast, in order to honor the Virgin Mary through whom the mystery of incarnation took place. According to the tradition the burial of the Theotokos took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. On this day, August 15, we celebrate the mystery of the Dormition, a mystery which unites the uncreated person of the Son of God and the created person of His Mother. That is why St. Gregory of Palamas called the Mother of God, the boundary between the created and the uncreated. The holiness of the Mother of God (Panagia, means all-holy) was bestowed on her not only because she carried God but also because of her exemplary life. At the end of this life, an angel of God announced to her that in three days she would be translated from the temporal life to eternity. When she heard this, she went up in haste to the Mount of Olives, where she prayed continuously. Then she returned home and prepared whatever was necessary for her burial. The clouds carried a message to the Apostles, who were scattered all over the world to preach God s Word. The Apostles came back to Jerusalem and the Theotokos consoled them in their affliction. She prayed for peace in the world and then she blessed the Apostles, before giving up her all-holy spirit into the hands of her Son and God. The Feast of the Dormition brings us back to the very center of our Christian faith. We see in the person of Panagia the highest examples of personal sacrifice and faithful obedience to God s plan. The relationship between Jesus and thetheotokos is one based on extraordinary love the kind of love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7). Just as the Dormition of the Theotokos brought together the Apostles and gave them encouragement in the midst of their many struggles, so too for us the Feast of Dormition should be a source of strength and unity and hope. If we accepted that Christ triumphed over death, then we expect the resurrection of the dead and await the life of the age to come. Let us strive to preserve the true faith, to pray and work for the unity of all Christians and to share the experience of grace that we all received from our All-Merciful God. May the Lord bless all of us as we celebrate the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos! Let us supplicate the Theotokos that we may receive a place in the heavenly mansions that the Lord prepares for us. Let us ask, Most Holy Theotokos, save us! Fr. Vasile Mihai

3 Explanation of the Icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos The feast of the Dormition (κοιµησις) of the Mother of God, known in the West under the name of the Assumption, comprises two distinct but inseparable moments for the faith of the Church: firstly, the Death and Burial, and second, the Resurrection and Ascension of the Mother of God. The Orthodox East has known how to respect the mysterious character of this event which, unlike the Resurrection of Christ, was not made a subject of apostolic preaching. In fact, there is here a mystery, not destined for the ears of those without, but revealed to the inner consciousness of the Church. For those who are affirmed in faith in the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord, it is evident that, if the Son of God assumed His human nature in the womb of the Virgin, She Who served the Incarnation had in Her turn to be assumed into the glory of Her Son risen and ascended to Heaven. Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thine holiness. The grave and death could not retain the Mother of Life, for Her Son has transported Her (µετεστησ εν) into the life of the future age. The glorification of the Mother is a direct result of the voluntary humiliation of the Son: the Son of God is incarnate of the Virgin Mary and is made Son of Man, capable of dying, whilst Mary, becoming the Mother of God, receives the glory which belongs to God (θεοπρεπης δοζα) and is the first among human beings to participate in the final deification of the creature. God became man, that man might become God. The significance of the Incarnation of the Word thus appears at the end of Mary s life on earth. Wisdom is justified of her children. The glory of the age to come, the last end of man, is already realized, not only in a Divine Hypostasis made flesh, but also in a human person made God. This passage from death to life, from time to eternity, from terrestrial condition to celestial beatitude establishes the Mother of God beyond the general Resurrection and the Last Judgment, beyond the Second Coming which will end the history of the world. The feast of August 15 th is a second mysterious Easter, since the Church therein celebrates, before the end of time, the secret first-fruit of its eschatological consummation. This explains the soberness of the liturgical text which, in the office of the Dormition, permits a glimpse of the ineffable glory of the Assumption of the Mother of God. The feast of the Dormition probably originated in Jerusalem. However, at the end of the IVth century, Aetheria did not yet know it. It can nevertheless be supposed that this solemnity was not slow in appearing, since in the VIth century it was already widespread; St. Gregory of Tours is the first witness of the feast of the Assumption in the West, where it was originally celebrated in January. Under the Emperor Maurice (582 to 602) the date of the feast was definitely fixed as August 15 th. Among the first iconographic monuments of the Assumption must be noticed the sarcophagus of Santa Ingracia at Saragossa (beginning of the IVth century) with a scene which is very probably that of the Assumption, and a relief of the VIth century, in the Basilica of Bolniss-Kapanakci, in Georgia, which represents the Ascension of the Mother of God and is matched by a relief of the Ascension of Christ. The apocryphal account which circulated under the name of St. Melito (IInd century) ) was not earlier than the beginning of the 5th century.

4 It is full of legendary details of the death, the resurrection and the ascension of the Mother of God, dubious information that the Church will take care to avoid. Thus, St. Modestus of Jerusalem (died 634), in his Praise on the Dormition is very restrained in the details which he gives: he notes the presence of the Apostles brought from afar, by an inspiration from on high, the appearance of Christ, come to raise the soul of His Mother, finally, the return to life of the Mother of God, in order to participate corporally in the eternal incorruption of Him, Who brought Her forth from the tomb and drew Her to Himself in a manner that He alone knew. The homily of St. John of Thessalonica (died circa 630) as well as other more recent homilies-of St. Andrew of Crete, St. Germanos of Constantinople, St. John Damascene-are more rich in details, which were to enter both into the liturgy and into the iconography of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The classical type of the Dormition in orthodox iconography is habitually limited to representing the Mother of God lying on Her deathbed, in the midst of the Apostles, and has been a desire to show equally the moment of the bodily assumption: one then sees, at the top of the icon, above the scene of the Dormition, the Mother of God seated on a throne in the mandorla that angels are carrying towards the heavens. In our icon (Russian, XVIth century) Christ in glory surrounded by a mandorla is looking at the body of His Mother stretched on a litter. He is holding on His left arm a small figure of a child clothed in white and crowned with a halo: it is the all-luminous soul that He has just gathered up. The twelve Apostles, standing around the bed, look on with terror at the decease of the Mother of God. It is easy to recognize, in the foreground, St. Peter and St. Paul on either side of the couch. On some icons there is shown at the top, in the sky, the moment of the miraculous arrival of the Apostles, assembled from the ends of the earth, on the clouds. The multitude of angels present at the Dormition sometimes forms an outer border around the mandorla of Christ. On our icon, the heavenly virtues, accompanying Christ, are indicated by a seraphim with six wings, two cherubim and two angels in the mandorla. Four bishops with haloes stand behind the Apostles. They are St. James, the brother of the Lord, the first Bishop of Jerusalem, and three disciples of the Apostles: Timothy, Hierotheus and Dionysious the Areopagite, who had come with St. Paul. Sometimes groups of women represent the faithful of Jerusalem who, with the bishops and the Apostles, form the inner circle of the Church in which is accomplished the mystery of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The episode of Athonios, a fanatical Jew, who had both hands cut off by the sword of an angel, for having dared to touch the funeral couch of the Mother of God, figures in the majority of the icons of the Dormition. The presence of this apocryphal detail in the liturgy and in the iconography of the feast is to recall that the end of the life on earth of the Mother of God is an intimate mystery of the Church which must not be exposed to profanation: inaccessible to the view of those without, the glory of the Dormition of Mary can be contemplated only in the inner light of Tradition. [Adapted from: Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, St. Vladimir s Seminary Press, Crestwood, 1982, pp ] The Apolytikion of the Feast (Dormition) Tone 1: (Εν τη γεννησει... In giving birth ) In giving birth you remained a virgin and in your dormition you did not forsake this world, O Theotokos. For as the Mother of Life you have yourself passed into life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from everlasting death. Kontakion of the Feast (Dormition) Tone 2: (Την εν πρεσβειαις... Neither the grave nor death...) Neither the grave nor death could contain the Theotokos, the unshakable hope, ever vigilant in intercession and protection. As Mother of life, He who dwelt in the ever-virginal womb transposed her to life.

5 THE FAST OF THE DORMITION (July 31 st evening to August 14 th evening) The Orthodox as well as the Catholic Church traditionally observe a period of fasting prior to the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos - one of the four great fasts that are part of the Church year, in the East, the others being the Nativity Fast (or the Advent Fast), the Great Lent Fast and the Holy Apostles Fast. This fast is also called the "Assumption Fast in the Catholic churches. For those on the new calendar (Gregorian), this fast begins on July 31 st evening, just before the Vespers of the Feast of the Procession of the Holy Cross (August 1 st ). This fast ends on August 14 th, just before Vespers for the Great Feast of the Dormition of The Theotokos (August 15 th ). For those on the old calendar (Julian), this fast begins on August 14th and ends on August 28th. The Dormition Fast is short, but is stricter than all the other fasting periods except Great Lent. One should fast on all days from the usual non-lenten foods, such as all animal products (meat, poultry, milk, cheese, etc.) and olive oil and wine. In addition, one also traditionally abstains from fish on all days of the fast, including weekends, except for the feast of the Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, when fasting may be eased by having fish, wine and olive oil. On the two weekends which fall during the fast (Saturday and Sunday), the fast is also relaxed a little bit, and one may have wine and olive oil, but no fish. Please check with your priest or with your Diocesan Office for specific information, of course. The Scriptural foundation for the practice of Fasting is found in the Synoptic Gospels, when the Pharisees criticized the Apostles for not fasting, Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. Our Lord, in this passage, was referring to his being taken to be crucified; but in the larger sense these words of the Lord are understood in terms of his Ascension into heaven, and his command to preach the Gospel, which can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting. The New Testament mentions the practice of fasting many times. According to Christian Orthodox teaching, by fasting we observe this time-honored Apostolic practice. We can also unite our lives more closely to the Theotokos (Mother of God) through the Dormition Fast. By fasting, we can join in and show our appreciation for the sacrifices of the Theotokos. The Theotokos sacrificed much to give birth to Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity - Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, to raise Him, and to be with Him during His ministry, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. Fr. Vasile Mihai He says, You do not know how to fast unto the Lord; this useless fasting which you observe to Him is of no value.. I say to you, he continued, that the fasting which you think you observe is not a fasting. But I will teach you what is a full and acceptable fast to the Lord: Do not evil in your heart. Keep His commandments, walking in His precepts, and let no evil desire arise in your heart If you guard against these things, your fasting will be perfect..having fulfilled what is written, in the day on which you fast, you will taste nothing but bread and water. Then, reckon up the price of the meals of that day that you intended to have eaten, and give that amount to a widow, an orphan, or some person in need. Hermas, c. 150 AD. In the first place, fasting is the affliction of the flesh. It makes an offering to the Lord of mourning garments and scantiness of food, content with a simple diet and the pure drink of water. It is a victim able to appease the Lord by means of the sacrifice of humiliation The bodily patience adds grace to our prayers for good, a strength to our prayers against evil. Tertullian, c. 200 AD.

6 Transfiguration of Our Lord (August 6) The Feast of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor reveals the glorious light of Christ s divinity. In describing this event and alluding to the traditional iconography, St. John Chrysostom explains that Moses represents the Law and Elijah the Prophets of the Old Testament. Both had visions of God. Moses is symbolic of the dead while Elijah, having been carried up to heaven in a chariot of fire, represents the living over whom - both the living and the dead - Christ reigns in glory! The Transfiguration of Christ is a theophany, a manifestation of God that displays His uncreated divine energy. In the Transfiguration we celebrate the divinity of Christ and the call for His faithful followers to allow God to live in their lives. The feast of Transfiguration began to be celebrated in Asia during the fourth century, probable by the Armenians. They celebrated with special solemnity, preparing for it by a six-days fast. From there the feast spread in the Eastern Church, first as a local and unofficial feast, and then by the year 1000 became widely accepted. The Feast of Transfiguration was introduced in the West by the ninth century, but became generally adopted by the fifteenth century. On August 6th, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Holy Transfiguration of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ. On this day He appeared as bright as the sun to three of His Disciples and Apostles. This extraordinary appearance was caused by the importance of the message which had to be transmitted to the Apostles, and from them to the whole of mankind. Jesus spoke of His death to His Apostles. He spoke about going to Jerusalem where He would suffer many things and be killed. The Lord also said to His Apostles that He would rise again on the third day. But before dying, our Lord wanted to show His Disciples once again that He is Truly God. He took Peter, James, and John up to a mountain where they were about to see something so spectacular that they would never forget it! While they were on the mountain, the three Disciples saw a miraculous transformation (µεταµορ φωσις ) on Jesus as He prayed. His face began to shine a brightly as the sun and His garments became white as light. They could not bear the blaze of the light. Peter, James, and John had been with the Lord for several years, but they had never seen anything as magnificent as this. It was the Glory of God shining in His Beloved Son. Up until this time, Christ had hidden the Glory of His Divinity beneath the veil of His humanity, but now He let it shine forth in all its glorious splendor. As they watched, the Apostles saw Moses and Elijah appear with the Lord. They represented the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament. Long before, they had worked faithfully to get the people to live according to God s will and now they came and talked with Jesus about His coming death.

7 Peter was excited when he saw all this and said to the Lord, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." (Matt. 17:4). But at that moment a bright cloud came over them and they were afraid. Out of this cloud, a loud voice came. It was the voice of God the Father saying, "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." Peter, James, and John fell on their faces in fear. When they looked up again, they saw the Lord all alone. The Lord told them not to speak of the things they had seen and heard. They obeyed Him and did not mention the Transfiguration until after the Lord had died and Risen again, and had returned to the Father. Then, the Lord and His Disciples came down from the mountain where the people had gathered to see Jesus and hear Him preach. Now Peter and James and John had seen the Glory of Christ as God. His Glory shone through Him as brightly as the sun. They had heard God the Father speak of Jesus, His Son. Now they worshipped Christ, for they knew He was God. In the Church s tradition, this feastday brings forth a number of beautiful hymns. One mentions the fact that Christ showed the Apostles His Glory "insofar as they could bear it." Jesus is called the "Giver of Light" and He sheds His Light upon us to illumine us to His Truth. Another hymn contains a reason for the Transfiguration. It says that when the Apostles see Christ crucified, they will know that His Suffering is voluntary. Even when He hangs on the Cross, in pain and suffering, they will still know that He is God and Lord of all. There are a number of things for us as Orthodox Christians to learn from the Feast of Transfiguration. First, notice that Christ was transfigured as He prayed. This is our hope that when we pray, a change will take place in us so we may become better Christians, better followers of Christ. Christ is the One who fulfilled the law and the prophets. Everything in the Old Testament points to Him and finds its fulfillment in Christ. This is why Moses and Elijah are participants in the transfiguration of the Lord. What a good company for us too! To be part of a divine plan in which the righteousness and the mercy are the epitomes of human ideals. We as Orthodox Christians experience a transfiguration every time the Divine Liturgy is celebrated. The Church calls us, takes us by the hand, and leads us up the mount of worship. We sing, we pray, and we listen until we come to the very height of our praise as we meet Christ our Glorious Lord. This happens as we receive Christ our Lord, in Holy Communion. Now, we are transfigured and have reached the highest Spiritual height. After we receive Holy Communion, the Church takes us back down the mountain of our worship and lets us enjoy the fulfillment of our dream, and after a while we go up it to receive Holy Communion again. Also, notice that the Lord and His Disciples came down from the mountain. Even though they wanted to stay in Paradise, they came back down to do the Lord s work, to minister to the people and teach them and help them. This teaches us a good lesson that even when we reach spiritual heights, we still must live in this world and shine our light in Christ to the world. We see in Christ s Holy Transfiguration a picture of our own change and renewal, a transfiguration in the glory of eternity. On this earth, we also hear many voices that call us in many directions. But on the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration, like Jesus, we hear the voice of God the Father, a voice which calls us to theosis, to join again the fold of divinity, "This is my beloved Son... ; listen to him." We need to listen and to live in Christ so that we can be changed, renewed, transfigured, to become one with Him who gave His life for our salvation. Fr. Vasile Mihai Even the Holy Scripture give us instances of this form of change...for example, the face of Moses was changed, with a brigthness that the eyes could not bear. But he was still Moses, even when he was not visible. So also Stephen had already put on the appearance of an angel even though it was still his human knees that bent beneath the stoning. The Lord again, in the retirement of the mountain, had changed His clothing for a robe of light. Yet, He still retained features that Peter could recognize. In the same scene, Moses also and Elijah gave proof that the same condition of bodily existence may continue even in glory.. Tertullian (c. 197 AD)

8 ON OUR PERSONAL TRANSFIGURATION On August the 6 th we celebrate the Holy Transfiguration (Η Μετεµορφοσις) α δαψ ον ωηιχη our Lord's human nature was transfigured by the Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father, Whose voice witnessed to the Son's divine nature. We are perhaps reminded of another Feast of the Church taken from the Holy Scriptures, where the divinity of Christ was also witnessed to by the Father and the Spirit proceeding from the Father - Theophany, the Baptism of Christ. Both these feasts have a great prominence in our Church, which has been lost outside her, where people do not believe in the words of the Holy Scripture, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father alone. This Feast shows us firstly that the human and divine natures of Christ are united in One Person, secondly that therefore there is no unity without the Holy Spirit, and thirdly that our Savior is Lord over Life and Death, for Moses, who died, worships Him, and Elijah, who was carried into heavens, also worships Him. We may have to point out an aspect of this Feast which is often overlooked: Mt. Tabor, the 'mountain' where the Transfiguration occurred. This Mt. Tabor is for us a figure of repentance. We note that, like the disciples, in order for us to see the transfiguration or to hope to be transfigured ourselves, we will first have to climb up, to mount, from our present condition. Otherwise any transfiguration or change for the better in our lives is impossible. Now it is interesting that pilgrims who have been blessed to go to Mt Tabor and their photographs show us that Mt. Tabor is not a mountain at all. It is rather a long, sloping hill with many obstacles, rocks and boulders, in the path of those who ascend it. And our transfiguration or salvation is like Mt. Tabor. However hard we try, we will not be guaranteed salvation through a swift if arduous climb today. Salvation takes a lifetime, it is a long climb up a long slope, which perhaps is why the Lord gives most of us so long to live. Salvation is a long struggle which requires determination and perseverance, steadfastness and patient longsuffering. Our spiritual progress is then not sudden and dramatic. And there are many obstacles in our path in our daily struggle. To pick up our prayer books in the morning and again in the evening is a struggle and there are always obstacles in our path to even this: meals to prepare, plains to catch, phones that ring. Church life is indeed made up of little sacrifices, obstacles overcome. There are prayers to say, fasts to be kept, donations to be made, church to be cleansed, flowers to be bought, kollyva to be prepared, prosphora to be baked, choir rehearsal to go to, Vespers and weekday services to attend, confession to prepare for, etc. As we come now towards the end of the Church's Year, we may well ask ourselves what the little sacrifices we have made since the last year celebration of the Feast. How far have we ascended up our own Mt. Tabor? How have we changed over this last year? What have we done to lead a better life since then? How have we improved? What have we given God that we did not give Him before? It is this that we call progress: in what way am I a better Orthodox Christian than a year ago? In our faith we are called to struggle daily, whatever the rocks or boulders in our way, whether they are pride or selfishness, lust or discouragement, envy or judging of others, we have to struggle to ascend our personal Mt. Tabor, we have to fight for our personal transfiguration. That is why it is so important to come to confession and communion. If we do not do this, then the Church will continue its move and we may remain behind. For we can both go up and go down a slope. We can spiritually progress, but we can also spiritually regress. We can be transfigured by the love of God or we can be disfigured by the love of sin. And like progress, regress is not sudden and dramatic; regress too is a slope, as we say, a slippery slope. Let us therefore take heed and give God what He really wants from us - our hearts, our minds and our souls, and let us love our neighbor as ourselves. Then, everything will be good for us.

9 GREEK ORTHODOX METROPOLIS OF ATLANTA ΙΕΡΑ ΜΗΤΡΟΠΟΛΙΣ ΑΤΛΑΝΤΑΣ Reverend Clergy and the Faithful of the Holy and God-protected Metropolis of Atlanta My dearly beloved in the Lord, Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I give thanks to Almighty God for a successful and spiritually uplifting 40th Biennial National Clergy Laity Congress and Philoptochos Conference. Truly I give thanks and praise to Almighty God for all His abundant blessings, among them this blessed opportunity to gather as the ecclesia, as the people of God. There were over a thousand participants from almost every Parish community in our Holy Archdiocese, and the meetings were conducted in a beautiful spirit of Christian love and brotherhood. The Clergy-Laity Congress began with the Orthros service and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Atlanta. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America presided over the Divine Liturgy concelebrating with the Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese. Taking part in the Liturgy were His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey. Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh was not able to be present. His Eminence Metropolitan Irenaios of Crete, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Congress attended the Liturgy from the Solea along with Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras and Bishops John of Amorion, Savas of Troas, Andonios of Phasiane and Demetrios of Mokissos. Also concelebrating the Divine Liturgy were The Very Reverend Sevastianos Skordallos, Chief Secretary of the Eparchial Synod, The Very Reverend Archimandrite Grigorios Tatsis; Protopresbyter Fr. George Tsahakis, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Atlanta; Fr. George Alexson, Dean of the Annunciation Cathedral; Fr. Stavros Tsichlis, president of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council; Fr. Theodore Barbas, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Boston; Fr. Luke Uhl, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Denver; Archdeacon Panteleimon Papadopoulos, Archdeacon Michael Diamond, Archdeacon Ryan Rafael Gzikowski and Deacon Vasilios Louros. Archbishop Demetrios spoke to the hundreds of faithful attending the Liturgy both in the Cathedral and the adjoining Carlos Hall, where the Liturgy was viewed on a large video screen. His Eminence first expressed the gratitude we all should have for God s blessings and gifts of freedom and creativity, especially on the 4th of July for the gift of liberty we as Americans enjoy, making reference to the Epistle reading of the day (Romans 12:6-14), which talks about the charismata (grace) given to all of us from God. These charismata help the believers grow in the grace of Christ, said the Archbishop noting that we are the people of great gifts from Christ and in that spirit we should offer this 40th Clergy-Laity Congress as a hymn of praise to God. The representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Archbishop Irenaios of Crete conveyed the paternal and patriarchal greetings and blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Archbishop Irenaios said he feels the closeness and unity between the Orthodox faithful here in America and his flock in Crete and all the Orthodox around the world. A Doxology service followed on the occasion of July 4th Independence Day, and a southern style barbecue featuring a concert by the Cathedral orchestra in the Hellenic Center. Archbishop Demetrios attended the opening ceremony of the National Philoptochos Conference, which coincides with the 2480 Clairmont Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia Telephone: Fax: Web:

10 presented the accomplishments of the last two years and thanked Bishop Andonios of Phasiane for his leadership and spiritual guidance. Afterward, His Eminence accompanied by Archbishop Irenaios of Crete, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Patras and the other Metropolitans of the Eparchial Synod attended a reception and presentation of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians, where a choir sang several hymns. The Order of St. Andrew - Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America also held a reception and a very informative presentation on the issues concerning our Ecumenical Patriarchate, attended by Archbishop Demetrios, many hierarchs and other Archons and delegates. In his Keynote Address on Monday, Archbishop Demetrios explained how the theme of the previous Congress Gather My People to My Home, because of its vital importance was carried through to this Congress, augmented with the invitation, Come and See. He stated, Come and See has two significant parts and two distinct voices. The first part is the voice of God, calling us directly to the work of going out and gathering His people to His home. The second part of the theme is our own voice as we address those whom we want to bring to God s house with the words Come and See. His Eminence then spoke about how the decisions of the previous Congress have been implemented at all levels of our Church asking, What has been our harvest? The theme Gather My People to My Home - Come and See is not limited to our Archdiocese and Metropolises and parishes. This is a pan-orthodox call and duty. He concluded by saying that we enter a new period of challenges, and It is time for action. Time to gather the people of God to His Home, always with Christ as His co-workers in sowing the truth, in spreading healing and in promoting life. This is the time for salvation of the world! (Full text of Keynote Address: ) The opening ceremony began with a prayer service, followed by welcoming remarks from the two co-chairs of the Congress William Marianes and Nick Moraitakis. Afterward I welcomed all the participants and honored guests of the opening ceremony. The Vice-Chairman of the Archdiocesan Council Michael Jaharis spoke about the single largest challenge we face is how to keep the faithful especially our young people - engaged and active in the Church. The growth and future of our Church in America depends on our ability to keep our young people actively involved and engaged in our Church and community and also our ability to welcome those who wish to convert to Greek Orthodoxy as their spiritual path. Aphrodite Skeadas, the President of the National Ladies Philoptochos Society offered greetings on behalf of the 25,000 women represented in this vibrant, philanthropic organization of our Church in America. The patriarchal representative, Archbishop Irenaios of Crete conveyed the paternal and patriarchal greetings and blessings of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and read the Ecumenical Patriarch s Message to the Congress. His All Holiness conveyed his personal observations during his visit to the United States last October. We witnessed the increased participation of the faithful in the whole life of the Church, both in numbers and spiritual depth, the consolation and assistance of the needy, the spread of the Gospel message, the safekeeping of the holy Greek Orthodox traditions and values, and the multiple ways the Church in America has fulfilled her ecclesiastical ministry. He also points out that the Holy Archdiocese of America ranks first among the Eparchies of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and expressed his paternal love, by saying: You are bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, and, thus, the love we feel for you never diminishes! (See full text: congresspatriarchaladdress ) In the Hierarchical Sessions with our Holy Eparchial Synod we continued to discuss the theme of the Congress giving the opportunity to the delegates to exchange experiences, and new ideas with the hierarchs. Later in the evening on Monday the participants were offered a unique opportunity to visit and tour the renowned Georgia Aquarium, where a social event and dinner concluded the day s events. Meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday offered much information and inspiration from the work of the ministries of the Archdiocese, the Metropolises, parishes, and the various committees and forums, with reports on the Archons, Administration, Finance, Stewardship, Outreach and Evangelism, Family/Marriage and Interfaith Marriage, Youth and Young Adults, Religious Education, Greek Education, Communications/Internet, Social/Special Ministries, Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Leadership 100, Faith Endowment, National Philoptochos report, and Resolutions report.

11 In his closing remarks His Eminence urged the delegates to convey in detail and in essence all that transpired in this Clergy-Laity Congress back to their parishes and their fellow brothers and sisters. He said that the ideas and the proposals initiated and cultivated in this Congress should be the subject of discussion and ministry in the parishes so that the message of the theme Gather My people to My Home Come and See can be realized. The Archbishop also asked the congress participants and all the faithful to support the priests in parishes and communities that cannot afford them, so every Greek Orthodox Church in America has an uninterrupted liturgical life and ministry. Several resolutions were presented and approved by the delegates of the Plenary Session. These were 1) a resolution regarding the oil spill and the ecological catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico calling upon the faithful to do their utmost to preserve our planet and to take all possible care to avoid future man-made calamity, 2) a resolution calling for peace in the world, 3) a resolution in support of the work of the recent Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Bishops in North and Central America, 4) a resolution recognizing the heroic sacrifices of uniformed men and women in the armed forces and in support and commendation of Orthodox Chaplains around the country, and 5) a resolution of Thanks which recognizes that the 40th Clergy-Laity Congress has provided us with a unique opportunity to strengthen the witness of faith and love, to facilitate the work of our Holy Archdiocese, Metropolises and parishes and to offer to the world an invitation to Come and See. The day concluded with a Grand Banquet attended by an estimated 1,200 people. Nicholas Moraitakis, Congress cochairman was the presenter of the dais and William Marianes the other Congress co-chairman was the Master of Ceremonies. Dr. Constantine Kokenes and Eliana Marianes sang the national anthems of Greece and the United States. Aphrodite Skeadas, National Philoptochos president offered a greeting and said that the National Philoptochos had enthusiastically approved a proposal by Archbishop Demetrios to create a Philoptochos Center for Philanthropy. The Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Vasilios Kaskarelis, sent a written message to the participants read by the Consul General of Greece in Atlanta Vassilios Gouloussis and Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. Andreas Kakouris offered a greeting. Rev. Protopresbyter William Bartz offered an inspiring introduction to a special tribute, a video presentation on the 40th Anniversary of the Ionian Village camp entitled A Legacy of Lives Transformed. Finally, remarks were offered by Michael Jaharis, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, Archbishop Irenaios of Crete and Archbishop Demetrios of America. (For texts of the Keynote Address and Patriarchal Message, photos, daily updates, and schedules, visit the Congress web site at Indeed the whole Assembly was a celebration of our Greek Orthodox family of faith and a labor of love by dedicated people, such as the Co-Chairmen, Mr. Nick Moraitakis, and Mr. Bill Marianes, who unselfishly gave their time, energy and talents working hand in hand with the Chancellor, V. Rev. Fr. George Tsahakis, the clergy of the Annunciation Cathedral, Father George Alexson and Father Christos Mars, the Cathedral lay leaders and especially the staff, all worked long and hard to make this wonderful event possible. In closing, I wanted to thank those of you who took the time to attend and to let those who were unable to join us know about the many blessings we received during the beautiful and spiritually uplifting Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress. Indeed I am most thankful to our Lord for blessing us with the opportunity to come together with our whole family of faith, all our brothers and sisters in Christ. I remain Paternally yours with love in Christ, +ALEXIOS Metropolitan of Atlanta

12 40th Biennial National Clergy Laity Congress

13 His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios at the June 27th Great Vespers. His Eminence tonsured three acolytes: Timothy Newport, Alex McDonnell and Atha Stathopoulos and also Brad Sherman as a reader.

14 Nick George St. Paul s Day Award recipient Congratulations Nick! Nick and his Kitchen buddies

15 2010 Clergy Laity In Atlanta, GA His Eminence, Metropolitan Alexios with Fr. Vasile and our delegates to the Clergy Laity Congress and Philoptochos Convention

16 President, Mercie Polites and Marie Danos, secretary, holding Awards of Excellence presented to the Savannah s Chapter of St. Barbara s Philoptochos at the National Convention Presidents from across the country gather at the Conference Philoptochos Delegates

17 ST. PAUL S NEWS AND NOTES THANKS To all those Parishioners who have paid their 2009 Stewardship and have pledged for CONGRATULATIONS To John Polites for earning his Bachelor s Degree in History from Armstrong Atlantic State University. John is presently attending Graduate School. SYMPATHY To the Family & Friends of James Michael Simon who died on June 9th, May his memory be eternal! To the Family and friends of Penelope Constantine who died on June 22, May her memory be eternal! To the family and friends of Rosario Victor Scalisi who died on June 30th, May his memory be eternal! SUNDAY SCHOOL NEWS Hope you are all having a great Summer! Sunday School will be back in session soon. Sunday School will begin after Labor Day on Sunday, September 12th. Classes are available for Children ages 3 & 4 Yr. Old PreK thru 12th Grade of High School. Students and parents will meet their Teacher and see their class and classmates on this date. Please take a few minutes and fill out a registration form for each child you would like to register for Sunday School, so that we can order adequate supplies and be prepared for them in September. There is a form enclosed in the copy of this month s copy of the Voice and there are also forms available in the Hellenic Center. We will have a Sunday School meeting for Teachers after church on August 15th. If you are interested in joining our program as a Teacher or Helper, please call Jamie Newman or Bonnie Danos AHEPA NEWS AHEPA will be holding a Back to School Brunch on August 29th. Tickets will be $5.and on sale soon. We would like see everyone attend and support this event!! SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th, 2010 St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church Picnic at Villa Marie Center Grimball Point Road, Isle of Hope Orthros and Divine Liturgy will be followed by a church picnic with fun and activities for all ages (swimming, athletic games, bingo ). Chicken, hotdogs and hamburgers will be provided at no charge and also soft drinks, iced tea and water. Please bring a covered dish to share (salad, vegetable or dessert)! All of this and in such a beautiful setting! A great time was had by all last year, so don t miss out on all of the fun - make plans to attend this year s picnic. We will provide a map and directions in September s bulletin. *** TO INSURE THAT WE PROVIDE AN ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF FOOD FOR ALL, IN SEPTEMBER WE WILL BE ASKING PEOPLE TO SIGN UP AND GET A TICKET - SO MARK YOUR CALENDARS AND PLAN ON JOINING IN ON ALL OF THE GOOD FOOD & FUN!!!! *** St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church 14 West Anderson St. Savannah, GA Phone: Fax:

18 ST. PAUL S NEWS AND NOTES PHILOPTOCHOS NEWS The 2010 National Philoptochos Biennial Convention was held in Atlanta on July 4th thru the 7th. National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeades along with the convention chair-persons and the Metropolis of Atlanta organized a four day inspirational program enabling close to 400 Philoptochos ladies to come together and reflect on their hardwork and goals that were met. We left with an even greater understanding of our mission. The Savannah chapter was represented by Mercie Polites and Marie Danos. St. Barbara s Philoptochos received two awards: 2010 National Philoptochos Awards Program Award of Excellence St. Paul Philoptochos Chapter #5019 In Recognition of National Ministry Commitments 100% participation in and 2010 National Philoptochos Award Program Award of Excellence St. Paul Philoptochos Chapter #5019 In Recognition of Most Notable Project Sheila House CONGRATULATIONS!! It was an honor to receive these awards on behalf of the hard working ladies of St. Barbara s Philoptochos Society UPCOMING EVENTS August 1st- Philoptochos Tray September 11th: SAVE THIS DATE!! 8TH Annual Savannah International Food & Wine Festival Advance tickets - $25 At The Door - $30 OCTOBER 14 th, 15 th & 16 th FESTIVAL BAKING The Festival is fast approaching!! Mark your calendars and come and support your Festival! Tuesday & Wednesday ~August 24th & 25th ~ Koulourakia September ~ Kourabiedes October ~ Baklava DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED The Greek Festival is our Community s largest fund raiser!! It is also an event that is eagerly awaited by the Savannah Community. As you know... we rely on YOUR Volunteer help. The Festival Volunteer sheet will be in the September issue - Jamie Newman and Mary Ann Gonis will be in charge of coordinating the volunteer schedules. St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church 14 West Anderson St. Savannah, GA Phone: Fax:

19 8th Annual Savannah International FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 11, PM St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Hellenic Center 14 West Anderson Street Savannah, Georgia Please join us for delectable dishes from some of Savannah s finest restaurants and a selection of over 50 wines from around the world. $25 per person in advance/$30 at the door All proceeds to benefit the Scholarship Fund and the many charities of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society Still the BEST deal in town! MUST BE 21 TO ENTER Call (912) for more information

20 St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church Sunday School Registration ~ ~ STUDENT BIRTHDAY & AGE GRADE BAPTISMAL NAME/DATE PARENTS ADDRESS CITY ZIP CODE PHONE NUMBERS FOOD ALLERGIES

21

22

23 St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church Stewardship Comparison June 2009 As of June 30th, 2009 Total Collected thru June 2009 $ 50, June 2010 As of June 30th, 2010 Total Collected thru June 2010 $ 63, Total Pledged thru 6/30/09 $ 110, Total Pledged thru 6/30/10 $ 118, Total Families who have turned in a pledge card 191 Total Families who have turned in a pledge card 194 If YOU have not made a pledge or payment yet this year PLEASE Prayerfully consider making one TODAY. We need everyone to participate. FINANCIAL REPORTS If any member in Good Standing would like to look at the Financial Reports of the Parish, please call the to make an appointment.

24 August 1st Ushers: *Kostas Karfakis, Andy Caparisos, Mary Ann Gonis, George Gonis, **Tony Morris & Billy Norse Acolytes: Michael Mamalakis, Eugene Mihai, Alex McDonnell, Atha Stathopoulos, Channing Stroud & Alexi Varlagas Nursery: Open w/parental Supervision Bookstore: Ursla Anestos August 8th Ushers: Tommy Danos, Jamie Newman, George Polites, Pete Simon, Jerry Welsh, Sr. & George Donkar (*Tony Morris, **Andy Caparisos) Acolytes: Drew Deleanides, Austin Jones, Louis Hewett, Timothy Newport, James Polites, Andoni Sideris & Steven Rousakis Nursery: Open w/parental Supervision Bookstore: Anna Gounaris August 15th Ushers: *Jimmy Stevens, Eddie Lambros, Steve Mousourakis, Tom Sideris, Stathy Stathopoulos & **Andy Crawford Acolytes: Michael Mamalakis, Eugene Mihai, Alex McDonnell, Atha Stathopoulos, Channing Stroud & Alexi Varlagas Nursery: Open w/parental Supervision Bookstore: Faye Goodson August 22nd Ushers:*Kostas Karfakis, Andy Caparisos, Mary Ann Gonis, George Gonis, Tony Morris & Billy Norse (**Steve Mousourakis) Acolytes:Drew Deleanides, Austin Jones, Louis Hewett, Timothy Newport, James Polites, Andoni Sideris & Steven Rousakis Nursery: Open w/parental Supervision Bookstore: Anna Maria Goodson August 29th Ushers: Tommy Danos, * Jamie Newman, George Polites, Pete Simon, Jerry Welsh, Sr. & George Donkar (**Andy Caparisos) Acolytes: Michael Mamalakis, Eugene Mihai, Alex McDonnell, Atha Stathopoulos, Channing Stroud & Alexi Varlagas Nursery: Open w/parental Supervision Bookstore: Georgia Lamas * denotes person(s) opening ** denotes person(s) closing TO ALL VOLUNTEERS-If you are unable to make your scheduled date, please get a substitute-thank you! Also, please be on time If there are altar servers who are not listed or others who no longer serve, please contact the office for corrections to the

25 (Back of Calendar) SHINGLES (Here s the reason why our health care costs so much!!!) Bubba had shingles. Those of us who spend much time in a doctor's office should appreciate this! Doesn't it seem more and more that physicians are running their practices like an assembly line? Here's what happened to Bubba: Bubba walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Bubba said: 'Shingles.' So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat. Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, 'Shingles.' So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told Bubba to wait in the examining room. A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, 'Shingles.' So the nurse gave Bubba a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told Bubba to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor. An hour later the doctor came in and found Bubba sitting patiently in the nude and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, 'Shingles.' The doctor asked, 'Where?' Bubba said, 'Outside on the truck. Where do you want me to unload 'em???' LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT An elderly woman decided to prepare her will and told her preacher she had two final requests. First, she wanted to be cremated, and second, she wanted her ashes scattered over Wall-Mart. Wal-Mart? the preacher exclaimed. Why Wal-Mart? Then I ll be sure my daughters visit me twice a week. HARD TO HEAR An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed him to hear 100%. He went back in a month and the doctor said, Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again. The gentleman replied, Oh, I haven t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I ve changed my will three times!

26 a ANDRONIKOS GOLD WORKS Oglethorpe Mall Store 156 Box 22 (912) Savannah, GA FAX (912) In Loving Memory of Yanni Andronikos JOHN NICHOLS CRYSTAL BEER PARLOR SINCE WEST JONES STREET SAVANNAH, GEORGIA PHILLIP NICHOLS

27 St. Paul s Greek Orthodox Church 14 West Anderson Street Savannah, Georgia Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 179 Savannah, GA. Address Service Requested Place Label Here! Mark Your Calendars AND SAVE THE DATES! The Savannah Greek Festival is fast approaching! OCTOBER 14 TH, 15 TH & 16 TH

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