Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Help the Refugees of Syria

June 12, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Orthodox Life, Orthodox News

Help Syrian Refugees

The IOCC is asking for help in the Syrian Crisis: (please check www.iocc.org or ww.iocc.org/news/6-7-13syrian-refugees.aspx),they are helping refugees who have fled to Iraq.

Please consider bringing the following items for either a “Health Kit” or a “Baby Kit”. We will assemble them during the AHEPA BBQ and ship them to the IOCC/Church World Service for distribution.

Please bring the items with you on Sunday June 30th. Contact Fr. Tom or Fr. Nebojsa if you have any questions.

 

Health Kit

Buy a one-gallon plastic bag with a zipper closure and fill it with the following items:

  • One hand towel
  • One washcloth
  • One comb
  • One metal nail file or nail clipper
  • One bar of soap (bath size, new and wrapped in original packaging)
  • One toothbrush (NO TOOTHPASTE)
  • Six Band-Aids

OR

Baby Kit

  • Six cloth diapers
  • Two T-shirts or undershirts (no onesies)
  • Two washcloths
  • Two gowns or sleepers
  • Two diaper pins
  • One sweater or sweatshirt (Can be hand knitted or crocheted)
  • Two receiving blankets (one can be a hand knitted or crocheted baby blanket)
  • Items must be new and under 12 months in size.

Please keep the suffering people of Syria, the Middle East and the world in your prayers!

2013 Patriarchal Encyclical for Pascha

May 5, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life, Patriarchate News

Christ is Risen! The proclamation of the Resurrection by the myrrh-bearing women to the disciples of Christ was considered delirious. Yet, the word, formerly conceived as delirious, was confirmed as Truth. The risen Lord appeared to His disciples on several occasions.

† BARTHOLOMEW
By God’s mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, Peace and Mercy from Christ Risen in Glory

Beloved concelebrants and devout, god-loving children of the Church,

Christ is Risen!

The proclamation of the Resurrection by the myrrh-bearing women to the disciples of Christ was considered delirious. Yet, the word, formerly conceived as delirious, was confirmed as Truth. The risen Lord appeared to His disciples on several occasions.

In our time, the proclamation of the Resurrection is again considered delirious by rationalists. Nonetheless, we faithful not only believe in but also experience the Resurrection as a profoundly truthful fact. Indeed, if necessary, we seal our testimony with self-sacrifice because in the risen Christ we transcend death and are liberated from its fear. Our hearts are filled with joy when we repeat: The Lord has risen. Our saints, who have died according to the world, continue to live among us, responding to our petitions. The world that follows death is truer than the world that precedes death. Christ has risen and dwells among us. He has promised to be with us to the end of the world. And so He is – as our friend, brother, healer, who bestows all good things.
(more…)

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for Holy Pascha – May 5, 2013

May 5, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Archdiocese News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this glorious Feast of Feasts filled with the brilliant light and exhilarating joy we find in the presence of our Risen Lord, I proclaim with you, Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen! As we gather to worship and give thanks to God for His abundant grace and the manifestation of His power in conquering death and restoring us to life, we affirm in hymn and words the universal impact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the Canon of this Holy Feast and the services of the Paschal period, we proclaim, “Now all things are filled with light;” “Christ the Savior of the world…has filled all things with fragrance;” and “All things have been enlightened by His Resurrection.”Protocol 44/13

May 5, 2013

Holy Pascha

The Feast of Feasts

 

Now all things are filled with light; Heaven and earth, and the nethermost regions of the earth.  Let all creation, therefore, celebrate the arising of Christ, whereby it is established.

(Hymn of the Canon of Pascha)

 

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

 

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this glorious Feast of Feasts filled with the brilliant light and exhilarating joy we find in the presence of our Risen Lord, I proclaim with you,

Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!

As we gather to worship and give thanks to God for His abundant grace and the manifestation of His power in conquering death and restoring us to life, we affirm in hymn and words the universal impact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the Canon of this Holy Feast and the services of the Paschal period, we proclaim, “Now all things are filled with light;” “Christ the Savior of the world…has filled all things with fragrance;” and “All things have been enlightened by His Resurrection.”

Through the power of our Lord’s Resurrection and the revelation of Him as the Source of true and eternal life, all of creation has been filled with the presence of God’s grace.  The light of the Resurrection infuses all things, and no darkness remains.  Nothing remains hidden—the consequences of sin are exposed, and the victory of the Cross is revealed. (more…)

Metropolitan Gerasimos – Paschal Encyclical 2013

May 5, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Metropolis News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life, Orthodox Worship

Dearly Beloved,

This night across our Metropolis our communities are overflowing. We have put on our best attire and gathered as a parish to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection. Everyone is excited and in good spirits, anticipating the announcement of the Good News. We greet one another with joy. All of this reminds me of the verse from the great Doxastikon of Pascha, “Let us be glorious in splendor for the festival, and let us embrace one another.” I too, join you in this celebration and greet you in the name of our Resurrected Lord.

Most of you have gathered this night to hold a lit candle, to proclaim the Resurrection of Christ, and to sing the joyous hymns of our Church. A candle was placed in your hands at your baptism when you first proclaimed your faith in Christ the King and Lord of your life and you were united with Him. You became a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High God, who became one of us for our sakes. And, as Saint Paul writes to the Philippians , “Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:8-11). (more…)

Holy Week Schedule 2013

Pascha Picnic

April 23, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Community Events, Orthodox Life, Our Parish


The Ascension Cathedral Fellowship Gathering and Pascha Picnic following the Agape Services is being at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. You can reserve your tables in advance or just come! No admission fee and parking is free.
Picnic photo © 2006 Dustin M. Ramsey

Sunday of Orthodoxy Videos 2013

March 26, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life, Orthodox Worship, Orthodoxy, Our Parish

Gallery: Over 55 Club Visits Holy Virgin Cathedral

March 6, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Orthodox Life, Our Parish

On February 28 our parish’s Over 55 Club visited Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco, home to the relics of St. John the Wonderworker.  Thanks to Tula Matz for providing photos of the event.

Understanding the Christian Orthodox Faith

January 10, 2013 Posted by  
Filed under Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life, Orthodox Worship, Orthodoxy


Part three of a video discussing the basics of our faith for those unfamiliar with Orthodox Christianity. Parts one and two may be found on our video resources page.

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for the Feast of St. Basil and the New Year – January 1, 2013

December 28, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under Archdiocese News, News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life

Protocol Number 01/13

January 1, 2013
Feast of Saint Basil and New Year

Be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new nature, created after the
likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
 (Ephesians 4:23-24)

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we come to the beginning of a new calendar year, we are very familiar with the atmosphere of expectations and hopes for new beginnings that pervades our modern world.  With the changing of a number and the turning of a calendar page, many people seek to leave behind experiences and challenges of the past year and look forward to a new year and the possibility of new opportunities and better circumstances in life.  Others are thankful for the events and memories of the year that has passed, and greet the new year with anticipation of greater things to come.

While we are influenced by this element of our culture which is linked to how we mark the passage of time, we know as Orthodox Christians that there is a much more appropriate focus in reflection on the past and anticipation of future—the grace of God.  It is His grace that offers us forgiveness and hope.  It is by His great mercy that our hearts, minds and bodies are renewed.  Through His abundant love, we are filled with gratitude for all that He has offered, and we look forward to a new year of tremendous blessings.

This focus on the newness of life we find in God’s grace is essential each day of our lives; but it is also very appropriate on a day when we commemorate Saint Basil the Great.  This is an affirmation of the power of grace.  In venerating the life and witness of Saint Basil, we recognize that God’s grace was “poured out” upon him, so that he not only had the power to “reveal divine things” but also to be a “minister of the Gospel.”  In his writings, sermons, and letters, Saint Basil emphasized the vital role of God’s grace as it has been revealed both in creation and human life, and through the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.  He also illustrated the power of grace through a life dedicated to caring for the sick, the orphaned, and the elderly.

It is also on this day and throughout the month of January that we recognize the sacred work of Saint Basil Academy.  Each year we are led by our National Philoptochos Society and local chapters in collecting funds for this ministry of grace.  As you participate in the special offerings and the cutting of the Vasilopeta, I ask you to give generously.  The care, healing, and love offered by the board, directors, and staff at Saint Basil Academy is a faithful witness of the power of grace.  Each day, the children and youth at the Academy see and experience the love of God and are offered examples of the necessity of communion with Him.  In this atmosphere filled with grace, they are able to find the guidance, peace, and joy that they need in their young lives.

In addition to your gifts for Saint Basil Academy, I ask you to remember this ministry in your prayers.  May you also prayerfully consider the power of God’s grace in your life.  As you begin the new year, be ready for the great blessings that God will offer to you and through you to other people.  In your commemorations of this day, may you be assured that God’s love and mercy are with you always.  On this day of renewal, I pray that you and your families have a happy and blessed New Year.

With paternal love in Christ,

†DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America

Personal Message of Compassion from Ecumenical Patriarch

December 19, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under News, Orthodox Life, Patriarchate News

PERSONAL MESSAGE OF COMPASSION

On the Tragic Events at Sandy Hook Elementary School
Newtown, Connecticut

From His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
(Sunday, December 16, 2012)

Today, during the Divine Liturgy our heart and attention were directed in thought and prayer for those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Connecticut, USA, especially the tender children and their caring teachers. We stand in silent prayer and tears beside their siblings, parents, and extended family, as well as the community and entire American nation, as we mourn the loss of innocence and extinguishing of dreams.

At this moment, we are the silence and tears of God. No words can adequately express the grief of those related to the victims or, indeed, the disbelief of us all. Silence and tears are the only fitting response to the traumatic unfolding of events, which began last Friday morning, and whose reverberation will continue for days and years to come. Silence and tears are the only tangible way that the presence of God, who always receives “the sacrifice of a broken and crushed heart,” can fill our painful void with solace and transform our unimaginable grief into comfort. Silence and tears are the only selfless way that we can stand in solidarity with one another before this tragedy.

When the pain subsides and the tears dry, then we may reflect on the reality of horror and darkness in our world. Then we must interpret for our children; but, more importantly, we must inform society and influence politicians about how to reshape our world so that this never happens again. We must ponder our response to the suffering and violence in our life. We must understand the responsibility we share for terror and evil, which is easily blamed on others – whether other peoples or other individuals – but should also be discerned among us and even within us. And we must assume initiatives for radical decisions and drastic changes in our society and the global community. Then, the lives of these victims will not have been lost in vain. Then, their candles will shine brightly forever.

There are more angels in heaven today. And those closest to the sweet children and their loving teachers are surrounded by more than just our love. They can take pride in “such a great cloud of witnesses,” who are now in the arms of God.

May their memory be eternal!

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, with paternal compassion and fervent prayer

† BARTHOLOMEW
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome
and Ecumenical Patriarch

Message from Metropolitan Gerasimos on the Connecticut Shooting

December 17, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under Metropolis News, News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life

Dearly Beloved,

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them;
for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14

Today our country witnessed a horrific tragedy in the shooting deaths of 20 children and seven adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A distressed young man brought weapons into the school, killing both students and adults, creating an atmosphere of terror within the entire community.

There are not adequate words to offer consolation to those affected by this tragedy. Young lives, full of potential, were unnecessarily taken from their families. Parents who sent their children to school are now overwhelmed with anger and grief.

We offer, first and foremost, our sincere condolences to all those who have been affected by this tragedy. We also must remember in our prayers the families of all the victims, seeking God’s comfort and mercy upon them. It is important to also take comfort knowing that, even though these lives were taken in such a violent way, they are in the peaceful and loving embrace of our Lord.

The Christmas spirit should not be diminished by this senseless crime. Rather, it should serve as a reminder to us that each day is a gift from God, and we must be thankful for every moment we share together.  Please offer your personal prayers for the people of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all who are suffering, and also take a few extra moments with your own family, offering an embrace and a caring word to those you love.

May God grant eternal rest to their souls, and bring peace and comfort to the hearts of the community.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco

Download this message

Patriarchal Encyclical for Christmas

December 17, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life, Orthodox News, Patriarchate News

+ BARTHOLOMEW

By the Mercy of God Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome

And Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church

Grace, Mercy and Peace

From the Savior Christ Born in Bethlehem

*   *   *

          “Christ is born, glorify Him; Christ is on earth, exalt Him.”

Let us rejoice in gladness for the ineffable condescension of God.The angels precede us singing: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will among all people.”

       Yet, on earth we behold and experience wars and threats of wars. Still, the joyful announcement is in no way annulled. Peace has truly come to earth through reconciliation between God and people in the person of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, however, we human beings have not been reconciled, despite God’s sacred will. We retain a hateful disposition for one another. We discriminate against one another by means of fanaticism with regard to religious and political convictions, by means of greed in the acquisition of material goods, and through expansionism in the exercise of political power. These are the reasons why we come into conflict with one another.

With his Decree of Milan issued in 313AD, the enlightened Roman emperor, St. Constantine the Great, instituted freedom in the practice of the Christian faith, alongside freedom in the practice of every other religion. Sadly, with the passing since then of precisely 1700 years, we continue to see religious persecution against Christians and other Christian minorities in various places.

Moreover, economic competition is spreading globally, as is the pursuit of ephemeral profit, which is promoted as a principal target. The gloomy consequences of the overconcentration of wealth in the hands of the few and the financial desolation of the vast human masses are ignored. This disproportion, which is described worldwide as a financial crisis, is essentially the product of a moral crisis. Nevertheless, humankind is regrettably not attributing the proper significance to this moral crisis. In order to justify this indifference, people invoke the notion of free trade. But free trade is not a license for crime. And criminal conduct is far more than what is recorded in penal codes. It includes what cannot be foreseen by the prescription of statutory laws, such as the confiscation of people’s wealth by supposedly legitimate means. Inasmuch, therefore, as the law cannot be formally imposed, the actions of a minority of citizens are often expressed in an unrestrained manner, provoking disruption in social justice and peace.

From the Ecumenical Patriarchate, then, we have been closely following the “signs of the times,” which everywhere echo the “sounds” of “war and turmoil” – with “nation rising against nation, dominion against dominion, great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues, alongside dreadful phenomena and heavenly portents.” (Luke 21.10-12) In many ways, we are experiencing what St. Basil wrote about “the two types of love: one is feeling sorrow and concern upon seeing one’s beloved harmed; the other is rejoicing and striving to benefit one’s beloved. Anyone who demonstrates neither of these categories clearly does not love one’s brother or sister. (Basil the Great, Shorter Rules, PG31.1200A) This is why, from this sacred See and Center of Orthodoxy, we proclaim the impending new year as the Year of Global Solidarity.

It is our hope that in this way we may be able to sensitize sufficient hearts among humankind regarding the immense and extensive problem of poverty and the need to assume the necessary measures to comfort the hungry and misfortunate.

As your spiritual father and church leader, we ask for the support of all persons and governments of good will in order that we may realize the Lord’s peace on earth – the peace announced by the angels and granted by the infant Jesus. If we truly desire this peace, which transcends all understanding, we are obliged to pursue it palpably instead of being indifferent to the spiritual and material vulnerability of our brothers and sisters, for whom Christ was born.

Love and peace are the essential features of the Lord’s disciples and of every Christian. So let us encourage one another during this Year of Global Solidarity to make every conscious effort – as individuals and nations – for the reduction of the inhumane consequences created by the vast inequalities as well as the recognition by all people of the rights of the weakest among us in order that everyone may enjoy the essential goods necessary for human life. Thus, we shall indeed witness – at least to the degree that it is humanly possible – the realization of peace on earth.

Together with all of material and spiritual creation, we venerate the nativity of the Son and Word of God from the Virgin Mary, bowing down before the newborn Jesus – our illumination and salvation, our advocate in life – and wondering like the Psalmist “Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid?” (Ps. 26.1) as Christians, since “to us is born today a savior” (Luke 2.11), “the Lord of hosts, the king of glory.” (Ps. 23.10)

We hope earnestly and pray fervently that the dawning 2013 will be for everyone a year of global solidarity, freedom, reconciliation, good will, peace and joy. May the pre-eternal Word of the Father, who was born in a manger, who united angels and human beings into one order, establishing peace on earth, grant to all people patience, hope and strength, while blessing the world with the divine gifts of His love. Amen.

At the Phanar, Christmas 2012

Your fervent supplicant before God

+ Bartholomew of Constantinople

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ 2012

December 17, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under Archdiocese News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life

The Greek language encyclical is available here.

Protocol Number 173/12
December 25, 2012
The Nativity of Christ

When the fullness of time had come,
God sent forth His Son, born of a woman….
(Galatians 4:4)

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is filled with joyful proclamations of the fulfillment of His promises for redemption and new life.  “Today the Virgin gives birth to Him who is above all being.”  “Today God has come upon the earth, and man gone up to heaven.”  “Today He who knows no beginning now begins to be, and the Word is made flesh.”  These words from the hymns of the feast affirm the magnitude of the events in Bethlehem on that day.  They also nurture within our hearts the joy, assurance and hope that are offered through the One who became incarnate.

The joy of the Feast of the Nativity is known and experienced through the revelation of God’s divine plan for the salvation of humankind.  This deep and fulfilling joy was expressed by the Virgin Mary when she praised God for being chosen to be the mother of Christ: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46).  When the angel appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus he proclaimed, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).  We also have received this revelation through the message of the Gospel and through our experience of the presence of Christ in our midst.  On this glorious feast our hearts are filled with ineffable joy.

This great joy we share in celebrating the Nativity of our Lord also strengthens our faith in the promises of God.  The witness of the Incarnation is that God is faithful and true.  The fulfillment of His promises of redemption were affirmed by Zacharias, the father of Saint John the Baptist, when he proclaimed, “For God has visited and redeemed His people…as He spoke by the mouth of His holy Prophets (Luke 1:68, 70).  In his Gospel, Saint Matthew wrote, So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the Prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel (Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 7:14).  And in the hymns of this Nativity season we sing, “The revelation of Christ is now made manifest: the preachings of the Prophets have received their fulfillment.  The holy sayings of the Prophets have been fulfilled in the city of Bethlehem within a cave” (Vespers and Matins of the Forefeast).  On this day all that had been promised by God, all that had been foretold for our salvation, was fulfilled in the birth of Christ.

The joy and assurance that we have in our communion with God on this holy feast engenders within our hearts an enduring hope. Our joy in the fulfillment of His divine plan for our salvation and our assurance through our faith in the truth of the Gospel, give us a firm hope in His promises of eternal life, for the complete restoration of our fellowship with Him, and for the fulfillment of all things.  This is a feast of hope because through it we see all that has been accomplished, and we are given a glimpse of what is to come.  This Feast of the Nativity of our Lord affirms for each one of us that we can have hope and joy in any of the circumstances and conditions of life—hope in the transformation of our lives through faith and hope in the power of God’s love.

On this blessed and holy feast, I offer to each of you my best wishes for a joyful season of worship and fellowship.  May your hearts be filled with assurance, joy and hope, and may the peace and mercy of our Lord be with you in the new year.

With paternal love in Christ,

†DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America


Ἀριθμός Πρωτοκόλλου: 173/12

25 Δεκεμβρίου 2012
Χριστούγεννα

Ὅτε δέ ἦλθεν τό πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου,
ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ Θεός τόν Υἱόν Αὐτοῦ, γενόμενον
ἐκ γυναικός.
(πρός Γαλάτας 4:4)

Προσφιλεῖς Ἀδελφοί καί Ἀδελφές ἐν Χριστῷ,

Ὁ ἑορτασμός τῶν Χριστουγέννων εἶναι γεμᾶτος μέ χαρμόσυνες διακηρύξεις τῆς ἐκπληρώσεως τῶν ὑποσχέσεων τοῦ Σαρκωθέντος Κυρίου γιά λύτρωση καί καινή ζωή: «Σήμερον ἡ Παρθένος γεννᾶ τόν ὑπεράνω παντός ὄντος». «Σήμερον ὁ Θεός ἔρχεται ἐπί γῆς καί ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἀνέρχεται εἰς οὐρανόν». «Σήμερον ὁ ἄναρχος ἄρχεται καί ὁ Λόγος σαρκοῦται».Αὐτοί οἱ λόγοι τῶν ὕμνων τῆς ἑορτῆς τῶν Χριστουγέννων ἐπιβεβαιώνουν τό μέγεθος τῶν γεγονότων τά ὁποῖα ἐκτυλίχθηκαν στήν Βηθλεέμ τήν ἡμέρα αὐτή. Καλλιεργοῦν ἐπίσης μέσα στήν καρδιά μας τήν χαρά, τήν βεβαιότητα καί τήν ἐλπίδα πού προσφέρονται ἀπό τόν Ἕνα ὁ Ὁποῖος σαρκώθηκε.

Ἡ χαρά τῆς Ἑορτῆς τῆς Γεννήσεως εἶναι γνωστή καί βιώνεται μέσα ἀπό τήν ἀποκάλυψη τοῦ θείου σχεδίου τοῦ Θεοῦ γιά τήν σωτηρία τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος. Αὐτή ἡ βαθειά καί πλήρης χαρά ἐκφράσθηκε ἀπό τήν Παρθένο Μαρία ὅταν ἐδόξασε τόν Θεό γιά τήν ἐπιλογή της νά γίνῃ ἡ μητέρα τοῦ Χριστοῦ: Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τόν Κύριον, καί ἠγαλλίασεν τό πνεῦμά μου ἐπί τῷ Θεῷ τῷ Σωτῆρι μου (Λουκ. 1:16). Ὅταν ὁ ἄγγελος παρουσιάσθηκε στούς ποιμένες ἀνακοινώνοντας τήν γέννηση τοῦ Χριστοῦ, διεκήρυξε, Ἰδού γάρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαράν μεγάλην ἥτις ἔσται παντί τῷ λαῷ, ὅτι ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σήμερον Σωτήρ ὅς ἐστιν Χριστός Κύριος ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ (Λουκ. 2:10-11). Ἔχουμε λάβει, ἐπίσης, αὐτή τήν ἀποκάλυψη μέσα ἀπό τό μήνυμα τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, μέσα ἀπό τήν ἐμπειρία μας τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἀνάμεσά μας. Σ’αὐτή τήν ἔνδοξη ἑορτή οἱ καρδιές μας γεμίζουν μέ ἀνείπωτη χαρά.

Αὐτή ἡ μεγάλη χαρά πού μοιραζόμεθα στόν ἑορτασμό τῆς Γεννήσεως τοῦ Κυρίου μας δυναμώνει ἐπίσης τήν πίστη μας στίς ὑποσχέσεις τοῦ Θεοῦ. Ἡ μαρτυρία τῆς Σαρκώσεως εἶναι ὅτι ὁ Θεός εἶναι πιστός καί ἀληθινός. Ἡ ἐκπλήρωση τῶν ὑποσχέσεών Του γιά λύτρωση ἐπιβεβαιώθηκαν ἀπό τόν Ζαχαρία, πατέρα τοῦ Ἁγίου Ἰωάννου τοῦ Βαπτιστοῦ, ὅταν εἶπε: ὁ Θεός ἐπεσκέψατο καί ἐποίησεν λύτρωσιν τῷ λαῷ Αὐτοῦ… καθώς ἐλάλησεν διά στόματος τῶν ἁγίων ἀπ’αἰῶνος προφητῶν Αὐτοῦ (Λουκ. 1:68, 70). Στό Εὐαγγέλιό του, ὁ Εὐαγγελιστής Ματθαῖος ἔγραψε, τοῦτο δέ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τό ῥηθέν ὑπό τοῦ Κυρίου διά τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος∙ ‘ Ἰδού ἡ Παρθένος ἐν γαστρί ἕξει καί τέξεται Υἱόν, καί καλέσουσιν τό ὄνομα Αὐτοῦ  Ἐμμανουήλ (Ματθ. 1:22-23, Ἠσαΐου 7:14).

Καί στούς ὕμνους τῆς Χριστουγεννιάτικης περιόδου ψάλλουμε, «Ἡ ἀποκάλυψη τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐφανερώθη, τό κήρυγμα τῶν προφητῶν ἐξεπληρώθη ἐν πόλει Βηθλεέμ» (Ἑσπερινός καί Ὄρθρος πρό τῆς Ἑορτῆς). Αὐτή τήν ἡμέρα, ὅλες οἱ ὑποσχέσεις τοῦ Θεοῦ ὅλες οἱ προρήσεις τῶν προφητῶν περί τῆς σωτηρίας μας ἐξεπληρώθησαν στή Γέννηση τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Ἡ χαρά καί ἡ βεβαιότητα πού βιώνουμε στήν κοινωνία μας μέ τόν Θεό σ’ αὐτή τήν ἁγία Ἑορτή προκαλεῖ μέσα στίς καρδιές μας διαρκῆ ἐλπίδα. Ἡ χαρά μας στήν ἐκπλήρωση τοῦ θελήματος τοῦ Θεοῦ γιά τήν λύτρωσή μας καί ἡ βεβαιότητά μας βασισμένη στήν πίστη μας στήν ἀλήθεια τοῦ Εὐαγγελίου, μᾶς δίδει σταθερή ἐλπίδα στίς ὑποσχέσεις Του γιά αἰώνια ζωή, γιά τήν πλήρη ἀποκατάσταση τῆς σχέσεώς μας μ’ Ἐκεῖνον, καί γιά τήν ὁλοκλήρωση ὅλων τῶν πραγμάτων. Αὐτή εἶναι ἑορτή ἐλπίδος διότι δι’ αὐτῆς βλέπουμε ὅλα αὐτά πού ἔχουν ἐπιτευχθεῖ, καί παίρνουμε μιά ἰδέα γιά αὐτό πού ἀκολουθεῖ. Αὐτή ἡ Ἑορτή τῆς Γεννήσεως τοῦ Κυρίου μας ἐπιβεβαιώνει στόν καθένα μας ὅτι μποροῦμε νά ἔχουμε ἐλπίδα καί χαρά σέ ὅλες τίς συνθῆκες καί καταστάσεις τῆς ζωῆς, ἐλπίδα στή μεταμόρφωση τῆς ζωῆς μας διά τῆς πίστεως, καί ἐλπίδα στήν δύναμη τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ Θεοῦ.

Σ’αὐτή τήν εὐλογημένη καί ἁγία Ἑορτή, εὔχομαι στόν καθένα σας τίς καλύτερες εὐχές μου γιά μιά χαρμόσυνη περίοδο λατρείας καί ἀδελφοσύνης. Εἴθε οἱ καρδιές σας νά εἶναι γεμάτες βεβαιότητα, χαρά καί ἐλπίδα, καί εἴθε ἡ εἰρήνη καί τό ἔλεος τοῦ Κυρίου μας νά σᾶς συντροφεύουν στό νέο ἔτος.

Μετά πατρικῆς ἐν Χριστῷ ἀγάπης,

† ὁ ἈρχιεπίσκοποςἈμερικῆς Δημήτριος

Christmas Encyclical from His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos

December 17, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under Metropolis News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”
Isaiah 9:2

Dearly Beloved,

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

The Christmas season is a season of light. We see the decorative lights that brighten the night skies and herald the coming of the light of Christ into the world. The light has returned; the light of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior has shattered the darkness of the world. While natural cycles cause the darkness of winter, the real darkness is human pride, cynicism, and isolation which tear apart our relations with God, our neighbor and the world around us. The Nativity of Christ penetrates this darkness in the most unlikely of ways, the birth of a child. We expect God to act dramatically and with might to correct our world, to put things right. In the Church we often sing, “Who is so great a God as our God? He alone does wonders.” But not at Christmas, because in His Nativity, Jesus Christ enters the world in humility and poverty, almost unnoticed, except for a great light that draws attention. As a hymn of Vespers for Christmas says, “When the Lord Jesus was born of the Holy Virgin, all the world was enlightened. The shepherds watched in the fields, the Magi adored and the angels praised in song.”

Most likely you will mark the coming of the light by decorating your Christmas tree with lights, placing lights in your home, or placing candles in your windows. Each one of these actions remind all who see them that yours is a Christian home and you have important news to proclaim: Christ is Born! and the world glorifies the Sun of Righteousness! The light has come into the world and his name is Jesus born of the virgin. Like the angles in the Gospels we will go to our churches and sing the doxology, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace among men” Luke 2:14.

Beloved brothers and sisters, do not let the darkness of our age overpower you. It is easy to be cynical and bitter at this time. The news is filled with ongoing war, financial disasters, endless political gridlock and widespread crime. But because we are Christians we know that God is with us. The Almighty God kept His promise to send a Savior of His people. Christ Jesus is Born. He is Emmanuel; He has entered our world and never left us. We are not alone. We know this in our hearts and we experience this is our churches, we are hopeful people. We can reflect the light of Christ in our workplaces, among our friends and neighbors, in our communities. We no longer live in darkness, because we have seen the light of Christ. We can overpower the darkness of our time through kindness and respect for all people. We can do this by our willingness to be generous stewards and philanthropists in our churches and in our society supporting the many needs of both.

Parents will, in these days, read storybooks to their children at bedtime. They may attend a Christmas show at a theater. These are wonderful family experiences that will create a lifetime of memories. But do not limit a child’s understanding of Christmas to television specials or sugary spectacles that avoid the real story of Christmas. This year, one night, open the Bible and read the story of Christ’s Birth. Tell your children you have a beautiful story to share with them, one that changed the world and changes lives. Tell them it is a love story, a story of God’s love for all of us.

May the light of the Star of Bethlehem, the light of Christ, illumine your path and shine in your hearts in these Holy Days of Light.

With Love in Christ the Newborn King,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco

Download this message

Light a Candle!

Have you ever wanted to just come by the church to light a candle & pray for someone? Feel like you don’t have time to come all the way to church to do this? Well now you can do it online! The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA has an online candle lighting program that anyway can use, at any time! Just click on the picture below! God Bless you and may Christ our Lord & Savior and all of the saints intercede for us!

Instructions: When you get to the website linked below, you will see a stand with candles on it, and candelabras with a lit candle. Please click on one of the candles on the stand, and then “light” it (place the head of the candle next to the lit candle), and then “place” your lit candle “into” the sand (the bottom of the lit candle must be touching the sand).

Thanksgiving Encyclical 2012

November 21, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under Metropolis News, Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Life

Dearly Beloved,

It is with great joy that I greet you on the occasion of this great American holiday of Thanksgiving. In 1621, after their difficult journey to the New World, the Pilgrims and Puritans  celebrated this festival as a special thanksgiving to God for a bountiful harvest. President Abraham Lincoln established it as a national holiday in 1863, as a way of healing the devastating division of the Civil War. Today, it continues to be a special time of thankful remembrance and national unity.

For Orthodox Christians, too, this holiday provides a significant opportunity for spiritual edification.  As we are constantly thankful for “every good and perfect gift which comes from God the Father of lights” as we affirm at every Divine Liturgy, we remember during this holiday all the blessings in our life in a unique way. (more…)

ARCHDIOCESE ESTABLISHES HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF FUND

ARCHBISHOP DEMETRIOS VISITS STORM RAVAGED AREAS IN STATEN ISLAND, NY
NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America establishes the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and designates Sunday November 11, 2012 as a day of prayer and offering on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Archbishop Demetrios of America, on behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod, issued today an Encyclical (click here ) in which he calls upon all the faithful throughout the Church in America to pray fervently for comfort from above. We offer prayers of remembrance for those who perished and of solace for those who lost family members. We pray for the many who have lost their homes, and for those who are facing uncertainty regarding their jobs and livelihood.
The Archdiocesan Encyclical designates next Sunday a day of prayer for the victims and asks the parishes of our Holy Archdiocese to conduct a special collection for the “Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund,” and the proceeds to be sent to the Archdiocese, which will coordinate the relief efforts with the National Philoptochos, the Metropolis of New Jersey and the Direct Archdiocesan District. Donations by check can also be send directly to the Archdiocese designated for the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund or made online at: http://www.goarch.org/special/hurricanesandy

The Archbishop continuing the assessment of damages of Hurricane Sandy, visited yesterday Sunday Nov. 4, the Greek Orthodox Church of Holy Trinity / St. Nicholas in Staten Island, N.Y., which has been hard hit by the storm. He presided over the Divine Liturgy and offered a Trisagion prayer service for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives. He also led the congregation in prayer for strength and comfort from God for all the people who lost their homes, their businesses and property and are suffering in the aftermath. After the liturgy he met families who were affected by the hurricane and together with the community’s pastor, Fr. Nicholas Petropoulakos and National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas surveyed an area of Staten Island that was ravaged by the storm and suffered tremendous damage and loss. The Archbishop was joined by Greek American NY Assemblywoman Nicole Maliotakis, who is coordinating relief efforts for her constituency and together they met with and spoke to many volunteers, including local AHEPA officials, who were distributing food and supplies or were helping in the cleanup.

Fr. Nicholas Petropoulakos said he appreciated the presence and support of the Archbishop in these difficult times. He said that many families in the parish had extensive water damage and suffered losses in their homes and business. The church, he added, has relatively minor exterior damage. Fr. Nicholas conveyed that the parish has received many calls and offers for help in kind and offers from volunteers from all over the country, and he explained that the church is serving as a collection and distribution center, funneling relief aid to people in need on Staten Island.

For a photo album from the Archbishop’s Staten Island visit the Archdiocese photo gallery: http://www.goarch.org/special/hurricanesandy

Ascension Cathedral Parishoner Susan Haikalis Elected President of OCL

November 10, 2012 Posted by  
Filed under News, Orthodox Life, Orthodox News, Orthodoxy, Our Parish

Susan W. Haikalis of Walnut Creek, California was elected President of the Orthodox Christian Laity (OCL) at their 25th Annual Conference in Washington DC this month.

Ms. Haikalis is a convert to Orthodoxy and has been involved in a number of groups supporting Administrative Unity of Orthodox Jurisdictions in the US. She participated in Boston with the original GOAL organization and has actively participated in attending OCL meetings for the past 15 years both contributing to discussions and educational programs as well as supporting her husband, Peter Haikalis, in his own leadership in OCL. Ms. Haikalis strongly believes that achieving administrative unity with Orthodox Jurisdictions in the US is critical for the survival of Orthodoxy for our children and future generations.

Ms. Haikalis has served on the Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral Philoptochos Board and as a Vice President of the Cathedral’s Parish Council. She has served on the Executive committee of the Cathedral’s Capital Campaign which has raised over 10 million dollars for a Chapel, Parking Facility and Platia. She has recently completed 3 years as the President of the Women’s Board of the Patriarch Athenagoras Institute at the Graduate Theological School in Berkeley, CA. The Women’s Board has an annual commitment to raise a minimum of $30,000 for the Institute which is the only Orthodox Graduate Program in the US with representatives from the multiple Orthodox jurisdictions in the US as faculty, members of the Board of Trustees as well as MA level students. The Institute is also the home for an Orthodox Christian Fellowship group for students.

Ms. Haikalis has spent over 45 years in health care settings, primarily hospitals and outpatient/Home Health, including mental health and developmental disabilities. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Masters in Social Work from New York University. As a health care administrator, she has developed linkages to community organizations such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Visiting Nurses/Hospice, and Regional Centers for the Developmentally Disabled, etc. At Mount Zion Medical Center in San Francisco, she was the administrator responsible for the first hospital based Skilled Nursing Facility in the City in the 1980’s and for over 5 years coordinated all the HIV/AIDS programs in the hospital including an outpatient clinic and an inpatient unit. She also directed the department of Patient and Family Services at Mount Zion and later at California Pacific Medical Center. Her hospital experience has included many years of working with The Joint Commission on meeting standards for a variety of different departments/programs.

From 1994 until 2002, Ms. Haikalis was the Director of Client Services and Treatment Support at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, a major AIDS service provider in the country. The program routinely provided services to over 2000 HIV+ clients each year. She presented papers at the International AIDS Conferences in Durbin, South Africa in 2000 and in Barcelona in 2002 on the impact of permanent housing on treatment adherence for patients with advanced HIV disease.

From 2002 to 2010, Ms. Haikalis was a social work consultant working with the HIV/AIDS Centers of Excellence in San Francisco, other HIV programs in the City and in Marin County HIV/AIDS programs. The San Francisco Bay Area programs provide a full spectrum of services needed by people with HIV/AIDS and her work was focused on improving access to health care, treatment adherence, case management, HIPPA compliance and chart documentation. Ms. Haikalis, as a licensed clinical Social Worker, also maintains a private practice focusing on clients who have difficulty negotiating the current health care system, including helping clients with SSDI and SSI applications.

Ms. Haikalis has served as the National President of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care and was founding President of the Social Work Health Leadership Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting education, training and research on issues that social workers can have an impact on in the US health care system.

Since 1965, Ms. Haikalis has been working closely with patients impacted by the health care system. Ms. Haikalis has participated as a member of the original Joint Commission Public Advisory Group and served as chair for four years. Helping people effectively use the health care system has been a professional lifetime goal. After retiring from full-time employment, Ms. Haikalis and her husband moved to Rossmoor and enjoy spending time with their two grandchildren (who live in Berkeley), singing in their Greek Orthodox Church Choir and traveling!

Source: www.OCL.org

YOUTH SUNDAY 2012!

We packed 98 IOCC school supply kits on Sunday November 4th, also known as Youth Sunday! They are boxed up & will be sent to IOCC in the coming weeks. There are 9 boxes total filled with School Kits for children in need of school supplies.

We want to thank everyone who participated including ALL of our Youth Ministries. Thank you for supporting IOCC & school children everywhere!


Next Page »