+ B A R T H O L O M E W
By the Mercy of God
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, Peace and Mercy from our Savior Born in Bethlehem
“Christ is born again and the Angels sing once more:
‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among all.’”
Beloved brothers and sisters, children in the Lord,
The angels chant these three majestic proclamations and yet the great majority of human beings, although celebrating the feast of Christmas, cannot perceive the significance of the angelic song, instead asking themselves whether God is truly glorified today or why God should even be glorified; where can one discern on earth the peace that is announced, and why should contemporary humanity live with good will?
It is because, in reality, most people do not glorify God – either in their deeds or through their words. Many of them doubt the very existence of God and God’s presence in their lives. There are also many people that attribute responsibility to God for the misfortunate occurrences in their lives. However, those who grumble against God err profoundly, since evil does not derive from Him. On the contrary, the loving incarnation of the divine Son and Word, together with the consequent events of His Crucifixion and Resurrection, reshape the human person to its former beauty, granting eternal life and the peace that surpasses all understanding, while rendering human beings co-heirs of the heavenly kingdom. This act of divine condescension, though embracing the ultimate humiliation, is in itself capable of glorifying humanity. Thus, even if many people fail to glorify God in their hearts, nevertheless glory is rendered – by all creation and all things that take place among humans – unto Him who dwells in the highest. We too, then, gratefully cry out with the Angels, “Glory to God in the highest,” for the immensity of His works and the incomprehensibility of His love for us.
Yet people also query the second angelic proclamation: “And on earth peace.” How can we speak of peace on earth when almost half of the planet finds itself either in the act of or in preparation for war? The sweet tone of the angelic proclamation regarding “peace on earth” is of course primarily a divine pledge that, if people adhere to the way indicated by the new-born Child, they will acquire internal peace and peaceful coexistence. But, alas, most people are moved and drawn by the cymbals of war, ignoring the sound of the pledge for peace on earth. We are not referring here to those who passionately support the use of weapons, but especially to those who transform gentle competition to unequal conflict, seeking the annihilation of any opposition. In this respect, war is experienced as reality among members of rival social groups and parties of all kinds – whether racial, political, partisan, financial, ideological, religious, athletic or any other kind, where the intense mindset of members is converted into militant rather than peaceful. However, this does not refute the truth proclaimed by the Angels, that – through the Nativity of Christ and the acceptance of His teachings – peace will indeed prevail on earth. Christ came bearing peace; and if His peace does not prevail in the world, then responsibility lies with those who fail to accept and embrace this peace, not with the God who grants it.
Since this is the stance of contemporary humanity in light of the peace off For the rest of this News Release, visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website
National Phioptochos Medical Fund Luncheon Awards Over $204,000 for Children's Heath and Research
December 14, 2011
The Thirteenth National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon was held Saturday, December 3, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, CT with more than 650 attendees from throughout the United States.
NEW YORK – The Thirteenth National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon was held Saturday, December 3, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Old Greenwich, CT with more than 650 attendees from throughout the United States. The event entitled “Let Us Rejoice and Embrace the Children,” was organized by the National Philoptochos and the Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos under the high patronage of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America and with the spiritual blessings of His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane.
The Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon unites supporters from across the United States every two years to raise funds for critically ill children. At the luncheon, National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas and Luncheon Chairman Maria Skiadas presented donations totaling $204,456 to fifteen area hospitals and research programs:
Arts For Healing, New Canaan, CT; Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC; Children’s Tumor Foundation, New York, NY; Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; Incurable Illness Foundation, Brooklyn, NY; Kids in Crisis, Cos Cob, CT; Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research, Inc., Hartford, CT; Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY; New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY; New York University Hospitals Center, New York, NY; Port Washington Special Education PTA (SEPTA), Port Washington, NY; Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center, Bellerose, NY; ROSSCO Stamford School Community Organization, Inc., Stamford, CT; St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, Bayside, NY.
The Luncheon program featured special greetings and blessings conveyed by His Grace Bishop Andonios on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios who was unable to attend; dynamic presentations by President Aphrodite Skeadas; profound words from Guest Speaker, Dr. George Coukos, Professor of the Perelman School at the University of Pennsylvania; stirring remarks from Evangeline Mekras Scurtis, Luncheon Honoree; and moving testimony from Katina Brountzas and Andrew Kahan, parents whose children have been assisted at the area hospitals. Children brightened the program with musical performances by the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Youth Choir under the direction Ms. Maria Koleva. Ms. Andrea Tantaros, Fox News Anchor and host of The Five, served as Master of Ceremonies with charm, humor and grace as she aptly guided the luncheon program.
President Skeadas presented the National Philoptochos Society ARISTA Award in memory of Mardene Morykwas for her outstanding and generous philanthropic support to the Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon. Dr. Angeline Pappas of the Church of Our Saviour, Rye, NY, accepted the award on behalf of her late niece.
President Skeadas stated, “This year’s luncheon takes place during the Nativity season in which the Birth of Jesus is celebrated. The culmination of today’s event forms part of the larger mosaic of giving in this period of Holy Christmas.” She offered special gratitude to the Luncheon General Chairman and Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos President, Maria Skiadas and the Luncheon Co-Chairmen, Stella Fiorentino, Lily Katos and Stella Pantelidis as well as the entire Luncheon Committee from throughout the country. She also thanked the entire Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos for hosting the event. The District distributed 500 new Christmas toy For the rest of this News Release, visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America website
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