HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN ALEXIOS' MESSAGE ON THE ASCENSION
Reverend Clergy and the Faithful of the Holy and God-protected Metropolis of Atlanta
My dearly beloved,
“The Ascension completes our faith in Him, Who was God as well as man.” St. Leo the Great
Next week we will observe one of the twelve great Feast Days of our Church: the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord, the last day of His physical presence on Earth, which is celebrated 40 days after Pascha. On the Feast of the Ascension, we as Orthodox Christians do not merely commemorate an historical event in the life of Christ. The Ascension is a prophecy of things to come for those who love God and follow Him.
In Acts, St. Luke tells us that our Lord “led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.” Our Lord promised that the Holy Spirit will come upon them, and they will be given the power to be his witnesses. Each of them will be transformed. Then “While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.” Even the Apostles who had seen all kinds of strange and miraculous things, were so struck by awe and wonder at this that they simply stood there, gazing up after Him, until the angels rebuked them: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” In other words, there is work to do before His return.
Perhaps we, like the Apostles, also stand around, wondering what we should do now. In His completion of God’s plan, when He ascended into heaven to be with His Father, our Lord gave the vision and the responsibility to the Apostles, and ultimately to us: “you will be my witnesses.” It is up to us, both individually and collectively, to continue the work which He began, to share the Good News of His love and His message of salvation with all the world. Even today, we are witnesses of our Lord. Through our words, our presence, our love for each other and our acts of charity and compassion, we can give people a glimpse of the future that Christ has in store for us in His Kingdom.
With paternal blessings and much love in our Risen Lord,
Metropolitan of Atlanta
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN ALEXIOS` MESSAGE ON FATHER`S DAY
This Sunday we have the opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day, to recognize and honor the fathers in our lives.
Of course, we don’t need studies to tell us that a father`s involvement with his children is vitally important. We all know that there is more to being a parent than simply providing food, shelter, and clothing for your children.
Let us rather consider what things of lasting value are we giving to our children? Are we communicating and nurturing the values and virtues that our parents and grandparents passed along to us? Or are we so dedicated to feeding them, clothing them, educating them, providing all kinds of comforts and luxuries and making sure that they enjoy themselves that we have given them the wrong message and the wrong values?
A father`s example is a powerful influence. When a father takes responsibility for his own spiritual life by being an active participant in the ecclesiastical and liturgical life of our Church, using the tools of prayer, worship, fasting and the study of Holy Scripture, he grows spiritually. In this way, he is able to be an example of Christian leadership, compassion and love, and receives the respect of his family.
The most important gift that a father can give his children is a spiritual and moral foundation of love. If he does not pass on this precious gift to his children, they will almost certainly lose their way in our challenging and difficult world. This is why a solid spiritual foundation for our children is critical. The spiritual practices of fasting, prayer, Lenten disciplines, Confession and attending services should not only be discussed, but should be practiced as a family.
If we are not sharing the love of God with our children, if we are not growing in our own spiritual lives, if we are not bringing them to the Church for the Divine Liturgy, education and fellowship, then we are failing as fathers and also as disciples of Christ. Giving our children the opportunity to have contact with God’s spiritual grace in prayer and worship is the greatest blessing that they can receive.
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN ALEXIOS MESSAGE on PENTECOST
"If from one burning lamp someone lights another, then another from that one, and so on in succession, he has light continuously. In the same way, through the Apostles ordaining their successors, and these successors ordaining others, and so on, the grace of the Holy Spirit is handed down through all generations and enlightens all who obey their shepherds and teachers.”
St. Gregory Palamas, “On how the Holy Spirit was manifested and shared out at Pentecost”
This Sunday we celebrate the true beginning of the history of the Church by its birth on the fiftieth day after Pascha. The Feast Day of Pentecost is the day of the appearance of the Spirit of God in the Church. That is why some call it "the birthday of the Church."
The Holy Spirit is the Paracletos, that the Lord promised to send to His Church, to guide and protect the Church for ages to come. But the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles for much more than just preaching, or evangelism -the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles so that they would be inspired and strengthened to continue the work of our Lord in the world.
At His Ascension, our Lord told the Apostles that the Holy Spirit would come to them, and then they would become witnesses to Him to all the ends of the earth. They would witness to everything which Christ had done: His miracles and teaching, His crucifixion, death, resurrection, victory over sin and death and finally His Ascension into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father in glory.
All of us have also experienced our own Pentecost – at our Chrismation, we received the “seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.” It is by the Holy Spirit that we are spiritually awakened and understand that we now have a commission from Christ Himself. So, like the Apostles, we too receive the Holy Spirit and are sent out into the world to be witnesses to the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May the same Holy Spirit Who filled the first apostles with the fire of God`s presence and power fill us today so that we, as faithful followers of Christ, are inspired and strengthened to participate in His great work of reconciliation and redemption.
FROM THE CHANCELLOR`S DESK - REMEMBERING OUR FATHER'S WILL
When we read the account of creation in Genesis, we find that at the end of each day God looked over His work and "saw that it was good." (1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25)
There was one exception; after God created man He declared, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner." What's interesting is that after creating the woman, God looked at Adam and Eve and saw that His work was not just good –t was "very good."
Fathers, love in marriage is the culmination and crowning point of God's creation and the key to being a genuine husband. In turn, it paves the way for fathers to be loving, caring, and supportive of their children.
Hebrews 13:4 reflects this divine image of the Sacrament of Marriage:"Let marriage be held in honor by all..."
The Greek word for honorable –timios" –means held as of great price, esteemed, precious -the same word used to describe precious stones like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.
But anything with that potential for beauty also has incredible potential for pain and brokenness. We don't have to go very far in Holy Scripture –Genesis 2 to Genesis 3 –to learn that the enemy of our souls has unleashed all of his power and strength to steal, kill, and destroy our relationship with God and each other.
In many homes, it seems that Satan is winning the war: Bliss has turned into brokenness. A golden wedding ring feels like a "band of bondage." And it seems that everything in life competes for our affection in love and marriage. It's easy to find ourselves empty and exhausted-just trying to get by.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her… (Ephesians 5:25). In effect, a husband is challenged to be "overcome" with love for his wife. Unfortunately for his wife, a husband's professed love can feel more like being ravaged than delighted.
In this context, consider the outcome of healthy versus unhealthy love that a husband and father has the power to offer –overcoming with love" or "ravaging" his wife and children: One discusses; one distances. One rages; one disengages. One escalates; one escapes. And relief rarely comes.
How do we stop the insanity of our destructive behavior? In basketball, when a player is struggling with his shot, a good coach will move him to the foul line to focus on the fundamentals of shooting.
Likewise, in our family relationships, we need to get back to the heart of it all –love! Maybe you have lost that "loving feeling." Remember, loving is a choice. A choice each of us makes every day.
After God created the man and the woman, He gave a life-long guideline for every marriage. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (2:24)
Leave and cleave…
Leave – choice "to leave behind, to abandon, and to forsake."
Cleave – choice "to be adhered firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly."
The result of the choice a husband makes is found in the last phrase of Genesis 2:24 –and they shall be one flesh." In Hebrew, the concept is that a man and a woman then become so united that they are literally woven together as one. And the union cannot be divided without wounding both individual parts. It becomes a bond of intimacy so strong that there is no fear in their love –only a freedom to love and to be loved. And this love overflows to their children, their household, and all their earthly pursuits.
Husbands, consider the simple joy of knowing there is someone who wants to kiss you, to hold you, and most importantly, to be one with you. This is our Heavenly Father's Will for all husbands, fathers, and their beloved families - let us love each other like He desires. Amen!
Very Rev. Fr. George Tsahakis
FEAST DAYS and NAME DAYS FOR THE COMING WEEK
Fathers of the 1st Council
Tychon the Wonderworker
40 Martyrs of Rome
Mark the Just of Apollonia
7th Monday after Pascha
Isaurus the Holy Martyr & his Companions of Athens
Manuel, Sabel, & Ishmael the Martyrs of Persia
Righteous Father Botolph, Abbot of the Monastery of Ikanhoe
7th Tuesday after Pascha
Leontius, Hypatius, & Theodulus the Martyrs of Syria
7th Wednesday after Pascha
Thaddeus (Jude) the Apostle & Brother of Our Lord
Holy Martyr Zosima
Our Righteous Father Zenonus
Paďsius the Great of Egypt
John Maximovitch, Archbishop of San Francisco
7th Thursday after Pascha
Methodios the Martyr, Bishop of Olympus
Kallistos I, Patriarch of Constantinople
The Apodosis of the Feast of the Holy Ascension
Julian the Martyr of Tarsus
Terentios, Bishop of Iconium
Nikitas the New Martyr of Nisyros
The Saturday of Souls
Eusebius, Bishop of Samosata
Zenon the Martyr & his servant Zenas of Philadelphia
Anastasios the Serbian
PARISH NEWS AND NOTES
ST. GEORGE, Knoxville, TN Father & Son & Acolyte Alumni June 16, fathers, godfathers and sons serve together in the altar, along with former altar boys.
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL 1st Annual Summer Food Drive “Help us end Hunger” June 1-June 30
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL “Wednesday Fish Dinners” starting on Wednesday, June 5 and every Wednesday during Summer, 3:30-7PM at “KONTOS” Community Hall.
ST. JOHN, Tampa, FL annual Sunshine State Junior Olympics June 14-16. A weekend of athletics and spirituality for Florida GOYAns
ST. PAUL, Savannah, GA Feast Day Celebration, Friday, June 28, 6:00pm, Great Vespers of Sts. Peter and Paul. An Artoklasia Service will be also chanted. A reception will follow in the Hellenic Center. Introduction of Fr. Christodoulos Papadeas, Ierokyrix of our Metropolis. All parishioners are invited to join us in a gathering/discussion with Fr. Christodoulos. Saturday, June 29, Sts. Peter and Paul, Orthros at 9:00am, Divine Liturgy at
10:00am, followed by a reception in the Hellenic Center. Fr. Christodoulos will be available for the holy confession and/or spiritual guidance from 1-4pm. Sunday, June 30, All Saints and Synaxis of the Holy Apostles, Orthros at 9:00am, Divine Liturgy at 10:00am. At the end of Services, St. Paul’s Award will be presented by Fr. Christodoulos. St. Paul’s Luncheon will take place in the Hellenic Center.
The Southeastern Federation of Greek Orthodox Choirs and Musicians annual choir conference, ST. JOHN, Tampa, FL July 25-28
IOCC is still collecting for the victims of the recent tornado that caused so much destruction in central
Oklahoma. Please make your check payable to IOCC and write in the memo: Oklahoma Tornado.
You can make your donation in the following ways: Online, please go to www.iocc.org, call toll free at 1-877-803-4622 or mail check or money order to payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 173, Baltimore, MD 21297-0429.
ST. LUKE, Mooresville, NC is collecting monetary donations for those affected by the tornadoes in Oklahoma and the Midwest.
Congratulations to Nikoletta Rallis who performed with Fiorella Velez in a concert at the Cathedral Ballroom in New York. Nikoletta is the daughter of Dr. Mike Rallis, chanter and choir member at ST. NICHOLAS,Wilmington, NC.
SAVE THE DATE - JUNE
ANNUNCIATION, Pensacola, FL Friday, June 14 LOCK-IN; 6:30 pm, $10
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, Tallahassee, FL GOYA trip to St. Mark’s, June 15
ST. NICHOLAS, Wilmington, NC MINISTRY LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP PART I: Sat, June 15 9AM-12PM.
ST. NICHOLAS, Wilmington, NC GOYA Beach Obstacle Course, Sat., June 15, 2-6PM
STS. MARKELLA & DEMETRIOS, Ft. Walton, FL GOYA bowling party Saturday, June 15, 5pm White Sands Bowling Alley
HOLY TRINITY, Charleston, SC Philoptochos Presidents’ Day Luncheon, Sat, June 15, 10am
ST. CHRISTOPHER, Peachtree City, GA Father’s Day Luncheon, hosted by Philoptochos June 16
ANNUNCIATION, Pensacola, FL Father's Day Ice Cream Reception June 16 hosted by HOPE/JOY, GOYA announces “Father of the Year”
ST. JOHN, Jacksonville, FL Father’s Day Luncheon, June 16, sponsored by Philoptochos
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL. Father’s Day Luncheon Sunday, June 17
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL Vacation Bible Study “ATHENS - St Paul’s dangerous journey to share the truth Monday, June 17-Friday, June 21. 8:30AM-12PM. Pre-K-6th Grade ages
ST. PAUL, Savannah, GA Vacation Church School, 4-12 yrs., June 17-21, 9am-11:30 am, “Journey to Athens with St.Paul”.
ANNUNCIATION, Pensacola, FL Vacation Church School “Discovering the Divine Liturgy,” Mon, June 17-Fri, June 21, 9am-12:30pm, (lunch provided) K-5th grade
TRANSFIGURATION, Florence, SC Vacation Church School June 17-21
ST. JOHN, Jacksonville, FL Vacation Church School, “Traveling on the Ark of Salvation,” entering PK-4-6TH grades. June 17-21, 8:45am-12:15pm,
ST. NICHOLAS, Tarpon Springs, FL Summer Camp“Champions for Christ.” “The Beatitudes,"June 17-21, 8:30am-12pm, tuition $50 Ages 5-10
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL YAL Summer Kick-Off Party, cover $5, 18 & up, great music, dancing & friends. Music by dj Angeleke Vakiaros
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL 2nd “Youth Teaching Liturgy” Thurs, June 20 10AM
ST. LUKE, Mooresville, NC Strategic Planning Mini-Retreat June 22, “Who Exactly Are We and Just What Are We Supposed To Be Doing?!?”
ST. NICHOLAS, Wilmington, NC LOVE Pool Party, Sat, June 22 9:30AM, Lunch provided
TRANSFIGURATION, Florence, SC Pentecost Cookout honoring graduates June 23, 6pm. Tickets $15
ST. GEORGE, New Port Richey, FL. Sunday School Graduation, Sunday, June 23
HOLY TRINITY/HOLY CROSS, Birmingham, AL Vacation Church Camp: June 24-27
ANNUNCIATION, Atlanta, GA Basketball Camp June 24-28 Boys and Girls Ages 6-15 9am-3pm, to improve basketball skills, Skills Development Camp,boys/girls ages 13-17, 3:30-6:30pm
ST. PHOTIOS SHRINE, St. Augustine, FL Tues., June 25 Greek Landing Day Celebration
ST. MARK, Boca Raton, FL June 26-June 30 Clergy Laity Congress & Metropolis Philoptochos Conference
COMING EVENTS - JULY
ST JOHN, Myrtle Beach, SC GOYA Bingo Night & Spaghetti Supper, July 7, 6:30PM, Tickets $7/person (comes with 2 cards) and $1/each additional card
HOLY TRINITY, Charlotte, NC July 11-13Annual Meeting of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians
ST. CHRISTOPHER, Peachtree City, GA “God’s Green Earth,” Summer Tea Hosted by Philoptochos
July 13, 12:00- 2pm, Tickets $25, Speakers from Local Master Gardeners, benefits local charities
ST JOHN, Myrtle Beach, SC Family Outing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Sunday July 14, 6:05 PM, BB&T Stadium
STS. MARKELLA & DEMETRIOS, Ft. Walton, FL Vacation Church School July 22-26, K-5th grade
ST. GEORGE, Greenville, SC Vacation Church School Monday, July 22-Friday, July 26, 9am-Noon. “Going for the Gold”
TRANSFIGURATION, Florence, SC Annual Yard Sale - July 27, Benefits the Oklahoma Tornado Victims
HOLY TRINITY, ORLANDO, FL CELEBRATES CONSECRATION
FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013
5:00 PM - Reception of Clergy in Aegean Hall
6:00 PM - Arrival of the Relics
. Procession to the Sanctuary
. Reception of the Relics on the steps of the Sanctuary
. Entry into the Sanctuary
. Great Vespers with Artoclasia Blessing of the Loaves
. Hierarchical Address
. Reception with hors d`oeuvres free to the entire community-Reservations are required-no walk-ins accepted.
SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013
8:00 AM - Orthros9:00 AM - Consecration Service
. Entry into the Sanctuary
Washing of the Altar
. Placing of the Relics into the Altar
. Dressing of the Altar
. Anointing of the Icons
10:30 AM - Hierarchical Divine Liturgy
. Drop of oil into the vigil lamps that will illumine the Altar
12:30 PM - 3:00 PM - Family Picnic
. Following Divine Liturgy a Picnic with food and music-Reservations are required-no walk-ins accepted.
7:00 PM - Gala Dinner and Dancing-Reservations are required-no walk-ins accepted.
SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2013
8:15 AM - Orthros
9:30 AM -Divine Liturgy / Pentecost Vespers
11:30 AM -Fellowship Hour
. Pentecost Light Brunch and Reception
ICONOGRAPHY WORKSHOP BY FR. ANTHONY SALZMAN
IMAGE AND LIKENESS ICONOGRAPHY
Iconography Workshop & Retreat
AUGUST 23 - 31, 2013
Extended by 2 days!
at Pecos Monastery ~ near Santa Fe, New Mexico
Our Lady of Guadalupe Benedictine Abbey
Learn the Art of Byzantine Iconography
Take a Spiritual Retreat in the Valley of Pecos New Mexico
This one week introductory class for beginners and intermediate will paint
a bust-study of a saint in acrylic on a wood panel.
--Students interested in egg tempera should contact us directly for information--
Program includes daily worship and meditation.
introductory slide lecture of Byzantine Icons
drawing in the Byzantine style
icon painting in acrylic (or egg tempera upon approval)
field trip to Prophet Elijah Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church
Daily Mass and worship
Natural Mountain setting of the Pecos Abbey Retreat Center
The Class has been extended by two days and two nights to accommodate a more relaxed schedule of painting, spiritual retreat and free time. Specific instruction times will be allotted for the beginner and intermediate students. One outing is planned to Santa Fe to view iconography in two churches and dining.
“Students will come away with a finished icon and a new vision for the possibilities of artistic expression. This is a visual language that will give you the practical skills as well as a theoretical foundation for a rewarding and fulfilling artistic vocation.” Fr. Anthony
Cost for Class, Room, Board and Materials Per Person:
SINGLE ROOM $1,200 SINGLE ROOM PAID BY JUNE 15 $1,150
DOUBLE ROOM $1,120 DOUBLE ROOM PAID BY JUNE 15 $1,070
Includes 8 nights accommodations, meals, workshop instruction and art materials. Not included: shuttles to/from the Pecos Monastery and dinner in Santa Fe restaurant.
Extra Nights $75/SGL/nt $65/DBL/nt
A $250 deposit is required with your registration, payable to Image and Likeness Iconography. Balance due by Aug 1, 2012. In the event that the class does not make (12 minimum/25 maximum students) you will be refunded in full. Cancellations made 30 days or more in advance of the workshop will receive a full refund. Cancellations made within 30 days of the workshop will not receive a refund however the deposit will be applied to a future workshop.
For more information:
Call Image and Likeness Iconography at (706) 310-1306 or
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the Pecos Benedictine Community website: www.pecosmonastery.org
ALSO AT PECOS MONASTERY - The Previous Week
DRAWING AN ICON CLASS by Iconographer Jaqueline Nelson
August 18 through August 23, 2013
--Learn to draw the faces and figures and clothing of the saints and study sacred geometry. Advanced students will be offered the study of Byzantine Perspective of buildings, rocks and trees.
--$500.00 (discount of $75.00 will be offered to students staying on for Theology in Color Icon Painting Workshop with Fr. Anthony.
--Registration through: email@example.com
THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD
The Ascension of Our Lord
Wednesday after the fifth Sunday of Pascha is the fortieth day and, in liturgical terminology, we ‘take leave’ of the Pascha/Easter feast. This is the last day of physical presence of the risen Christ among his disciples. The next day, Thursday, the Church celebrates the feast of Ascension.
The hymnology of the services prescribed for the Ascension refers to the Lord’s house on the top of the mountain, alluding to the Mount of Olives, from where Jesus ascended to his Father. In His love and compassion for us, Jesus prepared the way for us, carried the weak and raised the dead. The Gates of Paradise are now opened.
This is the last time when the disciples will see Jesus. Then He will ‘disappear into a cloud’, but the disciples are comforted with the good news (evangelion) of the coming of the Spirit, the Comforter, the Paraclete, whom Jesus will send to them and to us. This good news quenches their fear of separation and soothes their grief. Their hopes are
so great that they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Lk. 24:52). Like them, we are comforted and filled
with gratitude and joy; gratitude for the divine gift of redemption, joy for His coming back to His Father.
Jesus will take now again His position at the right hand of the Father. He will sit on the Throne of Glory and on the Throne of Judgment. The cloud in which Jesus disappeared and which is carrying Him into heaven is similar to the smoke of the incense rising from the Altar to God. The sacrifice is accepted and God’s blessings will be sent down in an eternal and heavenly manner. The work of our salvation has been accomplished and is blessed.
Jesus does not return to His Father in isolation. He came down as incorporeal Logos, took flesh and became man, and as true God and true man He enters the Kingdom of Heaven. He is bringing back to His Father the human nature that He had assumed, thus opening the door of the Kingdom to humanity. As if by proxy, we are enjoying the benefits offered and made possible to us: God had “raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).
The Ascension makes our thoughts about heaven more immediate, more actual. Most of us think of heaven as a ‘place’ transcending our empirical space and that is not theologically impossible. But heaven is more that that, it’s a state, a state of perfect happiness. This happiness comes from the intimate union with the three persons of the Trinity and their life of love. When we reach the heaven, we become ourselves part of the divine life, which is the source of perfection and happiness.
Our lives would be transformed if, from now on, we have a change of heart (metanoia) which prompts us to renounce the ‘worldly desires’ and to acquire instead ‘treasures in heaven’. In heaven we will find not only our own true good, but also the good of those whom we love. It was for the chance to get in this awesome place that the disciples gave their life for Jesus. Likewise, that was the reason for which many martyrs accepted with joy their martyrdom; this was the reason for which so many Christians accepted the death as liberation from sin and corruption. Hopefully, we too will follow in their steps, thus grabbing the chance to dwell forever in the ‘mansions’ of God.
Fr. Vasile Mihai, ST. PAUL, Savannah, GA