Tuesday 28 April 2009

Clergy Conference

The Ministry of Orthodox Clergy in Contemporary Society

Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas

Clergy Conference of the Sacred Archdiocese of Thyateira & G.B.
Birmingham, 27-28 April 2009

[A Summary of the Speech]

A. Contemporary Society

- Definition of the term “Contemporary Society”.
- E. Papanoutsos said: “We progressed in our era but we haven’t prospered”.
- Mrs Thatcher, during her time as Prime Minister, met in Oxford with a student. She asked her what is the subject of her studies and the student replied “Medieval History”. Then the iron Lady responded: “Oh, what a luxury!” The Leaders of the Great Powers have been supporting exclusively technology and economic growth in the last few decades, promoting globalization at any cost and leaving behind the traditional values and the traditional way of life.
- Thus the Contemporary Society is full with stress, insecurity, as well as with many needs and agonies.

B. The Art of Pastoral Care

Healing / Therapeutics

Prof. Fr. George Metallinos: “The main mission of the Priest is the work of the physician in the «Spiritual Clinic» of the Church”.
1. Liturgical Expression of our Church
- The liturgical agenda is more or less the same as before. What changes today is the new ways of approach and methodology.
- In modern times there is a call for discussion on liturgical matters, such as simplicity in the Services and in the uniform of the clergy, more involvement of the laity in the Services, translation of the liturgical texts etc.
- Inclusion, not exclusion, in the liturgical expression of the Church.

2. Pastoral Care for the sick
- New illnesses have appeared lately, affecting both the bodily and mental health.
- 1st International Conference of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on “Pastoral Health Care”, in Rhodes, 8-12 October 2008. I had taken part representing our Archbishop and the Archdiocese of Thyateira. Recently there was an announcement that a new initiative will be taken by the Patriarchate to establish an “International Network for the Pastoral Health Care”.
- Bio-medical Ethics. The modern progress of the medical (and related) sciences have brought into our lives challenges and created many dilemmas, such as cloning, pre-birth examination, selective abortions, euthanasia, brain death, transplant, etc.


The traditional understanding of “communication” was that it started and finished in the direct inter-personal relation. This is challenged today, as new ways of communication have been introduced into our lives.
1. Education
- The clergy, using their academic knowledge and other talents educates the faithful.
- St. Basil the Great is one of the Patrons of the Christian Letters. This year it is the 1630th anniversary of his death. The Patriarchate of Romania and the Orthodox Theological School of the University of Munich are preparing various events in order to honour this anniversary.

2. The act of Informing
- St. Paul in 2 Timothy (4, 5) says: “do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry”. The original Greek in the place of “fulfil” has the term “pliroforison”. Theodoretos the commentator interprets it as “offer your teaching”. Offer teaching and information to your people. Talk to them in a language that they can understand.
- Our Church was never afraid of anything new. Today the clergymen live within the society and use all the means of communication as other people do. In our times it is common to use facebook, e-mail, blog, YouTube etc.
- Our Archdiocese uses already the above means of communication and informing our people. His Eminence gave his Easter Message via YouTube. 187 viewers have watched it so far. The address is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mORErvfhUVI
- Our faithful expect us to take various initiatives and to keep in contact with them using modern technology.

Our ministry in the modern era is not an easy mission. It requires from our part vision, pastoral sensitivity, as well as support towards our own selves and our parishioners, in order to keep in line with our Holy Tradition and to lead the way for our people into the Kingdom of God, through pastoral care and prayer. Amen.

Sunday 26 April 2009

Altar Servers

Once a year, normally on Thomas Sunday, like today, the Parish Priest invites the Altar Servers, who have helped greatly during Holy Week, and after the morning Service he gives thanks to them for their contribution and dedication to the service of our Church.

With the sponsorship of the Church Committee and the Ladies Committee the Altar Servers get Easter Chocolate Eggs as well as various small gifts to use them at their School (pens, folders etc.).

Thursday 23 April 2009

A Community Hero

Kenton man stops muggers
who targetted Somali pensioner

By Jack Royston

A KENTON have-a-go-hero chased two thieves who swiped hundreds of pounds from a “distressed” pensioner last week.

George Frangeskou, of Boxmoor Road, and a regular member of our Greek Orthodox Community, was visiting his inlaws when he saw the pair with their victim, a Somali man who he believes was in his 80s and spoke little English.

He said: “The first thing I saw when I looked up were these three people, and the old man was looking very distressed, screaming out for help.

“He was saying 'money, money'. At first I didn't know what to make of him because I didn't know if he was actually for real or if there was a misunderstanding.

“When I realised he had been a victim I just lost it and gave chase. How can people do things like this?”

The 40-year-old father of two said the pair walked away, ignoring the man's cries of “please help”, and when the younger thief, a man aged around 20, got to the corner he started running away.

Mr Frangeskou said: “I managed to collar him. He was saying 'please please'. I said 'you took his money, give him his money back right now.”

The youth denied having the cash but Mr Frangeskou said he saw his accomplice, a woman who looked old enough to be his mother at around 40, running back to the scene, in Wykeham Road.

He said she produced a book of cash, claiming to have found the pensioner's money.

The 6ft 3inch sales consultant said: “She was saying, 'I found his money, I found his money'. I thought 'yeah right'. She said 'I never took it, I never took it'. We got the money for the guy – I counted it.”

The thieves stole £500, at around 4.30pm on Thursday, in broad daylight, which the pensioner withdrew from a nearby Abbey cash machine.

All of it was returned except for around £20.

Mr Frangeskou, who works in Canning Road, Wealdstone, said: “It's a thing of the moment I guess, a natural instinct. You start to think about situations like that afterwards.
“I think there's so much crime going on now. Wealdstone is such a no go area, with kids and adults that are just looking for crime and the elderly are being targeted.”

Sunday 19 April 2009

Christ is Risen!


By Gregory C. Atkin

Since the nineteenth century there has been an unreasonable erosion of faith in the Virgin Birth of Christ and of the Glorious Resurrection.

Challenging the apathy towards the Resurrection is the fact that the Holy Orthodox Church has devoted its apostolic readings in the Divine Liturgy to the writings of the Evangelist Luke in his second book to Philotheus, the Acts of the Apostles. I mention this because these acts of the Church resulted from her experience of the Lord’s Glorious Resurrection. Bearing this in mind, it will not surprise you that many of the quotations in this article have their origin from this book.

Regarding faith in the rising of the Lord, certain biblical passages come to mind. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain” (I Corinthians 15, 14). The apostle knew that Saint Stephen, the Archdeacon and Protomartyr, “...did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6, 8). Stephen was tried before the High Priest and his council in Jerusalem (vide. Acts 7, 1), and made an outstanding defence in support of what he knew and believed. Writing in the Acts of the Apostles, the Evangelist Luke tells us that the council were enraged by Stephen’s defence of the faith and of what he knew. The relevant passage states, “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they gnashed their teeth against him. He, however, full of the Holy Spirit, looked into Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, «Look, I see the Heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God»” (Acts 7, 54-56).

In the account of the resulting stoning of Stephen, we find Saul, later to be called Paul the Apostle, present at this execution and receiving adulation from the people (vide. Acts 8, 58).

There are pertinent questions to be asked about this.

1. Why would Stephen lay down his life if he thought the Resurrection was untrue?
2. Why would the Early Christians open themselves to the ridicule of many by preaching something which could not have been proven except that many new the truth of these things?
3. Why would Paul, after witnessing the cruel treatment of Stephen, endanger his own life by following Stephen’s example even to the point where it eventually led to his own execution for this faith?

We know of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, soon after the stoning of Stephen, when the Lord appeared to him (vide. Acts 9, 3-8). The consequential blindness that made it necessary for those with him to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus (vide. Acts 9, 8), and the restoration of his sight at the hands of Ananias (vide. Acts 9, 17), quite clearly shattered the illusion that he was doing God’s work in threatening and murdering Christians (vide. Acts 9, 1). He nevertheless knew that there would be someone to take his place in the attempted demolition of Christians and the Early Church and yet he disregarded this risk.

The Apostle John was also placing himself at odds with the Jewish religious authorities (vide. John 21, 24) although, by the time that he had written his Gospel, Jerusalem had been razed to the ground. Again, what Luke tells us is that about a hundred and twenty followers were standing around Saint Peter when he gave his address following the Lord’s Ascension (vide. Acts 2, 15).

Three questions were asked earlier, the answers to which speak for themselves. Here is another one:

Why, so soon after the Lord’s Ascension, were “more than ever believers” “added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (vide. Acts 5, 14)?

Undoubtedly, so many saw the miracles performed through the Apostles, and they would have been well aware of Jesus’ ministry. Finally, and again from the Acts of the Apostles, we note that around three thousand accepted the apostolic teachings and were baptised (vide. Acts 3, 41).

The overarching question remains, “Who would willingly suffer and die for something that is untrue”?

[Spoudagmata 2009, pp. 94-95]

Saturday 18 April 2009

Arise O God...

...and judge Thou the earth; for Thou shall take all heathen to Thine inheritance.

From the Divine Liturgy of Holy & Great Saturday morning:

Friday 17 April 2009

Holy & Great Friday

On Holy and Great Friday morning the Ladies of our St. Agatha Sisterhood decorate with beautiful flowers the Epitaphios.

Later on at the Vespers of Great Friday the faithful venerate the Epitaphios.

In the evening the Service of Epitaphios is celebrated.
Then the Epitaphios is taken around the Church in a procession.

Holy & Great Thursday

Today is hung upon the Tree, He Who suspended the Earth amidst the waters. A crown of thorns crowns Him, Who is the King of Angels. He, Who wrapped the Heavens in clouds, is clothed with the purple of mockery. He, who freed Adam in the Jordan, received buffetings. He was transfixed with nails, Who is the Bridegroom of the Church. He was pierced with a lance, Who is the Son of the Virgin. We worship your Passion, O Christ. Show us also Your glorious Resurrection.
Some of our Altar boys:

Counting (by Constantin Louverdis) of the 12 Gospels Readings:

After the Holy Passion Service with members of the Church Committee:

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Holy & Great Wednesday

Wednesday evening in Holy Week our Church offers the Sacrament of the Holy Unction. The people are anointed by the Priest with the Holy Oil.

Then the icon of the Last Supper is taken from the Sanctuary through the Nave and it is placed at the centre of the Church for all faithful to see and venerate.

Tuesday 14 April 2009

The Bridegroom comes...

Behold the Bridegroom comes in the midst of the night; and blessed is the servant, whom He shall find vigilant; and unworthy is he, whom he shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, that you will not be overcome by sleep, lest you be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. Wherefore, rouse yourself, crying out: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, our God, through the protection of the Heavenly Hosts save us.

Monday 13 April 2009

Holy Week at our Church

Palm Sunday evening, just before we started the first Service of Holy Week, we looked at the flowers by the entrance of our Church.
Then we went inside and started the Matins of Holy Monday. Holy Week is here.
"Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the midst of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching...".

Sunday 12 April 2009


The new issue, No. 16, of our Annual Publication SPOUDAGMATA has just been published. You can see below both the front and back cover of the magazine.

It has 112 pages plus the covers. Among the texts published are Community Chronicles, speeches that have been given in our Community, interesting articles, poems and various epistles. Writers of the texts are various people, as listed in the contents. Editor of Spoudagmata, as in the previous years, is our Parish Priest. Sponsors are mainly members of our Community Committees and others.

The contents are arranged under the following headings: Instead of a Prologue, Community Chronicles, The 16th Annual Symposium, Articles of General Interest, Poetry, English Section, Epistles, Sponsors of our Magazine.

Saturday 11 April 2009

Youth Conference

The Greek Orthodox Youth Conference of our Holy Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain had taken place yesterday at St. Barnabas Community in Wood Green, North London.

The general theme was: "Life after death: The Soul and Body". It was well attended. 130 participants had taken part, 12 of them being from our Community.

Friday 10 April 2009



9.30 am - 12.30 pm Matins and Divine Liturgy
(Blessing and distribution of palm crosses & olive tree branches)
7.00 pm - 8.45 pm The Bridegroom Service

7.00 pm - 8.45 pm The Bridegroom Service

9.30 am - 11.00 am Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
7.00 pm - 8.45 pm The Bridegroom Service

7.00 pm - 9.45 pm Holy Unction & the Last Supper Service

6.00 am - 7.30 am Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
7.30 am - 10.30 am Holy Communion
6.30 pm - 10.00 pm Holy Passion (12 Gospels)
8.15 pm Procession of the Holy Cross

10.00 am - 12.00 noon The Royal Hours
12.00 noon - 1.30 pm Vespers – “Apokathelosis”
7.00 pm - 10.00 pm The “Epitaphios” Service
8.05 pm - 8.40 pm Lamentations
9.00 pm Procession of the Epitaphios

From 7.30 am Holy Communion
10.00 am - 12.30 pm Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
11.00 am “Arise O God...”
10.00 pm - 11.00 pm The Resurrection Service
11.00 pm - 11.15 pm “CHRIST IS RISEN”
11.15 pm - 1.30 am Matins & Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection

12.00 noon - 1.15 pm Great Vespers of Easter (Vespers of Love)
12.20 pm The Gospel Reading is read in many different languages

Thursday 9 April 2009

Community Centre

After the purchase of the Community premises in 1994 the leaders of our Community had decided to build a new Church in Byzantine style and a new Community Centre. In 1997 the leaders started the ball rolling, by having meetings and consultations with various professionals and with the local planning authorities in the London Borough of Harrow. Mr. Simon Koupparis was appointed as Architect of the project, Mr. Anthonis Savvides as Civil Engineer and Mr. Alex Alekou as Quantity Surveyor.

In 14th December 2004 a meeting was called in the Church of St. Panteleimon. His Eminence the Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios had presided. Members of all Committees of the Community had attended. The decision of the meeting was to go ahead with the project, building first the Community building and then the new Church.

The Community Centre was build within 2006 and on 24th December of that year the Archbishop blessed it. This Centre serves the various needs of the Community, mainly the Educational ones (Nursery School, Hellenic College etc.).