“Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
(Mark 2: 5)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
We are at the second Sunday of Lent. The Church today honours and presents the holy image and exceptional personality of her eminent theologian and expert teacher of the “Jesus Prayer”, St Gregorios Palamas. In the present leaflet we will refer very briefly to Gregorios Palamas and following that we will deal with the text of the Gospel of the day which presents the healing of the paralytic man.
A) Gregorios Palamas came from an aristocratic family in Byzantium. During his lifetime, that is the fourteenth century, he was a distinguished personality as theologian, monk and Archbishop of Thessalonica. The monks of the Holy Mount Athos, in his person, looked to him as their teacher and protector. Gregorios faced the wrong teachings of Barlaam and his colleagues, who were influenced by the wrong teachings of the west, and in his works taught the difference between the essence and the uncreated energies of God.
The essence of God is incomprehensible and inconceivable. However, the uncreated energies of God are communicable. The monks persisting in their prayer become cleansed by getting rid of the dark spots in their inner world, communicate with God and are privileged to see the uncreated light of Tabor. This state is an experience of the Kingdom of God.
B) The Gospel of the day presents the miracle of the healing of the paralytic man of Capernaum and the events surrounding it. Four friends or perhaps relatives of the paralytic man of Capernaum, as soon as they heard of the visit of the Lord in their town and His presence in a certain house, took the trouble to carry the man to the Lord and ask for his healing. However, when the willing volunteers and the paralytic man arrived at the relevant house, after their procession through the streets of Capernaum carrying the man in his bed, they came face to face with disappointment. The house was extremely full of people. Their entry to it was impossible. However, they themselves were resolute to take the sick man to Christ. Thus, without much deliberation and perhaps with the use of some steps found themselves on the roof of the house. Shortly afterwards they opened the roof and using some ropes, they lowered the man in front of Christ.
When Christ saw how much their faith and that of the paralytic man did and how many obstacles this faith overcame, using His divine word, healed the man: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” The Lord, as God, revealed that the sickness of the man was due to his previous sinful life. Since he was now forgiven the healthy state of his body and soul were restored. The Lord treated him with his divine sweetness and addressed him as “Son”.
We need to bear in mind that God continues loving us and waiting for our return to the right path, even if we are sinning and imitating the prodigal son and the paralytic man of the Gospel. Certainly, many a time we miss this point. However, it is better to think of God more as our loving father rather than as a judge and a punisher for our wrongdoings and our sins. Such thoughts certainly help us to come closer to God and experience His mercy and grace which are given to us abundantly and which are essential for our salvation.
The Church through the sacrament of baptism registers us as her members. The faith in Christ is engraved in our souls. If, however, we ourselves do not nurture it, do not cultivate it through the study of the Word of God and do not increase it, imitating the life of the saints and do not feed it through our participation in the sacraments of the Church, especially that of the Holy Communion, then it remains faint, wilted and stunted. However, the faith, in order to increase and to bear fruits, must be active, inspired and filled with fervour by the aura of the Holy Spirit and to emit the aroma of the presence of Jesus Christ. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: During the month of March the meals for the elderly were subsidised by the following: Erotokrita Livera in memory of her beloved parents Andreas and Anna; Christina Demetriou in memory of her beloved departed daughter Penelope, her mother Penelope and uncle Ioannis and finally the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
RENEWAL OF SUBSCRIPTIONS: The subscriptions for the Community (£50.00), Pantanassa (£25.00) and the Archdiocese Magazine (£15.00) are now due. If you have not already settled them or you wish to subscribe to any of all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The sale of the annual school raffle has now reached the amount of £3,000.00. We thank all those of you who have helped towards this endeavour and we look forward to your unfailing assistance in order that we may succeed in reaching our target of £11,000.
THE SALUTATIONS OF OUR LADY: We kindly remind all the faithful that during Lent every Friday evening the Salutations of our Lady are sung in both our Churches, 6.00 p.m. – 7.15 p.m. at St Barnabas and 7.00 p.m.– 8.15 p.m. at St Mary’s Cathedral. We look forward to seeing you in Church.
DOXOLOGY FOR THE NATIONAL EVENTS : The Doxology for the National Events of 25th March 1981 and 1st April 1955 will be celebrated in both our Churches on Sunday, 22nd March 2009. At St Barnabas the doxology will take place at about 10.00 a.m. and at St Mary’s Cathedral the doxology will be at about 11.00 a.m. The pupils of St Barnabas Greek Schools are expected to attend with the families the doxology at St Mary’s and they should arrive in the Church Hall at 11.00 a.m.
THE SERVICE OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS: During Lent on weekdays no Divine Liturgy takes place. For this purpose the Church, in order to offer the opportunity to the faithful to receive Holy Communion regularly, celebrates the Service of the Presanctified Gifts. This takes place on Wednesdays and Fridays or on any other day if necessary, morning or evening. Dates and times are announced weekly in our Greek Leaflet.
THE GREAT COMPLINE: Every evening, during Lent, in our Cathedral the Office of the Great Compline is sung at 6.00 p.m.
SECOND EDUCATIONAL MEETING: On Saturday evening, 7th March 2009, the teachers of St Barnabas’ Greek School held their second meeting in the community’s offices. Following a meal, His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, and headmaster of the School, presided at the meeting. The main topic of the meeting was: “Games-Activities for the Development of the Spoken Word in the Classroom.” Mrs Marilena Papapericleous presented the subject thoroughly, using her experience and knowledge as a teacher of long standing. There followed an interesting discussion and the meeting concluded with a number of issues reported by the Head Teacher.
SCHOOL CONCERT FOR THE NATIONAL EVENTS: St Barnabas Greek Schools are once again holding their School Concert for the National Events of 25th March 1821 and 1st April 1955. This Concert will take place at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday, 29th March 2009. The concert will be presented by Mrs Kyriaki Sissou, a teacher from the Cyprus Educational Mission and will consist of plays, songs, poems and dances. A relevant speech will be delivered by Mrs Ekaterini Konstantanga, a teacher from the Greek Educational Mission. We hope to see you all at the concert.
GCSE ORAL EXAMS: The GCSE Oral examinations will be taking place at St Barnabas Greek School from Tuesday, 31st March until Thursday, 2nd April 2009. Our Examinations Officer, Mrs Helen Vrahimedes, will carry out the exams. We wish every success to all our students.
DIVINE LITURGY FOR THE ANNUNCIATION: On Wednesday, 25th March 2009, His Eminence Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain will preside at the Liturgy of the Annunciation of our Lady. The Divine Liturgy will begin at 9.00 a.m. and will end at approximately 12.30 p.m.