JUNE 2009 – ENGLISH DIACONIA
When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, he parted the nations; when he divided out the tongues of fire, he called all to unity; and with one voice we glorify the All-holy Spirit.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Among the many ecclesiastical hymns which the worshipping conscience of the faithful composed and used in the course of the centuries, there are some which are called ‘kontakia’. In accordance with one opinion they were given this name because they offer very briefly the meaning of the feast to which they refer. However, in accordance with some other opinion their name is due to the way the papyri and skins, where the text was depicted, were rolled on a pole.
We thought it then beneficial to attempt a brief interpretation of the kontakion of the feast of Pentecost. “When the Most High came down and confused the tongues”. This hymn does not denote any specific date. However, the hymn is referring to some event about which the Old Testament speaks and which took place after the flood of Noah. It reminds us about the behaviour of men when they decided out of selfishness to build the Tower of Babel, whose height they intended to reach heaven. God was not very pleased with this selfish attitude of men. Thus, He descended and confused their languages. Following the confusion of the languages the dispersion of the people to all the lands of the world took place.
Through this energy God brought about confusion and incomprehensiveness among men. Thus, the word ‘Babel’ means confusion. The task of building the tower could not then continue. Let us notice what the Bible says: “Come, let us go down there and confuse their speech, so that they will not understand what they say to one another.” (Gen. 11: 7). At this point we can notice that there is a dialogue between the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. This is the reason plural is used here.
Now regarding the matter of date, certainly there is a specific time at which this event took place. However, it is not known when but on the other hand it is difficult to specify the time. Perhaps we are speaking in terms of millions or thousands of years. What is important is that the Bible gives witness that this event took place during the course of time.
“When he divided out the tongues of fire…” On the day of Pentecost we have the descent of the Holy Spirit on the heads of the disciples in the form of fiery tongues. The visit and energy of God the first time created confusion, division and isolation. This time, however, the descent of the Holy Spirit put aside the obstacles, raised the limitations, stopped the confusion and everyone understood what the Apostle Peter was saying in his sermon. “…he called all to unity”. The presence of the Holy Spirit among men brought unity and communication among men, among the Church members. Within this frame of this unity we glorify and honour the Holy Spirit. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: The meals for the elderly during the month of June so far were subsidised by Christos Joannides and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this worthy cause.
As you will have noticed, at the beginning of the year a good number of donors have responded. However, in recent weeks we have had very few donors for the meals given in honour of our elderly. We, therefore, appeal to your generosity, if you are able and interested in contributing towards the meals please do so by contacting our offices.
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 paid your subscriptions or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
THIRTY-NINE YEARS OF GREEK DIACONIA: This Sunday the Greek leaflet “Diaconia” entered its thirty-ninth year of publication. We thank God for its uninterrupted circulation and we trust that it will continue for many more years to sustain our faithful with the truths of the faith in Christ and to also put on record the historic events of our ecclesiastical and communal life.
I PHONI TOU SCHOLIOU: St Barnabas Greek Schools are pleased to announce the circulation of the 104th issue of its School Magazine ‘I Phoni tou Scholiou’. The magazine contains a greeting and an Easter article by the headmaster, His Grace Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, suggestions and essays by the teaching staff, numerous works by the pupils of all ages on a variety of topics, the chronicle of our School and Community, advertisements and photographs. A copy of the magazine is given to each pupil attending the School as well as to all our advertisers.
The existence of this magazine encourages the children to write and cultivate their abilities. In life, the cleverest people are few and the weak ones are equally few. The majority of people fall between the two extremes. Therefore, there is plenty of scope for those who want to advance in life to work and progress. Let us remind you of the story of the hare and the tortoise. The hare, depending on his speed, enjoyed his sleep but lost the race. Whereas the tortoise, knowing its difficulty to walk quickly, remained alert and continued its journey, winning the race.
SCHOOL SOCIAL EVENT: The Greek Schools of St Barnabas with the co-operation of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA, are organizing a
social event at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday, 11th June 2009. It will be a hot meal consisting of souvla, etc. The purpose of the function is to complete the furnishing of the school with desks and chairs. We look forward to having your generous support for this event. Price per ticket: £20.00.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The sale of the annual school raffle has now reached the sum of £7,500.00. We hope to have your continued support for the remaining four weeks so that we can reach our target of £11,000.00. Let us remind you that the draw will take place during the end-of-term School Concert, on Sunday, the 5th July 2009 at 4.00 p.m.
Please bear in mind that this is the only source of money coming into the school account, complementing the symbolic amount of fees each family gives annually. Let us point out that the existence and operation of our Greek school classes is a matter which concerns all of us. The children coming to school learn about their roots, remain balanced people, good citizens of the land and will continue to keep our faith and culture.
ENROLMENTS: We would like to bring to your attention that those of you who wish to enroll your children for the new academic year the office is ready to accept your enrolments. The new school year 2009-2010, begins on Saturday, 5th September 2009.
THE THIRD GATHERING OF THE SCHOOL PARENTS: On Saturday, 13rh June 2009 the parents of the school children are invited to come to the third and last gathering of the school year. The purpose is to meet the head teacher and the rest of the educational personnel and offer their comments on the closing school year. Those parents whose children attend in the morning are invited to come at 12.00 noon whereas those parents whose children attend in the afternoon are invited to come at 5.15 p.m.
FUTURE WORKS ON THE COMMUNITY PREMISES: Due to the age, the weather, the state of some of the Community buildings, works need to be carried out soon. These are the tower-spire of our Cathedral, the main offices, the rear wall of St Barnabas’ Church and two of the houses also need refurbishing. Meetings have been programmed to deal with these matters in order to decide how to proceed.