T H E F A I T H F U L A R E A S K E D T O R E J O I C E
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
(Philippians 4: 4)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Human feelings are expressed in the course of life and under a variety of circumstances. One of these feelings is joy. In this instance we may refer to the joys of this world and at the same time the spiritual joys. It is natural for Christians, as members of society, to participate in these two kinds of joy. However, it is necessary for them to abstain from those joys which are connected with sin and the damage of the soul. The seeking of every joy which is alien to what is evil and sinful, benefits and also comforts them.
St Paul in today’s apostolic reading which is read in the churches, speaks about joy and what is more, about joy which is permanent and durable. Saint Paul wrote this letter, which is called the Epistle of Joy from Rome and addressed it to the newly-baptised Christians of the city of Philippi. He was imprisoned there by the Romans. In contrast to that he is not lamenting nor complaining about his state. On the contrary, he rejoices because he has been able to suffer and be tested in the name of Jesus Christ.
Every Christian can follow the example of Apostle Paul and his attitude which he kept towards everything he had to face as a preacher and promoter of the faith of Jesus Christ. We, as Christians, many a time are confronted by the events of life which create problems to us because of our Orthodox faith. Through the example of divine Paul we learn the way to face them and we are taught which line to follow.
St James, the brother of God regarding the manner of dealing with temptations and trials, advises as follows: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4).
A different angle of facing temptations is to consider them as some stage of trial. When the faithful are faced with temptations, what takes place is the same as what happens with the ore of gold when it is put into the furnace at a very high temperature. Thus, the earth and the rest of the elements which are not of value are separated from the gold. Temptations contribute to the purification of the inner being of man. The Church fathers speak as follows: “Take the temptations away and nobody finds salvation.” Therefore the faithful instead of complaining and turning against God when they face trials, it is more beneficial to rejoice and adopt a positive attitude. When we are going “through fire and through water” (Ps. 66: 12) then it is necessary for us to remember that the Lord watches over us and intervenes in good time so as to lead us to “rich fulfillment.”
With God’s help we are once again on the threshold of celebrating the Holy Passion of our Lord. The Lord faced His Holy Passion, that is the mocking, the spitting, the whipping and finally the climax, His crucifixion on Golgotha, without protesting or complaining. The Lord underwent the Holy Passion eagerly and willingly for our salvation. Thus, His death on the cross led us into life and opened for our sake the closed doors of Paradise.
Additionally, if we examine carefully the life of the martyrs and saints of the church, we become easily aware that the way they faced the temptations and the trials in their life does not differ from that of the Lord. Contemporary man who lives within the spirit of high technology, speed and easy communication, many a time is not in the mood or ready to face the problems of this life adopting the attitude of the Lord. Lord, strengthen us when we find ourselves in trial and difficulties and enlighten us to reflect upon them placing them in front of your spotless mirror. 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 March were subsidised by the following: Nicos Poirazis in memory of his beloved wife Xenia and on the occasion of his birthday; Roy and roger Stavrou in memory of their father Andreas and their aunt Loula, Mikis Agapiou in memory of his beloved wife Io, daughter Maria and his sister Lenia and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and contribution towards this worhty cause.
We would inform all our respected elderly that the meals have now ceased for the Easter celebrations.
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.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The sale of the school raffle tickets has now reached the total of £3,400.00. We thank all those of you who have supported this venture so far and trust that we will continue to have your unfailing support.
ORDINATIONS: On Thursday, 25th March 2010, took place the laying-on of hands by His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou upon Constantinos Theocharous, who was elevated to the office of sub-deacon. On the same day, during the divine Liturgy he was ordained to the office of deacon. We pray to God to grant the newly-ordained Very Revd Deacon Constantinos strength and stamina in order that he may be able to carry out his duties, serving God and His people for many years.
On this day, Palm Sunday, 28th March 2010, His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, will ordain Revd Deacon Seraphim Perdicos to the office of the priesthood during the divine Liturgy. We pray to God to strengthen and enlighten the candidate so as to serve God and His people reverently.
SPIRITUAL GATHERINGS: We inform our parishioners that the Spiritual gatherings have now ceased for the Easter celebrations. They will begin again on Tuesday, 20th April 2010.
YOUTH ORGANISATION: The Youth Club has also stopped for the Easter services. They will resume after the holidays, on Tuesday, 20th April 2010.
ST BARNABAS GREEK SCHOOL: St Barnabas Greek Schools have stopped their lessons on Saturday, 27th March 2010 for the Easter holidays. They will resume their sessions after Easter as follows:
1st and 2nd schools: Tuesday, 13th April 2010
3rd school: Saturday, 17th April 2010
4th school: Saturday, 17th April 2010
We wish all our staff, pupils, parents and friends of the school a blessed Easter and look forward to seeing you all on the above dates.
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER PROGRAMMES: The programmes for Holy Week and Easter are now ready. Please obtain your copy from our two churches so that you will be informed of the times of all our services during this special period.
ANNUAL GATHERING OF THE CLERGY: This year the clergy of our Archdiocese are holding their annual gathering in the city of Manchester for three days. The Community of Manchester will soon be celebrating their 150th anniversary since its establishment. The church building of Manchester is the first one built in the United Kingdom by our people in the year 1860. The gathering will last from the 12th until the 14th April 2010. This will give the opportunity to our clergy to associate amongst themselves, to pray and worship together and listen to our spiritual leader, His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, in person.