“The natural laws have been defeated in your person spotless virgin; birth took place and virginity retained and death pre-betrothed life. You who remained virgin after the birth and alive after death, Mother of God, may your always save your inheritance.” (Katavasia)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The month of August is amongst us. This month is considered as the month of our Lady, since during the first preparatory fourteen days, we sing devoutly the Great and the Small Paracleses alternately. On the 15th August we celebrate the event of the Dormition of Theotokos, on the 23rd we celebrate the Leave-taking of this feast (Nine days) and finally the month of August concludes with the Deposition of the Cincture of the Belt of the Virgin Mary.
The Church today celebrates resplendently and joyfully commemorates the day of the Falling Asleep of the glorious Dormition of the Mother of God and the mother of humanity, Mary the Theotokos. This feast which is the Summer Pascha, dominates all the other feasts of the month which refer to the All-Holy Lady. The departure of the All-Holy Lady from this world creates awe and wonder to the angels in heaven.
Additionally, this feast in a miraculous way, gathers all the Apostles to Gethsemane from all over the world, where they were occupied with the spreading of the Gospel. The immortal Dormition of the All-Holy Lady overflows with gladness and spreads joy in heaven. The whole of creation bids farewell in a festive way and with funerary and devout hymns to the All-Holy Virgin, the Mother of the whole world.
If someone studies the icons of the All-Holy Lady carefully, he will notice that on her face there is an expression of joy and sorrow at the same time. For this reason we say that in the person of the Mother of God rules the feeling of delight and sorrow (harmolypi). It happens so, since the All-Holy Lady is the Mother of the Saviour of the world but at the same time she is the Mother of Jesus crucified. Her life connected with the life of sweetest Jesus never existed without joy but at the same time was amalgamated with the presence of sorrow, which lurks in every fold and is met in every page of the Lord’s life on earth. How many examples of this sort can we recall?
The pregnancy of the All-Holy Lady is accompanied by the suspicious thought of the just Joseph, the Betrothed. The visit to Bethlehem for the census led to a cave-stable, where the Son of God was born. The adoration of the Holy Child by the Magi brought into focus the passion of enmity and authority of Herod and led to the self-imposed exile to Egypt of the Divine Infant and the Holy Family. The public ministry of the Lord benefited so many people, through the multitude of miracles which resulted in the Lords Holy Passion, and elevated Jesus up on the cross from where the words “It is finished!” were heard.
Looking at the composers of the church hymns, we become aware that they competed with each other when they composed hymns magnifying the Mother of God, as to how they could best express themselves with lofty meanings, selected words and exceptional phrases. They occupied themselves with these because they wanted to show their deep reverence, to stress the great honour, to present the great glory and to elevate the steadfast blessedness of the All-Holy Lady. However, is it possible for the human lips to speak about the most honourable of Cherubim and to present the beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim and refer to her who without corruption gave birth to the Son of God?
Let us now occupy ourselves with the explanation of the Ninth Ode of the Feast. The composer of the hymn addressing our Lady speaks as follows: In your person undefiled and spotless Virgin Lady Maria, the natural laws have been defeated and the limitations have been lifted. It is natural when a woman gives birth to a child not to speak on her account about virginity any further. However, in the case of our Lady we have The Birth and the retaining of her virginity. Thus, the natural laws remained inactivated and the miracle took place, which surpasses every mind and meaning. The Holy Fathers of the Church speak and magnify the person of the All-Holy Lady referring especially to the event of the Nativity and say: “Before birth, during birth and after birth you remained a Virgin.”
The virginity in the person of the All-Holy Lady existed before the conception of the Incarnate Son and Logos of God, retained during the conception and pregnancy and continued after the Nativity. In the person of the All-Holy Lady we have physical death but after her remaining in the tomb for three days, her resurrection followed. Thus, the All-Holy Theotokos, with an exceptional favour shown to her by her Son and God to honour her and to express His love, she entered eternal life.
Let us now complete this communication with you addressing our Lady with the Megalinarion of the Feast of the Dormition: “Virgin Mary, you presented yourself at the right hand of the King of Kings as the Queen of the whole of creation, adorned with the glory and immortality, elevated with glory to heaven.” Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
SCHOOL ENROLMENTS: We are pleased to inform all the parents and guardians of children of school age that they may enrol their children from now for the coming school year 2010-2011. The offices are open daily for this pupose from 9.00 – 6.00 p.m. (except Sundays). School sessions begin on Thursday, 9th September for the schools of Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday, 11th September 2010 for the Saturday schools.
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: The meals for the elderly will resume some time in September. We will notify you of the exact date nearer the time. However, we would be grateful for any contributions given towards these meals so that we may be able to put in order our preparatory work and continue with this very worthwhile cause in the future.
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.
A VISIT TO SUMMER CAMP: On Tuesday, 3rd August 2010, His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Gt Britain, accompanied by His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, including deacon Evangelos Liasis and Andreas Joannou, visited the camping site of the Holy Archdiocese (in South Wales), where sixty-five children between the ages of 9 and 17 were camping for ten days with their leaders and some clergymen.
His Eminence, assisted by his entourage and Revd Stephen Maxfield and other camping clergymen, performed the Blessing of the Waters, blessed everyone, spoke to them and shared a meal with them. The exemplarary discipline of the children reflect the good and organised work of the Leaders. Warm congratulations to every one.
This sitek was bought by the Archdiocese following the generous donation of a faithful member of the Archdiocese.
THE HOLY BIBLE IN ENGLISH: We gladly inform those members of our faithful who are interested in obtaining a copy of the Holy Bible in English, that there are some available in the Community’s bookshop. Price: £50.00 each.
ARCHDIOCESE’S PRAYER-BOOK: The Holy Archdiocese has recently re-printed the bilingual prayer-book. You may obtain a copy from the churches or our office. Price £5.00.
FORTHCOMING EDITION: In approximately a month’s time the bi-lingual book of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, published by our Archdiocese will be in circulation.