THE FAITHFUL LIGHT-RECEIVERS AND LIGHT-GIVERS
“For the same God who said, ‘Out of darkness let light shine’, has caused his light to shine within us, to give the light of revelation – the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor. 4: 6)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Life away from God, leads man to deep darkness. On the contrary, light close to God leads man to light and at the same time offers him a life full of light. The progenitors at the beginning lived their life within the light. However, soon after they were led astray by the lies of the devil, ran away from God and fell into darkness. The generations of men who followed “worshipped creation rather than the Creator”, the Church sings in one of the hymn of the Katavasiae.
The reading of the first verses in Genesis, the first book of the Holy Bible, reminds us succinctly that God is the Creator of the whole universe, that is, all that is visible and invisible. The physical and limited natural light is also created by God. The Bible states: “God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3). When man lives within the environment of the physical light he rejoices, works and is contented. On the contrary, darkness brings him low spirits, creates depression and fear within him and takes away the joy from him. During the day the sun offers light to the planet earth whereas in the evening the earth enjoys the faint light from the moon and the stars. Further to these, we have the electric light and many other ways of lighting which human mind invented. The presence, the power, the duration and the effectiveness of all these kinds of light have some relativity.
If now someone decides to speak about “the sun of righteousness”, that is the person of Jesus Christ, things are totally different. The joy which is brought within the hearts of men because of the presence of Jesus Christ is not easy or possible to be expressed in words which man has at his disposal. On the other hand, the renewing power, which is given by the Son and Logos of God in the heart, the soul and the mind of man, is not possible to be compared within the human frames and terms. However, the duration of the divine energies, which send forth “the great light”, the Son and Logos of God, frees the people who live in darkness and the shadow of death and places them in the land of light, which is the Church.
We become members of the Church from the moment we participate in the Sacrament of Baptism, which is the entrance into the Churchfold. Immediately afterwards the Sacrament of Confirmation takes place which offers us the Divine Grace, through which we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Following that, the Church feeds her newly-baptised members with the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ. From that moment onwards every member of the Church has the privilege to live within the light of the Triune God. The Church sings as follows: “light is the Father, light is the Logos, light is the Holy Spirit also.”
The Lord speaks about Himself as follows: “I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall wander in the dark; he shall have the light of life.” (John 8: 12). However, He Himself addressing His disciples and followers throughout the centuries said: “You are light for all the world.” (Matthew 5: 14). The Lord is the source of light. He is the permanent giver of light. We, the members of the Church, are receivers of the light of the Divine Grace. Thus, we become light-receivers. However, remaining within the light we have the ability, despite the fact that we are not self-lit, to become light-givers and transmitters of this light.
The above brings to mind the unique words of St Gregory the Theologian, in his Apologetic Speech when he left for Pontos, which are as follows: One must clean himself before his is able to clean others; to become wise and thus to be able to help others to become wise; to become light and then to be able to enlighten others; to get closer to God and lead others to God also; to become holy and then guide others to holiness; to take others by the hand and lead them, to advise with wisdom. This is the mission of the faithful members of the Church: to be receivers and transmitters of the Divine Light. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: After the summer break the meals for the elderly will resume on Thursday, 16th September 2010. The meals are given twice a week, free of charge. We trust that new and existing supporters of this endeavour will continue donating money towards this philanthropic initiative.
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 them or wish to subscribe to any or all of these you may contact our Community’s offices.
NEWS FROM THE CELEBRATIONS OF THE DORMITION OF OUR LADY: With God’s grace and help we were privileged to celebrate the Dormition of our Lady for one more year. The service of the Paracleses, Great and Small, were sung alternately during the first thirteen days. They were very well attended. The Paracleses and the Holy Unction worked as an appropriate preparation of the faithful for the feast of the Dormition. As it is customary in our community, a short sermon completed the prayers every evening. The Vespers as well as the Divine Liturgy were led by His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. The feast being on a Sunday gave the opportunity to both our Churches to celebrate on the day and give a chance to the masses of people who turned up to worship with ease, venerate the person of our Lady,
attend the Divine Liturgy and receive Holy Communion. All the willing assistants prepared the social side of the feast wholeheartedly, served the people with goodness and kindness and improved the collections of the day. Through the columns of our Community’s leaflet we would like to congratulate every one, to thank them and wish them to always have the protection of our Lady.
NEW SCHOOL YEAR 2010-2011: After the summer holidays lessons at St Barnabas Greek Schools will resume on Thursday, 9th September for the Tuesday and Thursday school and Saturday 11th September 2010 for the Saturday school.
EXAMINATION RESULTS: We are pleased to announce the results of the Modern Greek examinations of the students who sat at the examination centre of St Barnabas:
A) GCE Units 1 (AS) and Unit 2
AS: 2A, 1C, 1D
A Level (Unit 1 & 2) 1B
A Level (Unit 2) 1A, 1C, 1D, 2U
B) GCSE: 10A*, 9A, 11B, 2C, 1E
We congratulate all the pupils for their results and wish them a very successful and bright future.
OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE GREEK SCHOOLS: The official opening of St Barnabas Greek schools will take place on Saturday, 18th September 2010, with the Blessing of the Waters. The ceremony of the Blessing of Waters will be performed by His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou and Headmaster of the Schools. Present will be officials from the Local Authority, the Co-ordinator from the Greek Educational Mission, The Inspector from the Cyprus Educational Mission, Mr Savvas Pavlides, the Co-ordinator of KES, Mrs Helen Vrahimedes and other community officials, parents, teachers and pupils.
NEWS FROM OUR BOOKSHOP: Books for sale:
The Holy Bible (in English with commentary and explanation throughout) £50.00
Prayer Book (Greek and English) £ 5.00
Our Christian Orthodox Faith (English version) £10.00
Greek Diaconia (1995, 1996, 2007) £10.00
English Diaconia (1991-1995, 1996-2000, 2001-2005) £10.00