“Let us, angels and men, honour the entry of the Virgin into the Holy of Holies in glory.”
The Church invites us once more, dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, to celebrate joyfully and resplendently tocommemorate the unique event of the entry of the Virgin Mary into the temple. Joakeim and Anna, after the fulfilment of their request to God, to grant them a child, had the blessed privilege to enjoy the presence of the infant Mariam in their home for three years. However, the time was passing by and they had to implement their promise and give to God their offering in the person of their only daughter.
When Mariam had completed her third year of age, her parents Joakeim and Anna, pleased and eager offered her to God as a “three year heiffer”, as we sing in the Akathist Hymn. Up until then the animals were sacrificed so as to propitiate God. Now Mary the Theotokos, a living and spotless sacrifice and offering to God, Who, through His mercy saves the human race.
“The chosen one from all generations” was prepared from the moment she came into the world. Regarding her age she was in a position as a human-being to look after herself as far as food and other necessities were concerned. In accordance with the Judaic custom the infants were breast-fed up until the third year of their life. This was followed by a kind of family celebration.
This took place either to glorify God for the new member of the family or to lead this young person to his/her first steps of independence in life from the family environment and especially the guardianship of their mother. Panayia, as far as this was concerned, could not be an exception whilst at the same time she occupied the privileged and unique position, since she had an exceptional role to play, as the future mother of God. Her weaning launched the start of her new life.
Thus, the village of Panayia, the whole of Nazareth, was in a state of alertness. A great feast was prepared and the graced by God Virgin, accompanied by little and young girls, relatives and friends all singing psalms and hymns, was led into the temple of Solomon where she was to remain for the next stage of her life.
The High Priest, Zacharias, emotionally and with trembling, elderly hands, welcomed her, received her and led her into the Holy of Holies. In there the High Priest entered “once a year” to offer incense. However, the living temple, the comprehensible heaven, was established there, she lived and prayed there, was fed by the Angel of the Lord and studied the divine will daily, in order to enjoy the appropriate preparation and readiness so as to serve the salvific plans of God in obedience.
The comprehensible Ark of God in which the Son and Logos of God is to dwell and remain during her pregnancy and, her stay and tuition within the Holy of Holies, was prepared appropriately so that the plan and salvation of the human race will operate without obstacles and with certainty. Our Lady, through your prayers towards your Son and God, save us. 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 months of October and November were subsidised by the following: Theodora Minaides in memory of her beloved husband Georgios; Soteroula Nicolaides in memory of her beloved parents Nicolas and Meropi; Nicos and Georgoula Artemiou in memory of their beloved departed Artemios, Katerina, Despina, Nicolas and Anastasia; Stelios Tsangarides in celebration of his name-day; Erotokrita Livera in memory of her beloved parents Andreas and Anna and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
CLERGY-LAITY CONFERENCE: On Friday, 5th November 2010, the Clergy-Laity Conference took place on our premises. Clergy and Laity from the communities around the United Kingdom attended. The three-day conference discussed many topics of general interest regarding our communities’ life and progress in this land. His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira, chaired the conference assisted by His Graces Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Bishop Chrysostomos of Kyaneon and Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou.
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.
NEW YEAR’S CALENDARS: The calendars for the new year 2011 are now available. You may obtain these from our office and our two churches. The prices are as follows: Archdiocese pocket diary at £2.00 each and the Community’s wall calendar at £2.50 each. The large-sized diary is due to arrive within a few days.
MORE MOSAICS: On Tuesday, 23rd November 2010, the artist and iconographer, Mr Sozos Yiannoudis, with his team, arrived from Greece and placed mosaics on the wall by the font. These depict the Nativity of the Lord in Bethlehem and His Baptism in the river Jordan, presented in the traditional Byzantine practice. The mosaics are donated by the Liveras family in memory of their beloved parents, Andreas and Anna. We express our warm thanks to the donors and join with them in prayer for the eternal rest of their parents.
DIVINE LITURGY FOR FORTY DAYS: In our Community prior to Christmas the Divine Liturgy is celebrated daily for forty days, beginning from Monday, 15th November 2010. During this period the faithful are encouraged to
remember their living and departed loved ones and to give their names to the clergymen for prayer.
CHRISTMAS FAST: The foty days’ fasting for Christmas began on Monday, 15th November 2010. Fish is allowed up to and including the 17th December 2010. However, there are people who, due to their early or late years of age, find it difficult to practise fasting. Among these we can add the sick. Needless to say that the Church treats each case appropriately and with leniency.
THE LATE THEODORA SHIANTONA: The late Theodora Shiantona, who served our Community in the capacity of a nun, passed away on Friday, 22nd October 2010. Her funeral took place on Thursday, 11th November 2010. The late Theodora served the Community of St Barnabas for many years quietly and unobtrusively. She will be greatly missed. We pray to God to comfort her relatives and grant her his gifts as well as eternal rest.
SCHOOL SOCIAL EVENING: On Thursday evening, 11th November 2010, the Parent/Teachers Association held their social event in the Church Hall. His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou attended together with the Chairman of St Mary’s Cathedral, Mr Marios Minaides as well as the Chairwomen of Pantanassa, Mrs Androulla Christaki and Mrs Meropi Kyriacou. Parents, teachers and pupils were also present. His Grace and Mrs Ioanna Onoufriou, the chairwoman of the Parent/Teachers Association, greeted the gathering. The children, under the guidance of the deputy-head Mrs Machi Neofytou and to the sweet sound of the violin played by their teacher Mr Panayiotis Tofis, danced, sang and generally enjoyed themselves. Prizes for the raffle draw were plentiful. The evening raised £1,500.00 towards the school funds. We express our warm gratitude and many thanks to all who contributed towards this worthy cause.
LIGHTNING-CONDUCTOR: Scaffolding has recently been installed at the bell-tower of St Barnabas Church. Experts re-joined and repaired the lightning-conductor, which protects the building.
2006 GREEK DIACONIA: The volume of the Greek diaconia which covers the year 2006 has been published in book form. This is the 36th volume of the diaconia collection. It contains all the sermons which have been addressed to the faithful of St Barnabas community during that year. All those who are interested in obtaining a copy may apply at our community office. Price: £10.00 each.