THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM THE PROGENITOR
“Brethren, Abraham by faith dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11: 9)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
With God’s help we are at the Sunday which precedes the Feast of the Nativity of Christ the Saviour. On this day in the two readings, the Apostolic as well as that from the Gospel, many personalities are mentioned. All these persons having their faith in the One and Only True God as their only weapon, became esteemed in their lifetime and pleased God. For these reasons these personalities are important examples for imitation.
Of course there is not enough time nor sufficient space in our Community’s leaflet to mention all these illumined personalities in detail. However, since during this year which shortly will come to an end, we dealt with the Apostolic readings, for this reason in to-day’s sermon we choose our theme from the text of the Apostle. We are going to refer to some incidents in the manifold life of Patriarch Abraham so that his faith becomes apparent.
This highly esteemed person is introduced by divine Paul as a unique example of faith in God. Patriarch Abraham in the beginning bore the name Abram. Soon afterwards he was re-named by God from Abram to Abraham. The additional syllable “ha” denoted the blessing and promise the progenitor Abraham received from God regarding the multiplication of his descendants. God made promises to Abraham and additionally made a covenant with him.
When Abraham became very old and in human terms it was impossible for him to become a father, then God granted him Isaac as a reward for his faith. The promises of God included Sarah, who also was re-named from Sarai to Sarah. This second name denoted that she would become a mother of many people.
Abraham was totally dedicated to God regarding his relationship with Him and for this reason he was not reluctant to leave the place where he dwelt and go where God instructed him. Additionally, when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only child Isaac, who was given to him through the promise, Abraham did not protest, despite the fact that in implementing this he understood that the future of his family was coming to an end. Abraham did not face God with disbelief, finding excuse that the promise of God was not to be implemented.
The Jewish nation gave many people who followed the faith of Abraham regarding the coming of the Messiah. However, the nation as a whole did not follow the faith of Abraham in practice. They always referred to the name of Abraham but they had it only on their lips. In reality they were very hard-hearted.
Every year we celebrate with all Christians the Nativity of Christ the Saviour. If the celebrations take place in a godly way then we walk on the right path and we believe in the right way. In the course of the centuries many tried to strangle the message of Christmas by hiding themselves under many cloaks. However, the Church sings: “Christ is born, glorify Him” and “Let us,
oh faithful, hasten to see where Christ was born”. With these few words we greet you and we await to see you in Church to con-celebrate the coming of the Divine Redeemer. 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 December were subsidised by the following kind donors: Costas and Elli Ktori in memory of their beloved daughter Irene; Eleni Antoniou in memory of her beloved husband Evangelos; Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association (Finchley & Barnet); Koula Minaides, Onoufrios Onoufriou and Maria Christophi in memory of their beloved uncle Alexandros; Lakis and Stella Christodoulou for their family’s health and in memory of their beloved parents Panayiotis, Maria, Christodoulos and Marianna and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
A SHORT BREAK FROM THE MEALS: The meals given in honour of our elderly have now stopped for the Christmas festivities. These will resume once again in the New Year, on Tuesday, 11th January 2011.
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 follow: Archdiocese pocket diary (£1.50) the large-sized diary £6.00) and the Community’s wall calendar (£2.00).
GREEK SCHOOLS CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS: The Greek Schools of Saint Barnabas will stop their lessons on Sunday, 19th December 2010, for the Christmas festivities. The First and Second School will resume their lessons on Thursday, 6th January and the Third and Fourth School will resume on Saturday, 8th January 2011. We look forward to seeing all the pupils at their respective schools on the set dates.
SCHOOL FETE, A SUCCESS: On Saturday, 4th December 2010, the Parent/Teachers Association of St Barnabas Greek Schools held a successful Christmas fete. All the parents and friends of the school donated their time and gifts. The pupils had a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the day. The event raised
£2,000.00 which replenished our school funds. We thank all the organisers and supporters of the school and wish them every success 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 SCHOOL CHRISTMAS CONCERT: On Thursday, 16th December 2010, the 1st and 2nd schools held their Christmas concert, which took place at 6.30 p.m. in the Church hall, in the presence of His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou and Mr Savvas Pavlides, the Supervisor of the Cyprus Educational Mission. The children very successfully presented their plays and songs with a Christmas theme. Everyone present was very impressed and the concert was video-taped so that some extracts of it will be shown on Hellenic TV. Look out for it!
BISHOPS’ PANORTHODOX CONFERENCE: On Tuesday, 14th December 2010, His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, chaired the Panorthodox meeting of the Orthodox Bishops, whose flock is in Great Britain and Ireland. This meeting was held at the Holy Archdiocese in Craven Hill. The three groups of the conference spoke on Educational, Pastoral and Theological subjects and afterwards various topics were discussed concerning their Sees. At the end of the conference His Eminence offered hospitality as well as Christmas gifts.
NEWS FROM THE BOOKSHOP: The weekly leaflet of the Community in the Greek language this year completes forty years in circulation. Each year’s leaflets are bound in one volume. For various reasons it has not been possible to do this with every year. However, most of them have now been bound. Those of you who are interested can obtain them. Price: £10.00 each volume. The volumes which have not yet been bound, we expect to prepare them soon.
Our English Diaconia completes so far thirty-one years in circulation. The whole work is bound in six volumes. Those interested to have these in their library can buy them from our headquarters. Price: £10.00 each.
VASILOPITTA: The New Year is fast approaching. Can we remind the ladies of our parish to kindly prepare an extra vasilopitta for the Church.