T H E E M B L E M O F T H E H O L Y C R O S S
Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance, granting to faithful Christians victories over their enemies, and protecting your commonwealth by your Cross. (Apolytikion)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The grace of God enabled us once more to pass through the first half of Great and Holy Lent and to arrive at the Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross. This third Sunday of Lent is called the Veneration of the Holy Cross because of the procession and the lifting of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross, which take place in the Churches on this day. This ancient custom of the Church was launched in the days of St John Chrysostom.
The reason for presenting the Holy Cross is due to the care and concern of the Church who wants to strengthen the faithful and give steadfastness to their morale so that we are able to continue with stamina and patience, the fasting, the prayer and the exercises of the Holy Days of Lent. This spiritual exercise creates weakness and labour. For this reason the faithful need to be encouraged, supported and strengthened. The Cross of the Lord does exactly that. It grants courage and strength to every struggling existence so as he/she will manage to reach the end of Great and Holy Lent triumphantly.
On this day of the Veneration of the Holy Cross, the faithful are invited to gaze devoutly at the Cross of the Lord so as to take courage. They will have their faith strengthened and at the same time will remember how much the Lord emptied Himself to become salvation. Additionally the faithful will remember the humiliating death which the slaves and villains underwent and understand that Christ, out of extreme love towards the human race, became curse and shame for our sake. However, the Cross at the same time is an ornament to the Church, a symbol of joy, a flag of victory, a source of inspiration, a sign of the way, a hope for sinners, support for the just, glory for the angels, strength for the kings and rulers, a title of honour, a call of sacrifice and a prize of the Resurrection.
Then, Christ on Golgotha shed His spotless blood on the Cross and sanctified it. Now, the faithful decorate the Cross with the fragrant flowers of spring and wet it with their tears of repentance, the crowns of honour, with their feelings of adoration and their pleasing worship towards the Lord, Who became a curse for our sake.
The worshipping members of the Church during the Great and Holy Week in Matins of Holy Friday sing as follows: “You have ransomed us from the curse of the law by Your precious blood. Nailed to the Cross and pierced with the lance, You have poured forth immortality on humankind, Glory to You, our Redeemer.” The crucifixion of the Lord dissolved the curse and brought the blessing. The death of the Lord on the Cross led to life.
Today then, the Church with festive splendour and with feelings of joy, triumph, victory of life against death, proclaims: “We venerate your Cross Lord, and glorify your Holy Resurrection.” The whole of the flock proceeds to venerate the Holy Cross with humility and devoutness so as to receive the divine grace and accept some blessed flowers from the grace of the Cross and take them home as a blessing of the Church.
The various feasts of the Holy Cross during the ecclesiastical year remind us that Christianity is a faith of the humble spirit and the teaching of kenosis (emptiness). The Orthodox Church as a genuine successor of the intact (unchanged), teaching of Christ, presents continuously and in many places this kenotic message and experience. The Church invites all of us, her members, to live in the shadow of the Cross, gazing on the crucified Jesus Christ. 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: Eugenia Christophidou in memory of her beloved departed Marina, Antonis and Yiannoulla; Angela Loizou in memory of her beloved departed Andreas and Loukia; Erotokrita Livera in memory of her beloved parents Andreas and Anna; Stelios and Artemis Christou for the health of their family; Eleni Antoniou in memory of her beloved parents Prodromos, Elizabeth, Antonis, Eftychia and her beloved husband Evangelos and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
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 School Governing Body is pleased to announce that the annual school raffle is in circulation. You are kindly asked to support the selling of the school raffle. Please bear in mind that the raffle is a means whereby the school covers a number of its financial obligations. We trust that, as in the previous years, you will show your support in this venture. Price per raffle: £1.00. The school accommodates in its classes about 300 children. In order to sell all the raffles we need 300 volunteers to buy raffles of £40.00 each. So far 100 volunteers have contributed. We need 200 further volunteers to come forward.
DOXOLOGY: On Sunday, 27th March 2011, a doxology marking the two national events of 25th March 1821 and 1st April 1955 will take place in both our churches. At St Barnabas the doxology will take place at about 10.30 a.m. and at St Mary’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 11.30 a.m. The pupils of St Barnabas Greek Schools will take part at the doxology in St Mary’s Cathedral. We look forward to seeing as many parents as possible accompanying their children.
NATIONAL SCHOOL CONCERT: St Barnabas Greek Schools will commemorate the two National days, 25th March 1821 and 1st April 1955 by presenting a concert. The concert will take place in St Mary’s Church hall on Sunday, 3rd April 2011 at 4.00 p.m. It will comprise of plays, songs, poems and dances relating to the two events. Please come forward to encourage the children by your attendance and support.
NEW EDITION OF THE DIVINE LITURGY: Our Archdiocese has now prepared and will soon be circulating a new edition of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, in Greek and English. This edition is more extensive than the previous one so that it can be more helpful, especially to the clergy. We advise all the faithful to have this in mind and obtain their own copy for their own spiritual benefit.
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER: We trust that in a few days’ time we will have a limited number of copies of Holy Week and Easter in Greek and English. Those interested can contact the Community office for more details.
PARENT/TEACHERS’ MEETING: On Thursday, 7th April as well as on Saturday, 9th April 2011, the teachers of St Barnabas Greek School are to meet with the parents to discuss with them the progress which their children are making at school. We trust that all parents will turn up in time so as to facilitate the task of the teachers. The times of the meetings are as follows:
1st and 2nd Schools Thursday 7th April 2011 7.00 p.m.
3rd School Saturday, 9th April 2011 12.00 noon
4th School Saturday, 9th April 2011 5.15 p.m.
BINDING OF THE ENGLISH DIACONIA: We are happy to announce that our English Diaconia will be bound before Easter. This is the sixth volume to be bound and covers the years from 2006-2010. The other five volumes are in our offices and those who are interested may obtain these. Price per each volume is £10.00.