(The Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)
T H E P O W E R O F T H E D I V I N E W O R D
“The seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8: 11)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Today the Church honours and presents the Holy Fathers, who in the year 787 A.D. convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council in Nicea of Bethany. This Council dealt with the Holy Icons, a matter which at that time troubled the conscience of many faithful. This problem arose as a result of the various heresies which found it difficult to comprehend the dimensions of christology and thus they created confusion regarding the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The question at hand was how far it was possible to depict the Person of Christ, who is God, on a picture. The answer is that the Lord is painted on an icon since He was incarnate and we human-beings saw Him in the form of a man and, therefore, we present what we saw and what we got to know.
St John the Theologian referring to our Lord, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, expresses himself as follows: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life.” (1 John 1).
The rest of the icons depict the person of our Lady and the events of her life, the images of the Saints and their martyrdoms and the Holy Angels. The honour we the faithful offer to the Saints depicted on the icons is not any kind of worship but respect. Worship belongs only to God and the honour we offer to the Saints refers to God because the honour to an icon goes to the prototype, according to St Basil. Additionally, the icons present the contents of the Holy Bible in a different language, the tongue of iconography, as St Gregory the Theologian said: “the icons are the books for the illiterate.”
The Holy and God-bearing Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, who we honour today and all the fathers through all the centuries, spread the word of God throughout the globe with much love, numerous labours, ceaseless sacrifices and a humble attitude. They did this in order to illuminate their fellowmen and to lead them to the truth and salvation.
The word of God in today’s parable is presented as seed. This is a very vivid and a very didactic picture. When the seed falls to the ground, then it shoots up, where the appropriate situations allow and when the time comes, it gives much fruit.
The message of the Gospel, either oral or written, falls into the souls of men and being accepted there, finds hospitality, warmth and it sprouts. After it grows and matures, it gives spiritual fruits and nurtures with these the whole of our being.
The Church in our times has to launch new ways of communication among men. In this way the word of God will be spread wider, quicker, simpler and ceaselessly to nations and people who up to this day have not had the opportunity to hear the words of life. This is for those who still live in darkness and remain uninformed regarding the truth of the Gospel.
At the same time those who are already baptised need to become better acquainted with the truths of the faith and acquire a deeper knowledge of them. For this reason the simple sermon, either oral or written, the reading and interpreting of the word of God and the use of contemporary technology contribute towards informing more systematically the members of the Church. On the other hand the use of the icons transmits more easily the message to the infants and the young generation, which is the continuation and the future within the fold and life of the Church. Let us now conclude with the following prayer: Lord, through the prayers and intercessions of our Holy Fathers, have mercy on us ad 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 month of October were subsidised by the following: the family of Sophia Livera; Androulla Joannides in memory of her beloved departed Savvas, Christophis and Christina; the Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association (Finchley & Barnet) and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this worthy 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.
NEW SCHOOL GOVERNING BODY: On Thursday, 13th October 2011, a meeting was held in the community’s offices in order to elect a new Governing Body for St Barnabas Greek Schools. His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, presided at the meeting and after prayers the following were elected: Chairman: Demetrios Angeletos; Vice-Chairman: Marios Georgiades; Secretary: Demetrios Androutsos; Treasurer: Petros Scordellis; Members: Georgios Blandos, Kyriacos Vasileiou and Vasilis Demetriou.
THE FEAST OF THE SAINTS OF CYPRUS: On Sunday, 9th October 2011, the annual Feast of the Saints of Cyprus was celebrated at St Mary’s Cathedral. The celebration of the Feast was organised jointly by The Cyprus Estia (London) and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, presided at the divine Liturgy and gave an address referring to the Saints of Cyprus throughout the centuries. At the end of the divine Liturgy a reception was held in St Mary’s Church Hall. We congratulate and warmly thank the organisers for their participation and offering and we pray to our Saints to intercede for Cyprus and for each one of us.
SPIRITUAL GATHERINGS: For many years, with the exception of the previous year, we tried to offer to all those who were interested and had the time, a brief account of the truths of our faith. These gatherings resumed on Tuesday, 11th October 2011 and they are held at the Community’s offices between 7.30 – 8.30 p.m. We look forward to seeing all those of you who are interested in deepening further in our Orthodox faith and tradition.
YOUTH CLUB: The Community of St Barnabas from the beginning of its establishment and throughout the years of its existence has tried to offer help and information to our young generation. Within these frames a gathering of the youth is held every Tuesday evening, between 7.30 – 9.00 p.m. Apart from the opportunity which is given to the young people to socialise and get to know each other within a friendly and happy atmosphere, at the same time they are able to get to know the clergy better and also ask questions and receive answers in an unhurried manner to their queries. These gatherings have resumed on Tuesday, 11th October 2011. We look forward to seeing the young people aged between 14-25. A young lady-teacher has been appointed to assist.
THE SCHOOL CONCERT: The Schools of Saint Barnabas on Sunday, 23rd October 2011, will attend the divine Liturgy as well as the prayers offered for the national day of the 28th October 1940 in our Cathedral of Saint Mary.
Additionally on Sunday, 30th October 2011, a concert prepared by the pupils of our Schools will take place in our hall at 4.00 p.m. Poems, songs, plays and dancing will decorate and enrich the celebrations. We trust that a good number of you will turn up to honour the event and encourage the children.
THE BISHOP VISITS CYPRUS: His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, visited Cyprus from Thursday, 29th September 2011, till Monday, 3rd October 2011. During his visit he blessed the marriage of Oliver-Solomon Goodman and Maria, nee Michaelides. The wedding took place at St Catherine’s Chapel, Aphrodite Hill’s Resort, Kouklia, Paphos, Cyprus.