Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The Church, making use of her discretional authenticity, named only a few of her children using the designation “Great”. Such a person was Basil the Great, the Archbishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia. It is believed that Basil was born in the city of Neo-Caesarea of Pontos, in the year 330 A.D. His father, Vassilios, came from Pontos whereas his mother Emmelia came from Cappadocia. The two genealogic (family) trees derived from aristocratic roots and the same line was followed by their descendants.
St Basil came from a large family which comprised of five daughters and four sons. The eldest sister, Makrina, became a nun as well as her grandmother, Makrina. Three of the sons became Bishops and one a monk. Among St Basil’s ancestors there were martyrs of the faith. He himself lost his father at the age of fifteen and, thus, the care of upbringing and educating all the children remained the sole responsibility of their most devout mother. St Basil’s father was a teacher and orator and, some believe, that he was also a priest.
St Basil studied at the most famous schools of education of his time. Such schools were in Caesarea, Constantinople and Athens. There he enjoyed a rich education from esteemed teachers. At Caesarea he met Gregory of Nazianzos, who became a friend for life and their friendship in Athens became legendary. Whilst in Athens he also met Julian the Apostate.
Basil served the Church as Deacon, Presbyter and as Bishop of Caesarea of Cappadocia for five years, succeeding Eusebius of Caesarea. His pastoral task was distinguished in philanthropy and the cultivation of education. His philanthropic task reached its peak in creating the range of buildings known as “Vasileiada”, which included schools for orphans, places of refuge for women, organised meals for the poor and hospitals for the sick. Additionally, many of his theological writings and epistles have survived. These are addressed to individuals and clerics and deal with a variety of themes.
The text of the Divine Liturgy which is ascribed to St Basil takes place ten times a year. These are: 1st January, which is the day of his death; the first five Sundays of Holy and Great Lent; Holy Thursday; Holy Saturday; Christmas Eve and the day before Epiphany. St Basil’s Divine Liturgy is a profound and extremely theological text.
It is worth mentioning that on the day of his funeral the crowd was so dense that a number of people died because of the huge attendance. St Basil is also commemorated on the 30th January with the other two Hierarchs, St Gregory the Theologian and St John Chrysostom, as protectors of the Greek and Orthodox letters.
St Basil worked very hard and systematically in facing the wrong teachings of Aries, which continued even after the First Ecumenical Council and he also worked in facing the heresy of the “Pneumatomachoi”. St Basil contributed a lot in preparing the Second Ecumenical Council. Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to enjoy this since his death preceded it. He died at the age of 49. Christ our Lord, through the intercession of St Basil, have mercy on us and save us. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: We are pleased to announce that the meals for the elderly, after the Christmas festivities, will resume on Tuesday, 10th January 2012 with the blessing, cutting and distributing of the traditional Vasilopitta. As you are aware these meals are given free, twice a week for over thirty years. These take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1.00 p.m. in Saint Barnabas’ Church hall. All our elderly are most welcome to come and join the group.
So far for the month of January the following have contributed towards the meals: Koulla Minaides, Onoufrios Onoufriou and Maria Christophi in memory of their beloved uncle Alexandros; Athenoulla Anastasiou in memory of her beloved husband Kyriacos, parents and brother Michael; Eugene and Marjorie Nicolaides in memory of their beloved parents Nicolas and Meropi and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. Those of you who wish to contribute towards this very worthy cause may come to the Community’s office.
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.
RE-OPENING OF GREEK SCHOOL: We would like to inform all parents and pupils that St Barnabas’ Greek Schools that following the Christmas festivities, will re-open on Saturday, 7th January 2012. We look forward to seeing all the school children on the day.
ENGLISH DIACONIA: With this issue the English leaflet of Diaconia, which is mainly published once a month, has entered its thirty-third year. We thank Holy God for His guidance and this achievement in enabling us to reach this milestone.
SPIRITUAL GATHERINGS: We are pleased to inform you that the spiritual gatherings will resume again on Tuesday, 10th January 2012.
PANTANASSA’S FUNCTION: On Thursday, 19th January 2012, the Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA is organising a social evening for a philanthropic cause. The purpose is to raise funds and assist our compatriot, Yiannis Georgiou, and his family. We will appreciate it very much if we have your generous contribution towards this philanthropic initiative. Tickets: £20.00 each. Time: 7.30 p.m. at St Mary’s hall.
ARCHDIOCESE’S CALENDARS: The Archdiocese’s calendars have arrived. These are available as follows: large calendar £6.00 and small calendar £1-50 each. You may purchase these from either the community’s offices or from our two churches.
ARCHBISHOP’S NAME-DAY: On Wednesday, 25th January 2012, His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, celebrates his name-day. We humbly pray to God to strengthen Him and keep Him in good health so that He can continue his very important spiritual work.
PARENTS AND CHILDREN’S GROUP: For some time now parents and small children meet at St Barnabas church hall after the church service, for coffee and a chat. This activity also gives the children the opportunity to play and socialise together. All parents with small children are invited to come. Time: approximately 11.00 a.m.