“And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2: 11)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Newly-Born Lord,
With sublime and melodic hymns, with our church buildings full of light and adorned with the myrrh of our love, with our souls full of sacred awe and hearing the chanting with which our church addresses us, singing: “O come faithful let us see where Christ is born”, we hasten to transfer ourselves mentally to Bethlehem, where we will meet the Divine Infant, swaddled and laying in the manger of animals.
The anniversary of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ the Saviour asks us as much as it is possible, to become alien from the noise of the world. Being lifted from the earthly matters to the heavenly, let us try to experience within ourselves the extra-ordinary and awesome mystery which takes place for our salvation.
The Son and Logos of God, of His own will, came to earth and taking flesh from the pure blood of the Virgin Mary, and with the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, became a man like us in every way but without sin, since He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.” (1 Peter 2: 22).
Since God became man as well, He entered time and divided it into time Before Christ and time After Christ. God became man in order to approach man and invite us to repentance and turn into the Paternal arms from where we fell, because of our egoism and disobedience towards the Divine Will. He invited us to be at peace with ourselves, with our fellowmen, with the whole of creation and with our Creator. We will then be ready to return close to God, our Creator, where peace and tranquility reign.
On the night of the Divine Birth the bright star appeared in heav en and led the steps of the Magi of the Far East to Jerusalem, where they sought the Divine Infant, the Newly-Born King. The arrival of the Three Wise Magi and the piece of information they brought with them greatly disturbed Herod, as well as the whole city of Jerusalem. Since Herod suspected that there was supposedly an opponent, he called the archpriests and scribes of the Jews in order to learn where the expected Messiah would be born. When he learnt that He would be born in Bethlehem, he then took the time and found the Magi. He cunningly invited them to his palace in order to try and ascertain the exact time of the Birth of the Messiah and where He was to be found, in order to visit the Child, pretending that he wanted to pay his respects, as he claimed.
Naturally, some time elapsed by the time the Magi arrived in Bethlehem. The many visitors and callers who came to enroll, departed and therefore, there was more space in the places where the visitors could stay. For this reason the Divine Family moved from the shabby cave to a house. It is there that the Magi met our Lady and the Divine Child.
The Magi coming face to face with the Divine Child, offered homage and worshipped the Newly-Born King. They expressed their joy, their respect and the warm feelings which ruled in their being, by placing at the feet of the Infant Christ, gold, frankincense and myrrh. With the gold they acknowledged the office of the Lord as King. With the frankincense they referred to His Person as God and with the myrrh they foretold His death on the cross.
Let us then whole-heartedly glorify the Triune God since He has enabled us to pay our respects to the Divine Nativity. With a swift step we accompany the shepherds to the cave of the Nativity. With the Wise Magi we worship the Nativity spiritually and with the Holy Angels we sing endlessly: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2: 14). May the Newly-Born Divine Child bless your families, your works and safeguard the life of everyone. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
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.
CALENDARS: We are pleased to announce that the Archdiocese’s calendars have arrived. You may purchase your copy from either the offices or our two churches. Prices are as follows:
Large calendar: £6.00 each; Small calendar: £1.50 each.
NEW YEAR’S EVE VESPERS: We would like to inform you that Vespers at the Archdiocese will be held at 6.00 p.m. on Saturday, 31st December 2011. His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, will deliver an account of the Archdiocese’s activities during the year 2011. You are all invited to attend this service which is celebrated only once a year.
VASILOPITTA: We kindly ask all the families who are preparing a vasilopitta for their homes to kindly prepare an extra one and bring it to the church for the Sunday service , 1st January, 2012. This will be blessed, cut and distributed to all the faithful at the end of the Divine Liturgy.
BLESSING OF WATERS: On Thursday, 5th and Friday 6th January 2012, the Blessing of Waters will take place at the end of the Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy on the 5th January 2012, will be held at St Mary’s Cathedral. The service on the 6th January 2012, will be held in both our churches, times as follows:
St Barnabas Church: 8.00 – 11.00 am.
St Mary’s Cathedral: 9.00 – 12.30 p.m.
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.
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. You may already know from the appeal which appeared in the Greek local papers that the family concerned is in a critical, financial state since the father is unable to work because of his illness and the size of the family (they have six children) makes it difficult to meet their needs. 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.