WE OWE RESPECT TO OUR BODY
“or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6: 19)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
According to the Bible, God during the process of creation, created everything from nihil (nothing) in six days or in six periods of time. The creation of man followed after this. The Triune God appearing as having a meeting between the Three Persons, said “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” (Gen. A: 26).
The Bible states that “then God formed man out of dust from the ground, and breathed in his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (Gen.2: 7). The Bible speaks in this anthropomorphic way when referring to the creation of the immortal part of man, that is his soul.
From then onwards the body became the inseparable companion of the soul. We learn, therefore, that man consists of two elements, the body and the soul. Our body, as the dwelling of our soul, is something unique; it is holy and we must respect it. At the same time the body needs protection, care and good nutrition, in order to be clean, healthy and serve the purpose for which it was created, the glory of God.
The natural death separates the body from the soul. We, as Orthodox Christians, bury the bodies with respect and honour. After death we take the body to the Church, we say prayers using the appropriate petitions, readings and singing. We offer incense both in Church and at the grave. At the grave we light a lamp and also place a cross. We pay regular visits to the grave. We place flowers and decorate the grave, planting various plants. We go through all these expressing our respect and our honour, our gratitude and our love towards our beloved departed.
Unfortunately, in the course of our life, we human beings, do not always give the necessary or appropriate attention and honour to our soul or to our body. Through our sins and misuse we damage both. For this reason we damage our bodies as well as our souls, through over-drinking, over-eating, through many other excesses and additionally through our many faults and omissions.
The protection of our environment and generally the protection of nature, is a contemporary subject. If now we see under this focus the behaviour of man towards his body, we will come to realise that many a time we make unnecessary and dangerous interventions because we believe that we will correct “the wrongs” of the Creator. However, we need to be careful because those who are in favour of such things today, will come back tomorrow to withdraw what they suggested and admit that they were wrong.
Through spiritual exercises, the continuous striving and through the help of the grace of God, we try to tame our souls and channel our various sinful impulses which might rule within us, which try to oppress and distance us from the way to God.
When our beloved ones die, in accordance with the practice of the Orthodox Church, we do not cremate their bodies because we do not look upon them in contempt. On the contrary, as has already been mentioned, love and respect belong to them. If the bodies of the faithful were cremated then we would not have in our possession the invaluable and inestimable spiritual treasures of the holy relics and other things belonging to the saints, because these are receivers and carriers of the Divine Grace and characteristics and signs of the sainthood of the friends of Christ.
Contemporary man, in his attempt to serve his own will and to hide his personal sins, many a time makes use of science in order to avoid child-bearing within or outside marriage. He does not hesitate to proceed with abortions in order to hide unwanted pregnancies, ignoring the consequences of the health of the soul, especially that of the mother and also the damage to the body.
Following these, I think each one of us must remember that our bodies are the dwelling of God and the dwelling of our souls and their task is to serve the glory of our Creator. 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 months of January and February were subsidised by the following donors: Merope Kelepeshi in memory of her beloved husband Stelios, her parents and relatives; Androulla Stavrou in memory of her beloved husband Nicos; Erotokrita Livera in memory of her beloved parents Andreas and Anna; Costas and Elli Ktori in memory of their beloved daughter Irene; Anastasia Sophocleous in memory of her beloved husband Athanasios; Sotera Arnaoutis and Lella Chrysanthou in memory of their beloved parents; Maroula Menelaou in memory of her beloved husband; Eugenia Christophidou in memory of her beloved parents Antonis and Marina and her sister Yiannoulla; Foula Kyriacou in memory of her mother Androulla Kyprianou and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this cause.
CALENDARS: The Archdiocese’s large calendars are available from our offices and both our churches. If you would like to purchase your own copy you may call at the offices, price £6.00 each.
MEATFARE SUNDAY MEAL FOR THE ELDERLY: On Sunday, 19th February 2012, the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA are organising the annual meal given in honour of our elderly. This will take place in both our churches as follows:
a Those who will attend the Divine Liturgy at St Barnabas Church will be served at 11.10 a.m.
b Those who will attend the Divine Liturgy at St Mary’s Cathedral will be served at 12.40 p.m.
We look forward to seeing all our elderly on the day when the young people as well as the Pantanassa members will gladly serve you. If any of you would like to contribute in any way we will appreciate it very much.
BOOKS FOR HOLY WEEK AND SALUTATIONS: We are pleased to announce to our faithful that the book of the Akathist Hymn and the book of Holy Week and Easter are both available for purchase. The Akathist Hymn is sung on the first five Fridays of Lent. These are written in Greek and English and are priced as follows:
The Akathist Hymn £10.00 each; Holy Week and Easter £25.00 each
If you wish to purchase either or both of these books you may do so from our community office.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: St Barnabas Greek Schools are once again issuing the annual school raffle in aid of our Greek Schools. 12,000 tickets will be issued at £1.00 each, thus raising £12,000.00 towards the school funds. We need 300 friends who will each purchase 40 tickets in order to sell the whole amount. If you are not able to purchase 40 you are welcome to buy whatever amount you can. We do hope that this year we will be able to sell all 12,000 tickets in good time and not leave it until the last Sunday. The raffles are available from the school office.
A SECONDARY SCHOOL IS NEEDED: A group of people is et by our Archdiocese and is working very hard to make all preparations so as to be able to obtain permission from the British Ministry of Education to create a secondary school for our young generation. At this stage all the parents who have children of school age of ten years and downwards are asked to give your details in order to present the requirements for such an institution for our people.