Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
“Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.” (Titus 3: 10)
The Church on this Sunday honours and presents the 630 Holy and God-bearing Church Fathers, who, in the year 451 A.D. gathered in Chalcedon (near Constantinople) in order to face the heresy of Monophysitism. Promoters of Monophysitism were the Archimandrite of Constantinople, Eutychis and the Patriarch of Alexandria, Dioskoros. The Synod was convened by the Emperors of the Byzantium, Marcian and Pulcheria.
The Monophysites claimed that in the Person of Christ there is only one nature, the divine, since this absorbed the human nature. The Church, however, counter-claimed that in the Person of Christ exist two natures, the divine and the human, united unchanged, inseparable, undivided, unalterable and identical. The two natures co-exist without the one opposing the other. The human nature submits to the divine and the divine nature allows the human nature to express itself and to meet its own needs. Monophysites exist up to this day in Egypt and elsewhere.
At this Synod, after mutual agreement between the two opposing parties, the teaching of each one was placed on the relics of St Euphemia, which were lying in Chalcedon, her homeland. After praying, they opened the coffin on the following day and found the volume of the teaching of the Synod in the Saint’s hands lying on her chest, whereas the texts of the teaching of the Monophysites were laid at her feet. This was considered as acceptance and approval of the Church’s teaching and at the same time rejection of the teachings of the Monophysites.
Another notable fact which should be mentioned is that the 28th Canon of this Synod gave equal seniority to the throne of Constantinople compared to that of the throne of Rome. Henceforth the throne of the Imperial City was placed as head of the Patriarchates of the East. This privilege, of course, constituted a privilege of honour rather than of authority.
The Church, in her efforts to evangelise the people, we can say that at the beginning she imitated the farmers, who prior to sowing a field, they cultivate it, they clean it and they prepare it in order to accept the seed at the appropriate time. After the seed falls on the earth to bear fruit, naturally, the appropriate presuppositions and the proper weather conditions are required. If all these are favourable then the fruits are plentiful.
Recalling the parable of the farmer we remember that often with the plants which give seed, various weeds grow that suffocate the plants. In the Church fold various heresies appear. These damage the souls of the faithful and lead them astray from the truth of the faith. Therefore, it is necessary for them to be faced in time and dealt in the correct way. The Church is not afraid of the various heresies because it has been established by God Himself.
The Church through the Synods emerged and defended the right faith and managed to safeguard her faithful and keep them in her bosom. Additionally, the Church composed many Canons through which she regulated and still regulates the religious life and the spiritual formation of her members. Thus the faithful are strengthened and guided towards Christ. It is now necessary to point out that a heretic is considered any one who errs regarding the true faith and if, as the Christian life demands, his mistake is pointed out and he has no intention or humility to accept his mistake and correct it. It is generally accepted that heresy is a state which is instigated by Satan, the permanent enemy of God and man. Heresy is also the fruit of the egoism of the man who is lost. The Church in order to protect her flock, out of need and with sorrow severs from her body those who refuse to return to the truth.
Unfortunately, many of the members of the Church are satisfied with few and basic religious truths for their formation which they learn in their childhood. They thus resemble the trees that have no deep roots and when a very strong wind blows, are uprooted, fall on the ground and die. Such people, with lukewarm faith, when they are faced with various peristases or they are confronted by heretics, become confused, are overtaken by fright and abandon the struggle of the faith. We will not be surprised if we find these people on the opposite campus fighting against the Church.
Let us now say that the contemporary technological way of life does not only create negative and harmful conditions On the contrary, it provides many positive elements which, when the faithful as individuals and the Church as an organisation founded by God use them in the correct way, they can succeed in offering many benefits to the faithful, the spreading of the word of God and in re-evangelising the lukewarm and indifferent people.
As we referred to the trees and plants previously we can now recall again these images and say that the trees as well as the plants, in order to be fruitful they need water and various other substances, which keep them alive and offer them the ability to flourish and be fruitful.
The faithful, through their baptism, become members of the Church. However, this is only the first step. The continuity of the life in Christ needs the ceaseless prayer, the thorough and regular study of the divine word, the study of the patristic texts and other beneficial books. Additionally, the exercise and relationship with the sacramental life is also necessary. Repentance through life, regular receiving of Holy Communion must not be absent from the every-day life of the faithful. In this way they can succeed in gaining their salvation and obtaining theosis. Glory and honour be to Christ through the ages. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: We would like to inform all our respected elderly that the meals given in their honour every Tuesday and Thursday have now ceased for the summer holidays. These meals will commence again in September. We will notify you nearer the time of the actual date.
SUMMER EDITION OF THE SCHOOL MAGAZINE: We have pleasure in announcing that the Summer edition of the School Magazine, I Phoni tou Scholiou, is now in circulation. The present edition bears the No. 114 and completes forty years of existence. The front cover has three photographs which present the pupils with their teachers. This magazine contains an account of the school’s past year by the Headmaster, Bishop Athanasios, other texts, various short essays by the children of all ages, the Chronicle of the summer term, advertisements and photographs.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: We would like to thank all our supporters in the sale of the annual school raffle. Your efforts raised £7,770-00. The draw took place at the end of the Summer School Concert on Sunday, 1st July 2012. The lucky numbers are: 5549, 2166, 5805, 4264, 4258, 4176, 1597, 61. If you are in possession of any of these numbers please come to the School office with your raffle ticket to collect your prize.
SCHOOL ENROLMENTS: We inform all parents and guardians of children of school age that the enrolments for the year 2012-2013 are in progress. Please ensure that you enroll your child/children before the school term begins. This will enable the school to organise its programme more efficiently.
PARACLESES: As some of you are aware the Paracleses are sung during the first two weeks of August. The Greater Paraclesis alternates with the Smaller Paraclesis and the service takes place at 6.00 p.m. each evening. During the month of August various feasts are celebrated: The Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord (6th August); the Feast of the Dormition of our Lady (15th August); the Feast of St Phanourios (27th August), the Feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist (29th August) and the Feast of the Deposition of our Lady’s Belt (Zoni) (31st August). We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the services.