Cyprus the famous is delighted in celebrating your venerable feast and cheerfully takes pride in your achievements, apostles and Hosioi and divine hierarchs and anonymous which you always embrace with your warm help as you have boldness towards the Lord. (Church Hymn).
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The Anglican army Chaplain, Father John Hackett, who served under this capacity twice in Cyprus wrote the history of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus in three volumes, which he covers the years from the beginning up to the English occupation that began in the year 1878 A.D. This work was translated into Greek and supplemented by Charilaos I. Papaioannou. Father John Hackett wrote a prologue for the Greek translation referring to the Orthodox faith. Among other things he wrote the following:
Indeed, the Cypriots could reasonably be proud for their august church. This is the most honourable inheritance which survived among them from the legendary past and the golden link which connects them with the early centuries of the faith, is the only defender which always fought with boldness as their prime defender against the invader from the west and the ottoman tyrant. The Cypriots are indebted towards this unique faith which contributed to the survival of their moral and religious feelings which assists towards the creation of healthy personalities. This faith retained the lamp of the country and Orthodoxy firmly and awake during the years which without that lamp this faith would have been extinguished many centuries before. Its spiritual children will never be able to honour and respect this faith beyond what is necessary for these priceless services which this belief brought. (Prologue Vol.1 page 12).
The esteemed community of St Barnabas takes pride in celebrating the annual feast and the festive celebrations of the Saints who glorified and adorn the most Holy and ApostolicChurch of the island of Cyprus, for the last eighteen years with the admirable co-operation of Hestia of London and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. The celebrations in this Community were launched in October 1995. This year’s celebrations mark the nineteenth anniversary.
For over twenty centuries of the evangelical life, the Saints of Cyprus played an important role in the life of Greek Orthodox people for, by their example, their teaching, sacrifices, the asceses, the cultivation of the Gospel virtues were themselves graced and also led many people towards the truth and the light, nurtured with the treasures of faith all the generations since the missionary visit of the Apostles Barnabas, Paul and John-Mark up to this day.
When someone studies carefully the pages of the Church history, starting from the Acts of the Apostles, one learns that the faith of Christ reached Cyprus firstly informally with the visit of St Lazarus, the friend of Christ and some others, who, following the martyrdom and stoning of the Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen, arrived in Cyprus and began teaching the Gospel in the towns and villages.
As has already been mentioned, after Lazarus, followed Barnabas who was a Jew by birth, but was born in Cyprus. Later on he was sent to Jerusalem and became a fellow student of divine Paul studying at the feet of the great rabbi Gamaliel. Barnabas was accompanied during his journey to Cyprus by Paul and Mark.
Barnabas longed to spread the light of the gospel in Cyprus his birthplace. Luke the Evangelist, in his book of the Acts of the Apostles, narrating the events of the life of the Early Church, says that when Barnabas and Paul with others were present at the Divine Liturgy in Antioch, the Holy Spirit gave them the following instruction: “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts: 13: 2).
The three Apostles arriving in Cyprus ordained deacons, presbyters and bishops so as to organise the newly-established Church of the island. St Lazarus was ordained Bishop of Kitium. St Heraklidios was ordained Bishop of Tamasos and many others were instituted to other sees. Luke the Evangelist also records the episode with the sorcerer Elymas that is the advisor of Sergius Paulus, the governor of Paphos. The sorcerer tried to prevent the Apostles from teaching the faith to Sergius Paulus.
This provocation led Paul to blind Elymas and following that, Sergius Paulus became a member of the Church. Thus, we have the first Christian among the nobility in Europe. In the following years in the life of the Cypriot Church appear illumined personalities and eminent theologians, such as St Epiphanios Archbishop of Constantia, St Spyridon, who was illiterate but full of grace and a miracle worker, Leontios of Neapolis, who wrote three homilies about the icons, St Neophytos who was an aescetic and a learned man, St Hilarion the Great, the Neomartyr Polydoros, St Panaretos of Paphos, and the recent Saint Philoumenos the hieromartyr and others.
All these saints being members of the invisible and triumphant church, pray for all of us who are members of the visible and military Church. They pray for us to retain the faith intact and whole so as not to give in to the temptations and troubles of the present time but to hold the emblem of faith soaring high in the sky for the glory of Christ and our salvation. Amen!
C O M M U N I T Y N E W S
HOLY PARACLESIS: On Tuesdays at 12.00 noon, prior to the meals given in honour of our Lady, the Holy Paraclesis of our Lady is sung at St Barnabas Greek Orthodox Church. We believe that the difficult times which our people go through need more prayer for comfort, consolation and more courage to face life.
MEALS FOR THE ELDERLY: The meals for the elderly, after the summer holidays, re-started in mid-September. During the months of September and October the meals were subsidised by the following: Sozos Yiannoudis; the family of Eleni Antoniou and various donors in memory of their beloved Andreas Antoniou; Marios and Koulla Minaides in memory of their beloved father Georgios; Georgios and Foula in memory of their beloved parents Lella, Panayiotis, Martha and Neoclis; Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association (Finchley and 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.
GREEK SCHOOL LESSONS: St BarnabasGreekSchool has already begun its lessons. From Saturday, 7th September 2013, two sessions are held: one in the morning from 9.30 a.m.-1.00 p.m. and another session from 2.30 p.m.–till 6.00 p.m. We respectfully ask all the parents who have not yet enrolled their children to do so. Any other parents who have not yet brought their children to the Greek classes we will be pleased to welcome them.
“ST ANDREW” THE APOSTLE SECONDARY SCHOOL: For many years an attempt was made to establish a Greek Orthodox Secondary School. With God’s grace, finally, this dream has become a reality. From this September, St Andrew the Apostle Secondary School is operating daily in the premises which are located in: Building 5, North London Business Park, London N11 1NP. About eighty children started their education attending their first year. These days the school is preparing to welcome its candidates for the next year. On Monday, 7th October 2013, there is an open day for this purpose from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. The Head Teacher, Mr Robert Ahearn and his staff will be there to meet the parents and answer their questions. His Eminence Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain visited the school on Thursday, 26th September 2013, and blessed the children, the staff and the parents. If you would like to contact the school, its telephone number is 020 3195 5444. Additionally, there is an Email address which is: firstname.lastname@example.org