Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Newly-Born Lord,
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1: 1)
Our Church invites us, once again, to transfer ourselves mentally to the Holy Land where more than 2,000 years ago, the events of the life on earth of Christ the Saviour and our salvation took place. The Holy Gospels narrate the events of the coming of the Son and Logos of God to earth, the fleshless Logos of the Father, taking on the human nature, so that He would come to us bearing flesh in order for us to be able to accept Him and not be surprised or afraid.
Within the two genealogical lists, that which is presented by Matthew the Evangelist and that which is presented by Luke the Evangelist we read about the forefathers of Jesus Christ. The reference to many Hebrew names is not coincidental at all. Within these persons there are great saints and great sinners as well. These remind us that Christ came to earth to save every man.
God, after the disobedience and fall of the progenitors, Adam and Eve, and their exile from Paradise, gave to man the promise through the pre-announcement of Good News (the Protoevangelio) that Satan would be defeated by the offspring of woman. When it speaks of the offspring of woman it implies and foretells the birth of the Messiah from the Virgin Mary.
In the person of the Messiah all the prophecies which were foretold through the centuries referring to the person of Jesus Christ were fulfilled and proven to be true. Many details about the person of the Messiah come from the prophet Isaiah, who is called the fifth evangelist. As the centuries were passing, the whole of humanity was expecting the coming Redeemer. If the Judaic world was prepared through the prophecies the heathen world was prepared through the spermatic words of the philosophers, about which St Justin the philosopher and martyr speaks.
Within this festive atmosphere we are invited to show care and love towards the people who surround us and especially for all our brothers and sisters who are going through a variety of peristases and needs, such as illness, poverty, widowhood and the plight of the orphans, disappointments and isolation.
With these few thoughts we are invited to celebrate this year also, the Nativity of Christ the Saviour. We are invited to attend church with our families, to prepare ourselves with fasting, repentance and confession, to receive the spotless, life-giving and awesome Sacraments of Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life and to offer worship to the newly-born Divine Child, our heavenly Redeemer. 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 month of December were subsidised by the following: Soteroula Nicolaides in memory of her beloved parents Nicolas and Meropi; Erotokrita Liveras in memory of her beloved parents Andreas and Anna and the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this worthy cause.
CESSATION OF MEALS: We would inform all our respected elderly that the meals will cease on Tuesday, 17th December 2013. They will resume again after the Christmas festivities on Tuesday, 7th January 2014.
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.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: We remind all the families of our Community that Sunday School sessions for the children take place each Sunday during the Divine Liturgy at both our Churches. We kindly ask all parents and grandparents to bring the children to church every Sunday.
END OF SCHOOL LESSONS: St Barnabas Greek Schools will stop their lessons for the Christmas festivities on Saturday, 21st December 2013 and will resume once again on Saturday, 11th January, 2014.
SMALL CALENDARS: The Archdiocese’s small calendars for the new year 2014 are now available. These may be purchased either from our churches or from the office. Price: £1.50 each.
VASILOPITTA: We kindly request from the ladies of the Community to prepare Vasilopitta for the New Year and for the commemoration of the Feast of St Basil the Great. You may bring it to the church on the day before or on the 1st January 2014. Following the blessing and the cutting, the Vasilopitta will be distributed to the faithful for celebrating and exchanging greetings and best wishes.
VESPERS AT THE ARCHDIOCESE: In accordance with the custom, on New Year’s Eve, the Service of Vespers takes place in the Chapel of the Annunciation in our Archdiocese at 6.30 p.m.
The Service will be presided by His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, who will bless, cut and distribute the Vasilopitta. His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou will deliver the annual homily.
THE VISIT OF THE HOLY CROSS: Towards the end of the year we had the privilege to enjoy a visit of the Holy Cross which came to us from the Holy Land. The visit of the Holy Cross in the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, lasted for about fifteen days. As a result a good number of our communities as well as of the Russian Orthodox Church were blessed to benefit from the visit of the Holy Cross.
The faithful responded willingly and with profound devotion in venerating the Holy Cross. Our Community was blessed to open the doors of its two churches on the 11th December, from very early in the morning until about 3.00 p.m. The clergy celebrated the Divine Liturgy whereas our faithful came as families, individuals and community members to express their enthusiasm and offer their contribution towards the Church of Jerusalem.
LARGE CALENDARS: We trust that before the end of the year the large calendars of the Archdiocese will reach London and be distributed to all our communities so as to enable the faithful to acquire them. The price of each calendar is £6.00.