“First-enthroned of the apostles, teachers of the universe: Entreat the Master of all to grant peace to the world, and to our souls great mercy!“ (Leave-taking hymn)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Last Sunday the Church celebrated the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. These two Apostles worked with devotion and great faith in spreading the Gospel throughout the then known world and under great hardship.
Saint Peter was the brother of the Apostle Andrew. They came from Bethsaida and were fishermen. Their father was Jonah. Peter was led to the Lord by his brother the Protoclete Andrew and heard from the Lord: “You shall be called Cephas” (John 1: 42). Cephas comes from the Syrian language and it means Peter. Peter was married and lived in Capernaeum, where his mother-in-law also lived and whom the Lord healed from a fever.
Peter was a warm character, enthusiastic, easily-changeable in his mood, devoted to the Lord. He had frequent relapses although he was mature in age. He had great love towards his Lord and Teacher and he expressed it at every opportunity. When the soldiers went to arrest the Lord, Peter took out his knife and cut off Malchus’s ear, who was a servant. The Lord immediately healed Malchus and emphatically rebuked Peter. Peter was also called Simon.
At one time when the Lord asked His disciples to tell Him who do the people think He is, others said various things, including John the Baptist, Elijah the prophet, Jeremiah also a prophet and others. Peter, however, made the confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16). The Lord blessed Peter’s confession and told him that he would hold the keys to Paradise.
On the eve of the Lord’s passion, Peter, who promised that he would even sacrifice his life for his Lord, if necessary, heard from the Lord that he would deny Him three times before the cockerel crows. Indeed, Peter did deny the Lord three times and when he realised what he had done, he wept bitterly. However, the Lord after His resurrection, reinstated him in his former position, by asking him three times if he truly loved Him with the words: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” After the third time the Lord, told him: “Feed my sheep”. (John 21: 17).
After this the Lord prophesied the type of martyrdom Peter would go through. He told him that in his old age, contrary to what he could do in his youth, someone else would look after him and would lead him to a place where he would not wish to be. John the Evangelist tells us that with these words the Lord revealed to Peter “by what death he would glorify God.” (John 21: 19). Peter the Apostle was martyred in Rome after being crucified upside down.
St Paul came from Tarsus of Cilicia. He was a descendant of a Jewish family and in addition to that his father was a Pharisee. Tarsus was a city for education and trade. Paul’s family sent him to Jerusalem, where he studied Judaism by the feet of Gamaliel. There he met and became friends with Barnabas who later became Barnabas the Apostle. Paul was educated in Greek literature and philosophy. After his studies in Jerusalem he proved to be a merciless persecutor of the Christians.
On one occasion, on his way to Damascus, carrying introductory letters for the persecution of Christians, at one point during his journey, he suddenly found himself within a very strong light. He was blinded by the light and fell from his horse. He then heard a voice saying to him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” and Paul asked “Who are You Lord?”. The Lord answered him saying: “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting… Arise and go into the city, and you would be told what you must do.” (Acts 9: 6). Following this and in agreement with God’s guidance, Paul was baptised by Ananias.
Saint Paul worked as a missionary for the spread of the Gospel with all his soul and with many co-workers. He carried out three journeys and has written fourteen letters. He founded many local Churches in Asia Minor, in Greece and elsewhere. Paul sealed his life with martyrdom in Rome. Lord, save our souls through the prayers of the Holy Apostles. 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 June and the first week in July 2014, were subsidised by an anonymous donor, by the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA and by Estia of London. We thank all the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this worthy cause. We inform all our respected elderly that the meals given in their honour will stop on Tuesday, 1st July 2014. The meals will resume once again in September, after the summer holidays. We take this opportunity to thank all our kind donors and helpers for their ceaseless contribution towards this very 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.
END OF YEAR CONCERT: Last Sunday, 29th June 2014, St Barnabas Greek Schools held their end-of-year School Concert in St Mary’s church hall. The concert was attended by many parents and friends of the School. After the hymn of Pentecost and some songs, the Head teacher of the schools, His Grace,
Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou gave an account of the school’s activities during the academic year 2013-2014. This was followed by plays, poems, dances and songs. At the end of the concert the annual school raffle was drawn. We take this opportunity to thank all the teachers and pupils who worked very hard to make the concert a huge success.
ST BARNABAS GREEK SCHOOLS, END OF LESSONS: The lessons for the pupils attending St Barnabas Greek Schools will stop on 5th July 2014. They will resume once again, on Saturday, 6th September, 2014. We wish you all an enjoyable holiday and look forward to welcoming you back in September.
ANNUAL SCHOOL RAFFLE: The annual school raffle has now come to an end for this year. The total amount raised through the sale of raffle tickets is £9,210.00. We would like to thank all those who contributed either by selling or buying raffle tickets. The draw took place at the end of the School summer concert. The winning numbers are: 1786, 829, 7506, 4651, 1728, 2856 and 8386. If you hold any of these tickets please call at the school office to collect your prize.
THE 15th EDUCATIONAL CONFERENCE (KES): On Monday, 23rd June 2014, the 15th Central Educational Council conference (KES) of the Archdiocese, took place in the Community’s church hall. His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain chaired the conference, with Their Graces, Bishop Chrysostomos of Kyaneae and Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou. The conference was attended by all the educational members of the communities with their representatives who gave their greeting. The conference was very well organised and the participation of the many educators succeeded our anticipation. Those who wanted to take part but could not attend in person, were benefited by the connection with the internet, which enabled them to express their views.
In accordance with the programme, Mr Panayiotis Tofis, the co-ordinator of KES. welcomed all those present. This was followed by a greeting by His Grace, Athanasios, Bishop of Tropaeou, on behalf of the host community and the representatives of the two educational missions Mrs Barbara Kambouridou and Mrs Maria Papalouca. the representative of OESEKA, Mr Andreas Chimonas and AESL Mr Michael Ellinas. These were sealed by His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira, with a lengthy greeting.