Brief History of St Barnabas Greek Community
The Greek Orthodox Community of St Barnabas was established in the year 1965. First services took place in the hall of St Michael of the Anglican Church, Wood Green and later in St Mark’s, the Anglican Church in Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green. Shortly afterwards St Barnabas Church was rented from the Group of Catholic Apostolic churches.
The Greek Cathedral of St Mary, Trinity Road, N22 8LB was purchased from the MethodistChurch in the year 1970. A few years later the premises of St Barnabas were also purchased. The congregation attending every Sunday in the Cathedral is estimated at 750 people.
The School was established in the year 1965. This community was considered as the largest community of our Archdiocese. The School started with a small number of children. It reached the 12,000 pupils and now has about three hundred. Our school operates weekdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5.30 – 7.30 p.m. and all day Saturday in two sessions, 9.30 – 1.00 p.m. and 2.30 – 6.00 p.m.
Among other activities our Community offers a free meal to our elderly. This started in the year 1981 once a week. In the year 1988 we gave the elderly a free meal twice a week. This year, due to various financial difficulties, we limited it to once a week.
Additionally, the Secondary School of the Greek Embassy was accommodated in our school premises during the years 1998-2001. They returned to our premises since last September 2012. Their number is 80 students.
15th April 2013
A SERMON ON THE GOSPEL OF THE SUNDAY
OF THE BLIND MAN
THE CONFESSION OF THE BLIND MAN
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (John 9:3)
THE MAN WHO WAS BORN BLIND: The blind man who was sitting on the side of the road every day, having his hand stretched out with an open palm, depending on the feelings of love, philanthropy and sympathy of his fellowmen. Let us remember that at that time there were no organised philanthropic societies as we know them nowadays neither from the government nor from individuals. Whoever happened to be in a state of misery and need, depended on the goodwill of others. The central figure of today’s gospel was born blind.
THE QUERY OF THE DISCIPLES: The disciples of the Lord looking at the blind man sought to learn from the Lord if the blindness of the man was due to his personal sins or those of his parents. The Lord’s answer to the disciples was that the illness of the man was neither due to his personal sins nor those of his relatives. Why then was he born blind? The answer given was: “that the works of God should be revealed in him.” (Jn 9:3) The person of this blind man would be used as the vessel for receiving the energy of the grace of God. The comment of the Lord does not tell us that this specific man was sinless, but that his blindness was not connected with his sins.
HEALING OF THE BLIND MAN: The Lord, following a brief preparation of His disciples and other followers, went on to remind them that He himself must implement the works of God whilst there is daylight since when night comes it is too late. Under the term ‘day’ the Lord denotes the present life whereas under the term ‘night’ He implies what follows after death. After this the Lord spat on the ground and made clay with His saliva and rubbed the clay on the blind man’s eyes and sent him to the pool of Siloam to wash. As soon as the blind man washed his eyes they gained light and he could therefore walk away without needing any help, enjoying the fruit of the healing which was granted by the Lord.
OTHER PEOPLE’S REACTIONS: The blind man was known to all the people of the area. Now the space where he used to sit, being empty, made the people look for him and wonder what happened to him. When they saw him they doubted that it was he himself. He assured them that he really is the formerly blind man. They asked to learn about the details of his healing. He narrated all the relevant events and revealed that a certain man bearing the name Jesus told him what to do and he did it and then he gained his sight.
THE BLIND MAN AND THE PHARISEES: The miracle of healing the blind man occurred on a Saturday. This annoyed the Pharisees and gave them the opportunity to criticise the Lord as a lawbreaker, someone who did not keep the Sabbath. The fact that one of their fellowmen, a wretched and miserable man, would from then onwards have sight in his eyes, neither gave them joy nor moved them in any way. They were more interested in maintaining the type of worship rather than the goodness towards man. They sought to learn all that was connected with the healing of the blind man, not because they were interested but out of envy they tried to find out any points which gave grounds for criticism. However, the blind man answered them simply, clearly, eloquently and without pretensions. The Pharisees themselves were not used to dealing with such situations. For this reason they were not pleased at all by the outcome of the events.
THE PARENTS OF THE BLIND MAN: The Pharisees were not satisfied with simply questioning and criticising the blind man. They wanted to create a problem with his parents. However, since his parents knew the intentions of the Pharisees, in their witness, they revealed only that the blind man was their son but they avoided referring to what they knew about the miracle performed by the Lord. In a nice way they asked the Jews to seek the answers to their questions from the blind man, because they were afraid that they would be expelled from the synagogue. The Pharisees had already taken the decision that anyone who confessed that the man who healed the blind man was Christ the Messiah, would be expelled from the synagogue.
SECOND MEETING OF THE BLIND MAN AND THE PHARISEES: When the Pharisees were not able to obtain any information from the parents of the blind man they called him a second time. They compelled him to glorify God. They claimed that Christ – they avoided naming Him – was a sinner. The blind man then with courage and boldness replied: ‘if the man is a sinner personally I do not know it. I only know that I was blind and now I can see.’ Then they went on asking to learn the details of the miracle a second time. The formerly blind man refused to tell them, claiming that ‘I have already told you. Why do you ask me again? Are you perhaps thinking of following Him too?’ The Pharisees became angry, they insulted him and sent him away.
CHRIST AND THE HEALED MAN: Shortly afterwards the Lord learnt about the behaviour of the Pharisees towards the formerly blind man. He looked for him, found him and conversed with him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” The Lord replied, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” The One you have seen and the One who is talking with you, He is the Son of God. The man full of joy made his heartfelt confession: “Lord, I believe!” And he worshipped Him. The formerly blind man showed his faith in the person of Christ the Messiah and kneeling down he worshipped Him. Oh Lord, great is your mercy, glory be to You!
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 May were subsidised by the family of Marios Minaides in memory of their father Georgios and also the Ladies’ Auxiliary Society of PANTANASSA. We thank the kind donors for their generosity and consideration towards this worthy cause.
SCHOOL RAFFLE: The sale of the school raffle has now reached the amount of £6,700.00. We hope that you will continue supporting this endeavour so that we can attain our target of £11,000.00.
NEW SCHOOL CHAIRS AND DESKS: Last March the Greek School of St Barnabas bought desks (20) to meet the needs of pupils aged 5-7 years old. This month we have purchased the relevant chairs (40) for the pupils of the same age.
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.
ST BARNABAS AND CYPRUS DAY: On Sunday, 7th June 2009, the Community of St Barnabas will be celebrating St Barnabas and Cyprus Day. Members of Parliament, various Officials from the Council and from both Embassies have been invited as well as presidents of other communities, societies and associations. His Eminence, Gregorios, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, will preside at the Divine Liturgy assisted by their Graces, Bishop of Kyaneon Chrysostomos and Bishop of Tropaeou Athanasios as well as other clergy. His Excellency, Alexandros Zenon, the High Commissioner of Cyprus, will deliver the speech of the day.
EXAMINATIONS AT OUR SCHOOL: During the month of May the older pupils sat for their examination at our School. The GCSE Oral examination took place towards the end of April beginning of May and the GCSE written examination was held on Friday, 15th May and Thursday, 21st May 2009. The GCE ‘AS’, Unit 1, examination was held on Monday, 18th May 2009. GCE ‘A Level’, Unit 2, will take place in June. We wish all the pupils who sat either of these examinations every success.
NEW CARPET IN ST BARNABAS: Last week a piece of new carpet replaced the old one in the sanctuary of St Barnabas.