Fathers Message – January 2020

Dear Parishioners,

            In these days, millions of people accept the first day of January as the beginning of the new year, regardless of religion, race, or language.  They exchange cards for wishes for a long life and a Happy New Year.  Of course, most of them perform this duty just as a custom, without any regard for the significance of the mystery which we call Time.  For many people, time, hronos, is passing away.  The passage of time cannot be stopped or even slowed down-either by the most powerful dictator, by the most intelligent man, or by the miracles of modern science.  

            Time has no pity for the innocence of childhood, or the beauty of youth, or the power of man who has matured; nor does it respect the white hairs of the aged; nor does it pay attention to a man’s position and standing.  Everything in time fades; everything in time is degraded; everything in time is destroyed.

            Perhaps this was, what inspired the wise writer of the Ecclesiastes, in the Old Testament, to say “Vanity vanity, all is vanity.”

            Exactly what is time, my dear Christians?  Time is the measure of our lives.  When we cease to exist, so does time.  Many philosophers divided time into three parts; past, present, and future.  We live only in the present.  That is all we can comprehend.  The past is something which has disappeared.  The future is what is unknown and uncertain.  In faith, we believe in an eternity, yet we can not conceive of it by measurements of time, because once we limit it by any type of measurements it ceases to be eternity.  Therefore, for us, we comprehend only the present, that one undivided moment which is running as I am writing. The use we make of this moment is our price for eternity.  The great question for us, therefore, is how to best use this moment.  

            In the Middle Ages, people were constantly reminded of time by symbols of death placed in every room and in every street.  These symbols were reminders that the present for mortal man was limited, and that a day was coming, when man would leave this earthly life.  The new symbols of time, my dear friends, are clocks.  Clocks today, govern our lives.  We cannot live in modern society without the use of some type of timepiece.  The clock should do more than remind us of the time to wake up, or to sleep; the time for an appointment, the time to go to church-or even the time when we expect to leave Church.  The clock should also remind us that with each passing moment, we are a little older.  And while we are expecting the next hour to strike, we might never hear it.  

            St. Basil, one of the most brilliant of the Fathers of the Church, said, “Time runs, and waits not for him who is late.”  Our days are rushed.  The lazy man is passed by.  The use or misuse of time can not be changed or corrected.

            So, My dear friends, do not postpone until tomorrow whatever is important.  Tomorrow may never come,  It does not exist.  The only thing which is real is the present, and after that, eternity.

            May the New Year 2020 and Blessings of our Lord be with all of you.

With love in Christ,

Father Anargyros

Prayer for the First Day of the Year

            O Lord our God, who have placed times and seasons under your own authority;  who, in your infinite compassion and goodness, have counted us worthy to enter a New Year of your loving kindness, bless it and keep us in peace.

         Loose, remit and forgive any sins that we may have committed during the year that is past, and keep us free from sin in the New Year.

         Enlighten us with the light of your truth and your divine commandments.  Establish in our souls your holy will, and guide us to every work that is good and pleasing to you.

         Guard well our Holy church with your divine grace.  Remember, Lord, our nation; train up the youth; protect the elderly; encourage the faint-hearted; gather the scattered; bring back those who have gone astray, and reunite them to your Holy Church.

         Overshadow our Land with your might, and grant it gentle rain and abundance of the fruits of the earth.  Speak of goodness in the hearts of our rulers; support and strengthen them, together with our armed forces by land, sea and air so that in their tranquility we may lead our life in every piety and dignity.

Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia

Saint Basil the Great was born at the end of the year 329, in Caesarea of Cappadocia, to a family renowned for their learning and holiness. His parents’ names were Basil and Emmelia. They were both noble and rich with a most flourishing Christian belief. His mother Emmelia and his grandmother Macrina are Saints of the Church, together with all his brothers and sisters: Macrina, his elder sister, Gregory of Nyssa, Peter of Sebastia, and Naucratius. Basil studied in Constantinople under the sophist Libanius, then in Athens, where also he formed a friendship with the young Gregory, a fellow Cappadocian, later called «the Theologian». He studied philosophy, rhetoric, grammar, astronomy, and medicine. From Athens, he returned to Caesarea and taught the rhetorical art. Through the good influence of his sister Macrina, he chose to embrace the ascetical life, abandoning his worldly career. He visited the monks in Egypt, in Palestine, in Syria, and in Mesoppotamia, and upon returning to Caesarea, he departed to a hermitage on the Iris River in Pontus, not far from Annesi, where his mother and his sister Macrina were already treading the path of the ascetical life; Here he also wrote his ascetical homilies.

Epiphany Day

JANUARY 6THEPIPHANY DAY

          This Feast Day is one of the greatest days of the Christian year. It ranks in importance with Christmas and Easter. In many parts of the world, this Feast Day is celebrated with even greater solemnity than Christmas itself. In English, we are accustomed to hearing this Feast Day called “Epiphany” a word which means “manifestation” or “appearance”. On this day, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist (he is called “the Baptist” because he baptized Christ.) Epiphany Day is also called “Theophany” which means “God shows himself to us”. The importance of this Feast Day lies in the fact that for the first time the Holy Trinity was revealed for all manking to know and believe, (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). When Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, a voice was heard from the heavens above saying, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” The Father whose voice was heart from the heaven was God. The white dove was the symbol of the Holy Spirit which descended upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thus, we have the Holy Trinity being revealed to all that day, almost 2000 years ago. This is why we call this day the day of illumination (light) and manifestation (appearance) The Holy Trinity made its appearance, and we have been illuminated by this wonderful truth and blessing. The Greek Orthodox calls this day Ta Fota, which means the day of “Lights”. On this day we have the traditional blessing of the waters. Since the waters of the Jordan were blessed by the presence of Jesus Christ, it is a source of Divine Grace and blessing, and we bless ourselves and our homes with the waters of the “Sanctification Service” which is held every January 5th and 6th.

Seasons Greetings!

Fr. Anargyros, Fr. John, the President of the Parish Council and its members, the President of the Philoptochos and its members, the PTO President and its members, the teachers of the Greek and Sunday Church School and the entire staff of St. Athanasios Parish wish everyone…. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

ΕΥΧΕΣ

Ο πατήρ Ανάργυρος, ο πατήρ Ιωάννης, ο πρόεδρος και τα μέλη του Εκκλησιαστικού Συμβουλίου, η πρόεδρος και τα μέλη της Φιλοπτώχου Αδελφότητος, η πρόεδρος και τα μέλη τού Συλλόγου Γονέων και Διδασκάλων, οι Διδάσκαλοι των Σχολείων μας, Ελληνικού και Κατηχητικού, και ολόκληρο το προσωπικό της ενορίας του Αγίου Αθανασίου, εύχονται σε όλους….

ΚΑΛΑ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥΓΕΝΝΑ ΚΑΙ ΕΥΤΥΧΙΣΜΕΝΟ ΤΟ ΝΕΟ ΕΤΟΣ 2020!