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					                                                                 SAINT NICHOLAS
   ORTHODOX                                                        CATHEDRAL

   WITNESS                                                         PUBLICATION

                                                               BETHLEHEM-ALLENTOWN


   JUNE            2011




TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHURCH INFORMATION

FR. NICK’S NOTES             1

THE WELL AND THE SPRING      2

COMMUNITY NEWS               5

ON THE TEMPTATIONS           6

CALENDAR                     8

PRSONS AND SYMBOLS           9

THE YOUTH CORNER            11




          ST. NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL
   ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟΣ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΚΑΘΕΔΡΙΚΟΣ ΙΕΡΟΣ ΝΑΟΣ ΑΓΙΟΥ ΝΙΚΟΛΑΟΥ
                                      www.stnicholas.org
                          SAINT NICHOLAS GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
                    1607 WEST UNION BOULEVARD – BETHLEHEM, PA 18018
               PHONE: 610-867-1327, FAX: 610-867-9487, KITCHEN: 610-867-5459
Under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, His Eminence Demetrios Archbishop of the
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh. The mission
of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church is to keep and proclaim, pure and undefiled, the Orthodox Christian
Faith and traditions in conformity with the doctrine, canons, worship, discipline, and customs of the Church.

Fr. Nicholas Palis, Oikonomos (Proistamenos ) Dean              610-440-0995
Fr. Nicholas Kossis                                             610-694-0948
Fr. Michael Romanchak (Retiree)                                 610-867-5227
Secretary Debbie Kotsatos                                       610-867-1327
OFFICE HOURS: Monday-Friday                                     9:00 πμ – 12:00 μμ
                                                                 1:00 μμ -5:00 μμ

SUNDAY SERVICES                 Orthros                         7:45 am
                                Divine Liturgy                  9:05 am
WEEKDAY SERVICES                Orthros                         8:00 am
                                Divine Liturgy                  9:00 am
 THURSDAY                        Paraclesis                     6:00 pm
SATURDAY                        Great Vespers                   7:00 pm

Please see the monthly calendar or the weekly bulletin for weekday services
                                                            2011 PARISH COUNCIL
CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS                                        Name of Publication: Witness
Philoptochos
Eugenia Vasiliadis                                          William Argeros
Sunday School                                               Demitri Bozikis
Greek School                                                Emmanuel Economedes
Theodore Evangelou          610-366-1405                    Ted Evangelou
Moms & Tots                                                 Valante Fliakos    Secretary
Debbie Colitas              610-837-0176                    Joel Garcia
GOYA/YAL                                                    George Glaros       Vice President
Senior Citizens                                             Kostas Hristofas
Angie Argeros               610-868-3441                    Demetri Lousos
Choir Director                                              George Mouhlas       Treasurer
Dr. Jim Chiadis             610-866-9070                    George Nasif
Organist                                                    Emmanuel V. Tatalias,
Nico Elias                  610-740-0990                    Kosmas Valavanis     President
St. Nicholas Academy                                        John Zannakis
Carmen Saemmer              610-867-1530                    Mike Zoumas
WEBSITE: www.stnicholas.org, www.goarch.org
EMAIL: info@stnicholas.org                                           DEADLINE FOR PUBLICATIONS
                                                         WEEKLY BULLETIN – Please submit announcements
Publication:June 2011                                    to church office by Thursday.
Published by St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church          MONTHLY BOOKLET– Please submit announcements
Volume 23 – Issue 6                                      to church office by the 15th of the prior month.
Comments, Complaints, please forward to:
Kostas Hristofas 1607 WEST UNION BOULEVARD –             Please Note – All articles are subjected to approval
BETHLEHEM, PA 18018                                      and editing.




                                                     1
A note from father Nicholas




                                                                                             June 2011

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

       Christ is in our midst!

        Many thanks to all those who supported our Annual Festival this year, our Chairmen Mr. Ted
Evangelou, Mr. Peter Dectis, and Mr. Tom Moukoulis and all their committees along with all those who
cooked, prepared, served, cleaned, gave church tours, performed folk dances, donated, and helped in any other
way. Despite the rain on and off God blessed us with good crowds and enthusiasm. How moving it was to see
our teenagers continue dancing even with pouring rain!
        On Sunday June 12th, our Church celebrates Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the
Apostles in the form of fiery tongues. The main articles in this bulletin are titled “Pentecost”, by Archimandrite
Lev (Louis) Gillet, “In the Church a continual Pentecost continues” by Katherine Tsakire, which are both
dedicated to the Feast of Pentecost.
        From June 20th –June 28th we have the Fast of the Holy Apostles, and on the 28th we celebrate Sts.
Peter and Paul, and then on the 29th we celebrate the Feast of the Synaxis of the 12 Apostles. The fast of the
Holy Apostles begins a week after Pentecost and because Pentecost is not on a set date but changes from year to
year according to Pascha, many people either are confused about this fast or miss it completely. However it
would behoove us to pay attention to this fast in honor of all the hardships, struggles, tortures and martyrdoms
that the Holy Apostles underwent in order to spread the faith to the ends of the earth. If it were not for their
labors, we probably would not be Christian today since many of the Apostles and their disciples spread the faith
to Greece and Cyprus, such as Sts. Paul, Andrew, Luke, Barnabas, Bartholomew, Phillip, Titus, to mention a
few. In honor of this feast we have the “Encomium to the Apostle Paul,” written by our Father among the Saints
John Chrysostom.
        From the time of the Apostles we also have the Wednesday and Friday fast throughout the year. Many
times I hear people say, “I’m not doing that, those are manmade rules.” However in a book called “The
Apostolic Commands”, which documents commandments left by the Holy Apostles, the Wednesday and Friday
fast are listed as coming from the Apostles. The Apostles were disciples of our Lord, and were full of the Holy
Spirit. So the next time someone says “those fasting rules are just man made” a good response would be, but
those men were disciples of the Lord and full of the Holy Spirit who inspired them.
        Orthodox Monasticism preserves the way of life of the first Christians who gave all their possessions to
the Apostles and lived together with prayer, fasting, common meals, liturgical services. So a final article in this
bulletin is dedicated to Monasticism and is called “The Message of Monasticism in the Contemporary World”
by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos.

      I pray that the feast of Pentecost, the Holy Apostle’s Fast and all these articles prove beneficial.


       May God bless all of you during this summer season.
                                † Fr. Nicholas Palis



                                                         1
                                                 Patristic Homily

                                                    Encomium
                                               to the Apostle Paul
                                   by our Father among the Saints John Chrysostom

        Paul showed us more than all people, what man is, in any case, and how much our own nature’s nobility
is, and how capable this being is of virtue. And now he gets up, from there where he has arrived, and with a
clear voice to all those who accused our nature, for the Lord’s sake he defends, he urges to virtue, he closes the
shameless mouths of blasphemers and proves that there isn’t a great difference between angels and humans, if
we want to pay attention to ourselves. Because without having another nature, nor having received another soul,
nor having dwelt in another world, but even though he went about the same earth and place with the same laws
and habits, he surpassed all people, who lived from the creation of people. So where are they who say that
virtue is a difficult thing and wickedness is easy? Because Paul refutes them saying: “For our light affliction,
which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” (2 Corinthians
4:17). If however, such afflictions pass easily, much more so do natural pleasures.

         Moreover, this is not his only amazing thing, that, in other words, from great eagerness he did not feel
his toils for virtue, but that he exercised this without reward. We, of course, could not forbear toils for this, even
though rewards exist. He, though, even without the trophies sought it and loved it, and those things which were
considered to be its obstacles, he surpassed with every ease. And he did not call upon either the body’s
weakness, or the tyranny of nature, or anything else. Although he had undertaken greater cares than the
generals and all the kings of the earth, nevertheless every day he was flourishing, and although his dangers were
increasing, he disposed youthful eagerness. In order to show this precisely he would say, “Forgetting what is
behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:14). And while he awaited death, he would call for
participation of this delight saying, “So you too should be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:18). And
while the dangers and insults and every dishonor threatened him, again he would leap for joy. And when he was
writing his Epistle to the Corinthians he was saying, “For this reason also I rejoice in illnesses, in insults, in
persecutions” (2 Corinthians 12:10). And he called these things weapons of righteousness, proving that even
from these he had very great benefits and from everywhere he was indomitable to his enemies. And while
everywhere they tortured him, they scorned him, they spoke evil of him, as if he were walking on triumphs and
he set up firm trophies in all the spots of the earth, thus he would be proud and thank God saying: “The
thanksgiving belongs to God who always guides us to triumph” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

        And he sought this abuse and insult for the preaching, more than what we, honor, and death, more than
what we, life, and poverty, more than what we, wealth, and toils more than what others, comforts, and not
simply more, but much more, and sadness, more than what others, joy, and to pray for enemies, more than what
others, to be cursing them. Moreover, he overturned the order of things, or rather we overturned it, he however,
as God legislated it, thus he kept it. Because all these things were according to nature, those things however are
contrary. What is the proof? That Paul, even though he was a human, followed these more than those. Only
one thing was fearful for him and for this reason also he avoided it, to fight against God, and nothing else. Just
as, of course, nothing else was so longed for to him, as to please God. And I'm not saying anything of the
present things, but neither of the future things as well. And don't tell me the cities and the nations and the kings
and the army camps and the money and the satraps and the dynasties, because he did not consider these things,
even a spider web. But think of these things which exist in the heavens and then you will understand the fervent
love which he had for Christ. Because Paul for this love, did not admire even the value of the Angels, nor the
Archangels, nor anything else similar.

                                                          2
        He had inside him Christ’s love greater than everything, and together with this he considered himself the
happiest of everyone. And without this, he did not desire to become one of the dominions, nor of the
principalities and authorities (names of angelic ranks), but together with this love he wanted more to be among
the least and the damned, rather than without this among the first and the honored ones. Because hell for him
was one thing, to lose this love. This was for Paul, gehenna, this, punishment, this, infinite evils. Precisely as
he also enjoyed, to achieve love. This was his life, this, his world, this, his angel, this, the present things, this,
the future things, this, the kingdoms, this, the promise, this, the infinite goods. And every other thing which did
not lead here, he did not consider either unpleasant, or pleasant. And thus, however he scorned all the visible
things, just as a rotten grass. And the tyrants and the cities which foamed at the mouth with anger seemed to
him to be mosquitoes, whereas death and punishments and the very many tortures seemed to him like childhood
games. However, of course, he suffered them for Christ.
        Because then he received these things with joy and in his bonds thus he was proud, as Nero would not
be proud when he had on his head the royal diadem. And he remained in prison as if it were heaven, and he
received the beatings and the whippings more gladly than those who grab rewards. And he loved the pains not
less than the trophies, considering that the pains are a trophy. So, for this reason also, he called them grace.
        Be careful however. It was a trophy for him to die and be with Christ, to remain however alive, this was
the struggle. Nevertheless, this he prefers more than that and he says that it is more necessary for him. For him
to be separated from Christ was a struggle and toil, or rather more than a struggle and toil, to remain with Him,
was a trophy. This, however, he prefers more than that, for the sake of Christ.
        However, one could probably say, that all these things were pleasant to him for Christ’s sake. So this I
also say that, in other words, the things which for us are a cause for sadness, these caused him great gladness.
Moreover, why am I saying the dangers and the other hardships? Since truly he was in constant sadness. For
this reason he also said. “Who is ill and I am not also ill with him? Who is scandalized and I am not also tried?
(2 Corinthians 11:19). But one could say that even the sadness he had as gladness. Because many people both
when they lose their children and they are allowed to mourn, are consoled. When, however, they are prevented,
they are distressed. So thus Paul also, crying night and day, would be consoled. Because no one mourned thus
his own evils, as he did the foreign ones. So how do you consider that he behaved, since the Jews are not being
saved, in order for them to be saved, when he is praying that he fall from heavenly glory? Consequently, it is
obvious that for them to not be saved was much worse for him. Because if it were not worse, he would not be
praying that (see Romans 9:3) since he preferred it as lighter and where he has greater consolation. Moreover,
he didn't simply want, but he shouted saying, “that there is inside me sadness and ceaseless pain in my heart”
(Romans 9:2).
        Therefore, for this reason I am amazed at the power of God, for these things I admire Paul’s eagerness,
because he received such grace, because he made himself such a one. In addition, I ask you to not only admire,
but also to imitate this example of virtue, because thus we will be able to receive the same crowns as he. If,
however, you wonder hearing that if you achieve the same things, you will obtain the same things as Paul, listen
to him saying the following. “I have struggled the good struggle, I have reached the end of the road, I have
preserved the faith. So the crown of righteousness is reserved for me, which the Lord will give me as a reward,
the just judge, on that day. And not only to me, but also the to everyone who has loved his appearance” (2
Timothy 4:7 - 8.)

        Do you see how he is calling everyone to the same communion? So because the same things exist for
everyone, let us all strive to become worthy of the goods which have been promised to us. And let us not see
only the magnitude and the extent of the achievements, but also the longing of eagerness, with which he broke
off so much grace, and because he had all these things in common with us. Therefore, even the excessively
difficult things will appear easy and light to us, and once we toil in this brief time, we will wear that incorrupt
and immortal crown, with the grace and philanthropy of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and
the power now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.




                                                          3
Community news
PARISH NEWS / UPCOMING EVENTS
SUNDAY SCHOOL GRADUATION is taking place on Sunday. June 5th following the Divine Liturgy.
   OUR DEEPEST APPRECIATION TO OUR SPRING FESTIVAL VOLUNTEERS AND DONORS: On behalf of our Priests, the Spring Festival
Committee and our Church Parish Council, we would like to thank all of you for all of your efforts, contribution of time, funds and
goods to our Spring Festival. This event could not have taken place without our volunteers and donors, many of whom have taken
time off from work and their busy schedules to support our Church and community. During the festival and in many cases for weeks
preceding it, many have spent more time on this event than they have spent on their work and family. Our volunteers and donors are
the lifeblood of our community and deserve not only our thanks, but our admiration and respect!
SAINT NEKTARIOS CHAPEL ICONOGRAPHY: Anyone wishing to sponsor an icon in the chapel, There are several icons still available.
Panagia Protaton, St.Constantine and Helen, St. Anastasia ( Healer w/ Medicines), St. Paraskevi, St.Yromone, St. Photini, St Barbara.
St. George the Trophy bearer, St. Nicholas of Myra (Heirarch), St. Nektarios Birth, St. Nektarios repose.Byzantine Curtain Design.
Please see Fr. Nick. Palis
FOR THOSE THAT HAVE THE WEB IN THEIR MOBILE If If you enter the following: http://stream.greekradios.gr:2016 and then press LISTEN
can hear Ellinorthodoxo Radio Station Church of Piraeus.
 SOCIAL MATTERS AND SACRAMENTS
WEDDINGS
CONGRATULATIONS: to Elias George Zarnas and Kelli Jean Elisabeth Savitske who were married on May 28th with Constantine Zarnas
as koubmaro.
                                                                                                th
CONGRATULATIONS: to Joseph Kavchok III and Barbara Vasiliadis who were married on May 29 with Demetra Morales as koumbara
BIRTHS
CONGRATULATIONS: to Mr. and Mrs. Constantine and Keri Zarnas for the birth of their baby boy, Elias Lee on April 19, 2011. Best
wishes to the grandparents, Stephen and Sylvia Ζarnas. May God bless him!
BAPTISMS
CONGRATULATIONS: To Mr. and Mrs. Demetrios and Melanie Tsarouhis for the Baptism of their triplets daughters Spyridoula-
Eleni, Demetra- Melania, and Polyxeni- Maria. Best wishes to Godparents Mr. & Mrs. Shawn and Maria Weede, Mr. George Kalopitas,
and Mr & Mrs. George & Alexia Moutsatsos May God bless you all. Na sas Zisoun!
CONGRATULATIONS: To Mr. and Mrs. Nick and Joanna Athanasiou for the Baptism of their daughter Irini-Niki. Best wishes to
Godparents Mr. & Mrs. Peter & Christine Voyiazis. May God bless you all.. Na sas Zisi!
CONGRATULATIONS: To Mr. and Mrs. Steven and Stephanie Koufalis for the Baptism of their son Alexandr. Best wishes to
Godparents siblings, Kristina and Peter Koufalis.
DEPARTURES
Condolences: to the family of Kathryn Loupos who passed away on Wendesday May 4. The funeral was held at St. Paul’s Orthodox
Antiochian Church at Emmaus on Monday May 9th.. May God rest her soul and grant comfort to his family!.
OUR CONDOLENCES TO: The family of Michael Zarnas who reposed in the Lord on May 28th. His funeral will take place on June
3rd at 11 A.M. with a Viewing on Thursday evening at Herron Funeral Home with the Trisagion at 8 pm. May God rest his soul
BYZANTINE MUSIC by Dr. Vasilopoulos every Monday night at 8:00 pm.
SENIOR CITIZENS: next meeting is June 13 at 12:00 noon in Church hall
PHILOPTOCHOS NEWS
End of year dinner, Tuesday, June 14th at the Trivet restaurant .All ladies of the community are welcomed. Cost $27.00 PP .menu
choices , beef, chicken, shrimp.Please call the church office for reservations or Nitsa Vasiliadis 610-614-1260
HIGH SCHOOL / COLLEGE GRADUATES – Will be recognized Sunday, June 19th at the end of Div. Liturgy. Please hand the
information in to the Church Office, about your graduate so that we can appropriately honor them or you can email your
information to: secretary@stnicholas.org For any questions please call the office at 610-867-1327
 "THOUSANDS OF MILES TO THE PLACE OF THE HEART - FROM THE DARKNESS OF HATE ΤΟ THE ELDER SOPHRONIOS" The shocking story of a
man who lived in a dense darkness of hatred - a testimony to the providence of God, looking for every person, even within the more
steep cliffs! On Sunday, June 5 Klaus Kenneth will be with us , who at 7:00 PM will talk about his experience to embrace Orthodoxy
wandering in Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
CAMP NAZARETH TO SIGN UP FOR GOYA Camp at Camp Nazareth you must register on line at www.pittsburgh.goarch.org Once you
have signed up you need to make your own arrangements for transportation with Fr. Hector at Annunciation Church in Lancaster 717-
394-1735. They are going to camp week 4 on July 10th. And for JOY on June 19th. For scholarship information please contact Fr. Nicholas
at the Church Office.
To go week 3, July 3rd Pete Dectis will be driving that week. He would like it if any other parents would like to share the trip. If so,
please contact Mr. Dectis.
GOYA will  have general assembly on Sunday of 5 June afterwards the Divine Liturgy in the library.
GOYA DANCE will take place for all the Goyans of the region in the Cambanis Hall Friday, 10 June, 7 -11 PM with Athanassios
Genti as DJ.
SWIMMING-POOL PARTY for the all youth of our Community in the house of Pavlak Family Thursday, 30 June in the 4 PM.

                                                                   4
                                           THE PENTECOST
                                             by Atchimandrite Lev (Louis) Gillet

        We are celebrating Pentecost and the indwelling and the deadline of the fulfillment of the “promise and
hope…”. With these words the Church in the Vespers of Pentecost, calls us to enter into the atmosphere of this
great feast, which coincides with the seventh Sunday after the Resurrection and which is not any less than that.

         In the Matins of the feast the first -- the Morning Gospel is read which describes the appearances of the
Resurrected Jesus. In this text (John 20:19 – 31) we see a first coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples: “Jesus
breathed upon and tells them: receive ye the Holy Spirit…” This first, coming of the Spirit is not less real than that
of Pentecost. The difference is that, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit descended upon the disciples “in power”, it
is the same difference between the coming of the Holy Spirit on each baptized Christian, from the moment he
receives the mystery of Chrismation, and that baptism of the Spirit, and that which some Christians obtain in
advanced stages of their spiritual life.

       In the Liturgy of Sunday, instead of an Epistle, we read the description of the events of Pentecost, as they
are mentioned in the book of Acts (2:1-11). Some facets of the description draw our attention.

        “In the fulfillment of the day of Pentecost…”. Pentecost is simultaneously an end and a beginning. Before
the disciples a new path is opened, now however they are prepared. We cannot enter into Pentecost without
preparation. We must first of all have absorbed all the spiritual and material which the 50 days which followed the
Resurrection offer us. We must have tasted the experience of the Resurrected One. We must have traversed the
days of the Passion. In a few words we must have matured.

        “All the apostles were all with one accord[a] in one place.…” Some other verses of Acts describe the
Eleven, gathered in the Upper Room together with Mary -- the Mother of Jesus-and the other women. There the
Church was born. They prayed all together. The necessary presuppositions existed for the reception of the Holy
Spirit. And we have need, at some moments, to draw away from the world and to close ourselves in the Upper
Room of our soul. There let us pray and let us unite with prayer and the Faith of the whole Church. We must be
“together” with the apostles and the Theotokos. Whoever ignores the authority of the apostles and is able to pass
over the motherly presence of the All Holy Virgin Mary, cannot receive the Holy Spirit.

         “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind,” the Holy Spirit is a breath,
a wind. That which is important for us is not to fill with amazement, before the power of this breath, but to allow
ourselves in this and to allow the Spirit to take us wherever He will, as Jesus did during His earthly life. Let us not
forget furthermore that even this breath “is guided”. It is not an independent and incoherent power. Jesus blew the
Spirit upon His disciples. But this breath proceeds initially from the mouth of the Father. It is an obedience to God.
Obeying the inspirations of the Spirit (the violent wind is merely an external and rare sign, His internal beckoning
is the reality), we partake in the obedience of the Spirit which proceeds from the Father and is sent through the
Son.

“Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them..”. The Holy Spirit
appears in the form of tongues of fire. Pentecost heals the breaking up and the confusion of the tongues, which
were the result of the egotistic effort in Babel. It restores the unity of the human word. The disciples become
comprehensible by all the foreigners who came to Jerusalem – Parthians, Medes and Cappadocians-. And they
again will be surprised hearing the words of the Galileans in their own tongue.
         The language of the Spirit -- at least in its inner content -- is today approachable by all people, in all races,
in all ethnicities. The same Spirit projects a pan-human message, which however each soul recognizes as
                                                             5
completely its own. On the other hand, even in our day, he in whom the Holy Spirit rests becomes capable, if not
to express himself in foreign languages, at least to find the “psychological language” which will resound in each
one and will open up his heart. Thus the dialogue becomes possible. Tongues of fire appeared above each

       disciple. These tongues denote a fiery love. The word seems to be regulated by the flame. Finally, the
tongues are divided equally. They do not comprise the privilege of Peter or of Mary or of the Eleven. They
appeared to all who were present in the Upper Room. And nevertheless, the tongues of fire were one and only fire.
And thus, the problem of the unity of persons also is solved inside the Church, without either the one or the other
being sacrificed..

         “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” when the whole heart is filled suddenly by the Holy
Spirit, and together by a new amazing power, this is the “baptism of the Spirit”, different from the baptism of
water and chrism through which the Church bestows the Spirit on the believers. Here there is a reality which has to
a great degree departed from our view, in which nevertheless the Holy Scripture insists and to which our attention
must be turned.

        “And they began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” We have already referred
to the importance of this word which “is given” by the Holy Spirit. But here in general the issue of the gifts is
posed. The one danger would be for us to desire them in an unruly manner. The other danger would be for us to
neglect them, to forget them, to think that these are matters of the past which were given to the Church, or rather
which are given once for all..

        Immediately after the Liturgy the Vespers of Kneeling begins with its completely special structure. During
this service, the congregation, kneeling, chants officially the troparion “Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of
Truth, Who is everywhere present…”. We all know that this troparion is said at the beginning of each liturgy and
in most services of the Byzantine rubric. And it seems that this is the only prayer of this rubric which refers
directly to the Holy Spirit. This prayer, on the morning of the Sunday of Pentecost, has a huge meaning: the
moment when it is chanted is the moment when the Church gathers together all her longings towards the Holy
Spirit and beseeches Him to descend. At that time, every believer, kneeling, may, if he asks Him who is the par-
excellence gift, to receive in his soul the renewal of the Grace of Pentecost, the descent of the Dove.

         The congregation, still kneeling, hears the priest recite seven large prayers: they may in the beginning seem
a little unclear, if however we analyze them carefully, we will recognize that they comprise a summary of
Orthodox dogma. They recapitulate all the divine economy of our salvation. Despite the fact that there are
references to the Holy Spirit, we observe that they slip from the Mystery of the Spirit to the Mystery of the Holy
Trinity. This “Trinitarian” dimension of the feast of Pentecost explains why this Sunday is often called by the
Orthodox the Sunday of the Holy Trinity. On the other hand, the fact is nice that the Church reminds us of the
Mystery of the Holy Trinity. It would be a great mistake for us to consider this Mystery as a faraway, vague theory
without any relationship with the real piece of our life. The living and mutual love of the Three Divine Persons is
the eternal event, the greatest, infinitely greater and more important than everything which concerns as personally.
Man was created precisely because the Three Divine Persons wanted to make him a partaker, up to a certain
degree, of their own life. Already, from down here, the life of Grace is a partaking in the life of the Trinity. The
soul of the person dying in Christ is called to enter into this everlasting movement of love of the Three Persons.
This loving relationship of theirs comprises the utmost model, although it is always transcending, of that which the
relationships of people ought to be. Pentecost, an amazing event of the history of our salvation, introduces us into
the heart of the mystery of the Trinity, an ocean from which the river of divine love which turns man towards God
begins and to which it concludes.



                                                          6
                                                               June 2011
     SUNDAY                 MONDAY                   TUESDAY        WEDNESDAY             THURSDAY                  FRIDAY                 SATURDAY

                                                               1                     2 8 ΑM Orthros/Liturgy   3                       4
                                                                                     (Ascension)
                                                               7 PM Vespers          6 PM Rehearsal           JOY Mini Golf           3 PM Wedding
                                                                                     6 PM Paraclesis                                  7:00 PM Great Vespers
                                                                                     7 PM Orthodox
                                                                                     Study (Greek)

5 7:45 AM Orthros      6                        7              8                     9                        10                      11 8 ΑM Orthros/
9:00 AM Div. Liturgy                                                                                                                  Liturgy (Sat. of Souls)
10:30 AM Sun. School                                                                 6 PM Paraclesis
Graduation             7 PM Bible Study                                              7 PM Orthodox            GOYA DANCE
11:00 AM GOYA                                                                                                                         7:00 PM Great Vespers
                       (English)                                                     Study (Greek)



12 PENTECOST           13 8 ΑM                  14             15                    16                       17                      18
7:45 AM Orthros        Orthros/Liturgy
9:00 AM Div. Liturgy   (Holy Spirit)                                                 6 PM Paraclesis          5 PM All Youth Pool
10:30 AM Kneeling      12:00 PM Sen. Citizens                                                                 Party (Pavlack home)    7:00 PM Great Vespers
Vespers
                                                                                     7 PM Orthodox
                       7 PM Bible Study
                                                                                     Study (Greek)
                       (English)


19 7:45 AM Orthros     20                       21             22                    23                       24 8 AM                 25
9:05 AM Div. Liturgy                                                                                          Orthros/Liturgy
JOY Camp Begins                                                                                               (Nativity of St. John   12 PM Baptism
                       7 PM Bible Study                                              6 PM Paraclesis          the Baptist)
                                                                                     7 PM Orthodox                                    7:00 PM Great Vespers
                       (English)
                                                                                     Study (Greek)            6 PM Rehearsal


26 7:45 AM Orthros     27                       28             29 8 AM               30 8 AM Orthros/
9:05 AM Div. Liturgy                                           Orthros/Liturgy)      Liturgy (Synaxis of 12
3:00 PM Wedding        7 PM Bible Study                        (Sts. Peter & Paul)   Apostles)

                       (English)                                                     6 PM Paraclesis
                                                7 PM Vespers   7 PM Vespers          7 PM Orthodox
                                                                                     Study (Greek)



                                                                          7
            The Message of Monasticism in the Contemporary World.
                    By His Eminence the Metropolitan of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou, Hierotheos

        A homily to a Monastic Seminar organized by the Holy Metropolis of Edessa Pella, and Almopia, in the Monastery
of St. Gregory Palamas, Koufalia.*

Gatherings about Orthodox monasticism are of
                                         great                Fathers of the Church, the monastic saints and
                                         importance           ascetics. When one carefully reads the Gospel and
                                         for our age,         furthermore the Epistles of the Apostle Paul which
                                         and                  were sent to the local Churches, he will ascertain
                                         furthermore          that the authentic Christian life is presented, which
                                         when they            simultaneously is the monastic life. Monasticism
                                         take place           preserves the Gospel in its authentic expression.
                                         under the            The second clarification is that when we speak of
                                         umbrella of          monasticism, we do not mean the western form,
                                         the local            the Barlaamite expression of monasticism, but
                                         Bishop in            hesychastic monasticism, as it was preserved by the
                                         each                 Orthodox Church. We know that western
                                         Eparchy, like        monasticism developed in the effort for the Church
                                         this present         to be saved from her secularism, while Orthodox
                                         Conference           monastics, who live hesychastic monasticism,
                                         because              remain within the Church in order to be saved.
                                         monks are            Thus, Orthodox monasticism, although it deals
                                         members of           with man, nevertheless is not related at all to the
                                         the Church           activism of the western form of monasticism, which
                                         who are              aims only at a social work and a social offering.
distinguished for their sensitivity both to the               And it is necessary to say this, because,
doctrines as also the methodology of the dogma,               unfortunately, today some perceive as
which is the sacred hesychasm, which is so very               monasticism, the weak type of monasticism which
necessary in our age. In this sense, I greet the              does respond either to the Gospel, nor to the
present Conference and am glad for the presence of            history of Orthodox monasticism.
so many monastics who live in the environment                 The third clarification is that modern man is not
and the climate of monasticism.                               something different from man of other eras, but in
      1. Necessary clarifications                             essence he is the same. The external conditions
                                                              change, but always the same spiritual quests exist,
The topic which I was given to develop is the                 the same spiritual questions and problems. Pain,
"Message of Monasticism in the Contemporary                   guilt, sicknesses, death, God and the world are the
World." In order for this topic to be understood I            issues which concern people of all ages.
must make some necessary clarifications.                      I made these clarifications in order to define my
First that monasticism is not an interjected form of          topic and not create the false sense that I will make
spiritual and Christian life, but is the evangelical          an original and sociological report which will
life. Monastics are they who try to live the revealed         become welcome by modern man.
truth which the unincarnate and incarnate Word
handed down to us and this is what we encounter
in the Prophets, Apostles, the first Christians, the

                                                          8
      2. The    message     and   the   offering   of        shows in the modern carnal lifestyle, but also in
          Orthodox monasticism in the world                  drug dependency. This is the vicious cycle between
                                                             pleasure and pain, from which Christ delivered us
To begin with it must first be defined that it does          with His voluntary death and He showed us that
not refer to a conceptual message, an ideology, but          with voluntary pain, voluntary ascesis and
to a way of life, a taste of life. With messages and         deprivation, we cure voluntary pleasure and
teachings the world cannot be saved. History has             involuntary pain.
shown that man could not be saved through                    Also, what troubles contemporary man is the
teachings and sermons, even of those of Prophets,            seeking of true love, since the love he receives from
but with the incarnation of Christ, the adopting of          others or that he shows to others, is in most cases
the mortal body, capable of suffering, by Christ,            selfish. In order for love to be true it must be self
with His Cross and Resurrection. This refers to a            emptying, sacrificial. In genuine monasticism one
whole life and not to a message and a teaching.              can find this unselfish love and most importantly
And if we speak of a message we must understand              he can find that method through which self-
it from the viewpoint that it is an expression of life       interested love is changed and becomes selfless.
which one lives in the Church.                               Moreover, one cannot ignore the great offering of
As regards this topic one could locate many                  monasticism in the functioning of the noetic energy
messages of monasticism to the modern world.                 in man. Indeed, apart from the rational energy
Some of these will be highlighted with a brief and           there also is the noetic energy which however
apofthegmatic way, due to lack of time.                      became darkened in the post fall condition and
Already the three monastic vows, namely,                     became identified with the rational energy with the
obedience, virginity-chastity and                            result that man is in the darkness of the nous and
possessionlessness cure the three major modern               he sees God and man differently. The finding of
beasts, of pride, of pleasure loving and of avarice-         nous is an important event for the internal
possession-loving. These are the three great                 composition of man. We know that man has within
temptations which Christ faced in the desert, which          him the so-called natural, irreproachable passions,
He defeated and gave the potential to each                   which are hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. and the so-
Christian and to each monk to defeat them in his             called reproachable passions which are related to
personal life. And this is important because with            the passive part of the soul, namely the irascible
humility, ideologies are exceeded, with restraint            and the appetitive parts. Thus, the enlightened and
the pleasureful way of life is faced, and with               pure nous preserves the natural, irreproachable
possessionlessness or possessions in common, the             passions so that they are not altered into unnatural
longing of insatiability– the capitalist mentality is        passions, but also that which helps the
cured. And only in this if one sees the offering of          reproachable passions to be altered and become
Orthodox monasticism he can complete his topic.              irreproachable passions. When the nous does not
Then, one can locate the offering of monasticism in          function well, then the natural irreproachable
the coenobitic way of life, where God and man is             passions are altered into reproachable passions,
the center. One of the biggest problems which                and the reproachable passions become beastly and
concerns our age is selfishness. From there come all         make man behave like a beast, in which case the
harmful things. When the monk struggles against              passage of Saint Maximos the Confessor applies
selfishness and obtains love of God and                      which Saint Gregory Palamas reiterates ‚a mind
philanthropy, as it is expressed in the coenobitic           departing from God becomes either demonic or
way of life, it becomes a model for all those who            beastly‛.
approach it in order to taste the truth and life.            Furthermore, the offering of monasticism lies in
Even the two big beasts which devour man’s life              facing death. Death is a biological condition which
are pleasure and pain. The satisfaction of pleasure          we inherit from the time moment we are conceived
causes pain and the effort for one to surpass pain           in our mother’s womb and it follows us all our life.
with a new pleasure, leads to greater pain, as               Mortality and being capable of suffering, but also
                                                         9
death itself, both inside our body, as well as in             Synods. Christianity outside the Church, which is
those around us, in our beloved persons, create               the Body of Christ cannot exist, because in such a
many existential, social and family issues. The               case it is a religious organization. Also, Christianity
monk by living the memory of death, but also the              without ascesis is non-existent, because ascesis
surpassing of death, with life in Christ life,                which is connected with repentance and the
indicates to people how to face death.                        attempt for one to keep the commandments of
This we must see from the viewpoint that the                  Christ is that which makes a person be a disciple of
genuine monk in his whole life does asceses facing            Jesus Christ and a member of His glorious Body.
death, as Fr. Zacharias Zacharou has analyzed                 Thus, the great offering of Orthodox monasticism
extensively. All modern education, including                  in our days is the confession of the Orthodox faith,
Christian education, pushes death to the side of life         which preserves the truth about the Godman Christ
and thus we live each day as if death does not exist.         and the salvation of man, but also Orthodox
However death is a reality which will come                    hesychasm, which is the basis of the dogmas and
mercilessly. The afflictions, slanders, the activating        shows how man from selfish love reaches selfless
of the passions, the falls, illnesses, guilt pangs of         love.
conscience, are daily tastes of death which cause             The problem, however, is how the dogma of the
pain, are daily little deaths. When we know how to            Church becomes life and blood which will
face them, when we try to be patient in the trials of         spiritually nourish our life. Because the dogma is
life, when we cut off our own will, when we                   the formulation of the deifying experience of the
forbear illnesses and slanders with faith and                 saints and subsequently it becomes a road sign for
gratitude to God, then we are doing asceses for               each person towards the vision of God and the true
facing death –and become united in a brotherly                knowledge of God.
way with it. When we try to keep God’s will in our            At this point the value of the Orthodox hesychasm
life, then God becomes the most beloved person                must be underlined which is the basis of
and we desire to meet Him. When in prayer we ask              ecclesiastical and intellectual life. And when we say
God to be our helper and protector at the time of             hesychasm we mean the sacred work of vigilance
death and when we do asceses to face it, then when            with which we censure every thought which wants
the time comes for us to leave this world, death will         to overcome reasoning and to become from a
come as a friend which will lead us to a great                simple thought composite, in other words the
meeting with the heavenly Church. And this is a               thought to be associated with the passion and
great message of monasticism in the contemporary              subsequently with the aid of pleasure to descend
world, which suffers from the fear and agony of               into the heart. So, with vigilance we don’t allow the
death.                                                        thought to become composite and to descend into
      3. Faith and hesychia                                   the heart, and furthermore with repentance all the
                                                              thoughts which are in the heart, which constitute
Everything that was mentioned up to now shows                 the idols of sin, so that in the heart there now
the great value of monastics who practice ascesis             prevails one word, the monologistic prayer, the
in the traditional way of life and they evade all the         ‚Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me the sinner‛.
bad types of forms the Christian and monastic life.           The energy of the name of Christ which is
At this point we will locate a side which I consider          associated with breathing, and enters into the heart,
very necessary for Christians and the people of our           frees man from all dependencies, it draws onto the
time.                                                         ‘in the image’ the ‘in the likeness’ and man tastes of
Elder Sophrony has written that he cannot                     divine love and thus approaches eternity.
understand faith without dogma, Christianity                  Orthodox monasticism preserves this method of
outside of the Church and Christianity without                ascesis and theosis of man, and it is very important
ascesis. This is very important. Other religions and          for us to live its internal dimension and to teach it
confessions have faith in god, but faith must be              to people. Thus, the Monastery is, as the Holy
determined by the definitions of the Ecumenical               Fathers say, the sacred Workshop of this sacred
                                                         10
method of facing death and the experiencing of                However attention is needed on account of the
eternal life. All other theories, even Christian ones,        wolves who may captivate them with evil pleasure.
are ponderings and incapable of helping man, who              In his letter to the Ephesians he writes: "I am
hungers and thirsts for the righteousness of God.             condemned, you have received mercy, I, in danger,
Everything that was mentioned presupposes                     you are supported. You are passed by in relation to
Orthodox monasticism and not the secularized                  those who are led to martyrdom. The Christians are
Frankish monasticism which alters about essence of            on the side roads as compared to those who are
Orthodox monasticism, but also the essence of true            being led to martyrdom. This ‚passed by‛ has both
Christianity. Changes in dogma also means                     a positive but also a negative meaning. It means
changes in monasticism.                                       that they are competing with those who are being
However, in Orthodox monasticism man                          led to martyrdom, or more likely it means those
understands how he can defeat sin, the Devil and              who are following another path other than that of
death with the power and energy of Christ. And                the martyrs.
whoever approaches Orthodox monastics, who are                In the same letter he writes: "My brethren, do not
members of the Body of Christ, sees this victory of           be deceived. The corrupters of homes ‚shall not
Christ against sin the devil and death in the faces of        inherit the Kingdom of God. The ‚corrupters of
these blessed beings. For this reason also we                 homes‛ are they who are destroying their body,
preserve the monastic – gospel life as the apple of           which is the temple of the All-Holy Spirit, but
our eye, and those who follow it, the blessed                 create problems for the Church also which is the
monastics, as fruits of divine love.                          Body of Christ.
St. Ignatius, the Godbearer among other things                Thus, we have the 'godward ones' who are on the
uses three words, which show the correct and the              true path of salvation, ‚the passersby‛ who are on
deluded path of Christians and by extension of                parallel good roads or on faulty roads, and the
monastics. It is the words 'godward ones',                    'corrupters of homes' who are destroying
‘passersby’, ‘corrupters of homes’.                           themselves, but are also creating schisms and
In his letter to the Philadelphians he writes: "for           divisions in the Church of Christ.
many trustworthy wolves with evil pleasure                    We live in the Church, we practice ascesis in the
captivate the godward ones." Christians are called            sacred Workshops, the Monasteries, so that we
'godward ones', because they are walking the path             become 'godwards ones' and not 'passersby’ and
of God, the path which leads went to God.                     ‘corrupters of homes. "




                                                         11
PARISH COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES, TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
OPENING PRAYER & SPIRITUAL THOUGHTS
 Opening Prayer given by Father Nicholas Palis
No Spiritual thoughts by Father Palis as we had a visitor, Helen Kapsalis. Mrs. Kapsalis brought us
old photographs from our community so that we could update our church's website. She is also
giving the church films and certain photographs to keep.
REPORT OF PRIEST (given by Father Palis)
GOYA: Watched the movie Ostrov. GOYANS did the Aspile and Kai Dos Imin on the Akathist
Hymn. Soccer practice will be taking place on Saturdays and there should be about twenty (20)
children attending.
JOY: JOY read the Psalms at last Wednesday's service and it was well attended. Kosta Zalalas did a
good job of organizing this.
HOPE: There will be a HOPE planning meeting on Sunday, May 15, 2011, for parents of four (4) to
seven (7) year olds to plan upcoming events for the children.
Jane Prodes will be organizing the Holy Friday retreat for the youth.
Four (4) children from our community participated in the Regional Oratorical Festival in
Stroudsburg. They all spoke very well but none of them won.
Father Palis reported good attendance at the evening services; that the Priests are still working on
finishing the shut in visitations; and that they are doing a lot of confessions.
Father Palis reminded the Council to give a gift to the chanters for their help during the Pascha
services.
Father Palis reported that he received a lot of positive feedback from Father Sergius' visit (from St.
Tikhons).
Father Kossis will be on vacation from May 1, 2011 through May 14, 2011. Father Palis will get a
second priest for the May 8, 2011 service.
ROLL CALL & ACTIONS ON EXCUSES FOR ABSENCE
The following parish council members were absent: : Manny Tatalias, and Michael Zumas.
The following parish council members were present Cosmo Valavanis, George Glaros, Valante Fliakos,
George Mouhlas, Kosta Hristofas, Bill Argeros, Ted Evangelou, Demetri Lousos, Joel Garcia, Manny
Economedes, Dimitri Bozikis, George Nassif, and John Zannakis.
RECEPTION OF PETITIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS
 An email was received from Martha M. Halkias from Florida regarding the Cemetery Cross damage.
Cosmo Valavanis will call and speak with her personally regarding the resolution of this issue.
 READING OF MEETING MINUTES
Meeting Minutes from March 15, 2011 will be tabled to the next Parish Council meeting in May.
STEWARDSHIP UPDATE
Treasurer George Mouhlas reported that as of April 12, 2011 that 2010 Stewardship collected totaled:
$223,417.00 (surpassing our 2010 Stewardship goal of $210,000.00). As of April 12, 2011, 2011
Stewardship collected totaled: $70,743.00 (33.69% of 2011 goal of $210,000.00).
TREASURER’S REPORT(S)
Treasurer George Mouhlas reported that the total income for March 2011 totaled: $39,909.20.
Additionally, George Mouhlas reported that the expenses for March 2011 totaled: $40,857.95. Net

                                                  12
Income for March 2011 totaled: $-948.75. Valante Fliakos made a motion to accept the treasurer’s
report. The motion was seconded by Bill Argeros. The motion passed unanimously.
George Mouhlas reported the comparison of tray offering collections when the tray is passed before
communion versus when the tray is passed at the end of the service. Discussion amongst council
took place and it was decided that collection trays would be passed at the end of the service.
COMMITTEE REPORTS
None.
8. SPECIAL REPORTS/OLD BUSINESS
Cosmo Valavanis discussed the Youth Director position. He is waiting to hear back from Kosta
Zalalas if he will need benefits if the permanent Youth Director position is offered. Kosta Zalalas has
been chanting at the daily services.
Cosmo Valavanis passed out a Parish Council commitment sheet for the Spring Food Festival so that
Parish Council members could commit to working certain dates of the festival and what assignment
they would be taking. The Philoptochos will not be making the deserts for the Spring Food Festival.
The St. Nicholas Academy will be holding the White Elephant Sale during the Spring Food Festival.
Cosmo Valavanis reported that the Dome Restoration was completed tonight. The scaffolding will be
taken down over the next couple of days.
Cosmo Valavanis reported that the columns outside will be replaced. They will look like what we
have now.
Cosmo Valavanis reported that the door locks for the outside doors will be re-keyed and new keys
will need to be given. An RDF door opener option will be explored.
Joel Garcia reported on the copier lease situation. The council discussed the options of having a
colored printer versus the current black and white model. The lease is set to expire in September
2011 and we will likely wait for the lease to expire and enter into a new agreement rather than rolling
the existing lease into a new copier lease. We will discuss this further at the May Parish Council
meeting.
Ted Evangelou reported on the Spring Food Festival. Assistance will be needed for the upcoming
food preparation. The Philoptochos may staff the pastry line sales and/or make some pastries but
they have not committed to either yet. People will be needed to be in charge in every section.
Ted Evangelou reported that the Palm Sunday Luncheon menu will consist of a fish, potato,
scordalia, and salad. Cost will be $10.00 per person and $6.00 for children.
Demetri Lousos commented on the March 25th Luncheon and how the food service went for the
Luncheon and the Loukomades sale that took place that day.
 ,NEW BUSINESS
Bill Argeros passed out scheduled for Holy Week Parish Council duties.
Ted Evangelou discussed the Pascha Night Meal. Was not sure if the lamb legs were ordered and
who was in charge of running/preparing the meal.
George Glaros stated that the St. Nicholas Academy would be having their Summer Program in June-
July.
Father Palis discussed Letters of Good Standing, Sacraments, and membership dues. This will be
tabled until the Stewardship Committee meets again.
Manny Economedes passed out his Hall Business Plan outline. The goal is for twelve (12) bookings
for the Hall this year. Marketing will be looked into.
Motion to Adjourn by Bill Argeros; seconded by Valante Fliakos
                                                  13
CLOSING PRAYER- Father Nicholas Palis led the closing prayer.



In the Church a continual Pentecost continues
                                                             By Katherine Tsakire
The Disciples, disturbed from the events of Jerusalem but also comforted by the Lord’s resurrectional appearance, they

waited, forbearing with prayers and petitions, for the royal Holy Spiritual anointing to enrich them, to make them

partakers of Christ and of the Holy Trinitarian life and communion. They were ‚poor‛ up till then, they were a gathering

of people who were bound by common memories and common expectations, people discouraged without a clear

knowledge of what they are expecting and for what work they were called. This hope-bearing gathering did not yet

comprise the Church, she was lacking the Holy Spiritual aura in order to grant her life cultivating her. She was missing

the greatest guarantee, the divine first fruit and the betrothal of our divine inheritance, the greatest gift which God

granted to His Church: the Comforter!

Fifty days after the Lord’s glorious Resurrection, on the day precisely when the Jews were celebrating the great feast of

Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Christ, the Christian Church was definitely established,

an institution which influenced and will influence all human generations and ages till the end of history and after this.

In the years of the Old Testament, God spoke, in the events of the New Testament, God spoke ‚in the son‛ in the age of

the Church the Holy Spirit is revealed and acts, which comprised and preserves her, which also lives ‚through it, from it

and in it‛. The Church ends up the place where the Holy Spirit speaks and acts through her priests. This bestows the gifts

and places the liturgists and pastors. This performs the sacred Mysteries, this enlightens the preachers and prophets and

evangelists, this pastors and safeguards the synods from delusions and heresies. This is the unquenchable source of

sanctification of the believers. This unites the Church in the one faith, in the one baptism. This guides to the truth and

enlivens her. It is this which embodies with baptism the believers in the Church, which distributes the gifts and forms the

sacred institution of the Eucharistic gathering. This is the soul of the Church and the event of the descent of the Holy

Spirit on the day of Pentecost comprises the presupposition of the whole history of the Church and pervades all her

actions, because truly the grace of the Holy Spirit edifies and institutes the Church and familiarizes her to us.

The delivering work of Christ is made known to us and is realized, increases and is perfected with the constant presence

(eoconomy) of the Comforter. The mystery of Christianity is not only the action of the Father or only the self work of

Christ and experience in Christ, but also the synergy of the Holy Spirit and especially in the Holy Spirit. Without the

communion of the Comforter, the witness of the Church ends up an empty form, ministry skillfulness, prayer, a

monologue, the liturgy, a mystical magic ritual, the body of Christ, a simple organization and the pastoral toil,

organizational movement in vain.

Beloved readers, in the Church a constant Pentecost is continued forever, because the Spirit never abandons her. ‚Just as

the Only Begotten Son of God is together with believing people, thus also the Spirit of God is also…Just as Christ said

about himself that ‚behold I will be with you all the days till the close of the age‛ (Mat. 28:20)…thus He also said about

the Holy Spirit, that He will be with us unto the ages. For this reason we can always be holding Pentecost. ‚If the Holy

                                                              14
Spirit were not present, the Church would not exist. Since, however, the Church exists, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is

present.‛ (J. Chrysostom.)

Every time the Church celebrates the Divine Liturgy and beseeches, through the Lord’s Prayer, ‚thy Kingdom come‛, she

is essentially calling upon the Holy Spirit: ‚thy Kingdom come‛, that is the Holy Spirit‛ (Gregory of Nyssa). This is the

dynamic work of the Comforter: to transfigure and deify everyone and all things. While His invocation reveals the last

deed of the mystery of salvation, the realization of the kingdom of God, the return to the Father and His great dominion.

My brethren, the descent of the Holy spirit upon the holy Apostles during that historic day, after the Lord’s ascension,

comprises the beginning of a new creation of the world. Because just as then in the beginning of the first creation, the

Spirit of God brought the world from the formless chaos of the abyss to the beauty and the light of life, thus also in the

event of Pentecost: ‚the forceful breath‛ of the Holy Spirit himself recreates the mass of the gentiles deformed by sin, and

creates the new people of God, the Church, the new creation in Christ.

The descent of the Holy Spirit on that day created a spiritual earthquake in the hearts of people.

And whoever heard the fiery speech of the Apostle Peter and were ‚pierced at the heart‛ asked the Apostles: ‚what shall

we do men brethren‛ to also be saved? And the Apostle Peter answered them: ‚Repent…‛

So repentance is the secret of the new life, the path which leads to the courtyard of the Church, the new kingdom in

Christ.

Life in the Church isn’t exhausted by the external alignment to the worship rubric and the gospel commandments. It is

life ‚in the Holy Spirit‛. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the water of the baptismal font which gives us rebirth. This is given to

us with the holy Chrism. This alters the bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ. This calls to repentance. This

enlightens the inner darkness. This ‚formulates‛ Christ in the hearts of people. The opening of the mind and the heart to

the grace of the Holy Spirit comprises the inner struggle of the believers. That which Christ said ‚rivers of living water

shall flow from his belly‛, is the experience of the glorified members of the Church of the Saints.

So for this reason while during the whole duration of the resurrectional period, the Church appoints that we pray always

standing, a symbol of our co-ressurection with the Lord, from the day of Pentecost on, she also appoints ‚praying on

bended knee‛. And this, in order to show us thus practically that on account of our sin we fell down on the ground, from

which the philanthropy of God raised us up.

So during the wondrous Vespers which is performed on the Sunday of Pentecost, immediately after the liturgy, the

exhortation of the liturgist is heard ‚again and again bending the knees, let us pray to the Lord‛ let us also piously bend

‚the knee of our heart‛ before the all good Lord. And in this position of compunction and humility, let us fervently

beseech Him, the Grace of the Spirit of Pentecost, to always overshadow us and to guide us ‚into all the truth‛. That our

life be a ceaseless Pentecost, rich in fruits of the ‚Holy Spirit‛.




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