Thursday July 31, 2014

Saints, Feasts, and Readings for 7/30/2014

8th Wednesday after Pentecost

Epistle Reading

Gospel Reading

Saints Feasts and Readings for 7/30/2014

Visit the Online Chapel for more daily readings, hymns, a monthly calendar of saints and feasts, and more.

 

 

 

Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church

 

 

 Easter Message

PASCHA 2014

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and fellow parishioners,

After we celebrated the most important event of the Incarnation of Christ the Savior and through the holy Evangelists we learned about His evangelical and miraculous work, we are now going toward the peak of our Lord’s life on earth, the Holy Week of His Passion. 

Just before the crucifixion of our Lord on the Golgotha, the unfortunate Pontius Pilate will present Jesus, the creator of man, humiliated and tortured, wearing the crown of thorns, to the mob of the Scribes and Pharisees, saying “Behold the man”. For this kind of men our Sinless Lord came upon the earth in human flesh and put on the death, in order to cancel the death from sin; instead, His creature put Him on the cross to die.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, the Resurrection of our Christ is the most important event in History and in our Church, and, as Saint Paul the Apostle says, “were Christ not risen, our faith would be in vain”; indeed, this is the fundamental event for our Orthodox Church. This is also the difference with any other religion conceived by the human mind, because the founder and head of our Church is indeed our God, the Resurrected Christ.

After His Crucifixion and three-day Burial, the Sun of Justice is risen, the eternal Christ, and the whole universe illuminated and filled with joy. The Resurrection of Christ restored the human nature, renewed the human kind, and adorned the universe; it liberated Adam from the bondage of Hades, and brought the immortal light in the hearts of men.

The Resurrection of our Lord not only saved all human kind, but also benefitted the God- and man-loving angels, who, after the fall of Eosphorus, became slow to react toward the evil, because they could not conceive of evil, nor had they gotten the “atrepsia” (incorruption) which, according to Saint Nikitas Stethatos, they got through the Grace of God, and not by their nature.

So, even though Pascha means “passage” in Hebrew, for our Church this does not mean the passage of the Jewish people through the Red Sea, but, according to the Orthodox Fathers, it means the new passage from Death to Life, from Darkness to Light, from Hades to Earth, from Earth to Heaven, the Recreation of the Souls, the Enlightenment of the Eyes, the Recall of the Exile from Paradise, the actual Life of the Faithful, the Honor to the Holy Trinity.

The Resurrection of our Christ cannot be explained through scientific reasoning, rather, it is revealed to the pure heart. The great scientist Isaac Newton believed in the limited boundaries of science, and used to say, “The man seeking the first cause of being, does not belong in science”.

It is my heartfelt wish that this year’s Pascha bring spiritual joy to us and transform our lives, helping us overcome any resentful and bitter feelings. Let us forgive and love our enemies, by repeating the words of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, “Father, forgive them for they not know what they are doing”.

Have a Good and Blessed Resurrection,

-Christ is Risen! -Truly He is Risen!

 

 

 

ΠΑΣΧΑ 2014

Αγαπημένοι μου εν Χριστώ αδελφοί και ενορίτες μου,

Αφού εορτάσαμε το σημαντικό γεγονός της ενανθρώπισης του Σωτήρος Χριστού, και μάθαμε από τους θείους Ευαγγελιστές για το κηρυκτικό και θαυματουργικό έργο Του, φθάνουμε στην κορύφωση του θείου δράματος με την Εβδομάδα των Παθών.

Πριν ακόμη από την Σταύρωση του Κυρίου μας στον Γολγοθά, ο δύστυχος Πιλάτος θα παρουσιάσει τον Ιησού, ταπεινωμένο και εξαθλιωμένο, φορώντας τον ακάνθινο στέφανο, τον δημιουργό του ανθρώπου, στον όχλο των Γραμματέων και Φαρισαίων, λέγοντας «Ἴδε ὁ ἄνθρωπος».  Γι’ αυτόν τον άνθρωπο ήλθε ο Κύριός μας στη γη, ενδύθηκε την ανθρώπινη σάρκα και φόρεσε τον θάνατο, ο Αναμάρτητος, ώστε να καταργήσει τον θάνατο της αμαρτίας, και το πλάσμα Του τον έστειλε στον σταυρό και τον θάνατο.

Η Ανάσταση του Χριστού μας, αδελφοί μου, είναι το σπουδαιότερο γεγονός στην ιστορία αλλά και στην Εκκλησία μας, και όπως λέγει ο Απόστολος Παύλος, «εἰ δὲ μὴ Χριστός ἐγείγερται, ματαῖα ἡ πίστις ἡμῶν», το οποίο και αποτελεί το κορυφαίο γεγονός της Ορθοδόξου Εκκλησίας. Αυτή είναι και η διαφορά από τις άλλες θρησκείες που έχουν ιδρυθεί από τον άνθρωπο, εφόσον ιδρυτής και κεφαλή της Εκκλησίας μας είναι ο ίδιος ο Θεός, ο αναστημένος Χριστός.

Μετά την Σταύρωση και την Ταφή Του, ανέτειλε τριήμερος ο Ήλιος της Δικαιοσύνης και προαιώνιος Χριστός, και όλη η πλάση φωτίστηκε και πλημμύρισε από χαρά. Η Ανάσταση του Χριστού αποκατέστησε την ανθρώπινη φύση, ανακαίνισε τον άνθρωπο, εκόσμησε όλη την πλάση, ελευθέρωσε τον Αδάμ από τα δεσμά του Άδη, και έφερε το ανέσπερο φως στις καρδιές των ανθρώπων.

Η Ανάσταση του Ιησού δεν έσωσε μόνο το ανθρώπινο γένος, αλλά ωφέλησε και τους φιλόθεους και φιλάνθρωπους αγγέλους, οι οποίοι μετά την πτώση του Εωσφόρου έγιναν δυσκίνητοι στο κακό, δεν μπορούσαν να σκεφτούν το κακό, αλλά δεν είχαν αποκτήσει και την «ατρεψία», την οποία όπως μας λέει ο όσιος Νικήτας Στηθάτος, την απέκτησαν από την Χάρη του Θεού, ενώ δεν την είχαν από την φύση τους.

Έτσι λοιπόν, ενώ Πάσχα στα εβραϊκά σημαίνει πέρασμα, διά την Εκκλησία μας δεν θεωρείται το πέρασμα πλέον των Εβραίων από την Ερυθρά Θάλασσα, αλλά όπως λένε οι Πατέρες, η νέα Διάβαση από τον Θάνατο στη Ζωή, από το Σκοτάδι στο Φως, από τον Άδη στη Γη, από τη Γη στον Ουρανό, αναψυχή των ψυχών, φωτισμός των οφθαλμών, ανάκληση της εξορίας της Εδέμ, η όντως ζωή των πιστών, τιμή της θείας Τριάδος.

Η Ανάσταση του Χριστού μας δεν ερμηνεύεται με την λογική της Επιστήμης, αλλά αποκαλύπτεται στις καθαρές καρδιές. Ένας μεγάλος φυσικός επιστήμων, ο Νεύτων, που πίστευε ότι τα όρια της φυσικής επιστήμης είναι περιορισμένα, έλεγε, «ο άνθρωπος που αναζητά την πρώτη αιτία των όντων, δεν ανήκει στην επιστήμη».

Εύχομαι από καρδίας το φετεινό Πάσχα να φέρει πνευματική χαρά και αλλαγή στη ζωή μας, ξεχνώντας μίση και κακίες. Να συγχωρέσουμε και να αγαπήσουμε τους εχθρούς μας επαναλαμβάνοντας τα λόγια του εσταυρωμένου Ιησού, «Πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς, οὐ γὰρ οἴδασι τὶ ποιοῦσι».

Καλή και ευλογημένη Ανάσταση,

-Χριστός Ἀνέστη! -Ἀληθῶς Ἀνέστη ὁ Κύριος!

 

 

What is the Orthodox Church?

The eastern or Greek orthodox Church is one of the original Churches of Christianity, which was founded on the Day of the Pentecost in Jerusalem in 33 A. D. Ten days after Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit on the Heads of His Disciples, which according to the description at the Acts of the Apostles, stood like burning tongues. Since that Day the Orthodox Church has kept unbroken the Holy Tradition of the Church given by Jesus Christ and His Disciples. Later he accepted the Decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Synods, which were convened by the Church in order to solve religious, dogmatical questions. The decrees of the Seven Ecumenical Synods are infallible.

Christianity started in the Holy City of Jerusalem in the East and with the ages expanded around the world. During this development, due to different ideology and point of views and politics, the unity of the Church began to split into different denominations. The Holiest Cities for early Christians are considered to be Jerusalem, Damascus, Rome, Alexandria and later when the Eastern Roman Empire was established in Byzantium - Constantinople. Constantinople became the Capital of the Byzantine Empire and became the center of Christianity. The universal language in these first centuries was Greek and the Gospels except St. Matthew were written in Greek.

The first three centuries of Christianity went through severe persecution, but it came out victorious and the truth dominated the universe.

Christianity was first recognized by Emperor Constantine the Great. With the edict of Milan in the IVth Century the persecution of Christians stopped and the Churches from underground (catacombs) appeared on the surface. Many Churches started to be built.

The first nation to officially recognize Christianity was Armenia. The first split of Christianity occurred after the IVth Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon with the Monophysites of Ethiopia, Syria, Chaldeans and Armenians. Later in 1054, due to politics, the Roman Catholic Church split from the Eastern Church by adding the word "filioque" at the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed, which was written at the 1st and the 2nd Ecumenical Synods.

In the years to follow other groups split from the Roman Catholics; the Protestants, the Lutheran and the Anglican denominations split and today we have many Christians denominations around the world. Unfortunately, in order to accommodate their passions and modern ideas, many of the denominations have created new teachings and rules which are totally against the Gospel teaching. We as the Orthodox Church pray for the unity of our Christian Brothers in our everyday prayers. Today in the world The Eastern Orthodox Faith is the dominant Church of Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus. There are thousands and millions of faithful who adhere to the Orthodox Faith in the Middle East, Africa, Australia, Asia, United States, Canada, Central and South America. The worldwide membership is more than 300 million.

The Orthodox residing in the USA are over 3 million people and in the State of New Jersey the Greek Orthodox faithful comprise 1% of the state's population.

For more History of the Orthodox Church please visit:
http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/history

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