Friday, 14 June 2013

20 years in Harrow

Our Parish Priest, The Very Reverend Protopresbyter Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas, and his family, celebrate today their 20th Anniversary of Service in our Sacred Parish of St. Panteleimon. They arrived here on 14th June 1993.

They had previously served at the historic Hellenic Community of St. Nicholas in Cardiff of South Wales, which had been established in 1873 by Greek sailors.

The Leaders and the people of St. Panteleimon had embraced Fr. Anastasios and his family from the very beginning, establishing with them good communication and excellent co-operation.

In the first hours of their being in our Community many people, both male and female, had visited the new Priest and his young family, offering flowers, smiles and sincere love, on which they had built a very successful and fruitful relationship. Some of those people are no longer with us, having been moved to the Triumphant Church in the Heavens.

From the very next day Fr. Anastasios and his family started their dedicated Service in our Community, in the Church, at our Greek School, visiting the sick at the local hospitals… Our Community hadn’t acquired at the time its own Ecclesiastical and Community premises. Today it has! We worked all together very hard over the next years in order to purchase and secure them for our own use.

With the help, the blessing, the enlightenment and the inspiration from our Holy God we will continue our way forward and we are certain that we will succeed even greater targets, reaching high aims, to the glory of our Great Poet and Maker and to the spiritual benefit of all the members and friends of our progressive Community!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Vespers of Love

Easter Sunday afternoon, the faithful gather once more for prayer with lighted candles. All sing the hymn, "Christ is Risen from the Dead."

The people greet one another joyously, saying: "Christ is Risen," the Easter salutation which is answered, "Truly He is Risen."

They sing, "The dark shadows of the Law have passed away by the coming of grace," and standing in exaltation, they exclaim, "Who is so great a God as our God?"

The Gospel according to Saint John (20, 19-25) is read in various languages, proclaiming the Good News of Resurrection all over the universe without discrimination.

The fruit of faith in the Resurrection of the Lord is love in His Name; therefore, this day is called "Sunday of Agape" (love feast), a day dedicated to Christian principles, especially to forgiveness and charity.

At this time, Christians seek to end misunderstanding and arguments among those with whom they may be at odds.

Apostle Paul firmly interprets the Resurrection of Christ, saying: "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain" (1 Cor. 15, 14).

The Church also states in its Creed, "The Third day He rose again".

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Holy Saturday Evening - Easter Sunday

The Holy Service celebrated on that Evening is Matins and then the Divine Liturgy of Sunday morning sung Saturday midnight. With this service, the Pentecostarion starts (50 days services).

This Evening we celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Before midnight, the Odes of Lamentation of the previous day are repeated.

The Orthros of the Resurrection begins in complete darkness. The priest takes light from the vigil light and gives it to the faithful, who are holding candles.

The priest sings: "Come ye and receive light from the unwaning life, and glorify Christ, who arose from the dead," and all the people join him in singing this hymn again and again.

From this moment, every Christian holds the Easter candle as a symbol of his vivid, deep faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as Saviour.

In our church, the priest led the people outside the church, where he had read the Gospel which refers to the Angel's statement: "He is Risen; He is not here" (Mark 16, 1-8).

Then comes the breathless moment as the people wait for the priest to start the hymn of Resurrection, which they join him in singing, repeatedly: "Christ has Risen from the dead, by death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed life upon those in the tombs."

From this moment, the entire Service takes on a joyous Easter atmosphere. The hymns of the Odes and Praises of Resurrection which follow are of superb meaning and expression.

The people confess, "It is the Day of Resurrection, let us be glorious, let us embrace one another and speak to those that hate us; let us forgive all things and so let us cry, Christ has arisen from the dead." By this hymn, they admit that love of one's fellowman is the solid foundation of the faith in the Resurrection of Christ.

The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is then officiated. At the end of the Liturgy, a part of the marvellous festival sermon of St. Chrysostom is read, which calls upon the people to "Take part in this fair and radiant festival. Let no one be fearful of death, for the death of the Saviour has set us free... O Death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is Thy victory? Christ is Risen and Thou art overthrown. To Him be glory and power from all ages to all ages."