Tuesday, October 25, 2011

the doors the doors!

in wisdom let us attend.


Anyone who visited our church for the feast day of Saint Gerasimos on October 20th would of noticed the new wooden doors that have been built and put in place. The yet to be varnished doors, have replaced the old glass wall and doors that have been there ever since I remember (and therefore the very noisy slamming door was replaced too)! Bishop Seraphim commented himself upon his visit, that every time he comes, something has been added, done or improved to the church, proving that at St Gerasimos there is love for the beauty of God's house. 


Monday, September 5, 2011

feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos

our side chapel celebrates

We invite you to come and join us on September 7th Vespers @ 7pm and September 8th @ 8am,  when our side chapel dedicated to Panagia Iamatiki (Healing Mary) and the Birth of the Theotokos celebrates.

"Today the Bridge of Life is born. Through her mortal men, fallen into hell, find their way up again, and they glorify in song Christ the Giver of life."
(taken from Matins hymn on this day)

 


 

children's resources

online and interactive

In our previous post we shared the trial that is online of the 'Children's Bible' @ http://cbr.goarch.org/. But did you know there was more out there on the world wide web? Yes, there sure is...

Saints Alive is another resource by the American Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. You have a helpful host and three sections to explore with puzzles and games. It explores stories from the Old Testament, the Church and New Testament. There are different levels for each game to meet to each child's ability.


There is also (for the older kids) a interactive site on 
Environmental Balance: Learning to become stewards of God's World. It is set up by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and challenges the players to think about how they can be responsible for the world they live in.
Build a world, a sustainable community, learn about God's intention for the earth and then what is currently the situation in the world.




Have a browse and play and let us know what you think!
Enjoy!


 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

online bible children's learning resource

thought we might share

We came across this great initiative by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the department of Internet ministries. We don't know if you have all seen it already, but for those who haven't, this is a great and fun way for our kids to learn the works, words and life of our Lord!
Jammed packed with different topics, kids can choose their own level in each game and activity. The interactive games include, colouring-in pictures, puzzles, find a words, quizzes, picture book stories and more. 
The site initiative is currently under a testing period, but invites everyone to test the site by exploring the many sections and then leaving feedback to make this effort more improved. The address to go and check it out on is: http://cbr.goarch.org/

Let us also know what you think! And enjoy! 






Saturday, July 23, 2011

enlighten my five simple senses

sunday july 24th: matthew 9:1-8




Jesus heals the paralytic man and some of those who saw this miracle said, "This Man blasphemes!" What Jesus says next is very important in our Tradition, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?"

Jesus for the first time brings thinking to the heart and feeling to the brain. Our bodies is our freedom. We must use all our facilities to approach God: our eyes, our mouth, our taste, our smell, our hearing, our thinking, our feeling. That is why in the baptismal service we bless the body and its faculties.

If you don't feel with your brain and think in your heart, our Tradition says, you're not human. You are not who you are meant to be. There is a saying in society, "that person is self-absorbed" or "self- centered." But in reality, when you lose your "self", you are absorbed. You are human, with the right mind. Those who are self-centered are in fact the opposite of who they are meant to be.

In an age where we identify with soul less objects, we must seek to identify and become more human with God. This movement towards your humaneness, is found in the Liturgy. In the life of Jesus Christ.

Monday, July 4, 2011

the HOW TO follow Jesus


Sunday 26th June: Gospel Mt 4:18-23


The Gospel tells us that there were fishermen who were casting nets when Jesus Christ walks by and says, “Follow Me”. In Greek this isΑκολοúθει μοι”. This word still applies to us and how we understand it.

Like the fishermen, whatever our work is, whatever our life is, wherever we find ourselves, whatever crosses our path, if in a shop, in whatever industry, hospitality or healing practice: find God there. Follow Him.

How do we follow Christ? Our spirituality would say three things:

  1. Ακολουθíα ” means service (a prayer service), a church service, therefore it follows, αt some point that there has to be a decision made: that I want church as part of my life.

  1. We have to say our prayers. This means: we can say them anywhere, at any time, in any place, in any environment. Not to say our prayers to show off or so that other people will know. Our prayer could be one sentence or one little word.

  1. Don’t forget God. Remembrance of  God. Μνημη Θεοú". The remembrance of God, is a term that saturates orthodox spirituality.  ~ fr Leslie

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

rwanda collection

educational resources


Most children in Rwanda receive one pencil for the entire year. 

St Gerasimos Church will be collecting resources that will help and provide an opportunity for these children to learn to write and further their education. Something that we take for granted here in Australia.

If you would like to help, please purchase any of the below items and bring them to the Church before Wednesday 15th June, between 8.30am and 11.30am. Please ensure the items are new. They will be distributed in Rwanda by a local pastor to the children in local schools.


* lead pencils

* coloured pencils

* coloured markers

* packet of erasers

* ruler

* packet of pencil sharpeners

* thin exercise book


Thank you.


Friday, June 3, 2011

update and thank you

Gosford Draft LEP 2009

a message...

"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are pleased to report that in place of the prohibition of places of public worship, Gosford City Council, in support of the monasteries’ submission, voted unanimously to place the lands containing our two Monasteries in a Special Purposes Zone. This will ensure that the monasteries can continue to carry out their sacred task and to develop without the threat of being a “prohibited use”.

We would like to thank all those who assisted in this matter and pray that our Lord bless them abundantly. Over 3,000 people used the automatic protest letter which sent letters to each Councillor and several Ministers. This equates to a total of 48,000 letters. An extra 1,900 people downloaded the letters and sent them direct to Councillors and Ministers. A great number of people, known and unknown to us, including many politicians and journalists, lobbied directly. We extend our deep gratitude and appreciation to all.

An important step forward has been achieved, but the process is by no means complete. The draft LEP will now be sent to the Hon. Bradley Hazzard, MP, Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, for final approval; this process could take months.
We ask all the faithful to join us in prayer so that the next important step in the process can also be successful. We may need your support again. Please allow us to keep in contact with you and provide you with important updates over the next few months. If you are willing to allow us to send you updates on this important matter please here or visit our website from time to time.

Prayerfully Yours,
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Pantanassa Monasteryand Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Holy Cross Monastery"


Correspondence to Fr Eusebios of Pantanassa Monastery (taken from their site) from Regional Director, Hunter & Central Coast Region NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure:

"Dear Father Eusebios

I refer to the many email submissions we have received concerning 'places of public worship' in the Gosford draft LEP 2009. Given the large number of submissions it will not be possible to respond to each individually, so I would appreciate you making this available to your community.

We are aware of the many public submissions the Council has received, and the high level of community interest in this issue.

This is an important issue that the Council will need to consider in their review and response to public submissions. This is scheduled for a Council Meeting on 31 May 2011, and a link to the Council's business paper follows - http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/council/council_meetings/agenda_reports/2011/05/31

Once the Council has considered the issues raised in the public submissions, they will submit their draft plan to our Department, asking for it to be finalised. When we receive the plan we will review how the Council has responded to major issues with the plan, including the issues raised by the Greek Orthodox community.

Thank you for your interest in this issue and I suggest you make your views known to the Council, if you haven't already.

regards

Michael Leavey
Regional Director, Hunter & Central Coast Region "

Thursday, May 26, 2011

our monasteries in nsw

need your help
 
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 We need your assistance - action is needed prior to Tuesday 31 May 2011!
After many years of hard work and fund-raising, and with the support of all the Greek Orthodox Australian faithful of NSW and other States, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has been developing two Monasteries on the Central Coast of NSW: Pantanassa Monastery at Mangrove Creek and Holy Cross Monastery at Mangrove Mountain. At the time of acquiring these lands, the construction of a monastery, including a church was permissible within the current zones, and on this basis the lands were acquired and the monasteries planned.
NOW, Gosford Council is proposing to eliminate "places of public worship" from the zones on which the Monasteries are located under its "Gosford Draft LEP 2009". This means that future development and expansion of the monasteries, including construction of new churches, is threatened and may not be permissible on monastery lands. 
 We have:
  1. made detailed submissions to Council opposing the proposed change to the zoning - these have been rejected! and
  2. asked Council to acknowledge the monasteries future development needs by placing the monasteries in the SP1 'Special Activities Zone' which would allow for development of the monasteries with Council consent based on merit considerations - this too was rejected!
On Monday 23 May 2011 we were informed that Council plans to consider the adoption of the "Gosford Draft LEP 2009" on Tuesday 31 May 2011!
You can help by sending letters we have prepared for you to the Councillors and Ministers at the click of one button. We have less than one week to let Councillors and NSW State Government Ministers know that we are very upset and disappointed with this whole matter! We must act before Tuesday 31 May 2011.


We thank you in advance for your support and pray that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ bless you and your families. We will email you further developments if needed.

Prayerfully Yours,
Pantanassa Monastery
&
Holy Cross Monastery"

a bit of a parking problem

police command centre proposition 

Those who attended the Easter services would of noticed protest signs in and around the houses of Henry street. These signs were in regards to a proposal made for a  Leichhardt local area police command centre for 29 Derbyshire Road (the street behind the church, beside the bus depot and Pioneers park). The implications of such a proposal on the St Gerasimos Parish and community has caused some concern. The list below are just some of the effects the command centre will cause:

- There will be no additional parking made for staff (100 staff on shift 24/7)
- Access will be via William street only (an already dangerous area with buses coming in and out of the depot)
- Footpath removal from Pioneers Park
- Criminals from Glebe, Balmain and Newtown will be transported to the Command centre for lock up, bail etc.

As part of St Gerasimos community, there is still time to have your concerns and voices heard, as community and council meetings are still taking place. A more creative resolution to the traffic and parking problem should be considered with such a proposition (i.e building under/upper ground parking) rather than making a current problem for the local community worse.

A way you can voice your concern and/or support, is by picking up a petition letter or by downloading it here, signing and returning it to Fr. Leslie at the church.
More information on this proposal can be found at Church and this page will also be updated shortly.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

allow Him

to enter your life.
"Once again we have come together on this Easter night to proclaim and confess our fundamental belief in the Resurrected Person that we call Jesus Christ. And all our faith, all our belief, all our convictions, all our teachings is based not on a theory, not on a philosophy, not on a hypothesis, not on an idea or on abstract thinking...but on a person. A human being.

That is why we are here: to proclaim, to confess, to underline this human being. Everything that Jesus Christ taught, lived and died for depended upon His Resurrection. Not a dictum or ideology, but a historical fact in time and space. We have to ask ourselves: How is this human being different? How is He distinct? How can we "tell Him apart"?Just notice and just think...
In the world everything can be taken from us. They can take our possessions away. They can take our ownership away. They can take our money away and our titles away. Everything we have can be taken away, except, our death. 

No one can take our death away.
No one.
No person.
No guru
No prophet.
No idol.
No polytheistic gods.
No holy person.
No religious leader.
No political leader.
No prime minister.
No pop star. 
No movie star.

Except one person: Christ. Except, Jesus Christ.
Only Jesus Christ has made the claim and conviction that He takes away death. That is why we can sing, "Death where is your sting?", "Death where is your victory?". Jesus Christ has taken it away and destroyed Death by His death. Don't we chant, "Life in the tomb.."?

So tonight it's a message of hope, of confidence, of faith, of assurance.Life is not gloom and doom, like others teach.It's not a message of despair, of emptiness, of sadness. The world has given us that, with what we have all been experiencing and hearing in the last 5 months.With the Resurrection we are not dealing with something that's different or differs from earthly life. The Resurrection is not a different life, but it is this lived, loved and mortal life, which becomes different, healed, reconciled and perfected. Life lived on earth in love can offer inspiration to evoke life in God.

Therefore with Christ, with the Resurrected Christ, the person we celebrate tonight:
Allow Him to enter our life.
Allow Him to enter our pain.
Allow Him to enter our wounds.
Allow Him to enter our emptiness.
Allow Him to enter our being.
Allow Him to enter our death.

 And everyone who has experienced death in the family, of a loved one, a friend, a family member, a child, a god parent, parent, wife or husband...whoever, whether here or overseas...tonight He gives comfort, hope, assurance. No person stops with the shovel of a grave digger. He has overcome death and no more are we in bondage. That is why we hold our lit candles tonight and we take them to our homes.

Xristos Anesti!"
~ Rev Fr Leslie



Friday, April 29, 2011

Xristos Anesti



to all our readers!

  


As we now stand in the bask of the joy of our Lord's Resurrection, we thought that we would return to that night where we saw His Cross standing before us. This is a sermon given by Rev. Fr Leslie Kostoglou on Holy Thursday last year, that we thought would be a good reflection to re post. 



"When one reflects on the services so far this week, one cannot help in underlining the amount of times there is references to trees and to wood. It is not a coincidence. These are not casual sentences or descriptions. But this reference to trees, root us into a deep understanding of what tonight is about.

The cross that you see before you tonight is the center of the Church. On it hangs all our faith. Hanging on the cross is all our theology, all our spirituality. But to understand this lets go back a bit…

We started Triodion with the gospel reading of Zacchaeus who climbed up a sycamore tree[1]. And in that sycamore tree was revealed – who Jesus Christ is. The presence of God was made real. (Like in the mamre trees of the Old Testament when Abraham felt the presence of God).

In the first Salutations (heretismi) to the Virgin Mary, again a reference to the Tree of the vineyard: Christ is the vine and we are His branches.

3rd Sunday of Lent: The Cross is venerated. The Cross occupies the center of Lent. Christ makes a proclamation about this - “Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me”[2].

Sunday night of Holy Week: the striking gospel reading of the withered fig tree. The fig tree that has all these leaves, its leafy…but has no fruit[3]. The parallel is that humans are all show, but no fruit, no content. That is why all the other days are about hypocrisy and remembering Jesus Christ’s words - “…you will know them by their fruits”[4].

There are many other references to trees, but tonight I want to draw your attention to: ‘The Tree of the Cross’. Before you, is all the convictions, all the Truth about our Orthodox Tradition.

When you think about it - in the 1st century Roman Empire – there was no glory in public crucifixion. If you and I had stood near the Cross we would not have gained comfort from Jesus’ suffering and death. We would not have walked away confidently declaring – “Jesus has died for our sins and saved us on that Tree”. Something else had to have happened that removed the despair from the disciples’ hearts and replaced this with faith, hope and love.

Only because we know the surety of the Resurrection can we confess the Cross. And the Cross has this understanding that will unfold in the services from now on. All the things we say about Him…Jesus as:

“the Alpha and Omega”,
“the Resurrection and the Life”,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”,
“You saved us from sin and death”.
These meanings are not comprehended yet. The Resurrection is the culmination. The Resurrection is the fulfillment of all this and everything else. He Who is crucified - is He Who is resurrected. He who truly died-  is the same Who is ever living. And we read that beautiful verse of God: “By this we know love, because he laid his life down for us”[5].

To phrase this in the context of our church language:

“The person on the Cross is crucified LOVE.
The person on the Cross is crucifying LOVE.
The person on the Cross is LOVE VICTORIOUS”.
This is the meaning of tonight.

Allow me to draw our some theology here…
We are not here just because of the act of Golgotha, processions, dim lights…it’s not just a ritual here (and sadly this is when all people start to come – but the beauty started before). In our early history we commemorated a Saint from Syria, St Ephraim the Syrian and we are familiar with him because of his prayer that is read everyday during Lent (“Lord and Master of my life, give me not a spirit of idleness, meddling, love of power and idle talk…”)[6]. But in one of his books he gives this beautiful imagery in poetry (the Syrians, their theology is very poetical, the Greeks are very philosophical). After the Transgression of Adam and Eve – the Tree of Life was subsumed into the earth only to sprout again on Calvary…(a quote):

 “ The Tree of Life
sank down into the virgin ground and was hidden – to burst forth and reappear on Golgotha;
humanity, like birds that are chased, took refuge in it
so that it might return them to their proper home.
The chaser was chased away, while the doves that had been chased,
now hop with joy in Paradise…

The Tree of Life that was forbidden in the garden manifests itself fully at the Crucifixion. That is why when one looks at the icon of the crucifixion – at the bottom is a skull, which is Adam’s. Christ now is the second Adam. Easter night is known as the first Day of the new Creation and Christ is the New Tree of Life and all can now therefore partake of Him.

The Cross and He who was crucified on it are inseparable. Christ and the Cross, his body and the wood, Himself and the tree are bonded as one and yield the fruit of eternal Life…Christ is the Tree of Life. The Blood is the sap of the tree and his body is the wood. The Resurrection is the fruit of the Tree of Life.


The power of the cross is the Resurrection, because in Love crucified we find out what it means to be human and what is not loved is not saved. And nothing can stop the love of God for us.

Your cross O Lord is Life and resurrection to us and from the Cross came the New Testament commandment:
 “Love one another as I have loved you”[7].
The crucifixion is understood not as an extreme sacrifice, but rather as Ultimate Love. And Ultimate Love – renews us, restores us and heals us. Amen."



[1] Luke 19:1-10
[2] Mark 8:34
[3] Matthew 21:19
[4] Matthew 7:16
[5] 1 John 3:16
[6] Recited in Great Lent, with a prostration after each verse:
“Lord and Master of my life,
give me not a spirit of idleness, meddling, love of power and idle talk.

But grant me, your servant, a spirit of soberness, humility, patience and love.

Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults, and not condemn my brother;
For blessed are you, to the ages of ages. Amen.”
[7] John 15:12

Monday, April 11, 2011

pencils ready

learning about holy week

The traffic is great on Parramatta Road because school holidays are here! I am sure the kids are wanting to go to the Easter show and have their eyes fixed on the chocolate eggs sold in every shop window. But here is a way to prepare them for next week: Great and Holy Week.
They will enjoy colouring in these icons and learning from you (the parents!) what happened in the life of our God Jesus Christ in this week: His Passion and what they will see and experience in Church next week.
(A great resource for Holy Week is: http://lent.goarch.org)

Enjoy! And please send any finished artworks in!

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Panagia Iamatiki Chapel

building update


Many parishioners and visitors to St Gerasimos, would have noticed the work proceeding on our side chapel dedicated to Panagia Iamatiki.
The structure of the archways have been made for the main entrance and the side windows.
It is exciting to imagine what the church will look like upon completion!






Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Children's countdown calendar

to Easter..starting today!


Please feel to download the below calendar for your children this Lenten period. They can colour it in and put it up on their wall, so that they can cross off the days to the day we all proclaim "Christ is risen!"


"Truly He has risen!"



Thursday, January 20, 2011

what's happening on Feb 20?

our first born Aussie bishop

Very Reverend Archimandrite Iakovos Tsigounis (pictured) will now become Bishop Iakovos of Militoupolis. This historic ordination of Very Rev Fr Iakovos of Oakleigh Victoria, will take place on February 20th 2011, during the Divine Liturgy at the the Cathedral of the Annunciation Redfern (Archdiocese grounds).

A graduate of St Andrew's Theological College, Very Rev. Fr Iakovos was elected unanimously by the Holy Synod in Constantinople, in the same year that the college celebrates its 25th anniversary.

I personally have not seen a bishop been ordained before and I'm not quite sure that I will have the opportunity again. So I will be making my way on that Sunday to be a part of this 2nd century service, along with all the other Greek Orthodox pilgrims nation-wide.(hint...don't try and park on the archdiocese's grounds that day!)
A Blessing for the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia!

Friday, January 7, 2011

why water?

Epiphany 2010
We bring so many elements of creation into our services, but why is water chosen today? For one, it can not be made by humans. But it is also where we were born from and what we are made of.
This water we use to bless, serves to remind us of the sacrament of our baptism. To go back , revisit and read the prayers that were once said over us. There you will find the answer to the question I often get asked: How can I be a good Christian?   ~ fr Leslie        
 Read the prayers once said over you and the answer: here.


This Sunday the traditional blessing of the Sydney waters (and therefore creation) with the Holy Cross takes place at Yarra Bay, 9th January at 12.30pm. The celebrations, with music, food and rides proceed until 6pm in the evening.