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Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta
Publish Date: 2017-11-26
Bulletin Contents
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Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta

General Information

  • Phone:
  • 404-634-9345
  • Fax:
  • 404-634-2471
  • Street Address:

  • 2480 Clairmont Rd. NE

  • Atlanta, GA 30329


Past Bulletins


Message from Metropolitan Alexios

My Beloved Ones,

Tomorrow is that wonderful American holiday known as Thanksgiving. I am sure we are all looking forward to spending time with our loved ones, reminiscing and making new memories as we break bread together.

However, what I would like to address today are the feelings that will arise for many, as soon as the table is cleared, if not before. The increasing materialism of our society means that on the day after our family celebrations, many peoples’ thoughts will turn instead to shopping.

While it is natural for us to wish to demonstrate our love with gifts and tokens of affection, I caution us not to become swept up in an atmosphere of possessiveness or greed. Instead of focusing on finding the best deal for the latest item, it would be better for our souls to continue to focus on that which is eternal.

For example, the monasteries of our Metropolis are perfectly aware of this natural need to produce things in order to maintain an appropriate lifestyle, but everything they produce is intended to uplift our spiritual lives and orient us towards our Creator.

For example, the sisterhood of the Annunciation Monastery in Florida produces beautiful incense meant to help us direct our prayers as the spiritual offerings. Likewise, the Paracletos Monastery in South Carolina, crafts not only incense, but a wide variety of different kinds of icons, as well as prayer ropes, and vigil lamps for the home prayer corner. The Panagia Prousiotissa Monastery in North Carolina has a wide variety of baptismal clothes, icons, and books for Orthodox people at different stages of their spiritual lives.

I hope and pray that as we continue to approach the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity, we do so in a way that honors His Incarnation as an event of ineffable compassion and humility. I therefore encourage all of us—as parishioners and as individuals, as clergy and laymen—to honor our loved ones through equally humble gifts. In doing so, we will also pay respect to the men and women of our various monasteries by supporting their work.

May we seek to honor their commitment, not only by giving them patronage during this upcoming Nativity, but throughout the year: during our parish festivals for the year 2018, as well as baptisms, weddings, and other such blessed occasions. Think of all the ways in which we can be a blessing to God by supporting His chosen monks and nuns, as opposed to taking our business elsewhere.

My wish for all of you, as we approach the Cave in Bethlehem, is to approach every day of this blessed season as a new opportunity to grow in strength and love towards our friends and family, and to Orthodox Christians everywhere.

+ALEXIOS
Metropolitan of Atlanta

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From the Chancellor's Desk

As we prepare to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving, I realize how we respond each day to God’s blessings is all a matter of perspective . . . We can be grateful or we can be bitter. We can seek wisdom or we can live foolishly, like the rich man in St. Luke’s Gospel whom Jesus told, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21)

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this Thanksgiving and always, may we give thoughtful consideration to the countless blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us, and seek to use them to build up His Kingdom now and always. By searching for what the Lord’s will is for each of us, rather than filling ourselves with unwise choices, we will find what our Lord already has planted for us . . . and is awaiting its bountiful harvest.

+Fr. George Tsahakis
Chancellor

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Reflections from Fr. James Rousakis

This week the Orthodox Church celebrated a major feast day of the Theotokos, Θεομητορική εορτή, THE ENTRANCE OF THE THEOTOKOS INTO THE TEMPLE or ΤΑ ΕΙΣΟΔΙΑ ΤΗΣ ΥΠΕΡΑΓΙΑΣ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΥ, commemorating her consecration to God by her parents to fulfill their vow at the time of her birth.    This feast belongs to the living Tradition of the Church through which “Christian inheritance has been enriched.” The Church places this feast at the beginning of Advent, when we relive the expectation of the Messiah by the Jewish people.  Looking at the icon of the event, the story is told of a three-year Mary, weaned and able to live without her mother, who is brought to the Temple with great merriment;  surrounded by her small friends, following in joyful procession.  Zachariah, the high priest, greets and escorts her into the great Temple, where she will work, study and pray. 

When I look at this icon, it brings to mind a special blessing in my ministry, concerning five unusual icons, that occurred during another major feast of the Theotokos.  While serving the Holy Trinity in Indianapolis, IN, I was trusted into an International Court case involving a number of stolen icons from the monastery of Panagia Kanakaria in Northern Cyprus.  A known international thief had raided the monastery church and removed five mosaic icons from the church.  He sold them in the European Black Market to an antique dealer from Carmel, IN, a suburb of Indianapolis. The dealer tried to dispose of the icons by calling museums that could be interested in obtaining the rare icons.  The icons were important because they had survived the Iconoclastic period and one of the icons depicted Christ as a child.  When the Getty Museum was approached, the museum called the Republic of Cyprus, who filed a suit against the antique dealer.  The landmark case was to be heard in Indianapolis and the Republic of Cyprus sent the Abbot of the Monastery the chief legal counsel and others as representatives.  Consequently, as Proistamenos of the local parish, I was asked by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos, of blessed memory, to extend all courtesy and hospitality to the Cypriot delegation.  Needless to say, the Republic of Cyprus was awarded the return of the icons.  Prior to being shipped to Cyprus, the icons we stored in a climate controlled bank vault and I was asked to bless the icons a week prior to the celebration of the Dormition or Falling Asleep of the Theotokos. 

That icon of Christ as a child was a fragment of a larger icon, where Christ would have been seen in the bosom of His mother, the Theotokos.  It had been removed from the apse of the monastery church.  In most of our Orthodox Churches, this icon is a standard from the apse and is called the Platytera.  She is called “Platytera of the heavens or Πλατυτέρα των ουρανών», that is, “she who is wider than the heavens”.  She is called Platytera because she gave birth to Christ, Who as God is the Creator of all things.  Having received and conceived in her, Him, Who cannot be contained in the whole of creation, the Theotokos, is, indeed, wider than the heavens. 

Looking at the icon in the apse, we are reminded that, as God was formed in the Virgin, as a human, He must, also, be formed within us.  St. Paul states in Gal. 4:19:  “My dear children!  Once again, just like a mother in childbirth, I feel the same kind of pain for you until Christ’s nature is formed in you.”  The figure of the Theotokos with the Child, whether it is in the apse, on the iconostas or a single icon reminds us that our purpose in life is to have Christ formed in us.  She shows us that we are one in whom Christ lives. While in the Temple, she contemplated the Most-High and was prepared to answer the angel that she was a handmaiden of the Lord.   Representing all of Israel, she fulfills the great promise to give birth to Christ, the Messiah and becomes the Theotokos. 

The Platytera invites us with her outstretched arms to receive within us by faith, by the word of God and by the Eucharist, the Christ Who was conceived and formed within her, that we, too, may become not a THEOTOKOS, but THEOFOROI, or “God-bearers”, offering a Christ incarnate living in us.  She stands before all of us in our Church to lead us in prayer to her Son.  She is more blessed because she took hold of Christ with faith more than she conceived the flesh of Christ, from the time she entered the Holy Temple to be prepared for her glorious motherhood.  Her motherly relationship to Him would have been of no use to her had she not carried Christ in her heart more happily than she carried Him in her womb.

The figure of the Platytera speaks a very powerful message to me, especially after having been involved with the restoration of the stolen icons to Cyprus.    “Look,” she says, “He Who is the Lord of the Universe has become small and vulnerable for you.  He desires that you take Him into your arms and into your hearts and find in Him salvation from sin and death.  Take Christ from the arms of the Platytera.  She offers Him to you.  Take Him into your arms as did Simeon, who would not die until he saw the Savior of the world.  Embrace Him!  Love Him!  Obey Him!  Follow Him!

 

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The Strategic Plan

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Faith Forums This Weekend

Thank you to those who attended the Faith Forums in Atlanta this past weekend!

The Faith Forums are where the 28 specific new programs and ministries developed to aid you and your parish community come to life with guided workshops to teach the content and answer your questions.

We featured the following topics for the first official Faith Forums:

  • 1.1  Parish Strategic Planning
  • 4.2  Orthodox Leadership Training: Managing Difficult Conversations & Understanding Parish Finances
  • 5.4  Programs For Our Seniors
  • 8.1  Spiritual Growth Resources
  • 9.1  Comprehensive Stewardship

What's Next?

Stay tuned for updates on our next Faith Forums and additional completed goal content before the end of the year.

Questions?

Contact the Communications Director, Zoe Kafkes, at 404-634-9345 or via email at communications@atlmetropolis.org.

For more information and to download the schedule click here (https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d843d668dde012c7ea79d97f4/files/d3ab3c56-086a-4c32-b664-113005875095/Faith_Forum_Information_Packet_Nov._2017.pdf)


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Family Life Ministry

The Metropolis of Atlanta’s Family Life Ministry (www.familylifeministry.atlanta.goarch.org) strengthens individuals, families and church families through adaptable programs, blogs and educational materials as a means of fostering connection within our homes and our parishes. 

Join us today as we discuss a Christ-centered marriage and the five love languages, how couples give and receive love, and how we must learn to speak our spouse’s primary love language if we want that person to feel loved.

We also share with you helpful links from the OCN and the Family Life Ministry of the Metropolis of Atlanta.  

Journey of Marriage (Pre-Marital Seminar)

All couples marrying in the Metropolis must attend a Metropolis-sponsored Journey of Marriage seminar prior to their wedding. The couple will present their certificate of completion to their parish priest after the seminar. 

  • November 11, 2017 - Talahassee, FL
  • November 18, 2017 - Atlanta, GA
  • December 2, 2017 - Tarpon Springs, FL
  • December 9, 2017 - Charlotte, NC

To see the full list of seminars through 2017 and beyond, and to register, please visit:http://www.familylifeministry.atlanta.goarch.org/upcoming-events-2/

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Save the Dates

    We're Getting Social

    We're Getting Social

    Fellow us @atlmetropolis


    Building the Panagia Chapel: Roof Tiles

    Building the Panagia Chapel: Roof Tiles

    The Panagia Chapel at the Diakonia Retreat Center is in its final stages. To wrap up the building of the Panagia Chapel, His Eminence has asked that each family give the names of their loved ones, living and deceased to be sealed in the Holy Table during consecration and prayed for during each service held in the Chapel forever. When submitting names, it is requested that each family prayerfully considers a sponsorship of $30 or more, as you are able, to the completion of the Panagia Chapel’s roof. For more information on how to submit names and a sponsorship for this effort, please speak with your parish priest. If you have further questions please contact the Metropolis office at 404-634-9345.


    "Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls"

    "Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls"

    Rev. Dr. Nicholas Louh (St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church, Jacksonville, Florida) and his Presbytera, Roxanne Louh, a licensed Clinical Psychologist bring their educational and spiritual backgrounds to host a live internet radio show on Ancient Faith, called, “Healthy Minds, Healthy Souls” where they take listeners’ calls, providing an Orthodox perspective on topics such as conflict resolution, as well as myths in marriage and parenting. This live program airs on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 8 PM Eastern.


    Shop with Amazon, donate to the DRC

    Shop with Amazon, donate to the DRC

    Amazon Smile is a program that allows for 0.5% of your eligible Amazon purchase to be donated to the Diakonia Retreat Center. To find our Amazon Smile page, visit https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-2187047.


    The Third Archon International Religious Conference on Religious Freedom

    The Third Archon International Religious Conference on Religious Freedom

    Washington DC/ December 4-6, 2017/conference.archons.org


    WYR Registration LATE REGISTRATION

    WYR Registration LATE REGISTRATION

    WYR: December 27 - December 30, 2017. See Flyer for more details.


    Hellenic Dance Festival Representation

    Hellenic Dance Festival Representation

    The 2018 Hellenic Dance Festival will be held in Orlando, FL on Jan.12-15 at the World Center Marriott. Dance directors must register teams by Oct. 31 and individual participants must register by Dec. 12. Register today and for more information, visit www.HellenicDanceFestival.com.


    4th Annual Hellenic Arts Festival

    4th Annual Hellenic Arts Festival

    Saturday, February 17, 2018 at Palm Harbor University Theater.


    The Liturgical Arts Academy: Chanting and Iconography

    The Liturgical Arts Academy: Chanting and Iconography

    May 20-26, 2018/Diakonia Retreat Center/Salem, South Carolina


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Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Plagal Fourth Mode. Psalm 75.11,1.
Make your vows to the Lord our God and perform them.
Verse: God is known in Judah; his name is great in Israel.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 4:1-7.

Brethren, I, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift.


Gospel Reading

13th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 18:18-27

At that time, a ruler came to Jesus and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' " And he said, "All these I have observed from my youth." And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."


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Wisdom of the Fathers

Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when ye assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith.
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Epistle to the Ephesians Ch. 13, 2nd century

It is only when in the darkness of this world we discern that Christ has already "filled all things with Himself" that these things, whatever they may be, are revealed and given to us full of meaning and beauty. A Christian is one who, wherever he looks, finds Christ and rejoices in Him.
Fr. Alexander Schmemann
For the Life of the World, p. 113, 20th century

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Saints and Feasts

Allsaint
November 26

Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis

Saint Alypius was from Adrianople of Bithynia; having lived upon a pillar for fifty-three years, he reposed about the year 607, at the age of one hundred.


Styliano
November 26

Stylianos the Monk of Paphlagonia

St. Stylianos was from Paphlagonia living in the latter 6th century and early 7th century. He loved the Lord Jesus Christ with his whole heart and lived in strict asceticism. When he fell asleep in the Lord, his face shone like the sun and an angel appeared to take his soul to Glory. His prayers have worked many miracles, both during his earthly life and since. He is of special help to children who are ill and to childless couples. He is known as a protector of orphans.


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