Paschal Reflection Of Metropolitan Methodios

We look forward at the Cathedral to having His Eminence join us Sunday for the Agape Service.  We hope to also have Bishop McManus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester join us as well.  Here is a paschal reflection from the Metropolitan:

Easter Sunday is not like any other day, but one that arrives after midnight with a singular sacredness and grace.  It comes with a joyous, salvific message.  Easter—or more correctly “Pascha”, is the manifestation of God’s love for us.  It is a love that we see clearly in Christ the Savior who suffered, died on a cross of pain, and who arose on the third day that we may have forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.  It is our Savior’s Resurrection from the Tomb that becomes our Passover, our Pascha, for as our hymns read this evening, “Christ has brought us from death to life, and from earth to Heaven” (Paschal canon, ode one).

Darkness is the realm of the Devil, of Satan, the Father of Lies and the Prince of Darkness.

Darkness shrouds our lives with loneliness, addiction, pain and resentment.  It permeates every aspect of our lives.  It seeds controversy and division which result in troubled marriages, dysfunctional families and broken friendships.

In his darkness Satan encircles the world in what seems to be an endless cycle of controversies, of violence and wars—-of conflicts in which Cain kills his brother Abel time and again, both literally and figuratively.

The devil is the source of satanic lies and vindictiveness which emanate from unbridled egos.  He is the manifestation of selfishness, of racism and hunger, of homelessness and hopelessness.

It is this darkness that the unwaning light of the Lord’s Resurrection shatters.  In the seemingly impenetrable gloom of hopelessness and death, the Resurrection of our Savior comes as an eruption of blinding light.  The lifeless Tomb of darkness which held captive Adam and Eve and all their descendants is thrown open by Him who is Life itself.  The Risen Lord leads our Passover—our “Pascha”.  A new creation is born.  As St. Peter teaches in his first Epistle, “By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1,3)

Our hymns this evening joyfully proclaim, “A sacred Pascha has been shown forth this day.”  We celebrate Pascha tonight.  It is the Lord’s Pascha, “Pascha Kiriou Pascha”.  It is also ourPascha, our personal Passover as the Risen Lord leads all of us in this Cathedral from a state of darkness to light, from sin to righteousness, from sadness to joy, from death to life, from this transient world to the everlasting Kingdom of God.

The first Passover led God’s people from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Our Lord’s Resurrection—the new creation of the world, the new Pascha—delivers us from the bondage of spiritual death.  As we chant this evening, the Lord leads us “to life and from earth to heaven as we sing the triumphant Paschal hymn “ (the Canon of Paschal ode one)

In the Church, we live the Paschal Mystery by communing the precious Body and Blood of the Risen Lord during the Divine Liturgy.  It is this renewing power that the Church shares in every time and in every place.

And so my brothers and sisters, let us advance fearlessly into a world mired in darkness armed with the blazing light of our Lord’s Resurrection.  Receiving the unwaning light from the life giving Tomb, let us embrace one another and bear the light to all who await a personal Pascha.

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April 23rd, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Holy Week Thoughts

I can’t believe it has been so long since I blogged – my apologies.  Some thoughts on the week so far…

-Firstly, you may have read about the toppled sundial below.  The very next day, thanks to the diligence of Jim Economou and a generous plumber who was working at the church, the column was fixed and stronger than ever.  The plumber was working on the bathrooms at the church and took a few minutes to use his masonry drill and fix the sundial for us gratis.

-Tuesday night the choir sang a majestic version of the hymn of Cassiani, using the beautiful Loukia/Elpida arrangement.  This year I timed it – it was a tidy 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

– Wednesday we had our usual 3 services – presanctified liturgy in the morning and unction services in the afternoon and evening.  The afternoon one was filled with young children.  A reporter from a certain Greek-American paper was in attendance, so look for a story soon.

-Thursday morning is a big liturgy, and we start at 6:30 so people can come before work.  Most everyone leaves right after communion so that they can get to work on time.  This results in an interesting phenomenon – instead of people sitting in the middle of the church or towards the back, as is usually the case with first arrivals, everyone goes and sits right in the front.  I communed 140 people, including someone in an ambulance – an older fellow, he had fainted and was being taken to the hospital but wanted to receive first.  He was dehydrated and is now fine, thank God.  Note to older parishioners and those taking medication: be practical when it comes to fasting!  If you are older and not as strong as you once were you need some sustenance to make it through a church service – do not play games with your health.

I don’t want to be late for the Royal Hours service, so I am off.  More later…

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April 22nd, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Ruh-Roh!

Last night at GOYA we were roaming around the front of the Cathedral grounds cleaning up stones that had been tossed from the roof when the snow was cleared (there is a layer of stones on the flat sections of the roof).  At one point I was lingering near the sundial and started to point out to Harry V. the gnomon and dial of what most people assume is merely a decoration.  In fact the dial is angled and calibrated to tell time correctly – I checked this out when I first arrived here in Worcester.  I noticed, though, that there was a crack near the base of the column holding up the dial, and I soon discovered the column was sheared all the way through – mark this up as yet another casualty of the huge snowstorms we had this winter – no doubt piles of snow and fatigue caused this shearing.  Harry lugged the broken piece into the building for safekeeping, and the House Committee is already on the job of fixing it in time for Holy Week.

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April 13th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

The Lynn Situation

I generally do not comment on the affairs of other churches, but once again I feel it is necessary to post some information on the church in Lynn and the current situation.  After an article in a certain Greek-American, Greek language newspaper was printed there has been much mis- and disinformation being bandied about concerning the Lynn parish and the Archdiocese assessment.  Our Metropolitan has addressed these concerns (I linked to his thoughts on the matter in a previous post) and now the parish has seen fit to respond with a letter which includes some remarks that insult and attack His Eminence, and by extension all of us.  It is on the church website – I am not linking to it but you can find it easily with a search.  Recently, the Archdiocese has responded through Archbishop Demetrios himself as well as the through the Archdiocesan Finance Committee – check it out here.  As always, when people approach you with rumors/hearsay/whatever about what is  going on, please refer them to these writings on the subject from the Metropolitan as well as the Archdiocese to get the real story.

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April 12th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Greek Parade Pictures

Yesterday was the annual Greek Independence Parade in Boston.  It is always in April in order to distance it from the St. Patrick’s Day parade – the city doesn’t want to shut streets down often – and so it is usually hit or miss with the weather.  This year we had a beautiful day, which resulted in a) us not freezing and b) a huge turnout both in the parade and on the sidelines.  The weather and turnout combined to give it a ‘best Greek parade yet’ feel.  Of course there was an enormous Cathedral presence.  We had two buses leave the church and another carrying people from Alexander the Great, so that makes three big buses from Worcester.  The Cathedral had our beautiful Parthenon float filled with Greek School students while many Cathedral peeps marched with the Cultural Center in the Pan-Macedonian section, and every step of the way we had Worcester people giving us shout-outs from the sidewalks.  The dancers from the Cultural Center performed several dances at the end of the parade as well.  Greek Boston put the pictures up last night. I have done the heavy lifting for you – if you want to see photos of our floats click here and here.

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April 11th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Presanctified Liturgy…And Marriage Ceremony?

Tomorrow – Wednesday night – is the penultimate rotating presanctified liturgy here in the Worcester Orthodox universe, and as always it is at our Cathedral.  I will be celebrating it (the rubrics for this liturgy call for only one priest to serve) and so tonight as I read my usual sites on the internet I started thinking about the service and remembered an offhand remark Fr. Calivas made at our clergy retreat last year.  Father was discussing the liturgy of the presanctified gifts and its more penitential feel.  He said that at one time it was associated with the marriage ceremony.  This linking is long gone, of course, since the liturgy is only celebrated during Lent and there is no liturgy or communion with the Orthodox wedding service.  But I am very curious to know when this all came about, why, etc.  You can seemingly find everything on the internet but… I came up with absolutely nothing on the subject of the presanctified and marriage services together.  This gives me a good excuse to call Fr. Calivas to get the scoop – will report my findings when I do…

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April 5th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Opening Day…And The Last Game Of The Season

In honor of baseball’s opening day, here is an excerpt of a graphic novel about Roberto Clemente, who got his 3000th and last hit on the last day of the regular season ( he played in the playoffs afterwards) before being tragically killed in a plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims.  Warning – the Deadspin site has very grim language.

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April 1st, 2011 by Fr. Greg