Cypriot Village Salad

This refreshing salad recipe is from Prez’s father, who hails from the island of Cyprus:

1 large, seedless cucumber
3 fresh tomatoes
1 bunch parsley
1/2 a red onion, sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c. olive oil
salt to taste
Soak the red onion slices in a small bowl of filtered water and set aside. Clean and chop tomatoes and cucumber; place into a serving bowl. Wash and dry then roughly chop parsley. Drain onion and add to salad along with parsley. In a small bowl, beat together lemon juice, olive oil and salt then pour over salad. Serve with pita bread, olives and haloumi cheese.
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May 31st, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Message From The Episcopal Assembly

Message of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America

May 28, 2011

CHICAGO – Upon conclusion of the second meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America which was held in Chicago May 25-27, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America and Chairman of the Assembly presided at a doxology prayer service conducted in English, Greek, and the other languages of the participating churches. Following the service the hierarchs of the Assembly sat down for a farewell brunch of brotherly fellowship.

The Assembly issued the following official joint message:

Christ is Risen!

“Glory to the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-giving, and Undivided Trinity.”

By the grace of God, we forty-five Hierarchs gathered in Chicago IL., on May 25-27, 2011, for the second meeting of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Several Hierarchs were prevented from attending due to personal illness, while our Serbian brothers, participating at a prolonged assembly of bishops meeting in Belgrade, were also unable to attend. All of us experienced what the Psalmist joyfully declares, “how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 132.1)

We draw inspiration from this resurrectional liturgical period, within which we have assembled, standing at the midpoint between the light of Pascha and the grace of Pentecost, the crossroad between the possibility of new life and the reality of renewed communion, the merging of the melody of unity and the beauty of diversity.

We call to mind our brother Hierarchs who have fallen asleep in the Lord during the past year: Metropolitan Christopher of Libertyville and Chicago (Serbian Diocese), Metropolitan Nicholas of Amissos (Carpatho-Russian Diocese), and Metropolitan Epiphanios of Bryoula (Ecumenical Patriarchate). May their memory be eternal!

In our deliberations as Orthodox Hierarchs, we manifested a spirit of conciliarity, expressing our commitment to proceed on all matters in collegial and collaborative manner reflective of the unity that characterizes the various jurisdictions of the Orthodox Church within our regional Assembly. In this respect, we once again affirm our desire and willingness to work toward “the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements” (2008 Message of the Primates 13.1-2), following the decisions of the representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches regarding the “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church” (2009 Chambésy, Rules of Operation, Article 5.1a) and the promotion of “common action to address the pastoral needs of Orthodox living in our region” (2009 Chambésy, Decision 2c).
In accordance with our determination and decision during the 1st Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops (May 26-28, 2010), we focused and acted upon our understanding that we are successors of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), assuming its agencies and ministries. Therefore, among the items on the agenda was the work of the Assembly’s 13 committees, its Secretariat, and its 14 agencies and endorsed organizations.

We offer thanks to God for the positive spirit of cooperation that prevailed during the sessions of the Assembly. We are pleased to report to our faithful what the committees of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops reported to their brother Hierarchs. The work of these committees will constitute the principal service of the Assembly, meeting frequently and regularly in order – with the participation also of lay members – to materialize the remarkable unity of the Orthodox Churches in this region. In this regard, we are inspired by the words of the Risen Lord: As the Father has sent me, I am sending you (John 20.21); and Truly, truly, I say to you: he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do. (John 14.12)

Thus, in addition to official reports by the Chairman, the Vice-Chairmen, the Treasurer, and the Secretary, the responsibilities of the following committees were discussed extensively: Canonical Affairs, Canonical Regional Planning, Church and Society, Clergy Affairs, Ecumenical Affairs, Financial Affairs, Legal Affairs, Liturgy, Military Chaplaincy, Monastic Communities, Pastoral Practice, Theological Education, and Youth. Moreover, the coordinators of the various agencies and endorsed organizations, formerly under the aegis of SCOBA, will convene with respective Hierarch liaisons in order to determine the criteria of their relationship and establish appropriate channels of communication with the Assembly.

In particular, the Assembly warmly received and unanimously encouraged the creation of a common ministry for our military chaplaincy and our youth.

Our prayers are offered to God at this time for those who have suffered from the extreme weather conditions in the last weeks, especially and most recently the tornadoes and flooding in Missouri and Oklahoma in the United States, and throughout the region of our Assembly, where epic catastrophe has struck numerous people with death, devastation, and damage. May God grant rest to the souls of the departed and may the gentle breeze of His Spirit grant the victims the strength to rebuild their lives. We fervently encourage our parishes to offer generous material, financial, and spiritual support.

We cannot remain silent in the face of atrocities and persecutions committed against Christian minorities by fundamentalists and extremists, in Palestine and Egypt, especially against the Christians caught up in the upheaval of the Arab Spring, which has unleashed long-oppressed diverse sectarian animosities. In particular, the Christian communities in Palestine and the Middle East have been drastically reduced and compelled to emigrate as refugees. We urge political leaders throughout the world to stop ignoring the manifestations of intolerance, discrimination and open persecution against all religious communities – Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike – living in contentious regions and countries of the world, notably in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

In light of the designation of June as “internet safety month,” we exhort our priests and parishioners to raise awareness and secure appropriate protection for our children and communities from the many and diverse prevalent dangers, including pornography, cyberbullying, perils by predators, risks of geotagging, and in particular dissension in the Church. Technology is not sinful; but the abuse of technology is a sin and a crime. We encourage our faithful to disseminate relevant internet safety literature, organize internet safety classes, utilize parental controls, and take rigorous advocacy measures to pressure wireless companies and carriers to mandate protective options.

Finally, we are united in wholeheartedly acknowledging and fervently blessing the tireless ministry of our parish clergy and their families, the honorable presbyters and deacons in the service of Christ, the brothers and sisters of our monastic communities, and all those who do charitable work, those who serve our holy houses of worship, those who labor, teach, and chant, and all the people of God, who await His great and rich mercy.

Truly the Lord is Risen!

Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman
Metropolitan Philip, 1st Vice Chairman
Archbishop Justinian, 2nd Vice Chairman
Archbishop Antony, Treasurer
Bishop Basil, Secretary
Metropolitan Iakovos
Metropolitan Constantine
Metropolitan Methodios
Metropolitan Athenagoras
Metropolitan Isaiah
Metropolitan Alexios
Metropolitan Nicholas
Metropolitan Evangelos
Bishop Savas
Bishop Andonios
Bishop Ilia
Bishop Demetrios
Bishop Daniel
Bishop Antoun
Bishop Joseph
Bishop Thomas
Bishop Alexander
Metropolitan Hilarion
Archbishop Alypy
Archbishop Kyrill
Bishop Peter
Bishop John
Bishop Theodosy
Bishop George
Bishop Ieronim
Archbishop Nicolae
Bishop Ioan Casian
Metropolitan Joseph
Metropolitan Jonah
Archbishop Nathaniel
Bishop Nikon
Bishop Tikhon
Bishop Benjamin
Bishop Alejo
Bishop Melchisedek
Bishop Michael
Bishop Matthias
Bishop Irineu
Bishop Mark
Bishop Irénée

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May 29th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

RIP, Killer

Harmon Killebrew just passed away only days after announcing he was entering hospice care – this article is a good read except for Bud Selig’s involvement.  A few thoughts on the passing of this great player and great guy…

-I find it amazing that even after the steroid era and everything else that has come to pass in baseball, Killebrew still ranks 11th on the all-time home run list.

-When I was a baseball-obsessed child I spent hours a day poring through the baseball encyclopedia, and I was always fascinated that Killebrew had so many great years with the Twins and finished up by playing a year with the KC Royals.  Photos of him with that team are even rarer than Reggie with the Orioles pictures.  Here is one of two I found online.

-I always got a kick out of people from outside of New England at the seminary who jumped on the Sox bandwagon when “we” won the World Series in 2004.  They had no idea how twisted life was as a Red Sox fan in the decades before.  My house growing up was no different.  My mother was a big Carl Yastrzemski fan while my father, though a Sox fan, couldn’t stand Yaz (I remember asking him in 1979 why Yaz had a helmet with bigger holes in the earflap than other players and he said “so he could hear the boos better).  You can argue whether he had one good season or whether he had just tremendous career numbers (or whether he hung on five years too long, etcetera) but he did win the Triple Crown in 1967 and remains the last person to do that.  However, as my dad would argue, that ’67 Triple Crown is tainted because he did not win the home run title outright – he tied for the lead with…the late Harmon Killebrew.  RIP, Killer.

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May 18th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Tag Day Rant

Tag Day always used to fill me with dread.  Two hours or so standing in the entryway of a local bank, making awkward conversation with strangers, and guilting people into throwing change or a dollar into the little carton things we held was no kid’s idea of fun, but it was something we had to do once a year for Little League and Babe Ruth league.  Tag Day now, at least here in Worcester, is a lot different.  The local Ty Cobb Little League (I think it is hysterical that the league is named after one of the nastiest players who ever lived, although he was a heck of a competitor, so that is good) had its Tag Day this past Saturday. The days of asking for money at the bank are gone – these kids collect at intersections throughout the city.  The parents are there as well – it is much too dangerous to leave kids, I suppose, the way we used to be dropped off.  I dutifully contributed – it is a great cause – but I must say I have problems with this system.  The biggest complaint I have is it is extremely dangerous.  The players, and in reality the parents who seemed to be doing most of the work, wander in and out of lanes as cars are moving.  I pray no one gets hurt during one of these events.  There is much banter with drivers and each other, and people get distracted easily.  The Little League is not the only group that does this – other charities, school organizations, etc. can be found fairly often at Worcester’s intersections.  I do not like to encourage this way of doing things but I always contribute – I usually have my collar on, and how bad would it look if a priest did not give something?  But the system needs to be rethought.  There is no reason we can’t go back to the standing at the bank (this time with a parent in tow) rite of passage that we all went through back in the day.

UPDATE: Apparently the law in Worcester is that you have to be 18 or older to “can” in the street.  This explains why it looks like the ‘rents are doing all the work.

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May 9th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Archdiocesan Council On The Lynn Situation


BOSTON – The Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, during its regularly scheduled spring meeting today affirmed the uniform application of the Archdiocesan Regulations and Clergy Laity Congress decisions to all parishes including St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Lynn, Massachusetts and unanimously approved the following resolution:

A matter of grave concern affecting the harmony of our Holy Archdiocese has arisen. As a result of this situation, on May 5 and 6, 2011, the Archdiocesan Council took an unprecedented action by discussing the unfortunate developments at St. George Greek Orthodox Church of Lynn, Massachusetts.  As a direct consequence of the parish leadership’s open defiance of the Canonical order and ecclesiastical authority of our Holy Church,  the Regulations of the Archdiocese and the decisions of the Clergy Laity Congresses, the Archdiocesan Council adopts this statement affirming the decision of our Holy Eparchial Synod and the actions of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.

This situation first arose out of the parish leadership’s categorical refusal to fulfill the community’s allocation under the Archdiocesan Regulations, despite the fact that the parish’s audited financial statements clearly demonstrate an ability to fully meet its commitments and even though the parish was given several years of partial financial relief. Parish leadership has ignored the clear and appropriate direction of its Metropolitan, the letter of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios communicating the decision of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the communications of the Finance Committee of the Archdiocesan Council, which repeatedly urged the parish to conform to the Archdiocesan Regulations and Clergy Laity Congress decisions.

Parish leadership was given multiple opportunities to resolve this issue in a fair and pastoral manner. The priest and parish council president met, over a three-year period, with representatives of the Metropolis and  Finance Committee of  the Archdiocesan Council. Last December, the priest and entire parish council met with Metropolitan Methodios, the Metropolis Finance Committee and the Chair of the national Finance Committee.  Still, the parish has refused to meet the obligations required of every parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as determined by the Clergy Laity Congresses.  Even more disturbing, the priest and parish council convened a general assembly which voted not to fulfill the parish’s allocation, in clear violation of the Archdiocesan Regulations.

The parish’s actions have necessitated this statement by the Archdiocesan Council urging the community to conform to the same standards that apply to all parishes of the Archdiocese. If, within ten days, the parish does not conform to these standards, restoring Christian peace within the community, the Archdiocesan Council fully supports the imposition of all necessary canonical and administrative sanctions.  Failure of the community to comply would lead it into schism, separating those involved from the body of the Church and the sacramental life of the Church.

The Archdiocesan Council also fully supports all actions of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston in enforcing the Archdiocesan Regulations and Clergy Laity Congress decisions.

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May 7th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Where Was I?

The title of this post is not so much a reference to my little blogging sabbatical as it is to the events of Easter weekend.  If you were at the Saturday night service you may have noticed I disappeared after the “Christ Is Risen” part and then reappeared at the very end to give out eggs.  I also wasn’t around for the Agape service, although I again reappeared, this time at the reception we had for His Eminence and Bishop McManus.  Here is what went down…

Some people have noticed that I (discretely) text/check text messages during church.  I do this for several reasons – to check for emergencies, to communicate with PC members in the narthex (I would much rather someone text me than stomp up during the service and come into the altar), and other things.  I generally check two or three times during a service – nothing heavy.  I received a message Sat. night from our chancellor asking if I could go to a nearby church and finish the service for the priest, who had collapsed and was taken to the hospital.  I checked in with Fr. Dean, grabbed Chris (our seminarian) and took off.  It was a funny scene in the parking lot – many people were leaving after receiving the light, and in the middle of it so was one of the priests!  About halfway to our destination I talked to the president of the parish council at the church to which we were going and he said everyone had gone home.  I came back to Worcester, went to the emergency room, visited the priest – a mentor of mine who is thankfully doing fine now – and then came back to the Cathedral.  I substituted for him at the Agape service on Easter Sunday morning, and that was that.  It was definitely one of the most memorable Easters ever!

Bright Week was quite busy – in many ways, busier than Holy Week, where we just had services.  Poetry readings, several liturgies, funerals and baptisms, a genocide memorial service at the College of the Holy Cross, and many other happenings kept me running, and this week has been equally full.  I did, however, plant some early crops and start on the garden – more on that later.

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May 3rd, 2011 by Fr. Greg