Long Day/Yup, He’s Orthodox Part II

Today has been a long day – we had service in the morning with the traditional procession of icons for the Sunday of Orthodoxy – check out photos here – as well as our March 25 Greek School program during coffee hour.  This evening I joined all of the local Orthodox priests for a vespers service.  Among all of this, today was the feast of St. Cuthbert the Wonderworker – read his story here.

Cuthbert – the “bert” part of his name is cognate with “bright” – is, let’s just say, not a common Orthodox name, although it is well represented as an English last name – think of the popular Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert.  The saint’s commemoration today, though, reminds us that there are tons of saints that we don’t think of as part of our Orthodox tradition because they aren’t from the eastern Mediterranean or Russia.  There is much value in exploring the lives of saints such as Patrick, Brigid, Kenneth, and Cuthbert.

Onto tomorrow!  We will be having Bible Boot Camp at 19:00 hours.  Dismissed!

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March 20th, 2016 by Fr. Greg

Second Translation

Below is another, more literal translation from the original Greek of the previous document regarding marriage outside the church.  Many thanks to Paul Badavas, who previously translated the original Sts. Anargyroi church charter that is on the history page of the parish website, and Nicholas Paschalides, our Greek School director and assistant chanter.  Both submitted translations of the document at my request (my hyper-katharevousa is poor) in a speedy and thorough fashion (should I have said in an alacritous fashion to use just one adjective? : ).



NEW YORK 21, N. Y.

DECEMBER 22, 1950


In correspondence to the most Pious Supreme Priests and the Honourable Governing Councils of the Orthodox Greek communities under the jurisdiction of the Holy Archdiocese of America both North and South.


During our travels to the American Orthodox Greek communities as well as our frequent letter correspondence with the Holy Archdiocese, we realized that exist a great number (of genetic) Greeks who have already married in other Churches, non-Orthodox, a fact that greatly impedes/embarrasses such Greeks and their relationships with the communities they reside in.

The Holy Archdiocese regards with great empathy the circumstance of these Orthodox brethren and affectionately wishes to facilitate and extract those from the predicament that are found in.

Such as, led by this empathy and concern, knowing full well with extreme ecclesiastic leniency and consent to help those, we order that the weddings that took place in non-Orthodox churches up until the end of the year 1940 to be recognised, and those concerned, to be able to have and to exercise freely all community privileges and responsibilities, as the rest (of the genetically-alike) Greeks.


However, for those who got married only under the civil authorities, the above reconciliation is not valid.   The civil wedding ceremony alone is not enough for the Orthodox Church.  Those under such union cannot have any community and religious privileges, unless they bless their marriage in an Orthodox Church. For this reason we comment the Curators of our Communities, to approach them with affection and convince them, that it is easy to rectify their situation by making their wedding holy (blessed).

In addition, we wish wholeheartedly that you encounter the joyful days of the Dodekaemeron (12-day-period) in health under the Lord’s ever-blessing, as for the New Year may be for you always happy and blessed by God.

With much love in Christ

Fervent blessings of the Lord

The Archbishop

Of America Michael


The Seal of the Greek Archdiocese

Of North and South America

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November 30th, 2012 by Fr. Greg

Whence Karekla?

From where does the Greek word for chair, karekla, originate?  And, why on earth am I even thinking about this?  The question came about from my recent stint substituting for Rubina as teacher of the senior Greek School class.  In addition to the lessons in the book we did some stuff on etymology, transliteration, metathesis, and other fun language things.  At one point I commented on how there are many Greek words for clothing, food and other cultural stuff that actually come from French, for various reasons.  Arabic shares this to some extent; very often things that didn’t exist in central Arabia back in the day take their name from French or another language.  The word for snow, telj, comes from the French neige, for example.

I was idly wondering if the Greek karekla and the Arabic kursi (chair) somehow were related, despite being from different language families.  The krk of the Greek matches up with the triconsonantal root of the Arabic krs – the hard k can become an s in certain word travels.  However, karekla is not attested in ancient Greek.  Kathedra in Greek matches up nicely with karekla – the vowels are the same (usually it is all about the consonants in these matters but vowels have a role as well) as is the syllabification.  And as it turns out, karekla does come from kathedra (where we get Cathedral) via Venetian – kathedra went to Latin and then Venetian and came back to Greek as karekla.

The Arabic kursi is in the Qur’an as a word for footstool or throne, and it is cognate to kisseh in Hebrew which also means throne (it is similar in most other semitic languages).  How about the English word chair itself?  Well, it too comes from kathedra, eventually.  More here.

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September 26th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Why Greek School?

It is that time of the year – registration for Greek School at the Cathedral today and tomorrow, with the traditional Sept. 14  agiasmo service kicking off the year and classes starting the next day.  Greek School can be tough for parents – everyone’s schools seemingly get out at different times, some parents live several towns aways, etc.  But I think it is well worth sending our children to the Cathedral’s Greek Afternoon School.  Here are a few reasons:

-First of all, it is a good thing to learn a foreign language.  Americans are not great at this, but I think a big reason is that each state speaks the same language (think Europe, where most neighboring states speak different languages and people tend to know more than one).  Greek is a heritage language for many of us at the Cathedral, but learning modern Greek opens the door to learning one of the great classical languages.  I can tell you that I did very well on my verbal SATs partly because if I didn’t know a word I could figure it out from Greek roots.

-Our school is accredited, and the teachers are certified in teaching Greek.  Our students can receive credit in school for these classes.  I should also mention that our teachers are awesome – tireless, dedicated, super-smart and able to make every day fresh and interesting.  Unlike my Greek School experience many years ago, our students are tracked – those who speak Greek at home go on one path, and those who don’t are put on another so they learn at the appropriate pace.

-Greek School at the Cathedral is more than just language.  The students learn religion, history and cultural stuff like dances and poems.  It is a great supplement to Sunday School and other ministries – time spent with fellow students in Greek School means more time at the church and more time with their church friends.

-The various performances during the year get the students comfortable with public speaking in high-pressure situations.  I know that memorizing and reciting poems as a little kid helped prepare me for what I do now; I am very comfortable speaking in public, and I am sure that those early performances (which I dreaded back in the day) were part of it.

I could go on with reasons.  Greek School is worth the driving and time commitment – we are blessed to have such a program.

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September 12th, 2011 by Fr. Greg


We had a long, busy and fun Sunday today at the Cathedral, with, in addition to the usual orthros and liturgy, the procession for the Elevation of the Cross as well as the traditional March 25 doxology with the Greek School students.  There were also several mercy meals, a surprise 50th birthday party, and later in the afternoon the Greek School’s Annunciation/Greek Independence Day program.

We had 5 priests in the altar along with 16 altar boys and 2 seminarians, so things were rather crowded.  We ran out of daffodils to give out but fortunately were able to cannibalize the altar flowers and some lucky people at the end of the line received white roses.  Fr. Dean also acknowledged several guests.  Fr. Chris, whom Fr. Dean presented with a cross as we sang “Axios”, is the model for the hockey-loving priest in the movie Do You Wanna Dance, a classic movie about Greek-Americans.  We also honored Gordon Dick, the owner of P A Cleaners on Millbrook St. in Worcester.  Gordon, a devout Catholic, does not charge to clean vestments and church items like altar cloths.  He does the same for police and fire uniforms.  He has saved the Cathedral thousands through the years through this stewardship.  I do not usually endorse businesses here on the blog, but if you have dry cleaning to be done please consider patronizing this business.  Gordon doesn’t do this for us to drum up business nor does he seek recognition, but we are thankful to him – he has a business to run yet does this for our Cathedral and Worcester community.  On a bittersweet note, we also said goodbye to Mike Klezaras today on his last Sunday in Worcester.  Mike’s time here was relatively brief, but he had a positive effect on all of us, and we are blessed to have known him and Kathy.  We will miss them.

The Greek School program was great – many thanks to the students and parents as well as the PTA.  Rubina and the two Elenis did their usual stellar job – people have no idea how much hard work goes into preparing the students and putting on this event.  Rubina’s remarks on the significance of Greek Independence Day were particularly striking – it is indeed an event which we should always commemorate.

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March 27th, 2011 by Fr. Greg

Greek School Advent Party

Yesterday afternoon was the annual Greek School Advent party.  The PTA provided the food – the picture below shows some of the dozens of pizza that were donated – as well as the decorations and help for the event.  We had an opening prayer – with the students thunderously reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Greek – and then, after the food, a special presentation of icons to the students in the senior class.  And Santa, or rather Agios Vasilios (St. Basil, the Greek Santa) himself made an appearance to distribute gifts to the students.  The children and their hard-working teachers have been diligently practicing for this Sunday’s Greek School Christmas program, so the party was a nice break.  The program this year will be held in the church at 4pm rather than in the under-construction auditorium.  This is very appropriate, for the poems, songs, and skits that the students perform are all solemnly religious, as is appropriate for the Advent season.  Please come by if you can to support our students.

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December 15th, 2010 by Fr. Greg

More Photos

It is very exciting to walk through the construction areas and see that we are almost done with phase 2 stage 1 (it has taken me a while to get the terms down).  Here is a picture of the floor in the foyer – George K. was here literally all weekend working on this – as well as the door into the first classroom/my office area upstairs.  Some stuff still needs to be done – notice there is no glass in the door – but there is a palpable sense of the project being near completion.  I can’t wait until everyone gets to check it out in its entirety.

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November 9th, 2010 by Fr. Greg