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T H E ST. SOPHIA GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH 440 WHITEHALL ROAD ALBANY, N.Y REV. FATHER PATRIC LEGATO T E S T A M E N T THE THREE HIERARCHS JANUARY 30 Apolytikion, First Tone. The three most great luminaries of the Three-Sun Divinity have illumined all of the world with the rays of doctrines divine and true; they are the sweetly-flowing rivers of wisdom, who with godly knowledge have watered all creation in clear and mighty streams: The great and sacred Basil, and the Theologian, wise Gregory, together with the renowned John, the famed Chrysostom of golden speech. Let us all who love their divinely-wise words come together, honoring them with hymns; for ceaselessly they offer entreaty for us to the Trinity. Áðïëõôßêéïí. ¹ ïò á. Ôïõò ôñåéò ìåãßóôïõò öùóôþñáò, ôçò ôñéóçëßïõ Èåüôçôïò, ôïõò ôçí ïéêïõìýíçí áêôßóé, äïãìüôùí èåßùí ðõñóåýóáíôáò ôïõò ìåëéññýôïõò ðïôáìïýò ôçò óïößáò, ôïõò ôçí êôßóéí ðüóáí èåïãíùóßáò íüìáóé êáôáñäåýóáíôáò Âáóßëåéïí ôïí ìýãáí, êáé ôïí èåïëüãïí Ãñçãüñéïí, óõí ôù êëåéíþ ÉùÜííç, ôù ôçí ãëþôôáí ñõóïññþìïíé ðüíôåò ïé ôùí ëüãùí áõôþí åñáóôáß, óõíåëèüíôåò ýìíïéò ôéìþóùìåí áõôïß ãáñ ôç ÔñéÜäé, õðýñ çìþí áåß ðñåóâåýïõóéí..january 2017 VOLUME: XXIi [The Testament is published monthly except for bimonthly issues of May/June and July/August] Issue: 1 ST. SOPHIA GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH Tel: (518) Whitehall Road, Albany, N.Y Fax: (518) St. Sophia s or Helen Sokaris: St Sophia s Internet Website: STSOPHIA.NET Greek School Internet Website: STSOPHIAGREEKSCHOOL.ORG Archdiocese Internet Website: Rev. Fr. Patric Legato Pastor Constantine Yavis Deacon TBA President Margaret Danes Secretary Evangelos Anton Neokoros George Lenares Chanter Theodora Mokhiber... Philoptochos President Alfredo Ramos Plant Manager P A R I S H C O U N C I L Listed below are the members of the 2017 Parish Council. Officers will be elected following ratification by the Archdiocese and swearing in of the new Parish Council. Committee selections will follow by the elected President. Angelo Bousbouras Peter Melas Jeffrey Cohen Steven Moutopoulos Gregory Docous Theodore Moisides Dean Karlaftis Anthony Rodolakis Stefan Kalogridis Gregory Sokaris George Marinopoulos Demetra Xythalis Vann The committees below will be updated and adjusted when the President is elected and makes his/her selection. Acolytes James Diamantopoulos Head Altar Boy George Marinopoulos Advertising & Marketing Chair Maria Neal Archives/Library Father Pat Bible Study Facilitator Rev. Father Patric Legato Buildings, Grounds & Beautification Chairpersons Al Ramos and Anthony Rodolakis Catering/Hall Rental Parish Council Choir and Junior Choir Director Harry Ermides Coffee Hour Parish Council and Philoptochos Community Outreach Maria Neal, Margaret Danes & Parish Council Cultural Affairs & Initiatives Chair Stratos Koutroubakis, MD Dance Group Director Diane Yavis Cohen Energy Initiative Alex Nichols Graceland Cemetery Chair Charles Sarris Greek Festival Parish Council Greek Festival Catering and Purchasing Parish Council Hellenic Education Chair Demetra Xythalis Vann Greek School (Afternoon Program) Director/Teacher Angeliki Pontisakos Greek School (Adult Program) Director/Teacher George Cotzas Investments Gregory A. Sokaris, Ted Pontisakos, Dean Karlaftis and Steve Moutopoulos Long Term Planning Peter Melas and George Marinopoulos Makaria Co-Chairs Dora Mokhiber and Elaine Sokaris Personnel Committee Anthony Rodolakis Religious Education Director, Rev. Dr. Dennis Nagi Scholarship Co-Chairs Frosine Stolis, Dean Karlaftis, George Marinopoulos and Dimitri Yavis Senior Citizens Chair James Stolis Special Events/Fund Raising Parish Council Stewardship Program Chair George Marinopoulos Youth Committee Chair Rev. Fr. Patric Legato Athletic Program Advisor Dina Fisher GOYA. Adv. Mary Googas, Lea Marinopoulos, Maria Sokaris, & Maria Ziamandanis Pres George Marinopoulos JOY Advisors Christina Anagnostopoulos, Maria Cholakis, Christina Lasher, and Lenore Tsamis A D D I T I O N A L O R G A N I Z A T I O N S AHEPA President George Pappis Apartments Whitehall Management President Peter Melas Apartments St. Sophia & Holy Wisdom President John C. Googas Auditing (2015 & 2016) George Pappis, Nancy Athanassiadis and Michael Koutsourades Daughters of Penelope President Marina Patelos Election Committee Chair Theodore Kondoprias Maids of Athena Co-Presidents Maria Koutsakis & Matina Ziamandanis Sons of Pericles President Alex Athanassiadis EDITORIAL STAFF Rev. Fr. Patric Legato, Editor Helen Sokaris, Co-Editor INSIGHTS Father Pat This is The Price is Right. Come on down Shep Vlahos. How many of us have heard that call before? It is probably one of the best known invitations to participate in a game show ever. Game shows are as popular today as they were a millennia ago. There were so many we have enjoyed over the years. One of my favorite shows was the Match Game hosted by Gene Raymond and with four mainstay celebrities: Charles Nelson Reilly, Richard Dawson, Brett Somers, the real life wife of Jack Klugman, and the still ever popular Betty White. There was always a great deal of innuendo, ambiguous phrases and looks that double entendre seemed quite normal and was often very comical. The quips especially exchanged between Reilly and Somers should have landed them both in the comic hall of fame. The excitement and the chance to participate must have been quite enticing for the unsuspecting participant and sometimes unsettling. Of course, it was a contest between two contestants trying to match six celebrities with one word answers to an open-ended phrase. There were other games and game show hosts who have been popular and are well known. Betty White, mentioned previously, also starred in Password, while Richard Dawson went on to make Family Feud a household favorite. Today, the cerebral Jeopardy and, the luck of the spin, Wheel of Fortune, are probably the most watched game shows which have made it into the prime time television households, nursing homes and hospitals. This month, we celebrate a variety of special occasions and feast days commemorating some of the greatest Fathers, of the church. This month, we also, according to custom, Ring in the New Year. So why not have a game show to begin our New Year and to test our Church knowledge. This certainly is not meant to embarrass any one of us, undo lessons learned in childhood from our parents and grandparents, and the prizes are...,playing the music from the Twilight Zone, not of this world. Now then. Pull up a chair, brew a nice cup of coffee or tea, relax and get ready to be challenged. Now for some questions: How many days did it take to create the world? (Be careful). How many Apostles were called by Christ? In the movie, History of the World, by Mel Brooks, Moses descended what mountain with the Commandments of God. How many were there and do we know what happened to the missing tablet? There are how many sacraments in our church? Can you name them? How many are necessary for salvation? How many parts are there to our church architecture? (Bonus) Can you name them? What and who are the four evangelists? Why do we kneel? Why is Saint Paul called an Apostle? How many Divine Liturgies do we celebrate during the course of the year? How many services are conducted on any given Sunday including the Divine Liturgy? What did Eve give to Adam ultimately causing their expulsion from the Garden of Eden? What are icons? Can you name more than one bishop in our beloved Archdiocese? List them. Where does the Lord s Prayer come from? Ok. Now see if you were able to answer any or all of the questions correctly. Find a response to this question in this month s Testament. If anyone had difficulty with these questions, maybe it is time to rethink what our mission in life should be, because all of them have been answered at one time or another in church. Of course, correct responses indicate that we have been in church regularly, have a good memory from our Sunday School days, or simply Googled all the questions. This month, we shall make resolutions to do this or that, change this or that, and become a better person. Church, however, is not a resolution to be made. Rather, it is a commitment. Why do we stay away or make a half-heated effort to commune with one another? What is it that I and thousands of clergymen throughout the United States and the world have not realized and/or are missing? Someone once emphatically shared with me that it was just as easy to stay home and pray. Is it really? And what of forgiveness? What of support? What about love, friendship, hope? What about all those doughnuts? There was a time when Christians braved celebrating their Christianity. Even during the various occupations of Christian strongholds for epochs past by invading non-christians and tyrants alike, our forefathers made their pious way to do the, work of the people, and to celebrate the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Today, He is very much an afterthought. Too bad He was not a game show host. Maybe that would keep us coming. At the very least, we could watch re-runs on our mobile devices and lounge in our favorite arm chair. I guess offering forgiveness, peace, and eternal life are just not enough when compared to a, new washer and dryer, and...a new car! I guess the price is not right for too many of us. Good luck with the test and Happy New Year. This is one New year where I know I will be. PARISH COUNCIL Anthony Rodolakis, Ph.D Dear fellow Parishioners, Happy New Year to all!!! We sincerely wish to every single one a blessed and healthy 2017, full of accomplishments, health, peace and love. As the new year starts we want to remind everyone of the need for volunteers that will continue the long and proud tradition established by many generations of St. Sophia parishioners. We especially want to invite parishioners of non- Greek heritage to actively participate in the Church commons. There are many opportunities for volunteering or starting new initiatives that will highlight your interests and accomplishments. A great opportunity for implementing new ideas is the upcoming Greek Festival. Festival committees have already started meeting and planning. We urgently need new volunteers to fill out the various time slots. Appropriate forms will be distributed soon to allow individuals to pick days/times depending on their availability. Please sign-up for the maximum possible time to allow for better coverage. Friendly reminder to those who have not completed their 2017 financial pledge to please see any member of the Parish Council to submit your form(s). As we all know, even though we diligently try to minimize expenses as appropriate see as an example the substantial reductions in our annual electric utility bills as we have moved to more energy-efficient light fixtures - annual expenditures are increasing on a consistent basis across many categories. Please kindly consider increasing your annual pledge to the best of your ability. Finally, please plan to attend our March 5 th General Assembly. We will be discussing a variety of issues related to the upcoming Greek Festival. We look forward to a productive and blessed Sincerely, Parish Council ÊáëÞ ñïíéü!! PHILOPTOCHOS Friends of the Poor Theodora Mokhiber, President Happy New Year! ÊáëÞ ñïíéü! Well, the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and it is hard to believe that we are into a fresh new year. On behalf of the Philoptochos Board, we extend sincere wishes for a most delightful May God bless you and your families and bring you health so we may continue the work of Philoptochos. Congratulations to St. Sophia s elected members to the Parish Council. I am certain that we will, in the tradition of our predecessors, work in harmony and excellence. The month of December has been very hectic as the Philoptochos has diligently worked to make the holidays more enjoyable for people that are less fortunate. The bag lunches, offered twice a month, are continuing and are deeply appreciated by those who receive them. I take this opportunity to thank Vickie Klementzos, Thecla Philip, and a donation from an anonymous donor in memory of Felia Kondoprias. A special thank you to Ted Kondoprias and James Stolis for their continued help during the makarias and much more. As we look into the new year, please do not forget our next meeting on January 10 th. In closing I would like to leave you with this thought: Remember that giving of oneself should not be limited to the holiday season, but should continue all year long. A special thank you to Cookie, Michelle, Marcella, Shalyn and their committee for chairing the St. Barbara s Day party. Also, a thank you to Kathryn Sokaris and her committee for making the Vasilopita. LADIES PHILOPTOCHOS SOCIETY JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2017 CALENDAR MEETINGS / 2nd Tuesday of Month at 7:00 PM J A N U A R Y 7 Saturday 8 Sunday 10 Tuesday Philoptochos and Daughters of Penelope Combined Holiday Party Cookie Patelos and Marina Patelos, Chairs St. Basil s Academy Collection Tray Cutting of Vasilopita in Church Kathryn Sokaris, Chair GENERAL MEETING Vasilopita Dora Mokhiber, Chair F E B 5 Sunday St. Fotios Shrine & Autism Collection Tray 14 Tuesday NO GENERAL MEETING 27 Monday Lent Begins SAINT ZORZIS (GEORGE) OF MYTILENE THE NEOMARTYR January 2 The feast day of St. Zorzis falls upon the same day as that of Pope Sylvester, even though the two were separated not only by a time span of more than 1400 years, but also by a wide gap in social standing. While Sylvester gloried in the exalted role of pope, Zorzis lived in the ignominy of slavery. That the Church honors on the same day one who lived in reverence while the other lived in wretchedness is further evidence that all men are equal in the sight of God. During the 400 years under Turkish conquest, Orthodox Christians in general and Greeks in particular suffered untold hardships and persecution at the hands of the unrelenting Ottoman foe, whose Muslim fanaticism defiled the churches of Christ and wreaked every form of misery that could be devised. The survival of Orthodoxy is a tribute to the Christian courage of the Greek and other Orthodox people. Among the courageous was Zorzis, whose little-known life story epitomized the invincible Christian. Born and baptized in the Orthodox faith, Zorzis was a mere lad of twelve and already a devout Christian when his captors sold him into slavery in His master s Muslim faith was intense; his hatred for Christians was equally so. Exactly what transpired between Zorzis and his master is not known, but it is speculated that they came to respect each other s devotion to their respective faiths, while at the same time not openly admitting it. The strange circumstances under which the boy appeared to have adopted the Muslim faith and language remain a mystery. The widening social gap between Saint Sylvester, an exalted Pope, and Zorzis, a humble peasant, was bridged by the love of Jesus Christ. Because he had no lofty perch from which to serve the Savior, the lowly Zorzis, a virtual slave all his earthly years. In giving up his life for Christ, elevated himself into the company of saints much more famous than he but none more dedicated to the cause of Christianity. The span of fourteen centuries that separated these two saints while they were on earth is dissolved in the timelessness of God, as a result of which the devout Zorzis could have followed the illustrious pope in death by but a few moments and be no less a servant of Jesus Christ. Time does not have to encrust this eighteen-century martyr to be respected on the shelves of history. Meanwhile, a faithful Greek Orthodox communicant need put no strain on his imagination to piece together for himself the life and time of St. Zorzis. If anything, the vast majority can more easily identify with the peasant saint since only the select few step forward in their day to completely serve Christ officially as cleric or pope. It is rewarding to think that for three score years a man served outwardly another human being, all the while serving inwardly the King of Kings. It could happen to any Christian. It did happen to St. Zorzis. During the sixty years of his slavery, the relationship between master and servant was such that Zorzis never sought to embarrass his master. That he continued to serve Christ is unquestionable and how he reconciled his true Christian faith and his apparent adoption of Islam became manifest upon the death of his master. Now that his obligation to his master was ended after sixty long years of enslaved service, his true service to God and Christ was his only obligation. He came forth to openly declare his faith in Christ, stating simply: I was born an Orihodox Christian and now am prepared to die as an Orthodox Christian not as a Muslim. The enraged Turks brought him before the magistrate, declaring that he had made a mockery of the Muslims for sixty years by secretly worshiping Christ while feigning Muslim observances. His accusers railed at Zorzis, but he did not flinch. The Greek, who for sixty years had endured as a Christian in quiet acquiescence, now stood in staunch defiance of his captors. Unable to accept this defiance as anything but false bravado in the light of sixty years of obeisance, the Turks unleashed their fury by casting Zorzis into a dungeon and thereafter torturing him for days. The will of this Christian was never broken; Zorzis never wavered. To the end denouncing the Muslim religion and refusing to deny his Christian faith, Zorzis was put to death on 2 January 1770. THE THREE HIERARCHS January 30 The eleventh-century Christian appears to have been much m o r e d e e p l y concerned about his religion than the generations which preceded him and those which have followed. He enjoyed a greater freedom of expression than the predecessor who worshiped J es us Christ at the peril of his life, and his life was not crowded with the social changes brought on by the invention of the printing press and the machine age. Unencumbered by ideologies spawned in revolution and knowing only one Mother Church, this popular topic of conversation was religion, which invariably came down to a debate about who was the greatest figure in Christian history. These rather innocent and well-intended arguments, which by today s standards appear ill-considered, very often assumed serious proportions, to the point that a formal consideration was necessitated and resulted in the rather unusual celebration of three of our great theologians of the same day. There are heroes galore in the Christian Church, any one of whom could be selected as a favorite, and of the favorites that cropped up in private or public discussion there were three that were most commonly mentioned. These three, who had the remarkable coincidence of serving the Lord in the fourth century, were St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian, and St. John Chrysostom. The debates that began in the home or market-place soon spread into the Church and its councils and found their way into the upper echelons of the hierarchy, not out of proportion but out of an evolution of ideas wholly natural to the eleventhcentury Christian structure. With an absolute state rule there was little challenge for the brighter minds of the time in government, civil service, as a result of which the intellectuals as well as the dedicated found themselves drawn to the Church. The tax collector commanded little respect, but the cleric was a man very highly esteemed and it was to this spiritual servant that the average citizen turned for man
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