Service of the Great Vespers with the 2nd Stanza of the Salutations to the all-holy mother of God – Church of the Dormition of the mother of God, Welkom
On Friday 25 March His Eminence oArchbishop Sergios Metropolitan Bishop 0f Cape Town officiated at the Service of the Salutations to the all-holy mother of God at the Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Welkom in the presence of the president of the Hellenic Community of Welkom Mr Paraskevas Papamichael.
After the Service His Eminence congratulated the new committee and said that although they are a small community it is important for them to be united and to continue with their Orthodox Holy Traditions. And that they can learn from the mistakes of the past and work together in a spirit of unity.
He thanked them for maintaining the Church in good condition and for donating their time and resources as this is a constructive move towards accommodating each other. His Eminence thanked Mrs Vicky Maroudas for looking after Church related matters and psalters Nick Maroudas, Gregory Petrolekas and also Evgenia Christodoulides for her contribution to the Church. After the Service a supper was served.
The Welkom community have not had a priest for some time and fortunately a stand in priest will be arriving to officiate for Holy Week, Pascha and the Services of the Resurrection and Agape on Easter Sunday
Feast day of the Annunciation and Doxology for the Greek day of Independence is celebrated – Church of the Annunciation, Bloemfontein
The following day His Eminence met with Father George Tsiftis and also had the opportunity to meet with the main committee and members of the community, and with the newly appointed Consul General for Greece, Mr Theodoros Michalopoulos and with parliamentarian, Mr George Michalakis.
On Sunday morning His Eminence officiated at the Service of the Holy Eucharist which included the Doxology for the Greek National Day of 25 March, together with Father George Tsiftis, parish priest of Bloemfontein and Father Simon Sumar. Present at the Service were the newly elected Greek Consul General Mr Theodoros Michalopoulos, Mr Kyriakos Kambanis and committee members and M.P. Mr George Michalakis. Also in attendance were members of the youth committee (BHYA) and the children from the Greek school of Bloemfontein.
In his address after the Service His Eminence welcomed the Greek Consul General and emphasised the importance of his presence at our community functions, particularly on important days such as this. He thanked the president of the community, Mr Kyriakos Kambanis, committee members for their hard work and M.P. George Michalakis.
His Eminence referred to the Feast of the Annunciation saying that through the obedience of the Theotokos, the second person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ was incarnated and that He came for the salvation of all – not only for Orthodox and other Christians and especially for the sinners.
He said that we as Greeks, because of our National heritage are obliged to preserve our Faith and to hand down to future generations the principals and values which have been part of who we are for thousands of years. The revolution of 1821 did not only mark the liberation for Greece from Ottoman oppression, it also gave the world a new set of values in terms of human rights, dignity and democracy. Even today under very difficult economic circumstances, the Greeks are seeing to all the needs of the refugees who are landing in their country – unlike some other countries who have barricaded their borders.
His Eminence thanked Father George Tsiftis who is also the teacher of the Greek school and said that is important for us to maintain our Greek language because the New Testament was written in Greek, and the Old Testament was translated into Greek to make it more accessible and easier for people to understand. The revolution of 1821 was the beginning of freedom for Christianity.
Nowadays things are very difficult and Christians are being challenged in many ways. We are already seeing some prophesies of Saint Kosmas Aitolos and the recent Saint Paisios being manifested in the world. As Orthodox Christians we have fasting and prayer to support us and preserve our faith and to help protect us from the negativity around us.
He congratulated the new president of the BYHA (Bloemfontein youth Hellenic association) and that he looked forward to their participation in the annual congress which will be hosted by the Hellenic Students Association in Cape Town at the end of this year. The Patriarch will be visiting Durban after Pascha and it would be nice if some of them could attend He thanked Father George Tsiftis for his contribution to the Parish and for running the Greek school, Father Simon Sumar and the psalters.
After the Service the wreaths were laid for those who gave their lives for the freedom of the Greek people and this was followed by a celebratory lunch. The children from the Greek school celebrated with poems and songs depicting the History of 1821.