Informative Bulletin of the Paphos Latin Parish
κάνετε κλικ εδώ για Ελληνικά
A month full of meaning
As the Greek edition of the “Informative Bulletin: completes ten years of presence and service to the community, its English counterpart has reached nine months of being part of our parish’s outreach and a faithful reading companion not only in Paphos, but in the whole of Cyprus and further afield.
The month of November contains many important feasts, starting with the All Saints Day (on the 1st) and All Souls Day (on the 2nd).
The Church wishes to remind us that we all are one Body, and Saints are not only those whom we know from the calendar, but everyone who has lived his life with faith, perseverance, steadfastness, hope and sacrifice for the love of Christ.
God call us all to holiness: “Be holy for I am Holy” he tells us (1 Pet. 1, 16).
It is for this reason that we particularly turn our thoughts to All Souls; they are the faithful who have passed away from this world and are undergoing their final sanctification. Our prayers help them as we entrust them to God’s mercy.
On the last Sunday of the current liturgical year C, we celebrate Christ the King, having in mind the kingship and sovereignty of Christ the Lord upon everything, visible and invisible, in other words upon the whole Universe.
There follows the First Sunday of Advent, which is always the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.
The first Sunday of Advent inaugurates the period of the preparation for Christmas.
So, truly, the month of November is full of meaning with celebrations which, on the one hand, emphasize the expectation and , on the other, the fulfillment of the promises of Christ.
As we say in Greek,
ΚΑΛΟ ΜΗΝΑ! Happy Month!
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.
Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely.
And may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
(1 Thess. 5, 16-24).
With the Church we remember…
In the Orient from the very early times of Christianity, a day was set for the celebration of all the Saints, known and unknown.
The designated day was the First Sunday after Pentecost Sunday, a practice which has been continued in the Eastern Church until today.
In the West, Pope Boniface IV, in 609 A.D. changes the Pantheon in Rome into a Christian church and dedicates it to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs, known and unknown.
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III decrees November 1st as the day on which the Church celebrates all the Saints, i.e. All Saints Day.
In the following century, Pope Gregory IV extends this feast to the Universal Church.
From the beginning the eve of all Saints Day was also a feast.
Even nowadays, the eve of many great feasts is part of the main day’s celebration, as it prepares and orientates us towards it.
Almost simultaneously, November 2nd was set as the day of commemoration of all the faithful departed, who sleep in Christ; the Church offers prayers for their eternal salvation.
Memorials Through Time
The Roman Pantheon, as its name implies, (in Greek pan = all + theos = god), was built as a memorial to all gods, known and unknown, in the pagan world.
It is believed to have been first built in the year 27 B.C,
It was constructed in its current form in 120 A.D. at the times of Emperor Hadrian.
It is the work of the Syrian architect Appolodorus of Damascus.
Appolodorus planned and executed many other works in Rome especially under the Emperor Trajan, like the Forum (Agora), the Gymnasium and the Odeum.
He also built a bridge across the river Danube, so that the Roman troops would cross and defend their borders from the barbarian hordes who threatened them from the other side of the river. Unfortunately for the Romans, the bridge did not serve its purpose, as it was destroyed in the flooded river soon after its construction according to the historian Procopius, (490-507 A.D.).
Did you know…
Halloween takes its name from Old English and it is an abbreviation of three words, namely, All Hallows Eve, that is, the eve (evening before) of the feast of All Saints.
Hallow= Holy= Saint.
It was an old practice in the Church to celebrate a feast the evening before; actually this is still the case in the Eastern Church.
Since after All Saints the feast of All Souls follows, folk tales and imagination went wild at the time when in England, in 1649, Oliver Cromwell banned the celebration of Christmas and many other Christian feasts. The same happened in the United States. Even Christmas carols were not allowed to be sung (or heard) in public. The ban was lifted in 1660.
The irony was that as All Saints and All Souls Days were banned on the grounds of superstition, the vacuum which was left was quickly filled with real superstitions and lots of fearful ghost stories whose remnants are still thriving in our days.
There is, of course, the natural question: how come these folk traditions of Halloween are still so popular (and spreading) in some countries?
The answer is simple: to party and be disguised and go to the streets carousing at night does not require particular commitment; it rather gives license, to those who wish it, to behave irresponsibly. However, to follow Christ and the teachings of the Church is no light matter! It engages the whole person, heart, mind and will!
If We Truly Love
The starting point of salvation is not the confession of the sovereignty of Christ, but rather the imitation of Jesus’ works of mercy through which he brought about his kingdom.
The one who accomplishes these works shows that he has welcomed Christ’s sovereignty, because he has opened his heart to God’s charity.
In the twilight of life we will be judged on our love for, closeness to and tenderness towards our brothers and sisters.
Upon this will depend our entry into, or exclusion from, the kingdom of God: our belonging to the one side or the other.
Through his victory, Jesus has opened to us his kingdom. But it is for us to enter into it, beginning with our life now, by being close in concrete ways to our brothers and sisters who ask for bread, clothing, acceptance, solidarity.
If we truly love them, we will be willing to share with them what is most precious to us, Jesus himself and his Gospel.
Pope Francis, on the feast of Christ the King, Rome 2014
From the Holy Scriptures
For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.
Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.
But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace.
For though they be punished in the sight of men, yet is their hope full of immortality.
And having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself.
As gold in the furnace hath he tried them, and received them as a burnt offering.
And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble.
(Wisdom of Solomon, 2, 23-3,7)
The Ratzinger Prize
The Ratzinger Foundation came to be in 2010 and was the result of the initiative of Cardinal’s Josef Ratzinger’s (later Pope Benedict XVI) old students.
Since 2011 a yearly prize is awarded in recognition of theologians whose work has significantly contributed to theology in the spirit of Cardinal Ratzinger.
This year the prize will be given to two theologians: to the Italian priest Mgr. Biffi, who among other things, is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology and has delved especially into the History of Theology and Mediaeval Philosophy, and to the Greek Mr. Kouroumpeles, who has studied at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and at the Universities of Erlangen and Heidelberg. He has focused on the History of Dogmas and on Dogmatic and Symbolic Theology.
It must be noted, this will be the first time an Orthodox theologian is honoured with the Ratzinger Prize.
The ceremony of the awards will take place in the Vatican on 26th November 2016.
click here for Greek