Saturday, May 23, 2020

My Childhood Introduction to the Bible (2 of 5)

...continued from part one

A few years passed, and now I was at a point where I knew many Bible stories at a very basic level, especially from the Old Testament, and they moved me, but I didn't know how to theologically tie it all together. After all, I was in elementary school with no one to really teach me, but I was discovering these things on my own. I was also growing up, had just left all my friends when I moved to a new town and entered a new school, and I was often alone. Then something happened that forever changed my life and tied everything together for me. It had to do with that one part of the Bible I needed to hear that I never understood before.

When I was ten years old, my temperament was somewhat nihilistic and angry. My mind was often occupied with death and the meaning of life. Though I was born and raised a Greek Orthodox Christian, theologically what made most sense to me was that life was but a dream within a dream, that I was living outside of reality, and my real self was some cosmic entity who imagined my present reality; it was all nothing but a figment of my imagination. Trouble often found me, and if my parents punished me for it, then all I could feel was hatred for them. They were even ready to send me to military school, since to them my future was bleak. If left unchecked for long, no doubt I would have grown up to be a model rebellious teenager.

At the time I was forced to attend Greek school twice a week after regular school. The previous year I had a horrible Greek school teacher, who was very verbally abusive to me. This eventually got her fired after it was exposed, but my experience with Greek school was not that great before this, and it just made a bad situation worse. Now I was in the fifth grade, and my teacher was a young seminarian named Yianni (he never gave us his last name) from Greece who was studying at Holy Cross School of Theology. He was actually very kind, patient and had a particular fondness for me. This was because every week for one of the two days he never taught us the Greek language, but instead talked about our Greek Orthodox faith and heritage. To me this was refreshing, and I always listened attentively, while everyone else was practically snoring. This I think is why he liked me so much.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Photo That Shows the Devout Soul of a Fifth Grade Altar Boy

By Metropolitan Amphilochios of Kissamos and Selino

No, it is not edited, nor is it a set-up photo, much more so it is not a "fake", to use a term that has come into our lives, along with the term "coronavirus".

This is Yiannaki, a cute and very smart kid from the 5th grade who is growing up in a blessed family.

Yiannaki came to church on the evening of Palm Sunday, way before the Bridegroom Service was about to begin. We locked the doors of our Cathedral church, and he came into the sanctuary, where I was preparing to begin the Service.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Saint Mary of Egypt (A Children's Version)

St. Mary of Egypt (Feast Day - April 1 & 5th Sunday of Great Lent)

About 500 years after the Resurrection of our Lord, a holy monk by the name of Zosimas lived in a monastery by the Jordan River. He had lived as a monk since childhood and when he was about 50 years old he began to think that he had surpassed all the other monks in virtue and that no one could teach him anything he didn’t already know. To prevent such a prideful thought from taking root, God taught him a lesson.

It was the custom in the monastery that at the beginning of each Great Lent, after Liturgy on Forgiveness Sunday, the monks would cross the Jordan and scatter throughout the desert where they would stay until Palm Sunday. Each monk would spend this time alone before God, in fasting and prayer, without anyone around to praise him for his struggles.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"We Stay at Home" Children's Choir of the Greek-English Training School Sing the Akathist Hymn

The children's choir known as "Μένει Σπίτι" ("We Stay at Home") from the Greek-English Training School in Marousi of Athens, Greece sang with some parents the Akathist Hymn. Their message for their classmates and for the world is:

"We Stay at Home" and protect those we love! "We Stay at Home" and are NOT afraid! Soon we will all be back together and do rehearsals, assemblies and many trips! A Good Pascha to the whole world!