Father Constantine Lazarakis, born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Hellenic College and Master of Arts degree in Divinity from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Prior to attending seminary, he worked in a group home for developmentally disabled adults and adolescents, as a special education teacher’s assistant, developing and implementing learning plans for junior high school students with a variety of developmental disabilities and behavioral problems. He also worked for his father’s residential painting company. Father Lazarakis served as the Ionian Village director from 2001 until 2008, during which time he developed and implemented program curriculum which included catechetical, Greek language and culture, arts and crafts, and athletic spheres. As Ionian Village director, he also recruited, trained and managed a volunteer staff of thirty to forty members each summer. While serving at Ionian Village, Father Constantine also served as interim director of youth and young adult ministries for the Direct Archdiocesan District from 2008 to 2010, where he worked with the District youth ministry team to establish Camp St. Paul, the summer camp program of the Greek Orthodox Direct Archdiocesan District. He has also served in a variety of positions at summer camps and youth programs in the metropolises of Boston and Denver. Father Constantine was assigned as parish priest to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of Southampton, NY in August of 2010. Father Constantine enjoys writing short fiction, poetry, and personal essays. He and his wife Anastasia Karloutsos-Lazarakis, live in Southampton with their three children, Konstantine, Xanthi and Demetrios.
In this episode of Good News for a Change, Fr. Constantine Lazarakis shares thoughts on Grace and Works. He focuses not on the Gospel reading, but the critically important words of St. Paul from the Epistle. Salvation is given “by grace alone, and not by works of the Law.” We know what we have to do to be saved and have a growing relationship with God, but we can never believe that we receive salvation because of the works we do. Everything we are, has God as its source. By following the commands, by caring for others, we can never actually earn anything that God would then owe us. His salvation is a gift. The Grace of God is his infinite love for his creation. If God’s salvation is a gift we cannot earn, then we do we do Good Works? We must make our hearts able to receive his grace and love by not closing them off to him. We cultivate receptivity to God by doing works of charity and participating in the Life of the Church.
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