This Week in Orthodoxy: November 20, 2015

This Week in Orthodoxy: November 20, 2015

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Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy”, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.  I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are the some of the stories making headlines this week:

 

  • Archbishop Demetrios  Expresses Condemnation for Paris Attacks

 

  • And the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA releases a statement

 

  • The beginning of Advent brings forth a renewed focus on Peace

 

  • While a Greek Orthodox church in Minnesota, is vandalized yet again

First up, NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America expressed deep sorrow for the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris last week.

While on a pastoral visit to Dallas, Texas he stated:  “Today the whole civilized world is yet again in shock, indignation and mourning. I express, on behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod and the entire Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, our unequivocal condemnation for these horrific acts of violence and terrorism in Paris.

We, here in America are no strangers to such acts of terror and violence. We stand together in pain and prayer with the people of France, the families of the victims, and our Orthodox hierarchs, clergy, and the faithful members of our communities in Paris. We stand together with each other as we ask our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to help us get through this unthinkable tragedy and to guide and strengthen us.

As we face the aftermath of this despicable event, we are encouraged by the words of the Apostle Paul: neither death, nor life…nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers…nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”

Another statement was also released:  “With heavy hearts, the members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America offer their prayers for the people of France who mourn the tragic loss of life that resulted from terrorist attacks in Paris.

We convey our deep condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and we beseech the Lord Jesus Christ to grant a speedy recovery to those injured and eternal repose to those who have fallen asleep. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the civic authorities and the men and women of law enforcement agencies who are working to bring about peace and stability once more to France and her people.

We extend our fraternal solidarity to all people of good will who pray and labor for peace, especially our brother Orthodox Christian Hierarchs in France. We condemn these barbaric acts against humanity, and during this worrisome time we draw strength from the words of St. Peter, who encourages us to cast all of our anxieties onto Christ, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

Given these trying times, and the beginning of Advent His Grace Bishop Gregory, Primate of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. has challenged everyone, old, young and even too young to read, to pray the Prayer of Peace each night during Advent.

In a time where chaos and fear is spreading throughout the world, many are wondering what can be done.  We all know that violence begets violence and that Christ has already called us to a better way.

Inspired by the Angels’ cry of “…peace, goodwill towards men.” as they announced Jesus’ birth, and our Lord’s promise of “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you…” when He Ascended into Heaven, His Grace Bishop Gregory has challenged everyone to focus on Peace and pray the Prayer of Peace each night during Advent.

And Lastly,  another act of vandalism has parishoners of The Holy Myrrh-bearers Orthodox Church in St. Cloud, Minnesota asking whether it’s worth staying at its southside location, just blocks from St. Cloud State University.

Parish Priest, Fr. Nathan Kroll said vandalism to the church building and grounds has been frequent over the last few years.

In an email Friday afternoon to church members and community leaders, he wrote: “My heart was broken this morning to find our church vandalized, yet again. … I have lost track of the number of times we’ve been victimized.”

He listed broken windows, graffiti, paint balls, crushed fences, stolen property, burglary and ritual desecration.  The latest incident estimated at $500 in damages included a smashed glass door and ground level window.

Only a few months ago, another three windows were broken, with an icon statue stolen from the second story, which needed a ladder and tools to be reached and removed since it was bolted to the ground.

Fr. Kroll estimates the damages cost the church about 1,000 dollars each year.

The incidents aren’t attributed to University students but to people  living in the neighborhood.

Fr. Kroll continued by saying, “Moving is an option, but the church sees part of its ministry as reaching out to students as well as troubled or low-income people who live in the neighborhood”.

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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. For everyone here in our OCN studios,

I’m Emmy Louvaris.  Let’s go forth in peace.

 

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Emmy Louvaris

Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy, the first weekly news show to cover the international Orthodox Church and community.