Monthly Newsletter - 1999-2001 Archive

St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Church - Bulletin
December 2000 / January 2001 - Volume 5, Number 19


[St. Anthony's Logo]


A Message From Your Pastor

"Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among relatives and friends." (Luke 2:44)

Before Christmas, a family set up their creche. All the members of the family participated, as they had done for so many years. They unwrapped the shepherds and sheep and put them near the entrance of the stable. They arranged the manger with Mary and Joseph kneeling beside it. Then they reached for the figure of the Christ child, but it wasn't in the box. Frantically, they searched through the discarded wrapping paper. They were very upset that the Christ child had disappeared. They finally found the missing figure and were very pleased. They placed it in the manger.

As we think and reflect on the experience of this pious Christian family preparing their home for Christmas, we realize that something similar can happen to us while we are getting busy to prepare for Christmas.

We spend hours and days shopping and decorating our homes. We exhaust ourselves in these preparations. We attend so many parties and gatherings. It sometimes appears like Christmas is nothing more than an important social event. Even our charitable work has become part of this pattern. It has no incarnational character. It does not touch our hearts. We simply proceed mechanically and superficially towards Christmas. When Christmas arrives, we may find that we have lost sight of the honored guest. We may have traveled all of these days without ever capturing the true meaning of Christmas. Simply put, we may find that we have traveled without Christ.

I pray that during this Christmas season, the Incarnate Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ will be central not only in our nativity scenes but also in our lives. He was incarnated. He became one of us in order to save us. This is the greatest event in the Divine Economy, in God's plan to save humankind.

As we worship every Sunday or every time the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, we should reflect upon His coming in the midst of us and upon His infinite love for us. As we sing the beautiful Church hymns and Christmas carols during this most meaningful period, let us make them our fervent prayers of joy and hope. We should also try to make Jesus' presence and love real for ourselves and for others, particularly those who are lonely, sick, or in despair. Then, we will not miss Christ's presence this Christmas season and always in our lives.

May God, prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus Christ and to celebrate His birth. Amen.

With my warmest wishes for a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Father Efstathios V. Mylonas

The following prayer was offered by Father Stathis at the St. Anthony's Ladies Philoptochos Society 30th Annual Luncheon on Saturday, December 9, 2000, at the Ritz-Carlton Hunington Hotel:

Glory to God in the hioghest and on earth peace, good will among men. - Luke 2:14

O God, our Father, whose spirit is within all Your creation, whose love never fails, this beautiful and meaningful Christmas season make us more aware of You, more responsive to Your call, more obedient to Your will, and more ready to help our fellow man.

"Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come into contact with may feel Your presence in our souls. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus."

Bless the president of our Saint Anthony's Philoptochos, the members of the Board and all the ladies, Your co-workers, for their dedication and inexhaustible love to do (pursue) the diakonia of philanthropy.

Bless also those who support, with a generous heart, our charities.

Grant unto us and unto all men this Christmastime that when our Lord Jesus Christ comes to us, He may not find that there is no room in our hearts for Him; but grant that this Christmas day He may enter into our hearts and abide there forever.

Bless us and these Your gifts, which we are about to receive from Your generous hand, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

This Christmas Benefit Luncheon was a most beautiful event, the outcome of hard work and excellent planning. It was attended by more than 600 hundred people from throughout Southern California.

Stewardship 2001

The Stewardship of St. Basil the Great - January 1
St. Basil the Great, the eloquent preacher and foremost classical scholar of the Patristic Age, expresses his gratitude, love, and care for the Church in his many letters and homilies. The life of St. Basil is familiar to all Orthodox Christians. We know him for his generosity, for his abilities as an orator and a teacher of rhetoric, and for establishing monastic life and orders.

One of the fundamental truths that describes the life of this great saint of the Church is the passage taken from the Epistle of James, chapter 2:26 "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." In his own words the saint states: "I will show my faith by my works, and that must be the touchstone of my sincerity!"

We call St. Basil "Great" because of his life, his success in living true Christian stewardship and expressing himself in his sermons and writings. His knowledge and love for Ancient Greek literature gave him the opportunity to transpose this intellectual love into the truth of the Christian Orthodox Faith.

St. Basil's writings encourage us to supply our soul with all that is best for her. He has written in his essay entitled "To Young Men on How They Might Derive Profit from Pagan Literature" the need for harmony between profession and lifestyle, emphasizing that you must strive to be what you appear - virtuous!

Our young people are greatly influenced by today's world. One must realize that the examples placed before them, from the music they hear to the movies they view, do not always project a positive message. These influences affect the morals and values that are necessary for our young people to develop the mature and responsible priorities expected of Orthodox Christian stewards. It seems that some Christian Orthodox people may have their priorities out of order as evidenced in their responses to the call to follow the Biblical teachings regarding regular and proportionate giving to the Lord's ministry.

Examining the life of St. Basil, we see that among his contributions to the Church was his establishment of monastic disciplines. Although we may not have the calling to become a monastic, the lessons and direction offered by St. Basil are applicable to the Christian steward of every age. St. Basil set Christian perfectionism as the goal. In the monastery, the monks were to practice Christian virtues together, especially those of brotherly love - the practice of obediebce to a spiritual father - the practice of chastity and poverty, and the sharing of common goods of the monastery. After they achieved Christian perfection, they were allowed to come back to the world and help others to achieve Christian perfection. Thus, the monks had the mission of "social workers" as well. In addition to St. Basil's contributions to monasticism, he established orphanages, hospitals and schools. This was St. Basil's way of utilizing the monastic movement to benefit the mission of the Church in the world.

St. Basil recognized the importance of Christian Stewardship. He encouraged it for both the monastic community and for the stewards of the local parish. From St, Basil's teachings we, too, may become better Christain stewards and sing to this great Father of the Church:

"Your voice resounded throughout the world that received your word your word by which, in godly manner, you taught dogma, clarified the nature of beings, and set in order the character of people. Venerable father, Royal Priesthood, intercede to Christ God to grant us great mercy."

On Sunday, January 14, 2001, you are invited to honor this great Father of the Church, St. Basil, along with St. Anthony, our patron Saint and to renew your pledge and commitment to become a good steward of your Church for the year 2001.

St. Anthony was born into a wealthy family. When his parents died, he and his sister shared their wealth. Since the sister was minor, he made sure she was cared for and then gave away all his portion of the inheritance to the poor and went into the desert to live the life of asceticism. St. Anthony had taken to heart the words of the Lord: "...sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me" (Mark 10:21). St. Anthony's life is a great example of Christian stewardship. There will be a luncheon, following the Divine Liturgy and literature explaining Christian Stewardship as well as forms to complete and return to St. Anthony's Stewardship Committee. Please join us and support our Church. Thank you and God bless you during the New Year and always.

2000 Statistical Report
Baptisms 21
Funerals 5
Chrismations 2
Weddings 7 (Greek Orthodox 2, Mixed 5)

Sacraments and Holy Services
Baptisms
Mary Elizabeth, daughter of David R. and Elizabeth M. Woods, on Saturday, November 11, 2000. Godparent: Elizabeth K. Haralambos.

Daniel Robert, son of David R. and Elizabeth M. Woods, on Saturday, November 11, 2000. Godparent: Elizabeth K. Haralambos.

Kyra Kristin, daughter of Laki T. and Tara A. Tisopoulos, on Saturday, December 2, 2000. Godparent: George Spanos.

Sophia Jane, daughter of Ian D. and Iris Kaminsky, on Saturday, December 2, 2000. Godparents: Craig and Chrysa Brothers.

Alexa Christina, daughter of Peter D. and Athena Bravos, on Saturday, December 2, 2000. Godparents: Jim and Tanya Christodoulelis.

Weddings
Richard Matthew A. Rosenberg and Angeliki Penelope Giakas on Saturday, October 14, 2000. Witness: Paula Darlas.

George Crosby, III and Jaime Pappas on Saturday, October 28, 2000. Best man: Peter J. Pappas.

Jan Arne P. Bjorknert and Vicky Antigoni Tarazi on Saturday, November 11, 2000. Best man: Fredrik Cavali.

Funeral
Sue Parks of Arcadia, CA on November 25, 2000. Sue was a dedicated member and a great supporter of our Church. Her conversion to Orthodoxy brought her closer to the life of St. Anthony's Church. We will always remember her profound and strong faith and her kindness and generosity. May the Lord grant rest to her soul. Eternal be her memory.

Acknowledgments
We wish to acknowledge the generosity and their services of the following faithful members of St. Anthony's Church: the brothers, Gus, Tom and Arry Pastis and their families for donating the Icon of Holy Forty Martyrs in memory of their beloved parents, Steve and Pana Pastis. Panagiotis Katsenis and daughter, Katherine for donating the Icon of St. Panteleimon in memory of his beloved wife, Ardath Mary Katsenis. St. Anthony's parishioners who donate every Sunday to Philoptochos Coffee Hour for enabling our Church to obtain the Icon of the Presentation of the Lord (Hypapanti). Gus and Judith Christopoulos, sons Thomas, James and Anthony and families for donating the Icon of The Transfiguration of the Lord in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Florence Stefanovic, and for opening their gracious home to the IOCC charities on October 15, 2000 and for the Mount Athos Digital Library and Preservation Project on November 30, 2000. Helen Bonorris, Litsa Vagenas and Sofia Vagenas for preparing the prosforon for the Church, Fani Kritsiligou (from Greece) who sends us every year all the incense we use in our Church. Frank and Penelope Burkard and their family, owners of Burkard Nurseries of Pasadena for their continuous generosity to donate to our Church every year the most beautiful Christmas trees. Aliki Haralambos for donating the communion wine and polishing and cleaning all the utencils of the Holy Altar. Presvytera Maria Mylonas for cleaning and preparing the communion clothes and sewing covers for the Holy Altar. St. Anthony's Ladies Philoptochos Society for generously donating to paint the Holy Altar by Peter Moutzouridis, who did an excellent job. Many thanks and deep appreciation to all these people and all the generous supporters of St. Anthony's ministries. May God bless you abundantly.

Elections for Parish Council members
Parish Council elections took place on Sunday, December 3, 2000 following Divine Liturgy. To the Parish Council were reelected the following: Sophia Angelos, Dan Bozikis, and Charles Christodulelis. Zacharias Vorgias and Pantele Xanthos, former members of the Parish Council and past presidents also elected. We congratulate them and wish a fruitful term as Parish Council members for the glory of the Almighty God and the mission of His Church. The 2001 Parish Council will also include the following: Irene Albeck, John Buzas, Dean Efstathiou, Joanna Koulos, Anthia Lucas, Arry Pastis, Ellie Polychronis, Theodore Vavoulis, and Nick Vayos. Appreciation and many thanks to the outgoing members of the Parish Council, Modesto Kefalas and Stephanie Soewers for their fathful services. George Treantafelles resigned from the Parish Council. We thank him extend our appreciation for his many years of faithful services to the Church. The elections will be valid after they will be ratified by His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony in accordance with the Constitution of our Church.

We extend our congratulations to Lenore Trigonis who is appointed by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios to serve on the National Board of Philoptochos.

Please Save the dates AHEPA Hellenic Float 2001 "Birthplace of Democracy" will be ready for the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on January 1, 2001. Your personal support is vital. Please send your contribution to: AHEPA Hellenic Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 305, Van Nuys, CA 91408-0305.

Tournament of Roses Parade Float Preview Night at the Rose Palace will take place on Wednesday December 27, 2000. Tours held 5:00 - 9:00 pm. Special event raffle at 9:30 pm. Phoenix Decorating, 835 S. Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105. Donation: $35 per person.

Sunday, January 21, 2001 at 3:00 p.m. Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at St. Vincet's Roman Catholic Church, Adams and Figueroa in Los Angeles. Sponsored by Southern California Ecumenical Council, (626) 578-6371.

Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will honor The National Philoptochos Society on the occasion of their 70th Anniversary. Save the date: Saturday, January 27, 2001 at Terrace On The Park in Flushing Meadow Park, 111th Street and 52nd Avenue, Queens, New York. For information call: (212)744-4390.

Philoptochos Society of St. Sophia Cathedral 44th Debutante Presentation Ball on Saturday, February 3, 2001 at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. For information call St. Sophia Cathedral at (323) 737-2424.

Ground breaking services for the Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Cemetery at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, CA will be held on Sunday, February 4, 2001. His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony will officiate.

The 25th Annual Greek Folk Dance Festival will take place on February 15 - 19, 2001 in Pasadena.

Our Pente will take place on Saturday, February 24, 2001 at Hilton Pasadena Hotel. Brian and Pana Louise Gelt will co-chair the event. They have the experience and the will to work to achieve another great Pente. They need all our support.