Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What does the Garden of Eden Symbolise?

“We read in the book of Genesis that God, when he had created man, planted a garden for his pleasure, a most beautiful garden in Eden, and settled him there. The image of the garden in all Middle Eastern religions functions as a symbol of ideal happiness – perhaps in contrast with the aridity and the bareness of the deserts which abound in these regions. Certainly, the drought of the desert is a symbol of death, while the rivers which irrigate the Garden of Eden and the wealth of vegetation which adorn it give the picture of fullness of life”[1]

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.75

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Greek Islands - A Wonderful Summer Destination!

Every summer we ask the same questions? Where to go to have a wonderful holiday? Where can I find beautiful beaches, sun, food, friends, people? Below is a beautiful video which shows the magical Greek Islands. If your not sure where to go this summer, you can choose any of the 1.500 Greek islands. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Monastery of the Virgin Mary Girokomitissa – Patra

The Monastery of the Virgin Mary Girokomitissa (which is the Greek word for home for the elderly) was founded in the 10th century A.D., just outside of Patra (the third largest city in Greece, located in the Peloponnese). The area has taken the name from the monastery and hence it is called Girikomeio. It is believed that the monastery, during the Byzantine era had under its auspices a home for the elderly. The monastery is built above the ancient ruins of the Temple of Artemis and that is why the Katholikon (i.e. the main Church) is dedicated to St. Artemios. 

During the Ottoman period, where Greece was under Turkish rule for 400 years, the monastery was the See of the Metropolis of Patra. Unfortunately, the monastery was burnt by Turks and Albanians in 1770 and by the Turks during the Independence struggle against the Ottoman Empire (1821). In 1943, the monks where exiled from the monastery by the Germans, moving them to the monastery of Mpala. 

A feature which is easily evident to the visitor is that the monastery has many water fountains and springs which come straight from the mountain, attracting the locals, who come to fill their bottles with cold mountain water. 

Upon entering the premises of the monastery, the visitor comes across a small chapel, with an interesting story. There, in the main wall on the interior of the chapel we find an interesting icon – plaque of the Virgin Mary. On the 2nd of May 1969 two young kids, around 9 years old, where in the garden of the monastery, outside of the Katholikon. They both saw a bright light coming towards them. The light ended up on the floor, where the image of the Theotokos was imprinted. This image (icon) was later taken and placed within the chapel, showing that miracles still happen in our time.   

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Foundation of Orthodoxy

Fr. Dumitru Staniloae explains in his book, Orthodoxy, Life in the Resurrection, the importance of the Resurrection for the Orthodox Church, stating that:

“The deepest foundation of the hope and joy which characterise Orthodoxy and which penetrate all its worship is the Resurrection. Easter, the centre of Orthodox worship, is an explosion of joy, the same joy which the disciples felt when they saw the risen Saviour. It is the explosion of cosmic joy at the triumph of life, after the overwhelming sorrow over death – death which even the Lord of life had to suffer when he became man. ‘Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult, and let all the world invisible and visible jeep holiday, for Christ our eternal joy is risen’ All things are now filled with the certainty of life, whereas before all had been moving steadily towards death. Orthodoxy emphasises with special insistence the faith of Christianity in the triumph of life”.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Easter Gospel in Homeric Greek

Every year, on Easter Sunday, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Vespers of Love, where we read John’s Gospel in many languages and dialects, in order to show the unity between the peoples of all backgrounds. One of the most famous dialects used during this service is Homeric Greek. Below is a video with the Homeric Greek Gospel, chanted in a unique and beautiful manner. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Christ’s Resurrected Body

How will our bodies be when we are again resurrected, after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? This is a question many have, when speaking about the future, our future life in the Kingdom of Heaven. However, we can find the answer, when looking at our Lord. How was his human body after the Resurrection? Christo Yannaras gives an interesting answer to the above question.

“The body of the risen Christ is the human nature free from every limitation and every need. It is a human body with flesh and bones, but which does not draw life from its biological functions, but is hypostasized in a real existence thanks to the personal relationship with God which alone constitutes it and gives it life”[1].
Therefore, we understand that a life in communion with God will give us a new body, a new existence. Theosis, when achieved will give us the opportunity to live with God in a renewed existence.

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.116

Monday, April 21, 2014

MY FIRST BOOK – The Aegean Sea Dispute Between Greece and Turkey, The Consequences for NATO and the EU

I am proud to announce that my first book is out. The title is The Aegean Sea Dispute Between Greece and Turkey, The Consequences for NATO and the EU, (London, Akakia Publications, 2014). The Aegean dispute between Greece and Turkey is a persistent problem between the two allied states. Difference of interpretation of the treaties has contributed in the prevalence of the argument. This dispute consists of five key issues. Greece only accepts one, namely the delimitation of the continental shelf. However, Turkey has introduced and has persisted on the other four, which are the delimitation of the territorial seas, the national airspace and FIR controls over the Aegean Sea, the demilitarization of the Eastern Aegean Islands and finally the disputed islands, islets and rocks which have presented the grey zones issue. All of these matters have persisted for so long, especially after the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 where the current status quo in the Aegean was introduced, due to economic, political and strategic reasons.

                The Aegean dispute does not only have consequences for Greece and Turkey; it also affects, negatively, NATO and the European Union. This is an ongoing problem, which if not solved it will produce future problems, not only for the two states, but also for NATO and the EU. A third party may be needed in order to assist in finding a just and permanent solution concerning this dispute, since Greece and Turkey seem incapable of solving this dispute by themselves.
                This book is based on a thesis, which was submitted to the University of London, Queen Mary, for the MA in International Relations, 2010. Since then the Aegean Sea dispute has remained unchanged for both Greece and Turkey. However, the current form of the text has altered, due to a number of new information. Unfortunately, a solution to this significant matter has yet to be found.
The book is available as an e-Book (PDF, EPUB, MOBI) and in a printed format (paperback). Whoever is interested in buying the book please follow the links below:

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Clement of Rome on the Resurrection of Christ

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! These are the words with which we greet each other for 40 days after Easter. We identify that God continually shows us in nature that there will be a resurrection. St. Clement of Rome comments on this important topic First Epistle to the Corinthians (Chapter XXIV):

“Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day again departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits of the earth, how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, through dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of this dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit”.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jesus in Hades for three days

In the Bible we hear Jesus claim that he will be in the underworld for three days. However, when we celebrate this reality during Holy Week we identify that it is actually 1 day. How, then, do we explain this? 

Jesus Christ was on the cross on Holy Friday, between 1-3 pm, when there was still light. During the 6th - 9th   hours there was darkness, i.e. between 3-6 pm. After the 9th hour we have day again. The following day we have Saturday and on Holy Saturday night we have Christ’s Resurrection. Thus, analytically we have the following exegesis:
Holy Friday, 1-3 pm         First Day
Holy Friday, 3-6 pm         First Night
Holy Friday, 6-9 pm,        Second Day
Holy Friday, night            Second Night
Holy Saturday, day           Third Day
Holy Saturday, night        Third Night, where we have the Resurrection of the Son of God

Friday, April 18, 2014

Epitafios in London 2014

Greek Orthodox Cathedral of All Saints, Camden Town

 Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Michael, Golders Green

 St. Panteleimon and St. Paraskevi Orthodox Church, Harrow