His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, assisted by numerous priests, presided over the Great Vespers celebrating the Feast Day of St. Andrew at the eponymous church in Randolph, NJ. Photo: TNH/ Michalis Kakias
RANDOLPH, NJ – The celebration of the Feast Day of St Andrew began with the Great Vespers, presided over by His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, assisted by many priests, on November 29, at St Andrew Greek Orthodox Church in Randolph.
In his sermon, Bishop Apostolos referred to the life of St. Andrew, whom he described as one of the leading Apostles of Christ because he took on the responsibility of teaching and proclaiming the truth of the Gospel.
As he put it, “he was the first to be called by Christ to become an Apostle, which is why in the Orthodox tradition he is known as Protoklitos, the ‘First Called.’”
“St. Andrew is the patron saint of many cities in Greece and Cyprus and the founder of the only Church in the world, that of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, where the lighthouse of Orthodoxy is,” His Grace continued. “Today, we turn our thoughts and prayers to our Ecumenical Patriarch, to His All-Holiness Bartholomew, and to all the hierarchs and priests who serve this great Church.
“Saint Andrew heals many people every day and whoever invokes his name will receive his help. His name means bravery, he is the saint who gives strength, so in difficult situations look for him and he will always be by your side,” Bishop Apostolos said, concluding with his best wishes for many, blessed years for all those present.
Presiding priest of the community Fr. John Theodosion spoke to The National Herald, thanking His Grace Bishop Apostolos and all the priests who participated in the services at St. Andrew Church and wished the Greek Diaspora all the best for the community’s feast day.
Parish Council President Steven Mitrakos told TNH that St. Andrew Church is a very lively and constantly growing community. “Our Church consists of 450 members, and the numbers are constantly growing. Next year, with God’s help, we will celebrate the community’s 60th anniversary,” he said.
“We have a very good Greek school, Sunday School, GOYA, HOPE, JOY, Philoptochos, Byzantine choir, AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Parents’ Association, Greek dance division, and the Little Angels program,” Mitrakos continued. “The parents association consists of 100 families in the Greek and Sunday Schools.”
“They help organize events for the national and religious holidays, organize entertainment programs such as children’s night, excursions, and the Carnival dance party,” he told TNH. “In the GOYA program there are youngsters from 12 to 18 years old who participate in a series of events, religious, social and sports-related, including dance performances, volleyball, and basketball teams. We all work together and love each other for the good and progress of our Church.”
Philoptochos Society President Mary Michailidis, referred to the great social work performed by the association with 120 members, contributing material and moral help to fellow human beings in need, the poor, the homeless, the prisoners, while always helping the church in all events.
Maro Nicolaou Schuster, head of the Sunday School, told TNH that the students, aged 3 to 18, are taught the values of Hellenism and Orthodoxy every Sunday.
AHEPA Past Supreme President Andrew Zachariades, celebrating his own name day, wished all those the celebrating, as well as the entire Greek community, health, joy, and all the best.
Finally, it should be noted that immediately after the Divine Liturgy, the Philoptochos Society served a meal to all those present in the community hall.
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