BOSTON – Holy Week at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology Theological School highlights the intense liturgical life that is manifested in the seminary chapel. All the services are celebrated according to the traditions and order of the Holy and Great Church of Christ, coordinated by the learned and experienced Chaplain V. Rev. Archimandrite Fr. Athenagoras Ziliaskopoulos, who was recently appointed by Archbishop Elpidophoros Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod.
In an interview with The National Herald, Fr. Ziliaskopoulos emphasized that the atmosphere at the Seminary has changed and stressed that "our beloved School is now experiencing its own ‘light and resurrection.’"
When asked about this year's Holy Week at the Seminary, he said that, "after the really difficult year we all went through due to the pandemic, and despite the fact that the gates of our School remain closed, this Holy Week is special. This year's Easter is both familiar and different. A small number of students, about twenty, married and unmarried, gather and surround the altar and the chanters’ stand.”
Fr. Athenagoras noted that, “the responsibility and weight falls on a few but the love for ministry in the Church makes everything light and beautiful. We do not have the pressure and fear we had last year. All of us who live on campus can participate. We feel like we are a family. We experience simply but as spiritually as possible the path towards Golgotha and Resurrection. We miss of course our fellow priests, teachers, seminarians, and students but we feel their love and prayers surrounding us."
Describing the liturgical life in the School, he said: "In the morning we pray the Ninth Hour and the pre-sanctified Divine Liturgy and in the evening the Orthros service. Scheduled this week are the Divine Liturgy on Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday, the Apokathelosis, the Lamentations, and the procession of the Epitaphios on Good Friday, and of course the service of the Resurrection.
“We will continue with the Vespers and the Agape Service on Easter Sunday and for Bright Week we plan to have daily Liturgies, Orthros and Vespers. All the services are livestreamed on the HCHC Youtube channel.”
Regarding the participation of married students living on campus, Fr. Athenagoras said that, "all students who chose to stay in the School these days and have no external obligations, actively participate – the married ones with their spouses and families – in the services and ministries of Holy Week. It is also very beautiful that everyone willingly helps in the cleaning and decoration of the Chapel. A special note and joy is given by the presence of the children who participate in the services.”
He added that, "due to the ongoing pandemic, our School remains closed this year for Holy Week visitors. We ask for everyone's understanding and we hope that, with God's help, our School will soon reopen its gates wide.”
Regarding the message to the Community that the School is sending this Easter, Fr. Athenagoras underlined that, “Hellenic College and Holy Cross School of Theology, in their recent past, underwent their own Golgotha. They lifted a heavy cross. The infinite mercy of God, the fervent wish of the First of Orthodoxy” – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew – “the tireless patient struggle of our Archbishop, the all-wise administration of our president Mr. Cantonis and his associates, the fruitful coordinated efforts of the deans, the professors, the students, the Board members, and of all the donors, and of course the invaluable [financial] support of the Greek Government, brought the resurrection. Our favorite School is now experiencing ‘light and resurrection.’ It thus sends its own message to all who are in pain and suffering and struggle: sisters and brothers, do not be discouraged. Walk with patience and faith. The cross may seem heavy for a while, but behind every cross you can see the light of the Resurrection."