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Church

Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and Nigrita Praises the Greek-American Community

February 25, 2024

BOSTON – His Eminence Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and Nigrita, one of the most esteemed hierarchs of the new generation of the Church of Greece, with a profound, composed, yet outspoken speaking matter, literally ‘worships’ the Greek -American Community, which he characterized as “a living and luminous Greece outside Greece” in an interview with The National Herald.

He also spoke about the law regarding same-sex marriage, which had just been voted on in the Greek Parliament, the problems facing the people of Serres, and the issue of ‘Gerontism’.

Specifically regarding our Greek-American Community, he said, “with much joy, but also emotion, on the occasion of this communication, I greet with love all our Greek brothers and sisters in America, especially those from Serres, who constitute a vibrant and luminous Greece outside Greece, sometimes with a more authentic and dynamic imprint, with admirable fidelity to our Greek-Christian tradition, with vision and dignity.

His Eminence Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and Nigrita officiates during the Divine Liturgy in one of the churches in his Metropolis. Photo provided by the Metropolis of Serres and Nigrita

I wish to convey, through the columns of your newspaper, the tender feelings of the motherland to all of you, who embody the continuity, vitality, and resilience of the Greek cell, which not only survives but also thrives even under difficult conditions. Fellow Greeks of America, do not forget our Greece. It is our common Fatherland and affectionate mother of us all. Remain steadfastly committed to the sacred poles [of our tradition] that bestow blessing, strength, continuity, perspective, beauty, uniqueness, and authenticity in our Heritage. Keep Christ and Greece in your hearts. Teach these things to your children. Above all, with your life. Thank you!”

TNH: What is the condition of the Metropolis of Serres and Nigrita and generally of the people of Serres in the new year?

Metropolitan Theologos: Firstly, dear Mr. Kalmoukos, I would like to thank you for your kind gesture to convey through your newspaper the testimony of the Church of Serres to the Greek American Community in the U.S.

Our local Church, as a spiritual force and warm supporter of every good deed, will continue to work for the benefit of the region and its people. It is a place with many possibilities, as it serves as the natural outlet from the Balkans and Northeastern Europe to the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe.

Let us not forget that Serres and its region are the birthplace of saints, heroes, and leading figures in the fields of spirituality, science, politics, and entrepreneurship at a national and global level. Our region is blessed in multiple ways: it possesses natural beauty, glorious history, rich culture, diverse opportunities, and above all, progressive, noble, and hardworking people. Unfortunately, the multiple crises of recent decades, the lack of creative vision, human errors in planning and implementing necessary development projects in the region have led to a series of serious problems, such as severe economic recession, demographic decline, the migration of mainly young people – both within and outside Greece – in search of better living conditions where their dreams and skills will be appreciated and utilized.

TNH: What are some of the burning questions that occupy your inner struggle for Greece and the world in general?

His Eminence Metropolitan Theologos of Serres and Nigrita welcomes visitors, giving them books as a blessing. Photo provided by the Metropolis of Serres and Nigrita

Metropolitan Theologos: Today, globally, conditions are emerging that highlight a way of life without God, without traditional and tested values, without rules and principles, without openness to heaven and the prospect of eternity. A lifestyle is being promoted, ostensibly progressive, appealing to the eyes, but essentially ineffective in providing perspective, peace, hope, joy, meaning, and the fragrance of life to the self-idolized human being. A new world is emerging today, strange, incomprehensible, contradictory, conflict-ridden, and sometimes dangerously self-destructive, with our participation or silent tolerance. Awakening, vigilance, struggle [must occur] to regain what sanctifies and beautifies human beings and their lives.

TNH: What is your opinion on same-sex marriage, which was just legalized in Greece? What do the people in your province tell you?

Metropolitan Theologos: The recent legislation by the Greek Parliament on ‘marriage’ and ‘parenthood’ by same-sex ‘couples’ has caused deep reflection in the conscience of many of our fellow citizens, including myself. Our Holy Orthodox Church, as a true bearer of love, as the Apostle Paul would tell us, does not follow the patterns of this world, does not co-govern or oppose, but only serves, guided by the holy Gospel and its Apostolic and Patristic tradition, the people of God. It nurtures and heals the whole person with the grace of God.

The sacred institution of the family with its three fundamental components (father, mother, children) is God-given and deeply rooted in the history and conscience of humanity. It was blessed by our Lord Himself through His personal presence and blessing at the Wedding in Cana, where He revealed that His will is for “lawful union and procreation” to occur.

Our Holy Church affirms and blesses only the sacred union of man and woman, the great mystery of Marriage, through which, by the divine blessing of mutual interpenetration, the conducive conditions for the maturation and sanctification of man are created, serving the best interests of children. This teaching of our Church is an uncompromising position of consistency, responsibility, and love. For this very essential reason, the entire Sacred Body of the Bishops of our Church expressed, unanimously and synodically, their categorical opposition to the said Law. Those who proposed it and those who consented to it bear exclusive responsibility.

TNH: How do you view this phenomenon of ‘Gerontism’? Greece is filled with ‘Gerons’, with their prophecies and predictions, processions of icons, relics, and even a chestnut?

Metropolitan Theologos: All of us, who have been mercifully appointed by the holy God to serve in His sacred vineyard, must work with genuine ecclesiastical wisdom and humility. Humility primarily engenders and ensures the fruitfulness of all our spiritual efforts. The Church, as “Christ extended throughout the ages,” possesses charismatically the blessing, experience, and authority that guarantee the faithful person a secure spiritual journey and salvation. The ministers of the sacred function of spiritual Gerontism should always have before their eyes the crucial and ever-relevant question raised by the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians: “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?” (1 Corinthians 1:13).

Our work should be to always and only show Christ, through deeds and words. We should become living signposts leading people to Christ, as Saint Paisios would say. Only He saves!

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