Members of the church council. From left to right: Steven Bandalos, Despina Mattou, Dimitris Nikitopoulos, Evangelos Delbizo, Nikolaos Inglessas, Despina Smol, Dimitris Orfanitopoulos. Photo by Michael Kakias/Ethnikos Kirikas
HOLMDEL, NEW JERSEY – With devotion and the attendance of many people, the Assumption of Virgin Mary was celebrated on August 15, in the celebrant church in the city of Holmdel, New Jersey.
In his speech, the head priest of the church, Fr. Panagiotis Lekkas, referred to the life of Virgin Mary, the only being, as he said, after the Holy Trinity, who in the Orthodox Church is honored with the greatest honors of all the saints of our Church.
“When the time came to end her earthly life, an angel made it known to her three days before. The joy of the Virgin Mary was great, because she would meet her only begotten Son and God of all people. So, she went and prayed on the Mount of Olives, where the Lord Jesus used to pray. She then returned to John’s house, where she made known her impending dormition. When her dormition occurred, with psalms and hymns she was placed in the tomb at Gethsemane. After three days, they opened the tomb and were surprised to find that the Virgin Mary was physically resurrected and ascended to heaven. I wish that the Virgin Mary will enlighten all of us to walk towards Him, as well as our Church for the salvation of our souls by being a protector, helper, supporter, and guide in the spiritual journey to the kingdom of heaven,” he said.
The vice-president of the church council, Nicholas Englisis, thanked the attendees for their presence through Ethnikos Kirikas.
“We have about 400 families, an excellent Greek School, a Sunday School, sports programs, youth classes, scouting, AHEPA, Philoptochos, and above all an excellent spiritual father, Fr. Panagiotis Lekkas, to whom we wish a happy birthday and regards for today’s name day,” he said.
The former president of the Philoptochos, Sherrol Kerasto, said that the association consists of 50 members who always willingly and joyfully help the church of the Dormition and all those in need, and wished that the Virgin Mary would protect and guide all her people.
The Greek school teacher, Eugenia Manika, referred to the enthusiasm for the return of students back to classes in September after two difficult years due to the pandemic.
“Our school has 70 students and five teachers, who give their soul for the progress of the children. We have the full support of the community, the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey, and the Education Office of the Holy Archdiocese,” she stated.
Salome Charalambous-Horvath, the teacher of the Sunday school and a member of the church since 1982, said that 200 children from kindergarten to the 12th grade attend classes every Sunday, with the school opening at the end of September and closing in May.
The chanter of the parish, Theodoros Aspiotis, wished health and prosperity to everyone and for the Virgin Mary to pray for all.
THESSALONIKI – The enthronement of the new Metropolitan Philotheos of Thessaloniki, took place in the sacred Cathedral of Aghia Sophia in Thessaloniki in the presence of His Beatitude Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos, a multitude of hierarchs, a delegation from Mount Athos, representatives of military authorities, politicians, and a multitude of faithful.
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