Monthly Newsletter - Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

February 2014
The individual depicted in the
center icon is Seraphim of Sarov, a
famous 18th century Russian saint
who achieved a lifelong intimacy
with God. It was St. Seraphim who
said that the whole purpose of the
Christian life was to acquire the Holy
Spirit. What a very beautiful and
very Orthodox thing to say. As you
have heard me say many times
before, the goal of Orthodoxy has
always been the deification of man,
or to put it in the words of the Apostle
Peter, to become “partakers of
Divine Nature.” As St.
Athanasios further stated, “God
became man so that man might
become god.” With this in mind,
the aim of prayer for the pious
and Orthodox Christian is first
and foremost to achieve
intimacy and even union with
Christ. Again and again, Christ
is not the answer to our needs—
He is our need. He is that which
is truly sought for.
If we are proceeding from
this phronema (paradigm or
mindset) then that which we
pray for will revolve around
heavenly things and not earthly
things. It will not revolve
around the fulfilling of our passions
and lusts, but rather for the healing
of those passions, because it is these
very passions that prevent us from
attaining the goal of Orthodoxy,
which again is ‘theosis’ or union with
St. Cyprian, a third century Bishop
of the Early Church said, “I used to be
held down by the errors of my
previous life, from which I did not
believe I could possibly be delivered.
I used to think my passions were
actually parts of me, and belonged to
What are the passions? By the
“passions,” Orthodox writers do not
mean simply lust and anger.
Traditionally the passions are
classified into eight “demons” or evil
thoughts: gluttony, lust, avarice,
sorrow, anger, listlessness (or
depression), vainglory and pride. All
eight spring from the same root: selflove. Bishop Kallistos Ware writes,
“No one can hope to ascend the
ladder of prayer unless he engages in
a bitter and persistent struggle
against the passions.”
It’s almost pitiful, because we often
not only fail to acknowledge our
passions (let alone go to battle against
them) but we often even use prayer
as a means to fulfill them! St. James
the Adelfotheos (brother of the Lord)
wrote in his Epistle, “Where do all the
fights and quarrels among you come
from? They come from your desires
for pleasure, which are constantly
fighting within you.
You lust and do not have, so you
are ready to kill; you strongly desire
things, but you cannot get them, so
you quarrel and fight. You do not
have because you do not ask. You ask
and do not receive, because you ask
amiss, that you may spend it on your
Most passions begin as normal,
ordinary feelings which soon get out
of control. One Orthodox Christian
psychologist wrote, “loving normal and given to us by
God...but when that normal self-love
becomes excessive, it gets completely
unreasonable and uncontrollable.”
Let me give you one example:
rather than enjoying a simple meal,
we instead will eat until we get sick
or fat, and drink until we get drunk.
St. Clement of Alexandria put it
beautifully, “passion is an excessive
feeling or appetite, going beyond
what is reasonable. Passions are a
disturbance of our soul
contrary to our nature, in
disobedience to reason.
Passion is not natural, and it
ruins our nature instead of
fulfilling it.”
The passions keep us from
being our true selves, and
unfortunately we have become
masters at avoiding a
confrontation with the real
person that we are. This is why
the pious and Orthodox
Christian must busy himself
not so much with the blessings
of God, but rather with the
acquisition of God; not for the
fulfillment of his passions, but
rather for the release from
their tyranny over him, and finally
not so much in rejoicing over
‘answered prayer’ for perceived
earthly delights, but rather in finding
joy in the heavenly delight and
fulfillment in the simple pleasures of
Let me conclude with some examples
of prayer that demonstrate the
phronema or mind of the Church
concerning itself with the appropriate
aim of our prayer—one from the
Lord, one from a saint and another
from a blind beggar:
First let us consider the greatest
prayer of all, the Lord’s Prayer, in it,
besides giving due glory to God
(“hallowed be Thy name’), we are
–continued on page 2
Winter Youth Rally 2013 proved to be another BIG
success for Holy Trinity Raleigh. With 41 GOYAN youths
attending, the largest group in the history of Holy Trinity
Raleigh, we were also able to field two girls volleyball
teams, two boys basketball teams and two bible bowl
teams. In typical Raleigh fashion, Holy Trinity was well
represented on and off the courts with a great group of
Goyans (and advisors) while also bringing home some
more hardware for the trophy case. Arriving on a Friday,
there were ice breaker socials that night, games all day
Saturday, Bible Bowl and a dance featuring American
music. Sunday was followed by more games during the
day, Bible Bowl finals and a Glendi dance that
Our Jr. Boys team won one game then lost two games;
night. Both Boys Basketball teams played hard.
The Sr. Boys won one game as well, an overwhelmingly
big win over Birmingham which fielded a team with 7
seniors, and lost two games, including a close game that
was lost at the buzzer. Girls Volleyball fielded a Jr. Team
and Sr. team both playing well, with our Sr. Girls going
completely undefeated and winning the Championship
in Volleyball; Bible Bowl team as well fielded two
talented teams, with one team going all the way to the
finals and coming home with a 2nd Place finish. We did
have to say good bye to four seniors this year as they
completed their last Goya WYR. Overall another
wonderful Winter Youth Rally and we are looking
forward to next year being even better and bigger!
-cont’d from page 1
asking on our behalf nothing that
involves or stirs up the passions
within us, only our ‘daily bread’ -in
other words that which is needful to
sustain ourselves. We are also
asking for the forgiveness of our
sins (‘forgive us our trespasses’) and
for the avoidance of the passions
that are too strong for us (‘lead us
not into temptation’).
The second prayer I would like
for you to consider is the great
Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim:
O Lord and Master of my life, cast
away from me a spirit of laziness,
despair, love of power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Your servant, the
spirit of chastity, humility, patience
and love (Prostration)
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to
see my own faults and not to judge
my brothers and sister. For You are
blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
This prayer only asks for the things that
will make him more pleasing and bring
him closer to the Lord, which is what he
A third prayer that the Church, in her
wisdom, has lifted up for all to consider,
comes from the lips of a poor, old, blind
beggarman who cries out to the Lord,
“Jesus...have mercy on me.” This ‘Jesus
Prayer’ (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy on me a sinner) is a prayer
used by Orthodox monks, nuns and lay
people alike to achieve unceasing prayer
of the heart and intimacy with the Savior
of the world.
The point, my friends, is that the very
notion of the ancient Christian faith has
deceptively been altered; man, not God,
has become the center of all things.
Prayer has become self-serving and even
worship services have come to resemble
the Tonight Show. Modern Christianity
has sought to make heaven on earth.
But this is not our true home. This life
is nothing but a preparation for the next
life. The Saints fled from wealth and
riches and the adoration of men. They
did not want their reward on this side of
life. Let us not become so attached or
impressed with all the earthly delights,
“where moth and rust destroy and
where thieves break in and steal.” Let
us instead seek for and pray for the
heavenly delights, “seeking first the
Kingdom of God.”
What is our hearts deepest desire? St.
Theophan the Recluse has said it well”
‘the greatest and most perfect thing a
man may desire to attain is to come near
to God and dwell in union with Him.”
May He be the true aim of all of our
prayers for He is surely the heart’s
deepest desire.
- Father Paul Christy
January 17 - 20, 2014—Orlando, FL
We made the best of our VERY long bus ride by sewing and
embroidering their newly made Macedonian costumes as well as making
custom shoes out of leather. On Saturday, the Owls performed a semifinal suite from the village of Flambouro in Serres, Macedonia followed
by their final suite from the island of Naxos. Saturday night we enjoyed
a Glendi at Hard Rock Live followed by the Awards Banquet on Sunday.
On Monday, we took advantage of our close proximity to Universal
Studios and made a bits to the islands of Adventure Park - our bus ride
home was much appreciated as we had plenty of time to sleep and
recuperate from a very busy HDF weekend. Next year's HDF will be
hosted in Charlotte, NC and the Athenian Owls are very excited to attend
- especially without a 10-hour bus ride!
Super Bowl Sunday, February 2
Please bring your donation of nonperishable food items to church.
SUNDAY, February 9
5:00 PM
If you wish to compete in the Chili Cook-Off,
please contact John Demos at
[email protected] or at 919.847.5335.
If you are not competing, please bring a side dish and/or some
drinks and enjoy a great evening of fellowship.
Treat your valentine with a
sweet treat home made by
the Ladies’ Philoptochos.
Items will be available for
purchase in the Hall during
coffee hour.
*Please wear RED to
increase awareness about
heart disease.
Happy New Year! Before we look to 2014, we thank you, our
entire Parish Family, for sharing your love and support with us as
we touched so many lives in 2013. Our commitments to the
National and Metropolis Philoptochos helped them to give over $600,000 and
$250,000 respectively to those in need and our own Chapter gave over $13,000 to
local organizations and individuals.
February 9
March 8
March 9
March 21-23
Sweets for your Sweet during coffee hour;
General Meeting following;
“GO-RED” Sunday in support of Heart Disease
Philoptochos Area Meeting
General Meeting following Liturgy
Guest speaker: Metropolis President, Dee Nicolaou
Diakonia Retreat
Presenter: Presbytera, Mary Christy
Capital Campaign Update:
Fr. Christodoulos enjoying a
conversation with Pota Vallas at the
Philoptochos Christmas party
2013 was a good year financially for our Capital Campaign for Phase
1 of our Master Plan. New pledges were made, pledge payments came
in and we received the beautiful gift from Ms. Tooze’s estate so that
our cash total reached $2,900,091.90 on December 31. We have
received 123 pledges for $2,508,069.66 and $1,427,105.92 has been
paid toward the pledged amount.
At our February 16 General Assembly we will have an update from the
Capital Campaign and building committee, discussing overall progress
and next steps. This will be a meeting to inform the community on where we are, and to address any questions there
may be. We will cover status from discussions with the City of Raleigh and NC Dept. of Transportation, and the
opportunities these discussions have opened up for us. We will be calling for a vote of support for the next steps
which will be proposed
Membership Drive
Going on Now
Love of Church
St. Basil Academy
International Orthodox
Christian Charities
Holy Cross Theological
Clergy Education
Orthodox Christian
Mission Center
Orthodox Christian
Little Marie-Neige Idoura
enjoys a refreshing drink of
Holy water, as Father Paul,
blesses their home.
St Michael’s Home for
the Elderly
Lenten Lectures
Love of Neighbor
Pretty In Pink
Children’s Medical Fund
Alliance Medical Ministry
Interact of Wake County
Duke and UNC Children’s
Juvenile Diabetes
Needy Family Funds
NC Autism Society
Disaster Relief
Raleigh Rescue Mission
We are thankful to serve a growing number of students in the Sunday School. Religious
instruction is an extension of Liturgical Worship. It deepens our knowledge of the
Orthodox faith and prepares us to become active participants in the Church.
We continue to refine and broaden our curriculum and, along with this, are adding
new teachers, new materials, and increasing the use of technology in the classroom. A
Hymnology musical program for the elementary grade students was introduced this
year. Under the direction of Maria and Elia Nicholas, we have assembled a Youth
Choir to perform during the Christmas Pageant and eventually to begin singing along
with the Adult Choir during the Liturgy on Youth Sundays.
The Paschal season is upon us and related programs are underway starting with the
2014 St John Chrysostom Oratorical Festival (Junior and Senior Divisions grades 7-12) scheduled for March 2.
The Elementary Division Oratorical for students in grades 4 – 6 and special presentations by the students in PreK through third grade will take place beginning mid-March. In addition, several initiatives are being planned to
involve parents and students directly in Lenten and Holy Week worship. Students in grades 6 through 12 will be
assigned to read or otherwise participate directly in Lenten and Holy Week worship and students in grades 3
through 6 will be issued “passports” to record their participation in these services. Parent volunteers will be
solicited to help plan a retreat for Good Friday and assemble our students for Palm making on the Saturday of
Registration for the 2014/15 Sunday year will begin on March 3.
Registration for the remainder of this year and for the 2014-15 school year
are underway. We have several families in the parish whose children are
eligible to enroll in our program. The goal is to serve every preschool
aged child in the parish If you plan to enroll your child in Preschool,
consider who you wish to have teach and lead your child, the values that
will be imparted, and the relationships that will be forged. Every child of
this parish should have the opportunity to grow and develop under the
care and direction of their own Orthodox parish family. There will be an
Open House daily from 9:30 am -11:30 am, February 3-6, 2014.
**Register early for preferred classroom assignment and rate.**
Our curriculum is aligned with North Carolina Early Childhood Education
Standards and the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for Kindergarten/
First Grade. Holy Trinity Weekday School employs an exceptional staff of
experienced, degreed teachers and
early childhood development
professionals and is licensed by the the
State of North Carolina. For more
information on Holy Trinity Weekday
School contact Betsy Higgins at 919846-8171 or email
[email protected]
PARISH “SPECIAL” GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Sunday, February 16, 2014
AN OFFICIAL NOTICE to all Holy Trinity Parishioners. Everyone is invited to attend the next Parish “Special” General
Assembly, Sunday, February 16, 2014.
The Parish “Special” General Assembly will include:
According to Parish By-Laws, ARTICLE IV. MEMBERSHIP
A person will be considered in good standing and eligible to vote in the first quarter of the calendar year if he or she has
returned a completed stewardship pledge card and has completed his or her previous years pledge.
TO VOTE IN THE February 16 SPECIAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, you must complete a 2014 Stewardship Form and
have completed your 2013 pledge.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Minutes of the General Assembly
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Those in attendance: Attendance sign-up sheet posted for parishioners in good standing to qualify for voting. Quorum is present.
Meeting called to order at 12:20 pm by Meeting Chairman Mark Langford. Fr. Paul led us in an opening prayer.
Approval of the Minutes: (posted in October HT Newsletter) from last General Assembly of Sunday, July 14 th, 2013. Minutes reported by
Meg Economy. Motion to approve was made by John Demos, seconded by Harry Nicholos. Majority approved, motion carried.
Treasurer’s Report presented by David Ford, referred to the overview P&L statement for September, and summary at the end of the third
quarter (attached). He shared that the balance sheet included Festival funds prior to transfer, and that the YTD net income is slightly under
$5,000.00. With the goal to finish the year in the black, Holy Trinity is in a good position to achieve that goal. David also reported that the
operating fund remains in good shape so far. A motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report was made by Connie Kledaras, seconded by
Emma Paradeses. Majority approved, motion carried.
David Ford reported on the 2014 Proposed Budget, showing the Ministries inclusion going forward, as well as the reserve amount listed at
the end of the document. There was some discussion on line items. A note was made that the Ministries funds are lower temporarily for
2014 in order to utilize the funds held in the liability account. Those numbers will be adjusted up for the 2015 budget. Questions were
posed regarding line items for “Support a Mission Priest” and “Selective Ministries,” which should have been included at $600.00/annually.
Elaine Noulis made a motion to amend the proposed budget, to include this line item of $600.00, seconded by Becky Raguzeos. Some
discussion followed on stewardship numbers being reduced by 5%, though it is anticipated this number will continue to grow in the coming
year. Some discussion also on lowering projected stewardship/budget numbers, but actual numbers were not available for the discussion.
Enthusiastic comments were made in support of Father Paul, and he directed the focus toward growing the church. Although St. Anthony’s
Ministry is self-sustaining, Toula made a motion to add a small line item of $500.00 for working capital, seconded by Rose Marie Connell.
It was affirmed that unused funds would not carry over into the coming year. John Demos made a motion to approve the 2014 Budget with
the 2 suggested amendments. Don McEnteer seconded the motion. Some discussion followed on staff raises based upon annual
performance reviews, which are currently in place. Majority approved, and the motion carried.
Harry Costa reported on the 2013 Festival, and included thanks to all the committees and volunteers for our 27 th year of successful
festivals. He specifically thanked Penny Gallins for excellent support. The festival has been a tremendous fund raiser for Holy Trinity, and
we should keep up the good work in the coming years. Harry was given a standing ovation for his leadership.
John Demos reported positively on Stewardship, with notes showing 295 families pledging this year, for a total $366,607.00 pledged. This
is an overall increase of 10% from 2012 ($338,969.00) and from 2011 ($314,543.00). The 2014 Stewardship kick-off, “A Rich Man is not
one who has much, but one who gives much,” is scheduled for Sunday, November 24th. John requested that everyone pick up their
stewardship packets today, to be submitted by the 24 th. The goal is 100% participation.
Bylaws Review reported on by David Ford, stating that we will need a new chair to oversee the revision process, since our revised bylaws
were not accepted by the Metropolis. This process will renew the first of 2014.
David Ford reported on the status of the Tooze Estate. He reviewed the sale of the townhome, with the estate due to settle the end of
2013. To date, David reports our receipt of $831,124.02 from this most generous bequest. The Parish Council proposes that we transfer the
funds entirely to the Capital Campaign. A motion was made by Harry Kledaras to direct the funds to Phase One of the Capital
Minutes of the General Assembly
Sunday, November 13, 2013
Page 2
Campaign, seconded by Katarina Knezevic. Some discussion followed on directing funds toward building a multi-purpose space to support our
Ministries. Mark brought the discussion back to the status of our Capital Campaign, which was voted on by previous General Assembly. He
called for a vote on the motion, the majority approved, and the motion carried.
George Pappas spoke to the Master Plan of the Capital Campaign, and commented that the committees continue to work hard for our future.
We’re seeing significant results in financial commitments, showing that we’re close to $3 million in cash received, with additional pledges of
$1,600,000.00 committed to be paid in the coming years. So we have roughly $4 million now in funds available. The campaign executive
committee had a due-diligence meeting with the city recently. George spoke to the role of the building oversight committee (consisting of
Chairman Chris Pappas and members Harry Costa, Steve Serletis, Catherine Fallis, Jimmy Nixon, Dean Economy and John Fakiris). He
discussed the relationship of the potential building site to the widening of Lead Mine Road and possible changes to French Drive, routing traffic
through the Inman Park neighborhood. There was some discussion on the process of due diligence activity ahead, including borings for the entire
site, and alternative building plans.
Tamara Costa asked for Nominations for Parish Council for 2014. She explained the criteria for elections, and listed councilors who are going
off this year, as well as those eligible to run again. The following names were submitted for election to the Parish Council: 1) Harry Nicholos, 2)
John Fakiris, 3) George Pappas, 4) Joanna Biliouris, 5) Katerina Knezevic, 6) Frank Nixon, and 7) Sophia Myers. All accepted the nomination to
run for election. Harry Costa made a motion to close the nominations, seconded by Ernest Charles. Majority approved, motion carried.
Audit Committee members were solicited, to include Tom Mathes as Chairman, and members Dean Economy and Mary Wehbie. All approved,
motion carried.
Father Paul added thanks to all the committee chairs and volunteers for a tremendous effort this year. He shared that God will not forget the
work that each one does for the Church. He encouraged everyone to attend the Tsar’s Cabinet exhibit at the Museum of History, with Vespers
starting at 6:30 pm on Thursday night.
Old Business: Toula Capetanos spoke briefly about Founder’s Day.
New Business: Toula requested everyone support the upcoming Dessert & Dance Party scheduled for Saturday, February 1 st. The activity raised
$5000.00 in 2012 for Holy Trinity. Mary Wehbie thanked Mark Langford for his years of service as Parish Council President, and he received a
round of applause.
Motion to Adjourn made by John Demos, seconded by Jason Kekas. Meeting adjourned at 2:30 pm.
Closing Prayer by Father Paul.
Respectfully submitted,
Meg Economy
This year's Saturday of the Souls Services will be February 22nd, February 29th & March 2nd, 2014. There will be
Divine Liturgy ONLY starting at 9:00 am. Please use the form below and submit the names of your departed loved
ones. Please print first (Baptismal) names clearly either in Greek or English. Return your list to the Church
Office or give it to a Parish Council Member. The same form will be used for all three Saturdays.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Phone: 919-781-4548 • Fax: 919-781-4568
Father Paul Christy:
Email: [email protected]
Office: [email protected]
Holy Trinity Church is a parish of the
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Atlanta
and Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
under the Spiritual Jurisdiction of the
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Time Value Mail
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Raleigh, N.C.
Permit No. 143
Rev. Fr. Paul Christy, Protopresbyter
Deacon Gavrilo Milkovich
Kelly Barton, Office Manager
Parish Council
George Kapetanakis, President, Dr. Connie Kledaras, Vice President,
Harry Nicholos, Treasurer, Joanna Biliouris, Secretary,
Toula Capetanos, Greg Delage, Meg Economy, John Fakiris, Nik Kamilaris, Katerina Knezevic,
Frances Mathes, Dr. Sophia Myers, Frank Nixon, George Pappas, Dr. Risa Poniros