Message from Metropolitan Alexios
My Beloved Ones,
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!
This coming Wednesday, the Orthodox Church will conclude the 40 day Paschal period. We shall cease singing Christos Anesti and we shall replace the Epitaphios—which has remained on the Holy Altar as a sign of the burial cloth in the empty tomb—until next year.
However, this “leave-taking” of Pascha is not a somber affair, for just as Christ’s sacrifice and Resurrection were necessary to redeem humanity’s fallen nature, so too was it necessary for him to ascend to His father. As He told His disciples, “In my Father's house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1).
Therefore, though Christ departs from this earth on this coming Thursday’s feast of the Ascension, He leaves His disciples with a sense of anticipation, and a mission.
First, Christ entrusts the growth of His Church to the disciples, but He does not abandon them. Indeed, He not only promises to always be with them and us, but instructs them to remain in Jerusalem until the day when the Paraclete, the Helper, arrives. In this way, the Feast of Ascension points us toward the Feast of Pentecost, ten days later.
However, just as all the events of the liturgical calendar take place in the present, perhaps the most important aspect of the Ascension is the Great Commission. Christ’s final earthly instruction to His disciples is not some historical event, but a present reality. As followers of Christ and His Church, we too are asked to be “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20)
In this modern era, where so much of the world has already encountered or been touched by Christianity, it would be easy to dismiss our Lord’s exhortation as a command that has been fulfilled. However, our understanding of Christ and His Church is not a static one, but dynamic. We are not asked to live out our faith as a private matter, but to demonstrate the will and love of Christ in every word and action we undertake. In this way, we can witness our faith in the Risen and Ascended Christ to all our neighbors, whether Christian or otherwise.
In the Ascension account contained in the Acts of the Apostles, after Jesus has been taken up, the amazed disciples are greeted by two men in white robes who ask, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). The Evangelist does his utmost to remind us that Christ will return in all His power and glory, solidifying our need to be vigilant and fulfill the Evangelistic Commission.
I shall take the opportunity to wish you once more a resounding Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! as well as a blessed Feast of the Ascension.
Metropolitan of Atlanta
The Panagia Chapel Roof Tiles Campaign: Our opportunity to place the names of our loved ones in the Holy Altar of the Panagia Chapel.
April 24, 2017
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in our Resurrected Lord
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
I greet you all with a joyful heart as we live in the renewal of our Lord’s Resurrection. I
come before you today, to encourage all of us to work together hand in hand for the
completion of the Panagia Chapel, which is the jewel of our Metropolis at the Diakonia
Retreat Center in Salem, SC, through the Roof Tiles Campaign.
As someone who fervently prays for the spiritual lives of all our faithful, I believe that
the Panagia Chapel allows all of us—including our young people—to feel inspired, as we
work towards that common goal when we are able to gather together and worship as the
Body of Christ.
I am asking each faithful household of our Holy Metropolis to participate by submitting
names of both living and departed loved ones (even if you are not financially able to
contribute to the Roof Tiles Campaign). I do not want anyone to miss the blessing to
submit names, for it is a great one; because not only will the list of names be sealed
within the Holy Altar and with Holy Relics during the consecration of our Chapel, but
the names will be commemorated at all the services throughout the year and the years to come.
I thank you for your continued support. I pray that during this season of renewal, we
will all be uplifted by our communal vision, as we seek to create an environment which
will ensure that our children, grandchildren, and countless future generations always
have a place which reflects God’s glory and the living presence of the Saints. On behalf of the faithful souls in our Metropolis, I remain,
With paternal blessings and with much love in our Risen Lord,
Metropolitan of Atlanta
The Strategic Plan
Strategic Plan Updates
After many months of hard work and much anticipation, the first goals of the Metropolis of Atlanta Strategic Plan are complete and there is content on the Web Portal for download. Parishioners are invited to use the new content found at www.atlstrategicplan.org/portal to enhance their efforts working for the Church and its many ministries. The completed Goals include: 1.1 Parish Strategic Planning, 3.3 Communications Director, 5.4 Seniors Program, 10.1 Metropolis Website and 10.3 Best Practices Metropolis Resource Center Portal. In addition to the first content, the website has been redesigned for ease of use. For more information please visit www.atlstrategicplan.org. If you have questions, contact your Parish Champion or email@example.com.
Family Life Ministry
The Metropolis of Atlanta’s Family Life Ministry (www.familylifeministry.atlanta.goarch.org) strengthens individuals, families and church families through adaptable programs, blogs and educational materials as a means of fostering connection within our homes and our parishes.
In this third episode of the “Family Insights” Podcast , Paula Marchman (Managing Director of FLM) and Eleni Alexiou (Managing Director of OCN) continue the discussion of how we all make mistakes and how struggles can be good. Together these counselors will walk you through the important topics so that you can gain insight into your family. Sit back today, listen, and find your deep breathe.
To listen, visit the podcast’s page HERE.
Journey of Marriage (Pre-Marital Seminar)
All couples marrying in the Metropolis must attend a Metropolis-sponsored Journey of Marriage seminar prior to their wedding. The couple will present their certificate of completion to their parish priest after the seminar.
Saint Catherine hosted a Jouney of Marriage Seminar on Saturday, May 6th.
To see the full list of seminars through 2017, and to register, please visit: http://www.familylifeministry.atlanta.goarch.org/upcoming-events-2/
When you shop with Amazon, you can donate to the Diakonia Retreat Center
Amazon Smile is a program that allows for 0.5% of your eligible Amazon purchase to be donated to the Diakonia Retreat Center. To find our Amazon Smile page, visit https://smile.amazon.com/ch/91-2187047.