Happy New Year! We all welcome the New Year with the hope that the future will bring peace, love and a better world for us and our families. And what a better way to pray for the spiritual and social prosperity of everyone than the Great Agiasmos or the Great Blessing of the Waters of holy Theophany. Holy Epiphany or Holy Theophany is the day when we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and when we commemorate the appearance (φανέρωσις) of the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Holy Epiphany is also called the day of lights, because it illuminates the world with the divine inspiration of faith and the knowledge of the True God. This illumination, this blessing and this divine inspiration are brought to us when we receive the Great Agiasmos. It is also customary to receive the blessing of divine protection in our homes and our businesses, when the priest sprinkles the Great Agiasmos chanting the hymn «ΕνΙορδάνηβαπτιζομένουσουΚύριεητηςΤριάδοςεφανερώθηπροσκύνησις» (Having being baptized in the river Jordan O Lord, the veneration of the Holy Trinity was revealed).
Our Community celebrates the sacrament of the Great Blessing of the Waters and the faithful are encouraged to prepare to receive the Great Agiasmos on the day of Holy Epiphany, with fasting and prayer. Also, we conduct the service of the universal blessing of the waters, by dunking the cross into the ocean. This way, the oceans are blessed, in commemoration of Christ’s blessing of river Jordan and all the waters of the earth. We all need the protection of God. We need God’s inspiration and illumination, so that our choices in life are for our spiritual benefit. We need to follow the message of the Gospel, in order to fulfill the will of God in our lives. God revealed Himself to us, so that we may know Him; when we know God, we can communicate with Him more effectively through conscious prayer and the participation in the holy sacraments. When we know God we can ask Him for His divine protection, His miraculous intervention and salvation. We hope and pray that God will bless all of us with every gift from above. May the divine illumination of holy Epiphany inspire the world with peace and faith, so that we may cherish the New Year in harmony, love and solidarity.
This Year also is a significant one, since it marks the completion of the restoration and the beautification of our beloved Saint Demetrios Church. We continue the progress with all the other significant programs and ministries of the Parish. Most importantly, we pray that this year will be remembered for starting the work for our Cultural Center, the most precious gift we can offer our children and grandchildren. Looking forward to share these moments with our Parish members, I am praying that this Year is a healthy, joyous and spiritually fruitful one.