Today, September 2, 2012, Dn. Dimitri Tobias was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Grace Bishop Demetrios, with the permission, knowledge and blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, at St. Nectarios Church in Palatine, IL. Fr. Tobias has been assigned as the associate pastor at SS Peter and Paul in Glenview, IL.
A X I O S !
ORDINATION "PROSFONESIS" by Fr. Dimitri Tobias
Your Grace, Bishop Demetrios of Mokkissos, reverend Clergy, friends, and family.
To see a video of Christina Loukas receiving the Medal of St. Paul, follow this link.
FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE
If Christina Loukas fans were disappointed by her eighth-place finish at the summer Olympics in London, you wouldn’t know it from her supporters at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago.
About 200 people gathered inside the cathedral on Sunday to watch as the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago gave Loukas the Medal of Saint Paul, the highest honor the the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America bestows on a layperson.
“She is in a beautiful tradition that our people invented,” Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos said. “This is a really huge honor for our community.”
After 18 months of training, Loukas finished in eighth-place in the women's 3-meter springboard event. While that’s an impressive feat for any athlete, Loukas, who was raised in Riverwoods, was hoping for something better.
“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but it was just an amazing experience,” Loukas told reporters after the medal ceremony. “Afterwards I was just kind of relieved … it was finally over.”
The Greek Orthodox Church was an early supporter of Loukas. She often performed well in multiple sports at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago’s junior Olympics, parishioners said.
“She was always an excellent athlete, said Christine Kandaras, a family friend of the Loukas family. “She was always self-determined.”
On Sunday, parishioners lined up to shake hands with the Olympic athlete, often talking about how they were cheering her on from their homes stateside. Later, the Greek America Foundation gave her a copy of its upcoming quarterly magazine, in which she is on the cover.
Such support is typical in the Greek community, said Greg Pappas, the founder of the Greek America Foundation.
“When I was watching the Olympics, the one thing I have to tell you that struck me the most was repeatedly seeing thirty, forty members of the Loukas family all there all making the trip to London to be with her,” Pappas told the crowd of parishioners. “If that’s not an indication of who we are as Greek Americans I don’t know what is.”
And the fanfare over Loukas may not end just yet. Loukas said Sunday she is going to take a break from the sport, but she has not ruled out the possibility of trying again in 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero.
“Right now, I’m just gonna take a step away from diving … Maybe try some other things,” she said. But “four years is a really long time. So if I want to make a comeback, I can definitely do that.”
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PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria welcomes a prominent religious figure this weekend.
His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos is chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago.
He is in town to lead All Saints Day services at the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church.
City leaders like Mayor Jim Ardis welcomed the Bishop Saturday evening, with a traditional shoe shine at George's downtown.
The Bishop says he appreciates the local Greek Orthodox community.
"Sometimes people leave a smaller or middle sized city to go to Chicago or other larger cities, but I think it's important that those who are here understand that they are important," said Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos.
"They're very important to the fabric of the parish. They're very important to the fabric of the community, and they make up this family called the Metropolis of Chicago."
Peoria is one of nearly 60 parishes under the Metropolis of Chicago. Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos will lead the 9:30 am Sunday service at All Saints Greek Orthodox Church t 1812 North Prospect Road in Peoria.
Everyone is welcome.
FROM CINEWSNOW.COM, with corrections.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rev. David G. Bissias
May 30, 2012 Special Assistant to the Metropolitan
TEL.: (219) 932-7347
Chicago's Greek Orthodox Community
Commemorates "Fall of Constantinople"
CHICAGO, IL: On Tuesday, May 29, the “Commemoration of the Fall of Constantinople” was held at the Chicago Historical Museum. The program for the event included a special preview of the documentary film Hello Anatolia, a musical performance of traditional Greek music from Asia Minor and a memorial prayer for the departed Orthodox Christians who populated Asia Minor over the centuries and defended the City in 1453.
The annual event recalls the capture of Constantinople (modern Istanbul), capital of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire, by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 A.D. This historical moment was turning point for European and Near Eastern civilization whose consequences are felt even today.
The event has been a joint presentation of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Hellenic Society of Constantinople and, this year these organizations have been joined by the Greek America Foundation. Present among the nearly 400 attendees were His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, spiritual leader of the local Greek Orthodox community, representatives of the host organizations, and numerous religious leaders from Chicago’s ecumenical Christian and interfaith communities.
The annual commemoration has focused on the contributions of the Byzantine legacy throughout the world, the cultural sustainment of the Greek people during the Ottoman period, and the continued presence of Greek cultural life in Asia Minor and modern Istanbul today. This year’s event focused on “building bridges” in light of the historical tensions between the Turkish and Greek communities.
Hello Anatolia (Crescent Street Films) tells the story of a young Greek American filmmaker, Chrysovalantis Stamelos, who embarks on the journey of his life to Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey, to trace the footsteps of his great grandparents in their native land. In his effort to strengthen his own connection to his cultural heritage, he becomes a bridge builder of two cultures and two peoples who share a more than divides them. The executive producer of the film is the Greek America Foundation and Gregory Pappas. Stamelos was on hand to answer questions from the audience following the viewing.
The musical performance of the evening was presented by three young and dynamic musicians. Vocalist Margarita is a native of northern California who has appeared on the Greek television program Fame Story, similar to the well-known American Idol. She was joined by brothers George and Paul Psarras, also of California, who play in the musical group Fotia. Paul Psarras is a Grammy-nominated musician. The three performed Greek folk music arising from the Hellenic communities of Asia Minor, especially near Smyrna (the “Smyrneika”) and the experience of Greek refugees following the war between Greece and Turkey in 1922 (the “Rebetika”). The selected songs celebrate the triumphs of the Hellenic spirit and immortalize the tragedies of the period.
Host Rev. David Bissias noted the theme of “building bridges” at the onset, connecting the past tragedies with new positive developments in the relations between the Turkish government and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople still resident in modern Istanbul, as well as a new spirit of cooperation between the Greek and Turkish communities in the USA, an effort spearheaded by Metropolis of Chicago Chancellor, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, and exemplified by the recent meeting at the request of the Turkish Foreign Minister with Metropolitan Iakovos following the recent NATO Summit in Chicago.
Bishop Demetrios concluded the evening’s program with a memorial prayer for the fallen heroes at the “Capture of Constantinople” in 1453 and the Orthodox Christians who struggled to preserve their faith and culture to the present day in Asia Minor.
At the 12th annual Ecumenical Prayer Service for Christian unity, organized by Ecumenism Metro Chicago, His Grace Bishop Demetrios spoke powerfully on the true nature of Christian unity as a response to the fundamental question posed by our Lord to his disciples: "Who do you say that I am?" The lamentable divisions which exist amongst Christians, though complex and varied, can be understood simply: "We do not all share the same answer (to the Lord's question) in a spirit of love," said His Grace. The authentic desire to heal all divisions cannot be "constructed," he said, but must rather be a response to the transformative power of the Holy Spirit working within us through our real participation in the resurrection and inheritors of the Kingdom of God. "And thus," His Grace said, that "if the Church is to be an icon of the Kingdom, a living image of the perfect Image of God with the Holy Spirit to the glory of our Father, then in our humility, in our openness to the Advocate and Counselor, the Holy Spirit will change us, and that which we have constructed to divide us will be scattered, and the truth will set us free so that we may be one…"
To read the complete text of His Grace's Homily, please click here.
By Naomi Nix, Chicago Tribune reporter
10:17 p.m. CDT, June 3, 2012
About a dozen religious leaders gathered with Cardinal Francis George on the steps of St. Hedwig Catholic Church on Sunday evening to pose for a picture that could symbolize the goal they had come to promote: Christian unity.
The clergy and about 150 congregants came to the Polish parish for Chicago's 12th annual ecumenical prayer service for Christian unity. It was organized by Ecumenism Metro Chicago, a coalition of Christian communities, in an effort to deepen relationships among members of varying Christian traditions.
"Jesus said if we are not one, the world will not believe," said George, who has previously talked about the need for the Roman Catholic Church to work with other denominations. "We have an obligation to be a united witness."
The challenges to unity among Christian faith traditions are their differing perspectives on religious doctrine and discipleship, George said. Questions of sexual morality and social justice also continue to divide Christians, he said.
Sunday's service was a continuation of the worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that usually takes place in January.
At St. Hedwig, about 100 people from Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainline Protestant denominations gathered for a mixer in which they talked in small groups about what made their religious experiences different, their relationship with other Christian traditions and the necessity for of interfaith dialogue.
Denise Renken, 59, who is Catholic, said divisions among Christian denominations are fading.
"I have found the parishes are a little more welcoming now. Before, if someone new walked in, it was like you don't belong here," Renken said. "To me, the Roman Catholic faith is what I believe in, (but) I have no problem with someone believing in something else."
John Sandors, 73, who is Greek Orthodox, said Christian unity doesn't have to come at the expense of pride in individual Christian traditions. "If you don't praise your own house, it will fall down," he said. "You should be proud of who you are."
Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, who also is Greek Orthodox, gave the homily at the service. He said that while diversity is healthy for the Christian faith, Christians are called to love one another regardless of their differences.
"This love for one another is often difficult," he said "(But) it's possible because God first loved us."
The bishop added that churches should allow God's "transformative" power to heal divisions among various Christian factions.
"If we are open to being moved by the spirit ... our lives with one another will change and change for the better."
The Rev. Amos Oladipo, who is Methodist, said the fact that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated the same week asMartin Luther King Jr. Dayis fitting. "It reminds us to promote reconciliation among races as well as churches," he said.
Toward the end of the service, the attendees exchanged edible wafers as a symbolic gesture of unity. Then, the clergy in robes as colorful and as different as their religious traditions led the congregants out of the church.
"This is a start. It's all of us working together toward unity," said Michael Terrien, who works for the Archdiocese of Chicago and helped organize the event. "That's what's happening now, and we can continue that."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rev. David G. Bissias
May 23, 2012 Special Assistant to the Metropolitan
TEL.: (219) 932-7347
Turkish Foreign Minister Visits Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago
CHICAGO, IL: On Tuesday, May 22, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his wife paid a formal visit to Metropolitan Iakovos, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, comprised of 59 parishes in six Midwestern states. Also in attendance were Greek Orthodox clergy and lay leaders, as well as members of the Turkish Consulate in Chicago. He is the highest ranking Turkish official to make such a visit to the Metropolis.
The Metropolis of Chicago, as part of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, falls under the jurisdiction of the ancient Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, headquartered in modern Istanbul, Turkey. Many ethnic Greeks trace their ancestry to Anatolia (Asia Minor), now the modern Republic of Turkey.
The meeting is a sign of warming relations between the Turkish and Greek communities, both here and abroad, a relationship known more for its conflict than the cultural similarities of modern Greeks and Turks that both Mr. Davutoğlu and Metropolitan Iakovos fondly shared.
Mr. Davutoğlu reported on the status of concerns held by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and shared by Orthodox Christians throughout the world. Noting the significant return of a major property to the Patriarchate, a former orphanage, long contested, he also affirmed the will of the Turkish government to find the legal means to permit the re-opening of the Greek Orthodox seminary of Halki, the only such school of the Orthodox Church in Turkey, forced to close in 1971.
Likewise, he has recently directed all Turkish ambassadors to formally welcome the Ecumenical Patriarch when he travels abroad, an acknowledgement of his importance as a world religious leader—which former governments of Turkey have downplayed or ignored. Such moves, Davutoğlu noted, are signs of Turkey’s growing cultural confidence, domestic stability, and a progressive foreign policy that has been the hallmark of his tenure as Foreign Minister.
He also expressed Turkey’s concern for Turkish and Muslim minorities in Greece and Europe, observing that churches and mosques that have been confiscated from religious minorities should be respected as houses of worship even if they cannot be returned for practical or political reasons.
Metropolitan Iakovos and attending Greek Orthodox community members expressed to the Minister their praise for the present and former Turkish Consuls General of Chicago and their staff, for the increasing goodwill and cooperative efforts in the Chicago area between the communities. This is the result of an initiative spearheaded with the blessings of the Metropolitan by the Metropolis Chancellor Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos and prominent Turkish-American Mr. Mehmet Celebi, president-elect of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.
Bishop Demetrios noted that the Metropolis’ annual “Fall of Constantinople” program to be held on May 29 at the Chicago History Museum will highlight the common cultural inheritance of Greeks and Turks with both music and the premier of the documentary Hello Anatolia, a film by a Greek young adult who follows the footsteps of his ancestors in modern Izmir (ancient Smyrna), Turkey.
Both the Foreign Minister and the Metropolitan agreed that the hostilities of the past and the challenges of the present can be overcome with the spirit of goodwill and the appreciation of a common cultural legacy shared by Turks and Greeks, to the benefit of all but especially to the ethnic minorities of Greeks in Turkey and Turks in Greece.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Foreign Minister presented the Metropolitan with a commemorative plate of the visit, and the Metropolitan presented Mr. Davutoğlu and his wife with a pictorial album featuring all the Greek Orthodox churches of the Metropolis.
Welcoming the Foreign Minister with Metropolitan Iakovos and Bishop Demetrios were Rev. David G. Bissias of Hammond, IN; Mr. Harold Peponis, Regional Co-Commander of the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, a lay group dedicated to the defense of the Church of Constantinople; Mr. Chris P. Tomaras, founder of the Pan-Hellenic Scholarship Foundation; Mr. Andrew A. Athens, President and Founder of hellenicare; Mr. Nicholas Harisiadis, graduate of the Halki seminary; and well-known Greek-American journalist John Kass.
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
4967 Forest Park Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63108
For immediate release
For more information:
Fr. Michael Arbanas, 314-425-9641
The Missouri State Legislature has taken a strong stand for religious freedom by calling on the government of Turkey to guarantee full religious and human rights for the Ecumenical Patriarch and all religious minorities.
With the adoption of House Resolution 1365, sponsored by Rep. Kurt Bahr, and Senate Resolution 1762, sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, Missouri joins 40 other states in which the Legislatures have expressed support for the Patriarch’s rights.
The Missouri effort was led by the clergy and several parishioners of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in St. Louis, under the guidance of Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago.
They were supported in this work by Stephen Georgeson of Atlanta, who is coordinating efforts by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to get similar resolutions passed in all 50 states. The state Resolutions initiative is just one component of a multi-faceted Religious Freedom project led by the Archons in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Fr. Douglas Papulis, proistamenos of St. Nicholas, traveled to the state Capitol in March with Fr. Michael Arbanas and a group of parishioners to gather support among legislators for the resolution.
“In an era when many people think that partisanship has made our government ineffective, it was very encouraging to see such strong bipartisan support for the religious freedom of the Patriarch and the Church,” Papulis said.
The Turkish government refuses to recognize the global character of Patriarch Bartholomew’s office and regards him as no more than the bishop of the 2,500 or so Orthodox Christians remaining in Turkey (down from 1.8 million in 1914). It has insisted that new Patriarchs be elected from the rapidly dwindling population of Greek Orthodox citizens of Turkey.
The government has confiscated hundreds of churches and other properties historically belonging to the Orthodox Church, and in 1971 it closed the seminary at Halki, the major center for the education of future Church leaders.
In recent years, though, as Turkey has endeavored to join the European Union, the government has eased some of the pressure on the Church. The Missouri resolution commends this progress and urges the Turkish government to fully guarantee the religious rights of all its citizens.
In both resolutions, the House and Senate urge the government of Turkey to uphold and safeguard the religious and human rights of all its citizens without compromise, to grant the Ecumenical Patriarch appropriate international recognition, ecclesiastical succession, the right to train clergy of all nationalities and to respect the property rights and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and all religious and faith traditions. The effort to pass the resolution is in no way meant to be anti-Turkish, Papulis said.
“We’re not calling for a boycott of Turkey or Turkish products,” he said. “We only want to encourage the Turkish to continue the progress it’s made in recent years toward the full religious freedom of the Church and all minority religions.”
In their meetings with legislators, the delegation from St. Nicholas emphasized the international respect the Turkish government could earn, in a time when it is working to exercise leadership in the Middle East, if it guaranteed the rights of all its citizens.
“This could really be a point of pride for Turkey,” Papulis said. “Can you imagine how it would look to other nations if Turkey, a majority-Muslim country, could say that the spiritual leader of the second largest Christian community in the world continues to lead Orthodox Christians around the globe from their country with full rights and toleration? It would say a lot.”
The resolution renewed a historic connection between Missouri and the Ecumenical Patriarch that dates to 1948, when Archbishop Athenagoras of America was elected Patriarch. There was a real fear that the Turkish government would not allow him to travel to Istanbul to assume his position, but Missouri-born President Harry S. Truman made sure that he was allowed to enter Turkey by sending him on the presidential plane, now known as Air Force One.
The House version was adopted May 1, and the Senate resolution on May 17. The full text of the resolutions are available at: http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills121/billpdf/intro/HR1365I.PDF and http://www.senate.mo.gov/12info/pdf-bill/intro/SR1762.pdf.
From May 7 - May 10 the Metropolis of Clergy Syndesmos held its annual retreat in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos, His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos and 58 clergy from the throughout the Metropolis. This year’s invited speaker was Father Maximos Simonopetrites (formally Nicholas Constas) of Simonos Petras Monastery, Mount Athos. Father Maximos delivered three insightful sessions on: a) The Philokalia, b) Elder Aimilianos, c) The Ambiguum of St. Maximos the Confessor. The lectures were very well received by the Clergy of the Metropolis. In addition to the lectures, the Clergy had the opportunity to worship together for Orthros and Vespers each day, and celebrate the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of Mid-Pentecost, as well as spend time in fellowship with one another during personal time.
Χριστός Ἀνέστη Christ is Risen!
Bringing with him the paternal blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos, His Grace Bishop Demetrios celebrated the First Resurrection on Holy Saturday morning at the parish of Saint Luke the Evangelist in Columbia, Missouri. As a new parish, begun only 9 1/2 years ago, this marked the first time that a hierarch visited and participated in the services of Holy Week at Saint Luke.
It is customary at this bright and festal service to throw bay leaves and flowers throughout the Church in anticipation of our Lord's passing over (Pascha) from death to life, to be celebrated at the Paschal Vigil at midnight.
In response to the community's recent purchase of 20 acres of land for a purpose-built Orthodox Church, His Grace urged the congregation to be vigilant in their efforts to spread Christ's Gospel of love and reconciliation throughout mid-Missouri. He reminded the congregation that in order to build strong buildings, we must first kindle the Resurrectional Light within our hearts in response to our own love and dedication to the Lord.
With His grace were His assistant, Dean Kartsimas and Panagiotis Katsikeros, visiting chanter from Greece.