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May-Jul 07

May-Jul 07

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OurPatriarchPassed Away
by Reverend Dr. Doru Costache 
On the 30
July 2007, the clock ceased to count the moments for Patriarch Teoctist, allowing his soul  to extend its wings toward the horizonwithout setting of the Kingdom
Of course, many things may be stated about the activity of a hierarchwho dedicated to the service of the Church more than seventy years of his life; I am certain that those who knew him closely can beartestimony to all these. I would like however to add to this cloud of witnesses a personal detail, which I have never shared till now outsidea small circle of close friends. It was more than four years ago. I donot remember the reasons why the Patriarch invited me to his office.What I am certain of is the fact that, arriving early in the morning, tomy surprise I found together with His Beatitude one of the spiritualfathers of the patriarchal cathedral. By the end of the meeting, andwith no relation to the discussion, the Patriarch made a commentwhich probably I will never forget. In short, he observed that even theprofessors and lecturers of the theological faculty need a spiritualfather and the sacrament of confession – indicating to the father nextto him and who kept silence throughout the meeting. I remainedspeechless. It was as if he was able to read my soul: it happened that(although strange to my habits) those days I have been without aspiritual guide for almost a year. Anyway, I left touched by theobservation of the Father, also amazed by what looked to me as beinga manifestation of the gift of clear vision…It is likely that testimonies of this kind are as necessary as any of thedetails of a public biography, in order to give contour to a personalprofile, putting in relief less visible aspects of such a biography. Andeven if the Patriarch will remain in the collective memory of thefaithful for various dimensions of his activity, I shall keep the memoryof that meeting and of the words that were – fatherly – told to me.
May his memory be eternal!
ReverendDr. Doru Costache
In the church
  a  n  u   l   X   X   X   I   I
   M  a  y  -   J  u   l  y   2   0   0   7
The Revd. Dr. Doru Costache 64 Linthorn Avenue Enfield South, NSW 2133Dear Fr. DoruI am writing on behalf of the New South Wales Ecumenical Council to ask if you can pass on to the RomanianOrthodox community in Sydney the share sorrow of our member Churches on hearing of the death of His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist.We give thanks for all that His Beatitude contributed to the development of the Church in the face of the chances and changes of political and contemporary life and we join our  prayers with the Romanian Orthodox Church at this time. May God continue to bless you and the Romanian Orthodox faithful in your important ministries and strengthen youby the Holy Spirit in all that you are and do in Christ.Yours in the Love of Christ,Rev. Dr. Jonathan InkpinGeneral Secretary NSW Ecumenical Council 
pg. 2
Parochial Life 
| may - july 2007 |
 Ann Caradine 
An old friend called recently sayinghe was coming to town to visit. Aschildren, we lived just a few blocksfrom each other and were in schooltogether until the 7th grade whenhis father moved the family toDallas, Texas. The last time I sawhim, 43 years ago, was when hisfamily had come here fora visit. Our mothersremained in touch but wedid not. He calledmy mother’s house andmy brother gave him myphone number. For thelast 8 months or so, he hasbeen calling me, sharingparts of his life.As it got nearer to the dayhe would arrive, I beganto have nervous andfearful conversations withmyself about what Iwanted and didn’t want. Ibegan asking God whatthis was all about, that Iliked my life just as it is,that as a widow I have alot of freedom and I don’twant to give that up, that Idon’t want a romanticrelationship with anybodyand I don’t want to getmarried again.Also, for the past 3 years, I hadbeen coming deeper and deeper intothe Orthodox faith. Because I wasemployed by another religiousdenomination, of which I also was amember, I knew that if I embracedOrthodoxy, I would have to leavethe job.I finally made the decision to takeearly retirement and be Chrismated.Now, I thought to myself, my life is just like I want it. Then, my friendcalled to say he would be travellinghere specifically to visit me and Ibegan projecting like crazy aboutwhat might happen.For a little while, I floundered, justplain paralysed by fear. Then itcame to me that I had been quitearrogant, that it was audaciousindeed for me to be havingdiscussions with God about what Iwant.From childhood I had been taughtto believe that we must seek to dothe will of God. Those thatattempted to form me always spokeof God’s will as somethingmysterious and that we creaturesare so dense we could only play atguessing and hope we were luckyenough to accidentally stumbleupon God’s will.I always thought that what I wastaught about God’s will was ratherabsurd. Even if I couldmiraculously intuit this mysteriousGod’s will, I figured it must besomething that would be toodifficult for me to carry out, that Iwould almost have to twist myself into a pretzel to try and conform toit. I often wondered why wouldGod make us, then make it so hardfor us, so next to impossible forus, to figure out how to please him.It was in the second grade that weread in our book of Bible Storiesabout Jesus preaching to peopletelling them that he was givingthem a new commandment, “Tolove each other the way I lovedyou.” I knew then that this newcommandment was exactly whatGod’s will is!Now, at the ripe old age of 58, Ihear the little second grade girl thatwas me reminding me of what God’s will for me is,and that what I shouldwant, if I want anything atall, is that I be able toremember Jesus' newcommandment and havethe power to carry it out inmy daily life.My wanting was set inmotion by my projecting. Iwas actually living in thefuture, fretting about whatto do if my friend wanteda romance ormarriage. I hadbeen telling God how Iwanted things rather thanattempting to live well inthe grace of the momentGod was giving me. Howwould I ever be able tofocus on loving God ormy neighbour when Iwas still so self-absorbed?I had to admit that I frequentlyavoided living in the moment byruminating about the pastand future. I needed to begin takinga thorough look at what eachmoment was presenting to me. Thisdoesn’t mean that I no longer willhave the freedom of choice, that Iwould give up that freedom toconform to God’s will. What it doesmean is that whatever choice Imake, it has to be made in a waythat glorifies God and respects otherpeople. And, the choice cannot becheap; it must be generous.
pg. 3
Parochial Life 
| may - july 2007 |
Some definitions…
This Divine Liturgy is the main service of OrthodoxChristians. What do the words mean?Divine – something to do with God, something very holy.Liturgy
– public work, public duty.Eucharist – the giving of thanks, to the Most Holy God,Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
meeting, the big meeting of the Christians. Thisword was used from the beginning to show a slight differencefrom the word Synagogue – the public prayer service of theJews and the place for that.Sacred or divine mysteries – another way of expressing theamazing fact of the Last Supper.Holy Gifts – the consecrated bread and wine, the holycommunion.
Some background…
In ancient Greece, and throughout the Roman Empire (whichcovered all the Mediterranean world including the HolyLand), religion was a social responsibility and worship took place in the name of society as a duty. Christians gave thisworld a new idea of publicworship: the great thanksgiving(the Eucharist) or DivineLiturgy. Giving of thanks forthe things which God has doneis one strong element in ourunderstanding. From theearliest days of the Church, thisgiving of thanks has been forthe liberation of Christians, by Christ’s Crucifixion, from sinand death.The other strong element in our understanding of the Liturgyis the Jewish services for Passover and
Passover isthe feast which recalls the freedom of the Hebrews fromslavery under Egypt.
is a service when the head of the family asks for blessing of the Sabbath (Saturday) orsome other holy day (festival).Passover is important for our understanding of the DivineLiturgy. Passover is based on the events of the book of Exodus (5:1 – 12:36), when the Hebrews left slavery in Egyptand their slave masters were destroyed while pursuing them.The Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) make Passoverthe occasion when the Last Supper is held. Thus, the LastSupper contains the idea of the death of slavery – of whichsin is the chain and prison – and the entry into the PromisedLand, of which the Resurrection is the gateway. Passoverwitnesses to the agreement – the covenant (or testament) –between Old Israel and God; and the New Passover is theagreement, signed in the blood of Jesus – between God andthe New Israel: the New Testament.This idea of the Last Supper being a kind of Passover madeby Jesus for the world – to save all the world, not just theJews – from slavery, is an idea which affects all Christianthinking. The sacred books which were used by the Jews –the Old Testament – are most of the writings in the ChristianBible. Some of these, especially the prophetic writings andthe Psalms, in the Old Testament have been used by theChurch in its role as
 New Israel
. St Paul emphasizes this; e.g.,Galatians 3: 29, ‘Merely by belonging to Christ you are theposterity of Abraham, the heirs he promised.’ This can be aconfusing idea, because there is since 1948 a political body,the State of Israel, occupying much of the Holy Land.Christians do not mean ‘New Israel’ in that sense!
Old Israel
 means the Jews who have remained Jewish and have notaccepted Jesus as the fulfilment of ancient Israel’s hopes. The
 New Israel
is the Church led by Jesus out of the slavery of sin: the Church which has been shown that death isconquered by the Cross and the Resurrection: Galatians 2:19-20.
What the Liturgy is…
The Divine Liturgy – or the holy public duty – is a service inwhich Orthodox Christians come together to pray with theblessing of bread and wine, which the priest asks the HolySpirit to make into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. TheLiturgy is not the same as praying at home. There you are anindividual. In the Church, individuals build up the Body of Christ and reflect his band of apostles. They were united byhim; we are united by him – at the table of the Last Supper, atthe foot of the Cross, in the light of the Resurrection.The Church is a kind of alternative society, butdrawn out of that biggergroup and concentrating onthe redemption of its lifeand the redemption of thelarger society also. Thispoint appears in the Liturgy;there are many prayers for the community, the city and allcities, the world in a general sense.The Liturgy is the main Orthodox service: the Sundaymorning service. Sunday is the day of Resurrection.Constantine the Great made Sunday a day of rest in theRoman Empire. The Liturgy is like what some Christians callthe Holy Communion, the Eucharist or the Mass. But theOrthodox Sunday service is longer and richer than that forother Christians. Originally simple, its form has grownricher; but its meaning – its content – has always been rich,many-layered.The Liturgy is about the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and theResurrection of Jesus. It is a special way for OrthodoxChristians to make contact with Jesus through the taking of Communion – the Holy Gifts of Bread and Wine.
Rev Dr Michael Brett-Crowther 
Continued on next page 

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