For giving forgiveness & for getting forgiveness

Presbytera Eisodia Menis
were alert to see how he would handle the matter. At an opportune moment the elder, noticing the priest, who had criticized him, going to vespers, approached him and fell at his feet. Kissing this young priest’s feet, he asked profusely for forgiveness. “Forgive me, my brother, for unwittingly I have caused you grief.” The young father, moved to tears, then realized his own Recently, I heard a talk mistake. The following by Bishop Athanasios of day another Geronda from the other side of Mt Limossol, Cyprus. He relates the story of a time Athos, who could not when he was at a certain have known what monastery on Mt. Athos. happened, sent a message that yesterday he saw an A Geronda (a spiritual elder) and a young priest angel crowning the elder at the moment of his came to a falling at the priest’s feet misunderstanding. The priest expressed himself to ask for forgiveness. In (Greek) monastic life against the elder. The the word sorry, is young brotherhood approached the Geronda replaced by the word and reported to him that eulogison (bless). Once the eulogison is said the the priest had said ‘things’ about him. They matter is concluded, urged the Geronda to take usually with no further to task the erring father so discussion or that he may not get away explanations. Forgiven: with it. The elder forgotten. indicated that he would In the Church, a sort it out, so the monks Since Sunday of Forgiveness is approaching, I thought that it might be useful to have some inspiration on a subject we hear so much about. Because forgiveness is spoken of so often, we might think that we stand well with it in practice also. We can examine ourselves a little to see whether we need to ask for forgiveness and whether we should be forgiving of others.

year XXXII January - February 2007

Thoughts on Christ, tradition and religion
by Anomalogue
To say a religion is revealed is to imply that it originates outside of man. But "outside", how? In what sense is it not from man? For the majority of people, religious and otherwise, "outside" has only one meaning, and that is spatial. The revelation must have come physically from the outside. (Incorporeality is a species of physicality – a ghost is a thing.) The same holds for everything else that belongs to religion: what is spiritual is transferred into the physical realm and awkwardly glued in place with magical concepts. The democratic impulse – the one that makes all men equal in worth, and then proceeds to make all men equivalent in every sense it can get away with (whatever isn't physically undeniable) –wants to reach a decision on what religion ought to be for everyone, in terms that everyone can understand equally. We are all expected to come to a single agreement on the manner in which the spiritual exists (or doesn't exist). Isn't it clear though, that people are not spiritually equal in ability, even if all people are spiritually equal in worth? Some people are by
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The Baptism of Christ

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Amma (mother) Sarah, or Transcending Gender
by Revd Doru Costache
One of the best, first-hand books, witnessing the way of Orthodox spirituality, is the collection titled The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Dealing with heroes of the faith and Christian life who dwelled in the hermitages of Egypt and Sinai (centuries 4-5), the book contains short stories and sayings belonging to a series of ascetic women. One of them was Amma Sarra, a delicate yet paradoxical figure, contributing to the accomplishment of the Christian ideal of transcending gender in the light of Christ. Her 4th saying reads as follows: according to my nature I am a woman, but not according to my thinking. At a first glance, one would say the word is offensive, at least from the point of view of contemporary society and culture, since it makes suggestion to a masculine character. To be more explicit, a man will certainly take the saying as if it was pointing to a man’s mind. Therefore For giving…  page 1 the saying would read along the lines something like: according to my nature I am a woman, but according to my thinking I am a man. Nothing more wrong than that. In reality, the true meaning of the word is making suggestion to the Christian norm as formulated by St Paul in Galatians 3:28: there is no longer male and female, since you all are one in Christ Jesus. Amma Sarah’s saying unveils the inner relief of Christian spirituality: it is not about looking for a non-bodily state or the dissolving of womanhood; instead it is about striving for the fullness of humanity. Shortly, Amma Sarah was a woman according to her bodily birth, but a complete human according to the virtuous way she lived… A good lesson to meditate upon, now, at the beginning of the great lent. A good lesson also for the contemporary attempts of defining womanhood in terms of manhood…

Poem on Words Romanian Anonymous Young Poet from Sydney ;-)
Words can hold power untouched and unseen Endowing itself to those reading in between The words themselves have a power untold They never grow weak their ideas never grow old. The words can be demeaning A subject worth cleaning They can be minions of fright Giving chills through the night. Words can spread joy, Like a boy with a new toy They can be as heartwarming Like a lost love returning. Words are truly wonderful things, So many emotions through them they can bring Such masters of manipulation that too they can be Such of brainwash only a writer can see. Words can bring peace Or can put people at ease They can be rightly used Or dangerously abused.

Thoughts…  page 1 temperament attuned to the physical. They have no access to the spiritual sphere of meaning, nor do they need it – as long as they are in a community of people served and guided by those who do have access to the spiritual, proper, people capable of nourishing with essential inward illumination the superficial notions of their neighbors. When churches define themselves by doctrinal interpretation – that is, by "what we believe" – every gradation of spirituality (of ontological depth)

presupposition for progress in the spiritual life is to ask forgiveness. Asking forgiveness, saying sorry, apologizing, further helps us to stand well in all aspects of our life. In the liturgy we ask for forgiveness but we can say that that petition is also to ask our Lord to give us the strength, illumination and humility to ask for forgiveness. Having received forgiveness from one another and from the Church, we can step forward into the great lent with a rested conscience.

Parochial Life | january - february 2007 |

Ion Nedelcu, Icon painted on glass. Detail

becomes a disagreement: a perforation along which the church must be split. The alternative to beliefdefined religion is traditional religion, where allegiance to traditional form binds the full range of valid doctrinal interpretations into a single rich and layered community. The tradition bridges precisely those perforations that would otherwise lead to divisions. Christ is an inexhaustible poem. His meanings are like the layers of meaning in a poem, all of which belong

to the poem and to one another. Denominations (de-away; nomen-name) tear out an isolated interpretive layer of Christ in an attempt to reduce the enveloping infinite to a comprehensive explanation that can be held in one's hand, like a piece of fruit.

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Elements for a theory of existential relativity
by Revd Doru Costache
Einstein’s genius consisted in realising the fact that everything is connected to everything. There is no objective time without being influenced by space and events; likewise there is no objective space safe from the influences originating in time and events... The socalled objective timescale represents a mere convention. Actually there coexist indefinite particular timescales, depending on the multiple perceptions of the observers... Nothing new on earth one could say, although to develop an existential perception into a mathematical system is not quite common... However Einstein’s comprehension does not substantially differ from that most customary feature of any spiritual tradition, as represented by the crucial role of perception… Let my try an example before coming back to the theme of traditional mindset. A few years ago it was promoted a commercial with a young man in an extremely busy train station. Looking for Idon’t-know-what, he eventually found a snail. He bent down to observe the humble animal, and then a miracle occurred: his perception changed, in snail’s image and likeness... What was before so important in that frantic hastiness and futile superficiality of the everyday life was radically transformed by the new perspective. He looked to the world with the calm eyes of a humble creature, and the nothingness of everything was finally revealed to him... So significant is perception! Was it by chance that Jesus talked about the clean eye and the darkened one (cf. Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34)? Changing the point of view is to change the meaning of things and the way one relates to them. Perhaps some know and perhaps some will learn: the way one lives dictates ones perception and consequently the way one assesses things. It is a matter of fact that in life there are no rules – there are instead guidelines, cardinal points into the chaos unfolding between good and evil…

Me, an experience in/of space-time continuum
Revd Doru Costache
◦ engraved into my being, the beauty of the world. God’s garden ◦ the future is open. everything flows. including the future, which by the way flows backwards... ◦ the present – flexible, almost unreal, interface of the past and future ◦ the present again – the twilight zone, where the future becomes inexorably past ◦ confession – the opportunity to defy ones past, breaking the wall between present and future ◦ confession again – the space where ones past and present dissolve into the horizon of the eschatological future ◦ deep sea behind me – my past. to some extent, known; to some extent, unknown large ocean in front of me – my future. totally unpredictable ◦ we bear the imprints of our encounters. and there is more: we are the products of our encounters ◦ the wise will learn even from the most unfortunate events ◦ poor us... always longing after certitudes – and there is none ◦ it was never there

Romanian Orthodox Church “St. Dimitrie” of Brisbane
37 BRISBANE RD, RIVERVIEW, QLD 4303 Postal Address: PO Box 5015, WEST END, QLD 4101 Dear Friends Our church at Riverview has recently been assessed as having significant amounts of asbestos in its construction. This is only hazardous when maintenance activities need to be performed. Being an old church, there is a lot of maintenance required, including replacing the roof. As you can imagine, the costs involved when dealing with asbestos are quite high, so we investigated for other options. The church committee, members and Father Ion Constantinescu decided that the construction of a new church is warranted, and the church has started to raise funds for the construction. We are currently at the stage of submitting plans to the council and getting the approval for
Parochial Life | january - february 2007 |

the development. Our community consists of approximately 50 families that are regular church goers. Obviously the capacity to raise funds for the new church is limited to the financial capabilities of our community. We are appealing to our fellow Christians to help us raise more funds for our future church. We envision that it will be the first Romanian church architecture in Queensland. Any donation will be greatly appreciated. Donations can be made by cheque, money order, or to the following account: BANK: National Australia Bank Branch: West End Branch 115 Boundary St, Queensland,

Australia Account Name: Romanian Orthodox Church “St Dimitrie” of Brisbane Incorporated BSB: 084-447 Account Number: 04-753-5352 Thank you for your indulgence. Yours truly, Michael Pantelimon Secretary
editor: Rev. Doru Costache, PhD layout design: Ion Nedelcu address: 64 Linthorn Ave, Croydon Park, NSW 2133. phone: (02) 9642 02 60 www.sfmariasydney.com