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It is Safe in the Ark

We read the story of Noah's Ark in the Old Testament. (Genesis 6-8). The only way for Noah and his family to be safe from the flood was to get in the Ark. For forty days and forty nights the storm raged and the floodwaters came. Everything that was not in the Ark was swept away. Outside the Ark there was total destruction, but inside the Ark the animals and Noah’s family were safe. Once the storm stopped and flood waters subsided, God called Noah and his family out of the Ark to live... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 14, 2022
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Family Ministry Director's Weekly Message

Greetings in Christ, Last weekend I Joined the Boy Scout Troop on their weekend camping trip at the Sand Hill Boy Scout Campgrounds in the Spring Hill area. We received a tour of the land, Including two natural springs, one of which connects directly to the Florida Aquifer which was featured on National Geographic. As well, the BoyScouts had an opportunity to work on their Marksmanship at the camp's training ground.The main attraction of our camp out was a canoeing trip down the... Read More
Posted by Vikentios Livanos at Sunday, August 14, 2022
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What Can we Accomplish with Only a Few Fish?

When the Apostles of Our Lord were faced with a great need they turned to Christ…..well sorta. In the Gospel story of the feeding of the 5000, faced with “only five loaves and two fish” the Apostles urged Jesus to send the crowd of people away to get food for themselves. They said, “This is a deserted place, send the multitude away, that they may go into the village and buy themselves food. We have here only five loaves and two fish.” (Matthew 14.15-17) In their... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 7, 2022
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Against Cremation

When it comes to our struggle against the modern, secular world, one consistent pattern emerges. Our society has no regard for the human body as the Temple of the Holy Spirit. We abuse our bodies with drugs and alcohol. We use our bodies as canvas for artwork, and as pincushions. It should come as no surprise then that when our bodies die, more and more are opting for cremation. The Church is against cremation, but few know why. Many claim it is because we need our bones to be resurrected... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, July 17, 2022
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Church Etiquette 

Over the past few months I have had several conversations with members of our St Nicholas Cathedral family about the state of our church etiquette. I have heard comments ranging from “They shouldn’t be dressed like that,” to “The children are distracting.” It can be difficult attending divine worship in a Cathedral filled with so many faithful. With each member of our Church, standards on these issues vary, and sometimes they vary drastically. To help us ‘get... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, July 10, 2022
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What are you worried about?

Let’s face it, life is difficult. “Where will my family live?” “What will my family eat?” “How will I send my children to college?” “Will I have a job next week after the merger?” Although we may not struggle about these exact questions, we all know life is a struggle, no matter who we are or where we live. And yet the Lord says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, July 3, 2022
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Immediate Response Required

In today’s Gospel we witness Christ calling His first disciples to follow Him. These humble ‘working class’ men were already faithful Jews. As fishermen, they knew hard and about long days. They knew how to put their faith in God to ‘provide’ for their livelihood and fill their nets. They knew that every blessing for God required patience and discipline. All their knowledge prepared them for what was to come next. As Christ walked by, He said, “Follow Me... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 26, 2022
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A Reflection on Fathers' Day

“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence.” (1 Timothy 3.2-5)   Summer comes along and the thought of spending time outdoors with our families and friends brings a warm feeling to our hearts. It’s... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 19, 2022
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We are Never Alone

In a society so preoccupied with individualism, it can be very easy to feel alone, even if we are surrounded by other people. Our faces are glued to our smart phone screens, and our senses are totally cut off from reality. Most of the time we are totally unaware of those around us, so feeling alone has become ‘normal’ for most, but we are never alone. No, I’m not talking about aliens, although the media has been preoccupied with the idea of UFO’s lately.... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, June 12, 2022
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Summer Heat

This week marks the end of another school year, and the beginning of a new adventure we all know and love as summer. Even for families without children in school, the end of the school year represents the cycle of life and the enjoyable tradition of summer vacations! For those of us in Florida, summer also means unbearable heat and the need for some refreshing water at the beach. There was another time in the heat of the day when someone needed some refreshing water. A woman from Samaria... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 22, 2022
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Nobody is Alone

Early in Jesus' earthly ministry, He came across a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, who was lying by the Pool of Bethesda. At certain times during the year, an angel of the Lord would come down from heaven, stir the water, and the one who entered the water first after the angel, would be healed. This man whom Jesus met, time after time, was too slow dragging himself into the pool. Though he failed to be healed after so many years, he never gave up hope. He never stopped... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 15, 2022
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Our Common Mother

On the second Sunday of May each year we honor mothers. We honor them with luncheons, flowers, gifts and praise for their dedication and love. But what do we offer our “common” mother, the Mother of God? The Ever-Virgin Mary whom we call Mother of God, is also our mother. This honor given to her is not just symbolic, but a real relationship she maintains with us as her children. Consider this… The Mother of God, exercising her free will, gave God permission to enter... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 8, 2022
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From Fear to Faith

In the evening of the first Pascha, the Apostles had locked themselves in a room because they were afraid of the Jewish elite, when Jesus appeared inside the room and said to them, “’Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20.21-22) But Thomas was not there and doubted the story the Apostles told when he arrived saying, “Unless I see in... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, May 1, 2022
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Starting Over Requires Drastic Measures

When someone suffering from addiction desires to stop his addiction, radical changes in his way of life are required in order for him to isolate the behaviors that feed his addiction. This is the process that is so successfully carried at drug and alcohol rehab facilities throughout our nation. Many times the first step in rehab is spending time “in detox” which gives the body time for the particular drug to be cleansed from his organs etc. The same process is required when we... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, April 10, 2022
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The struggle is EVERYTHING

We have arrived at the “half-way point” of our Great Lenten Journey, and the Church brings our attention solidly upon the Holy Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord. In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Great Lent we hear Jesus Christ challenge us to join Him on the Cross. “For whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34) The life of every Christian is found in the Cross, both the Cross of Christ and OUR... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, March 27, 2022
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Στο σημερινό Ευαγγέλιο του Αποστόλου Μάρκου

Στο σημερινό Ευαγγέλιο του Αποστόλου Μάρκου βλέπουμε τον Ιησού να επισκέπτεται ένα σπίτι στην... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, March 20, 2022
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Great Lenten Fasting Guidelines for 2022

If you currently do not fast regularly or at all… abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays   If you currently fast from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays… abstain from meat every day during Great Lent If you currently fast… increase your fasting one “level” this year following the example above beginning with Wednesdays and Fridays. Suggested Fasting Levels in the Orthodox Christian Tradition 1.       Abstain... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, March 6, 2022
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The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Prayer

Since the Triodion is a special time to prepare us for Great Lent, and Great Lent will have a greater focus on prayer,  I thought this week I would talk about prayer. Once I was asked, “Can we pray for people who are not of the Christian faith, for example for the healing from a sickness?” When I was considering this question, it occurred to me that we should speak about prayer in general since it is a central part of our Orthodox Christian Life. The simple answer to this... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, February 20, 2022
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The Prodigal Son

The week, we hear the story of a wealthy man with two sons.  The younger son asked his father to give him his share of the wealth so he can live his own life.  He traveled far away from home and lived a rich life for years until he had nothing left. He went back to his father, begging for a job as one of his servants so he can at least have some food to eat.  As soon as his father saw him, he ran to his son and welcomed him home.  Not as a servant, but as his son.  The... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, February 20, 2022
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Healing Faith

While Jesus Christ was walking to Jerusalem with his disciples, he passed by the small village of Jericho, where a crowd started to gather around to see him.  There was a poor blind man whose mother had told him about Jesus Christ and his miracles.  He tried to approach Jesus to be healed, but because he couldn’t see, he started to scream “Son of David save me.”  Everyone was shouting at this blind man to be quiet.  Don’t be so loud.   ... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, February 13, 2022
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Holy Confession is a Part of Life

Today is the first Sunday of the Triodion, the period in the Church when we begin to prepare our souls and minds for the Holy and Great Fast. Over the next three weeks, the Church will encourage us to turn our minds and hearts to God, and to make a commitment to grow closer to Him. The Church will ask us to change for the glory of God, and change begins with Holy Confession. In the Epistle of Saint James we read, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another,... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, February 13, 2022
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Never Worry about Money Again

In the past fifteen years of my priesthood, and for the nearly fifteen years before I was a priest, I continue to come across people who are burdened with debt, even to the point of depression. Now, because of a generous gift of the Ladies Philoptochos Society, you don’t have to be worried about money every again Beginning last week, our Cathedral began rolling out a new program to help YOU take control of your finances, without forgetting your Christian faith. Dave Ramsey... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, February 6, 2022
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You are the Light of the World

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  We all have the light of God within us, but it cannot shine bright if we do not change our priorities.  We need to be focused on what is truly most important.  With everything we do in our daily routines, it is getting harder and harder for us to remember what that is.  Our society is built on economic success, so we work and stress our whole... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, January 30, 2022
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Blindness is a Matter of Choice

As Jesus approached Jericho, He passed near a blind beggar who noticed the commotion. Rather than keep begging, he asked what all commotion meant, and the crowd “told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Luke 18.37) His shouts were met with warnings from the crowd to keep quiet but their warnings did not persuade him. “He cried out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 23, 2022
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Healing Faith

While Jesus Christ was walking to Jerusalem with his disciples, he passed by the small village of Jericho, where a crowd started to gather around to see him.  There was a poor blind man whose mother had told him about Jesus Christ and his miracles.  He tried to approach Jesus to be healed, but because he couldn’t see, he started to scream “Son of David save me.”  Everyone was shouting at this blind man to be quiet.  Don’t be so loud.   ... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, January 23, 2022
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How do you Give Thanks?

There are so many ways to say thank you. You can call. You can send a card or email. You can Facebook it. You can even Tweet it! But what’s the best way to say thank you to someone who has given you more than you ever imagined? How do you say thank you to that special person who gave you life? And I’m not talking about your mother. How do you say thank you to God for everything He has done for you? Is a card enough? Is it enough to list your Facebook status as “thanking... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 16, 2022
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Where are the other nine?

In this Sunday’s gospel we hear the story of 10 lepers who ask Jesus to heal them.  He tells them to go to the priests and be healed.  After all ten were healed, only one praised God and came back to thank Jesus.  Jesus then questioned: Where are the other nine?   Jesus sent the lepers to the priests to test them to see if they had patience and if they would follow his request to go to the priests instead of needing to be healed immediately by Jesus.  And they... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, January 16, 2022
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Why do Orthodox Christians Bless Material Things?

Why Do Orthodox Christian Bless Material Things? Last week thousands of faithful men and women and many visitors gathered in our Cathedral and along the shores of Spring Bayou for the annual Cross Dive and Blessing of the Waters in honor of the Feast of Epiphany. During the special blessing service, the Holy Spirit was called down to bless the waters and those who partake of them or are sprinkled by them. This ancient custom of blessing water is celebrated throughout the world as... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 9, 2022
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2022 New Year Resolutions

This week is the week that everyone focuses on improving something about life in the New Year. As clocks hit midnight all across the globe last week, good intentioned men and women rushed to confirm New Year resolutions. Of course many if not most if not all New Year resolutions end up in the garbage pail by the end of the first week of the New Year, but that didn’t stop millions across the globe from faithfully committing to improving their lives this year. In many cases, people... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, January 2, 2022
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God Expects Nothing Short of a Full Church

In the Gospel we hear the Parable of the Great Feast (Luke 14.16-24) in which Christ calls us to fill His Church. The reality of poor church attendance is not a new phenomenon in the Church. For decades our national Church has struggled with the trend where half-full Churches have become the norm rather than the exception. In fact, just as in this parable, we have heard year’s worth of excuses from our brothers and sisters as to why they are not in Church. Excuses have ranged from... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, December 12, 2021
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The tools of the Church are offered to us; it’s up to us to use them!

    When I was young growing up in Colorado, our family spent many hours outdoors skiing, hiking, camping, and just about anything we could enjoy in the mountains. As a boy all I was responsible for during these excursions was myself. I didn’t have to carry anything but myself. I didn’t have to watch anything but myself. And I have to be honest it was pretty fun….until I got older.   When I was a young adult working as a youth director, still... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, December 5, 2021
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Are You a Reflection of God?

When Jesus was called “good” by the rich ruler He said, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Luke 18.19) He of course is good because He is God, but He is also a reflection of the goodness of the Father. In that moment with the rich ruler, Jesus was teaching us the truth of the incarnation of God in the Son – Jesus Christ. And as a Son is a reflection of the Father, so Jesus is a reflection of the Goodness that is in the Father. The... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Happy Thanksgiving

We have many blessings as a Christian community. We have a beautiful Church. We have many supportive and loving members. We just celebrated our “Friendsgiving” with over 300 people last week. As individual families we also have many blessings. We have jobs despite our struggling economy. We have our health and we have food on our tables. We have a great deal for which to be thankful this year. I'm sure we can all agree. But HOW will we thank God for the blessing that He... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 21, 2021
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Be the Good Samaritan

We’ve all been there before. We all remember in school how our teacher would help us remember that we already knew the answer to a question. With the wise guidance of our teacher, we all know how to search our minds and our hearts to find the right answer for a variety of questions. But no question is as important as, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10.25) The Gospel tells us a story of a certain lawyer who wanted to test Jesus by asking a question for... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 14, 2021
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Together as One

Last week, I was surprised by the Parish Council with a celebration of OUR five year anniversary. It was just five years ago that you received me as your new Dean. It seems like yesterday that we were meeting each other for the first time. Since that day five years ago, we have celebrated hundreds of liturgies together, laughed and cried together countless times, danced together, and even survived hurricanes together. Five years ago, I stood in front of you and promised that, together we would... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, November 7, 2021
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Serving the Poor Helps YOU, not the Poor

In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16.19-31) the un-named rich man was in the torment of Hell because he refused to serve the sick and poor man named Lazarus. Many times we think that it is the poor that benefit from our charity, but according to the Gospel, this is not the case. When we feed the hungry, their stomach might be filled, but it is our soul that fills with the love of God and enjoys unity with Him. As an alternative, when we refuse to help the poor, while their stomach... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 31, 2021
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The Tradition of Spiritual Father

Many times I am approached by parishioners and even visitors with questions about faith and the Orthodox Christian way of life. Questions range from how and when to fast, how often to receive Holy Communion, and a large variety of questions about life choices. While I am always ready to have such conversations, I also understand that not everyone understands why we even bother to ask the priest such questions.   The tradition of spiritual father in the Church is as old as the church... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 24, 2021
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We All Have Demons

We All Have Demons We have heard many Gospel stories of Jesus casting out the demons from within possessed people.  The man in today’s Gospel reading was possessed by many demons for a long time which forced him to live a terribly lonely, destructive, miserable life among the tombs.  Today, we may not experience demons the way they were described in the Bible.  We may not be possessed the way this man was.  But we all certainly have some demons that are preventing... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, October 24, 2021
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Don't Be Stingy with God's Message

In the Gospel we hear one of the great Parables of Our Lord about the “Sower.” This is the only parable where Christ also gives an explanation of the meaning of the parable. We are encouraged to be good fertile soil to allow the Word of God to take root in our hearts so that we can bear fruit with great abundance to the glory of God. There is another aspect to the parable that the Fathers of our Church bring to our attention. Saint John Chrysostom teaches, “For as... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 17, 2021
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Be Devoted to Good Works

Be Devoted To Good Works In today’s Epistle Reading, Apostle Paul is emphasizing the importance of doing good deeds and helping others to do good deeds.  We might think that doing good deeds will bring us closer to God, but Paul tells us something different.  He is helping guide those who already have faith in the Lord, so that they will be devoted to doing good works.   But what does this really mean? We all already know that we should be doing good deeds throughout our... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, October 17, 2021
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The Importance of Religious Education

The Importance of Religious Education Today is the first day of Sunday School, so I thought it would be good to share with you my thoughts about the importance of religious education. It is something we all think and talk about, but unfortunately our conversation is often limited to Sunday School. And when we think about Sunday School, we normally think about children sitting in a classroom learning facts about God and the Church, much in the same way we learn about world history.   ... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 10, 2021
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A Resurrection Can Happen Today

A Resurrection Can Happen Today In today’s gospel we hear the story of a grieving widow at her son’s funeral.  During the funeral procession, Jesus approached the mother and said to her “Do not weep.”  He then resurrected the young man and gave him to his mother.  Thousands witnessed this miracle and glorified God.  My beloved brothers and sisters, the worst tragedy we can experience in our lives is the loss of a child.  It is an unimaginable... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, October 10, 2021
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Beware What You Desire

Beware What You Desire   Today’s Gospel begins, “As you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6.31) We know this as the Golden Rule, but it isn’t always a good thing. I know that at first this sounds the opposite, but it is true. How we behave to others, whether we want it or not, expresses how we want to be treated. That is, if we believe Christ in today’s Gospel.   I am blessed to hear many confessions from young and old. In these... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, October 3, 2021
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Don't be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help Is sadness the same as sorrow?  My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, the Epistle reading today gives us the opportunity to discuss the difference.  We may feel sadness in our daily lives.  Sadness is a feeling we get when we experience or witness something unhappy, or maybe when we feel like something just isn’t going quite right.  We can usually push through the sadness by overcoming whatever caused it.  Sorrow,... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, October 3, 2021
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Theology Matters

If you have ever had a discussion about religion with your friends, you know it can be very complicated to explain the difference between the human and divine nature of Jesus Christ. It is such a difficult topic, we have been arguing with the Oriental Orthodox for more than 1500 years. You may be tempted to say, “What does it matter if I believe in Jesus Christ?” It does matter, because the answer affects who God is. As of 2015 there were more than 45,000 denominations of... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, September 26, 2021
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Love Casts Out Fear

Love Casts Out Fear! What is love? God is Love!  In the Epistle reading today, John teaches us about God’s perfect love.  John tells us that God will love us if we love Him and if we love each other.  And we all claim to love God and each other, but what does that really mean?  And do we love with the kind of love God is asking from us?   Love is not as simple as: I love you or I don’t love you.  In today’s society, the word love is... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, September 26, 2021
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Carry Your Cross

We are all faced with many obstacles throughout our lives.  We strive to be our best and to succeed in reaching our goals.  But how much are we really willing to work and fight to overcome all the difficulties we are faced with?  This is exactly what this Sunday’s gospel is about.  The Lord said “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” These words are read to us at our baptism as we begin our lives as... Read More
Posted by Fr Theofanis Katsiklis at Sunday, September 19, 2021
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It's Time for a Change

It’s Time for a Change Sometimes in life we have to change the way we look at things. This is true not only in the arrangement of furniture in the Den, but our spiritual lives and September is an excellent opportunity to do this. When we look differently at our furniture sometimes we see things we never noticed before; and sometimes this can be a scratch in the sofa or a stain in the carpet. Whenever we take the chance to look at things from a different angle we are able to... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, September 5, 2021
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The Price of Pride

Today we are honoring the gruesome martyrdom of “the greatest man ever born of a woman,” (Matthew 11.11) as a warning against pride and greed. John the Baptist stood as a bold and public defender of truth and morality when he reminded Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." (Mark 6.18) Later as Herodias’ daughter danced for Herod, he was so taken by her beauty that he swore to give her anything she wanted. Since it was Herodias that Herod... Read More
Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at Sunday, August 29, 2021
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