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The Greek Orthodox Church in Australia has called upon its faithful to sign a petition voicing their opposition to the introduction of same sex marriage legislation. His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos, the leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia, issued an Encyclical emphasising that the Orthodox Church is opposed to the proposed bill, ‘as this will assail the sacredness of Marriage and the Family, as has been taught to us through the ages by our Holy Faith and by the Fathers of the Church.’ He has called upon Orthodox Christians to, firstly, pray to God and to beseech the Holy Theotokos, especially during the August Fast for the Dormition of our Lady, to ‘protect the people from such an aberration, and, secondly, ‘to protest by gathering signatures, requesting the defeat of such legislation.’ Over one hundred parishes and the monasteries in response to the call of His Eminence will be distributing a petition to the Senate collecting over the next coming weeks. Read the Archbishop’s Encyclical in full.      Sign the petition online - here Consequences of redefining marriage It will impact on freedom of religion : In countries where marriage has been redefined faith communities have been attacked for continuing to teach: that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. It will impact on education : If civil marriage is redefined to include same sex marriage, then that is what schools are going to have to teach and affirm to our children. It will deprive children of a mother or a father : If the definition of civil marriage is changed to include same sex marriage, this sends the message that it is acceptable for children to be raised without the presence of a mother or a father. It's time we have a fair, open debate on the consequences of same sex marriage and how will Australia avoid the overseas experience with same sex marriage. Until we have the answers, how can we possibly have a vote?
Orthodox Marriage The institution of Marriage and the Orthodox Christian family is foremost a course of love, secondly a course of common spirit and common exercise, thirdly a course of creativity, common creativity and continuation of life, and, fourthly a common course toward heaven, toward the heavenly kingdom. It is a calling of God, it is a joining of diversity that leads to perfection, and, therefore, the spouses become also joint heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3: 7). His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Our Orthodox view is contrary, not because we have hostile feelings towards our fellow citizens who think or decide differently, but because the proposed alteration to the traditional form of marriage, (between a man and a woman) is diametrically against the sacredness of marriage and of the family, as taught by the Christian faith and Greek Orthodox Tradition. His Eminence Archbishop Stylianos Our purpose is not that government legislation should become a ‘tool’ to impose Christian ethics upon fellow citizens who do not share our beliefs. This of course would not be legitimate, given that we respect the free will of all. Rather, our concern is that the very institution of marriage, which has a Christian tradition of two entire millennia, should remain as it is, and not be confused with the political debate concerning the legal status of same- sex unions. However, marriage is much more than a legal convention or social tradition. Episcopal Assembly of Oceania
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ΙΕΡΑ ΑΡΧΙΕΠΙΣΚΟΠΗ ΑΥΣΤΡΑΛΙΑΣ  ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΟΣ ΕΝΟΡΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΚΟΙΝΟΤΗΣ BANKSTOWN KAI ΠΕΡΙΧΩΡΩΝ «Η ΑΓΙΑ ΕΥΦΗΜΙΑ» Greek Orthodox Parish and Community of Bankstown St Euphemia  6-12 East Terrace, Bankstown NSW, 2200 Τηλέφωνο Εκκλησίας - Church Phone (02) 9709 6908 ΤΗΛ ΙΕΡΕΩΝ π.Παναγιώτης Πρωτοψάλτης : 0402 219 214 π.Παναγιώτης Μαυρομμάτης : 0416 145 300 ΄Ωρες Γραφείου Δευτέρα-Παρασκευή 4.30 μ.μ -  6.30 μ.μ Office Hours Monday to Friday 4.30pm to 6.30pm Για Μνημόσυνα και Αρτοκλασίες (02) 9709 6908 Memorial Services & Artoklasies (02) 9709 6908
St Euphemia Greek Orthodox College 202 STACEY STEET BANKSTOWN SYDNEY NSW 2200 PHONE : (02) 9796 8240 FAX : (02) 9790 7354 WEB : www.steuphemia.nsw.edu.au Yet again, our College was one of the High Achieving Schools in New South Wales and one of the best in the local area. Our results in 2014 were again exceptional and highlight the status of our College. There are limited vacancies from Kindergarten to Year 12 for those considering to enrol their children. Give your child the gift of a safe and successful learning journey by enrolling them at Saint Euphemia College. For more information, please contact the Principals on 9796 8240.
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Important Announcements Οι ιερείς, ο Πρόεδρος και το Συμβούλιο, η Φιλόπτωχος και η Νεολαία σας εύχονται Καλή Ανάσταση και Ευλογημένο Πάσχα.  From all at St. Euphemia we wish you a Blessed Pascha!
ΑΓΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΜΕΓΑΛΗ ΕΒΔΟΜΑΔΑ 24η Κυριακή των Βαίων : (Βράδυ) Ακολουθία του Νυμφίου - 7.00μμ - 8.30μμ. 25η Μεγ. Δευτέρα : Ώρες, Θεία Λειτουργία των Προηγιασμένων Δώρων - 7.30πμ - 9.30πμ. Ακολουθία του Νυμφίου (Ιωσήφ του Παγκάλου) - 7.00μμ - 8.30μμ. 26η Μεγ. Τρίτη : Ώρες, Θεία Λειτουργία των Προηγιασμένων Δώρων - 7.30πμ - 9.30πμ. Ακολουθία του Νυμφίου (Των Δέκα Παρθένων) - 7.00πμ - 8.30μμ 27η Μεγ. Τετάρτη :  Ώρες, Θεία Λειτουργία των Προηγιασμένων Δώρων - 7.30πμ - 9.30πμ. Ιερόν Ευχέλαιον - 4.00μμ - 5.30μμ. Όρθρος Μεγάλης Πέμπτης (Της Αλειψάσης τον Κύριον) - 7.00μμ - 8.30μμ. 28η Μεγ. Πέμπτη :  Ο Μυστικός Δείπνος Εσπερινή Θ. Λειτ του Αγ. Βασιλείου - 5.30πμ - 7.30πμ. Ακολουθία των Παθών - 7.00μμ - 10.30μμ. 29η Μεγ. Παρασκευή :  Τα Άγια Πάθη του Κυρίου - Μεγάλες Ώρες - 8.00πμ - 10.00πμ. (Ακολουθεί ο στολισμός  του επιταφίου 10.00 πμ. - 1.00μμ.) Αποκαθήλωσις - 3.00μμ - 4.30μμ. (Βράδυ) Ακολουθία του Επιταφίου 7.00μμ - 10.30μμ. 30η Μεγ. Σάββατο :    Η εις ΄Αδου Κάθοδος. Θ. Λειτουργία του Αγ. Βασιλείου - 5:30πμ - 8.00πμ. ΤΟ ΑΓΙΟΝ ΠΑΣΧΑ :  Τελετή της Αναστάσεως - 11.00μμ - 2.30πμ. 1η ΑΓΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΜΕΓΑΛΗ ΚΥΡΙΑΚΗ ΤΗΣ ΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΕΩΣ Εσπερινός της Αγάπης εις τον Καθεδρικόν Ι. Ναόν του Ευαγγελισμού - 11.00πμ - 12.30μμ.
Church Programme
SERVICES OF GREAT AND HOLY WEEK 24th Palm Sunday :  Bridegroom Service -  7.00pm - 8.30pm 25th Holy Monday : Hours, Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts -  7.30am. - 9.30am Evening - Bridegroom Service (Blessed and Noble Joseph) - 7.00pm - 8.30pm 26th Holy Tuesday : Hours, Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts - 7.30am - 9.30am Evening - Bridegroom Service (Parable of the Ten Virgins) - 7.00pm - 8.30pm 27th Holy Wednesday : Hours, Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts - 7.30am - 9.30am Sacrament of Holy Unction -  4.00pm - 5.30pm Evening - Matins of Holy Thursday - 7.00pm - 8.30pm 28th Holy Thursday :  (Mystical Supper) Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St Basil - 5.30am - 7.30am Evening - Service of the Holy Passion (12 Gospels) - 7.00pm - 10.30 pm 29th Holy Friday :  (The Passion of our Lord) Great and Holy Hours - 8.00am - 10.00 am (Decoration of  the Tomb 10 .00 am.-1.00 pm.) Vespers - Taking down from the Cross - 3.00pm - 4.30pm Evening - Service of Lamentations (Epitaphios) 7.00pm - 10.30pm. 30th Holy Saturday : (The Descent of Christ into Hades) Vespers and Div. Liturgy of St Basil - 5.30am - 8.00am Service of the Resurrection - (followed by Divine Liturgy) - 11.00 pm - 2.30am 1st HOLY PASCHA      (Agape Vespers at the Cathedral 11.00 am - 12.30 pm)
Great and Holy Friday On Great and Holy Friday the Orthodox Church commemorates the death of Christ on the Cross. This is the culmination of the observance of His Passion by which our Lord suffered and died for our sins. This commemoration begins on Thursday evening with the Matins of Holy Friday and concludes with a Vespers on Friday afternoon that observes the unnailing of Christ from the Cross and the placement of His body in the tomb. Commemoration of Great and Holy Friday On this day we commemorate the sufferings of Christ: the mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the nails, the thirst, the vinegar and gall, the cry of desolation, and all the Savior endured on the Cross. The day of Christ's death is the day of sin. The sin which polluted God's creation from the breaking dawn of time reached its frightful climax on the hill of Golgotha. There, sin and evil, destruction and death came into their own. Ungodly men had Him nailed to the Cross, in order to destroy Him. However, His death condemned irrevocably the fallen world by revealing its true and abnormal nature. In Christ, who is the New Adam, there is no sin. And, therefore, there is no death. He accepted death because He assumed the whole tragedy of our life. He chose to pour His life into death, in order to destroy it; and in order to break the hold of evil. His death is the final and ultimate revelation of His perfect obedience and love. He suffered for us the excruciating pain of absolute solitude and alienation - "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!" (Mark 15:34). Then, He accepted the ultimate horror of death with the agonizing cry, "It is finished" (John 19:30). His cry was at one and the same time an indication that He was in control of His death and that His work of redemption was accomplished, finished, fulfilled. How strange! While our death is radical unfulfillment, His is total fulfillment. The day of Christ's death has become our true birthday. "Within the mystery of Christ dead and resurrected, death acquires positive value. Even if physical, biological death still appears to reign, it is no longer the final stage in a long destructive process. It has become the indispensable doorway, as well as the sure sign of our ultimate Pascha, our passage from death to life, rather than from life to death. From the beginning the Church observed an annual commemoration of the decisive and crucial three days of sacred history, i.e., Great Friday, Great Saturday and Pascha. Great Friday and Saturday have been observed as days of deep sorrow and strict fast from Christian antiquity. Great Friday and Saturday direct our attention to the trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Christ. We are placed within the awesome mystery of the extreme humility of our suffering God. Therefore, these days are at once days of deep gloom as well as watchful expectation. The Author of life is at work transforming death into life: "Come, let us see our Life lying in the tomb, that he may give life to those that in their tombs lie dead" (Sticheron of Great Saturday Orthros). Liturgically, the profound and awesome event of the death and burial of God in the flesh is marked by a particular kind of silence, i.e. by the absence of a eucharistic celebration. Great Friday and Great Saturday are the only two days of the year when no eucharistic assembly is held. However, before the twelfth century it was the custom to celebrate the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts on Great Friday. The divine services of Great Friday with the richness of their ample Scripture lessons, superb hymnography and vivid liturgical actions bring the passion of Christ and its cosmic significance into sharp focus. The hymns of the services on this day help us to see how the Church understands and celebrates the awesome mystery of Christ's passion and death. The commemorations of Holy Friday begin with the Matins service of the day which is conducted on Thursday evening. The service is a very unique Matins service with twelve Gospel readings that begin with Christ's discourse at the Last Supper and end with the account of His burial: John 13:31-18:1, John 18:1-29, Matthew 26:57-75, John 18:28 - 19:16, Matthew 27:3-32, Mark 15:16-32, Matthew 27:33-54, Luke 23:32-49, John 19:38-42, Mark 15:43-47, John 19:38-42, Matthew 27:62-66 These readings relate the last instructions of Christ to His disciples, the prophecy of the drama of the Cross, the dramatic prayer of Christ and His new commandment. After the reading of the fifth Gospel comes the procession with the Crucifix around the church, while the priest chants the Fifteenth Antiphon: "Today is hung upon the Tree, He Who did hang the land in the midst of the waters. A Crown of thorns crowns Him Who is King of Angels. He is wrapped about with the purple of mockery Who wrapped the Heavens with clouds. He received buffetings Who freed Adam in Jordan. He was transfixed with nails Who is the Bridegroom of the Church. He was pierced with a spear Who is the Son of the Virgin. We worship Thy Passion, O Christ. Show also unto us thy glorious Resurrection." During the Procession, Orthodox Christians kneel and venerate the Cross and pray for their spiritual well-being, imitating the thief on the Cross who confessed his faith and devotion to Christ. The faithful then approach and reverently kiss the Crucifix which has been placed at the front of the church. On Friday morning, the services of the Royal Hours are observed. These services are primarily readings of prayers, hymns, and passages from the Old Testament, Epistles, and Gospels. The Scripture readings for these services are: First Hour: Zechariah 11:10-13, Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 27:1-56; Third Hour: Isaiah 50:4-11, Romans 5:6-10, Mark 15:6-41; Sixth Hour: Isaiah 52:13- 54:1, Hebrews 2:11-18; Luke 23:32-49; Ninth Hour: Jeremiah 11:18-23,12:1-5,9-11,14-15, Hebrews 10:19-31, John 18:28-19:37. As the priest reads the Gospel, "and taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in a white cloth," he removes the Body of Christ from the Cross, wraps it in a white cloth and takes it to the altar. The priest then chants a mourning hymn: "When Joseph of Arimathea took Thee, the life of all, down from the Tree dead, he buried Thee with myrrh and fine linen . . . rejoicing. Glory to Thy humiliation, O Master, who clothest Thyself with light as it were with a garment." The priest then carries the cloth on which the Body of Christ is painted or embroidered around the church before placing it inside the Sepulcher, a carved bier which symbolizes the Tomb of Christ. We are reminded that during Christ's entombment He descends into Hades to free the dead of the ages before His Resurrection. The Scripture readings for the Vespers are: Exodus 33:11-23; Job 42:12-17; Isaiah 52:13-54:1; I Corinthians 1:18-2:2; and from the Gospels Matthew 27:1-38; Luke 23:39-43; Matthew 27:39-54; John 19:31-37; and Matthew 27:55-61. Hymns and Prayers for Great and Holy Friday   Fifteenth Antiphon of the Matins (Plagal of the Second Tone) Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the Cross. He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery. He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon His face. The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails. The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear. We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ. Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.   Exapostelarion On the same day, O Lord, You granted the Robber Paradise. Now by the wood of the Cross, illumine me and save me.