Southampton, NY.- By By Catherine Tsounis
Seeing children perform a Christmas Pageant inspires and blesses all. Kimisis Tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church in Southampton presented a moving pageant on Sunday, December 21, 2014. “Angels surround God and our children are our angels around us,” explained Fr. Constantine Lazarakis, Presbyter. “Our children are vulnerable. They must be protected.” The Sunday School and Language and Culture Institutes (LCI) in Greek, Russian and Romanian performed a multilingual choir of Christmas songs. The Sunday School and LCI Teachers dedicated long hours in organizing this extraordinary Pageant.
Jim Hatzistavrou was the epistle reader. President Nikiteas explained “we are a family. We work together. We make things happen with the help and guidance of Fr. Alex and Fr. Constantine. I feel blessed. Most of all I want to thank God for guiding us.” For more information, visit http://kimisishamptons.org/.
A new, hand carved iconostasis (altar) adorned the church. It reminded this writer of Agia Triada Church altar of Myrina, Limnos opposite the Dardanelles. “We are able to worship the Orthodox faith freely in America and not in the countries of Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia,” said Rev. Father Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter. “The Greek nation endured four hundred years of the treatment Christians is enduring by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. We are rebuilding St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero, as the only House of Worship.”
The subject among many on the East End of Long Island revolved over His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of over 300 million Orthodox faithful worldwide, receiving Pope Francis on November 29-30, 2014, at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. The bowing of Pope Francis to Patriarch Bartholomew has not taken place since before the East-West Schism in 1054 A.D. Rev. Father Alexander Karloutsos explained their encounter was as “Equals”. “Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew signed a Joint Declaration with consequential importance for Christian unity and momentous impact on the suffering of Christians in the Middle East,” according to the Patriarchate’s official press release. “It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests. And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many (http://www.patriarchate.org).”
A lavish reception followed the church service in the Muses catering hall. Sevi Chiotaki, Greek real estate business person, described another view of the upcoming Greece elections. “If Syriza wins, the banks plan to unite into a bigger system,” said Ms. Chiotaki. “Greeks are proud. They overcome crisis. The economy is better than two years ago. Our tourism increased dramatically.” Panagiota Tsakmakopoulos described a mutual heritage she shares with Sevi in Asia Minor, the major center of Hellenism prior to the 1922 Catastrophe (as in Syria and Iraq 2014 ISIS attack on Middle Eastern Christians). For a positive outlook on Greece’s economic revival, email Ms. Chiotaki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspiration and Christmas blessings with a warm communication of all made Christmas 2014 unforgettable at Kimisis Tis Theotokou Church in Southampton.