Text Box: Fasting and Feasting
Since November 14th we have been in the course of The Nativity Fast. Like many other great holy days in the Church’s year, we are led up to a  spiritual preparation for the holy event by a period of cleansing and simplification. Fasting is a matter of avoiding certain foods so as to make a ‘mark’ in our bodily consciousness that something holy is approaching. In the ancient tradition of Christianity it  has always been the case that the times of fasting are associated with extra activities also in terms of prayer and almsgiving. 
These three things: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving,  go hand in hand with each other; strengthening  the Text Box: mutual effect: our prayer is made more fervent by the commitment to fasting: our prayer is made more alive by our renewed commitment to give something away for the sake of the poor.
It is not an easy matter to keep up this practice. Modern life is so busy it is hard to set aside some special time for ‘more prayer’ in our daily schedule. The pre-Christmas round of activities in our places of work or our schools is full of ‘holiday events’. Never are there so many parties, or so it seems, as in the period of the Nativity Fast. Never is it harder (when faced with the rush of Christmas shopping) to set aside some money or goods for the benefit of the poor.
Text Box: It is not easy to do these things: but the Lord sees our effort, and his blessing is upon those hearts that seek after Him, and seek to be renewed in  grace and spiritual vitality through these spiritual practices. Let us never look at anyone else’s practice: only at our own.
Text Box: St. Gregory’s News Letter
Text Box: Archbishop Christodoulos Gravely Ill
Text Box: Archbishop Christodoulos, leader of Greece’s Orthodox Church, returned to his home at the end of October after spending two months in a Florida hospital waiting for a liver transplant as a result of his intestinal cancer. The  expected opText Box: eration was not possible because of the unexpected spread (metastasis) of the cancer, and the way in which the transplant drugs would have fuelled its growth. He expressed his acceptance of the disappointing result, and placed Text Box: his life in the hands of God. When the Archbishop arrived back in Greece he made this statement at the airport, acknowledging the crowds who gathered to cheer him, and quoting Homer’s words about the return of Ulysses to his Text Box:                  X Theologos 
Text Box: St.Gregory the theologian orthodox chapel

Fresco Icon of St. Gregory

Mount Athos

 

 

homeland: ‘I am very happy that I have returned to my Ithaka ... to continue the therapy which my doctors have recommended,’   The Archbishop, who is 68 years old, remains gravely ill. He is head of 11 Million Greek Orthodox in their homeland, and was the host for Pope John Paul II’s historic and reconciliatory visit to Athens in 2001. Please remember him in your prayers.