Lenten Pastoral Message
"Liberate all our senses from killing passions,
setting over them as a benevolent sovereign our inner reason. Let the
eye be averted from every evil sight, and the ear be deaf to idle talk.
May the tongue be purged of unseemly speech. Purify
these lips that praise You, Lord. Make our hands abstain from wicked
deeds, doing only such things as are pleasing to You, thus sealing with
Your grace all our members, and our mind."
taken from the Wednesday Presanctified Liturgies during Lent
Beloved, I believe the above words capture the real struggle of our
spiritual walk as well as the means by which we can be tempted.
I also believe if we were to indelibly etch that prayer on the
forefront of our every thought during this Lenten season and beyond, we
would begin to realize our true potential as Christians.
With Lent beginning March 3rd, let us embrace this opportunity of
spiritual growth and renewal. Let
us embrace this opportunity to recommit our lives to Christ and His
Church through worship and the tools of faith....
Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving.
Is our tool for Spiritual Warfare.
Exercising our physical and spiritual person to cleanse ourselves by
improving the areas of our Christian walk that we know to be weak.
Opens or strengthens our relationship with Christ.
We cannot have a relationship with anyone in our lives, unless we
communicate with them.
Likewise, that applies ever so much with our Lord and Savior Jesus
The Greek word used when referring to giving
Alms in scripture is “eleimosini”,
which means “mercy”. So,
beginning with our families, extending it to our neighbors and beyond,
let us begin practicing eleimosini to those who are needy and suffering.
These three essential aspects of the Christian life are found in the
Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3) and are to be lived daily.
The Church, through her Sacred Services and spiritual life,
offers us the opportunity of askesis (spiritual exercise) and of
becoming more Christ-like¸
imitating Christ in all things.
Join me and the entire Church family on our Lenten Journey to the joy of
our Lord’s Resurrection by attending as many services as possible.
With peace, love
and blessings from above,
Rev. Father Christ Kontos
FEBRUARY PASTORAL MESSAGE
For a couple months now, images of how our Church
will look with the new Beautification Project have reached your inbox,
mailbox and have been presented visually in Church.
Now, pause and picture yourself in Church surrounded by saints
and the warm images from the life of Christ.
Sitting there you pray and ask our Lord to bless you and your
loved ones with peace, health, spiritual joy and comfort.
You are lifted up in your prayer just as incense rises to heaven
and those prayers are enhanced with the saints that surround you.
Embracing your spirit, the mystical Light of God
filters through the stained glass window’s prisms offering His likeness
upon us, His creation. St Luke,
our Church, our Holy Sanctuary is becoming Heaven on Earth my beloved.
The curtain will be pulled back and we will be tasting that
Heaven through worship in good time.
My prayer for all of us is that this image becomes
a reality in the near future.
Your love for our Church has helped us move much closer to the
goal of raising the funds necessary to complete our project.
If you have not participated yet, prayerfully consider becoming
part of this mystical journey as the beautification of our Church takes
on a new spiritual image.
I would like to thank all of our generous brothers
and sisters who have made the commitment to the future of our house of
worship and I look forward to our goal being met through our collective
To date, we have received contributions in many
giving levels-from Eucharist
I promise you that once you make a commitment you will begin to
feel the joy of being part of this spiritual legacy.
When this project is complete, you will experience a lifelong
feeling of togetherness with your parishioners, the saints in this life
and in anticipation of the life to come.
With brotherly love,
Rev. Father Christ Kontos
This month's Pastoral Message is dedicated to
questions parishioners have had about the blessed Iconography Phase we
have entered to finish the spiritual transformation of our Church.
Your questions answered by Father Christ
Why Iconography and stained glass?
Throughout the years,
I have visited the most beautifully erected and decorated Greek Orthodox
Churches in the world at Mount Athos, the Holy Lands of Jerusalem,
Bethlehem, and beyond. I have prayed in these Churches and experienced
greater spiritual strength through the surrounding iconography and
elements that go into the interior design of a Greek Orthodox house of
My prayer has always
been that one day, all of us, the faithful of St. Luke Greek Orthodox
Church, this generation of St. Luke’s youth and adults and future
generations, will be able to experience the fullness and spiritual
growth once the interior of our Church is further adorned.
How much will it cost and why now?
The cost to complete
this project is $1,000,000. It is a great deal of money and will be
completed with donated funds, there will be no borrowing. I know that
our parishioners are some of the most committed and faithful in their
Greek Orthodox faith. This project has been in the works for close to
five years. During that
time we have built a new Education and Cultural Center and gone through
the worst economic recession in history.
While there may never
be a “good time” to complete this project since there are many people
still suffering and we are paying down the mortgage on our new center,
which serves the many needs and ministries of our youth and adults, now
is the time to complete the House of God which sustains our spiritual
life through Worship and the Sacraments of the Church.
Our windows need to be replaced and our Church is half adorned.
I have sought and
received the blessings from Metropolitan Evangelos.
Our iconographer, George Papastamatiou is prepared to complete
the iconography which he started in 1998 and our stained glass artist,
Nadya Penoff, is ready to move forward.
Nadya has told me that this will be her last major project after
30 years of creating stained glass windows for Orthodox Churches and
wants to make it her crowning achievement.
How long will it be until we get
We cannot start until
we reach total funding. My
prayer is to raise the necessary funds to move forward by The Nativity
of our Lord-Christmas-of this year and complete this sacred work by
Christmas, 2014. With your prayerful consideration, I have faith it will
How can I participate?
consideration and consultation with the Beautification Committee, I have
established “Giving Levels” to allow everyone to participate according
to their means.
Quite frankly, if we
are blessed to have a small number of very committed and generous
parishioners to donate at the Seraphim, Celestial and Eucharist levels,
the project will go forward in short order.
However, a donation
at any level is a God-Send and all donations; no matter how small or
large, will make a difference.
Will benefactors be recognized?
All benefactors at
all levels will be recognized in a prominent wall display that will list
We will be discussing
the display with our artists in the next few months.
A richly designed
book will also be created to display all the icons and donors.
A permanent website
will include vivid photographs of each icon and window along with
explanations of each scene. To reinforce the permanency of our legacy,
donors and their families will be recognized with pictures and videos,
if they so choose.
Will it be possible to meet the artists?
and Nadya Penoff will make a presentation on iconography, stained glass,
and spirituality to the community on Sunday, December 8th.
I am available to discuss any questions you might have and would
welcome your thoughts.
You can reach me via email:
Fatherck@gmail.com or call the office: 610-353-1592.
Join me as we embark on this spiritual transformation
by becoming an integral part of this lasting legacy of our Church.
Peace and blessings,