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Τρίτη 30 Απριλίου 2013


Dear People,

            I recently received an encyclical from Greece written by Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaia.  It spells out his pain for the crisis that his people are going through in Greece.  As the Orthodox Christian Church throughout the world that celebrates the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior this Sunday, on May 5th, we have an obligation to pray for our suffering brothers and sisters in Greece and throughout the world where they are being battered by Muslim fanatics. Metropolitan Nicholas’ encyclical is profound in its Christian approach to heal the suffering of his people that has been brought about by greed, lies, self-interests, political corruption and disrespect for the Church and its institutions.  In his message to his people, he is trying to bring back a sense of dignity, self-worth, ethnic pride  and responsibility to the suffering citizens of Greece. 

            Metropolitan Nicholas is well prepared to offer profound insight into the spiritual disease that is afflicting Greece and the great majority of the whole world. His parents are physicists and his main interests in getting a higher education was physics.  He received his B.S in physics from  the Aristotelian University of Thessalonica, Greece; an M.A. in Astrophysics from Harvard University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT; and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Hemodynamics from Harvard University.  For four consecutive years, he worked as a researcher at the Vascular Laboratory of New England Deaconess Hospital, at the Department of Anesthesiology of the Massachusetts General Hospital, and at the ICU of the Children’s Hospital in Boston.  He also served as a consultant for NASA and Arthur D. Little Co. in Space Medical Technology

            He was awarded a Master’s in Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and a Master of Theology (Th. M) by Holy Cross School of Theology, Brookline, Massachusetts, and a PhD in Theology by the University of Thessalonica, Greece, on Orthodox Bioethics.  In spite of his scientific pursuits, his profound quest for God led him to Mount Athos, a monastic state on the periphery of Greece, where he was tonsured a monk.  There, in the persons of unknown ascetics, in the life of the simple monks and the prayer of the Athonite desert, he recognized the uniqueness of the Orthodox Faith and truth and experienced the revelation of the “hidden man of the heart.” In 2004 he was elected Metropolitan of Mesogaia and Lavreotiki by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.  Having lived the life of science and technology, he discovered that the greatest treasure in life is Jesus Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church.  His encyclical reflects the unique Christian soul of this outstanding hierarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Greece. I pray that you will be blessed by the contents of this unique encyclical.

This encyclical was translated by:
+Fr. Constantine (Charles) J. Simones, April 24, 2013 in Waterford, CT. USA


May the Grace and blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ protect all of you, the community, the country and our Church.

            I have been thinking about writing this encyclical for a long time and directing it to your attention.  Up until the last minute, I was not sure if I should do it or not.  But during the last few days, amidst the situation of the pervasive panic that prevails in our country; in view of the spasmodic decisions made by those who manage our lives and our future; in view of the changing promises and denials that have traumatized our morality and our dignity; the constant barrage of unending heavy taxes; the reception of numerous telephone calls and messages from the citizens of our jurisdiction that desperately requested some kind of intervention and assistance in the dramatic financial bind they find themselves, I decided to write it.

            The salaries and the pensions have been cut, workers have been fired, the numbers of the unemployed are growing and the finances of many have dried up.  And suddenly we are now being asked and threatened to pay extra taxes on our homes as if the nation is now poorer than the poor. We have come to a point where instead of expenses for our food, our homes and our daily needs, we now pay for taxes and the national debt.  It is not difficult for anyone to realize there is a feeling of asphyxia that prevails with the majority of our fellow citizens.

            Who could have ever imagined that our noble and proud people would have reached the plight that we are in? That we who have given the last drop of our sweat, our effort, and our worth are now being ridiculed throughout the world? That we are now without any hope or guarantee, that our nation is oppressing us through our tears and our blood?

             It is self-evident that we cannot endure anymore.  This is not an hyperbole. But we must say it.  We must shout it into the ears of those responsible for our country: This is as far as we can go.  We cannot do anymore. Find other solutions.  These may be more difficult but they can be more acceptable, more intelligent, more certain and more human.  If you can’t do it, admit your inability to do so.  There is no shame in someone not being able to do this.  But it is unacceptable to insist for us to accept the possibility of our wholesale catastrophe.  You have created for us a nation which offers us less than that which is needed to live.  You must understand this, you are not only obligated to those who have given you loans, you are also obligated to the people that you have pledged to serve.  Since you have not been able to bring about the salvation of the nation through political cooperation, this will be brought about through the requests and initiatives of the people.    

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

            The time has come when the people must show the caliber of its power, to make known its limits of endurance.  The hour has come that all of us together must take into our hands our future.  As long as we remain intransigent, as long as we remain subject to the unbearable decisions of our leaders we will also be responsible for bringing about our slow but certain disintegration.  If we do not wake up, we are finished.  There will be no future.  It is time therefore for us to rise up.  All things must change.  And since others will not change things, it is necessary for all of us to enter the game.  Whoever is pained by the situation we are in and loves the truth must take part in this change.  There is no one who is superfluous in this undertaking.  All great changes in life have been brought about by heroic people, mainly young people.  These changes did not come about by agreements or coercion but by healthy revolutions.  All of us together must and can bring about change for our future if we so will. Not by force, but by the power and determination of the people.

            This will not be done with insignificant choices but with clarity, heroism and intelligence.  It is certain that our responsibility as a people is not insignificant.  Dishonesty, indifference, easy profits, insulting relationships, attacks against our faith and traditions, disrespect for our nation and its laws, and inflexible claims have resulted in the shattering of the lives of our youth which are not honored at all. Others are not only to blame, whether they are speculators, foreign interests or politicians.  Our measure of blame for our current plight is not negligible.  The road of repentance and change is the only way. We cannot change other people.  But we have the ability and the responsibility to change our idiosyncrasies and way of life.  Let us therefore start this revolution of change in ourselves.  That is the more heroic way.

            I must confess that as a Church they have made us part of the crumbling national system.  It is for this reason that the people often misunderstand us. We have embraced the nation (the political leadership), we have depended on it and because of this our relationship with the people has been terribly afflicted.   We have served the pained and the poor but we have not embraced them as part of our being.  At least, we have not managed to have the people understand us that way.  The milk of its mother, the Church, has been contaminated and its face has turned away from the breast of the Church.  That is the worst of things that can happen.  The people are the most precious possession we have after God.  The nature of the Church is the very breath of the people.   Lately we have limited this breath to the people.  The hour has now come for this life giving breast feeding to began again.

            I certainly do not deny the fact that we are also victims.  Someone has fooled us.   Someone has used our issues with culpable impotence.  Someone internationally has dragged us into the mouths of the beasts of this world. This was done either unintentionally or either with evil intent.  And this is where we have arrived.  We have been brought down to nothingness in regards to our wealth and our dignity. In spite of this we have not gone after those responsible.  Now we urgently look for solutions.  We look for solutions that do not demean the people; but elevate their honor.  The time has come for those who make decisions for us must understand what is happening in our homes, in our streets, in our stores and in our daily lives.  They must understand what is happening in our souls.  They will not find this out by meeting with the European Troika nor through their council meetings.  They will learn this from the people.  They must hear our voices.  It cannot happen any other way. 
            I would therefore like to say to those who cannot pay the so-called extra tax on immovable property, not to despair.  You should know that all of us united will be at your side and we will proclaim together; “You cannot take from those who do not have anything to give.”  Let them understand that we do not have what they request.  We cannot respond.  We have reached our limits and we will refuse to allow them to finish us off.  If we delay in our response, they will know it.  Saint Kosmas of Aitolos prophesied two hundred fifty years ago saying: “They will burden you with heavy and unbearable taxes, even on your windows and your hen houses but they will not get them in time.”  Truthfully they will not get them in time.  Do not bend before this financial bankruptcy.  We are already living it.  Deny the bankruptcy of dignity, of history and of our national consciousness.  These we can and should reclaim to the very last drop, even now at the very last moment.

            Mesogaia and Lavriotiki is a blessed area that up until recently pulsated with development and prosperity.  But recently more and more people in desperation are turning to the Church or to wherever they can for comfort and help.  Many have been financially brought to their knees.  They cannot feed their children.  They cannot sleep.  They are living the present threat and fear for the future.  They have private property but they do not have money.  How will these people pay for their property?  Where will they find the money?  Will they confiscate our homes?  Will they turn off our electricity?  Is it possible that we will be thrown into darkness; especially those of us living in Keratea or Lavrio, the very location of the biggest power station in our land?  Whatever may happen, my dear brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the local Church will offer everything it has in order to stand at your side.  If anyone has their power cut off, we will cut off the power in all our Churches. We will have weddings with candles in our hands and Divine Liturgies with tears in our eyes.  In no way we will accept the fact that when any homes are thrown into darkness that our Churches will continue to function with lit chandeliers.

             Therefore all of us now must pressure our representatives more than those who have given us loans.  This must happen because our need to live goes beyond the need for them to govern us.  It is because our dignity is worth more than anything that is self-serving. It is because our national pride is based on a history that is envied by all peoples.  It is because we look to Europe more so as a family which understands the problems of people in spite of the noose that leads our communities to asphyxia.

            There is nothing else that is left for us other than for us to once again transform Greece into our country, our history, our identity. We should follow the examples of our ancestors; have our own way of life, turning away from an imprudent lifestyle of the newly rich.  We should turn toward the dignity of frugality and temperance.  We should turn away from submissive obligations and turn toward heroism, ethnic pride. We should turn away from worldly distractions and universal admiration. Only in this way, as the people say, God will not abandon us because in this way we also will not abandon Him.

With Paternal Prayers and the hope for reawakening
Metropolitan Nicholas of Mesogaias and Lavriotikis

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