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CASTRO VALLEY, CA.

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Message from Father

Fr Niko

“But the tax collector… would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’”
– Luke 10:13

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

So often in our lives, it feels as though we can only progress in our station in life if we promote ourselves, show off, and try to get others to notice us.  Perhaps we wonder if we will get recognition at work if we keep quiet.  We might wonder if our spouse will notice extra work around the house.  We wonder if our children notice the painstaking efforts we take to offer them the best life we can give.  Truly, recognition is something which permeates our thoughts in everyday life, especially since it is so closely connected to the very important, very similar quality of affirmation.

And yet the Evangelist Luke relates to us this parable of Christ Jesus, which turns this attitude completely on its head.  Both the Publican and Pharisee “went up to the temple to pray,” and thus speak with the Lord about their life.  One wanted to be noticed by listing all his virtues, the other was ashamed to be noticed, thinking he had nothing worthy of being noticed.  The paradox of this story, of course, is one which is part and parcel with our faith: it is through not seeking glory in which it is found.  Acknowledging that we have done “nothing good on this earth” (Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom), and screaming “Lord have mercy!” in our prayer life is what the Lord notices, and not the singing of our own praises.

This beautiful lesson is encapsulated in the incredible verse above from the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee is read three weeks before the beginning of Lent.  It reminds us that, although many aspects of the Pharisee’s personality- fasting, almsgiving, praying- are worthy of emulation, what completes these virtues is the greatest of them: humility.  Without it, the other virtues are “a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor 13:1)

It is for this reason that the Church gives us the beautiful season of Great Lent.  Each year it is presumed that by the time we reach Great Lent, we are in need of repentance.  We have an opportunity, each year, to emulate the Publican for forty days!  The season begins with the penitential service of Forgiveness Vespers, and each service begins with a penitential prayer.  This is because it is presumed that we are always in need of healing or, in other words, in need of a Savior.  It is through humility and not self-aggrandizement, an acknowledgment that we are not where we need to be, in which the Physician of our souls can do His work.

May His blessing and healing be with us as we strive to increase spiritually by His Grace.

Blessed Lent!  Καλη Τεσσαρακοστη!

With love in Christ,

 

 

Father Niko Bekris
Proestamenos

Our Church

Our Priest and Our Team

Liz Levy

Office Administrator

Marcelo P. Souza

Site administrator, teacher.

Fr. Niko Bekris

Parish Priest since 2015

Anna Teodosiadis

Youth Director
Our Ministries

Latest Updates

As we prepare to enter the time of Great Lent, the Church reminds us that our lives belong in a greater context than the mundane and immediate things of everyday life. In the Sunday of the Last Judgment, the Church reminds us that we trust in Christ’s love and mercy, and yet we must not forget… Read More

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On January 27 and 28, 2018, we had the immense blessing of participating in our first annual Parish Outreach & Evangelism Retreat. Our guest speaker was Ms. Thomaida Hudanish, Director of the San Francisco Metropolis Outreach and Evangelism Ministry. We began Saturday with Orthros, followed by helping with the Food Pantry and creating “Bags of Blessings” to… Read More

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January 2, 2018 by Fr. Niko Bekris The following is an excerpt from the most recent article on Father Niko’s blog, “Christ, Coffee and Comics.”  Even though the article is not a review of “The Last Jedi,” there are a few major spoilers below if you haven’t seen it!  So proceed at your own peril! … Read More

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Niko Antonopoulos came from St. Demetrios in Seattle to be our guest director for Nea Arxi.  He is also Fr. Niko’s cousin.  He was a tremendous help for Nea Arxi.  Both Enotita and Near Arxi kids are working very hard to compete at FDF in January 2018.  Please come to the San Francisco Marriott Marquis… Read More

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From the Fathers

Spiritual Sayings

You brought forth the Light, the Divine, which was before all time.

God was the reason of true faith and good behavior and of the knowledge of technology among people. While people continually felt God above them, before them, and around them, in the same way air and light is felt, they attributed and dedicated all their technological works and handiwork to Him, their Lord and Creator.

It is only necessary to seek one thing: to be with Jesus. The man who remains with Jesus is rich, even if he is poor with regard to material things. Who ever desires the earthly more than the heavenly loses both the earthly and the heavenly. But whoever seeks the heavenly is Lord of the whole world.

How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things, which have a bitter end! . . . Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts: “I will visit them, and will walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people.” (II Cor. 6:16) What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself!

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