“… Who desires that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:4
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
In Greek, the word for summer, “καλοκαιρι,” literally means “good weather,” and indeed it is. Summer is a time in which we think about spending more time outside, barbecuing and possibly even going on vacation! We see advertisements for sun tan lotions, sunglasses, cruises and more. We feel the warmth of the sun’s rays and the rising temperatures and enjoy every minute! Even in our day-to-day language, we use metaphors for summer and sunshine in a positive manner, and winter and cold in a negative one. It is something that all creation seemingly rejoices in, whoever we may be and wherever we may find ourselves in our life.
In the month of June, we commemorate two feasts in our church which have become less focused on today, but refer just as much to warm rays of sun as the summer itself. These feasts, of course, are those of Saints Peter & Paul, and the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles (June 29 and 30, respectively). After celebrating Pentecost fifty days after the celebration of Pascha, the following week we even begin an Apostles Fast in order to arrive at these two feast days. We do so to commemorate the blessing and activity of the Holy Spirit after He came upon the Apostles at the day of Pentecost and gave birth to the Lord’s Church. We know that the Apostles went throughout the world, led by the example of the great Apostles, Peter and Paul, to spread the love of Christ to those who had never received it and grow the Christian faith.
In this way, truly we affirm that the warm rays of the Sun of Righteousness, Christ Himself, were brought to the barren winter of peoples who had never heard the Good News. The disciples journeyed throughout the world to spread the message of the Lord’s Resurrection and the gift of eternal life. Holy Tradition tells us that the Apostles went as far as India, much of the continent of Africa, as well as present-day France and Britain, among others (and their successors, even further!). In doing so, these remarkable men and women, who had felt the warmth and glow of the Lord’s sunshine did everything in their power to share this warmth with others around them. It is this remarkable feat that we celebrate each year on this month.
May the prayers of the Holy Apostles, the fathers and mothers of the early Church, be with us each day of our lives, and may their examples always guide us to emulate Christ and grow in the knowledge of the truth!
Καλο Καλοκαιρι! Have a wonderful summer!
Father Niko Bekris