Panayiopoula Church, Corfu
Panayiopoula Church, Corfu

March

How did you enjoy the past month? There were quite a few interruptions in the usual routine - political troubles, workers causing trouble with their demonstrations, and a serious problem of morals. The government wanted to make free style marriages lawful yet the Bishops, after delaying, decided to reject the proposed law. Some Bishops even said such people wanting same sex marriages would not be welcome in the Church. Difficult to accept these outbursts - one imagines a Bishop to be cool and collected. Last month we talked about this. The law has now been passed and each of you, going by the wisdom of your heart, can be at ease.

Our Saint Porfyrios, very recently sainted, has said that it is love (the good works of your heart) that wins all issues. Because he died just a few years ago, people have been able to record, to take notes, of all he said. It was St. Porfyrios who said that a delicate soul, a poetic soul, is just what makes a good Christian. From our studies last year, we found that superior longing for Christ, could be satisfied through a few basic steps, and becoming a good Christian is a personal achievement.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
This is the gem of a prayer, only a few words, but essential words to be said with the lips, then from the heart, all day,every day.

Don’t wait for help. When the confusion started about the vaccinations to halt the new bug, when a law was proposed to allow unusual marriages, when the Church was divided in Ukraine, who helped? So, get on with your personal longing, starting with the prayer above. All day, every day, in your room, before an icon, standing or sitting, using a prayer rope or not, you can get going in a way that suits you. You can repeat the few holy words even when travelling or at work, but, you must want Christ to hear you - to give meaning to the words.

Books abound with minute lessons, your Spiritual father could, should help. This is sometimes not always the best solution for a beginner, for an Elder may not be perfect himself. Until now you have used the prayers found in small cheap booklets. Prayers for early morning, for the table, before or after meals, the evening services like apodeipno. Reading these was an introduction to hours of devotion. If you go about this conquest of prayer half-heartedly you will remain a non-achiever. That theologian from Serbia. St. Popovits said to those who were dithering: “If it was Christ in your place, how would he act?” It is a good exercise. Try it. After mastering this short but all powerful prayer you now go for confession, and with the holy permission you can take part in Divine Communion, all of which are basic steps for the good Christian. Who wants to be inferior? Who wants to be just one of the crowd? Being a good Christian is eventually, along with the achievements suggested by the Church, all about Love. So, to all of you desiring to better your Christian ways, I wish you all the best, ask you to continue earnestly, with Love galore.

May you spend the Triodio weeks well.

August 23 - Festival of The Odigitria

As at every monastery, so too at the Holy Metochi the celebration of the Saint to whom the monastery is dedicated is the most significant day in the year. 

In the case of the Metochi, our Patroness is the Holy Virgin and Mother of God, the Odigitria, who in this area is called the Panayiopoula. All year in our thoughts and prayers we call to  her to bestow her grace on us.

The 23rd of August is the Return Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, the 9th day, and worshippers venerate a small icon of the Dormition, showing the All-Holy settled on her deathbed surrounded by apostles, hierarchs and angels.

Leading up to the day the church is scrubbed, polished and decorated. The Altar is covered with a richly embroidered cloth only used for this festival, flowers fill every corner and rows of flags are strung up and down the street. The  beloved and grace-filled icon of the Panayiopoula is framed in priceless handmade lace.

Celebrating the Panagia Odigitria

The church which so many describe as having a 'soul' is very small, so chairs outside in the quiet street soon fill up with locals and some from further away.

Each Service is officiated by the Hegumen of the Holy Monastery Platytera.

'All generations shall call me blessed'  Luke 1, 48. That is why we call and pray for her help, our Ever-Virgin Mother. All Holy Theotokos intercede for us.

The church can be contacted by writing to PO Box 532, Corfu, 49100 Greece or by email at info@corfu-odigitria.com.


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