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by Fr. Hector Firoglanis

When I was in eighth grade, I wrestled at the 105 pound weight class for my school’s team. One of my friends on the team was in ninth grade and he wrestled the 189 pound weight class. As the last two undefeated wrestlers on the team over half way through the season, there were two things we shared in common:

  • We were both Orthodox Christians — two of several Greeks on the Manheim Township Wrestling teams in the early 1990’s.
  • We shared a custom of drinking Holy Water (Agiasmo) — which we kept in little glass bottles in our lockers — after each weigh-in.

Was the Holy Water responsible for our undefeated records? Of course not, even though more and more of our teammates began to inquire about our “special water” as the year went on. The Holy Water, however, did give us spiritual strength and was a tangible reminder that God was with us before, during, and after our matches — which was very comforting and calming. This assurance of God’s presence was helpful during the victories, and even more beneficial when the losses eventually came as well.

by Theodosios Palis

As we approach the New Year, with all the various joys and struggles it may bring, may we proceed with simplicity and warmth of heart. In this way, we can encounter and be bettered by every situation.

One New Year’s tradition that takes place in the United States of America is the making of new resolutions for that year. This attempt to try to better oneself, to strive for something not yet attained, is something we Orthodox Christians also do. However, we do not only try this at the beginning of the year, which is a good a starting place as any. We try this every day. We call this repentance. Μετάνοια. Literally: “A change of mind”.

We fall and we get up. Just like when we do a full prostration, (in Greek this is also referred to as a μετάνοια) where you kneel and touch your head to the ground and then stand up and make the sign of the cross, we get down and we get up. We never stay down but always rise up. This mindset is something that has been very helpful to me in my life. It can seem easy to slip and fall into sin, but the falling isn’t important, it is the getting up that is important. We can turn away from the sin, and turn to God for help.

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Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
64 Hershey Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603

Phone: (717) 394-1735
Fax: (717) 394-0991


Weekday Office Hours: 8AM-4PM

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