How to be crucified with Christ
"I have been crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20)
Beloved in Christ,
Hierarchs, clergy and faithful
Of this God-protected Archdiocese:
The mystery of Christ is very simple. Yet in order to embrace it in our lives, we need a mind and a heart as humble as His. The mystery of His love to humankind is such that it surprises us, whenever we meditate on it and are conscious of it. It surprises us because it reveals the love He has for us. He "is love" (1 John 4:8), isn't He?
Christ manifested His love to us in a very particular way: the way of a bridegroom with his bride. The Church preserved from the Lord's last moments before death the image of a marriage. The "picture" she took of this wedding has been expressed in two different ways in our celebrations on the first days of Holy Week. In fact, we chant at Matins of these holy days: "Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night...", and "I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me." We also make a procession with the icon of the "bridegroom" with the inscription, "Behold, the man!" (John 19:5). It is the icon of the Lord of the "utmost humility," the whole image of His passion, a snapshot of His unconditional love for us. It was the last picture taken of Him before His death on the Cross. It is the best picture ever taken of Him. The Church raises in front of our eyes this "picture" in order that we recall today in our hearts His love and humility, and commit ourselves again to follow Him on the way of the Cross.
The woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, O Lord, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. "Woe is me," she said, "for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline ot the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine inneffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my head, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise, and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgements, O Savior of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure."
Tone 8, by Kassiani the Nun
His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, and Patriarchal Vicar of New York and all North America, writes:
Buenos Aires, April 12th 2014
Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,
Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees
and Beloved Faithful
of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America
I wholeheartedly greet you on Lazarus Saturday, having experienced the tranquillity of the company of the Lord to His closest friend, and having shared His imperishable promise to Lazarus´ sisters, Mary and Martha, that He is the resurrection for whoever believes in Him!
Last Wednesday, I arrived back in Buenos Aires in order to celebrate Holy Week and Pascha with our parishioners in Argentina. Nevertheless, I did not stop working for your beloved archdiocese, and I will do until my functions as a vicar come to fulfilment, when the Holy Synod of Antioch elects a new Metropolitan in order to succeed to His Eminence, our beloved Metropolitan Philip of eternal memory.
I would like to share with you some aspects of my experience, during the two weeks I have spent with you, from Monday March 24th (arrival to the Archdiocese´s Headquarters) until Tuesday April 9th (Departure to Buenos Aires).
The Archdiocese communicated the following details regarding historic May and June meetings to all clergy and parishes on April 8, 2014:
The dates and location have been set for a special Archdiocesan Synod Meeting, Board of Trustees meeting and the Special Nominating Convention. The location will be Chicago, Illinois, in order to facilitate air travel from all parts of the Archdiocese. The specific hotel will be announced, and all meetings will take place at that hotel.
The new date and location for the Special Board of Trustees and Archdiocesan Synod meetings were motivated by the need to convene the Special Nominating Convention. This makes it necessary to cancel the meetings which were originally scheduled at the Antiochian Village for the weekend of May 29-31.
The schedule of meetings is as follows:
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Special meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod.
Wednesday May 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. – Special Board of Trustees Meeting.
Wednesday June 4, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod and/or Archdiocesan Board of Trustees (as needed)
Thursday June 5, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Special Assembly to nominate candidates for the office of Metropolitan