The Lamentations and processions of the Epitaphios at St. Nicholas Church in Flushing is always special to Eastern Queens residents. Rev. Protopresbyter Paul C., Palesty Rev. Presbyter Aristidis Garinis and Rev. Presbyter Joakim Valasiadis, performed the liturgy to a standing room of only parishioners in the Main Sanctuary and Sarantakos Hall on Good Friday.
“The Epitaphios is an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the services of Good Friday and Holy Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. It also exists in painted or mosaic form, on wall or panel. The Epitaphios is also a common short form of the Epitáphios Thrēnos, the “Lamentation upon the Grave” in Greek, which is the main part of the service of the Matins of Holy Saturday, served in Good Friday evening,” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epitaphios_(liturgical).
“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” –Plutarch, ancient Greek biographer (c. 46 – 120 CE). At St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the middle class is in the majority. They worked diligently to keep the church open during Holy Week. Maria Bakogiannis, a dedicated person, prepared her special fasolada (bean soup) recipe as part of a Lenten fundraiser on Holy Tuesday, April 15th. She is part of the silent majority. She is not seen or heard. Mrs. Bakogiannis works in the shadows to help St. Nicholas Church achieve its position as the largest Greek Orthodox community outside of Greece.
On March 9th, 2014 , “Patriarchs of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East — according Huffington Post, Religion section, April 15, 2014.
“Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, also agreed to hold a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council in 2016, which will be the first in over 1,200 years.(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/10/orthodox-church-council_n_4931391.html). Hopefully, Orthodox Christians will have a better year in 2014.