Τρίτη, 4 Μαΐου 2010

A DAY IN OUR SCHOOL IN SAASVELD.

The RK primary school in Saasveld is the only one school and is situated in the middle of this village. The school has been built in 1921 and the name owes to a priest named: Bernard Moekate.

Saasveld is a village and belongs to the local council Dinkelland. The inhabitants of Saasveld are mainly Catholic. Also children who aren’t Catholic are welcome at school as well.


In our school there are more or the less 200 students. We have students from 4 till 12 years old.

Nowadays we call a class a group, so we have group 1 and 2. These students are pre-primary students, however they are with us in the same building. Then we have group 3 till group 8.

We start lessons at 8.30u in the morning till 12.00 o’clock noon. Then again from 13.30u till 15.30u in the afternoon. We have one break in the morning, namely from 10.15u – 10.30u. During noon we have lunch at home. Some students stay at school for lunch, however we don’t have a canteen at school, so they prepare their lunch at home and bring lunch to school. We go to school by bike or by foot, mainly. When the weather is bad we go by car. In group 7 we do sums, language, spelling, history, geography, biology, reading, gymnastics, music, draw, and once a week we have one hour English lesson. We have two teachers: juf José, three days and meester Benno, two days.

We have holidays as well. In Autumn one week, during Christmas two weeks, during Carnival three days, during Spring one and a half week and Summer holidays are six weeks here.

Our climate is not yours, here it can be very cold in Winter. We have a nice schoolyard, have a look!

Carnaval in Saasveld


Carnaval in Saasveld. Before Fasten we celebrate ...

ORTHODOX EASTER

INTRODUCTION TO THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN HOLY WEEK

This week, people of Orthodox Christian dogma, around the world celebrate their Holy Week and Easter. The Easter is always the first Sunday after the fool moon of the spring equinox. In the case that is on the same day with the Jewish Pasha, we celebrate it one week later. Because of this fact the orthodox Easter is not always on the same date with the Catholic one. This year both dogmas have Easter on the same day. For us, this is a period of intense religious awareness and the best opportunity for personal recollection, change of heart and mind, and enjoyment of the inner happiness of the resurrection. Let us to guide you through the special customs of our Easter.

For Orthodox Christians around the world, the resurrection represents the culmination of the entire ecclesiastical year. It is the climax in the drama of Christ's passion. It is the reaffirmation of life, and as such it is the cause for the Festival of Festivals. Especially for the Greeks and Cyprus in particular (the only separated country of Europe, due to the Turkish army innovation) the Easter has the meaning of being free by the Empires which ruled our areas for centuries.

Throughout the week, called Great and Holy, the passion of Christ is recalled. The faithful participate in the services, and through the intensity of the entire liturgical and ceremonial activity, they truly relive passion.

This is a period of powerful emotions. From the victorious entrance in Jerusalem, to the moments overflowing with hope, prior to Christ's arrest, to the painful time of his agony and crucifixion, to the solemnity of the grave, and finally to the ecstasy of his resurrection, the faithful follow His steps, day by day, minute by minute, feeling the pain , the anger and the catharsis, the cleansing, the serenity and peace.

Kali Anastasi and Kalo Pasha These are the wishes we use this period.(Good Resurrection and Happy Easter)




Palm Sunday
The Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday (Kyriaki ton Vaion). The service of this day commemorates the triumphant entrance of Christ into Jerusalem, and signals the beginning of the short period leading to his passion. Six days before the Jewish Passover, Jerusalem becomes the scene of the realization of the messianic prophecy, which promised the arrival of the chosen one to bring salvation to His people. Jesus enters Jerusalem, and is greeted by crowds of people who cover the road with palm branches and praise him to the heavens. To reflect the joyous mood of the day, the priest celebrating the liturgy wears festive vestments, and the altar is adorned with a bright cover. The faithful hold palm branches or olive tree branches as did the crowds in Jerusalem, two millennia ago. When the priest is reading the Gospel, describing His entrance into Jerusalem, the people are waving the branches representing that moment.

The Nymfios(bridegroom) Servises

The services held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, commemorate the various events and saying of the master before his final discussion with his disciples and the last supper. While each day has its own distinct character, all share in common the themes of mourning, repentance, vigilance and judgment. They are focused on the Parousia, the second coming. They are the days of the bridegroom who will come, unannounced, in the middle of the night. They represent the most urgent call to repentance, as the congregations prepare to address the mystery of death and resurrection.
During the evenings of Palm Sunday, Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday, the service of the bridegroom is chanted. On Monday evening a procession takes place within the church. Preceded by altar boys, the priest carries an icon of Christ, wearing the purple robe of ridicule and holding the mock scepter.



Holy Monday


Holy Monday. Nymfios and the parable of the 10 Virgins



The theme of Monday night is awareness, symbolized by the parable of the ten virgins, some of whom were caught not ready for the bridegroom to arrive. The parable suggests the need always to be ready, for judgment.

Holy Tuesday
On Tuesday night, the theme is repentance, as illustrated by the story of the sinful woman. In Orthodox tradition this woman has NOTHING to do with Maria of Magdala. (Maria of Magdala was a true believer from the very first moment. She was not sinful)
``She who was engulfed in sin, found thee, the heaven of salvation.
And She poured out the myrrh with her tears ... ''
On the same night, the beautiful hymn of Kassiani (a nun who lived in the 6th century), is sung:
``Oh my Savior and soul saver
who can trace out the multitude of my sins
and the abysses of thy judgment.
Do not disregard me, thy servant
oh thou whose mercy is boundless ...''

Holy Wednesday
On Wednesday, the church offers the congregation the sacrament of holy unction. The priest anoints the faithful with blessed oil, representative of the healing power of God. The scriptures connect bodily illness to sin. Christ confirms this connection when He says to the paralytic in healing him,
``your sins are forgiven''
He thus indicates that His power to forgive and His power to heal are two different aspects of the same ministry.
At the same time, we remember when Christ washed his students’ feet.

Holy Thursday
The most serious event of the Christian calendar is about to take place. Christ will be crucified tonight. His passion will be reenacted in the most soul searing service of the Orthodox Church. Twelve gospels will be read, three from each Evangelist) and many hymns will be sung, describing the events leading up to His crucifixion. The priests are wearing black. The icons are cover with black textiles. The lights are low in the churches. Outside the darkness of the night covers everything. The purpose of the lengthy service is to approximate Christ's suffering, to help the congregation feel that they are present at the passion. The meaning of the words, the sound of the chanting, the portrayal of the crucifixion, bring mind, body and soul together in the glory of the sacrifice. You will see blood spilled tonight. You will hear screams of hatred and pain. You will see mobs and soldiers and weeping women.
In the first gospel according to John, Christ tells his disciples that where He goes they cannot follow... Peter protests that he would lay down his life for Him ... and Christ tells him that before the rooster crows he will deny Him thrice. Then, He prophesies on the events of the next few hours ..., they will weep and lament but that the world will rejoice...
The second gospel according to John describes the betrayal by Judas Iscariot ... and Peter's denial ... Matthew then relates the interrogation of Christ, and the 4th and 5th gospels describe His trial and torture, leading up to the crucifixion on Golgotha. Pontius Pilate questions Him on the meaning of truth; then he tells the mob that the prisoner is innocent and that He should be released according to the Passover custom, but the mob chooses Barabbas instead. Pilate washes his hands, and Christ is led to the place of the skull, Golgotha, where soon He will be put to death. At this point the priest holding the big cross of the church is going around representing the walk to Golgotha. The only light is the one from the candles of the cross. The hymn being sung is the most moving of the entire Orthodox hymnal... The priests and the chanters are singing,
`Today is hung upon the wood
the one who suspended the land in the midst of the waters.
A crown of thorns crowns
him who is the king of angels...''
The believers, still frozen by the death of God, return to their houses ... Mary and the disciples go to mourn the sacrificed Son of God, and wait for His promised resurrection. The pain felt during the service of Thursday night will be followed by the solemnity of the next day.

Holy Friday
On Friday morning we witness the service of the apokathilosis, the taking down from the cross of the body of Christ: wrapped in a white sheet He is taken down and brought to the sanctuary. It is the day during which we do not eat cooked food or olive oil. Just bread and water. The shops open just for 4 hours. The bells are ringing in a sad way. It is Holy Friday!
In the evening the gold embroidered ceremonial cloth, called the epitaphios, posture the depiction of the dead Christ, is brought out in solemn procession and placed to rest on a wooden sepulcher, the kouvouklion. This becomes the setting for the evening liturgy, considered by many as the most beautiful service in the Orthodox Church.
Each congregant, regarded as the living icon of God, experiences Christ's death personally, as she or he will experience His resurrection. As the hymns of the lamentation are sung this night, we will feel the piercing grief and hope, mingling within each individual, and rising with the smoke and incense in a prayer for a new beginning. The hymns of lamentation, as they are sung in the original Greek, rank with the most beautiful ever written in any language. They commence with the singing of the hymn
``Η Ζωή εν τάφω...'' Life In The Tomb...
``Who will give me water
and a fountain of tears
to weep for my sweet Lord...''.
Then, at the height of the service a triumphant hymn is sung:
``Αι γενεαί πάσαι...
ύμνον τη ταφή σου
προσφέρουσιν Χριστέ μου'' ``All Generations offer adoration to thy entombment ...
Let all creation bring triumphal hymns to its Creator ...
Do thou, thrice blessed Joseph of Arimathea
take charge of the body of Christ, the life giver''
The loveliest part of this hymn is a tender couplet of maternal love ...
``'Ω! γλυκύν μου έαρ
γλυκύτατον μου τέκνον
πού έδοιν σοι το κάλλος;'' ``O my sweet springtime
my most beloved child
whither has thy beauty sunk down ...''
Following the lamentations, the procession of the epitaphios begins. In most churches around the world, the entire tomb of Christ is carried in a sad procession through the city... In the center of Pafos, three epitaphios wind through the streets of the town, meet in the square opposite of our school. The philharmonic orchestra of the city is playing the hymns of the day.

Holy Saturday
The first good news reaches the people on Saturday morning, during the celebration of St. Basil's liturgy.
The priest walks through the congregation scattering laurel leaves, symbolizing victory over death, the people in the church are making noise with their chairs representing the earthquake when Christ entered the death valley. The bells are ringing with joy again after days...



Easter Sunday
On Sunday evening, the most important service of the entire Orthodox ecclesiastical year is celebrated. It is the resurrection service, when the priest will confirm the news of this wondrous event to the congregation. The church is darkened, symbolic of the darkness of the tomb. Then the priest, carrying a white candle from the eternal vigil light on the holy altar, proclaims:
``Come ye and receive light from the unwading light...''
The church slowly fills with the flickering light of hope that has become reality. Children have candles decorating with flowers. The adults have white.
The following scene is taking place out of the church in the yard. The news from the resurrection is read from the gospel according to Mark... And then the brief and vibrant hymn of the resurrection is sung. It starts as w whisper from the priest's lips, to grow into an explosive triumphant hymn sung by the entire congregation. This is taking place some minutes after midnight.
Χριστός Ανέστη εκ νεκρών
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας
και της εν τη μνήμασι
ζωής χαρισάμενος Christ has risen from the dead
by dead trampling upon death
and has bestowed life
to those in the tombs.
All the people waving their candles and they start kissing the others saying the good news: Christos Anesti (Christ is resurrected) and the other answers: Alithos Anesti (He resurrected it is true).
When the service comes to end (at 2 o’clock in the morning) we go back home to have our magiritsa a traditional soup made from lamp and vegetables. We break our red eggs (they were colored on Holy Thursday) and we wish each other. We take the candles with the holy light into all the rooms of the house. In the picture you can see how the church is looking at the time of resurrection ceremony.

A Double Celebration


THE GREEK REVOLUTION

March 25, 1821. On this day, Bishop Germanos of Patra raised the Greek flag at the Monastery of Agia Lavra in Peloponnese and one more revolution started against the Turks. The people of Greece shouted "Freed or Death" and they fought the War of Independence for 9 years (1821-1829) until a small part of modern Greece was finally liberated and it was declared an independent nation.

At the same time risings were planned across Greece, including in Macedonia, Crete and Cyprus. With the advantage of surprise, the Greeks succeeded in taking control of the Peloponnese and some other areas.

The Ottomans soon recovered, and retaliated violently, hanging the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V and massacring the Greek population of Chios and other towns. The retribution, however, drew sympathy for the Greek cause in western Europe—although the British and French governments suspected that the uprising was a Russian plot to seize Greece and possibly Constantinople from the Ottomans. In Europe, the Greek revolution won a widespread sympathy. Greece was viewed as the cradle of western civilization, and it was especially lauded by the spirit of romanticism that was current at the time. The sight of a Christian nation attempting to cast off the rule of a Muslim Empire also appealed to the western European public.

One of those who heard the call was the poet Lord Byron who spent time in Greece, organizing funds, supplies and troops, but died from fever at Mesolonghi in 1824. Byron's death did even more to augment European sympathy for the Greek cause. This eventually led the western powers to intervene directly.

ANNUNCIATION

In Christianity, the Annunciation is the revelation to The Virgin Mary by the Archangel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. The Christian churches celebrate this with the feast of Annunciation on March 25, which is nine months before the feast of the Nativity of Jesus, or Christmas.

The Annunciation in the Bible

The archangel Gabriel was sent to Nazareth in Galilee, to the virgin Mary, and announced to her that she had been chosen by God to bear His son, Jesus. She asked how that would be, since she was a virgin. The angel replied that she would conceive through the Holy Spirit. She consented, saying "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

In Eastern Orthodoxy Mary is referred to as Theotokos. This is a traditional Eastern Orthodox hymn for the day of the Annunciation:

Today is the beginning of our salvation,

The revelation of the eternal mystery!

The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin

As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.

Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:

Rejoice, O Full of Grace,

The Lord is with You!