March 25-Celebration of the Annunciation and Greek Independence Day

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My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

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ON MARCH 25TH THE GREAT FEAST DAY OF THE ANNUNCIATON OF THE THEOTOKOS AND EVER-VIRGIN MARY ALSO, GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY

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When the Most Holy Ever-Virgin Mary had lived and served in the Temple at Jerusalem for eleven years, and was by then fourteen old--when, that is, she was entering on her fifteenth year--the priests (rabbies) informed her that, according to the Hebrew Law, she could no longer remain in the Temple but must be betrothed and marry. But, to the great surprise of all the priests, the Most Holy Virgin replied that she had dedicated herself to God and wished to remain a maiden till death and enter into wedlock with no one. Then, by God's Providence and under His inspiration, Zacharias, the high priest and father of the Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner, in consultation with the other rabbis (priests), chose twelve unmarried men from the tribe of David so that they might entrust the Virgin Mary to one of them to preserve her virginity and care for her. She was thus entrusted to Joseph, an old man from Nazareth and a kinsman of hers. In his house, the Most Holy Virgin continued to live in the same manner as in the Temple of Solomon, passing her time in the reading of the Holy Scripture, in prayer, in pondering on the works of God, in fasting and in handwork. She scarcely ever left the house, nor took an interest in worldly matters or events. She generally conversed very little with anyone, and never without a particular need. She was intimate only with the two daughters of Joseph. But when the time prophesied by the Prophet David had come and when God was pleased to fulfill the promise made to Adam when He drove him out of Paradise, and to the Prophets, the Mighty Archangel Gabriel appeared in the chamber of the Most Holy Virgin, at the precise moment as some priestly writers have related that she was holding open on her lap the book of the Prophet Isaiah and pondering on his great prophecy: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son". Gabriel appeared to her in angelic light and said to her: "Rejoice, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee!", and so forth, just as is related in the Gospel of the divine Luke. With this angelic greeting and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the salvation of mankind and the renewal of creation were set in motion. The Archangel turned the first page of the story of the New Testament with the word "Rejoice!", to show by this the joy that the New Testament signifies for mankind and for all things created. And therefore the Annunciation is looked upon as a joyous, as well as a great, feast. (Source: The Prologue from Ochrid)

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GREEK INDEPENDENCE DAY - MARCH 25TH 1821

Each year, Hellenes (Greeks) all over the world celebrate Greek Independence Day on March 25th, which is a national holiday in Greece (Hellas). On this day, Hellenes all over the world remember their long struggle against the Ottoman Turks. Although each part of Greece experiencing occupation at varying times, the Turks were in Greece for 400 years.

March 25th is a significant day because it marked the official beginning of the Greek War of Independence, as declared by the freedom fighters in 1814, the secret society, the Filiki Eteria was formed with the goal of liberating Greece from Ottoman control and enslavement. This group had planned the revolution to take place on March 25th but in some parts of Greece, the fighting occurred sooner.

The end result of the war is that the Hellenes did successfully gain their freedom and independence.

One of the major factors that led to Ottoman occupation is that the Byzantine Empire which ruled for roughly 1100 years, was basically destroyed by the Fourth Latin Crusade in 1204 which plundered and devastated the Queen City of Constantinople, its military, defenses, wealth, and weakened it so much that the Orthodox Christians were not able to defend their city. Over the course of their decline, various parts of Greece began to fall to Turkish control. Eventually, the Ottoman Empire's push into Greece eventually began when they captured Constantinople in 1453. Once the capital of the Byzantine Empire was taken, it was only a matter of time before the rest of Greece and eventually the Christian countries of Serbia, Rumania and Bulgaria were also captured and occupied for close to 500 years.

ZETO E HELLAS! ZETO TO ETHNOS!

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DIVINE SERVICES MARCH 25TH:

Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George