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"For everyone who asks receives,
and he who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks it will be opened."
HOLY TRINITY ORTHODOX CHURCH|
Sitio Sampaguita, San Antonio
Los Baņos, Laguna.
Tel.: (049) 249-4794
Parish priest: The Very Rev. Archimandrite Philemon Castro
Tel. (+63 2) 8874830; cellphone (0906) 4924266
feast day: on Holy Spirit Monday, next to Pentecost
Down their history, the Jews had stoutly maintained the "one-ness" of the God and they worshipped Him as Creator and Father. In the fullness of time, Jesus appeared and very gradually, those around Him came to realize that He was, in fact, their long-awaited Messiah. The turning point in Our Blessed Lord's earthly ministry was when, at Caesarea Phillipi, St Peter blurted out "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God". Jesus didn't deny it, but complimented Peter, and added that His Father had revealed this truth to him [Matthew 16:15-17].
The disciples' learning didn't stop there, as more revelation came to them at Pentecost when they felt, heard and saw the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the whole group, fulfilling Jesus' promise. After that, again gradually, they came to realize that the Holy Spirit was indeed a manifestation/essence/Person of God and that in their thinking and praying they had to make room for this new revelation.
Going about three years back, we can trace the revelation of the Holy Trinity in "Epiphany" (= "revelation from above") or "Theophany" (= "revelation of God"), ie., the Baptism of Jesus. On that day and in a very special way, the Holy Trinity was seen at work:
The Son of God, having become Man, accepted Baptism by water,
the Father testified of Him by His heavenly voice and
the Holy Spirit, in the form of a Dove, confirmed His Words, as the Apolytikion of Theophany declares:
Apolytikion (Tone First)
When You, O Lord / were baptized in the Jordan,
The worship of the Trinity / was made manifest !
For the Father's voice / bore witness to You
By naming you / the Beloved Son,
And the Spirit in the form of a dove
Confirmed the sureness / of the Word
O Christ our God / Who has revealed Yourself
And enlightened the world / glory to You !
The New Testament does not use explicitly the word "Trinity". Although there are references like:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" [Matthew 28:19].
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" [2 Corinthians 13:13].
Another important declaration of the Doctrine of Holy Trinity occurs in St John's Gospel, [John 15:26-27] where Our Blessed Lord says: "When the Comforter comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning."
This means that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was indeed part of the apostolic preaching. St Basil the Great claimed that the small doxology ("Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit") was in use in the Church worship from the very time that the Gospel was announced. He also points to the Vesperal Hymn ("Phos Ilaron...") which he calls "ancient" and "handed down from the Fathers", and which includes "...we praise to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit of God."
Saint Gregory the Theologian claims that the Holy Trinity is the "fountainhead of our Faith". All three Persons of the Holy Trinity possess the same attributes and all the inexhaustible riches of the Godhead. But each Person has His own particular distinguishing mark: the Father is unbegotten, the Son is begotten and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The Father decides, the Son carries out and the Holy Spirit perfects all of God's works for the salvation of Man. Thus, "the Father does all things through the Son and in the Holy Spirit". So the unity of the Trinity is understood and "one God" is preached in the Church. One Triune God "who is above all, and through all, and in all" [Ephesians 4:6].
The Church Fathers were aware that it was a difficult doctrine to understand. During the time of the Ecumenical Synods, the aim was to try to find ways of protecting the teaching against misuse by heretics. To put that in another way, there was a continued attempt to bring the mystery of the Holy Trinity a little closer to our earthly ideas; to bring what is really beyond our understanding, a little closer to that which is understandable. To do this, the Fathers of the Church used comparisons from nature, where some kind of "trinities" are found, like:
a) the sun, its rays and its light
b) the root, trunk and fruit of a tree
c) a spring of water, and the fountain and the river that issue from it
d) three candles burning simultaneously which give a single, inseparable light
e) fire and the light and the warmth which come from it
f) mind, will and memory
g) consciousness, knowledge and desire.
But regarding such comparisons, St Gregory the Theologian warns clearly that they are useful but all inadequate and fail to reach the depth of theological meaning in the Sacred Trinity.
The icon of the Holy Trinity, often referred to as "The Hospitality of Abraham" is based on a passage in the book of Genesis concerning the visitation of three angels to Abraham's tent [Genesis, 18].
According to the teaching of the early Church Fathers, this account of the visitation of the three angels, or messengers, serves as a type, or sign, of the Holy Trinity - it was not a literal visitation by The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. According to Orthodox theology, the Holy Trinity cannot be depicted literally in Iconography, as only the Lord Jesus Christ who became incarnate can be transcribed. Therefore, when looking at the icon of "The Hospitality of Abraham", one should remember that what is being portrayed is not an actual image of the Trinity but merely a "type" of the Holy Trinity.
Apolytikion (Tone fourth plagal)
O blessed are You / O Christ our God
Who by sending down / the Holy Spirit upon them
Made the fishermen wise and through them
Illuminated the world
And the universe / was ever drawn all to You
O Lover of Man / glory to you !
April 1995 : The Holy Trinity Orthodox Parish was established with the blessing of (+)Met. Dionysios of New Zealand through the initiative of Fr. Philemon Castro. The fledgling community soon received a 200-square meter lot donation from Pantalion Banasihan & family, then a church plan was approved by (+)Metropolitan Dionysios and financial support was facilitated by Bishop Sotirios.
June 1996 : Blessing of church construction. (Hist-3-01)
Organizing the Youth for Christ in Los Baņos. (Hist-3-12)
7 December 1996 : (+)Fr. Tarasios Velasquez undertook seminary studies under Bishop Sotirios of Zela in Seoul, Korea, and was ordained to the sacred priesthood in December 7, 1996 by Bishop Euthymios of Achelos, with the blessing of (+)Metropolitan Dionysios of New Zealand at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Seoul, Korea. He became the first parish priest of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church till his unexpected demise in October 2005.
Seeing the rise of the Orthodox Church... (Hist-3-02)
...hoping for the Trinitarian love of God. (Hist-3-03)
...believing in the Son of God with us. (Hist-3-04)
12 January 1997 : Enthronment of His Eminence Nikitas Lulias as the first Metropolitan of the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia and Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Philippines. The ceremony was held in Hong Kong with Fr. Philemon representing the Philippine Exarchate.
28-31 March 1997 : Episcopal visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas in St. Nicholas Orthodox Chapel, Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, and the Annunciation Orthodox Church.
March 1997 : Men in black: (+)Fr. Tarasios, Atty. Joseph, Met. Nikitas, Fr. Philemon in conference. (Hist-3-05)
6-11 June 1997 : Pastoral visit of Rev. Fr. Daniel Christopoulos at St. Nicholas Chapel, Annunciation Orthodox Church, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
25-28 July 1997 : Pastoral visit of Rev. Fr. Paul Kaplanis at Annunciation Orthodox Church, Holy Cross Orthodox Church, and Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
27 November 1997 : The first Chrismation (11 members) held at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church by (+)Fr. Tarasios and Fr. Philemon.
December 1997 : Inspired by the recent pastoral visit of Fr. Anastasios Garaboa, the native priests Fr. Philemon and (+)Fr. Tarasios, have jointly launched a "home outreach" ministry to "know and touch their neighbors" at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Chapel in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Similar ministry is taking place at the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Los Baņos, Laguna, directly attended to by the parish priest (+)Fr. Tarasios, and also at the St. Demetrios Orthodox Mission in Mariveles, Bataan, coordinated by Brother George of the St. John Brotherhood joined by Fr. Philemon every Thursday evening.
19-23 March 1998 : 2nd Episcopal Visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas on the 1st Anniversary of the Annunciation Orthodox Church and Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
27-30 March 1998 : Pastoral visit of Rev. Fr. Anastasios Garaboa and meeting with Fr. Philemon and (+)Fr. Tarasios for Holy Week preparations.
September 1999 : Rev. George Vladimirou visited the Holy Trinity parish in Los Baņos, Laguna, escorted by Fr. Philemon. At the entrance of the church, they were welcomed by (+)Fr. Tarasios, the parish priest who just finished with his duties as a teacher at the local primary school. At 5 p.m., they co-celebrated the Divine Liturgy. Crosses, icons and sweets were distributed to adults, chocolates and toys to children. In the photo, (+)Fr. Tarasios, Rev. George Vladimirou and Fr. Philemon at the Altar. (Hist-3-06)
Pilgrimage to Los Baņos
article by the Very Revd. George Vladimirou
(at that time Chancellor of the Metropolis of Hong Kong and SE Asia,
now Metropolitan of Zimbabwe, Africa).
22-25 September 1999 : His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas visited Manila for three days. The main purpose of the visit was to meet Mr. Milton Adamson and the committee that is in charge of organizing the official visit of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, in Manila in March 2000. On Saturday, September 25th, he celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Holy Trinity church in Los Baņos. Metropolitan Nikitas was accompanied by Vasilis Leakakos, a volunteer assistant at the Metropolitanate office.
The Journey in the Orthodox Church starts... Catechism. (Hist-3-11)
Canonical reception into the Orthodox Church. (Hist-3-13)
May 2000 :
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada)
The Mission Department - Little Angels Program
The Little Angels child sponsorship program began in May 2000, after Mission Board member Antonia Antonopoulos visited the Philippines and saw first-hand how much the children and families living in poverty would benefit from our help.
Goals of the Program
- To alleviate the pain and struggle of poverty faced by hard-working, poor families.
- To address the total development of a child, by contributing to all essential aspects of his/her life. This includes Educational, Health, Community, Social, and Spiritual Needs.
- To support our Orthodox-Filipino brothers and sisters in serving as a witness of Orthodox Christian love worldwide.
- To foster cross-cultural understanding and Christian friendship through letter writing between the sponsor and his/her "Little Angel".
December 2000 :
"FOR HARMONY WITH NATURE"
First Ecumenical Conference on the Environment
and Multi-Sectoral Leaders & Delegates Seminar Workshop.
GSP Campsite, Los Baņos, Laguna.
In the middle of the photo and slightly to the right (and also in the inset), His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas. Sitting at the first row, first from the left Fr Philemon, third (+)Fr Tarasios and last Mother Theodoti. (#p-29)
April 2002 :
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada)
The Mission Department - Little Angels Program
As of April 2002, sponsors have stepped forward to support over 70 Filipino children.
How does your gift help? The Little Angels program is run by volunteers and all administrative costs are covered by the Mission Board. This allows us to commit 100% of all gifts to the Little Angels and their families or communities.
The Little Angels program helps needy families living in the slum areas of Manila and Los Baņos that are near the Orthodox Churches of the Holy Trinity (Los Baņos) and The Annunciation (Manila). The program is run in Philippines by Orthodox volunteers who are members of the "St. Sophia Sisterhood" chapters (these are the equivalent of out "Philoptochos" organizations), under the direction of parish priests Father Philemon and (+)Father Tarasios and Metropolitan Nikitas of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
The Little Angels program was conceptualized by the Orthodox-Filipinos themselves as a worthwhile program to pursue in poverty alleviation. The Little Angels program will assist a poor child irrespective of religion or gender.
A sponsorship supports a child's educational and health needs, as well as his or her spiritual and social development. Depending on the needs of the child, your gift of $29 per month will contribute to any or all of the following:
- yearly tuition fees
- school bag and school supplies
- mandatory school uniform and shoes
- transportation costs to and from school
- INSUMIX pacts (a nutritional food/vitamin mix recommended by nutritionists)
- medical/dental check-ups
Spiritual & Social Development
- Sunday School programs
- summer camp activities (educational trips, tree-planting)
Family & Community
- livelihood training
- health centre supplies
- day care needs
The Mission Department of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto is committed to spreading Christ's good news to all people and helping those in need, both across Canada and around the world. We run a child sponsorship program, co-ordinate and finance the digging of wells overseas, support priests and seminarians in foreign countries, and more. On our Website, you will find information about all of our programs, including details about how you can get involved. If would like to make a donation, volunteer your time, or learn more, please contact us today.
Our hands are the only hands our Lord has to do His work on earth; our mouths are the only mouths He has to proclaim His word. "Thank you" to all of our donors and volunteers for their time, effort, and support.
"The Cencer" (December 2002).
In this issue, Christofer Ebe, director of the Office of Philanthropy of Hong Kong Metropolis and editor of "The Censer", visits Manila and Los Baņos in a research about Philanthropy projects that can be developed in Philippines and shares news from his trip.
Philanthropy - A Visit to Manila
by Christofer Ebe
July 2004 : The St Sophia Society in Manila (Philippines), under the spiritual guidance of Fr. Philemon Castro, made strides towards alleviating water problems by helping to support the construction of wells and/or pumps and purifiers in some of the poorest sections of Manila, including Marquez Compound.
The St Sophia Society in Manila has helped, or is looking to help, families in poorer areas, such as Los Baņos, with food programs. (+)Fr Tarasios, the resident Orthodox priest in Los Baņos, has actively pursued a partnership with the local school district to help alleviate childhood hunger. Though his efforts have yet to develop into a sustained program, (+)Fr. Tarasios remains persistent, and future possibilities are numerous.
At Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. (#31)
Three priests of the Orthodox Church in Philippines
From left to right: Father Tarasios (+reposed in Christ), Father Philemon and Father Cleopas. (#04)
5 October 2005 : Unexpected demise of Fr. Tarasios. May the Lord repose his soul.
June 2006 : Fr. Philemon resumed the pastoral care of the flock in June 2006, upon his return from a 2-year post-graduate study at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, USA.
Nourishing the souls with grace of God. (Hist-3-07)
Disciplining the body from childhood. (Hist-3-08)
Feeding everyone with the mercy of God. (Hist-3-09)
Preparing Agape after the Sunday Liturgy. (Hist-3-10)
2006 : The little flock of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. (Hist-3-14)
The joy in the Lord! (#13-01HT)
Fitting clothes from Hong Kong friends. (#13-02HT)
Refreshing moment! (#13-04HT)
Little Angels sponsored by Orthodox Canada. (#13-03HT)
September 2007 : J.O.Y. workshop with Fr. Philemon (J.O.Y. means "Junior Orthodox Youth"). (Hist-3-15)
12 October 2007 : Fr Philemon welcoming visitors at
the Holy Trinity church. (#visit_006)
12 October 2007 : Fr Philemon welcoming visitors at
the Holy Trinity church. (#visit_007)
12 October 2007 : At the Holy Trinity church. (#visit_008)
12 October 2007 : Ms Josephine Catherine Carandang
from the Orthodox Church of Maryland (USA)
communicating with the children. (#visit_013)
12 October 2007 : All together. Among the visitors:
Fr Burt Sare and Sr Adelia Oling from the Catholic Church and
Ms Catherine Carandang from the Orthodox Church of
Maryland, USA. (#visit_019)
Theotokos Mercy Feeding Program. (#16-06HT)
Theotokos Mercy Feeding Program. (#16-07HT)
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