1 THE SHEPHERD • APRIL 2020 • SAINT SPYRIDON GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH OF SAN DIEGO The Shepherd I S S U E 2 8 7 • A P R I L 2 0 2 0 The official newsletter publication for the parish of Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church of San Diego FROM THE DESK OF FATHER ANDREW www.theshepherdnews.com The Shepherd Newsletter IN THIS ISSUE FR. ANDREW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 1 PRESIDENT OF THE PARISH COUNCIL, WOMEN OF THE WORD, GREEK FESTIVAL UPDATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 2 DIVINE SERVICES, BAPTISMS, MEMORIALS, LIBRARY & BOOKSTORE . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 3 G.O.Y.A., PANARCADIANS. . . . . . . . . . p. 5 PARISH CALENDAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 6 PHILOPTOCHOS, A.H.E.P.A., SENIORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 7 CONTACT INFORMATION. . . . . . . . . . . p. 8 NOTE: Due to the recent social distancing restrictions, some of the gatherings and events herein may be subject to cancellation. My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The following article was written by the Elder Zacharias of Essex. It was sent to the priests of our Metropolis by His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimons for our reflection. I found it to be at the same time powerful and encourag- ing - my hope is that you will too. Elder Zacharias on the Pandemic Many people are in confusion and others panic because of the threat of the Coro- navirus epidemic that spread in the whole world. I think, however, that this should not happen, for whatever God does with us, He does it out of love. The God of Christians is a good God, a God of mercy and lovingk- indness, ‘Who loveth mankind’. God created us out of His goodness in order to share His life and even His glory with us. When we fell into sin, He allowed death to enter our life again out of goodness, so that we may not become immortal in our wickedness, but to seek for a way of salvation. Although we have fallen, God has never stopped to pro- vide for us, not only material goods in order to sustain our race, but He also sent proph- ets and righteous, preparing His way so that He might come and solve our tragedy, and bring eternal salvation through the Cross and Resurrection of His inconceivable love. He came and took upon Himself the curse of sin, and He showed His love to the end: ‘Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end’ (John 13:1). All the things that God did when He created us, when He provided goods in or- der to sustain the world, when He prepared His way for Him to come on earth, when He came Himself in person and wrought our salvation in such an awesome way, all these things He did out of goodness. His goodness is boundless. He saves us and is so longsuf- fering towards us, waiting until we ‘come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim. 2:4) and bring true repentance, so that we may be with Him for all eternity. Thus, at every stage of His relationship with man, our God shows only His goodness and mercy, ‘which is better than life’ (Ps. 63:3); goodness is His Nature and He does all things for the benefit and salvation of man. Consequently, when He shall come again to judge the world, will a different God judge it? Will it not be the same good God, the God of mercy and lovingkindness, Who loves mankind? Let us be certain that we shall not appear before any other God than HimWho created us and saved us. And so, it is again with the same mercy and love that He will judge us. For this reason, we should neither panic nor waver, for it will be the same God that will receive us in the other life and will judge us with the same kindness and com- passion. Some fear that the hour of their end has come. This plague of Coronavirus has also a positive aspect, because we have a few weeks from the moment it will assail us un- til our end. Therefore, we can dedicate this time to prepare ourselves for our meeting with God, so that our departure may not oc- cur unexpectedly and without preparation, but after we have run through our whole life each time we stand in prayer before God, at times with thanksgiving unto the end for all the things God has done for us and at other times with repentance, seeking the forgiveness of our transgressions. Nothing can harm us with such a God, Who allows all things out of His goodness. We must sim- ply keep thanksgiving unto the end and the humble prayer of repentance for the forgive- ness of our sins. continues 4