Event for the Three Hierarchs in the Holy Metropolis of Corfu
On Monday afternoon, January 29, 2018, in the Spiritual Centre of the Holy Metropolis of Corfu, an event for the Three Hierarchs was held, with the presence of many people.
The event started with the Choir of the Ecclesiastical Music School of the Holy Metropolis “O Agios Arsenios”, under the direction of the First Chanter Mr. Georgios Ladovrechis. They sang hymns, dedicated to the Three Hierarchs.
In his greeting, his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios underlined the fact that the Three Hierarchs were not only teachers but also the ones to open the road to Theognosia (God’s Knowledge). Our times are characterized by the following two elements. On the one hand is the anonymity of the modern lifestyle and on the other hand the masks. Modern humans are reserved in their ego without caring for anybody else but also, a great part of the modern societies rejects the traditions and the previous ways of living in order to be seen as modern. Moreover, they claim that it’s high time we leave in the past the Holy Fathers, the Holy Spirit, in short everything that inspired and led the Fathers of our Faith.
Furthermore, Mr. Nektarios expressed his sadness about the devaluation of the feast of Three Hierarchs, which was established back in the 11th century. Today it tends to be abolished from the ones in power, as part of the general plan to abolish all the elements that make the Greek people Greek.
In his closing, his Eminence wished that everyone to follow the example that our Three Hierarchs with the Holy Spirit showed and not live, having the illusion of being able to do everything on our own and give answers to our existential problems.
Main Speaker of the event was the General Prelatic Warden, Protopresbyter, Father Themistoklis Mourtzanos. He mentioned that in our times we know very little about the Three Hierarchs and their contribution when shaping the educational process, as today we are not interested in humans but in usability and practicality. The feast is not attacked directly but step by step.
The Three Hierarchs were people inspired by God. For them, humans are made like God and by the Ternary God. Our life aim is to become god-like figures. If we have this as a general target, then within our educational system, we will not be limited to world knowledge but we will try to acquire God’s knowledge too. Therefore, the education is nothing else but the communion of Holiness. “Education is the communion of Holiness” as mentioned by the Holy Chrysostomos. This means that the final purpose of the education is not simply to offer knowledge but to indicate the path to Sainthood,that is the knowledge and the honour of God, the virtue and the way of living according to Him, the love and the real communication in order to become god-like.
Here comes the element of student’s intention, in the sense of cultivating the possibility of critical thinking, knowledge and life which presuppose awareness of the freedom given by God. By cultivating this intention, the road to good is enhanced. In particular, the teacher is invited to work in cultivating the thirst for knowledge and wisdom and passing it to the student. At the same time, he/she should cultivate the need for sociability and love along with creativity. Humans is neither destined nor planned. They can live their lives with originality and freedom. And it is the teacher’s task to help the students in this perspectives, to meet the thinking of the Three Hierarchs.
The teacher himself needs to create the particular conditions in which all his students will be able to meet the virtue and morality but also each other. The classroom is a society of collectivity. The teacher and the students are invited to function as a family, that is to say as a small community in which the teacher will set the objectives of his course, taking in the same time into account the individuality of each student’s personality.
All the aforementioned may be seen as theories in our times, where dominate the practical and useful of the Enlightenment and the self-idolization of humans in the post-modernity context. Humans do not regard themselves as images of God but as autonomous beings, which exist to make themselves happy and not fulfill a purpose in their lives, originating from the collectivity they belong to.
The purpose of the educational system, continued father Themistoklis, is to serve the society in which it exists. A vision for a different society does not exist in our educational system. Knowledge has been transformed into information, without hierarchizing the most important and this is depicted in the everyday life within the classrooms and school life in general. Moreover, in previous periods, the School as an institution, even though quite authoritarian, it kept the elements of hierarchy and respect.
It had particular frameworks and rules which everyone knew, whereas today the society tolerates the lawlessness and transfers this tolerance to school, refusing to demand respect for the people. There is constant confusion, which leads to a lack of actual interest on the part of the education system as far as people and collectivity are concerned. Education offers knowledge but it does not connects it to people.
Besides, this is due to the turning of the basis of collectivity into guesthouse. Family has turned into a guesthouse covering the needs of sleep, enjoyment and living, whereas Church covers the need of religion and religious duty, the celebration which will remind us of the past and will keep the spark of history lit without collectivity though. The school can play an important role if it regains its focus on the person and places its attention to the educator, the teacher. In the modern hazardous times, the teacher is called to convey to his students both the values and the collectivity that will make them remember that they are images of God and are invited to move towards becoming like Him.
That it is important to cultivate their intentions, because happiness lies in the encounter with God and their fellow people, in the genuine interpersonal relationships and not in materialistic goods, the information and the passions that are baptized as rights. Teachers can accomplish the aforementioned with various means. By not stopping their training, by experiencing teaching as joy. By not following the thinking of “do as everyone does”, by looking discretely at the faces of their students and showing real interest in them and not just in their school progress. And above all, by praying for their students.
In his closing, father Themistoklis stressed that the reflection, the experience and the advice of the Three Hierarchs are our helpers in the hope of regaining our forgotten part in education. As Saint Gregory the Theologian mentions, “let everyone contribute what they can, someone the reason which can be pertinent, another can offer the silence where needed, which is the best reason. Another can offer the teaching without any flaw and his/her life according to this teaching. Lastly, someone else can offer the hearing and acceptance of the words with willingness and gratitude.”
In the event, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Corfu, Ioannis Spitieris, the Regional Director of Education of the Ionian Islands, Mr. Kostas Gkousis addressed the participants. The latter referred in particular to the importance of the Education. Lastly, the president of the Union of Christian Scientists, Ms. Irene Malacha addressed the participants too.
It is worth mentioning that during the event, the Youth Office of the Holy Metropolis presented audiovisual material dedicated to the Three Hierarchs.
Finally, the event was coordinated by Mr. Christos Desyllas, Dr. of History and Theologian, director of the Private Office.