1110 Eldridge Parkway Houston, Texas 77077
281-679-5395 Fax 281-679-5397Reverend Father Luke Palumbis
[email protected] Eleni Palumbis
Reverend Deacon Iakovos Varcados Diakonissa Maria Varcados
www.mystbasil.orgOn Facebook StBasiltheGreatHoustonTX
https://soundcloud.com/mystbasilTo hear Fr Luke's Podcast go
From Father Luke's Desk...My Patron, Saint Luke the Evangelist –
Active in My Life!
In my youth, a small icon of Saint Luke the Evangelist hung on
my bedroom wall amidst posters and collage cutouts of Nolan Ryan
and Larry Bird. I was named after the Evangelist in response to my
father’s reading of ‘Dear and Glorious Physician,’ shortly before I
was born. I knew that he wrote parts of the Bible, he was a doctor,
and an artist -- Saint Luke became a sort of Christian idol for me
-- I looked up to Nolan when I threw fastballs, and Bird when I
shot hoops – but I wasn’t a doctor or an artist… for what could I
look up to Saint Luke?
The relationship with a patron saint can be powerful in support
of an individual’s journey to the Kingdom. Trusting that our patron
saints pray for us, we grow our relationships with them through
witness to the virtue they earned and expressed in their lives.
Salient recognition and dedication to the virtues exemplified in
the lives of the saints create connection to the holies, and the
Holy! The saints truly become our idols when we develop our
appreciation for their life stories into application of the virtues
that they exhibited in those life stories. Although I am not an
artist or a doctor – Saint Luke can still be a role model in my
life when I look to the virtues that he expressed in his life, and
develop them in my own!
Virtue is not something that we are born with. We were not born
with virtue and neither were the saints. Virtue is earned through
purposeful living unafraid of discipline.
Saint Luke was my idol as a child because he wrote in the Bible,
was a doctor and wrote the first icon. Saint Luke is my idol today
because I recognize the phenomenal choices that he made to dedicate
himself to a life that would be pleasing to God, and I appreciate
the tremendous discipline that he surely adhered to in order to
maintain that life – especially when he had options other than the
difficult vocations of Apostle and Evangelist… doctor, artist,
Our recognition of how special the saints truly are the
initiation of our investment into our relationship with them, and
unfortunately is often the extent that we take the relationship.
The second, and substantive step is when we choose to live like
them. This does not imply that I must live like an Antiochian from
2,000 years ago in order to develop my relationship with Saint
Luke, nor does it mean that we must live like others in the
Synaxarion by virtue of their foreign ethnicities, cultures,
ascetical proclivities or clothing styles. What this second step
does mandate is that we examine the virtuous experience of those in
the Synaxarion (book of saints) and find ways to apply those
virtues to our God-given personalities and circumstances in our
How is it that so many have lived as saints? They chose to
develop their daily lives in capacities that were pleasing to God
-- they were virtuous. How is it that you can become a saint?
Choose to live your daily life in ways that are pleasing to God –
develop virtue through disciplined living!
If you love and would like to have a relationship with your
patron saint, ask yourself these three simply questions:
Who is your patron saint?
How were they virtuous?
How can you develop those virtues in your daily life?
Please join me on Sunday, October 18th when I celebrate the
feast day of my patron saint, Saint Luke the Evangelist in the
context of the Divine Liturgy. He was virtuous through the patient,
consistent offering of his talents to the glory of God as a doctors
of souls and bodies, as the first iconographer of the Church, and a
writer of multiple books in the New Testament! From my relationship
to Saint Luke, I am strengthened by his example of Christian
pilgrimage, and in turn strive to be a better Christian every
Show someone that you have a relationship with your patron saint
– be the best Christian that you can today!
Father Luke Continued...
Sunday September 20th, we joined as a community
in wishing Father Luke a very happy birthday!
Friday September 25th, Father Luke joined Captain Ilias Syrros
of The Green Sky Vessel in a blessing of the ship
and its crew on their recent stop in Houston
October 25, 2015 is an important day in the life of the St.
Basil family! It is the date that has been set for
the Fall General Assembly. For those of you who attend these
meetings on a regular basis realize the importance
of the information that is provided in these meetings. The
community as a whole is enriched due to your participation. For
those of you who seldom attend or never attend, you are missing
The Fall General assembly is particularly important for 2
reasons. First, it is an opportunity for everyone to get informed,
have input, and approve
our community’s annual budget. In order for St. Basil’s to serve
as our spiritual home - providing weekly services, sacraments,
religious education, and youth
programs – a significant amount of money and time is required
each year. We must all be aware of what it takes to keep the doors
of this community open. The
entire community - not just Father, the Parish Council and the
few that attend these assemblies - must be aware of the challenges
that we face every day in keeping St. Basil’s financially alive.
When the community is informed that there is a challenge in paying
our bills, I am immediately bombarded with the phrase “I didn’t
know”. The Fall General Assembly is your chance of getting informed
about the community’s finances.
Second, the Fall General Assembly is the time when candidates
for the Parish Council and the Audit Committee are nominated. It is
a time when the leaders, who help set the tone for the community,
are identified. It is also a chance for you to maybe take that leap
and get involved in a much bigger way in leading this community.
Our community is constantly seeking new talent and new ideas to
help guide it in its growth. This may be the time for you to become
These are exciting and challenging times for our community. It
is exciting because we are adding new religious programs. It is
exciting because the Sunday school is overflowing with children
eager to learn about our faith. It is exciting because our Goya is
larger than it’s ever been. It is exciting because we are
constantly welcoming new faces to our community. What a blessing!
However, we are also facing challenges that come with this growth.
We have a large debt load and bills to service every month. But
unfortunately our stewardship, which is our primary revenue stream
is not keeping up with our needs. We all need to be aware of this.
We all need to be informed so we can come up with a plan to solve
our financial challenges. The way to do this is through information
provided to you through our General Assembly.
I hope that you mark October 25 on your calendar and join us for
this important meeting.
Yours in Christ, John Rigas – Parish Council President.
Parish CouncilJohn Rigas President
Jerome Burbridge Vice President Spiro Petritsis Treasurer Manny
Pollos Secretary Andrew Constantinou
Elias Haddad Luke Stellakis
George Koucouthakis Gus Taxiarchou Andrew Robison
SUNDAY SCHOOL HAS BEGUN Join us!!
Sunday September 13 marked our first day of class for the
2015-2016 and we were blessed to have over 110 kiddos! We are a
growing program for sure. We have a whole new class this year and 2
brand new teachers. BUT, we still have space for YOU and your
children. Please jump in on the excitement and fun of learning the
Orthodox Faith with us. We would love to have you! Here’s our list
of classes and teachers.
St. Basil Sunday School 2015-2016 CurriculumThe archdiocese
approved curriculum will be used by every classroom. Since our
classes cover two age groups, two books will be used per classroom.
In addition to the books approved by the archdiocese, St. Basil's
teachers will supplement with the following topics:
days, email questions George Comits (old library/admin building
Open discussion Manny Pollos, Caterina Kaffes, (Gabby Haddad)
(piano room) Freshman & Sophmores
Our Faith Alexia Alexopolous, Christina Stamatakis, Tonia Yiakras
(old cry room) Seventh & eighth ............................
Ecumenical councils and acts of the apostles John Rigas, Gabriel
Haddad, Lewis Faraclas (3rd classroom in hallway) Fifth &
Sixth.........................How to live out Christian lifestyle
and Divine Liturgy. Andrew Ginnakakis, Casey Robison, Angela Geeker
(1st classroom in hallway) Third & Fourth
in the church Vicky Fikaris, Angie Tyra, (Tonia Yiakras) (2nd
classroom in hallway) First & Second
IreneTsounakas, Miriam Merianos, Pavlina Tsorbatzoglou (right of
single bathroom) Kinder & Pre-k
Jesus parables Tina Tsounakas, Eleni Merianos, Oana Macesanu (left
of single bathroom)
Fill in substitutes: Carrie Rigas, Georgia Petritsas
StewardshipDid you know that Christian Stewardship is embodied
in the way that we respond to God with our life? With such
understanding, we must begin and refresh our stewardship experience
with prayer. The following is a prayer of Christian Stewardship
that all are encouraged to offer…
“Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art the good steward, who redeemed Adam
and Eve of their failed stewardship by offering Thyself for the
life of the world. Thou didst teach us in the feeding of the
multitudes that whatever we give to God is returned to us
multiplied. Thou didst praise those good and faithful servants in
the parable of the talents who returned to the Master their gifts.
So help us to learn the joy of stewardship, remembering that
everything we have comes from Thee and belongs to Thee. We know,
Lord, that we often live in fear of the future and insecurity. Help
us to remember the lilies of the field and so to trust in Thy
providence. Grant to us a cheerful and generous spirit. Kindle in
the hearts of all Thy people a zealous love for Thee. For Thou art
the Good Steward, and to Thee we give thanks, praise and glory,
together with Thy Father who is from everlasting and
Thine all holy good and life-giving Spirit now and ever and onto
the ages of ages. Amen”
Aura Chapter #405
On Saturday, October 10, we will be hosting DANCING WITH THE
GREEKS! Don’t miss this opportunity for you, and your friends, to
learn some of the more popular Greek dances from members of the
Olympian dance troupe. We will have drinks and snacks and plenty of
great music at the Kostas Hall, from 10:30am to 1:30pm, all for
only a $20 donation. Net proceeds will benefit our national and
local domestic violence and rehabilitation center charities. To
reserve your spot, please contact Johanna Pappas at 713 783 9015 no
later than October 4.
Please also mark your calendars for our SPIRIT OF GREECE
wine-tasting and light dinner event scheduled for Saturday,
February 20, at Annunciation GOC’s Martel Hall. This year we will
again have Evan Turner, sommelier and co-owner of the recently
opened Helen Greek Food and Wine restaurant, to guide us through
the evening’s wine selections and pairings. Greek wines have come a
long way in the last 20 years, so please join us for what is sure
to be a delectable and informative evening. Tickets are $45 and are
available from any member of Daughters of Penelope.
The objectives of the Daughters of Penelope are to promote
Hellenism, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and
Family & Individual Excellence. The Daughters of Penelope
encourages and promotes loyalty to the country in which they live;
cultivates the ideals and traditions of Hellenism; promotes
opportunities of education; and promotes the spirit of cooperation
and works closely and in harmony with the whole AHEPA Family. The
Daughters of Penelope is non-partisan and non-denominational.
Today, the Daughters of Penelope is a leader in philanthropic,
educational and cultural activities with local chapters in the
United States, Canada, Greece and Cyprus. Also available are
scholarships, on the district and national levels, for
children/grandchildren of members in good standing. Any woman, age
21 and up, interested in learning more, please see Johanna Pappas
or any member of DOP.
Would your company like to advertise in the VOICE 2.0? contact
catherine stellakis @ 713-291-9248 or [email protected] gmail.com
Of Plato and Plowshares: What is Hellenism?
We all know the Parable of the Sower. The sower casts seeds
everywhere, but only in the good soil does the seed flourish. Of
course, good soil isn’t good by accident! Something happened to
prepare the earth for the seed. In this parable the seed is the
Gospel, the sower is the evangelist, and the soil is the human
heart. But what is the plow? What prepares hearts to accept the
Truth of Christ?
Historically it is a fact that in the ancient world the Gospel
fared best where Hellenism was the strongest. Hellenic culture was
the plow that prepared hearts for Christianity. When the Gospel
seed fell in areas not well Hellenized—among the Germanic tribes,
throughout Persia, in Jerusalem, in Arabia—the seed sprouted only
to yield bitter fruit: Arianism, iconoclasm, legalism, and Islam.
But wherever Hellenic values were accepted and celebrated—there,
his-torically, the churches planted by the Apostles stayed Orthodox
in their worship and theology, century upon century.
And so it is worth thinking about what Hellenism is and how
Hellenism prepared hearts for the Word of God. Hellenism is not
about olives in our salad and line dancing in costumes. Hellenism
is above all a frame of mind, an outlook on the world that shapes
every experience. To understand Hellenism, you have to know
something about the ancient world in which it developed.
There were two kinds of societies. There was the tribal way of
life, where people lived with their clan, and religion was a form
of nature worship. Humans lived in fear of the spirits all around
them, and worship was placating these spirits. Then there was the
life of the ancient city-state, where people were organized into a
society of different classes—the merchants, the artisans, the
priests, the rulers, and the serfs and slaves. Fear of nature was
replaced by fear of the king, who received worship as a kind of
god, with absolute power of life and death over his subjects. And
so whether you lived in the wilderness or in civilization, the
operative principle of your world was fear—fear of “divinities” who
menaced mankind either as natural elements or as tyrants.
Not so among the ancient Hellenic people. For them fear was
replaced by wonder. Yes, they worshipped many gods. But when looked
up at the sky and watched the movements of the stars, they did not
just see supernatural forces at play. They saw mathematics at work.
They saw geometry and physics and chemistry. And seeing this, they
did not cower in fear. They rose up in wonderment, and in delight.
And they explored and experimented and exam-ined this wonderful
To be sure, other ancient peoples, like the Egyptians and the
Babylonians, had some knowledge of astronomy—but they always used
this power to suppress the masses with fear of the king’s
divinity—as if Pharoah or Nebuchadnez-zar were the ones controlling
comets and eclipses. The Greeks would have none of that! Their
kings were revered, but not as gods. For the Greeks, science—and
the sense of wonder that inspired it—were tools for progress, not
weapons of enslavement.
And so in the ancient world, the Gospel of a God Who is a
heavenly Father, who is universal and is tied to no dynasty in
particular, Who loves us as children, and in Whose love there is no
fear, for “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:8)—this was a
message that the Hellenized world was ready to hear. This was a God
worthy to be wor-shipped as the Creator of the “wonder”-full world
which they inhabited … the “kosmos,” as the Greeks named it,
meaning the thing of beauty and design. The Greeks saw the world,
not as the battlefield of a hundred warring
Of Plate and Plowshares Continued...
deities, but as the lovely sculpted artwork of a wise and
beneficent Mind. And so in the teachings of Jesus Christ, they
recognized the loving Creator God of their science.
But what about Greek religion, with its polytheism and all those
funny myths of gods coupling with humans and turning out demigods
like Heracles? Indefensible, of course, and yet . . . within the
strict and absolute monotheism of Judaism, there was no room for
the experience of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hellenic
thought, by con-trast, was not only ready for the message of only
one God, but it was also equipped to receive the revelation of one
God in three persons. Likewise, the Incarnation made no sense in
the mindset of Judaism, where God was so apart from this world that
the thought of an eternal union of human and divine in one person
was utter blasphemy. For the Hellenic mind, shaped by the stories
about Olympians interacting with mortals, the concept of the
Incarnation was less of a stumbling-block.
But it was not so much Hellenic religion that prepared the soil
as it was Hellenic philosophy. And here we can speak of an
achievement that no other single culture before or after ever came
close to matching. The science of knowledge, the discovery of the
mind, the refinement of human curiosity—and the recognition of its
limits!—these are some of the unique accomplishments of Hellenic
philosophy. And so profound was the influence of that philos-ophy
in the ancient world, that it left some noteworthy marks upon the
young religion of Christianity.
The first was in the fact that the early Christians did not
speak of their movement as a threskeia (“religion”), but rather a
philosophia. The Church Fathers viewed Christianity as an extension
and perfection of Greek philosophy, a complete way of life guided
by wisdom. For them, true faith was the application of God-given
reason to the data of God-given revelation in the Old and New
Testaments. And the black robe of the clergy in our Orthodox
Church, the exorasson, is nothing else but the early Church’s
adaptation of the plain, unadorned garb of the philosopher, the
uniform for those who spurn outward ostentation for the inner
beauty of wisdom.
But perhaps the chief contribution of Hellenic philosophy to the
ancient world was the idea of virtue, or arete, and of ideals that
are greater than life: truth, justice, integrity, liberty.
Elsewhere in the ancient world men fought and died for gold, for
cattle, perhaps even for love. Rarely did one find a man laying
down his life for his ideals. But for the Hellenic mind this was
the height of virtue—as exemplified by Socrates, by the Spartans at
Thermopylae, and by Pheidippides, who ran himself to death to bring
news of the battle of Marathon. To lay down one’s life voluntarily
for the common good was one of the great themes of Hellenic
culture. The self-offering of Jesus Christ and the voluntary
sacrifice of the early martyrs were not alien to Greek ideals. The
Son of God who lays down His life for His friends ( John 15:13) is
to the Hellenic mind the consummate possessor of virtue.
As Orthodox Christians, we give thanks both for our Jewish roots
and for our Hellenic heritage. To disdain Hel-lenism, as do some
Orthodox in America, is to despise one’s grandmother. It is a
rejection of the heavenly Father, who through the Greeks prepared
the world for His evangelion of a “perfect love that casts out all
fear” (1 John 4:18). Thanks be to God for Greeks bearing gifts,
ancient gifts of wonder and wisdom that prepared our hearts to
receive the Gospel!
©Copyright 2013 by Fr. B. Mark Sietsema
GOYAGOYA began the 2015-16 year with a kickoff event on
Everyone enjoyed a great meal, seeing old friends, meeting new
ones and playing some fun and crazy games.
Basketball practice began on September 13th. There are 50 GOYAns
signed up to play basketball! This is the largest number we have
ever had and are planning to take 5 or 6 teams to the Metropolis
Tournament in Dallas this January.
The St. Basil GOYA will also be starting a new program called
Orthodox Life. Beginning in October, the group will meet the first
Wednesday of every month. This will give our junior high and high
school students an opportunity to interact personally with our
clergy outside of liturgy, participate in meaningful faith based
activities, as well as a chance to socialize with their peers.
The GOYAns will also have the opportunity to travel to Pine Cove
Camp in November for the annual Metropolis Southern Region
This has been a great weekend for all who have attended in the
If you are interested in participating in GOYA as a member,
advisor or would like to donate to help with travel expenses to
retreats and the tournament, please contact Manny and Stacey Gallas
at [email protected]
Pumpkin Patch Saint Basil the Great
Greek Orthodox Church -‐‑ Hope
& Joy Youth Group
Please join us this coming month
at the pumpkin patch!
Methodist Church 12955 Memorial Dr.
-‐12:45 P.M.: Arrive at Patch
12:50 P.M. Group
Photo, then find your pumpkin!
1:25 P.M.: Meet back
Pumpkin Decorating and
Dates & Times TBD
Elizabeth Andreno 936-‐402-‐7265
Look for them in the
weekly Bulletin. Vicky Fikaris
Glazed Over Georgia Petritsis
Christmas Caroling and
S U N D A Y , O C T O B E R 1 8 , 2 0 1 5
Τα νέα του Ελληνικού σχολείου
Το ελληνικό σχολείο ξεκίνησε στις 14 Σεπτεμβρίου. Μετά τον
αγιασμό τα παιδιά συνάντησαν τις δασκάλες τους και τους συμμαθητές
τους και με κέφι πήγαν στις τάξεις τους, αφού όλοι μας τους
ευχηθήκαμε ‘Καλή σχολική χρονιά’! Από την πλευρά μας μπορούμε να
τους υποσχεθούμε ότι θα κάνουμε το καλύτερο δυνατό για να νοιώσουν
όμορφα, να μάθουν και να αγαπήσουν τα Ελληνικά.
Σκοπός του Ελληνικού σχολείου, εκτός από τη διδασκαλία της
ελληνικής γλώσσας, είναι και η προσπάθεια να μάθουν τα παιδιά τις
παραδόσεις, τα ήθη και τα έθιμα του λαού μας. Στο πλαίσιο αυτής της
προσπάθειας στις 25 Οκτωβρίου, μετά τη Λειτουργία, θα γιορτάσουμε
την ημέρα του ΟΧΙ.
Σας περιμένουμε να γιορτάσουμε και να χαρούμε την πρόοδο των
Greek School NewsThe Greek School of our church started on
September 14. After the blessing the kids met with their teachers
and their friends and excited went to their classes. We all wished
them ‘happy school year’! We can promise them that we will do our
best to make them feel happy, to help them in their effort to learn
and love the Greek language.
Our goal, besides teaching the language is to help the kids
learn the traditions, history, and culture of our homeland. On
October 25, after the Divine Liturgy we will celebrate the OXI
We would like you to join us and help us celebrate and enjoy our
11am-1:30 Spaghetti Luncheon
10am Silver Stars 7pm Parish Council
8:45am Orthros 10am Divine Liturgy
8:45am Orthros 10am Divine Liturgy
8:45am Orthros10am Divine Liturgy 12:30 JOY/HOPE Pumpkin
8:45am Orthros 10am Divine Liturgy General Assembly Meeting:
following the Divine Liturgy
Holy Protection of the Theotokos 9am Divine Liturgy 11am Bible
Study Galatians7 pm Orthodoxy 101 Ecclesiastical Structures &
Experience: Clergy & Laity
11am Bible Study Galatians 7 pm Orthodoxy 101 What is
11am Bible Study Galatians7 pm Orthodoxy 101 Scripture &
11am-1:30 Spaghetti Luncheon
11am-1:30 Spaghetti Luncheon
11am-1:30 Spaghetti Luncheon
11am-1:30 Spaghetti Luncheon
7pm Parish Council
Saint Gerasimos of Kefalonia, 9 AM Divine Liturgy
Saint Dimitrios, Divine Liturgy, 9 AM
9am DOP Fundrasier
Saint James, Divine Liturgy, 9 AM
6pm GOYA Orthodox Life
Articles, photos and any other submissions pertaining to the
life of St Basil the Great Houston for the Voice 2.0 may be sent
Catherine Stellakis at [email protected] Thank you for your
support of this minisrty to our community!