Fr Bill

Great Lent - A Time For Repentance


Repentance has its roots in the apostles. In the Book of Acts the Apostle Peter says, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)

When we fall away from God, we have removed ourselves from His communion – with Him and with other Christians. We have excommunicated ourselves. To re-enter communion with God is the on-going activity of all Christians. We fall away daily in some way or another. No one is exempt.

Often, when children play in competitive games, one will call out “that’s a do over!” Haven’t we all wished for that chance to undo the past and start over? Repentance offers us this new beginning.

We are telling God that we have changed our mind about our past direction and want to be back in communion with Him. The Greek work for repentance, metanoia, implies a very deep change in the way we see ourselves, our world, and our relationship to God. To change our mind in repentance is the starting point in our Lenten journey. We leave behind regret as we move toward hope. Repentance is not a single action but an attitude, a frame of mind.

Think back over your life of things which you regret having said or done – hurtful, inconsiderate, selfish, deceitful. Think also of those things which you have done which may not have directly affected others, but which you know to be wrong according to the teachings of the Church. Bring them to mind as if they were occurring right now. Think of how it would have been if you had acted differently. Take this regret and turn it into repentance. Acknowledge that you have offended another person or the Church, and in doing so you have offended God.

If we are to be forgiven by God, He requires of us that we also forgive one another. For many of us, this is the most difficult aspect of repentance and confession. Yet we say it each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Just as God’s love for us is personal, so must ours be for Him. As the Christian grows from child to adult, his or her personal response to God becomes crucial. This personal response is asking God for forgiveness.

– Fr. Bill Tragus is the pastor of Saint Basil Greek Orthodox Church in San Juan Capistrano.

Tags: Lent Lenten Great Lent

Message from Fr Bill

Fr Bill

Our family welcomes your family


For Greeks & Greek Americans, family life is considered very important and life revolves around the family, the Church, our community and food. Children often live with their parents until they are ready to marry, and stay close with their parents and siblings once they have married and started a family of their own. Greek children grow up close to their grandparents as well, whom they refer to as yiayia (grandmother) & papaou (grandfather) and form a lasting bond with them that stays with them throughout life. Getting together often to celebrate the joy of life with family and friends while eating yiayyia’s food and pastries is the way we all grow up. The result of this lifestyle is that Greeks live long, fulfilling lives and it is thought that their varied diet of olives, olive oil, tomatoes, lamb, fish, chicken, yogurt, feta cheese and lots of fruits and vegetables keep them healthy… along with a little wine every day. Greeks love life and enjoy sharing it with others in hospitality and celebration.

Greece has a long tradition of hosting festivals as part of the local culture. Most towns in Greece host a festival, which they call a “Panayiri” (meaning a celebration for all) usually coinciding with the Feast day of the main church in the center of town. Usually, the celebration is kicked-off in the main square with a Church service on the Feast day of the churches patron saint. Following the service, a procession with the icon from the church occurs, which parades through the town’s main street. The procession includes priests, local bishops, police, city officials and soldiers from the Greek army, along with other dignitaries. Thousands of people line the streets to witness the procession and kick-off the festival.

Panayiris in Greece are family events enjoying traditional and new foods, music, dancing, carnival rides, shopping as well as attractions for kids. As Americans with Greek ancestry as well as converts into the Orthodox Christian Church, all whom have enjoyed the benefits of this great country, we are delighted to present this year’s festival and share our Greek cultural traditions, hospitality, and our faith as well as some of yiayia’s best food recipes with our local community. We look forward to seeing you on September 29th & 30th, 2018 at this year’s SJC Greek Fest. http://www.sjcgreekfest.org

May God grant you many blessings!

Rev. Fr. Bill Tragus