Welcome to the St. John the Baptist Ladies Philoptochos Society!
"Friends of the Poor"
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc., is the duly accredited women's philanthropic society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The mission of the Society shall be:
A message from our President
The Philoptochos Society continues on the Holy Tradition of giving that has been laid out for us by all the women of our Faith. Philoptochos believes YOU our members are the Society's resource and we need your talents and skills. Become a member today and help the Society to extend its reach into the lives of those who are most in need. The Philoptochos began in our Past, is with us in our Present and will continue into the Future. Our vision remains ongoing . . . now . . . and forever!
A Message from our Spiritual Advisor His Grace Bishop Sevastianos
GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESEOF AMERICA
O Lord and Master of my life!
Take from me the spirit of sloth,
meddling, lust of power, and idle talk.
Give me rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.
Yea, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
(St.Ephraim the Syrian)
My beloved Philoptochos Ladies,
I take this opportunity as we begin the Great Lent to wish each and every one of you a blessed and spiritually uplifting Lenten period.
This period is a time of prayer, fasting, reflection and repentance. As St. Ephraim’s prayer so beautifully says, it is a time to begin uprooting the vices that hold us back from being the image and likeness of God and replace them with the virtues of the Holy Spirit.
In our daily lives it is so easy to drift to an attitude of indifference, laziness, idleness, and resign from any effort to be closer to God, restore our relationships with others, and improve ourselves. We give up on God and in doing so we deny His love and His Grace to reach us. We don’t accept the love of others and, in return, we do not offer it to them.
We become preoccupied with what others do and say, we want to be first in everything and at any cost. The service to others is replaced by our desire to control and force others to do what we want rather than what is spiritually beneficial for them and us. Thus we try to take the place of God, not realizing that He Himself, despite having the authority, He refused to control or use His power but rather chose to be a Servant and offer Himself as a ransom for all.
And who can deny that gossip, rumors, unfounded information, unconfirmed reports is not a daily occurrence in our lives? Yet when others do it against us we become furious and want to set the record straight. The Philosopher Plato says: Everyone has an opinion, but do they have knowledge so that they may have an opinion? And even so, who made us the judges of the world when God Himself chose not judge and said: I did not come to judge the world but save the world. (John 12:47)
It is time my sisters to seek chastity, or as the Greek word says it better, σωφροσύνη, sound mind, spiritual wisdom so that we can make sound judgments about ourselves, our families and others that we are trying to lead. We need genuine humility, one that acknowledges both our strengths and our weaknesses; one that keeps our feet on the ground without the temptation of feeling and acting like we are better than anyone else. We need the humility of Christ, who came not to be served but to serve others.
Coupled with humility is patience since you cannot have the one without the other.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness Galatians 5:22. Impatience caters to instant gratification while patience bears fruit in the Holy Spirit.
As a crown to all the virtues comes the Christian love, ἀγάπη. In the words of St. Paul: Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; 1 Cor. 13: 4-8
Let us use this Lent as a great opportunity to rediscover the beautiful image of God in us, return to the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father, and restore our relationships with one another in a Christian manner. We can do this with a simple and deliberate decision, by reflecting on ourselves and our shortcomings, not judging others, and collaborating with the Grace of God to acquire the virtues of Christian living. By doing so we allow God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and mercy to reach the depth of our being and transform us into the instruments of His Grace.
With love in the Lord,