The ordination to Deacon of Monk Simeon Spyropoulos who has recently been tonsured and joined the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood was held on Thursday night, November 29/ December 12, 2019, towards Friday November 30/ December 13, day of the commemoration of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Hierodeacon Simeon is a graduate of the School of Theology of Athens, the Byzantine Choir Leader at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and a teacher at the Patriarchal School of the Holy Zion.
Monk Simeon was ordained by the Most Reverend Archbishop Methodios of Tabor, who admonished the ordained with fatherly words regarding the significance of the sacrament of Priesthood and of the degree of the Deacon as follows;
“Most devout Sub-Deacon Simeon,
The Holy and Sacred Synod on its last meeting chaired by His Holy Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, after your voluntary wish, has decided to join you in the Hagiotaphite Brotherhood and promote you to Deacon.
Therefore , by the will of the Almighty and Omnipotent Great God, with the agreement, care and providence of His Holy Beatitude, along with the decision of the Holy and Sacred Synod, you are called today, to receive the first degree of Priesthood, that of the Deacon, by the placing of the hands of our mediocrity and through the coming down of the All-holy and Ceremonial Spirit, so that from this position you may serve the Church of Christ and its congregation, from your place as a member of our Venerable Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.
This is a great honour for you, as it is for every member of the Brotherhood, but not only this, even more greater are the responsibilities stemming from this position; you are called to deny the world and all worldly things, so that you may become a servant of the ministers of the Sacraments of the Church of Christ, namely of the Bishops and the Priests, according to the commands of the Apostles.
In the course of his life, man has very few days in which he experiences happiness, and one of these days for sure for you, is today. There is a saying that the position one holds does not highlight the man, but on the contrary, man highlights the position. By saying this, I mean that you will fail in your life if you do not believe and serve properly and consciously the One to Whom you have dedicated your life, and if you serve him frivolously.
On the contrary, you will advance and most of all you will be beloved and respected by all, if you believe and confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and if you respect yourself first of all, and the ministry you will take on your shoulders, along with the One you will serve.
Saints Gregory of Nyssa and Evagrios say that “you are a Theologian if you pray in truth, and if you pray in truth, you are a Theologian”, which means, that we only become right Theologians and in truth, when we pray correctly, so that we may benefit ourselves and the others; of course it is then that we are correct and true Theologians.
You see my dear ones, how great an importance the Holy Fathers attribute to the correct manner of prayer, otherwise we strive in vain, and we do not benefit our listeners in the least, so you should try to be perfect, as much as it can be possible, irreproachable and holy by Grace, before your God, to walk in the path of His commandments all the days of your life, become a bee in collecting what is best and sweetest and reject whatever is harmful.
St. Paul, the Apostle of the Nations says: “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5), consequently our lives, of both clergy and laity, is a struggle enflamed by the flashing arrows of the devil, in order to succeed in the purpose pursued, that of the salvation of our souls.
Certainly you will face difficulties; do not startle, do not flinch; with your bodily eyes and the eyes of your soul gaze towards the Horrendous Golgotha and look at the crucified love, our Lord Jesus Christ, and then you will realize for which reason they put a crown of thorns on His head, but through His sacrifice on the Cross, His three-day burial and finally with His Resurrection from the dead He was justified and managed to put to shame His crucifiers and accusers.
Most devout sub-Deacon Simeon,
As a Hagiotaphite and guardian of the Holy Places which have been sanctified by the Nativity in the flesh, teaching, Crucifixion and Resurrection of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, you are called to be a depositary of the Sacred Consignment in this citadel of Christianity, of whose rampart you owe to be a sleepless guard and ready for any sacrifice, in order to hand it in to the next generation intact, unscathed and unalterable.
As you stand before the gate of this Holy Altar, before you receive this awesome ministry and the heavenly powers, which according to St. Paul “is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Romans 9:16), kneel in humility and entreat the Almighty God, the only One who can remit sins, that He may look favourably upon your weaknesses and send down His All-holy Spirit, just like the day of Pentecost, on you, His humble servant.
Always commemorate your parents in the flesh, who stand by your side at this hour and are surely praying for you and rejoice with your happiness and promotion. Commemorate your relatives, teachers, friends, and if you have any, your enemies. Commemorate also our Father and Patriarch Theophilos III, who has benefited you with much love, and of our Hagiotaphite Brotherhood.
And now, the time has come, that you may come forth with a pure heart and a humble spirit, to receive the grace of the All-holy and Ceremonial Spirit through the placing of hands of our mediocrity; therefore enter into the Holy of Holies, into the All-holy and Life-giving Tomb of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, from which the Light of Life gushes out.
Therefore, rejoicing, enter in your Lord’s joy.
On 30-11-2019, Feast of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-called”.
The ordination was performed with the invocation of the Divine Grace through the placing of the Archbishop’s hands.
At that time and with the exclamation “Axios” by the Archbishop, the Hagiotaphite Fathers, the students of the School of Zion, Monks and Nuns along with his family and friends, who honoured the ordained also exclaimed “Axios, Axios”.
After the Divine Liturgy, the ordained offered a reception to the ordaining Archbishop and all who honoured him at the Office of Geronda Sacristan, Most Reverend Archbishop Isidoros of Hierapolis.
The following morning, the ordained came to the Patriarchate, thanked His Beatitude and received His blessing.