Fr Constantine

Message from Fr Constantine, March - April 2021

Rejoice!: Fr. Constantine's Message

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

Rejoice!

It is with deep joy that I write to you. Though we continue our isolation and separateness in the midst of the pandemic, I rejoice that we have such ample opportunity to call out to Christ for His Mercy and Love: "Through the cross, joy has come to the whole world" (Sunday Matins/Orthros). But how can anyone speak this way without sounding callous or inconsiderate? "What?!" How dare he say to rejoice! I've been home for nearly a year; lonely, depressed, and mentally stagnating. How can I possibly rejoice?"

Truly, the joy I refer to is not to be equated with "happiness": an emotional state which, although important, comes and goes. Rather, it is this deep, abiding joy that our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ speaks about in the Holy Gospels:

"Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”.

John 15 9b-11, ESV

As we well know, our Lord suffered immeasurably, voluntarily dying on the cross out of love for us. How then could he refer to joy in the midst of this sorrow? Herein lies the "secret" of Great and Holy Lent. Lent aids the Orthodox Christian in entering into the voluntary suffering AND Life Giving Resurrection of the God/Man, Jesus Christ.

I defer to the Work, "Great Lent: Journey to Pascha" (pp11-12) by the Famous Rev. Fr. Alexander Schmemann (+1983), who better explains:

When a man leaves on a journey, he must know where he is going. Thus with Lent. Above all, Lent is a spiritual journey and its destination is Easter, "the Feast of Feasts." It is the preparation for the "fulfillment of Pascha, the true Revelation." We must begin, therefore, by trying to understand this connection between Lent and Easter, for it reveals something very essential, very crucial about our Christian faith and life.

Is it necessary to explain that Easter is much more than one of the feasts, more than a yearly commemoration of a past event? Anyone who has...taken part in that night which is "brighter than the day," who has tasted of that unique joy, knows it. But what is that joy about? Why can we sing, as we do during the Paschal liturgy: "today are all things filled with light, heaven and earth and places under the earth"? In what sense do we celebrate, as we claim we do, "the death of Death, the annihilation of Hell, the beginning of a new and everlasting life..."? To all these questions, the answer is: the new life which almost two thousand years ago shone forth from the grave, has been given to us, to all those who believe in Christ.

And it was given to us on the day of our Baptism, in which, as St. Paul says, we "were buried with Christ . . . unto death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead we also may walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4). Thus on Easter we celebrate Christ's Resurrection as something that happened and still happens to us. For each one of us received the gift of that new life and the power to accept it and to live by it. It is a gift which radically alters our attitude toward everything in this world, including death.

It makes it possible for us joyfully to affirm: "Death is no more!" Oh, death is still there, to be sure, and we still face it and someday it will come and take us. But it is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the very nature of death, made it a passage— "passover," a "Pascha"—into the Kingdom of God, transforming the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory. "Trampling down death by death," He made us partakers of His Resurrection. This is why at the end of the Paschal Matins we say: "Christ is risen and life reigneth! Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave!"

May we make a good beginning this Lenten Season, asking God to bless our intentions and our efforts! May we endure the race of Lent, and receive a crown of victory at that midnight Paschal service, where we proclaim His victory over all death: His death, and our own!

If anyone would like guidance on how to prepare for Great Lent, to make it fruitful in your season of life, please contact me.


With Love in Christ,

Fr. Constantine Trumpower

Dear Faithful Community of St. Demetrios,

Warm Greetings in our Lord!

My name is Fr. Constantine Trumpower. As you are likely aware, I have been assigned to your parish as your new pastor, effective February 1. I cannot tell you how joyful I am to receive this assignment from His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos. Your parish’s reputation precedes it, as a community of believers desiring to spread the Word of Christ’s Truth, to grow in His love, and to be transformed through worship, fellowship, and ministry to God, one another, and our neighbors of Ventura County. This, of course, being the fulfillment of the Great Commandment:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22: 37b-40 ESV)

Certainly, the successes of your labors of over a decade and a half are due, by God’s Grace, to your own efforts, under the guidance, support and visionary leadership of Fr. Gary Kyriacou. Being Father Gary’s junior, it is a humbling task coming to serve you all, even while Fr. Gary will remain in Camarillo, to continue loving and serving in a different capacity. He has already assured me of his intent to assist me, to make sure our transition goes smoothly, and that I have every resource at my disposal, so that I might get up to speed quickly. You have been truly blessed with Fr. Gary!

As we move forward, I pray that we will meet together, face to face, very soon. I also pray that we will, all together, build on what has already been established here at St. Demetrios, and, by the prayers of the Saint, continue the life-long work or increasing our spiritual knowledge, purity, and heartfelt love and service to God and neighbor. I look forward to meeting you all soon! Please know that I will be making efforts to contact everyone individually, through the contact information in the parish directory. If you are not sure the office has the most up-to-date information, please call and confirm.

In Christ’s Service,

Fr. Constantine Trumpower