sermon news

Sermon for the 15th Sunday after Trinity – 12th September 2021: Is 50, 4-9; James 3, 1-12; Mark 8, 27-end.

Fr Leonard Doolan, St Paul’s Athens


Just around the coastline from the town of Capernaum there is a little beach – a bit stony rather than sandy, but lovely. I remember my first visit to that beach back in the 1990s for three reasons.

The first is that in between all the beautifully coloured stones on the wet beach there were little seedlings growing. Seedlings of palm trees; for a Scottish born boy this was a rather exotic thing to find growing wild, as it were. Along with a fellow pilgrim and good friend we carefully uprooted a couple of the seedlings and bagged them in sealed bags. Our friend had a conservatory so she agreed to bring the seedlings on, one would be for her, the other for me.

It didn’t work out because the seedlings grew to such a size that it became impossible to transfer them and they now make a very handsome decoration to their conservatory in the East of England.

I know what you are thinking. It is illegal to smuggle seedlings of plants from one country to another. I can remember how anxious we felt as we successfully got the seedlings through airport controls – especially as another friend had packed some boxes of dates in his suitcase, and the security people thought the stones in the dates were showing up on the X-ray machine as bullets!


sermon news

Sermon for the 14th Sunday after Trinity – 5th September 2021

Nelly Paraskevopoulou  – St Paul’s Athens


May I speak in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen


Isaiah was a theologian, reformer, poet and orator. He has been called the prince of Old Testament prophets, the Saint Paul of the Old Testament, the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, the 5th Evangelist. The name Isaiah means ‘God is salvation’. His long ministry, covering fifty years or more, were spent in Jerusalem, where he was the personal prophet of four different kings of Israel. An interesting personality, Isaiah wrote during the stormy period marking the expansion of the Assyrian empire and the decline of Israel.

The book of Isaiah is the only Old Testament book to predict both the virgin birth of Christ (7:14), and His dual nature both human and divine (9:6). 7 and is  the Old Testament book most often quoted in the New Testament.


sermon news

Sermon for the 13th Sunday after Trinity 29th August 2021: JAMES 1:17-27, MARK 7

Deacon Chris Saccali – St Paul’s Athens


May God be on my lips and in all our hearts AMEN

Usually at this point in the year, I ask all of you whether you have had a good summer. First of all, we are not all present and.secondly, you may not have been able to get a break at all. It has been a very, hot, hard summer following on from a difficult winter. God does not promise us an easy way and we need to be wise and listen to His word for our world and ourselves.

One of my summer jobs was to get my car through KTEO, its biennial MOT. Now, if you don’t know my car is the battered blue one, usually parked in the side street next to St Paul’s. My husband flatly refuses to take it for its inspection and indeed why should he? My son has a few choice words to say too as it used to belong to him but he has a spanking new one now. I have no such qualms as it gets me from A to B and I really to get to go to some unusual and outlying places as Deacon. At the moment in charred and burnt surroundings after the fires.

Outward appearances, however, can be deceptive, as we know. My vehicle passed again with flying colours, as I try and keep it well maintained and reliable, legal and ready for service.


sermon news

Sermon for the 12th Sunday after Trinity – 22nd August 2021:Joshua 24, 1-2, 14-18; Eph 6, 10-20; John 6, 56-69.

Fr Leonard Wallace, St Paul’s Athens


[For the following two Sundays I am present but not the preacher. Next sermon from me is Sept. 12th]


If you ever have the privilege of visiting Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, home village of the fishermen disciples of Jesus, there is a superb synagogue to be seen there. Though much of the little town of Capernaum from the time of Jesus can be seen in excavation, this synagogue is of a Roman date, later than the time of Jesus, perhaps built in the 4th century AD. Nonetheless the presence of this ancient building, probably on the very site of the synagogue mentioned in today’s gospel, exudes atmosphere and mystique, the fragrance of antiquity.

Capernaum originally means the ‘village of comfort’, but when Jesus teaches there his message is not such easy listening. His listeners had become complacent in their dependence on the facts of history. Way back in the time of the exile, Jesus reminds them, God had provided them with all they needed for their strenuous 40 year sojourn in the wilderness – specifically referencing the Manna. However those who had been sustained by the Manna all, at some time afterwards, died of all the usual causes. When Jesus speaks of the bread from heaven he is not talking about the same thing. Those who eat the true Bread from heaven will live for ever. This is a shock, and they tell him so.

If the Greek translation is anything like reflective of the Aramaic of Jesus, then even the language Jesus is using can be challenging, for he is really say those who ‘munch’ or those who ‘chomp’ on me will live. He is not even using polite table language.


sermon news

Falling Asleep of the BVM – 15th August 2021: St. Luke 1, 46-55

Fr Leonard Doolan – St Paul’s Athens


Today the church universal commemorates a feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This celebration is kept by the Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican traditions.

On this date the Orthodox speak of the Eternal Sleep of the Mother of God, and Blessed Mary is referred to in Orthodoxy as Panaghia – (All holy). The Roman Church celebrates what they now call the Assumption, a dogma that is barely 200 years old as currently understood. In Greece this date is always a public holiday (and for those outside Greece, who may not know it – there are many for whom today is their ‘name day’ such as those named Panaiotis (Panos for short) or Maria.

On this date, theologically, the Anglican tradition is more akin to the East than to Rome, and for centuries since the Reformation we have commemorated the Dormition, the ‘falling asleep’ of the BVM.

Blessed Mary is human mother of the incarnate Jesus, the fully human Jesus. We must remember however that in Christian theology this same Jesus is also fully divine, so Mary is mother of Jesus, but at the same time Mother of God, as Jesus of Nazareth is both fully human and fully divine. It is on account of this that Blessed Mary is worthy of the titles ascribed to her by the Church. So she is Panaghia (All Holy) in all three traditions, even if only the Orthodox use this distinctive Greek title.


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Sermon for the 10th Sunday after Trinity – 8th August 2021: 1 Kings 19, 4-8; Eph 4, 25-5,2; John 6 35, 41-51.

Fr Leonard Doolan – St Paul’s Athens


We continue to reflect on the Letter to the Ephesians. Today we are urged in that letter, ‘to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’. (Eph 5, 2)

Marcel Marceau, born in 1923 and died in 2007, was a famous French actor and mime artist. Some of his greatest artistic achievements were without words, simply mime. He called mime the ‘art of silence’.

When St. Paul urges us to be ‘imitators of God’ the word used for ‘imitator’ in the NT Greek is μιμητής. In the light of God’s glory we should be ‘shadowing’ God, miming his love shown in Jesus Christ – this fragrant offering of sacrifice. Of course we are led yet again to the cross.

In one of the Eucharistic Prayers of the Liturgy (Prayer G) we use the words, ‘form us into the likeness of Christ’ – at this point we should be thinking of the mystery of the cross and how we can ‘mimic’ that cross-shaped life in our own witness and in our own spiritual development.