Father Gregory Christakos
Fr. Gregory was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and grew up in nearby Methuen. He is the son of Christos Christakos and the late Carol (Casale) Christakos. As a child Father attended Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Lawrence and Andover and would later become the first young man from that community to be ordained.
He graduated with honors from the University of Virginia and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and also studied at Oxford University and St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary. While in school Father played rugby and was active in many organizations.
After graduation from seminary, he was married, and then ordained to the diaconate and priesthood by Metropolitan Methodios. He spent six years as the assistant pastor at St. Spyridon Cathedral in Worcester.
He is a member of the Middle East Studies Association and the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa, and is a senior fellow of the Sophia Institute of Union Theological Seminary. Among his many interests are Semitic languages and Near Eastern History. He is an avid outdoorsman and musician.
Father spent five years on the board of directors of Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and has been a member of AHEPA since 1996.
Fr. Gregory, Presbytera Eleni, and their two daughters officially joined our community on our feast day, November 1, 2011, and the next summer welcomed a son to their family.
Read Fr. Greg's blog at www.devshirme.com and follow him on Twitter at @FrXtakos
Father's Messages - Archives
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The Witness Of The Women
The Book of Deuteronomy (the “second law”) in several places establishes the criterion for an act to be valid under the Mosaic law - there must be at least two witnesses to prove that something happened. This comes up at the other end of the Bible when, in Revelation, there are 24 (not 12) elders judging the 12 tribes of Israel. The hearers of the Bible would have been very familiar with this idea and it would have made total sense to them.
The Gospel reading that we heard on Pascha and that we hear periodically during Orthros comes from Mark 16. Like other Gospel accounts of the Resurrection, or rather of the aftermath of the Resurrection, this Gospel is not read during the regular Sunday liturgy (yet another reason to attend Orthros!). In Mark 16 three women come to the tomb of Jesus and find it empty. An angel, in the classic angelic role of messenger, tells the women what happened - they were the first witnesses to the extraordinary event of Jesus rising from the dead. This story seems to go along with what was mentioned above - two or more people as witnesses mean something is valid under the law. However, it is almost a given that in the culture of the Old Testament two or more witnesses really means two or more male witnesses - the ancient Biblical culture was male-centered as was every culture of the ancient Near East. So it is a surprise, to say the least, that the Resurrection accounts feature women as witnesses rather than men.
The implications of this detail are powerful. For one thing, it acts as a proof text of the story. If the Gospel writers were trying to dishonestly say that Christ was resurrected they would have had male witnesses. The fact that the witnesses were women - a detail we don’t think twice about - was shocking to the original audience of the Gospel. The fact that the first witnesses to the Resurrection were women is a testament to the complete equality of the sexes under Christianity. Finally, the plot twist of female witnesses attests to the utter unexpectedness of how God works in our lives. It is human nature to pray to the Lord and ask for things to be as we want them, yet God answers our prayers - always - just not always in the way we might expect. The Resurrection account featuring women as witnesses shows us the predictable unpredictability of God’s love.