Seeker of the truth, teacher of the truth and servant of the truth was the Bishop of Abydos, Gerasimos of blessed memory. Having lived a full life, eighty-five years in all, he fell asleep in the Lord at the Deaconess Hospital of Boston after a difficult heart operation that took place on June 2, 1995.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis explains the incident of the appearance of the risen Lord to Thomas, brilliantly narrated by John (Jn. 20:24-29). The specialty and the importance of this event lie in the fact that it presents the relation between seeing and believing in a splendid, superbly formulated manner. More specifically, it shows the significance of believing after, or because of, having seen the risen Christ, and believing without having seen him.
Authority in the Church is never the monopoly of an ordained few (cf. Eph. 4:11-12) whether bishops or other clergy. Authority is the responsibility of all (cf. Eph. 5:34). Likewise, obedience is not the obligation of an "inferior" laity or lower clergy, but a requirement of all faithful, lay and ordained. In the history of Christianity, centuries of institutionalism and clericalism, followed by the "lay revolution," in conservative and anti-hierarchical churches alike, have rendered the concepts of authority and obedience problematic � a point of contention and almost disdain. Nevertheless, clergy and laity cannot exist without one another; spiritual elder and child must be existentially united. Together they constitute the living body of Christ; together they experience the mystery of Christ.
The human being as part of the creation is not self-sufficient and autonomous for it owes its origins and existence to that Being whom we commonly call God. The human quest for identity and understanding of its place in the world, for creative self realization in history are realized in truths extant in and revealed by the Creator.
In my presentation, I will comment extensively on the biblical verse which is the motto of our Conference: ";Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet 3:18). My comments are structured more or less along the fines of the stimulating slogan of the Conference, "To know, to grow, to go." The theme, or focusing point, is knowledge of Christ, a formidable one, offering splendid, challenging areas for exploration.
The Skete of Saint Anna, where the late Bishop Gerasimos was tonsured a monk and dwelt for four years, is a dependency of the Monastery of the Greatest Lavra on the Holy Mountain of Athos. It is the oldest and largest skete on the Holy Mountain, having been organized into a community around the middle of the seventeenth century and comprising fifty-eight houses.