by Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas
On Wednesday 13th September 2017, after the Vespers of the Holy Cross, in the Church of St. Panteleimon in Harrow – NW London, Fr. Anastasios D. Salapatas, Chaplain to St. Panteleimon FC, had officiated at a Service of Blessing for the Team and for the new football season.Α
The Manager, many Players, most members of the Committee, Ball-Boys and many supporters attended the ceremony. It was indeed a very moving experience for all.
Fr. Anastasios offered on behalf of all the following Prayer for our Football Team:
“Heavenly King, who through Your Holy Cross and the Glorious Resurrection smashed the devil and having abolished the death gave life to us, You granted health and strength to our body and healed our illnesses, and You have also provided those who struggle the good fight and with honesty complete their way with the crown of victory.
You, our Lord, bless this Football Team, its Managers, its Committee, its Sponsors and those who assist, and above all its Players, to receive strength with the force of Your power, in order to exercise their bodies and souls and worthily achieve the prize of victory.
Make our sports facilities an arena of noble competition and legitimate exercise, and to all those who practise sports there, send Your blessing.
Thus, we beseech You, make us worthy of Your calling and grant us health and prosperity making us good imitators of our Patron Saint, Saint Panteleimon, the Great Athlete and Healer, who fought the good fight and was glorified by You.
For You are a merciful God Who loves mankind, and to You we send up Glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen”.
At the end of the Holy Service of Blessing, Fr. Anastasios warmly welcomed everyone and spoke passionately about the Team and its historic journey.
«My dearest friends and colleagues, I’d like to welcome you all to this sacred place of worship, the Church of St. Panteleimon, who is the Patron and the Protector of our beloved and progressive Football Team, which bear the Saint’s name.
Our Team has actually sprang out of this spiritual nest and of its ambitious Youth Department. We nurtured for a while in this most beautiful and holy place the idea of organising a sports organisation and then we were blessed with the founding of our Team, a Team that represents not just a Community in a legal sense, but the set of values and principles that we keep close to our hearts. This is why our motto has been from the beginning “Faith First”!
The first two years were exceptional, full of victories and joys, filled with human and sporting feelings, as well as with an enormous sense of togetherness and belonging. People, talents, dedication, friendship, hard work and support were elements that we had to deal with and we did it -I think- successfully.
Now we have a new challenge. We’ve all agreed to put the bar higher and we unanimously decided to walk into a new field and gain some new experiences. Walking there will definitely be interesting, inspiring and certainly exciting! We all look forward to work together and by supporting each other to achieve our goals.
I am not here myself to set the targets of our Team for this season. Nor I want to tell you what you should do. What I can offer you is my full spiritual support and my fervent prayers, as well as my sincere wishes for every success and possible victories during the course of this historical season for our Team.
I pray specifically for all our Players to remain healthy, confident, consistent, responsible and passionate, throughout our first season on the English Football pyramid.
To me, St. Panteleimon Football Team is consisted of “saints” of our Community’s Youth, together with some of their friends, which means that you are the elite and the crème de la crème of what we have in our Community and in our cultural environment.
I’d like to wish to our Manager, our Coach, the Players, the Committee, the Members, the Sponsors, the Supporters, the Fans, the Ball-Boys and all those involved in the Team, a good, blessed and successful season!
Before I finish, I’d like to offer our thanks and gratitude to the Ladies of our Church, who have offered drinks and refreshments for our Team tonight.
We believe in the “Saints” and we trust you to bring to us this season remarkable joy and happiness!
God Bless you all!»
Then, the Manager George Frangeskou, the Chairman of the Saints Savvas Andreou and the President of the local Greek Community in Harrow Dr. Serafim Kyriakidis offered kind words and wholehearted wishes to the Players and to all, for a good and successful season.
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