Father Panagiotis Hanley
You can see the article from Leadership 100 written by Fr. Panagiotis that was distributed to our church by clicking on the link.
Fr. Panagiotis is available via email if you would like to contact him: FrpHolyTrans@gmail.com
Dear Faithful and Friends of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church,
I pray you are all well and healthy. I must apologize for the length of time which has passed since my last message on this Webpage. As we approach the one-year mark of COVID-19 arriving in our Communities I hope and pray that all of you are healthy and safe.
During the last year everyone has been affected by this Pandemic and our lives have been changed dramatically. This change however is not the last chapter of this story. We will move forward and come out of this pandemic stronger, and better as individuals, as families, and as a Community. We have all heard conflicting and confusing news about the COVID-19 virus, and this has not helped our stress or our daily lives. I would urge all of you as I have done from the beginning of this pandemic, to focus your attention to the Virginia State Health Department, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Website, and the Thomas Jefferson Health District (The Blue Ridge Health District –our local health department). These sites give accurate and sound advice concerning COVID-19. Please continue to social distance as we have been doing and when in public wear your masks. While there are arguments against doing these things, I ask all of you to consider the following: These methods while not perfect, are helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other illnesses, namely the flu. There are no perfect methods that are going to cure this virus overnight. If these inconveniences can keep you as individuals, or even one other person from getting ill, then the effort was worth it in my mind. Remember that the Gospel asks us to bear each other’s burdens, and to sacrifice for one another. Wearing masks and social distancing will not last forever, and this virus will come to an end (or plateau if you will). God is with us at all times and in all things. God will not forsake anyone of you.
My Brothers and Sisters, please know that all of you are in my fervent prayers, and the Church is here for your well-being, and to offer help to all. Please know I am asking you to continue your precautions, but now is also the time for you to implement your returning to the Church for divine services in person, if you are able. For the elderly and those at risk, please understand that the Church stands with you and understands your absence from the Divine Services. For those who are healthy and able please join us in the Church, for our Eucharistic celebration and worship of the Lord.
Great Lent this year begins on March 15th (Clean Monday). It is my prayer that this year we are able to have a regular Lenten season and the prescribed services. I know that none of us want to repeat last year’s closure of our Churches during Great Lent, and Holy Week, and Pascha.
May God bless and protect all of you and your family. May He heal those afflicted with illness and those in need.
Brief Biographical information:
Prior to full-time life in the ministry of the Church my background was in public-service (Law Enforcement) both in the civilian and military. I began my career in Law Enforcement with a University Police Department (NMIMT) in Central New Mexico in 1996. During this same time period, the opportunity would present itself, to enlist in the New Mexico Air National Guard; at that time the 150th Fighter Wing, today the 150th has been re-tasked, as the 150th Special Operations Wing. I enlisted and was assigned to the 150th Security Forces Squadron. I completed Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX, and also completed my Air Force Technical School –Security Forces/Law Enforcement Training academy at Lackland AFB as well. In January of 1997, I took a full-time position with a City (Socorro) Police Department in Central New Mexico. To pursue advancement opportunities a year later I would go on active duty in the U.S.A.F. leaving civilian Law Enforcement.
During my time in the Air Force I was deployed to many different locations throughout the world and in support of many different military operations. Including, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Northern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as numerous deployments for local exercises and supporting NATO exercises in Europe. While my primary specialty in the Air Force was Security Forces, I was also assigned to the 64th Weapons of Mass Destruction –Civil Support Team (this units primary mission was to assist civilian authorities in the event of a terrorist attack.) In the fall of 2002, I was Honorably Discharged due to medical issues that arose as a result of my service. That same year I would enter Seminary at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.
In 2005 I completed my Bachelor’s Degree and in 2008 I would graduate with my Masters of Divinity Degree. On December 16th, 2007, I was ordained to the Holy Deaconate by His Eminence, Metropolitan ISAIAH of Denver and on January 19th, 2014, I was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by His Eminence, Metropolitan EVANGELOS of New Jersey. I am originally from Paramus, New Jersey, and I have lived in a number of States on the East Coast and in the Southwestern United States.