St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America
300 Stryker Avenue, Joliet, Illinois 60436
Holy, Glorious Prophet Elija commemorated July 20/Aug. 2

The Holy Prophet Elijah is one of the greatest of the prophets and the first dedicated to virginity in the Old Testament. He was born in Tishba of Gilead into the Levite tribe 900 years before the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus gives the following account about the birth of the Prophet Elijah: “When Elijah was born, his father Sobach saw in a vision angels of God around him. They swaddled him with fire and fed him with flames.” The name Elijah (the Lord’s strength) given to the infant defined his whole life. From the years of his youth he dedicated himself to the One God, settled in the wilderness and spent his whole life in strict fasting, meditation and prayer. Called to prophetic service, which put him in conflict with the Israelite king Ahab, the prophet became a fiery zealot of true faith and piety.

During this time the Israelite nation had fallen away from the faith of their Fathers, they abandoned the One God and worshipped pagan idols, the worship of which was introduced by the impious king Jereboam. Jezebel, the wife of king Ahab, was devoted to idol worship. She persuaded her husband to build a temple to the pagan god Baal, which led many Israelites away from the worship of the true God. Beholding the ruin of his nation, the Prophet Elijah began to denounce King Ahab for impiety, and exhorted him to repent and turn to the God of Israel. The king would not listen to him. The Prophet Elijah then declared to him, that as punishment there would be neither rain nor dew upon the ground, and the drought would cease only by his prayer. Indeed, the word of Elijah was a torch (Eccles. 48: 1). The heavens were closed for three and a half years, and there was drought and famine throughout all the land.

During this time of tribulation, the Lord sent him to a cave beyond the Jordan. There he was miraculously fed by ravens. When the stream Horath dried up, the Lord sent the Prophet Elijah to Sarephta to a poor widow, a Sidonian Gentile who suffered together with her children, awaiting death by starvation. At the request of the prophet, she prepared him a bread with the last measure of flour and the remainder of the oil. Through the prayer of the Prophet Elijah, flour and oil were not depleted in the home of the widow for the duration of the famine. By the power of his prayer the prophet also performed another miracle: he raised the dead son of the widow.

After the end of three years of drought the Merciful Lord sent the prophet to appear before King Ahab, and promised to send rain upon the earth. The Prophet Elijah told the king to order all of Israel to gather upon Mount Carmel, and also the priests of Baal. When the nation had gathered, the Prophet Elijah proposed that two sacrificial altars be built: one for the priests of Baal, and the other for the Prophet Elijah who served the True God.

The Prophet Elijah told them to call on their gods to consume the sacrificial animals with fire, and he would call on his. Whichever was first to send fire on the sacrifice would be acknowledged as the true God. The prophets of Baal called out to their idol from morning till evening, but the heavens were silent. Towards evening the holy Prophet Elijah built his sacrificial altar from twelve stones, the number of the tribes of Israel. He placed the sacrifice upon the wood, gave orders to dig a ditch around the altar and commanded that the sacrifice and the wood be soaked with water. When the ditch had filled with water, the prophet turned to God in prayer. Through the prayer of the prophet fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, and even the water. The people fell down to the ground, crying out: “Truly, the Lord is God!” Then the Prophet Elijah had all the pagan-priests of Baal put to death, and he began to pray for rain. Through his prayer the heavens opened and an abundant rain fell, soaking the parched earth.

King Ahab acknowledged his error and repented of his sins, but his wife Jezebel threatened to kill the prophet of God. The Prophet Elijah fled into the Kingdom of Judea and, grieving over his failure to eradicate idol worship, he asked God to let him die. An angel of the Lord came before him, strengthened him with food and commanded him to go upon a long journey. The Prophet Elijah traveled for forty days and nights and, having arrived at Mount Horeb, he settled in a cave.

The Lord told him that the next day Elijah would stand in His presence.There was a strong wind that crushed the rocks of the mountain, then an earthquake, and a fire, but the Lord was not in them. The Lord was in “a gentle breeze” (3 Kings 19: 12). He revealed to the prophet, that He would preserve seven thousand faithful servants who had not worshipped Baal.

Later, the Lord commanded Elijah to anoint Elisha into prophetic service. Because of his fiery zeal for the Glory of God the Prophet Elijah was taken up alive into Heaven in a fiery chariot. The Prophet Elisha received Elijah’s mantle, and a double portion of his prophetic spirit.

According to the Tradition of Holy Church, the Prophet Elijah will be the Forerunner of the Dread Second Coming of Christ. He will proclaim the truth of Christ, urge all to repentance, and will be slain by the Antichrist. This will be a sign of the end of the world.

The life of the holy Prophet Elijah is recorded in the Old Testament books (3 Kings; 4 Kings; Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 48: 1-15; 1 Maccabees 2: 58). At the time of the Transfiguration, the Prophet Elijah conversed with the Savior upon Mount Tabor (Mt. 17: 3; Mark 9: 4; Luke. 9: 30).

Orthodox Christians of all times, and in all places, have venerated the Prophet Elijah for centuries. The first church in Russia, built at Kiev under Prince Igor, was named for the Prophet Elijah. After her Baptism Saint Olga (July 11) built a temple of the holy Prophet Elijah in her native region, at the village of Vibuta.

In iconography the Prophet Elijah is depicted ascending to Heaven in a fiery chariot, surrounded with flames, and harnessed to four winged horses. We pray to him for deliverance from drought, and to ask for seasonable weather.

Sts. Peter & Paul commemorated June 29/July 12
Sts. Peter & Paul commemorated June 29/July 12
 
The Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul
Commemorated on June 29/July 12
Services in St George church
July 11 - Vigil/confession at 5 pm
July 12 - Divine Liturgy at 9 am
 
Sermon of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo:
 
Today the Holy Church piously remembers the sufferings of the Holy Glorious and All-Praised Apostles Peter and Paul.
 
Saint Peter, the fervent follower of Jesus Christ, for the profound confession of His Divinity: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” was deemed worthy by the Savior to hear in answer, “Blessed art thou, Simon ... I tell thee, that thou art Peter [Petrus], and on this stone [petra] I build My Church” (Mt.16:16-18). On “this stone” [petra], is on that which thou sayest: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” it is on this thy confession I build My Church. Wherefore the “thou art Peter”: it is from the “stone” [petra] that Peter [Petrus] is, and not from Peter [Petrus] that the “stone” [petra] is, just as the Christian is from Christ, and not Christ from the Christian. Do you want to know, from what sort of “rock” [petra] the Apostle Peter [Petrus] was named? Hear the Apostle Paul: “Brethren, I do not want ye to be ignorant,” says the Apostle of Christ, “how all our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor.10: 1-4)....
 
Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the final days of His earthly life, in the days of His mission to the race of man, chose from among the disciples His twelve Apostles to preach the Word of God. Among them, the Apostle Peter for his fiery ardor was vouchsafed to occupy the first place (Mt.10:2) and to be as it were the representative person for all the Church. Therefore it is said to him, preferentially, after the confession: “I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in the heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth: shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt.16: 19). Therefore it was not one man, but rather the One Universal Church, that received these “keys” and the right “to bind and loosen.” And that it was actually the Church that received this right, and not exclusively a single person, turn your attention to another place of the Scriptures, where the same Lord says to all His Apostles, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” and further after this, “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them: and whose soever sins ye retain, are retained” (John 20: 22-23); or: “whatsoever ye bind upon the earth, shall be bound in Heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, shall be loosened in heaven” (Mt.18:18). Thus, it is the Church that binds, the Church that loosens; the Church, built upon the foundational cornerstone, Jesus Christ Himself (Eph 2:20), doth bind and loosen. Let both the binding and the loosening be feared: the loosening, in order not to fall under this again; the binding, in order not to remain forever in this condition. Therefore “Iniquities ensnare a man, and everyone is bound in the chains of his own sins,” says Wisdom (Prov 5:22); and except for Holy Church nowhere is it possible to receive the loosening.
 
After His Resurrection the Lord entrusted the Apostle Peter to shepherd His spiritual flock not because, that among the disciples only Peter alone was pre-deserved to shepherd the flock of Christ, but Christ addresses Himself chiefly to Peter because, that Peter was first among the Apostles and as such the representative of the Church; besides which, having turned in this instance to Peter alone, as to the top Apostle, Christ by this confirms the unity of the Church. “Simon of John” -- says the Lord to Peter -- “lovest thou Me?” -- and the Apostle answered: “Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee”; and a second time it was thus asked, and a second time he thus answered; being asked a third time, seeing that as it were not believed, he was saddened. But how is it possible for him not to believe That One, Who knew his heart? And wherefore then Peter answered: “Lord, Thou knowest all; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” “And sayeth Jesus to him” all three times “Feed My sheep” (John 20:15-17).
 
Besides this, the triple appealing of the Savior to Peter and the triple confession of Peter before the Lord had a particular beneficial purpose for the Apostle. That one, to whom was given “the keys of the kingdom” and the right “to bind and to loose,” bound himself thrice by fear and cowardice (Mt.26:69-75), and the Lord thrice loosens him by His appeal and in turn by his confession of strong love. And to shepherd literally the flock of Christ was acquired by all the Apostles and their successors. “Take heed, therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,” the Apostle Paul urges church presbyters, “over which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28); and the Apostle Peter to the elders: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof not by constraint, but willingly: not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind: neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when is appeared the Prince of pastors, ye will receive unfading crowns of glory” (1 Pet. 5:2-4).
 
It is remarkable that Christ, having said to Peter: “Feed My sheep,” did not say: “Feed thy sheep,” but rather to feed, good servant, the sheep of the Lord. “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor.1:13). “Feed My sheep”. Wherefore “wolfish robbers, wolfish oppressors, deceitful teachers and mercenaries, not being concerned about the flock” (Mt.7:15; Acts 20:29; 2 Pet 2:1; John 10:12), having plundered a strange flock and making of the spoils as though it be of their own particular gain, they think that they feed their flock. Such are not good pastors, as pastors of the Lord. “The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11), entrusted to Him by the chief Shepherd Himself (1 Pet 5:4). And the Apostle Peter, true to his calling, gave his soul for the very flock of Christ, having sealed his apostleship by a martyr’s death, is now glorified throughout all the world.
 
The Apostle Paul, formerly Saul, was changed from a robbing wolf into a meek lamb. Formerly he was an enemy of the Church, then is manifest as an Apostle. Formerly he stalked it, then preached it. Having received from the high priests the authority at large to throw all Christians in chains for execution, he was already on the way, he breathed out “threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1), he thirsted for blood, but “He that dwells in the Heavens shall laugh him to scorn” (Ps 2:4). When he, “having persecuted and vexed” in such manner “the Church of God” (1Cor.15:9; Acts 8:5), he came near Damascus, and the Lord from Heaven called to him: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” and I am here, and I am there, I am everywhere: here is My head; there is My body. There becomes nothing of a surprise in this; we ourselves are members of the Body of Christ. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me; it is hard for thee to kick against the goad” (Acts 9:4-5). Saul, however, “trembling and frightened”, cried out: “Who art Thou, Lord?” The Lord answered him, “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest.”
 
And Saul suddenly undergoes a change: “What wantest Thou me to do?” -- he cries out. And suddenly for him there is the Voice: “Arise, and go to the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6). Here the Lord sends Ananias: “Arise and go into the street” to a man, “by the name of Saul,” and baptize him, “for this one is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9: 11, 15, 18). This vessel must be filled with My Grace. “Ananias, however, answered: Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints in Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Thy Name” (Acts 9:13-14). But the Lord urgently commands Ananias: “Search for and fetch him, for this vessel is chosen by Me: for I shall show him what great things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:11, 15-16).
 
And actually the Lord did show the Apostle Paul what things he had to suffer for His Name. He instructed him the deeds; He did not stop at the chains, the fetters, the prisons and shipwrecks; He Himself felt for him in his sufferings, He Himself guided him towards this day. On a single day the memory of the sufferings of both these Apostles is celebrated, though they suffered on separate days, but by the spirit and the closeness of their suffering they constitute one. Peter went first, and Paul followed soon after him. Formerly called Saul, and then Paul, having transformed his pride into humility. His very name (Paulus), meaning “small, little, less,” demonstrates this. What is the Apostle Paul after this? Ask him, and he himself gives answer to this: “I am,” says he, “the least of the Apostles... but I have labored more abundantly than all of them: yet not I, but the grace of God, which was with me” (1 Cor.15:9-10).
 
And so, brethren, celebrating now the memory of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, remembering their venerable sufferings, we esteem their true faith and holy life, we esteem the innocence of their sufferings and pure confession. Loving in them the sublime quality and imitating them by great exploits, “in which to be likened to them” (2 Thess 3: 5-9), and we shall attain to that eternal bliss which is prepared for all the saints. The path of our life before was more grievous, thornier, harder, but “we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12: 1), having passed by along it, made now for us easier, and lighter, and more readily passable. First there passed along it “the author and finisher of our faith,” our Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Heb 12: 2); His daring Apostles followed after Him; then the martyrs, children, women, virgins and a great multitude of witnesses. Who acted in them and helped them on this path? He Who said, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15: 5).
 
Nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 24 / July 7

Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John

The Nativity of the Holy Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John: The Gospel (Luke. 1: 5) relates that the righteous parents of Saint John the Baptist, the Priest Zachariah and Elizabeth (September 5), lived in the ancient city of Hebron. They reached old age without having children, since Elizabeth was barren. Once, Saint Zachariah was serving in the Temple at Jerusalem and saw the Archangel Gabriel, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. He predicted that Saint Zachariah would father a son, who would announce the Savior, the Messiah, awaited by the Old Testament Church. Zachariah was troubled, and fear fell upon him. He had doubts that in old age it was possible to have a son, and he asked for a sign. It was given to him, and it was also a chastisement for his unbelief. Zachariah was struck speechless until the time of the fulfillment of the archangel’s words.

Saint Elizabeth came to be with child, and fearing derision at being pregnant so late in life, she kept it secret for five months. Then her relative, the Virgin Mary, came to share with her Her own joy. Elizabeth, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” was the first to greet the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. Saint John leaped in his mother’s womb at the visit of the Most Holy Virgin Mary and the Son of God incarnate within Her.

Soon Saint Elizabeth gave birth to a son, and all the relatives and acquaintances rejoiced together with her. On the eighth day, in accordance with the Law of Moses, he was circumcised and was called John. Everyone was amazed, since no one in the family had this name. When they asked Saint Zachariah about this, he motioned for a tablet and wrote on it: “His name is John.” Immediately his tongue was loosed, and Saint Zachariah glorified God. He also prophesied about the Coming into the world of the Messiah, and of his own son John, the Forerunner of the Lord (Luke. 1: 68-79).

After the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ and the worship of the shepherds and the Magi, wicked king Herod gave orders to kill all male infants. Hearing about this, Saint Elizabeth fled into the wilderness and hid in a cave. Saint Zachariah was at Jerusalem and was doing his priestly service in the Temple. Herod sent soldiers to him to find out the abode of the infant John and his mother. Zachariah answered that their whereabouts were unknown to him, and he was killed right there in the Temple. Righteous Elizabeth continued to live in the wilderness with her son and she died there. The child John, protected by an angel, dwelt in the wilderness until the time when he came preaching repentance, and was accounted worthy to baptize the Lord.

 
 
 
Pentecost: The Descent of the Holy Spirit

In the Old Testament Pentecost was the feast which occurred fifty days after Passover. As the passover feast celebrated the exodus of the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt, so Pentecost celebrated God’s gift of the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai.

In the new covenant of the Messiah, the passover event takes on its new meaning as the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, the “exodus” of men from this sinful world to the Kingdom of God. And in the New Testament as well, the pentecostal feast is fulfilled and made new by the coming of the “new law,” the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ.

When the day of Pentecost had come they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed as resting upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit . . . (Acts 2.1–4).

The Holy Spirit that Christ had promised to his disciples came on the day of Pentecost (Jn 14.26, 15.26; Lk 24.49; Acts 1.5). The apostles received “the power from on high,” and they began to preach and bear witness to Jesus as the risen Christ, the King and the Lord. This moment has traditionally been called the birthday of the Church.

In the liturgical services of the feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit is celebrated together with the full revelation of the divine Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Godhead is manifested with the Spirit’s coming to man, and the Church hymns celebrate this manifestation as the final act of God’s self-disclosure and self-donation to the world of His creation. For this reason Pentecost Sunday is also called Trinity Day in the Orthodox tradition. Often on this day the icon of the Holy Trinity—particularly that of the three angelic figures who appeared to Abraham, the forefather of the Christian faith—is placed in the center of the church. This icon is used with the traditional pentecostal icon which shows the tongues of fire hovering over Mary and the Twelve Apostles, the original prototype of the Church, who are themselves sitting in unity surrounding a symbolic image of “cosmos,” the world.

On Pentecost we have the final fulfillment of the mission of Jesus Christ and the first beginning of the messianic age of the Kingdom of God mystically present in this world in the Church of the Messiah. For this reason the fiftieth day stands as the beginning of the era which is beyond the limitations of this world, fifty being that number which stands for eternal and heavenly fulfillment in Jewish and Christian mystical piety: seven times seven, plus one.

Thus, Pentecost is called an apocalyptic day, which means the day of final revelation. It is also called an eschatological day, which means the day of the final and perfect end (in Greek eschaton means the end). For when the Messiah comes and the Lord’s Day is at hand, the “last days” are inaugurated in which “God declares: . . . I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.”; This is the ancient prophecy to which the Apostle Peter refers in the first sermon of the Christian Church which was preached on the first Sunday of Pentecost (Acts 2: 1 7; Joel 2: 28–32).

Once again it must be noted that the feast of Pentecost is not simply the celebration of an event which took place centuries ago. It is the celebration of what must happen and does happen to us in the Church today. We all have died and risen with the Messiah-King, and we all have received his Most Holy Spirit. We are the “temples of the Holy Spirit.” God’s Spirit dwells in us (Rom 8; 1 Cor 2–3, 12; 2 Cor 3; Gal 5; Eph 2–3). We, by our own membership in the Church, have received “the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit” in the sacrament of chrismation. Pentecost has happened to us.

The Divine Liturgy of Pentecost recalls our baptism into Christ with the verse from Galatians again replacing the Thrice-Holy Hymn. Special verses from the psalms also replace the usual antiphonal psalms of the liturgy. The epistle and gospel readings tell of the Spirit’s coming to men. The kontakion sings of the reversal of Babel as God unites the nations into the unity of his Spirit. The troparion proclaims the gathering of the whole universe into God’s net through the work of the inspired apostles. The hymns “O Heavenly King” and “We have seen the True Light” are sung for the first time since Easter, calling the Holy Spirit to “come and abide in us,” and proclaiming that “we have received the heavenly Spirit.” The church building is decorated with flowers and the green leaves of the summer to show that God’s divine Breath comes to renew all creation as the “life-creating Spirit.” In Hebrew the word for Spirit, breath and wind is the same word, ruah.

Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit: through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net. O Lover of Man, Glory to Thee (Troparion).

When the Most High came down and confused the tongues, he divided the nations. But when he distributed the tongues of fire, he called all to unity. Therefore, with one voice, we glorify the All-Holy Spirit! (Kontakion).

The Great Vespers of Pentecost evening features three long prayers at which the faithful kneel for the first time since Easter. The Monday after Pentecost is the feast of the Holy Spirit in the Orthodox Church, and the Sunday after Pentecost is the feast of All Saints. This is the logical liturgical sequence since the coming of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled in men by their becoming saints, and this is the very purpose of the creation and salvation of the world. “Thus says the Lord: Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I your God am holy” (Lev 11.44–45, 1 Pet 1.15–16).

Ascension of our Lord

Services in our church:

  • Wednesday, June 9 - Vigil / Confession at 6 pm
  • Thursday, June 10 - Divine Liturgy at 9 am

Introduction

The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter). Since the date of Pascha changes each year, the date of the Feast of the Ascension changes. The Feast is always celebrated on a Thursday.

The Feast itself commemorates when, on the fortieth day after His Resurrection, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, and after blessing them and asking them to wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit, He ascended into heaven.

Historical Background

The story of the Ascension of our Lord, celebrated as one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, is found in the book of the Acts of the Apostles 1:3-11. It is also mentioned in the Gospels of Mark (16:19) and Luke (24:50-53). The moment of the Ascension is told in one sentence: "He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight" (Acts 1:9).

Christ made His last appearance on earth, forty days after His Resurrection from the dead. The Acts of the Apostles states that the disciples were in Jerusalem. Jesus appeared before them and commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the "Promise of the Father". He stated, "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5).

After Jesus gave these instructions, He led the disciples to the Mount of Olives. Here, He commissioned them to be His witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It is also at this time that the disciples were directed by Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also told them that He would be with them always, "even to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).

As the disciples watched, Jesus lifted up His hands, blessed them, and then was taken up out of their sight (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). Two angels appeared to them and asked them why they were gazing into heaven. Then one of the angels said, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Icon of the Feast

The icon of The Ascension of Our Lord is a joyous icon. It is painted with bright colors. Christ is shown ascending in His glory in a mandorla A mandorla is a design which is almond-shaped or round. Inside the mandorla is the figure of a holy person. Christ blesses the assembly with His right hand. In His left is a scroll. The scroll is a symbol of teaching. This icon shows that the Lord in heaven is the source of blessing. In addition, Jesus is the source of knowledge. The icon reminds us that Christ continues to be the source of the teaching and message of the Church, blessing and guiding those to whom He has entrusted his work.

The Theotokos occupies a very special place in this icon. She is in the center of the icon, immediately below the ascending Christ. The gesture of her hands is gesture of prayer. She is clearly outlined by the whiteness of the garments of the angels. The Theotokos is depicted in a very calm pose. This is quite different from the appearance of the Disciples. They are moving about, talking to one another and looking and pointing towards heaven. The entire group, the Theotokos and the disciples represent the Church.

The icon of the Ascension includes some who did not witness the Ascension. St. Paul is shown to the left of the Theotokos, but we know that he was not present at the Ascension. At that time, St. Paul did not yet believe in Jesus. But he became a Christian and one of the greatest Apostles and missionaries of Church.

The icon expresses the sovereignty of Christ over His Church; He is its Head, its guide, its source of inspiration and teaching; it receives its commission and ministry from Him, and fulfils it in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Feast of the Ascension

This Feast of our Lord is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which is conducted on the day of the Feast and preceded by the Matins service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: At Vespers: Isaiah 2:2-3, 62:10-63:9; Zechariah 14:1,4,8-11. At the Orthros (Matins) Mark 16:9-20; At the Divine Liturgy: Acts 1:1-12Luke 24:36-53.

Hymns of the Feast

Apolytikion (Fourth Tone)  

O Christ our God, You ascended in Glory and gladdened Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Your blessing assured them that You are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.

Kontakion (Plagal of the Second Tone)  

O Christ our God, upon fulfilling Your dispensation for our sake, You ascended in Glory, uniting the earthly with the heavenly. You were never separate but remained inseparable, and cried out to those who love You, "I am with you and no one is against you."

Sts. Constantine and Helen, May 21 / June 3

Equal of the Apostles and Emperor Constantine with his Mother Helen

The Church calls Saint Constantine (306-337) “the Equal of the Apostles,” and historians call him “the Great.” He was the son of the Caesar Constantius Chlorus (305-306), who governed the lands of Gaul and Britain. His mother was Saint Helen, a Christian of humble birth.

At this time the immense Roman Empire was divided into Western and Eastern halves, governed by two independent emperors and their corulers called “Caesars.” Constantius Chlorus was Caesar in the Western Roman Empire. Saint Constantine was born in 274, possibly at Nish in Serbia. In 294, Constantius divorced Helen in order to further his political ambition by marrying a woman of noble rank. After he became emperor, Constantine showed his mother great honor and respect, granting her the imperial title “Augusta.”

Constantine, the future ruler of all the whole Roman Empire, was raised to respect Christianity. His father did not persecute Christians in the lands he governed. This was at a time when Christians were persecuted throughout the Roman Empire by the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and his corulers Maximian Galerius (305-311) in the East, and the emperor Maximian Hercules (284-305) in the West.

After the death of Constantius Chlorus in 306, Constantine was acclaimed by the army at York as emperor of Gaul and Britain. The first act of the new emperor was to grant the freedom to practice Christianity in the lands subject to him. The pagan Maximian Galerius in the East and the fierce tyrant Maxentius in the West hated Constantine and they plotted to overthrow and kill him, but Constantine bested them in a series of battles, defeating his opponents with the help of God. He prayed to God to give him a sign which would inspire his army to fight valiantly, and the Lord showed him a radiant Sign of the Cross in the heavens with the inscription “In this Sign, conquer.”

After Constantine became the sole ruler of the Western Roman Empire, he issued the Edict of Milan in 313 which guaranteed religious tolerance for Christians. Saint Helen, who was a Christian, may have influenced him in this decision. In 323, when he became the sole ruler of the entire Roman Empire, he extended the provisions of the Edict of Milan to the Eastern half of the Empire. After three hundred years of persecution, Christians could finally practice their faith without fear.

Renouncing paganism, the Emperor did not let his capital remain in ancient Rome, the former center of the pagan realm. He transferred his capital to the East, to the city of Byzantium, which was renamed Constantinople, the city of Constantine (May 11). Constantine was deeply convinced that only Christianity could unify the immense Roman Empire with its diverse peoples. He supported the Church in every way. He recalled Christian confessors from banishment, he built churches, and he showed concern for the clergy.

The emperor deeply revered the victory-bearing Sign of the Cross of the Lord, and also wanted to find the actual Cross upon which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. For this purpose he sent his own mother, the holy Empress Helen, to Jerusalem, granting her both power and money. Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem and Saint Helen began the search, and through the will of God, the Life-Creating Cross was miraculously discovered in 326. (The account of the finding of the Cross of the Lord is found under the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14). The Orthodox Church commemorates the Uncovering of the Precious Cross and the Precious Nails by the Holy Empress Helen on March 6.

While in Palestine, the holy empress did much of benefit for the Church. She ordered that all places connected with the earthly life of the Lord and His All-Pure Mother, should be freed of all traces of paganism, and she commanded that churches should be built at these places.

The emperor Constantine ordered a magnificent church in honor of Christ’s Resurrection to be built over His tomb. Saint Helen gave the Life-Creating Cross to the Patriarch for safe-keeping, and took part of the Cross with her for the emperor. After distributing generous alms at Jerusalem and feeding the needy (at times she even served them herself), the holy Empress Helen returned to Constantinople, where she died in the year 327.

Because of her great services to the Church and her efforts in finding the Life-Creating Cross, the empress Helen is called “the Equal of the Apostles.”

The peaceful state of the Christian Church was disturbed by quarrels, dissensions and heresies which had appeared within the Church. Already at the beginning of Saint Constantine’s reign the heresies of the Donatists and the Novatians had arisen in the West. They demanded a second baptism for those who lapsed during the persecutions against Christians. These heresies, repudiated by two local Church councils, were finally condemned at the Council of Milan in 316.

Particularly ruinous for the Church was the rise of the Arian heresy in the East, which denied the Divine Nature of the Son of God, and taught that Jesus Christ was a mere creature. By order of the emperor, the First Ecumenical Council was convened in the city of Nicea in 325.

318 bishops attended this Council. Among its participants were confessor-bishops from the period of the persecutions and many other luminaries of the Church, among whom was Saint Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. (The account about the Council is found under May 29). The emperor was present at the sessions of the Council. The heresy of Arius was condemned and a Symbol of Faith (Creed) composed, in which was included the term “consubstantial with the Father,” at the insistence of the Emperor, confirming the truth of the divinity of Jesus Christ, Who assumed human nature for the redemption of all the human race.

After the Council of Nicea, Saint Constantine continued with his active role in the welfare of the Church. He accepted holy Baptism on his deathbed, having prepared for it all his whole life. Saint Constantine died on the day of Pentecost in the year 337 and was buried in the church of the Holy Apostles, in a crypt he had prepared for himself.

 
 
HOLY WEEK: An explanation

During Holy Week, reflect on its meaning as we apporach Pascha: Holy Week: An Explanation

Schedule of services for Holy Week and Bright Week 2021

Holy and Bright Week schedule of services:

Friday, April 23 – Vespers / confession at 6 pm

Saturday, April 24 – Lazarus Saturday, Confession at 8:15 am, Divine Liturgy at 9 am

Vigil / confession at 5 pm. Please do your confession during the Holy Week on Pascha morning there is no confession 

Sunday, April 25 – Palm Sunday, Hierarchal Liturgy at 10 am. Procession around church. His Grace Bishop Longin will serve the liturgy.

Holy Monday, April 26 – Bridegroom Matins at 6 pm

Holy Tuesday, April 27 - Bridegroom Matins at 6 pm

Holy Wednesday, April 28 – Lenten Hours at 8 am; confession at 8:40 am, Presansctified liturgy at 9 am

Holy Thursday, April 29 – Confession at 8:30 am, Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 9 am

Matins and reading of 12 gospel lessons at 6 pm

Good and Holy Friday, April 30 – Royal Hours at 9 am

Vespers at 3 pm / Removal of the Body of Christ from the cross

Matins and Lamentation’s at 6 pm / Burial of the Body of Christ

Good and Holy Saturday, May 1, Confession at 8:15 am, Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 9 am

Confession at 10:15 pm, Resurrection Matins at 11 pm

Holy Pascha / Vaskrs/ May 2, Divine Liturgy at 10 am. Agape Vespers at 6 pm

Bright Monday, May 3 – St Nicholai of Zhicha, Divine liturgy at 9 am; Vespers at 6 pm

Bright Tuesday, May 4 – Divine Liturgy at 9 am 

Bright Wednesday, May 5, Vespers / confession at 6 pm

Bright Thursday, May 6 – Feast of St George, Divine Liturgy at 9 am, the blessing of slava kolaces after the liturgy 

Sunday, May 9 – Thomas Sunday, Divine Liturgy at 10 am

 

The Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the earliest Christian feasts and was already being celebrated in the fourth century. There is a painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome dating from the second century. The Council of Toledo in 656 mentions the Feast, and the Council in Trullo in 692 says that the Annunciation was celebrated during Great Lent.

The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of Saint Luke (1:26-38). The troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.

There are two main components to the Annunciation: the message itself, and the response of the Virgin. The message fulfills God’s promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” The Fathers of the Church understand “her seed” to refer to Christ. The prophets hinted at His coming, which they saw dimly, but the Archangel Gabriel now proclaims that the promise is about to be fulfilled.

We see this echoed in the Liturgy of Saint Basil, as well: “When man disobeyed Thee, the only true God who had created him, and was deceived by the guile of the serpent, becoming subject to death by his own transgressions, Thou, O God, in Thy righteous judgment, didst send him forth from Paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was taken, yet providing for him the salvation of regeneration in Thy Christ Himself.”

The Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee. There he spoke to the undefiled Virgin who was betrothed to Saint Joseph: “Hail, thou who art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, the Virgin did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words, but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature.

Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34).

“And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1: 35-38)

In his Sermon 23 on the day of the Annunciation, Saint Philaret of Moscow boldly stated that “the word of the creature brought the Creator down into the world.” He explains that salvation is not merely an act of God’s will, but also involves the Virgin’s free will. She could have refused, but she accepted God’s will and chose to cooperate without complaint or further questions.

The icon of the Feast shows the Archangel with a staff in his left hand, indicating his role as a messenger. Sometimes one wing is upraised, as if to show his swift descent from heaven. His right hand is stretched toward the holy Virgin as he delivers his message.

The Virgin is depicted either standing or sitting, usually holding the yarn in her left hand. Sometimes she is shown holding a scroll. Her right hand may be raised to indicate her surprise at the message she is hearing. Her head is bowed, showing her consent and obedience. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon her is depicted by a ray of light issuing from a small sphere at the top of the icon, which symbolizes heaven. In a famous icon from Sinai, a white dove is shown in the ray of light.

The Annunciation falls during Lent, but it is always celebrated with great joy. The Liturgy of Saint Basil or Saint John Chrysostom is served, even on the weekdays of Lent. It is one of the two days of Great Lent on which the fast is relaxed and fish is permitted (Palm Sunday is the other).

 

Monday, March 15, 2021, beginning of Great Lent

Monday, March 15, 2021 - Beginning of Grea Lent or Fast. Wishing to all a blessed and Spiritually beneficial fast. 

Vespers and Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete at 6 pm. Discussion after the services.  
Please attend as many Lenten Services and Presanctified Liturgies as you can. Confess at least once and partake of holy communion often.
 
Schedule of Lenten Services 2021

Schedule of Lenten Services

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Joliet, IL

Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim of Syria:

O Lord and Master of my life!

Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.  Prostration

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Prostration

Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;

For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. Prostration

 

Sunday, March 14 – Forgiveness Sunday. After the liturgy will be forgiveness vespers. This Sunday reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to Him in repentance. As we ask for God’s forgiveness, we must forgive others. After the dismissal at Vespers, the priest stands beside the ikon in the middle of church, and the faithful come up one by one and venerate the icon, come before the priest, saying, "Forgive me, a sinner." The priest replies saying, "God forgives. Forgive me." The person responds, "God forgives," and receives a blessing from the priest.

Monday, March 15 – Beginning of Great Fast or Lent. This first week of Lent is also called “Čista sedmica” or Clean week because it is traditionally observed by strict fast. Vespers and Canon of St Andrew of Crete at 7 pm. Religious discussion, Q and A after.

Wednesday, March 17 – Lenten hours at 8 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am. Please see the sign-up sheet on the wardens table to sign up as a reader for Lenten services.  Faithful are encouraged to partake of Holy Mysteries as often as possible during Lent.

Saturday, March 20 - Vigil and Confession at 5 pm. Confession will be every Saturday evening and at least 30 minutes prior to a Liturgy. Confessions can also be made with appointment at any time. The best time for confession is on Saturday evening!

Sunday, March 21 – Sunday of Orthodoxy – Divine Liturgy at 10 am. Due to Pandemic, we will not have inter-Orthodox Vespers in Chicago area.

Wednesday, March 24 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm. Religious discussion, Q and A after.  If you are preparing to partake of Holy Communion at the evening Liturgy, please stop all food and drink at 12 noon unless you can keep total fast all day.

Saturday, March 27 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, March 28 – Divine Liturgy at 10 am.

Wednesday, March 31 – Lenten hours at 8 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am.

Saturday, April 3 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, April 4 – Sunday of Veneration of Holy Cross – Middle of Lent. Divine Liturgy at 10 am. The Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life; it is placed in the middle of the Fast as the ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished. Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy Cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal. Faithful venerate decorated cross in churc 

Wednesday, April 7 – Feast of Annunciation Blagovesti – Vesperal Liturgy at 9 am.  Lenten hours at 5 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm Religious discussion, Q and A after. 

Saturday, April 10 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, April 11 – Divine Liturgy at 10 am.

Wednesday, April 14 – Lenten hours at 8 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am. Great Canon of St Andrew/Life of St Mary of Egypt at 7 pm. In the Canon are collected and stated all the exhortations to fasting and repentance, and the Holy Church repeats it now in its fullness to inspire us new strength for the successful end to Lent.

Friday, April 16 – Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos at 7 pm, Religious discussion, Q and A after. The Akathist Hymn is a profound, devotional poem, which sings the praises of the Holy Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary. It is one of the most beloved services in the Orthodox Church. It was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, "the city of the Virgin," by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556. The word "akathistos" means "not sitting," i.e., standing; normally all participants stand while it is being prayed. 

Saturday, April 17 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, April 18 – Divine Liturgy at 10 am.

Wednesday, April 21 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm. Religious discussion, Q and A after.

Saturday, April 24 – Lazarus Saturday – Beginning of Holy Week.

Please check the church bulletin, Facebook and Website since the services may change for unforeseen reason/s.If any of our parishioners feel uncomfortable coming to church during the services, they should call Fr. Aleksandar and schedule appointment to come to church at any time to pray, receive Mysteries and light their candles.

 

Schedule of Lenten Services 2021

Schedule of Lenten Services

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Joliet, IL

Lenten prayer of St. Ephraim of Syria:

O Lord and Master of my life!

Take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.  Prostration

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant. Prostration

Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother;

For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen. Prostration

 

Sunday, March 14 – Forgiveness Sunday. After the liturgy will be forgiveness vespers. This Sunday reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to Him in repentance. As we ask for God’s forgiveness, we must forgive others. After the dismissal at Vespers, the priest stands beside the ikon in the middle of church, and the faithful come up one by one and venerate the icon, come before the priest, saying, "Forgive me, a sinner." The priest replies saying, "God forgives. Forgive me." The person responds, "God forgives," and receives a blessing from the priest.

Monday, March 15 – Beginning of Great Fast or Lent. This first week of Lent is also called “Čista sedmica” or Clean week because it is traditionally observed by strict fast. Vespers and Canon of St Andrew of Crete at 7 pm. Religious discussion, Q and A after.

Wednesday, March 17 – Lenten hours at 8 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am. Please see the sign-up sheet on the wardens table to sign up as a reader for Lenten services.  Faithful are encouraged to partake of Holy Mysteries as often as possible during Lent.

Saturday, March 20 - Vigil and Confession at 5 pm. Confession will be every Saturday evening and at least 30 minutes prior to a Liturgy. Confessions can also be made with appointment at any time. The best time for confession is on Saturday evening!

Sunday, March 21 – Sunday of Orthodoxy – Divine Liturgy at 10 am. Due to Pandemic, we will not have inter-Orthodox Vespers in Chicago area.

Wednesday, March 24 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm. Religious discussion, Q and A after.  If you are preparing to partake of Holy Communion at the evening Liturgy, please stop all food and drink at 12 noon unless you can keep total fast all day.

Saturday, March 27 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, March 28 – Divine Liturgy at 10 am.

Wednesday, March 31 – Lenten hours at 8 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am.

Saturday, April 3 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, April 4 – Sunday of Veneration of Holy Cross – Middle of Lent. Divine Liturgy at 10 am. The Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life; it is placed in the middle of the Fast as the ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished. Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy Cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal. Faithful venerate decorated cross in churc 

Wednesday, April 7 – Feast of Annunciation Blagovesti – Vesperal Liturgy at 9 am.  Lenten hours at 5 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm Religious discussion, Q and A after. 

Saturday, April 10 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, April 11 – Divine Liturgy at 10 am.

Wednesday, April 14 – Lenten hours at 8 am, Presanctified Liturgy at 9 am. Great Canon of St Andrew/Life of St Mary of Egypt at 7 pm. In the Canon are collected and stated all the exhortations to fasting and repentance, and the Holy Church repeats it now in its fullness to inspire us new strength for the successful end to Lent.

Friday, April 16 – Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos at 7 pm, Religious discussion, Q and A after. The Akathist Hymn is a profound, devotional poem, which sings the praises of the Holy Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary. It is one of the most beloved services in the Orthodox Church. It was composed in the imperial city of Constantinople, "the city of the Virgin," by St. Romanos the Melodist, who reposed in the year 556. The word "akathistos" means "not sitting," i.e., standing; normally all participants stand while it is being prayed. 

Saturday, April 17 – Vigil and Confession at 5 pm.

Sunday, April 18 – Divine Liturgy at 10 am.

Wednesday, April 21 – Lenten hours at 5 pm, Presanctified Liturgy at 6 pm. Religious discussion, Q and A after.

Saturday, April 24 – Lazarus Saturday – Beginning of Holy Week.

Please check the church bulletin, Facebook and Website since the services may change for unforeseen reason/s.If any of our parishioners feel uncomfortable coming to church during the services, they should call Fr. Aleksandar and schedule appointment to come to church at any time to pray, receive Mysteries and light their candles.

 

The meeting of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple, Feb. 15

The Meeting of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple

The Meeting of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is described in the third Gospel (Luke 2:22-40). Forty days after His birth the Divine Child was brought to the Temple at Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord. According to the Law of Moses (Lev. 12:2-8), a woman who gave birth to a male child was forbidden to enter the Temple for forty days. At the end of the time of her purification, the mother went to the Temple with the child, to offer a young lamb, two turtledoves, or pigeons to the Lord as a sacrifice. The Most Holy Virgin had no need of purification, since she had given birth to the Source of purity and sanctity. Out of humility, however, she fulfilled the requirements of the Law.

At this time the righteous Elder Simeon (February 3) was living in Jerusalem. It had been revealed to him that he would not die until he beheld the promised Messiah. By divine inspiration, Saint Simeon went to the Temple at the very moment when the Most Holy Theotokos and Saint Joseph had brought the Child Jesus to fulfill the Law.

Saint Simeon received the divine Child in his arms,1 and giving thanks to God, he spoke the words repeated by the Church each evening at Vespers: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32). Saint Simeon said to the Most Holy Virgin: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).

At the Temple was an 84-year-old widow, Saint Anna the Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel (February 3), “who did not leave the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day." She arrived just when Saint Simeon met the Divine Child. She also gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who were looking for redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). In the icon of the Feast she holds a scroll which reads: “This Child has established Heaven and earth.”

Before Christ was born, the righteous men and women lived by faith in the promised Messiah, and awaited His coming. The Righteous Simeon and the Prophetess Anna, the last righteous persons of the Old Testament, were deemed worthy to meet Him in the Temple.

The Feast of the Meeting of the Lord is among the most ancient feasts of the Christian Church. We have sermons by the holy bishops Methodios of Patara (+ 312), Cyril of Jerusalem (+ 360), Gregory the Theologian (+ 389), Amphilokhios of Iconium (+ 394), Gregory of Nyssa (+ 400), and John Chrysostom (+ 407). Despite its early origin, this Feast was not celebrated so splendidly until the VI century.

In 528, during the reign of Justinian, an earthquake killed many people in Antioch. Other misfortunes followed this one. In 541 a terrible plague broke out in Constantinople, carrying off several thousand people each day. During this time of widespread suffering, a solemn prayer service (Litia) for deliverence from evils was celebrated on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, and the plague ceased. Giving thanks to God, the Church established a more solemn celebration of this Feast. 

 

 

 

 

St. Sava of Serbia, Jan. 14/27

Saint Sava I, first Archbishop of Serbia

Saint Sava, First Archbishop of Serbia, in the world Rostislav (Rastko), was a son of the Serbian king Stephen Nemanya and Anna, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Romanus. From his early years he fervently attended church services and had a special love for icons.

At seventeen years of age, Rostislav met a monk from Mount Athos, secretly left his father’s house and set off for the Saint Panteleimon monastery. (By divine Providence in 1169, the year of the saint’s birth, the ancient monastery of the Great Martyr and healer Panteleimon was given to Russian monks.)

Knowing that his son was on Athos, his father mobilized his retainers headed by a faithful voevod and wrote to the governor of the district which included Athos, saying that if his son were not returned to him, he would go to war against the Greeks. When they arrived at the monastery, the voevod was ordered not to take his eyes off Rostislav. During the evening services, when the soldiers had fallen asleep under the influence of wine, Rostislav received monastic tonsure (in 1186) and sent to his parents his worldly clothes, his hair and a letter. Saint Sava sought to persuade his powerful parents to accept monasticism. The monk’s father (in monasticism Simeon, commemorated on February 13) and his son pursued asceticism at the Vatopedi monastery. On Athos they established the Serbian Hilandar monastery, and this monastery received its name by imperial grant. At Hilandar monastery, Saint Sava was ordained to the diaconate and then presbyter. His mother Anna became a nun with the name Anastasia (June 21).

For his holy life and virtuous deeds on Mount Athos, the monk was made an archimandrite at Thessalonica. At Nicea in the year 1219 on the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Ecumenical Patriarch Germanus consecrated Archimandrite Sava as Archbishop of Serbia. The saint petitioned the Byzantine Emperor to grant permission for Serbian bishops to elect their own Archbishop in future. This was a very important consideration in a time of frequent wars between the eastern and western powers.

Having returned to the Holy Mountain from Nicea, the saint visited all the monasteries for the last time. He made prostrations in all the churches and, calling to mind the blessed lives of the wilderness Fathers, he made his farewells to the ascetics with deep remorse, “leaving the Holy Mountain, as if from Paradise.”

Saddened by his separation from the Holy Mountain, the saint went along the path from Athos just barely moving. The Most Holy Theotokos spoke to the saint in a dream, “Having My Patronage, why do you remain sorrowful?” These words roused him from despondency, changing his sorrow into joy. In memory of this appearance, the saint commissioned large icons of the Savior and of the Mother of God at Thessalonica, and put them in a church.

In Serbia, the activity of the Hierarch in organizing the work of his native Church was accompanied by numerous signs and miracles. During the Liturgy and the all-night Vigil, when the saint came to cense the grave of his father the monk Simeon, the holy relics exuded fragrant myrrh.

Being in charge of negotiations with the Hungarian King Vladislav, who had declared war on Serbia, the holy bishop not only brought about the desired peace for his country, but he also brought the Hungarian monarch to Orthodoxy. Thus he facilitated the start of the historical existence of the autonomous Serbian Church. Saint Sava also contributed to strengthening the Serbian state. In order to insure the independence of the Serbian state, Archbishop Sava crowned his powerful brother Stephen as king. Upon the death of Stephen, his eldest son Radislav was crowned king, and Saint Sava set off to the Holy Land “to worship at the holy tomb of Christ and fearsome Golgotha.”

When he returned to his native land, the saint blessed and crowned Vladislav as king. To further strengthen the Serbian throne, he betrothed him to the daughter of the Bulgarian prince Asan. The holy hierarch visited churches all across Serbia, he reformed monastic rules on the model of Athos and Palestine, and he established and consecrated many churches, strengthening the Orthodox in their faith. Having finished his work in his native land, the saint appointed the hieromonk Arsenius as his successor, consecrating him bishop and giving his blessing to all.

He then set off on a journey of no return, desiring “to end his days as a wanderer in a foreign land.” He passed through Palestine, Syria and Persia, Babylon, Egypt and Anatolia, everywhere visiting the holy places, conversing with great ascetics, and collecting the holy relics of saints. The saint finished his wanderings at Trnovo in Bulgaria at the home of his kinsman Asan, where with spiritual joy he gave up his soul to the Lord (+ 1237).

At the time of transfer of the holy relics of Saint Sava to Serbia in 1237, there were so many healings that the Bulgarians began to complain about Asan, “because he had given up such a treasure.” In the saint’s own country, his venerable relics were placed in the Church of Mileshevo, bestowing healing on all who approached with faith. The inhabitants of Trnovo continued to receive healing from the remnants of the saint’s coffin, which Asan ordered to be gathered together and placed in a newly built sarcophagus.

The legacy of Saint Sava lives on in the Orthodox Church traditions of the Slavic nations. He is associated with the introduction of the Jerusalem Typikon as the basis for Slavic Monastic Rules. The Serbian Hilandar monastery on Mt. Athos lives by the Typikon of Saint Sava to this day. Editions of The Rudder (a collection of church canons) of Saint Sava, with commentary by Alexis Aristines, are the most widely disseminated in the Russian Church. In 1270 the first copy of The Rudder of Saint Sava was sent from Bulgaria to Metropolitan Cyril of Kiev. From this was copied one of the most ancient of the Russian Rudders, the Ryazan Rudder of 1284. It in turn was the source for a printed Rudder published in 1653, and since that time often reprinted by the Russian Church. Such was the legacy of Saint Sava to the canonical treasury of Orthodoxy.

Feast of the Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
God is Revealed   
Indeed is Revealed!

Theophany is the Feast which reveals the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptized by Saint John the Forerunner, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine “those who sat in darkness,” and “in the region of the shadow of death” (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace.

In the ancient Church it was the custom to baptize catechumens at the Vespers of Theophany, so that Baptism also is revealed as the spiritual illumination of mankind.

The origin of the Feast of Theophany goes back to Apostolic times, and it is mentioned in The Apostolic Constitutions (Book V:13). From the second century we have the testimony of Saint Clement of Alexandria concerning the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, and the night vigil before this Feast.

There is a third century dialogue about the services for Theophany between the holy martyr Hippolytus and Saint Gregory the Wonderworker. In the following centuries, from the fourth to ninth century, all the great Fathers of the Church: Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, Ambrose of Milan, John of Damascus, commented on the Feast of Theophany.

The monks Joseph the Studite, Theophanes and Byzantios composed much liturgical music for this Feast, which is sung at Orthodox services even today. Saint John of Damascus said that the Lord was baptized, not because He Himself had need for cleansing, but “to bury human sin by water,” to fulfill the Law, to reveal the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and finally, to sanctify “the nature of water” and to offer us the form and example of Baptism.

On the Feast of the Baptism of Christ, the Holy Church proclaims our faith in the most sublime mystery, incomprehensible to human intellect, of one God in three Persons. It teaches us to confess and glorify the Holy Trinity, one in Essence and Undivided. It exposes and overthrows the errors of ancient teachings which attempted to explain the Creator of the world by reason, and in human terms.

The Church shows the necessity of Baptism for believers in Christ, and it inspires us with a sense of deep gratitude for the illumination and purification of our sinful nature. The Church teaches that our salvation and cleansing from sin is possible only by the power of the grace of the Holy Spirit, therefore it is necessary to preserve worthily these gifts of the grace of holy Baptism, keeping clean this priceless garb, for “As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ” (Gal 3:27).

On the day of Theophany, all foods are permitted, even if the Feast falls on a Wednesday or Friday.

Happy and blessed Old Calendar New Year! Srecna Nova Godina!

Happy and blessed Old Calendar New Year! Srecna Nova Godina!

St Basil the Great  January 1/14

Basil was born during the reign of Emperor Constantine. While still unbaptized, he spent fifteen years in Athens, where he studied philosophy, rhetoric, astronomy and all the other secular sciences of that time. His colleagues there were Gregory the Theologian and Julian, later the apostate emperor. In his mature years he was baptized in the Jordan River along with Ebulios, his former teacher. He was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia for almost ten years and completed his earthly life fifty years after his birth. He was a great defender of Orthodoxy, a great light of moral purity, a religious zealot, a great theological mind, and a great builder and pillar of the Church of God. Basil fully deserved the title “Great.” In liturgical services he is referred to as the “bee of the Church of Christ, which brings honey to the faithful and with its stinger pricks the heretics.” Numerous works of this Father of the Church are preserved; they include theological, apologetical, ascetical and canonical writings, as well as the Holy and Divine Liturgy named after him. This Divine Liturgy is celebrated ten times during the year: on the first of January, his feast day; on the eve of the Nativity of our Lord; on the eve of the Theophany of our Lord; on all Sundays of Great Lent except Palm Sunday; on Great and Holy Thursday; and on Great and Holy Saturday. St. Basil reposed peacefully on January 1, 379, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ.

Circumcision of our Lord

On the eighth day following His birth, the Divine Child was presented in the Temple and circumcised according to the Law existing in Israel since the time of Abraham. On this occasion, He was given the name Jesus, which the Archangel Gabriel had announced to the Most-Holy Virgin Mary. The Old Testament circumcision was the prefiguring of the New Testament baptism. The circumcision of our Lord shows that He truly received upon Himself the body of man and not just seemingly, as was later taught of Him by heretics. Our Lord was also circumcised because He wanted to fulfill the entire Law, which He Himself gave through the prophets and forefathers. In fulfilling the written Law, He replaced it with Baptism in His Holy Church as was proclaimed by the Apostle Paul: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Galatians 6:15). (In the liturgical calendar of the Church, this Feast of the Lord's Circumcision has neither a forefeast nor an afterfeast).

The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ
Mir Boziji Hristos se rodi
Peace of God Christ is Born!!!

Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, Bishop of Antioch

Commemorated on December 20/January 2January 2 - Divine Liturgy at 9 am, confession at 8:30 am

 

The Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, was a disciple of the holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, as was also Saint Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (February 23). Saint Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch, and successor to Bishop Euodius, Apostle of the Seventy (September 7).

Tradition suggests that when Saint Ignatius was a little boy, the Savior hugged him and said: “Unless you turn and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 18:3). The saint was called “God-Bearer” (Theophoros), because he bore God in his heart and prayed unceasingly to Him. He also had this name because he was held in the arms of Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

Saint Ignatius was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian, together with Saint Polycarp of Smyrna. As Bishop of Antioch, Saint Ignatius was zealous and spared no effort to build up the church of Christ. To him is attributed the practice of antiphonal singing (by two choirs) during church services. He had seen a vision of the angels in heaven alternately singing praises to God, and divided his church choir to follow this example. In the time of persecution he was a source of strength to the souls of his flock and was eager to suffer for Christ.

In the year 106 the emperor Trajan (98-117), after his victory over the Scythians, ordered everyone to give thanks to the pagan gods, and to put to death any Christians who refused to worship the idols. In the year 107, Trajan happened to pass through Antioch. Here they told him that Bishop Ignatius openly confessed Christ, and taught people to scorn riches, to lead a virtuous life, and preserve their virginity. Saint Ignatius came voluntarily before the emperor, so as to avert persecution of the Christians in Antioch. Saint Ignatius rejected the persistent requests of the emperor Trajan to sacrifice to the idols. The emperor then decided to send him to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts. Saint Ignatius joyfully accepted the sentence imposed upon him. His readiness for martyrdom was attested to by eyewitnesses, who accompanied Saint Ignatius from Antioch to Rome.

On the way to Rome, the ship sailed from Seleucia stopped at Smyrna, where Saint Ignatius met with his friend Bishop Polycarp. Clergy and believers from other cities and towns thronged to see Saint Ignatius. He exhorted everyone not to fear death and not to grieve for him. In his Epistle to the Roman Christians, he asked them to assist him with their prayers, and to pray that God would strengthen him in his impending martyrdom for Christ: “I seek Him Who died for us; I desire Him Who rose for our salvation... In me, desire has been nailed to the cross, and no flame of material longing is left. Only the living water speaks within me, saying, ‘Hasten to the Father.’”

From Smyrna, Saint Ignatius went to Troas. Here he heard the happy news of the end of the persecution against Christians in Antioch. From Troas, Saint Ignatius sailed to Neapolis (in Macedonia) and then to Philippi.

On the way to Rome Saint Ignatius visited several churches, teaching and guiding the Christians there. He also wrote seven epistles: to the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna. He also addressed a letter to Saint Polycarp, who mentions a collection of the letters of Saint Ignatius in his letter to the Philippians (Ch. 13). Saint Irenaeus of Lyons quotes from Saint Ignatius’s letter to the Romans (AGAINST HERESIES 5:28:4). All these letters have survived to the present day.

The Roman Christians met Saint Ignatius with great joy and profound sorrow. Some of them hoped to prevent his execution, but Saint Ignatius implored them not to do this. Kneeling down, he prayed together with the believers for the Church, for love between the brethren, and for an end to the persecution against Christians.

On December 20, the day of a pagan festival, they led Saint Ignatius into the arena, and he turned to the people: “Men of Rome, you know that I am sentenced to death, not because of any crime, but because of my love for God, by Whose love I am embraced. I long to be with Him, and offer myself to him as a pure loaf, made of fine wheat ground fine by the teeth of wild beasts.”

After this the lions were released and tore him to pieces, leaving only his heart and a few bones. Tradition says that on his way to execution, Saint Ignatius unceasingly repeated the name of Jesus Christ. When they asked him why he was doing this, Saint Ignatius answered that this Name was written in his heart, and that he confessed with his lips Him Whom he always carried within. When the saint was devoured by the lions, his heart was not touched. When they cut open the heart, the pagans saw an inscription in gold letters: “Jesus Christ.” After his execution Saint Ignatius appeared to many of the faithful in their sleep to comfort them, and some saw him at prayer for the city of Rome.

Hearing of the saint’s great courage, Trajan thought well of him and stopped the persecution against the Christians. The relics of Saint Ignatius were transferred to Antioch (January 29), and on February 1, 637 were returned to Rome and placed in the church of San Clemente.

 

Meza Platter Fundraiser - pre-order deadine is Sunday!

Christ is Born!!

Instead of assembling your own, pick up a charcuterie / meza platter from us!

Pre-Order a 14" Platter of a various meats for curbside pick up.

Orders will be taken by phone until 8pm Sunday, January 3rd.

Call or Text Danielle Serdar at (630) 709-7437
  Include your name, number of plates and pick up time

Pick Up between 10:30 -11:30am or 4:00-6:00 pm on  Wednesday, January 6th from the East side (upper level) of the Social Center.

Each 14" Platter contains slices of Cheese, Prosciutto, Suvi Vrat, Kobasica and Salama Bonus!! A small pogaca and container of kajmak included with every order!

$30 per Platter Cash or Check made payable to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church

Thank you & May God Bless You & Your Families this Božić

St. George Church-School Board

Serbian Mother’s Day is Dec. 27; Father’s Day Jan. 3

Two Sundays before Nativity is Serbian Mother’s Day - Materice, when children tie their mothers' and grandmothers' legs together, and in return they get symbolic presents. The same is done with fathers and grandfathers on the next Sunday. Tying the legs represents the bonds and love in the family before the Feast of the Birth of our Savior.

Serbian Nativity greeting; reminders

The traditional Serbian Orthodox greeting for the Nativity season is Christ is Born and the reply is Indeed He is Born or Truly He is Born. In Serbian it is Hristos se rodi and the reply is Voistinu se rodi. Many Slavic people such as Russians and Ukrainians say Christ is Born, Glorify Him! Either all together or One person would say Christ is Born and another Glorify Him. The Christmas greeting in Greek is Christ is Born, give glory! Again, either just one person or two with Christ is Born and reply Give glory.
The Christmas greeting is used from the day of the Nativity until the Apodosis or Leave-taking of the Feast which is January 13. 

Holy Mysteries never have been stopped in our church. Holy Communion is offered at every Divine Liturgy. Communicants should put their head back and open their mouth wide to receive communion so the spoon does not touch their lips. Confession is on Saturdays after the vigil or on Sunday and other Holy Days, 30 minutes before any Divine Liturgy. Confession and communion can also be taken at any other time in church or at a parishioner’s home. There is no reason to be without the saving Mysteries! Please let Fr Alex know which way you would like to receive confession and communion. To be a member in good standing of an Orthodox church, a faithful parishioner should be in good standing in his/her Sacramental/liturgical and financial obligations.

During the pandemic four of our parishioners continued to read 3rd and 6th hours before a Sunday Liturgy. Many thanks. If you would like to read the hours and feel safe and are healthy, please let the priest know.

A few months ago, we had instructions for making and baking the prosphoras - liturgical bread, in our kitchen. Some parishioners were not able to attend, but we will have another one in January. Please let Fr Aleksandar know which day of the week would work the best for you if you would like to participate.

Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
Commemorated on December 6/19
Services in St George:
Vespers/confession on Friday, Dec 18 at 6 pm
Divine Liturgy, Dec 19 at 9 am
Srecna slava to all who celebrate this glorious Saint as their Patron Saint!
Saint Nicholas, the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia is famed as a great saint pleasing unto God. He was born in the city of Patara in the region of Lycia (on the south coast of the Asia Minor peninsula), and was the only son of pious parents Theophanes and Nonna, who had vowed to dedicate him to God.
As the fruit of the prayer of his childless parents, the infant Nicholas from the very day of his birth revealed to people the light of his future glory as a wonderworker. His mother, Nonna, after giving birth was immediately healed from illness. The newborn infant, while still in the baptismal font, stood on his feet three hours, without support from anyone, thereby honoring the Most Holy Trinity. Saint Nicholas from his infancy began a life of fasting, and on Wednesdays and Fridays, he would not accept milk from his mother until after his parents had finished their evening prayers.
From his childhood Nicholas thrived on the study of Divine Scripture; by day he would not leave church, and by night he prayed and read books, making himself a worthy dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Bishop Nicholas of Patara rejoiced at the spiritual success and deep piety of his nephew. He ordained him a reader, and then elevated Nicholas to the priesthood, making him his assistant and entrusting him to instruct the flock.
In serving the Lord the youth was fervent of spirit, and in his proficiency, with questions of faith he was like an Elder, who aroused the wonder and deep respect of believers. Constantly at work and vivacious, in unceasing prayer, the priest Nicholas displayed great kind-heartedness towards the flock, and towards the afflicted who came to him for help, and he distributed all his inheritance to the poor.
There was a certain formerly rich inhabitant of Patara, whom Saint Nicholas saved from great sin. The man had three grown daughters, and in desperation he planned to sell their bodies so they would have money for food. The saint, learning of the man’s poverty and of his wicked intention, secretly visited him one night and threw a sack of gold through the window. With the money the man arranged an honorable marriage for his daughter. Saint Nicholas also provided gold for the other daughters, thereby saving the family from falling into spiritual destruction. In bestowing charity, Saint Nicholas always strove to do this secretly and to conceal his good deeds.
The Bishop of Patara decided to go on pilgrimage to the holy places at Jerusalem, and entrusted the guidance of his flock to Saint Nicholas, who fulfilled this obedience carefully and with love. When the bishop returned, Nicholas asked his blessing for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Along the way the saint predicted a storm would arise and threaten the ship. Saint Nicholas saw the devil get on the ship, intending to sink it and kill all the passengers. At the entreaty of the despairing pilgrims, he calmed the waves of the sea by his prayers. Through his prayer a certain sailor of the ship, who had fallen from the mast and was mortally injured, was also restored to health.
When he reached the ancient city of Jerusalem and came to Golgotha, Saint Nicholas gave thanks to the Savior. He went to all the holy places, worshiping at each one. One night on Mount Sion, the closed doors of the church opened by themselves for the great pilgrim. Going round the holy places connected with the earthly service of the Son of God, Saint Nicholas decided to withdraw into the desert, but he was stopped by a divine voice urging him to return to his native country. He returned to Lycia, and yearning for a life of quietude, the saint entered into the brotherhood of a monastery named Holy Sion, which had been founded by his uncle. But the Lord again indicated another path for him, “Nicholas, this is not the vineyard where you shall bear fruit for Me. Return to the world, and glorify My Name there.” So he left Patara and went to Myra in Lycia.
Upon the death of Archbishop John, Nicholas was chosen as Bishop of Myra after one of the bishops of the Council said that a new archbishop should be revealed by God, not chosen by men. One of the elder bishops had a vision of a radiant Man, Who told him that the one who came to the church that night and was first to enter should be made archbishop. He would be named Nicholas. The bishop went to the church at night to await Nicholas. The saint, always the first to arrive at church, was stopped by the bishop. “What is your name, child?” he asked. God’s chosen one replied, “My name is Nicholas, Master, and I am your servant.”
After his consecration as archbishop, Saint Nicholas remained a great ascetic, appearing to his flock as an image of gentleness, kindness and love for people. This was particularly precious for the Lycian Church during the persecution of Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305). Bishop Nicholas, locked up in prison together with other Christians for refusing to worship idols, sustained them and exhorted them to endure the fetters, punishment and torture. The Lord preserved him unharmed. Upon the accession of Saint Constantine (May 21) as emperor, Saint Nicholas was restored to his flock, which joyfully received their guide and intercessor.
Despite his great gentleness of spirit and purity of heart, Saint Nicholas was a zealous and ardent warrior of the Church of Christ. Fighting evil spirits, the saint made the rounds of the pagan temples and shrines in the city of Myra and its surroundings, shattering the idols and turning the temples to dust.
In the year 325 Saint Nicholas was a participant in the First Ecumenical Council. This Council proclaimed the Nicean Symbol of Faith, and he stood up against the heretic Arius with the likes of Saints Sylvester the Bishop of Rome (January 2), Alexander of Alexandria (May 29), Spyridon of Trimythontos (December 12) and other Fathers of the Council.
Saint Nicholas, fired with zeal for the Lord, assailed the heretic Arius with his words, and also struck him upon the face. For this reason, he was deprived of the emblems of his episcopal rank and placed under guard. But several of the holy Fathers had the same vision, seeing the Lord Himself and the Mother of God returning to him the Gospel and omophorion. The Fathers of the Council agreed that the audacity of the saint was pleasing to God, and restored the saint to the office of bishop.
Having returned to his own diocese, the saint brought it peace and blessings, sowing the word of Truth, uprooting heresy, nourishing his flock with sound doctrine, and also providing food for their bodies. The face of Saint Nicholas resembled that of an Angel, resplendent with divine grace. A brilliant ray shone from his face, like that which shone from the face of Moses (Exodus 34:29), so that those who looked at him were astonished. Whoever was oppressed by some affliction or passion of the soul had only to behold the Saint, and his sorrow was eased at once. As for those who conversed with him, they soon found themselves advancing on the path of virtue. Not only were the faithful moved to compassion, but unbelievers as well, and they directed their steps on the path of salvation when they heard him speak. The evil of unbelief which had been implanted in their hearts since childhood was uprooted, and in its place, the word of truth was sown.
Even during his life the saint worked many miracles. One of the greatest was the deliverance from death of three men unjustly condemned by the Governor, who had been bribed. The saint boldly went up to the executioner and took his sword, already suspended over the heads of the condemned. The Governor, denounced by Saint Nicholas for his wrong doing, repented and begged for forgiveness.
Witnessing this remarkable event were three military officers, who were sent to Phrygia by the emperor Constantine to put down a rebellion. They did not suspect that soon they would also be compelled to seek the intercession of Saint Nicholas. Evil men slandered them before the emperor, and the officers were sentenced to death. Appearing to Saint Constantine in a dream, Saint Nicholas called on him to overturn the unjust sentence of the military officers.
He worked many other miracles, and struggled many long years at his labor. Through the prayers of the saint, the city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine. He appeared to a certain Italian merchant and left him three gold pieces as a pledge of payment. He requested him to sail to Myra and deliver grain there. More than once, the saint saved those drowning in the sea, and provided release from captivity and imprisonment.
Having reached old age, Saint Nicholas peacefully fell asleep in the Lord. His venerable relics were preserved incorrupt in the local cathedral church and flowed with curative myrrh, from which many received healing. In the year 1087, his relics were transferred to the Italian city of Bari, where they rest even now (See May 9/22).
Saint Nicholas is the patron of travelers, and we pray to him for deliverance from floods, poverty, or any misfortunes. He has promised to help those who remember his parents, Theophanes and Nonna.
Saint Nicholas is also commemorated on May 9/22 (The transfer of his relics)
In Italy, the relics of Saint Nicholas are in the Roman Catholic Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari; and his left arm is in Saint Nicholas Roman Catholic Church of Rimini.
In Russia, relics of Saint Nicholas are to be found in Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, and in the Saint Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg.
The right hand of Saint Nicholas is in the church of Saint George the New in Bucharest, Romania.
In Greece, portions of the Saint's relics are in the Monasteries of Saint Nicholas Apo Bathia in Euboia, and Phaneromenē in Salaminos. A piece of the Saint's left arm is in the Metropolitan church of Volos. One of the Saint's teeth is at Kalabryta Monastery in the Peloponnēsos.
The Nativity Schedule of Services at St George Serbian Orthodox church:

Saturday, January 2 - St Ignatius the God-bearer / St John of Kronstadt / St Daniel II Archbishop of Serbia / The Forefeast of the Nativity

Confession at 8:30 am; Divine Liturgy at 9 am

Vigil/confession at 5 pm

Sunday, January 3- Sunday of the Holy Fathers / Martyr Juliana / Serbian Father's Day / Oчеви

Confession at 9:30 am; Divine Liturgy at 10 am and church school. Decoration of Badnjak in church.

Wednesday, January 6 - Nativity Eve / Badnji dan / strict fast / Rozdestvenski sochelnik 

Confession at 8:30 am; Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 9 am

Blessing of Badnjak in the church at 4 pm. From this service until the Nativity Matins the church will be open for all who wants to come, say their prayers, light candles, and take a piece of badnjak (Yule Log) home. We are suggesting to our senior citizens and the parishioners of higher risk to attend these two services and leave the Nativity Matins at 6 pm for working - younger people. Please let Fr Alex know which service you would like to attend since we cannot have many in church! Masks and social distancing required!

Nativity Matins at 6 pm. Confessions after the Matins

Thursday, January 7 - The Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ / Божић

Confession at 9:30 am.  Divine Liturgy at 10 am. The church will be open from 5 pm to 7 pm for all who want to come.

Friday, January 8 - Synaxis of the Theotokos / Сабор Пресвете Богородице

Divine Liturgy at 9 am

Vespers/confessions at 6 pm

Saturday, January 9 - St Stephen the First Archdeacon and Martyr / Св Стефан Архиђакон

Divine Liturgy at 9 am

Vigil/confession at 5 pm

Sunday, January 10 - Sunday after Nativity / Недеља по Божићу

Divine Liturgy at 10 am, Church School

 

The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the Temple Commemorated on November 21/December 4

According to Holy Tradition, the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple took place in the following manner. The parents of the Virgin Mary, Saints Joachim and Anna, praying for an end to their childlessness, vowed that if a child were born to them, they would dedicate it to the service of God.

When the Most Holy Virgin reached the age of three, the holy parents decided to fulfill their vow. They gathered together their relatives and acquaintances and dressed the All-Pure Virgin in Her finest clothes. Singing sacred songs and with lighted candles in their hands, virgins escorted Her to the Temple (Ps. 44/45:14-15). There the High Priest and several priests met the handmaiden of God. In the Temple, fifteen high steps led to the sanctuary, which only the priests and High Priest could enter. (Because they recited a Psalm on each step, Psalms 119/120-133/134 are called “Psalms of Ascent.”) The child Mary, so it seemed, could not make it up this stairway. But just as they placed Her on the first step, strengthened by the power of God, She quickly went up the remaining steps and ascended to the highest one. Then the High Priest, through inspiration from above, led the Most Holy Virgin into the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest entered once a year to offer a purifying sacrifice of blood. Therefore, all those present in the Temple were astonished at this most unusual occurrence.

After entrusting their child to the Heavenly Father, Joachim and Anna returned home. The All-Holy Virgin remained in the quarters for virgins near the Temple. According to the testimony of Holy Scripture (Exodus 38; 1 Kings 1: 28; Luke 2: 37), and also the historian Josephus Flavius, there were many living quarters around the Temple, in which those who were dedicated to the service of God dwelt.

The earthly life of the Most Holy Theotokos from Her infancy until She was taken up to Heaven is shrouded in deep mystery. Her life at the Jerusalem Temple was also a secret. “If anyone were to ask me,” said Saint Jerome, “how the Most Holy Virgin spent the time of Her youth, I would answer that that is known to God Himself and the Archangel Gabriel, Her constant guardian.”

But there are accounts in Church Tradition, that during the All-Pure Virgin’s stay at the Temple, She grew up in a community of pious virgins, diligently read the Holy Scripture, occupied Herself with handicrafts, prayed constantly, and grew in love for God. From ancient times, the Church has celebrated the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Indications that the Feast was observed in the first centuries of Christianity are found in the traditions of Palestinian Christians, which say that the holy Empress Helen (May 21) built a church in honor of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa, in the fourth century, also mentions this Feast. In the eighth century Saints Germanus and Tarasius, Patriarchs of Constantinople, delivered sermons on the Feast of the Entry.

The Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple foretells God’s blessing for the human race, the preaching of salvation, the promise of the coming of Christ.

Serbian Patriarch Irinej reposed in the Lord

The Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch (Gavrilovic) reposed in the Lord in the Military Covid Hospital "Karaburma" in Belgrade, on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 7:07 AM. 

Read more details at http://www.spc.rs/eng

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers Commemorated on November 8/21

Services in St George church:Nov 20 - Vespers/confession at 6 pm Nov 21 - Divine Liturgy at 9 am Blessed Krsna Slava to all who celebrate this Feast Day!
The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.

A Feastday was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the holy Fathers. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the Eighth Day, and then “the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all the holy Angels with Him” (Mt. 25:31). 

The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest, middle, and lowest.

The Highest Hierarchy includes: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

The six-winged SERAPHIM (Flaming, Fiery) (Is 6:12) stand closest of all to the Most Holy Trinity. They blaze with love for God and kindle such love in others.

The many-eyed CHERUBIM (outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment) (Gen 3:24) stand before the Lord after the Seraphim. They are radiant with the light of knowledge of God, and knowledge of the mysteries of God. Through them wisdom is poured forth, and people’s minds are enlightened so they may know God and behold His glory.

The THRONES (Col 1:16) stand after the Cherubim, mysteriously and incomprehensibly bearing God through the grace given them for their service. They are ministers of God’s justice, giving to tribunals, kings, etc. the capacity for righteous judgment.

The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three Ranks: Dominions, Powers, and Authorities. 

DOMINIONS (Col 1:16) hold dominion over the angels subject to them. They instruct the earthly authorities, established by God, to rule wisely, and to govern their lands well. The Dominions teach us to subdue sinful impulses, to subject the flesh to the spirit, to master our will, and to conquer temptation.

POWERS (1 Pet 3:22) fulfill the will of God without hesitation. They work great miracles and give the grace of wonderworking and clairvoyance to saints pleasing to God. The Powers assist people in fulfilling obediences. They also encourage them to be patient, and give them spiritual strength and fortitude.

AUTHORITIES (1 Pet 3:22, Col 1:16) have authority over the devil. They protect people from demonic temptations, and prevent demons from harming people as they would wish. They also uphold ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with evil thoughts.

The Lowest Hierarchy includes the three Ranks: Principalities, Archangels, and Angels:

PRINCIPALITIES (Col 1:16) have command over the lower angels, instructing them in the fulfilling of God’s commands. They watch over the world and protect lands, nations and peoples. Principalities instruct people to render proper honor to those in authority, as befits their station. They teach those in authority to use their position, not for personal glory and gain, but to honor God, and to spread word of Him, for the benefit of those under them.

ARCHANGELS (1 Thess 4:16) are messengers of great and wondrous tidings. They reveal prophecies and the mysteries of the faith. They enlighten people to know and understand the will of God, they spread faith in God among the people, illuminating their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.

ANGELS (1 Pet 3:22) are in the lowest rank of the heavenly hierarchy, and closest to people. They reveal the lesser mysteries of God and His intentions, guiding people to virtuous and holy life. They support those who remain steadfast, and they raise up the fallen. They never abandon us and they are always prepared to help us, if we desire it.

All the Ranks of the Heavenly Powers are called angels, although each has its own name and position by virtue of their service. The Lord reveals His will to the highest ranks of the angels, and they in turn inform the others.

Over all the Nine Ranks, the Lord appointed the Holy Archangel Michael (his name in Hebrew means “who is like unto God”), the faithful servitor of God, as Chief Commander. He cast down from Heaven the arrogantly proud Lucifer and the other fallen spirits when they rebelled against God. Michael summoned the ranks of angels and cried out, “Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and do not consider doing what is displeasing unto God!”

According to Church Tradition, and in the church services to the Archangel Michael, he participated in many other Old Testament events.

During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Through him the power of the Lord was made manifest, annihilating the Egyptians and Pharaoh who were in pursuit of the Israelites. The Archangel Michael defended Israel in all its misfortunes.

He appeared to Joshua Son of Navi and revealed the will of the Lord at the taking of Jericho (Josh 5:13-16). The power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25).

Through the will of God, the Chief Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk (December 2) from Judea to Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 14:33-37).

The Archangel Michael disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9). 

The holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he miraculously saved a young man, cast into the sea by robbers with a stone about his neck on the shores of Mt Athos. This story is found in the Athonite Paterikon, and in the Life of Saint Neophytus of Docheiariou (November 9).

We invoke Saint Michael for protection from invasion by enemies and from civil war, and for the defeat of adversaries on the field of battle. He conquers all spiritual enemies.

Holy Scripture and Tradition give us the names of the Archangels:

Gabriel: strength (power) of God, herald and servitor of Divine omnipotence (Dan 8:16, Luke 1:26). He announces the mysteries of God.

Raphael: the healing of God, the curer of human infirmities (Tobit 3:16, 12:15)

Uriel: the fire or light of God, enlightener (3 Ezdras 5:20). We pray for him to enlighten those with darkened minds. 

Selaphiel: the prayer of God, impelling to prayer (3 Ezdras 5:16). He prays to God for mankind.

Jehudiel: the glorifying of God, encouraging exertion for the glory of the Lord and interceding for the reward of efforts.

Barachiel: distributor of the blessings of God for good deeds, entreats the mercy of God for people.

Jeremiel: the raising up to God (3 Ezdras 4:36)

On icons the Archangels are depicted in according to the character of their service:

Michael tramples the devil underfoot, and in his left hand holds a green date-tree branch, and in his right hand a spear with a white banner on which is outlined a scarlet cross, or sometimes a fiery sword.

Gabriel with a branch from Paradise, presented by him to the Most Holy Virgin, or with a shining lantern in his right hand and with a mirror made of jasper in his left.

Raphael holds a vessel with healing medications in his left hand, and with his right hand leads Tobias, carrying a fish for healing (Tobit 5-8). 

Uriel in his raised right hand holds a naked sword at the level of his chest, and in his lowered left hand “a fiery flame.”

Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenaries Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia Commemorated on November 1/14

The Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian and their mother Saint Theodota were natives of Asia Minor (some sources say Mesopotamia). Their pagan father died while they were still quite small children. Their mother raised them in Christian piety. Through her own example, and by reading holy books to them, Saint Theodota preserved her children in purity of life according to the command of the Lord, and Cosmas and Damian grew up into righteous and virtuous men.

Trained and skilled as physicians, they received from the Holy Spirit the gift of healing people’s illnesses of body and soul by the power of prayer. They even treated animals. With fervent love for both God and neighbor, they never took payment for their services. They strictly observed the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Freely have you received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8). The fame of Saints Cosmas and Damian spread throughout all the surrounding region, and people called them unmercenary physicians.

Once, the saints were summoned to a grievously ill woman named Palladia, whom all the doctors had refused to treat because of her seemingly hopeless condition. Through faith and through the fervent prayer of the holy brothers, the Lord healed the deadly disease and Palladia got up from her bed perfectly healthy and giving praise to God. In gratitude for being healed and wishing to give them a small gift, Palladia went quietly to Damian. She presented him with three eggs and said, “Take this small gift in the Name of the Holy Life-Creating Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Hearing the Name of the Holy Trinity, the unmercenary one did not dare to refuse.

When Saint Cosmas learned what had happened, became very sad, for he thought that his brother had broken their strict vow. On his deathbed he gave instructions that his brother should not be buried beside him. Saint Damian also died shortly afterward, and everyone wondered where Saint Damian’s grave should be. But through the will of God a miracle occurred. A camel, which the saints had treated for its wildness, spoke with a human voice saying that they should have no doubts about whether to place Damian beside Cosmas, because Damian did not accept the eggs from the woman as payment, but out of respect for the Name of God. The venerable relics of the holy brothers were buried together at Thereman (Mesopotamia).

Many miracles were worked after the death of the holy unmercenaries. There lived at Thereman, near the church of Cosmas and Damian, a certain man by the name of Malchus. One day he went on a journey, leaving his wife all alone for what would be a long time. He prayerfully entrusted her to the heavenly protection of the holy brothers. But the Enemy of the race of mankind took on the appearance of one of Malchus’ friends, and planned to kill the woman. A certain time went by, and this man went to her at home and said that Malchus had sent him to bring her to him. The woman believed him and went along. He led her to a solitary place intending to kill her. The woman, seeing that disaster threatened her, called upon God with deep faith.

Two fiercesome men then appeared, and the devil let go of the woman and fled, falling off a cliff. The two men led the woman home. At her own home, bowing to them deeply she asked, “My rescuers, to whom I shall be grateful to the end of my days, what are your names?”

They replied, “We are the servants of Christ, Cosmas and Damian,” and became invisible. The woman with trembling and with joy told everyone about what had happened to her. Glorifying God, she went up to the icon of the holy brothers and tearfully offered prayers of thanksgiving for her deliverance. And from that time the holy brothers were venerated as protectors of the holiness and inviolability of Christian marriage, and as givers of harmony to conjugal life. From ancient times, their veneration spread also to Russia.

The Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17).

Holy, Glorious Dēmḗtrios the Myrrh-gusher of Thessaloniki

The Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios the Myrrh-gusher of Thessaloniki was the son of a Roman proconsul in Thessaloniki. Three centuries had elapsed and Roman paganism, spiritually shattered and defeated by the multitude of martyrs and confessors of the Savior, intensified its persecutions. The parents of Saint Dēmḗtrios were secret Christians, and he was baptized and raised in the Christian Faith in a secret church in his father’s home.

By the time Dēmḗtrios had reached maturity and his father had died, Emperor Galerius Maximian had ascended the throne (305). Maximian, confident in Dēmḗtrios's education as well as his administrative and military abilities, appointed him to his father’s position as proconsul of the Thessaloniki district. The young commander's principal duties were to defend the city from barbarians and to eradicate Christianity. The Emperor's policy regarding Christians was expressed simply: “Put to death anyone who calls on the name of Christ.” The Emperor did not suspect that by appointing Dēmḗtrios he had provided him with the opportunity to bring many people to Christ.

Accepting the appointment, Dēmḗtrios returned to Thessaloniki and confessed and glorified our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of persecuting and executing Christians, he began to teach the Christian Faith openly to the inhabitants of the city and to overthrow pagan customs and the worship of idols. The compiler of his Life, Saint Simeon Metaphrastes (November 9), says that because of his teaching zeal he became “a second Apostle Paul” for Thessaloniki, particularly since “the Apostle to the Gentiles” founded the first community of believers in the city (1 Thess. and 2 Thess.).

The Lord also destined Saint Dēmḗtrios to follow Saint Paul on the path to martyrdom. When Maximian learned that the newly-appointed proconsul was a Christian and that he had converted many Roman subjects to Christianity, the Emperor's rage knew no bounds. Returning from a campaign in the area of the Black Sea, the Emperor decided to lead his army through Thessaloniki, determined to massacre the Christians.

Learning of this, Saint Dēmḗtrios ordered his faithful servant Lupus to give his wealth to the poor saying, “Distribute my earthly riches among them, for we shall seek heavenly riches for ourselves.” He began to pray and fast, preparing himself for martyrdom.

When the Emperor came into the city, he summoned Dēmḗtrios, who boldly confessed himself a Christian and denounced the falsehood and futility of Roman polytheism. Maximian ordered Dēmḗtrios to be thrown into prison. An Angel appeared to him, comforting and encouraging him.

Meanwhile, the Emperor amused himself by staging games in the circus. His champion was a German by the name of Lyaeos. He challenged Christians to wrestle with him on a platform built over the upturned spears of the victorious soldiers. A brave Christian named Nestor went to the prison to Saint Dēmḗtrios, his instructor in the Faith, asking for his blessing to fight the barbarian. With the blessing and prayers of Saint Dēmḗtrios, Nestor defeated the fierce German and hurled him from the platform onto the spears of the soldiers, just as the murderous pagan would have done with the Christian. The enraged commander ordered the execution of the holy Martyr Nestor (October 27) and sent a guard to the prison to kill Saint Dēmḗtrios. At dawn on October 26, 306 soldiers appeared in the Saint's underground prison and ran him through with lances. His faithful servant, Saint Lupus, gathered up the blood-soaked garment of Saint Dēmḗtrios he took the imperial ring from his finger, a symbol of his high status, and dipped it in the blood. With the ring and other holy things sanctified the blood of Saint Dēmḗtrios, Saint Lupus began to heal the infirm. The Emperor ordered his soldiers to arrest and kill him.

The body of the holy Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios was cast out for wild animals to devour, but the Christians took it and secretly buried it in the earth.

During the reign of Saint Constantine (306-337), a church was built over the grave of Saint Dēmḗtrios. A hundred years later, during the construction of a majestic new church on the old spot, the incorrupt relics of the holy martyr were uncovered. Since the seventh century, a miraculous flow of fragrant myrrh has been found beneath the crypt of the Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios, so he is called “the Myrrh-gusher.”

Saint Dēmḗtrios is regarded as a protector of the young and is also invoked by those struggling with lustful temptations.

Fish fry fundraiser: Order by Friday, pickup Sunday, June 28!

We will have another curbside pickup fish fry dinner this Sunday!

Pre-order by Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. Pickup will be Sunday, June 28 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. from the east side, main entrance of the social hall.

Orders will be taken by phone until Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. Call or text Tana Petrich at 815-207-0737, and include your name and number of dinners.

Pick up between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm from the East side (main entrance) of the Social Center dinner includes:
-
Choice of baked or fried cod
-
Choice of vegetable- corn or green beans and French fries
- Green salad, bread and home-made strudel

Cost: At-will donation. Cash or check only!

Remember to preorder by Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m.!

The Sunday of Holy Pentecost / Duhovi June 7, 2020

Saturday, June 6- vigil / confession at 5 p.m.
Sunday, Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. Immediately after the Liturgy, Pentecost vespers with kneeling prayers.
http://www.pravmir.com/why-do-we-decorate-churches-with-gr…/

PASCHA SERVICES

Our Church calls upon all of us to please follow the directions of medical and civil officials to stay at home. All services in church are being conducted by clergy and chanters. 

Because of the corona virus and our congregation not being allowed to attend the services, we will celebrate Paschal Liturgy immediately after the Resurrection Matins which will start at 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. On Pascha Sunday, April 19 at 10 a.m we will have the Paschal - Agape Vespers

Parishioners, friends, if you would like to light candles in church during the services for the health and salvation of your family and/or repose of souls of your beloved ones during Holy Week and Bright Week, please call or send a text or email to Fr. Aleksandar with their names and check made out to: St. George Church 300 Stryker Ave, Joliet, IL 60436. Father will gladly do it for you.

The Serb, our parish newsletter, will not be mailed anymore and future issues will be sent via email, please make sure Fr. Aleks has your correct email. Several hard copies of the Serb will be available in the church narthex for parishioners who do not have email.

Unless the stay at home ban is lifted, we will not celebrate St. George Church Slava on Sunday, May 3, but we will have services on May 6, St. George Feast Day, with clergy and chanters only. If St. George is your Krsna Slava, please talk to Fr. Aleks regarding your slava rites.

 

Complying with stay at home directive

Christ is in our midst!

We are following the order of our Governor of the State of Illinois to stay at home from Saturday, March 21 through April 7, 2020, to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. This airborne virus can be spread on from person to person, therefore we ask you to please stay home on Sundays and during other church services.

St George church in Joliet will have Divine Liturgy tomorrow, and other scheduled services, for up to 10 people in attendance, and maintaining social distancing from each other. If we have more faithful in attendance, no one will be turned away, but we have to understand the risk we are taking.

Please continue to pray and keep the fast at your homes during this time.

May God help us through the prayers and intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos and all saints in heaven!

+Milan Laketa

+Milan Laketa 90, entered into his rest on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Visitation will be on Sunday, March 15 at Markiewitz funeral home in Lamont, IL in the afternoon with pomen service at 7 p.m.

Funeral service - opelo on Monday, March 16 at 11 a.m. in St. George Church in Joliet. Visitation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Burial in Abraham Lincoln National cemetery.

Our deepest condolences to the Laketa family. May Milan's memory be eternal. Vjecnaja pamjat.

Have a blessed and spiritually beneficial Great Lent! 

Troparion, Tone 8

Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver.
For my spirit rises early to pray towards Thy holy temple,
bearing the temple of my body all defiled.
But in Thy compassion, purify me by the loving kindness of Thy mercy.

Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Mother of God,
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted my life in laziness.
But by your intercessions, deliver me from all impurity.

When I think of the many evil things I have done, wretch that I am,
I tremble at the fearful day of judgement.
But trusting in Thy living kindness, like David I cry to Thee:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.

The Prayer of St Ephraim of Syria supplicates God for those virtues especially necessary to the Christian life:

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk.  Prostration

But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant.  Prostration

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen. Prostration

The best way to experience Great Lent is to attend the services and try to change your everyday routine and modify it according to the Lenten practices.

+Paul Shimek

+Paul Shimek 73, entered into his rest on Saturday evening, February 15 - Feast of the Presentation of our Lord into temple. He was a longtime member and a great supporter of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Joliet, IL.

Visitation and pomen service will be at Tezak Funeral Home in Joliet, IL on Thursday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. Funeral service on Friday, February 21 at 10 a.m. at St. George Serb Orthodox Church. Interment will follow in Woodlawn cemetery in Joliet, IL.

Sincere condolences to his wife Gayle, daughter Stephanie and her husband Deacon Nenad, family and kumovi.

May Paul's memory be eternal! Vjecnaja Pamjat!

Ash Wednesday Fish Fry on Feb. 26 + Fish Fry Fridays throughout Lent

We're hosting Fish Fries beginning Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, and Fridays throughout Lent from Feb. 28 - April 10. Check out this flyer for the details. 

Join us for our parish Lenten retreat on Tuesday, March 10!

We are welcoming our guest speaker Fr. Milos Vesin who will discus Orthodox Worshiop and Spirituality. Get more details here

2020 Calendar of Events

Click here for a calendar of major dates and events throughout 2020.

Valentine Party is Saturday, Feb. 15

Click here to see our flyer for more details. 

Мир Божији Христос се роди!

Срећан Празник Рођења Христа Спаситеља и Нова 2020 година!

Peace of God  Christ is Born!

Blessed Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a happy New Year!

See you in church for the Nativity services.

Join us for blessing of badnjak Jan. 6

On January 6 after the Vigil Service in church, we will have a blessing of the badnjak (Yule Log) in the social hall and refreshments for all who attend. Please encourage your family and friends to come even if they don't belong to our church. This is a chance for us to invite and bring a non-Orthodox to our church services and show them how we celebrate the Birth of our Savior.   The Culture Club and children will decorate the badnjak on Sunday, January 5 after the services. Fr. Alex and John Dauer cut the badnjak on John's property. Badnje Vece is a church event and we would appreciate if you can bring a posno snack, salad, or dessert to the hall to share for the evening celebration. Please bring your food in a disposable container or one you can take home with you.  This can be dropped off at the hall prior to the 6pm Vigil Service. We will also need help with setup and ask that EVERYONE help with cleanup after the event. Please see Sue Kljaich to offer your help.

Feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
December 6 /19 - Feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker
 
Blessed Krsna slava to all who celebrate! Srecna Slava!
 
Services at St. George Church:
 
Wednesday, December 18 - Vespers and confession at 6 p.m.
 
Thursday, Decemebr 19 - Divine Liturgy at 9 a.m., blessing of slava kolac and koljivo after the liturgy.
 
 
Kolo Christmas luch is Dec. 29
Serbian Cooking Class POSTPONED

The Serbian Cooking Class previously scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17 is POSTPONED: The Serbian cooking class that was schduled for Nov 17 will be postponed. We will plan a Lenten cooking class in December and schedule another cooking class in February. Dates and further information will be provided very soon. We apologize for  any inconvenience.

Please visit our bookstore

Please visit our bookstore in lower level of church to purchase your Orthodox Christmas and other occasions cards, books, ikons, incense and other Orthodox giftsPlease see Nancy Cora if you need help or have questions about the store.

Attention Amazon shoppers!

Attention Amazon shoppers - You can now shop at AmazonSmile to support St George SOC Joliet. The direct link is https://smile.amazon.com/ch/83-0599738, or just go to AmazonSmile and add St George as your charity. Support us every time you shop. Amazon will donate 0.05% of the purchase price on eligible products to St George SOC.

Reminder: The end of year is coming up

Reminder: The end of the year is coming up. Please make sure you are up to date with your financial obligations to St George Church. Please consider the extra expenses we had this year including painting the classrooms, new carpeting and leaks on church roof that had to be repaired as well as other expenses/bills that have to be paid. Orthodox Christian stewardship is a way of life which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. A primary goal of Stewardship is to promote spiritual growth and strengthen faith. How much you are involved in Church life and donate - returning to God what He has blessed you with will be the sign of how spiritual and strong an Orthodox Christian you are.

+Sam (Sava) Konjevich

+Sam (Sava) Konjevich entered into his rest on October 16, 2019 in Rushville, IL. He was a lifelong and very active member of St. George Serbian Orthodox church in Joliet. May Sam's memory be eternal.

Services:

  • Tuesday, October 22, visitation will be at Tezak Funeral Home in Joliet, IL from 4 pm to 8 pm with pomen service at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 23, funeral service - opelo at 10 a.m. in St George Serbian Orthodox church in Joliet, IL, interment in Woodlawn cemetery in Joliet.

Our deepest condolences to +Sam's family, friends and kumovi. Vjecnaja Pamjat.

 

Join us for our Fall Party Sunday, Oct. 20

Our Fall Party is Sunday, Oct. 20, following Divine Liturgy. Join us at the St. George Hall, upper level – see this flyer for more info, hope to see you there!

Choir Concert and Zabava Nov. 2

Be there Saturday, Nov. 2 as we are joined by our honored guest choir S.S.S. St. George along with the St. George Folkore Group of Lenexa (Kansas City), Kansas at the lower level of the St. George Social Center , 310 Stryker Avenue, Joliet, IL 60436. Read more here

Upcoming St. George Cultural Club events this fall

The St. George Cultural Club is planniing a fall party for kids and all parishioners on Oct. 20, and a Serbian cooking class Nov. 17. Read more here

CHURCH SCHOOL BEGINS SEPT. 8

St. George Church School will begin on Sunday, Sept. 8.

After the liturgy there will be a service of the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the teachers and students followed by an introduction class in church.

Church school classes will be every Sunday, unless it is previously cancelled, after holy communion. Church school children should take holy communion regularly and confession monthly.

The classrooms are going to be painted and carpeted in late August and September therefore some classes will be held in the hall, lower level.

  • Register your child for our Church School Program.
  • Bring them to Church on time.
  • Stay and worship at the Divine Liturgy in the Church.
  • Be positive about Church.
  • Discuss with them what they learned each Sunday.
  • Teach your children Christian living through your own actions.
  • Emphasize regular repentance and Holy Communion.
  • Put Church before every other activity on Sunday.
  • Avoid criticism of others.
  • Let your love for Our Lord Jesus Christ radiate.

Plan to bring your child/children to the culture classes during the weekdays as this is an extension of our church school. Parents and parishioners are welcome to participate in the culture classes which consist of basic Serbian language, basic Serbian history and geography, songs and folklore. Please let Fr Alex know if you are willing to help / teach any of the mentioned activities.

Parents mark your calendar for Sunday, Sept,. 25 after the kolo sestara slava lunch or Sunday, Sept. 1 after the liturgy to have parents / priest meeting.

For more info, please talk or call Fr Alex or Gayle Shimek.

 

Kolo Sestara slava celebration Aug. 25

Please join us for the Kolo Sestara slava celebration the Dormition of the Theotokos on Sunday, August 25, 2019. The Divine Liturgy at 10 am and parastos for all reposed sisters after the liturgy.

Blessing of slava kolac in hall and dinner. Please bring your family and friends.

Svi ste pozvani na proslavu slave kola sestara Uspenije Presvete Bogorodice u nedelju 25 avgusta, 2019. Posle Svete Liturgije ce biti sluzen parastos za sve upokojene clanice kola sestara. Blagoslov slavskog kolaca I u nastavku rucak u sali. Pozovite vase prijetelje I familiju.

 

Time change for Divine Liturgy on July 21

Please remember the Divine Liturgy this coming Sunday, July 21 will start at 9 a.m. instead of the regular time at 10 a.m. The reason for starting the liturgy earlier is our Serb Fest which will be this Sunday at St. Joseph park in Joliet from 12 noon to 9 p.m.

Please offer your help if you have not so far. St. George Church need your help and support!

Invite your friends and neighbors to come and enjoy Serbian food and fellowship.

 

Join us for Serbfest July 21!

Serbfest 2019 will be on Sunday, July 21 at St. Joe’s Park, 700 Theodore Street,Joliet, Illinois Get all the details here

Lifeline Banquet is June 14
RSVP for June 14 Three Kolos Lifeline Banquet

The Three Kolos Lifeline Banguet is June 14. Please see this invitation and RSVP. 

Slava celebration is May 5
Join us for our Slava celebration Sunday, May 5!

On Sunday, May 5 we celebrate the feast of our patron saint, St. George. Get the details here.

Holy Week Services
Holy Week Services, 2019

Click here for our schedule of Holy Week services. 

Lenten Retreat
Lenten Retreat Tuesday, April 2

Join us for a Lenten Retreat on Tuesday, April 2. Vespers at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and presentation by Heiromok Alexii Altschul in the social hall at 7 p.m. Read more 

Schedule of Lenten Services

Be sure to attend as many services as you an during this Lenten season. Here is a printable Schedule of our Lenten services for 2019

Lenten Fish Fries
Lenten Fish Fries

Our Lenten Fish Fries begin Ash Wednesday, March 6, and continue every Friday through April 19. See the flyer for details

Prayer of repentance

On each of the three Sundays before Lent, the church brings before us a plea for repentance, set to sacred music. Here are the words of that prayer. From the Matins of Publican and Pharisee, Lenten Triodion:

Glory...,

The gates of repentance, do Thou open unto me, O Giver of Life,  for early in the morning my spirit seeketh Thy holy temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled. But as One who art compassionate cleanse it by Thy loving-kindness and mercy.  

Both now...,

Guide me on the paths of salvation, O Theotokos, for I have polluted my soul with shameful deeds, and wasted all my life in slothfulness. But by thine intercessions do thou deliver me from all impurity.  

In Tone VI: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy great mercy:  and according to the multitude of Thy compassion  blot out my transgressions. 
As I the wretched one ponder the multitude of evil deeds I have done, I tremble for fear of the dread day of judgment. But trusting in Thy compassionate mercy, like David do I cry unto Thee: 'Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy great mercy'.

Wednesdays during Great Lent

Every Wednesday evening during Great Lent, we will have religious discussions in one of the classrooms beneath the church. If the liturgy is in the evening, the discussion will be after the liturgy at approximately 7 p.m. When the liturgy is in the morning, a religious discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. If you have any questions about the Bible, our practices, Orthodox faith, prayer, or other topics, please tell Fr. Aleksandar, and we will have it as a topic of our discussion. If you wish you may bring fruit, pastry and/or other posno snacks especially after evening Liturgy.

Fasting before Presanctified Liturgy

When the Presanctified Liturgy is served in the evening, those who will partake of Holy Communion should fast from 12 p.m. (noon) until receiving communion. For those who can physically endure an all-day total fast, please do so.

Bowling party and potluck meal Sunday, March 3

The Cultural Club is sponsoring a bowling party and potluck meal on Sunday, March 3. For students of the church school, admission and shoes will be paid by culture club. Parents, friends of culture club and parishioners are invited to join us. Sign up in lower level of the church.

Shop at St. George the Great Martyr Bookstore

Throughout the Western and Eastern Christmas Seasons, please shop at our St. George the Great Martyr Bookstore (located in the lower level of our church) for hostess gifts, stocking-stuffers, and other lovely and meaningful gifts. Proceeds from the bookstore benefit our Church School children with Orthodox and faith-based gifts at Christmas, Easter and other occasions, and help defray costs of activities.

Church Calendar vs. Julian Calendar

Occasionally, we see dates in religious books, bulletin or calendars like June 4 / 17 or September 1 /14 and we may get confused about why we have two dates. The first number is the church calendar date and the second is the date according to our old Julian calendar, which is always 13 days behind. The celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ is December 25 /January 7. This means the church calendar states the Nativity of Christ is December 25, which is true but for us who follow the Julian calendar December 25 is actually January 7, again because we are 13 days behind.


Today's Readings

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church