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December 2002

Father Andrew gives sermon at Nativity Liturgy

We at St. Luke would like to take this opportunity to wish each and everyone a happy and blessed Christmas. Let us all rejoice as God has given us the greatest gift of all. He has given us his only begotten Son that he might save us.

Icon of the Nativity

Icon depicting the Nativity of Our Lord.


Nativity Eve Lenten Holy Supper
December 2002

Setting up for Holy Supper

It has become our custom at St. Luke to have a Lenten Holy Supper on the Eve of the Nativity. This supper is pot luck style with the parishioners bringing different dishes that are non meat and non dairy. Tradition is that there should be twelve different dishes which is symbolic of the tweleve apostles and it should be eaten without pepper or knives. Pepper symbolizes arguments and knives the cutting of friendships. Above we see the tables being prepared. Below we see Father Andrew's table prepared with wine, honey, bread, and garlic.

Table prepared with bread, wine, honey, and garlic.
Service about to begin

The parishioners gather by candlelight for a short prayer service which begins the Holy Supper.

Child reads from Matthew

One of the children reads the following passage from Matthew 2: 1-12. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this , he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priest and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

Are not the least among the rulers of Judah,

For out of you shall come a Ruler

Who will shepherd My people Israel.'"

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also." When they heard the King, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they ahd opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

Honey is placed on the foreheads of the parishioners

Next the Troparion and the Kontakion for the day are sung and followed by a prayer. Father then places honey on the forehead of everyone with the words, "May we all love one another as the bee loves honey."

Wine is shared by all

Following this wine is shared by all saying, "Unite us in Faith and Love."

Father Andrew breaks bread for all to share.

Next Father Andrew breaks the prepared bread for all to share.

Deacon distributes the bread to the parishioners.

Above and below, Deacon Andrew distributes the bread to the parishioners who dip the bread into the honey with the words, "Let us love one another." Next everyone takes a piece of garlic and eats it saying,"May God Spare us from all Evil."

Deacon distributes the bread to the parishioners.
Dinner is served.

After a closing prayer, the service is concluded and all share in the prepared feast.

Service for the Nativity of Our Lord.

Following the Holy Supper, the Service for the Nativity begins.


Annual Christmas Pagent
December 2002

Christmas play in progress

Our annual Christmas pagent began with a scene enacted by some of our older children. See pictures above and below.

Christmas play in progress

Christmas songs are presented

Next groups our of younger children entertained us with various songs of the season. Pictures above and below.

Christmas songs are presented

St. Nicholas arrives.

St. Nicholas apparently drawn by the singing arrived to present the children with gifts.

Children receive gifts

From the looks on the faces of the children, they were pretty happy with their gifts.

Children receive gifts

As you can see from this picture, talking to St. Nicholas can be some preety serious business

Children receive gifts

The appearance of St. Nicholas was a fitting end to a wonderful and highly popular event.

For a short video of the children's performance, click here

Christmas Presents for PASS
December 2002

Parishioners place presents under tree

Once again this year, St. Luke parishioners are donating presents to Pass (Pregnancy Aid for the South Suburbs). These gifts of articles for babies and diapers will go to help the unwed mothers that Pass is striving to help.

Blessing Julie's New Car
December 2002

Father Andrew blesses new car

Today, Father Andrew blessed one of our parishioners new cars for safety when traveling. It is traditional for Orthodox Christians to request blessings in the manner. We are asked to pray continually and is is appropriate to ask for blessings in our lives. If you would like to have your home blessed or would like prayers for healing or for a safe trip, please contact Father Andrew.

New Year's Eve Party to be Held in New Fellowship Hall
December 2002

With the completion of the new fellowship hall, we now have the space to hold more activities. This year for the first time we will be having a New Year's Eve Party. The party will begin following the New Year's Vesperal Liturgy and the Blessing of the St. Basil's Bread. Reservations are required. Details can be found on the flyer below.

Flyer for New Year's Eve Paety
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St Luke Parishioners Attend Sing Along Messiah
December 2002

View of Stage

A group of parishioners along with Father Andrew and Pat Harrison attended the Sing Along Messiah Concert this week. The conductor shown below leads the entire audience, and it is they who actually perform the concert.

Conductor on Stage

Parishioners perform

Above we see the audience performing the concert and below we see Pat apparently having a great time.

Pat seems to be having a great time
Click Here for a video from the concert

Parish Council Prepares For Annual Meeting
December 2002

Parish Council Meets

The parish council held it's monthly meeting at the Grecian Corners restaurant preparing for the upcoming annual church meeting in January. The annual meeting is the single most important meeting of the year and includes comprehensive reports from all our ministries, approval of the new budget, a fincial report by our auditor, and elections as necessary. All parishioners should make it their business to attend if at all possible.

Out of the Old and Into the New
December 2002

Picture of old basement

Here we have a picture of our old fellowship hall. At long last the new basement floor has been installed, cleaned, sealed, and waxed. Today was moving day and many parishioners showed up to help with the move.

Cabinets being moved

All the cabinets, books, icons, and pamphlets that comprise the bookstore had to be relocated, cleaned and set up.

Tables and chairs being set up

Our crack team worked hard to set up tables and chairs in order to be ready for fellowship on Sunday.

Working hard or taking a nap?

One of our parishioners either was working hard at removing this cabinet or had found himself a nice place for a little nap.

Everything in place.

When the dust cleared, everything was in place and ready for fellowship on Sunday. Many expressed their joy at the result and although much work yet remains we look forward to many years enjoying our time with each other in the wonderful new fellowship hall.

Raising the Bells
December 2002

Prayer Service to bless the work and workers..

The work of placing the new bells into the bell tower began with a prayer service to bless the work and the workers involved. Below Father Andrew blessed each worker individually with Holy Water.

Father Blesses the workers with Holy Water.

Beams were secured to the bells to help distribute the weight when carrying them. The largest bell weighs 350 pounds and the second largest weighs 250 pounds. Due to this excessive weight, they had to be handled with care to prevent injury.

Beam attached to bell to aid in transport.

The bells were brought up thru the choir loft to get to the bell tower.

Bell taken up to the bell tower.

Bell secured to pulley system..

Once in the bell tower, the bells had to be brought up two flights thru small openings in the floors. A pulley system was used. Here we see the bell being secured to the pulley and below we see the bell going up to the next level.

Bell being hauled up to the next level..

Here we see the bell in position for raising it to the final level at the top of the bell tower.

Bell prepared to raise to final level..

The final step involved wenching the bells up to the beams where they were secured using U bolts.

Bell prepared to raise to final level..

Bells in final position

Above and below we see the bells in their final positions. A system of pulleys and ropes will he attached to the clappers and hung down through the floors so that they can be rung at services.

Bells in final position

Many Years to Peter and Aristea
December 2002

Peter and Aristea celebrate 40 years of marriage.

Many Year to Peter and Aristea on their 40th wedding anniversary. Following Liturgy, Father Andrew called them up for a short prayer and blessing. Then everyone enjoyed a luncheon celebration.

Choir Concert in Lemont
December 2002

Choir sings in Lemont

Once again our choir was asked to sing at the Annual Christmas Concert at the Lemont Historical Society. A selection of hymns relating to the Nativity was sung and at the end the choir received a standing ovalation. The concert will be on local access television.

Children's Sermon on St. Nicholas
December 2002

Children gather for sermon

Father Andrew's sermon dealt with a story St. Nicholas. St Nicholas appeared to some thieves that had stolen the wealth of a greedy man and as a result they returned the money to him. The greedy man asked St. Nicholas how he could prevent his money from being stolen again. St Nicholas told him to go and buy all the bricks and stone that he could. The greedy man did so and a church was built that stands to this day. After the sermon as is custom, Father Andrew gave all the children golden candy coins.

Vesperal Liturgy for St. Nicholas and Blessing of the New Bells
December 2002

Vesperal Liturgy

The evening began with a Vesperal Litugry Sevice in honor of St Nicholas.

Blessing of the bells begins

Following the Liturgy, the new bells were blessed and consecrated. Above we see the beginning of the service with the priests praying over the bells.

Table with Holy Water, Holy Chrism, and censer.

A table is set with the Holy Water, Holy Chrism, and censer needed for the blessing.

Namimg the bells

Above and Below: Each Priest names a bell saying " In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, you shall be called by the name ( ), according to the grace granted to us from the life-creating Spirit. The bells were named Luke, Eugene, Mary, Andrew John, Helen, and Juliana.

Namimg the bells

While kneeling, each priest places a hand on one of the bells and prays over them.

Priests pray over the bells

The bells were censed with incense on all sides including the inside. Here the largest bell is tipped while Father Andrew censes the inside. During this process the reader recites form Psalm 69(70).

Censing of the bells

The priest blesses the bells inside and out with Holy Water.

Priest blesses the bells with Holy Water.</p>

The bells having been named and censed and blessed with holy water are now anointed with Holy Chrism while the priest says "To the glory of the holy Trinity, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. The following three pictures depict this.

Bells blessed with Holy Chrism
Bells blessed with Holy Chrism
Bells blessed with Holy Chrism

After the service the donors of the bells were invited to each ring the bell that they donated.

Donors ring bells

After dismissal, the congregation gathered for a lenten feast that was thumbs up according to one of our parishioners.

Lenten Feast
Click Here for the complete service

Readers who wish more information about the history, ringing and purchase of bells can reach the Blagovest Russian Bell Site thru this link."

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
December 2002

Christmas Tree being decorated

Several members of the choir arrived early today to prepare the church for the Nativity Season. The church was decorated and the tree completed. Below we see Father Andrew topping off the tree with an angel.

Father Andrew tops off the tree

St. Luke's Bells To Be Blessed
December 2002

St. Luke Represented

The new bells for the church were moved into the church today in anticipation of the blessing this week. Thursday December 5th at 6:30 p.m. there will be a Vesperal Liturgy and the bells will be blessed and named as is the custom. All are invited to share in this service. Following the service the bells will be placed in position in the new bell tower

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