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Events Are In Sequence - Please Scroll Down

The Miraculous Lady Of Cicero - 10 Year Anniversary Akathist Service

Archbishop Job in attendance.

On April 23rd St. George's Antiocian Orthodox Church in Cicero Illinois celebrated the 10 anniversary of the icon of the Virgin Mary which began to, what appeared to be weeping. For information about this phenomena and to view the icon, Click Here
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Pictured is Archbishop Job whom Fr. Dahdal, the rector of St. George's, reported to when this event occurred. At the anniversary service Archbishop Job spoke of his remembrances and reaction to this mystery. He reiterated about how skepticism can be are bar from experiencing the power of God and that it would be a greater miracle if violence in the world would end. He believed this is why the icon was weeping.

Father Andrew Harrison in attendance.

Fr. Andrew was one of 8 clergy who participated in the service. He is anointing parishioners after the Akathist prayer service which was held to commemorate the event

A meal is served.

Following the service a meal was provided.

Agape Vespers and Egg Hunt

Scene from Agape Vespers.

Sunday afternoon following Paschal Liturgy, the Agape Vespers service is celbrated. The church is bright and alive and full of children anticipating the Pascha egg hunt. Today we were fortunate to be joined by Father Malek and members from the Holy Virgin Mission.

Scene from Agape Vespers.

Following a procession proclaiming the Risen Christ, the congregation gathers together to hear readings from the four Gospels in different languages proclaiming that Christ is Risen at each direction outside the church. Here the gospel is read at the west aspect of the church.

Scene from Agape Vespers.

The gospel is read at the east aspect of the church.

Scene from Agape Vespers.

The gospel is read at the north aspect of the church.

Scene from Agape Vespers.

The candy filled eggs are hidden waiting for the children to discover them.

Scene from Agape Vespers.

As usual the hidden eggs didn't stand a chance.

Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

Considered by many the most beautiful of all services, Pascha night begins with noctures. The church is dark and the mood somber while they are sung.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

Right before midnight the church is completely quite with all lights extinquished symbolic of Christ having died and descended into hell to save us.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

At midnight the flame from a single candle appears at the altar. The priest brings forth the light of Christ and gives it to the rest of the faithful.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

The handmaidens distribute the Light of Christ to the faithful.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

The entire congregation exits in church in procession.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

During the procession the bells were being rung in celebration. Here we see one of our handmaidens complete with ear protection at her station ringing the bells.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

Following the procession the congregation gathers at the front of the church.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

The gospel is read and the Priest knocks on the doors three times saying: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. And a voice asks: Who is this King of Glory? The priest answers: The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. The priest the knocks again saying: Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. And again the voice asks: Who is this King of Glory? The priest then replies: The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory. The doors are swung open and the priest reenters followed by the congregation.

Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

The entire tone of the service is changed. The dim interior of the church is gone. The dark vestments and candle holders are also gone. The tomb and somber music are also gone. The church is as bright as possible. The vestments are bright and the singing joyous. It is the triumphal resurrection of Christ saving us from death and granting us resurrection. Christ is risen! Glorify Him. The Hymn "Christ is Risen from the Dead" is sung repeatedly with joy and power. The Cry of "Christ is risen" and the response "Indeed he is risen." fill the air. This is proclaimed in many different languages.

OCA - Christ is Risen! / Indeed He is Risen!
Greek Diocese - Christ is Risen! / Truly He is Risen!
Greek - Christos Anesti! / Aleithos Anesti!
Slavonic - Christos Voskrese! / Voistinu Voskrese!
Arabic - Al-Masih-Qam! / Hakkan Qam!
Romanian - Christos E Anviat! / Adeverat Anviat!
Spanish - Christo Ha Resucitado! / Verdaderamente, Ha Resucitado!
German - Christus ist Auferstanden! / Jawohl Er ist Auferstanden
French - Le Christ est ressuscite! / En verite il est resuscite!
Japanese - Harisutosu Siochatsu! / Makoto-ni Siochatsu

Christ is Risen! Click Here for a video.

The Divine Liturgy is celebrated and during this the Resurrection Homily of St. John Chrysostom is proclaimed.

Let all who are pious and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast: let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord: let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay: and those who have toiled since the first hour, let then now receive their due reward: let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late, for the Lord is gracious and he receives the Last even as the first.

He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first; yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and is generous to the other; he repays the deed and praises the effort. Come you and enter into the joy of your Lord.

You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today.

The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you received the riches of His goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins; for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Savior has set us free.

He has destroyed it by enduring it. He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom. He has angered it by allowing it to taste of His flesh. When Isaiah foresaw all this, he cried out: " O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world." Hades is angered because it is frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive.

It seized a body, and lo! It discovered God; it seized earth, and, behold! It encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible. O death, where is your sting? O Hades' where is your victory?

Christ is risen and you are abolished, Christ is risen and the demons are cast down, Christ is risen and the angels rejoice, Christ is risen and life is freed, Christis risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead; for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep.To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen

Click Here for a video of a portion of "The Resurrection Homily"
Scenes from  Pascha: Nocturnes And Divine Liturgy.

Orthodox Christians as they are able, fast from all meat and dairy products for all of Holy Week and the preceeding forty days of Lent. After the Paschal Liturgy a pot luck dinner is served and as you can imagine, some serious eating goes on. The celebration lasts into the early hours of the morning.

Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

Holy Saturday Liturgy - The Descent Into Hell

Scene from Holy Saturday Liturgy - The Descent Into Hell.

The service celebrates Christ's decent into hell to free Adam and Eve and all who lived and died in anticipation of the coming of Christ. The beautiful hymn from the Liturgy of St. James is sung, "Let all mortal flesh be silent." During this Vesper service, 15 different readings from the bible are read. The readings all refer to resurrection.

Scene from Holy Saturday Liturgy - The Descent Into Hell.

The white vestments for the priest and deacons are laid out in preparation. At the point when Christ raises out of hell, the covers are changed. The priest, deacon, and altar servers change their vestments from the somber dark colors of lent to white. The words "Let God arise," are said. The altar cloths and candle holders are also changed at this time.

Friday Evening The Lamentations

Scene from Friday Evening The Lamentations.

The Lamentations - As the name suggests the service is a mournful one lamenting the death of Christ. Psalm 119 "Blessed are those who walk in the law of the Lord." is chanted by the priest. The refrains are sung by the congregation, "O Life, how can You die?". During the singing of the 9th ode of the Canon, the priest blesses the congregation with rose water as rose pedals are scattered around the church.

Scene from Friday Evening The Lamentations.

During the service, the shroud is removed from the tomb and four men along with the priest, choir and entire congregation make a procession around the entire exterior of the church while the "Hymn of Noble Joseph" is sung.

Scene from Friday Evening The Lamentations.

They return to the church entering under the upheld burial shroud to hear the reading Ezekiel about the valley of the dry bones. The service ends with the veneration of the shroud and the distribution of flowers. Immediately following this service the vigil of the tomb begins and continues all the way up to Pascha services.

Procession With The Burial Shroud

Scene from Procession with the Burial Shroud.

The service begins as the readers read from vespers and the Books of Psalms.

Scene from Procession with the Burial Shroud.

This is followed by readings from the Old Testament and the reading of the Crucifixion Gospel.

Scene from Procession with the Burial Shroud.

At this service the icon of Christ is removed from the Cross as the priest reads,"And taking Him down they wrapped Him in a linen shroud." The tomb prepared by the women stands empty in the center of the church.

The shroud is carried by four men over the head of the priest who is carrying the gospel as the choir sings the "Hymn of Noble Joseph". The procession ends as the shroud is placed in the flower-decorated tomb.

Click Here for a video of the procession
Scene from Procession with the Burial Shroud.

Here we see the burial shroud in the tomb.

Scene from Procession with the Burial Shroud.

While the lamentations of the Virgin Mary are sung, the faithful make a prostration before the tomb and kiss the wounds on the figure of Christ on the shroud.

Reading Of The Passion Gospels

Scene from Reading of the Passion Gospels.

On thursday of Holy Week the service features the reading of the passion gospels which cover the immediate events leading up to Christ's crucifiction. Here we see Father Andrew reading one of the 12 passion gospels.

This is one of the most important and solemn Holy Week services. It is a remembrance and an entrance into the suffering and death of Christ. The priest, standing in the center of the church surrounded by twelve lighted candles, reads the words of the apostles who witnessed the events. As each Gospel is read one candle is extinguished. During the fifth reading, the priest processes with the Cross carried his shoulder as he chants, "He who hung the earth upon the waters is now being hung on the cross." As Simon carried the cross for Christ during his walk to the crucifixion, the priest now carries the cross. In doing so here presents the entire congregation.

Scene from Reading of the Passion Gospels.

As the priest carries the cross and during the entire service the lights are turned on low keeping with the sorrowful tone of the event.

Click Here for a video of Father Andrew carrying the cross
Scene from Reading of the Passion Gospels.

At the point of the sixth Gospel when "He yielded up the spirit" is read, the priest places a wreath of red flowers over the cross." (This is the moment in the scripture reading when Christ died).

Scene from Reading of the Passion Gospels.

Following the placing of the wreath, several of the young ladies of the congregation sang the hymn "The Wise Thief" in remembrance of the thief who was crucified with Christ and accepted Him while on the cross.

Click Here for a video of "The Wise Thief"

Service Of Holy Unction

Scene from Holy Unction Service.

On Wednesday of Holy Week the service on Holy Unction is held. During this service oil is blessed for spiritual and physical healing and the parishioners are annointed with it. During the service numerous hymns and readings remind us of the harlot that annointed Christ for his burial. Holy Unction is a sacrament and and parishioners are expected to prepare for annointing with prayer and a strict fast.

Here we see Father Andrew blessing the holy oil.

Click Here for a video of the blessing

One by one the parishioners are annointed with the holy oil.

Click Here for a video of Father Andrew annointing the parishioners

Palm Sunday Procession

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Following Divine Liturgy today in remembrance of Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, a procession was made around the church

Scene from Palm Sunday.

As the parishioners left the church, they were given palm and pussywillow branches to carry as is stated in the bible.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The procession continues.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The procession continues.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The procession continues.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The procession continues.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The procession continues.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The procession continues.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

After returning to the church, Father Andrew dismissed the congregation and annointed the forehead of each one with oil.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Palms that were weaved into the shape of a cross were also handed out.

Children's Sermon on Palm Sunday

Scene from Children's Sermon.

This Sunday Father Andrew gave his children's sermon for the month. With the children gathered together around him, he taught them about Christ's entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. He explained that he entered in this humble way because he came to give his life to safe us and not as a conquering king. He told them that if he came to today, he might come riding a bicycle and not in some fancy mode of transportation.

St Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen Parish

Scene from Spring Clean up.

With the arrival of spring, it was time for St. Luke Parishioners to pitch in and help get our building cleaned up for Pascha. Our parishioners responded to our call for help and swarmed over the building with rags and elbow grease. It was decided to turn this cleanup day into a type of lenten retreat. While cleaning was going on, Father Andrew heard confessions and afterwards many of the workers attended vesper services.

Scene from Spring Clean up.

Candle wax was removed form the chairs.

Scene from Spring Clean up.

Windows inside and out were washed.

Scene from Spring Clean up.

The courtyard was cleaned and portions of the lawn reseeded.

Scene from Spring Clean up.

One brave soul did the high ladder act to get the top windows cleaned as well.

Scene from Spring Clean up.

Many other projects including polishing the woodwork and brass were accomplished as well. Even our youth got into the spirit cleaning tables.

Scene from Spring Clean up.

Here our youngest helper is seen cleaning a door frame. Our thanks go out to all those who came and gave of their time and effort.

St Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen Parish

Scene from Presanctified Liturgy.

This week Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish visited St. Luke's to share Presanctified Liturgy with us. The two sister parishes have been doing this for five years now.

Lenten meal is served.

Following the service a lenten meal was served and fellowship was shared. We thank the parishioners and clergy of Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish for coing to share this service with us. We look forward to doing this again next year as well.

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