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Holy Week - Agape Vespers

Scene from Holy Week - 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. 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.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

Apparently some candy filled eggs have been growing in Deacon Danial's bookstore.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

Look out here they come.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

Looks like some fun to me.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

A man on a mission.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

A little coaching from Mom seems to help.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

These ladies seem to be using the team approach.

Scene from Holy Week - Agape Vespers.

Look I got a green one.

Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

Holy Week - Pascha Services

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Noctures and Procession, Matins of Pascha and Pascal Divine Liturgy - All the preparations have been for this night. The church is ready and the faithful have spent the day in strict fast. There is a sense of anticipation in the air. The church is darkened and the music selections are somber as during all of lent.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

The nocturns are sung at the tomb of Christ. To hear a small sample of The Nocturnes please click here.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

All lights in the church are extinquished and there is a total darkness. 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.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Father Andrew spreads the Light to a single handmaiden and from there it spreads to all the congregation.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Some of the handmaidens assist the priest in spreading the Light of Christ to the faithful.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

The entire congregation leaves the church in procession.While they are doing this, the tomb is removed from the church, all the lights are turned on, and all candles are lit once again symbolizing Christ's resurrection.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Scene from the procession.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Scene from the procession.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Upon finishing the procession around the church, the congregation gathers at the closed front doors of the church. 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.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

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

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Father Andrew blesses the baskets laden with food.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Father Andrew blesses the shared fellowship meal.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

The congregation then breaks the fast by sharing a meal and fellowship.

Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

For information concerning lent and the services leading up to Pascha, Please Click Here

Holy Week - Holy Saturday Liturgy

Scene from Holy Week - Holy Saturday Liturgy.

Holy Saturday Liturgy celebrates Christ's decent into hell to free Adam and Eve and all who lived and died in anticipation of the coming of Christ. Historically this service was a time for new members to be chrismated into the church. Today St. Luke Parish chrismated two new members, Nick and Mike into the Orthodox Church.

Scene from Holy Week - Holy Saturday Liturgy.

Scene from the Chrismation.

Scene from Holy Week - Holy Saturday Liturgy.

Scene from the Chrismation. Our congratulations go out to Nick and Mike as we welcome them into our church family. God Grant Them Many Years!

Scene from Holy Week - Holy Saturday Liturgy.

During this Vesper service, 15 different readings from the bible are read. The readings all refer to resurrection.

Scene from Holy Week - Holy Saturday Liturgy.

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. The Eucharist is extended into an agape meal consisting of wine, bread, fruit, dates, figs, and nuts before the strict fast begins.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Holy Week - Friday Evening The Lamentations

Scene from Holy Week - 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.

Here we see some of our handmaidens standing guard at the tomb.

Scene from Holy Week - Friday Evening The Lamentations.

Father Andrew blesses the congregation with Rose Water while rose petals are scattered around the church.

Scene from Holy Week - Friday Evening The Lamentations.

Two of our handmaidens adorn the tomb with rose petals.

Scene from Holy Week - 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. They return to the church 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 Saturday morning.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Holy Week - Friday Afternoon Procession With The Burial Shroud

Scene from Holy Week - Friday Afternoon Procession With The Burial Shroud.

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

Scene from Holy Week - Friday Afternoon Procession With The Burial Shroud.

Icon of Christ in place in the tomb.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Holy Week - The "Myrrh Bearing Women" Prepare The Tomb

Scene from Holy Week - The

Following the crucifiction, the myrrh bearing women prepared the tomb and Christ for burial. The women of the parish decorate the tomb of Christ with flowers.

Scene from Holy Week - The

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Holy Week - Reading Of The Passion Gospels

Scene from Holy Week - Reading Of The Passion Gospels.

Passion Gospel Service - 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.

Scene from Holy Week - Reading Of The Passion Gospels.

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 Holy Week - 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 Holy Week - 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.

To hear the hymn "The Wise Thief", click here.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Holy Week - Service of Holy Unction

Scene from Holy Week - Service of Holy Unction.

Sacrament of Holy Unction - The Church is called the Body of Christ. We are members of the Body through our Baptism, Chrismation, Confession, and Holy Communion. As the sinful woman anointed Christ, we are also anointed with the oil of healing, so we can go with Christ to the Cross, suffer, die, and be resurrected with Him.

Scene from Holy Week - Service of Holy Unction.

Here we see Father Andrew blessing the oil.

Scene from Holy Week - Service of Holy Unction.

At the conclusion of the service, the faithful are anointed with the sacrament of Holy Unction. The priest anointes each of the faithful with the oil of healing on various parts of the body: forehead, eyes, ears, mouth, chest, palm, and the back of each hand. These areas are associated with the senses of smell, hearing, taste, and touch. The neck or chest is anointed for breath and for the heart.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Holy Week - Bridegroom Services

Scene from Holy Week - Bridegroom Services.

On Holy Monday and Tuesday there are Bridegroom Services - Bridegroom Services instruct us in our faith, as does all the preparation for Holy Week. Even more they help us to make Holy Week more than simply a ritual that tells a story. The Bridegroom Services help us to enter into the story, the life of Jesus Christ, and live it.

On Monday night, the priest represents Christ and the congregation represents the bride waiting for the bridegroom. As the virgins were called to be vigilant and prepared for the coming of the bridegroom lest they be shut out of the bridal chamber; let us be likewise vigilant and prepared, lest we be shut out of the eternal kingdom. - Matthew 25: 1-13.

Tuesday's Bridegroom Service with the procession of the hymn of St. Cassian describes the life and conversion of the sinful woman who anointed Christ. The congregation is blessed with rose water. The rose water is symbolic of the sweet smelling myrrh with which the sinful woman anointed Christ.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Palm Sunday

Scene from Palm Sunday.

The hymn of Palm Sunday proclaims the children holding the emblems of victory singing, "Hosanna blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." We experience Christ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem by processing around the church holding palm and pussy willow branches as symbols of Christ's ability to overcome death by raising Lazarus.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Here we see Father Andrew blessing the palms and pussy willow branches.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

At the end of Liturgy, the parishioners all received palms and branches and went outside for a procession.

For a short clip of the Palm Sunday Procession, click here.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

St. Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen For Presanctified Liturgy

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen For Presanctified Liturgy.

As has been our tradition for the last five years, St. Luke Parish and it's sister parish Sts. Constantine and Helen take turns hosting Presanctified Liturgy during Great Lent. Two weeks previously members from St. Luke Parish visited Sts. Constantine and Helen. This week it was our turn to host the service.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen For Presanctified Liturgy.

Father Jonas from Sts. Constantine and Helen taught the congregation from the words of St. Anthony and encouraged us to remain steadfast in our lenten efforts.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen For Presanctified Liturgy.

Parishioners who fasted during the day receive the Presanctified Communion.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen For Presanctified Liturgy.

Following the service a lenten meal was served.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Sts. Constantine And Helen For Presanctified Liturgy.

The clergy relax and enjoy the meal.

Mission Vespers Held At St. Luke Parish

Scene from Mission Vespers Held At St. Luke Parish.

Every Great Lent on Sunday evenings the Chicago Deanery of the Orthodox Church in America gather and each others churches for a Lenten Vespers service. Deacon Alexander is chanting the entrance prayers while the clergy prepare to enter the Altar.

Scene from Mission Vespers Held At St. Luke Parish.

Father Thomas Mueller the Dean is reading from the book of Genesis as an introduction to the Lenten theme of the Image of God in the Old Testament.

Scene from Mission Vespers Held At St. Luke Parish.

Father Stephen Karaffa of SS Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Burr Ridge gave the sermon in which he compared Jacobs Ladder to the Ladder of Divine Assent written by St. John Climacus and how we come to know God through fasting and prayer.

Scene from Mission Vespers Held At St. Luke Parish.

After the service all gathered in the basement for fellowship and good food prepared by St. Luke fellowship ministry.

Sunday Of The Cross

Scene from Sunday Of The Cross.

The third Sunday of Lent is the half way point of Great Lent. On this Sunday a flower decorated cross is displayed in the center of the sanctuary during the Liturgy. At the point in the Liturgy when normally "Holy God" is sung it is replaced with "Before Your Cross we bow down and worship You." During this hymn three prostrations are made. They signify our devotion to God and that we have accepted His cross. It is also given as a help to fight off the attacks of the Devil who during Lent wants us to fail in our fast and it helps us to keep our heart pointed toward the Cross and Christ's victory over death at Pascha.

As we journey thru lent towards Pascha (Easter), St. Luke Parish invites you to journey with us. To follow along and see pictures and descriptions of lenten services culminating in the Resurrection Service, Please Click Here

Children's Sermon On Sunday Of The Cross

Scene from Children's Sermon On Sunday Of The Cross.

Father Andrew showed his collection of crosses and ask the children why they were all different and which one was the closest to the real cross of Christ. One child chose the three bar cross. Father than explained why she was correct. He also explained that the crosses were all different because Christians love Jesus Christ and want to show their love for what he did for us by decorating the cross.

Scene from Children's Sermon On Sunday Of The Cross.

Father is showing crosses from Africa which were given to him by African Orthodox Christians.

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