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Events Are In Sequence - Please Scroll Down

Agape Vespers

Agape Vespers And Egg Hunt

Scene from Agape Vespers And Egg Hunt.

Sunday afternoon following Paschal Liturgy, the Agape Vespers service is celebrated. 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 Agape Vespers And Egg Hunt.

During a procession there four Gospels are read at the four corners of the church.

Scene from Agape Vespers And Egg Hunt.

Here we see some unsuspecting eggs filled with candy.

Scene from Agape Vespers And Egg Hunt.

One, Two, Three. Look out eggs here they come.

Scene from Agape Vespers And Egg Hunt.

The eggs never stood a chance.

Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

THE DATING OF PASCHA (EASTER) IN THE ORTHODOX CHURCH

The Dating of Easter from the beginning was not a uniform thing. The earliest evidence from scriptures and tradition suggest that Jesus was crucified and died on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, a Friday. This means Jesus would have been resurrected on the 16th of Nisan, a Sunday.

This gave rise to the practice of celebrating the Resurrection on the 16th of Nisan irrespective of the day of the week it fell on, much as we celebrate the 4th of July. This was particularly true of the Christians in the Holy Lands, but nowhere else. Also in the Holy Lands there was a small body of Christians who celebrated the entire passion event including the Resurrection the 14th of Nisan. This date was called by them, "the Stavrosimon Pascha," or "the Pascha of the Cross."

The bulk of the Christians, however, particularly those in the West were fairly consistent in celebrating Easter on Sunday, but there was no agreement as to which Sunday. Hadrian, the Bishop of Rome in the second century was fairly successful in getting the other western churches to follow his lead, but when he tried to impose his solution on the churches in the East he was rebuked by no less a person than St. Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna who died a martyr’s death.

Things remained fairly confused until the year 325 AD when the issue was settled by the First Ecumenical Council convened in Nicea in Asia Minor. While convened by the Emperor Constantine to resolve another issue, this council, the first of the entire Christian Church, also tackled many other problems as well. One was the date of Easter.

The First Council came up with the following formula. "Easter shall be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the first day of Spring following the Jewish Passover." Thus all Christian Churches, east and west, celebrated Easter together for several centuries until the appearance of the "New" or "Gregorian" calendar.

The Gregorian Calendar was adopted first by the Roman Catholic Church, and later, in the 18th century by the Protestants.

The Eastern Orthodox Churches remained with the "Old" or "Julian" calendar until 1922, when some of them - the Churches of Greece, Cyprus, Antioch and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople— adopted the "New." The Slavic Churches, the Churches of Russia, Serbia, and also Mount Athos and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, have remained with the "Old." In this country the churches have adopted the New Calendar except for those with Slavic antecedents.

For Orthodox Christians Easter is the Feast of Feasts so for this one celebration all Orthodox Christians use the old Julian calendar, for the dating of the first day of spring, which is 13 days behind the new Gregorian. Sometimes the difference in the date of Easter between East and West can be as much as five weeks. Other times the celebrations coincide. With the Julian calendar Easter always falls after the Passover of the Jews.

Pascha

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Nocturnes 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 and proceeds around the church 3 times. 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.

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.

Scene from Nocturnes Of Pascha.

The doors of the church are opened, the tomb has been removed, the entire building is filled with light and it is now time to begin the joyous Resurrection Service. 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 the service.

Fr. Andrew reads the sermon of St. John Chrysostom welcoming all to the celebration.

Parishioners receive red egg.

At the conclusion of the service, everyone present receives a red egg and the baskets are laden with food are blessed. All are invited to break the fast and break bread together.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

Father Andrew blesses the baskets laden with food.

Scene from Holy Week - Pascha Services.

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

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

Scene from Holy Saturday Liturgy.

Here Father Andrew reads the 15th reading concerning the three Holy Youths and the Fiery Furnace.

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.

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 petals 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.

Vigil

Following the Lamentations on Friday night, parishioners volunteer to stand watch and "guard" the tomb of our Lord. This vigil lasts for 24 hours until the Pashcal services the following night. The church remains open during this time for visitors to come and worship before the tomb. The mood is that of a present-day wake. Bible verses are read during this time.

Vigil at the tomb.

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 the tomb 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.

Friday Morning

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.

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

The Passion Gospels

Father Andrew and Deacon prepare for the readings 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.

Scene from Holy Week - Reading Of The Passion Gospels.

Over view of the service.

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

Thursday Morning

Icon of the Mystical Supper .

Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil - This service relives the Lord's Supper and betrayal by Judas. The hymn "Of Your Mystical Supper, O Son of God" is sung throughout the service. At the conclusion of the service, breakfast is served as an agape meal.

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

Wednesday Holy Unction Service

Icon of Christ with the Oil 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.

The Gosoel Reading.

The reading of the Gospel.

Clergy pray over Holy Oil .

During the service all who are in need of special healing gather together in the center of the church. The priest holds the open Gospel over them and reads the Prayer of Absolution. 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.

Parishioners receive prayers of special healing .

Epistle and Gospel lessons regarding healing are read. "The prayer of the faithful will save the sick." (James 5:15) We prepare for this service by prayer and fasting from noon.

Father Andrew anoints parishioner with the Oil of Holy Unction .

Father Andrew anoints each parishioner with the Oil of Holy Unction.

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

Tuesday Bridegroom Service

Father Andrew reads the Gospel .

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. The scriptures tell us that the whole room was filled with the scent of myrrh. Once again it is important to understand that this is simply not a play being reenacted, but rather we are attempting to enter the life of Christ.

Scene from Bridegroom Service.

The symbolic acts in the services draw us unto the life of Christ. Through these acts we venerate the individuals that these acts depict.

Tuesday's Gospel Lesson

John 12:17-50 "The hour has come for the son to be glorified."

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

Monday - Bridgegroom Service

Scene from Bridegroom Service.

On Holy Monday there is a Bridegroom Service - 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.

Father Andrew and Deacon .

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

Monday's Gospel Lesson

Monday's Gospel lesson is Matthew 22: 15-46 and 23: 1-30. "Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites"

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

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's 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.

Scene from Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

At the end of Liturgy, the parishioners all received palms and branches and went outside for a procession around the church singing the Troparion of the day.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Scene from procession.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Scene from procession.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Scene from procession.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Scene from procession.

Scene from Palm Sunday.

Following the procession, the parishioners were annointed with oil.

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

Spring Cleanup

Scene from Spring Cleanup.

This weekend parishioners came and gave of their time and labor to get the church and grounds ready for Pascha. One crew cleaned up the building and grounds while another worked on the workwood, removed wax from the carpets and chairs, and cleaned the candlestands and altar area.

Scene from Spring Cleanup.

Even some of the children pitched in. Our thanks go out to all thoses who cared enough to give up some of their Saturday to help with this worthy cause.

Sts. Constantine and Helen Parish Visits For Presanctified Liturgy

Scene from Sts Constantine and Helen Parish Visits For Presanctified Liturgy.

Each year during Lent for the past 12 years St. Luke and Sts. Constantine and Helen have held joint Pre-sanctified Liturgies. Deacon Danial who is now on loan to Sts. Constantine and Helen begins the service with the Great Litany.

Scene from Sts Constantine and Helen Parish Visits For Presanctified Liturgy.

The homily was given by Tom DeMedeiros at St. Lukes. Clark Wilson gave the homily at Sts. Constantine and Helen.

Scene from Sts Constantine and Helen Parish Visits For Presanctified Liturgy.

After the Service, Fr. Andrew invited Fr. Nicolas, Fr. Pantelaemon and parishioners for food and fellowship. It is activities like this that have helped our two parishes express Orthodox unity in Palos Hills.

St. Luke Parish Hosts Mission Vespers

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Mission Vespers.

Each year the clergy of the local Orthodox parishes gather at one church for a Lenten Vesper service. This year St. Luke was on the schedule. After the reading of Psalm 103 four Deacons, Herman Andrew, Bob and Danial began the Great Litany.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Mission Vespers.

The 14 visiting priests are in line for the reading of the Lenten prayer of St. Ephram the Syrian." O LORD AND MASTER OF MY LIFE, DO NOT PERMIT ME THE SPIRIT OF LAZINESS, DESPAIR, LUST OF POWER, AND IDLE TALK. BUT GIVE, RATHER, THE SPIRIT OF CHASTITY, HUMILITY, PATIENCE AND LOVE TO YOUR SERVANT. O LORD AND KING, GRANT ME TO SEE MY OWN TRANSGRESSIONS AND NOT TO JUDGE MY BROTHER, FOR BLESSED ARE YOU UNTO AGES OF AGES. AMEN.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Mission Vespers.

Father Thomas Mueller the district dean of Priests is giving introductions of the visiting clergy. He commented on the excellence of the Choir under the leadership of Maria Vrame and number of visiting layman from parishes as far away as Milwaukee Wisconsin.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Mission Vespers.

Bernie Drugoni, one of the graduates of the deanery late vocations program, gave the homily on repentance as presented in the prophetical books of the Old Testament and the life of Mary of Egypt.

Scene from St. Luke Parish Hosts Mission Vespers.

After the service all gathered for fellowship and a meal prepared by our Community Development Ministry. They always can be depended on the provide good food and efficient organization.

Akathist Service

Father Harrison reads prayers in front of the Icon of the Virgin.

In some Orthodox Churches of the Russian Tradition the Presanctified Liturgy is celebrated both on Wednesday and Friday. Churches of the Greek Tradition celebrate the Akathist (salutations) to the Virgin Mary of Friday. An Akathist Hymn is a liturgical prayer of praise written about Christ, a certain saint or a need such as thanksgiving. The Akathist Hymn to the Virgin Mary portrays her as a compassionate mother who cares for us through her prayers. During Lent this is necessary because of the spiritual battle which we have undertaken.

We invite all to join us at St. Luke's on our lenten journey to Pascha. If you are unable to attend in person please visit "Journey To Pascha" on our website to follow along and for more information on the faith and services. Each year we try to update this part of our site with new pictures so you can look ahead or follow along as we progress towards Pascha.

Family Retreat

Scene from Family Retreat.

The church school program includes an annual family retreat during Great Lent. At the retreat Fr. Andrew celebrates a special teaching liturgy for the children. The children have a chance to see what the priest does during the Liturgy. Fr. Andrew pauses and various points during the liturgy to explain what he is doing.

Scene from Family Retreat.

All 57 children are receiving Holy Communion. After the Liturgy they go to their classrooms for teaching and crafts. Their parents have a special bible study on the theme of the retreat. The theme this year was "Living the Jesus Prayer". Each attendee received a prayer rope and was instructed on how to use it while praying.

Church Painting Completed

Scene from Church Painting Completed.

This week the church proper was repainted. The walls were repaired and the side walls were painted a light blue while the ceiling received a fresh coat of white paint.

Scene from Church Painting Completed.

Also a new icon was installed in the center of the ceiling.

Annual Women's Retreat

Scene from Annual Women's Retreat.

Once again our Women's Ministry Team held it's annual lenten retreat. Here we see Mother Gabriella, Abbess of Dormition Orthodox Monastery, Michigan as she greets one of the participants at our Seventh Annual Women’s Lenten Retreat.

Scene from Annual Women's Retreat.

Mother Gabriella presented ”The Joy of Being A Christian” and “Acquisition of Virtues” before an audience of 60 women from Orthodox parishes in the Chicago land area.

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