Did you know

Did you know?

 “God Grant You Many Years!” We hear this often in the Orthodox Church as we wish newlyweds, graduates, office holders, or someone celebrating a birthday God’s blessing for a long life. At this year’s Parish Life Conference, Bishop Basil gave us another insight into the saying. The Gospel reading was from Matthew 5:38-48, at the end of which Jesus commands that we should grow into perfection, “…just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Bishop Basil added that we wish people “Many Years” so they might have enough time to learn to love even our enemies as we have been commanded. Knowing this, not only do we say “thank you” for the blessing, but we have an obligation to look at our own life and see if we are making progress towards the perfection the Father requires of us. 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

As with most of the items used in the Orthodox Church, the censer is symbolic and meaningful. The censer consists of four chains. Three represent the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The fourth chain, which raises and lowers the cover, represents the human and Godly nature of the Son. The lower cup represents the earth and the upper cup the heaven. In Greek and Antiochian traditions, there are 12 bells hung along these chains representing the voices of the 12 apostles (usually there are no bells in the Slavic tradition). There are also 72 links in the chains representing 72 evangelists. The censer is used (swung back and forth) by the priest/deacon to venerate all four sides of the altar, the holy gifts, the clergy, the icons, the congregation, and the church structure itself. 

 Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

We attend services at St. Elias, but what would you hear if you went to another Orthodox church, maybe a Russian or Greek or Romanian church inside or outside of the U.S. ? Would you understand the service or would it be completely different? Besides some ethnic customs that you might find in these other churches, the service is exactly the same in all. You would hear the same Gospel reading, Epistle reading, and the same responses are made to the priest by the choir or congregation. The text of the service and the hymns are the same in every Orthodox Church in the world on any given Sunday. The Divine Liturgy is the worship of the whole Church, not of one individual or group 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

Let’s continue looking at the censer used by the priest or deacon. Traditionally, the incense used in it is made of a resin of frankincense, but the resin of fir trees has been used, as well. The resin is usually mixed with various floral essential oils, giving it a sweet smell. The lower bowl contains hot coals (representing sinners), and the incense is placed on top of these. The smoke from the censer represents the prayers of the faithful rising towards heaven as a sweet smelling spiritual fragrance. As you are blessed with the swinging of the censer, it is proper to bow to offer your prayers to God. Unordained servers or acolytes are permitted to prepare and carry the censer, but may not swing it during prayers. 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

On the Narthex wall behind the candle stand there is an icon that has a metal cover over it. This metal cover is called a riza (in Russian, “robe”). The cover is pierced to expose some of the underlying icon. Rizas are sometimes enameled or set with artificial, semi-precious or even precious stones and pearls. Often the haloes of the rizas are even more elaborate than the rest of the icon or covering. Because oil lamps or candles are often burned in front of icons, the riza helps protect the icon, keeping it from darkening over time. Each riza is specifically designed for the icon it is to cover and often only the face and hands are exposed. Late Byzantine icons were designed with a riza from their first painting and then only the areas not covered by the riza were painted.. 

 Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

Besides the relic embedded in our altar, did you know that some of our icons have relics, as well? On the back, left wall is the icon of St. Elizabeth and behind the pews on the left is St. Raphael. Do you see the small, enclosed container on each? This container is called a reliquary. Reliquaries might contain a bone fragment, clothing fragment, or other item associated with that saint. Reliquaries provide a means of protecting and displaying relics, which many believe are endowed by God with the grace of miraculous powers. The faithful often venerate the relics by bowing before the reliquary or kissing it. Keeping relics is a tangible link to the past, a way of treasuring a memory, and reminds us of the path which we are to follow. 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

Of all of the important items used during the Divine Liturgy, there is one that must be present or a Liturgy can not be held. The Antimins, a rectangular piece of cloth, either linen or silk, displays Christ taken down from the cross, the four Evangelists, and inscriptions describing Jesus’ crucifixion. A small relic of a martyr is sewn into it. The Antimins is consecrated, signed by a bishop, and is given to the church. It indicates his permission for the Sacraments to be celebrated and is, in effect, the church's license to hold divine services. Because it is a consecrated (holy) object, no one is allowed to touch an Antimins except a bishop or fully-vested priest or deacon. Because we hold two services on Sunday, St. Elias has two Antimins as only one can be used for each service. 

 Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

Let’s continue to look at the Antimins. During the Divine Liturgy, before the Anaphora, the Antimins is opened three-quarters of the way on the altar, leaving the top portion folded. When the deacon says, "That He (God) may reveal unto them (the catechumens) the Gospel of righteousness," the priest unfolds the last portion of the Antimins, revealing the depicted mystery of Christ's death and resurrection. At the end of the Liturgy, the Antimins is folded in thirds, and then in thirds again, so when it is unfolded the creases form a cross. The word Antimins is from the Greek Antimension: "instead of the table". A priest may celebrate the Eucharist on the Antimins even if there is no properly consecrated altar. In emergencies, war, or a community without a church, the Antimins serves a very important pastoral need. 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

When Bishop Basil visits, you might hear people address him as "Sayedna" which means "Master or Teacher" or “our Father in Christ”. The formal written title for a Bishop is a little different. When written, a Bishop should be addressed as "His Grace, Bishop first name last name" or "His Grace, The Most Reverend Bishop first name last name" or "Most Reverend Bishop first name last name". Bishops are not addressed and referred to as "Bishop last name". The Bishop of a diocese is the head of the Church in that diocese. The Bishop is the successor of the Apostles, appointed by God to head the Church as its high priest. Thus, the Bishop is the representative of Christ in our midst and should be addressed, verbally or in writing, using these respectful and special titles. 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.


Did you know?

Have you noticed that the deacon or priest interrupts the choir’s singing during the Trisagion Hymn (Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us)? Why is that done, what is said, and what does it mean? The deacon or priest turns to face the people and exclaims “Dynamis!” which is commonly translated “with strength”. The celebrant actually raises his voice and intones this command, thus telling all who are singing that this is the time in the liturgy when our voices should be raised the loudest, because this is the time that the Church proclaims the nature of our Triune God. This one word encourages us to chant the last repetition of the Trisagion Hymn with even greater conviction and reminds us to lift up our heart and mind to focus on the Divine. 

Thanks to Patricia Rudawski for providing our “Do You Know?” articles.