Did you know

Did you know?

While the choir comes down from the choir loft to receive communion, there are several members of the parish who sing. What are they singing and why do they fill this space? The choir has just sung “Receive me today as a partaker of Thy mystical supper.” Others in the congregation (usually Laila Fashho or Noura Wakim) repeat this same hymn in Arabic. Communion is the time during the service when we should concentrate on the gift we are receiving. The music helps us to stay focused on our prayers, and not indulge in conversations with neighbors in the pews. Don’t talk over the music. Instead remain standing, remain prayerful, engage in silent prayer and, when it is your turn to receive this great gift, “with fear of God, and faith and love, draw near”.

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


Did you know?

Would you like to have 24/7 access to discussions about our faith? Have you heard of Ancient Faith Radio? Their mission statement says: “AFR seeks to deepen and enrich the faith of Orthodox Christians around the world with streaming audio programming and on-demand podcasts. We feature liturgical music from a variety of Orthodox traditions, as well as prayers, readings, lectures, and interviews.” Ancient Faith Radio operates under the auspices of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, however, it is a pan-Orthodox ministry and serves and supports all jurisdictions. Started in 2004 as an experiment by Chicago residents John and Tonya Maddex, once the internet streaming was perfected, Ancient Faith Radio was made available to anyone with access to the internet. www.Ancientfaith.com. Check it out. 

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


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Let’s look at some other colors used in Byzantine Iconography. Traditional icons are gilded with gold leaf. The gold shines through on the halos and symbolizes the eternal, uncreated light of God and His heavenly kingdom. Purple is used to represent Christ’s Kingdom. White is used to show heavenly purity and divinity (icons of the Resurrection show Christ in white robes). Green is the color of the living earth and is used to portray youth, hope and where life begins. This contrasts to brown which shows our fallen nature on earth and that we will eventually become dust. Black is used to portray evil and death. There are some variations in colors used. Icons written in parts of the world where certain pigments were not available might substitute green for blue. Every part of an icon tells a story. Look closely because icons yield a world of information and meaning.

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


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The icon in the Orthodox Church has a teaching role; it shows theology in color. Let’s look at two colors: red and blue. Red represents humanity and the saving nature of the resurrection. It is the color of blood and signifies life on earth. Blue signifies the heavens and the kingdom of God not on this earth. For example, look at the Platytera icon (in the dome above the altar). Notice the Theotokos wears red outer garments and blue under garments. The red signifies her original human nature and blue her heavenly nature (the human who bore the Divine). Now look at the Pantocrator (round icon of Christ on the ceiling). His outer clothing is blue (signifying his heavenly origins) and red inner clothing indicates his earthly existence, passion and death. What the gospels and hymns teach in words, icons teach us in pictures. 

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


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Look closely at the Theotokos in the huge Platytera icon in the dome behind the altar. In Eastern iconography, the Virgin always wears a cape-like veil called a maphorion that covers her upper forehead and all of her hair. This is in contrast to western religious art in which her hair frequently shows beneath the veil or her head is often uncovered. Notice the three stars on the Virgin’s maphorion, one on the forehead and one on each of her two shoulders. These are called “Stars of Perfection” and are symbolic of her virginity before, during, and after childbirth. The face is typically sensitive, seeming both noble and yet humble. Now look at the smaller icons of the Theotokos around the church. Notice that all are rendered in a similar fashion. The maphorion is always worn by the Theotokos and the Stars of Perfection appear in all. 

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


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We’ve all seen, at the end of the Divine Liturgy, the removal of wedding crowns from a newly wedded couple. Why is this done? In the early church married couples wore their crowns for a full week after the wedding service—it was a weeklong celebration. The newly weds lived as brother and sister until the eighth day so their marriage might be chaste, and a spiritual, prayerful foundation might reign within it. The bride and groom had been crowned as the king and queen of a new family and these crowns were a visible reminder of the crowns that await us in heaven. On the eighth day, the crowns were removed and the newlyweds’ life together began. Some traditions say crowns should be displayed in the home as a reminder that “God has united them to each other and to Himself and he has bestowed his grace upon them to live in unity, faith and love”. An additional benefit of the uncrowning service is that it brings the marriage back into the Eucharistic community as marriages have become more private rather than public sacraments. 

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


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Have you ever heard the Church referred to as the “Church Militant and Church Triumphant?” What exactly does that mean? Are there two Churches? As Orthodox Christians, we believe that the Church Militant includes those of us who are still part of this world, diligently striving to live our lives according to God’s teachings and commandments. The Church Triumphant is a term used for those individuals who have been called by God to be with Him in paradise. Our prayers for the departed help preserve and increase the unity between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven. Death cannot sever the bond of love which links the members of the church together. Those who are alive and those who have finished their earthly years are all united together in one Church, the Body of Christ.

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


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When do the bread and wine actually become the Holy Communion? Well, the truth is, we don’t say exactly when. During the singing of the Cherubim (“Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim….”), the bread and wine have already been prepared and are carried in procession around the church, thus making an offering to God by all in attendance. During the Anaphora (which literally means “to lift up”), the priest remembers all of what God has done for us and gives thanks for the gifts offered. He also asks the Holy Spirit to be sent upon the whole congregation and upon the gifts spread forth. At the end of the Anaphora, we can say that the offering is consecrated as the Body and Blood of Christ and is ready to be given to those who have prepared themselves to receive communion—and the Church is consecrated as the Body of Christ. In a very real sense, the Body of Christ receives the Body and Blood of Christ in the sanctified gifts.

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


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The words disciple and apostle are often used interchangeably, but they don’t quite have the same meaning. The word disciple comes from Latin and means “pupil or student”, where the word apostle comes from the Greek word meaning “delegate”. The original 12 followers of Jesus during his ministry were his students (disciples). The 12 disciples officially became Jesus’ delegates (apostles) when he personally sent them out into the world to preach and heal. Think of it like this. Many try to be disciples of Christ (followers or students), however, few Christians become apostles (messengers). Ultimately, all the apostles (except John) were martyred for their teachings and rejoiced that God counted them worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.

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