Happy and blessed Old Calendar New Year! Srecna Nova Godina!
St Basil the Great January 1/14
Basil was born during the reign of Emperor Constantine. While still unbaptized, he spent fifteen years in Athens, where he studied philosophy, rhetoric, astronomy and all the other secular sciences of that time. His colleagues there were Gregory the Theologian and Julian, later the apostate emperor. In his mature years he was baptized in the Jordan River along with Ebulios, his former teacher. He was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia for almost ten years and completed his earthly life fifty years after his birth. He was a great defender of Orthodoxy, a great light of moral purity, a religious zealot, a great theological mind, and a great builder and pillar of the Church of God. Basil fully deserved the title “Great.” In liturgical services he is referred to as the “bee of the Church of Christ, which brings honey to the faithful and with its stinger pricks the heretics.” Numerous works of this Father of the Church are preserved; they include theological, apologetical, ascetical and canonical writings, as well as the Holy and Divine Liturgy named after him. This Divine Liturgy is celebrated ten times during the year: on the first of January, his feast day; on the eve of the Nativity of our Lord; on the eve of the Theophany of our Lord; on all Sundays of Great Lent except Palm Sunday; on Great and Holy Thursday; and on Great and Holy Saturday. St. Basil reposed peacefully on January 1, 379, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ.
Circumcision of our Lord
On the eighth day following His birth, the Divine Child was presented in the Temple and circumcised according to the Law existing in Israel since the time of Abraham. On this occasion, He was given the name Jesus, which the Archangel Gabriel had announced to the Most-Holy Virgin Mary. The Old Testament circumcision was the prefiguring of the New Testament baptism. The circumcision of our Lord shows that He truly received upon Himself the body of man and not just seemingly, as was later taught of Him by heretics. Our Lord was also circumcised because He wanted to fulfill the entire Law, which He Himself gave through the prophets and forefathers. In fulfilling the written Law, He replaced it with Baptism in His Holy Church as was proclaimed by the Apostle Paul: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Galatians 6:15). (In the liturgical calendar of the Church, this Feast of the Lord's Circumcision has neither a forefeast nor an afterfeast).
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born of the Most Holy Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem during the reign of the emperor Augustus (Octavian). Caesar Augustus decreed that a universal census be made throughout his Empire, which then also included Palestinian Israel. The Jews were accustomed to be counted in the city from where their family came. The Most Holy Virgin and the Righteous Joseph, since they were descended from the house and lineage of King David, had to go to Bethlehem to be counted and taxed.
In Bethlehem they found no room at any of the city’s inns. Thus, the God-Man, the Savior of the world, was born in a cave that was used as a stable.
“I behold a strange and most glorious mystery,” the Church sings with awe, “Heaven, a Cave; the Virgin the Throne of the Cherubim; the Manger a room, in which Christ, the God Whom nothing can contain is laid.” (Irmos of the 9th Ode of the Nativity Canon).
Having given birth to the divine Infant without travail, the Most Holy Virgin “wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). In the stillness of midnight (Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15), the proclamation of the birth of the Savior of the world was heard by three shepherds watching their flocks by night.
An angel of the Lord (Saint Cyprian says this was Gabriel) came before them and said: “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). The humble shepherds were the first to offer worship to Him Who condescended to assume the form of a humble servant for the salvation of mankind. Besides the glad tidings to the Bethlehem shepherds, the Nativity of Christ was revealed to the Magi by a wondrous star. Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Theophylactus, commenting on Saint Matthew’s Gospel, say that this was no ordinary star. Rather, it was “a divine and angelic power that appeared in the form of a star.” Saint Demetrius of Rostov says it was a “manifestation of divine energy” (Narrative of the Adoration of the Magi). Entering the house where the Infant lay, the Magi “fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Mt. 2:11).
The present Feast, commemorating the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, was established by the Church. Its origin goes back to the time of the Apostles. In the Apostolic Constitutions (Section 3, 13) it says, “Brethren, observe the feastdays; and first of all the Birth of Christ, which you are to celebrate on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month.” In another place it also says, “Celebrate the day of the Nativity of Christ, on which unseen grace is given man by the birth of the Word of God from the Virgin Mary for the salvation of the world.”
In the second century Saint Clement of Alexandria also indicates that the day of the Nativity of Christ is December 25. In the third century Saint Hippolytus of Rome mentions the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, and appoints the Gospel readings for this day from the opening chapters of Saint Matthew.
In 302, during the persecution of Christians by Maximian, 20,000 Christians of Nicomedia (December 28) were burned in church on the very Feast of the Nativity of Christ. In that same century, after the persecution when the Church had received freedom of religion and had become the official religion in the Roman Empire, we find the Feast of the Nativity of Christ observed throughout the entire Church. There is evidence of this in the works of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory the Theologian, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Ambrose of Milan, Saint John Chrysostom and other Fathers of the Church of the fourth century.
Saint John Chrysostom, in a sermon which he gave in the year 385, points out that the Feast of the Nativity of Christ is ancient, and indeed very ancient. In this same century, at the Cave of Bethlehem, made famous by the Birth of Jesus Christ, the empress Saint Helen built a church, which her mighty son Constantine adorned after her death. In the Codex of the emperor Theodosius from 438, and of the emperor Justinian in 535, the universal celebration of the day of the Nativity of Christ was decreed by law. Thus, Nicephorus Callistus, a writer of the fourteenth century, says in his History that in the sixth century, the emperor Justinian established the celebration of the Nativity of Christ throughout all the world.
Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople in the fifth century, Sophronius and Andrew of Jerusalem in the seventh, Saints John of Damascus, Cosmas of Maium and Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople in the eighth, the Nun Cassiane in the ninth, and others whose names are unknown, wrote many sacred hymns for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, which are still sung by the Church on this radiant festival.
During the first three centuries, in the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Cyprus, the Nativity of Christ was combined together with the Feast of His Baptism on January 6, and called “Theophany” (“Manifestation of God”). This was because of a belief that Christ was baptized on anniversary of His birth, which may be inferred from Saint John Chrysostom’s sermon on the Nativity of Christ: “it is not the day on which Christ was born which is called Theophany, but rather that day on which He was baptized.”
In support of such a view, it is possible to cite the words of the Evangelist Luke who says that “Jesus began to be about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23) when He was baptized. The joint celebration of the Nativity of Christ and His Theophany continued to the end of the fourth century in certain Eastern Churches, and until the fifth or sixth century in others.
The present order of services preserves the memory of the ancient joint celebration of the Feasts of the Nativity of Christ and Theophany. On the eve of both Feasts, there is a similar tradition that one should fast until the stars appear. The order of divine services on the eve of both feastdays and the feastdays themselves is the same.
The Nativity of Christ has long been counted as one of the Twelve Great Feasts. It is one of the greatest, most joyful and wondrous events in the history of the world. “The angel said to the shepherds, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ Then suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, glorifying God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ Those who heard these things were astonished at what the shepherds told them concerning the Child. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:10-20).
Thus the Nativity of Christ, a most profound and extraordinary event, was accompanied by the wondrous tidings proclaimed to the shepherds and to the Magi. This is a cause of universal rejoicing for all mankind, “for the Savior is Born!”
Concurring with the witness of the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church, in their God-inspired writings, describe the Feast of the Nativity of Christ as most profound, and joyous, serving as the basis and foundation for all the other Feasts.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Commemorated on December 20/January 2January 2 - Divine Liturgy at 9 am, confession at 8:30 am
The Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, was a disciple of the holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, as was also Saint Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (February 23). Saint Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch, and successor to Bishop Euodius, Apostle of the Seventy (September 7).
Tradition suggests that when Saint Ignatius was a little boy, the Savior hugged him and said: “Unless you turn and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 18:3). The saint was called “God-Bearer” (Theophoros), because he bore God in his heart and prayed unceasingly to Him. He also had this name because he was held in the arms of Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
Saint Ignatius was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian, together with Saint Polycarp of Smyrna. As Bishop of Antioch, Saint Ignatius was zealous and spared no effort to build up the church of Christ. To him is attributed the practice of antiphonal singing (by two choirs) during church services. He had seen a vision of the angels in heaven alternately singing praises to God, and divided his church choir to follow this example. In the time of persecution he was a source of strength to the souls of his flock and was eager to suffer for Christ.
In the year 106 the emperor Trajan (98-117), after his victory over the Scythians, ordered everyone to give thanks to the pagan gods, and to put to death any Christians who refused to worship the idols. In the year 107, Trajan happened to pass through Antioch. Here they told him that Bishop Ignatius openly confessed Christ, and taught people to scorn riches, to lead a virtuous life, and preserve their virginity. Saint Ignatius came voluntarily before the emperor, so as to avert persecution of the Christians in Antioch. Saint Ignatius rejected the persistent requests of the emperor Trajan to sacrifice to the idols. The emperor then decided to send him to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts. Saint Ignatius joyfully accepted the sentence imposed upon him. His readiness for martyrdom was attested to by eyewitnesses, who accompanied Saint Ignatius from Antioch to Rome.
On the way to Rome, the ship sailed from Seleucia stopped at Smyrna, where Saint Ignatius met with his friend Bishop Polycarp. Clergy and believers from other cities and towns thronged to see Saint Ignatius. He exhorted everyone not to fear death and not to grieve for him. In his Epistle to the Roman Christians, he asked them to assist him with their prayers, and to pray that God would strengthen him in his impending martyrdom for Christ: “I seek Him Who died for us; I desire Him Who rose for our salvation... In me, desire has been nailed to the cross, and no flame of material longing is left. Only the living water speaks within me, saying, ‘Hasten to the Father.’”
From Smyrna, Saint Ignatius went to Troas. Here he heard the happy news of the end of the persecution against Christians in Antioch. From Troas, Saint Ignatius sailed to Neapolis (in Macedonia) and then to Philippi.
On the way to Rome Saint Ignatius visited several churches, teaching and guiding the Christians there. He also wrote seven epistles: to the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna. He also addressed a letter to Saint Polycarp, who mentions a collection of the letters of Saint Ignatius in his letter to the Philippians (Ch. 13). Saint Irenaeus of Lyons quotes from Saint Ignatius’s letter to the Romans (AGAINST HERESIES 5:28:4). All these letters have survived to the present day.
The Roman Christians met Saint Ignatius with great joy and profound sorrow. Some of them hoped to prevent his execution, but Saint Ignatius implored them not to do this. Kneeling down, he prayed together with the believers for the Church, for love between the brethren, and for an end to the persecution against Christians.
On December 20, the day of a pagan festival, they led Saint Ignatius into the arena, and he turned to the people: “Men of Rome, you know that I am sentenced to death, not because of any crime, but because of my love for God, by Whose love I am embraced. I long to be with Him, and offer myself to him as a pure loaf, made of fine wheat ground fine by the teeth of wild beasts.”
After this the lions were released and tore him to pieces, leaving only his heart and a few bones. Tradition says that on his way to execution, Saint Ignatius unceasingly repeated the name of Jesus Christ. When they asked him why he was doing this, Saint Ignatius answered that this Name was written in his heart, and that he confessed with his lips Him Whom he always carried within. When the saint was devoured by the lions, his heart was not touched. When they cut open the heart, the pagans saw an inscription in gold letters: “Jesus Christ.” After his execution Saint Ignatius appeared to many of the faithful in their sleep to comfort them, and some saw him at prayer for the city of Rome.
Hearing of the saint’s great courage, Trajan thought well of him and stopped the persecution against the Christians. The relics of Saint Ignatius were transferred to Antioch (January 29), and on February 1, 637 were returned to Rome and placed in the church of San Clemente.
Christ is Born!!
Instead of assembling your own, pick up a charcuterie / meza platter from us!
Pre-Order a 14" Platter of a various meats for curbside pick up.
Orders will be taken by phone until 8pm Sunday, January 3rd.
Call or Text Danielle Serdar at (630) 709-7437
Include your name, number of plates and pick up time
Pick Up between 10:30 -11:30am or 4:00-6:00 pm on Wednesday, January 6th from the East side (upper level) of the Social Center.
Each 14" Platter contains slices of Cheese, Prosciutto, Suvi Vrat, Kobasica and Salama Bonus!! A small pogaca and container of kajmak included with every order!
$30 per Platter Cash or Check made payable to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Thank you & May God Bless You & Your Families this Božić
St. George Church-School Board
Two Sundays before Nativity is Serbian Mother’s Day - Materice, when children tie their mothers' and grandmothers' legs together, and in return they get symbolic presents. The same is done with fathers and grandfathers on the next Sunday. Tying the legs represents the bonds and love in the family before the Feast of the Birth of our Savior.
The traditional Serbian Orthodox greeting for the Nativity season is Christ is Born and the reply is Indeed He is Born or Truly He is Born. In Serbian it is Hristos se rodi and the reply is Voistinu se rodi. Many Slavic people such as Russians and Ukrainians say Christ is Born, Glorify Him! Either all together or One person would say Christ is Born and another Glorify Him. The Christmas greeting in Greek is Christ is Born, give glory! Again, either just one person or two with Christ is Born and reply Give glory.
The Christmas greeting is used from the day of the Nativity until the Apodosis or Leave-taking of the Feast which is January 13.
Holy Mysteries never have been stopped in our church. Holy Communion is offered at every Divine Liturgy. Communicants should put their head back and open their mouth wide to receive communion so the spoon does not touch their lips. Confession is on Saturdays after the vigil or on Sunday and other Holy Days, 30 minutes before any Divine Liturgy. Confession and communion can also be taken at any other time in church or at a parishioner’s home. There is no reason to be without the saving Mysteries! Please let Fr Alex know which way you would like to receive confession and communion. To be a member in good standing of an Orthodox church, a faithful parishioner should be in good standing in his/her Sacramental/liturgical and financial obligations.
During the pandemic four of our parishioners continued to read 3rd and 6th hours before a Sunday Liturgy. Many thanks. If you would like to read the hours and feel safe and are healthy, please let the priest know.
A few months ago, we had instructions for making and baking the prosphoras - liturgical bread, in our kitchen. Some parishioners were not able to attend, but we will have another one in January. Please let Fr Aleksandar know which day of the week would work the best for you if you would like to participate.
Saturday, January 2 - St Ignatius the God-bearer / St John of Kronstadt / St Daniel II Archbishop of Serbia / The Forefeast of the Nativity
Confession at 8:30 am; Divine Liturgy at 9 am
Vigil/confession at 5 pm
Sunday, January 3- Sunday of the Holy Fathers / Martyr Juliana / Serbian Father's Day / Oчеви
Confession at 9:30 am; Divine Liturgy at 10 am and church school. Decoration of Badnjak in church.
Wednesday, January 6 - Nativity Eve / Badnji dan / strict fast / Rozdestvenski sochelnik
Confession at 8:30 am; Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 9 am
Blessing of Badnjak in the church at 4 pm. From this service until the Nativity Matins the church will be open for all who wants to come, say their prayers, light candles, and take a piece of badnjak (Yule Log) home. We are suggesting to our senior citizens and the parishioners of higher risk to attend these two services and leave the Nativity Matins at 6 pm for working - younger people. Please let Fr Alex know which service you would like to attend since we cannot have many in church! Masks and social distancing required!
Nativity Matins at 6 pm. Confessions after the Matins
Thursday, January 7 - The Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ / Божић
Confession at 9:30 am. Divine Liturgy at 10 am. The church will be open from 5 pm to 7 pm for all who want to come.
Friday, January 8 - Synaxis of the Theotokos / Сабор Пресвете Богородице
Divine Liturgy at 9 am
Vespers/confessions at 6 pm
Saturday, January 9 - St Stephen the First Archdeacon and Martyr / Св Стефан Архиђакон
Divine Liturgy at 9 am
Vigil/confession at 5 pm
Sunday, January 10 - Sunday after Nativity / Недеља по Божићу
Divine Liturgy at 10 am, Church School
According to Holy Tradition, the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple took place in the following manner. The parents of the Virgin Mary, Saints Joachim and Anna, praying for an end to their childlessness, vowed that if a child were born to them, they would dedicate it to the service of God.
When the Most Holy Virgin reached the age of three, the holy parents decided to fulfill their vow. They gathered together their relatives and acquaintances and dressed the All-Pure Virgin in Her finest clothes. Singing sacred songs and with lighted candles in their hands, virgins escorted Her to the Temple (Ps. 44/45:14-15). There the High Priest and several priests met the handmaiden of God. In the Temple, fifteen high steps led to the sanctuary, which only the priests and High Priest could enter. (Because they recited a Psalm on each step, Psalms 119/120-133/134 are called “Psalms of Ascent.”) The child Mary, so it seemed, could not make it up this stairway. But just as they placed Her on the first step, strengthened by the power of God, She quickly went up the remaining steps and ascended to the highest one. Then the High Priest, through inspiration from above, led the Most Holy Virgin into the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest entered once a year to offer a purifying sacrifice of blood. Therefore, all those present in the Temple were astonished at this most unusual occurrence.
After entrusting their child to the Heavenly Father, Joachim and Anna returned home. The All-Holy Virgin remained in the quarters for virgins near the Temple. According to the testimony of Holy Scripture (Exodus 38; 1 Kings 1: 28; Luke 2: 37), and also the historian Josephus Flavius, there were many living quarters around the Temple, in which those who were dedicated to the service of God dwelt.
The earthly life of the Most Holy Theotokos from Her infancy until She was taken up to Heaven is shrouded in deep mystery. Her life at the Jerusalem Temple was also a secret. “If anyone were to ask me,” said Saint Jerome, “how the Most Holy Virgin spent the time of Her youth, I would answer that that is known to God Himself and the Archangel Gabriel, Her constant guardian.”
But there are accounts in Church Tradition, that during the All-Pure Virgin’s stay at the Temple, She grew up in a community of pious virgins, diligently read the Holy Scripture, occupied Herself with handicrafts, prayed constantly, and grew in love for God. From ancient times, the Church has celebrated the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple. Indications that the Feast was observed in the first centuries of Christianity are found in the traditions of Palestinian Christians, which say that the holy Empress Helen (May 21) built a church in honor of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.
Saint Gregory of Nyssa, in the fourth century, also mentions this Feast. In the eighth century Saints Germanus and Tarasius, Patriarchs of Constantinople, delivered sermons on the Feast of the Entry.
The Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple foretells God’s blessing for the human race, the preaching of salvation, the promise of the coming of Christ.
The Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch (Gavrilovic) reposed in the Lord in the Military Covid Hospital "Karaburma" in Belgrade, on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 7:07 AM.
Read more details at http://www.spc.rs/eng
Services in St George church:Nov 20 - Vespers/confession at 6 pm Nov 21 - Divine Liturgy at 9 am Blessed Krsna Slava to all who celebrate this Feast Day!
The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.
A Feastday was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the holy Fathers. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the Eighth Day, and then “the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all the holy Angels with Him” (Mt. 25:31).
The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest, middle, and lowest.
The Highest Hierarchy includes: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.
The six-winged SERAPHIM (Flaming, Fiery) (Is 6:12) stand closest of all to the Most Holy Trinity. They blaze with love for God and kindle such love in others.
The many-eyed CHERUBIM (outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment) (Gen 3:24) stand before the Lord after the Seraphim. They are radiant with the light of knowledge of God, and knowledge of the mysteries of God. Through them wisdom is poured forth, and people’s minds are enlightened so they may know God and behold His glory.
The THRONES (Col 1:16) stand after the Cherubim, mysteriously and incomprehensibly bearing God through the grace given them for their service. They are ministers of God’s justice, giving to tribunals, kings, etc. the capacity for righteous judgment.
The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three Ranks: Dominions, Powers, and Authorities.
DOMINIONS (Col 1:16) hold dominion over the angels subject to them. They instruct the earthly authorities, established by God, to rule wisely, and to govern their lands well. The Dominions teach us to subdue sinful impulses, to subject the flesh to the spirit, to master our will, and to conquer temptation.
POWERS (1 Pet 3:22) fulfill the will of God without hesitation. They work great miracles and give the grace of wonderworking and clairvoyance to saints pleasing to God. The Powers assist people in fulfilling obediences. They also encourage them to be patient, and give them spiritual strength and fortitude.
AUTHORITIES (1 Pet 3:22, Col 1:16) have authority over the devil. They protect people from demonic temptations, and prevent demons from harming people as they would wish. They also uphold ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with evil thoughts.
The Lowest Hierarchy includes the three Ranks: Principalities, Archangels, and Angels:
PRINCIPALITIES (Col 1:16) have command over the lower angels, instructing them in the fulfilling of God’s commands. They watch over the world and protect lands, nations and peoples. Principalities instruct people to render proper honor to those in authority, as befits their station. They teach those in authority to use their position, not for personal glory and gain, but to honor God, and to spread word of Him, for the benefit of those under them.
ARCHANGELS (1 Thess 4:16) are messengers of great and wondrous tidings. They reveal prophecies and the mysteries of the faith. They enlighten people to know and understand the will of God, they spread faith in God among the people, illuminating their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.
ANGELS (1 Pet 3:22) are in the lowest rank of the heavenly hierarchy, and closest to people. They reveal the lesser mysteries of God and His intentions, guiding people to virtuous and holy life. They support those who remain steadfast, and they raise up the fallen. They never abandon us and they are always prepared to help us, if we desire it.
All the Ranks of the Heavenly Powers are called angels, although each has its own name and position by virtue of their service. The Lord reveals His will to the highest ranks of the angels, and they in turn inform the others.
Over all the Nine Ranks, the Lord appointed the Holy Archangel Michael (his name in Hebrew means “who is like unto God”), the faithful servitor of God, as Chief Commander. He cast down from Heaven the arrogantly proud Lucifer and the other fallen spirits when they rebelled against God. Michael summoned the ranks of angels and cried out, “Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and do not consider doing what is displeasing unto God!”
According to Church Tradition, and in the church services to the Archangel Michael, he participated in many other Old Testament events.
During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Through him the power of the Lord was made manifest, annihilating the Egyptians and Pharaoh who were in pursuit of the Israelites. The Archangel Michael defended Israel in all its misfortunes.
He appeared to Joshua Son of Navi and revealed the will of the Lord at the taking of Jericho (Josh 5:13-16). The power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25).
Through the will of God, the Chief Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk (December 2) from Judea to Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 14:33-37).
The Archangel Michael disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9).
The holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he miraculously saved a young man, cast into the sea by robbers with a stone about his neck on the shores of Mt Athos. This story is found in the Athonite Paterikon, and in the Life of Saint Neophytus of Docheiariou (November 9).
We invoke Saint Michael for protection from invasion by enemies and from civil war, and for the defeat of adversaries on the field of battle. He conquers all spiritual enemies.
Holy Scripture and Tradition give us the names of the Archangels:
Gabriel: strength (power) of God, herald and servitor of Divine omnipotence (Dan 8:16, Luke 1:26). He announces the mysteries of God.
Raphael: the healing of God, the curer of human infirmities (Tobit 3:16, 12:15)
Uriel: the fire or light of God, enlightener (3 Ezdras 5:20). We pray for him to enlighten those with darkened minds.
Selaphiel: the prayer of God, impelling to prayer (3 Ezdras 5:16). He prays to God for mankind.
Jehudiel: the glorifying of God, encouraging exertion for the glory of the Lord and interceding for the reward of efforts.
Barachiel: distributor of the blessings of God for good deeds, entreats the mercy of God for people.
Jeremiel: the raising up to God (3 Ezdras 4:36)
On icons the Archangels are depicted in according to the character of their service:
Michael tramples the devil underfoot, and in his left hand holds a green date-tree branch, and in his right hand a spear with a white banner on which is outlined a scarlet cross, or sometimes a fiery sword.
Gabriel with a branch from Paradise, presented by him to the Most Holy Virgin, or with a shining lantern in his right hand and with a mirror made of jasper in his left.
Raphael holds a vessel with healing medications in his left hand, and with his right hand leads Tobias, carrying a fish for healing (Tobit 5-8).
Uriel in his raised right hand holds a naked sword at the level of his chest, and in his lowered left hand “a fiery flame.”
The Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian and their mother Saint Theodota were natives of Asia Minor (some sources say Mesopotamia). Their pagan father died while they were still quite small children. Their mother raised them in Christian piety. Through her own example, and by reading holy books to them, Saint Theodota preserved her children in purity of life according to the command of the Lord, and Cosmas and Damian grew up into righteous and virtuous men.
Trained and skilled as physicians, they received from the Holy Spirit the gift of healing people’s illnesses of body and soul by the power of prayer. They even treated animals. With fervent love for both God and neighbor, they never took payment for their services. They strictly observed the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Freely have you received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8). The fame of Saints Cosmas and Damian spread throughout all the surrounding region, and people called them unmercenary physicians.
Once, the saints were summoned to a grievously ill woman named Palladia, whom all the doctors had refused to treat because of her seemingly hopeless condition. Through faith and through the fervent prayer of the holy brothers, the Lord healed the deadly disease and Palladia got up from her bed perfectly healthy and giving praise to God. In gratitude for being healed and wishing to give them a small gift, Palladia went quietly to Damian. She presented him with three eggs and said, “Take this small gift in the Name of the Holy Life-Creating Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Hearing the Name of the Holy Trinity, the unmercenary one did not dare to refuse.
When Saint Cosmas learned what had happened, became very sad, for he thought that his brother had broken their strict vow. On his deathbed he gave instructions that his brother should not be buried beside him. Saint Damian also died shortly afterward, and everyone wondered where Saint Damian’s grave should be. But through the will of God a miracle occurred. A camel, which the saints had treated for its wildness, spoke with a human voice saying that they should have no doubts about whether to place Damian beside Cosmas, because Damian did not accept the eggs from the woman as payment, but out of respect for the Name of God. The venerable relics of the holy brothers were buried together at Thereman (Mesopotamia).
Many miracles were worked after the death of the holy unmercenaries. There lived at Thereman, near the church of Cosmas and Damian, a certain man by the name of Malchus. One day he went on a journey, leaving his wife all alone for what would be a long time. He prayerfully entrusted her to the heavenly protection of the holy brothers. But the Enemy of the race of mankind took on the appearance of one of Malchus’ friends, and planned to kill the woman. A certain time went by, and this man went to her at home and said that Malchus had sent him to bring her to him. The woman believed him and went along. He led her to a solitary place intending to kill her. The woman, seeing that disaster threatened her, called upon God with deep faith.
Two fiercesome men then appeared, and the devil let go of the woman and fled, falling off a cliff. The two men led the woman home. At her own home, bowing to them deeply she asked, “My rescuers, to whom I shall be grateful to the end of my days, what are your names?”
They replied, “We are the servants of Christ, Cosmas and Damian,” and became invisible. The woman with trembling and with joy told everyone about what had happened to her. Glorifying God, she went up to the icon of the holy brothers and tearfully offered prayers of thanksgiving for her deliverance. And from that time the holy brothers were venerated as protectors of the holiness and inviolability of Christian marriage, and as givers of harmony to conjugal life. From ancient times, their veneration spread also to Russia.
The Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17).
The Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios the Myrrh-gusher of Thessaloniki was the son of a Roman proconsul in Thessaloniki. Three centuries had elapsed and Roman paganism, spiritually shattered and defeated by the multitude of martyrs and confessors of the Savior, intensified its persecutions. The parents of Saint Dēmḗtrios were secret Christians, and he was baptized and raised in the Christian Faith in a secret church in his father’s home.
By the time Dēmḗtrios had reached maturity and his father had died, Emperor Galerius Maximian had ascended the throne (305). Maximian, confident in Dēmḗtrios's education as well as his administrative and military abilities, appointed him to his father’s position as proconsul of the Thessaloniki district. The young commander's principal duties were to defend the city from barbarians and to eradicate Christianity. The Emperor's policy regarding Christians was expressed simply: “Put to death anyone who calls on the name of Christ.” The Emperor did not suspect that by appointing Dēmḗtrios he had provided him with the opportunity to bring many people to Christ.
Accepting the appointment, Dēmḗtrios returned to Thessaloniki and confessed and glorified our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of persecuting and executing Christians, he began to teach the Christian Faith openly to the inhabitants of the city and to overthrow pagan customs and the worship of idols. The compiler of his Life, Saint Simeon Metaphrastes (November 9), says that because of his teaching zeal he became “a second Apostle Paul” for Thessaloniki, particularly since “the Apostle to the Gentiles” founded the first community of believers in the city (1 Thess. and 2 Thess.).
The Lord also destined Saint Dēmḗtrios to follow Saint Paul on the path to martyrdom. When Maximian learned that the newly-appointed proconsul was a Christian and that he had converted many Roman subjects to Christianity, the Emperor's rage knew no bounds. Returning from a campaign in the area of the Black Sea, the Emperor decided to lead his army through Thessaloniki, determined to massacre the Christians.
Learning of this, Saint Dēmḗtrios ordered his faithful servant Lupus to give his wealth to the poor saying, “Distribute my earthly riches among them, for we shall seek heavenly riches for ourselves.” He began to pray and fast, preparing himself for martyrdom.
When the Emperor came into the city, he summoned Dēmḗtrios, who boldly confessed himself a Christian and denounced the falsehood and futility of Roman polytheism. Maximian ordered Dēmḗtrios to be thrown into prison. An Angel appeared to him, comforting and encouraging him.
Meanwhile, the Emperor amused himself by staging games in the circus. His champion was a German by the name of Lyaeos. He challenged Christians to wrestle with him on a platform built over the upturned spears of the victorious soldiers. A brave Christian named Nestor went to the prison to Saint Dēmḗtrios, his instructor in the Faith, asking for his blessing to fight the barbarian. With the blessing and prayers of Saint Dēmḗtrios, Nestor defeated the fierce German and hurled him from the platform onto the spears of the soldiers, just as the murderous pagan would have done with the Christian. The enraged commander ordered the execution of the holy Martyr Nestor (October 27) and sent a guard to the prison to kill Saint Dēmḗtrios. At dawn on October 26, 306 soldiers appeared in the Saint's underground prison and ran him through with lances. His faithful servant, Saint Lupus, gathered up the blood-soaked garment of Saint Dēmḗtrios he took the imperial ring from his finger, a symbol of his high status, and dipped it in the blood. With the ring and other holy things sanctified the blood of Saint Dēmḗtrios, Saint Lupus began to heal the infirm. The Emperor ordered his soldiers to arrest and kill him.
The body of the holy Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios was cast out for wild animals to devour, but the Christians took it and secretly buried it in the earth.
During the reign of Saint Constantine (306-337), a church was built over the grave of Saint Dēmḗtrios. A hundred years later, during the construction of a majestic new church on the old spot, the incorrupt relics of the holy martyr were uncovered. Since the seventh century, a miraculous flow of fragrant myrrh has been found beneath the crypt of the Great Martyr Dēmḗtrios, so he is called “the Myrrh-gusher.”
Saint Dēmḗtrios is regarded as a protector of the young and is also invoked by those struggling with lustful temptations.
We will have another curbside pickup fish fry dinner this Sunday!
Pre-order by Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. Pickup will be Sunday, June 28 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. from the east side, main entrance of the social hall.
Orders will be taken by phone until Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. Call or text Tana Petrich at 815-207-0737, and include your name and number of dinners.
Pick up between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm from the East side (main entrance) of the Social Center dinner includes:
- Choice of baked or fried cod
- Choice of vegetable- corn or green beans and French fries
- Green salad, bread and home-made strudel
Cost: At-will donation. Cash or check only!
Remember to preorder by Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m.!
Saturday, June 6- vigil / confession at 5 p.m.
Sunday, Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. Immediately after the Liturgy, Pentecost vespers with kneeling prayers.
Our Church calls upon all of us to please follow the directions of medical and civil officials to stay at home. All services in church are being conducted by clergy and chanters.
Because of the corona virus and our congregation not being allowed to attend the services, we will celebrate Paschal Liturgy immediately after the Resurrection Matins which will start at 11 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. On Pascha Sunday, April 19 at 10 a.m we will have the Paschal - Agape Vespers
Parishioners, friends, if you would like to light candles in church during the services for the health and salvation of your family and/or repose of souls of your beloved ones during Holy Week and Bright Week, please call or send a text or email to Fr. Aleksandar with their names and check made out to: St. George Church 300 Stryker Ave, Joliet, IL 60436. Father will gladly do it for you.
The Serb, our parish newsletter, will not be mailed anymore and future issues will be sent via email, please make sure Fr. Aleks has your correct email. Several hard copies of the Serb will be available in the church narthex for parishioners who do not have email.
Unless the stay at home ban is lifted, we will not celebrate St. George Church Slava on Sunday, May 3, but we will have services on May 6, St. George Feast Day, with clergy and chanters only. If St. George is your Krsna Slava, please talk to Fr. Aleks regarding your slava rites.
Christ is in our midst!
We are following the order of our Governor of the State of Illinois to stay at home from Saturday, March 21 through April 7, 2020, to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. This airborne virus can be spread on from person to person, therefore we ask you to please stay home on Sundays and during other church services.
St George church in Joliet will have Divine Liturgy tomorrow, and other scheduled services, for up to 10 people in attendance, and maintaining social distancing from each other. If we have more faithful in attendance, no one will be turned away, but we have to understand the risk we are taking.
Please continue to pray and keep the fast at your homes during this time.
May God help us through the prayers and intercession of the Most Holy Theotokos and all saints in heaven!
+Milan Laketa 90, entered into his rest on Saturday, March 7, 2020. Visitation will be on Sunday, March 15 at Markiewitz funeral home in Lamont, IL in the afternoon with pomen service at 7 p.m.
Funeral service - opelo on Monday, March 16 at 11 a.m. in St. George Church in Joliet. Visitation from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Burial in Abraham Lincoln National cemetery.
Our deepest condolences to the Laketa family. May Milan's memory be eternal. Vjecnaja pamjat.
Troparion, Tone 8
Open to me the doors of repentance, O Life-giver.
For my spirit rises early to pray towards Thy holy temple,
bearing the temple of my body all defiled.
But in Thy compassion, purify me by the loving kindness of Thy mercy.
Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Mother of God,
For I have profaned my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted my life in laziness.
But by your intercessions, deliver me from all impurity.
When I think of the many evil things I have done, wretch that I am,
I tremble at the fearful day of judgement.
But trusting in Thy living kindness, like David I cry to Thee:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.
The Prayer of St Ephraim of Syria supplicates God for those virtues especially necessary to the Christian life:
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk. Prostration
But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to Thy servant. Prostration
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. Amen. Prostration
The best way to experience Great Lent is to attend the services and try to change your everyday routine and modify it according to the Lenten practices.
+Paul Shimek 73, entered into his rest on Saturday evening, February 15 - Feast of the Presentation of our Lord into temple. He was a longtime member and a great supporter of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church in Joliet, IL.
Visitation and pomen service will be at Tezak Funeral Home in Joliet, IL on Thursday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. Funeral service on Friday, February 21 at 10 a.m. at St. George Serb Orthodox Church. Interment will follow in Woodlawn cemetery in Joliet, IL.
Sincere condolences to his wife Gayle, daughter Stephanie and her husband Deacon Nenad, family and kumovi.
May Paul's memory be eternal! Vjecnaja Pamjat!
Срећан Празник Рођења Христа Спаситеља и Нова 2020 година!
Peace of God Christ is Born!
Blessed Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a happy New Year!
See you in church for the Nativity services.
On January 6 after the Vigil Service in church, we will have a blessing of the badnjak (Yule Log) in the social hall and refreshments for all who attend. Please encourage your family and friends to come even if they don't belong to our church. This is a chance for us to invite and bring a non-Orthodox to our church services and show them how we celebrate the Birth of our Savior. The Culture Club and children will decorate the badnjak on Sunday, January 5 after the services. Fr. Alex and John Dauer cut the badnjak on John's property. Badnje Vece is a church event and we would appreciate if you can bring a posno snack, salad, or dessert to the hall to share for the evening celebration. Please bring your food in a disposable container or one you can take home with you. This can be dropped off at the hall prior to the 6pm Vigil Service. We will also need help with setup and ask that EVERYONE help with cleanup after the event. Please see Sue Kljaich to offer your help.
The Serbian Cooking Class previously scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 17 is POSTPONED: The Serbian cooking class that was schduled for Nov 17 will be postponed. We will plan a Lenten cooking class in December and schedule another cooking class in February. Dates and further information will be provided very soon. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Please visit our bookstore in lower level of church to purchase your Orthodox Christmas and other occasions cards, books, ikons, incense and other Orthodox gifts. Please see Nancy Cora if you need help or have questions about the store.
Attention Amazon shoppers - You can now shop at AmazonSmile to support St George SOC Joliet. The direct link is https://smile.amazon.com/ch/
Reminder: The end of the year is coming up. Please make sure you are up to date with your financial obligations to St George Church. Please consider the extra expenses we had this year including painting the classrooms, new carpeting and leaks on church roof that had to be repaired as well as other expenses/bills that have to be paid. Orthodox Christian stewardship is a way of life which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. A primary goal of Stewardship is to promote spiritual growth and strengthen faith. How much you are involved in Church life and donate - returning to God what He has blessed you with will be the sign of how spiritual and strong an Orthodox Christian you are.
+Sam (Sava) Konjevich entered into his rest on October 16, 2019 in Rushville, IL. He was a lifelong and very active member of St. George Serbian Orthodox church in Joliet. May Sam's memory be eternal.
- Tuesday, October 22, visitation will be at Tezak Funeral Home in Joliet, IL from 4 pm to 8 pm with pomen service at 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, October 23, funeral service - opelo at 10 a.m. in St George Serbian Orthodox church in Joliet, IL, interment in Woodlawn cemetery in Joliet.
Our deepest condolences to +Sam's family, friends and kumovi. Vjecnaja Pamjat.
Be there Saturday, Nov. 2 as we are joined by our honored guest choir S.S.S. St. George along with the St. George Folkore Group of Lenexa (Kansas City), Kansas at the lower level of the St. George Social Center , 310 Stryker Avenue, Joliet, IL 60436. Read more here
St. George Church School will begin on Sunday, Sept. 8.
After the liturgy there will be a service of the invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the teachers and students followed by an introduction class in church.
Church school classes will be every Sunday, unless it is previously cancelled, after holy communion. Church school children should take holy communion regularly and confession monthly.
The classrooms are going to be painted and carpeted in late August and September therefore some classes will be held in the hall, lower level.
- Register your child for our Church School Program.
- Bring them to Church on time.
- Stay and worship at the Divine Liturgy in the Church.
- Be positive about Church.
- Discuss with them what they learned each Sunday.
- Teach your children Christian living through your own actions.
- Emphasize regular repentance and Holy Communion.
- Put Church before every other activity on Sunday.
- Avoid criticism of others.
- Let your love for Our Lord Jesus Christ radiate.
Plan to bring your child/children to the culture classes during the weekdays as this is an extension of our church school. Parents and parishioners are welcome to participate in the culture classes which consist of basic Serbian language, basic Serbian history and geography, songs and folklore. Please let Fr Alex know if you are willing to help / teach any of the mentioned activities.
Parents mark your calendar for Sunday, Sept,. 25 after the kolo sestara slava lunch or Sunday, Sept. 1 after the liturgy to have parents / priest meeting.
For more info, please talk or call Fr Alex or Gayle Shimek.
Please join us for the Kolo Sestara slava celebration the Dormition of the Theotokos on Sunday, August 25, 2019. The Divine Liturgy at 10 am and parastos for all reposed sisters after the liturgy.
Blessing of slava kolac in hall and dinner. Please bring your family and friends.
Svi ste pozvani na proslavu slave kola sestara Uspenije Presvete Bogorodice u nedelju 25 avgusta, 2019. Posle Svete Liturgije ce biti sluzen parastos za sve upokojene clanice kola sestara. Blagoslov slavskog kolaca I u nastavku rucak u sali. Pozovite vase prijetelje I familiju.
Please remember the Divine Liturgy this coming Sunday, July 21 will start at 9 a.m. instead of the regular time at 10 a.m. The reason for starting the liturgy earlier is our Serb Fest which will be this Sunday at St. Joseph park in Joliet from 12 noon to 9 p.m.
Please offer your help if you have not so far. St. George Church need your help and support!
Invite your friends and neighbors to come and enjoy Serbian food and fellowship.
Join us for a Lenten Retreat on Tuesday, April 2. Vespers at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and presentation by Heiromok Alexii Altschul in the social hall at 7 p.m. Read more
On each of the three Sundays before Lent, the church brings before us a plea for repentance, set to sacred music. Here are the words of that prayer. From the Matins of Publican and Pharisee, Lenten Triodion:
The gates of repentance, do Thou open unto me, O Giver of Life, for early in the morning my spirit seeketh Thy holy temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled. But as One who art compassionate cleanse it by Thy loving-kindness and mercy.
Guide me on the paths of salvation, O Theotokos, for I have polluted my soul with shameful deeds, and wasted all my life in slothfulness. But by thine intercessions do thou deliver me from all impurity.
In Tone VI: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy great mercy: and according to the multitude of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.
As I the wretched one ponder the multitude of evil deeds I have done, I tremble for fear of the dread day of judgment. But trusting in Thy compassionate mercy, like David do I cry unto Thee: 'Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy great mercy'.
Every Wednesday evening during Great Lent, we will have religious discussions in one of the classrooms beneath the church. If the liturgy is in the evening, the discussion will be after the liturgy at approximately 7 p.m. When the liturgy is in the morning, a religious discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. If you have any questions about the Bible, our practices, Orthodox faith, prayer, or other topics, please tell Fr. Aleksandar, and we will have it as a topic of our discussion. If you wish you may bring fruit, pastry and/or other posno snacks especially after evening Liturgy.
When the Presanctified Liturgy is served in the evening, those who will partake of Holy Communion should fast from 12 p.m. (noon) until receiving communion. For those who can physically endure an all-day total fast, please do so.
The Cultural Club is sponsoring a bowling party and potluck meal on Sunday, March 3. For students of the church school, admission and shoes will be paid by culture club. Parents, friends of culture club and parishioners are invited to join us. Sign up in lower level of the church.
Throughout the Western and Eastern Christmas Seasons, please shop at our St. George the Great Martyr Bookstore (located in the lower level of our church) for hostess gifts, stocking-stuffers, and other lovely and meaningful gifts. Proceeds from the bookstore benefit our Church School children with Orthodox and faith-based gifts at Christmas, Easter and other occasions, and help defray costs of activities.
Occasionally, we see dates in religious books, bulletin or calendars like June 4 / 17 or September 1 /14 and we may get confused about why we have two dates. The first number is the church calendar date and the second is the date according to our old Julian calendar, which is always 13 days behind. The celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ is December 25 /January 7. This means the church calendar states the Nativity of Christ is December 25, which is true but for us who follow the Julian calendar December 25 is actually January 7, again because we are 13 days behind.