Today the world lost one of the most influential modern Christians. Billy Graham moved to the eternal kingdom at the age of 99 after a lifetime of service to the Christian world. May his memory be eternal.
“We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving. We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We are to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient.”
No one knows the real birthday of Jesus. No date is given in the Bible and there is no definitive reason for celebrating His birthday on the 25th December. The early Christians had many arguments as to when it should be celebrated but the first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December. We have kept the date ever since.
So, it being December 25th today, we wish everyone a merry Christmas and pray for blessings, peace and joy for all. May God guide us through the many evils that surround us in this world and lead us to salvation through His Son, Christ Jesus.
Christmas is on Monday next. It’s the day our Lord Jesus was born. In the interest of putting Christ back in Christmas, we give you a few images of the nativity and adoration of the Magi as depicted by various icon painters.
Today we were treated to an inspired performance of “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” by the Church on the Arroyo Musicians. Thank you Beverley for taking the time and putting in the effort to make this possible. We look forward to further shows in the near future. If you want to join the Musicians give Beverly a call.
This Sunday, Orthodox Christians commemorate the Icon of the Theotokos of Kazan and the deliverance of Moscow and Russia from the Polish incursion in 1612. Through deceit, the Poles had succeeded in taking Moscow. In response to the appeal of Patriarch Hermogenes, the Russian people rose up in defense of its native land. From Kazan, the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God was sent to the army headed by Prince Demetrius Pozharsky. Emboldened by the arrival of the Icon, Russian forces on October 22, 1612 liberated Moscow from the Polish usurpers. A celebration in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos was established in 1649. With the Icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, the Kazan Icon is one of the most revered and celebrated Icons in Russia. The image shown is a modern copy of the original Icon.
Tomorrow the Church on the Arroyo kitchen committee will host a Pastor appreciation luncheon after the worship service (around noon). Barbecued chicken quarters with assorted sides will be the delicious fare. All are welcome – come and show your appreciation to Bob and Annette for guiding our community in the right direction. May God bless them!
16 years ago, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church located at 155 Cedar Street, was destroyed on September 11, 2001 when the South Tower of the World Trade Centre collapsed on top of it. The building was completely buried by the collapse of the tower. No one was inside when the church was destroyed. Very little of its content was ever recovered. It was the only building not part of the World Trade Centre complex to be completely destroyed by the attacks. A little history on the church – the building that came to house the church was built around 1832. It was originally a private dwelling which was later turned into a tavern. In 1916, Greek immigrants started the congregation of St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Before moving to Cedar Street, its parishioners worshiped in the dining room of a hotel on Morris Street run by Stamatis Kalamarides. In 1919, five families raised $25,000 to buy the tavern and converted it into a church and started to hold worship services in 1922. The church building was only 22 feet wide, 56 feet long, and 35 feet tall and was easily dwarfed by the 110 story Twin Towers, which were completed in 1972 and 1973. Despite its small size and unusual location (all the adjacent buildings had been demolished, making the church surrounded on three sides by a parking lot), the church had a dedicated congregation of about 70 families led by Father John Romas. On Wednesdays, the building was opened to the public and many people, including office workers from the towers and non-Greek Orthodox, would enter the quiet worship space for contemplation and prayer.
A new church is being built to replace the destroyed building, located about 50 feet from the original site. The architect Santiago Calatrava has designed the new church.
The new St. Nicholas was inspired by two Byzantine shrines in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia and the Church of the Holy Savior. Like those structures built in the fifth and sixth centuries, St Nicholas features a central dome flanked by towers. The building will be sheathed in marble from quarries north of Athens – the same vein of marble that was used to build the Parthenon on the Acropolis. Calatrava said he was thrilled to receive permission from the Greek government to use the marble because, “for me Hagia Sophia is the Parthenon of Orthodoxy.” The estimated cost for St Nicholas is $50 million. Unlike the rest of the site (built largely with federal transportation dollars) the church is being funded through donations from disparate sources including the Greek government, Greek Orthodox church members around the world, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and the Italian city of Bari, whose patron saint is St Nicholas. May God bless them all for their generosity.