This week we installed new icons on our holy doors. Below is an essay about the icons and the doors by the iconographer, which can be downloaded as a pamphlet here for personal or parish use.
Windows and Doors
The iconostasis is an unusual feature in Orthodox churches. The wall of icons stands between the people and the altar so that we only see glimpses of the movements behind the screen. But the iconostasis isn’t there to hide things from us. It reminds me of the way a mother hides her face behind her hands, and then opens them to delight her child. In the same way, the church puts the holy doors in front of the altar only to open them to us. A small child doesn’t yet understand that his mother is still there even when he can’t see her. We are often like a child in this way, forgetting that God is always with us because we do not perceive Him. So our Mother the Church opens windows and doors to help us see the heavenly reality of Christ’s presence in our midst.We have often heard icons called “windows to heaven.” The icons on the holy doors are such windows, for even when the doors themselves are closed the icons express how God opens Heaven to us.
The top tier of icons on the doors is the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel told the virgin Mary that she would bear the Son of God. In Greek, this icon is called the Evangelismos because he announced the good news of the incarnation of Christ and of his eternal Kingdom. The incarnation is nothing other than Christ’s entrance into the world, and so it is a fitting subject for the holy doors. At the beginning of each Divine Liturgy, the priest opens wide the holy doors, and, like Gabriel, announces the blessing of the Kingdom. As we enter into the divine worship, we are shown that this is the entrance to the Kingdom. So let us receive Christ, welcoming Him as did the most holy Theotokos, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
The second tier of icons on the doors show Ss. Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, the four Evangelists who wrote the Gospels in order that the good news of Christ might be carried into all the world.The placement of the Evangelists on the holy doors brings to mind the Little Entrance, when the priest processes with the Gospel book through the holy doors to the altar.This practice began in ancient times, when the Gospel Book was a precious object, so it was carried with great care from its storage place, leading the people into the Church. Today, we are still led into the Kingdom by the riches of the Gospel.The holy doors are once again opened to us as the pages of the Gospel are opened. So, let us truly stand and pay attention, as we are called to do in the Liturgy, that our minds might be opened to understand the Gospel of Christ who promises us, “Behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
The opening and closing of the doors throughout the Liturgy have prepared us for our most intimate meeting with Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Once again, we see the doors opening to us, revealing Christ continual presence among us: his coming in the incarnation, his words of life opened to us in the Gospel, and his coming forth to us in the Eucharist. He comes to us and we respond in faith, drawing near to enter into communion with Christ. Like Jacob awaking from his dream, we cry, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” (Gen 28:16-17)
The Open Door
Lest you think the closing of the doors bears the same significance as each opening, remember the mother with her child who is hidden for a moment but always present. On Pascha, we see a glimpse of this eternal presence when the doors of the altar are left open all day, just as Christ’s empty tomb is opened, the veil in the Temple was rent in two, and the gates of Hades are burst asunder. The way to the kingdom is always opened to us, but like children we often feel Christ is hidden from us. So let these holy doors and icons serve as both the revelation and the gift of Christ’s presence to us. Let us serve the Lord in humility like the Theotokos. Let us open the Scriptures and find Christ the Word within. Let us approach “For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:10)
Walk with Christ through Holy Week! The daily services commemorate the events of the last week of Christ's life with picnics, processions, blessed palms and flowers, anointing with oil, gospel readings, the crucified Christ, lamentations at his death, late night services, and the joy of the resurrection!
Come enjoy a Spaghetti Dinner on Thursday, March 28 for only $5! Dinner includes lenten (meatless) spaghetti and Nick's Greek salad (maroulosalata) from the Grecian Family Restaurant, garlic bread, and a brownie. Child's plates will be available for $3. Stay and eat, or take it to go!
Support St. Nicholas when you shop on Amazon! Follow this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/47-1975139 and accept St. Nicholas as your organization of choice. 30 seconds of action now means you will effortlessly support our growing church every time you make a purchase on Amazon, at no cost to you! Please consider supporting St. Nicholas Church in this way! May God bless you and keep you!
In the first service of Lent we gather to seek and grant forgiveness to each other through the rite of Forgiveness. The 45 minute service follows coffee hour on Sunday morning (around 12 PM). The first week of Lent is called Clean Week and includes services Mon-Sat @ 6 PM at St. Nicholas. Clean week services are below and you can find all of the services of Lent here.
Clean Week, (March 10-17, 2019)
Sunday, 10:00 AM: Divine Liturgy
and 12:00 PM: Forgiveness Vespers after coffee hour
Monday, 6:00 PM: Great Compline with Great Canon
Tuesday, 6:00 PM: Great Compline with Great Canon
Wednesday, 6:00 PM: Presanctified Divine Liturgy
Thursday, 6:00 PM: Great Compline with Great Canon
We've recently begun a financial campaign to help meet our budget deficit. Donations support our ministries, including our food pantry, outreach, education, pastoral counseling, and sacramental life. Here are some ways you can help:
1. Members of St. Nicholas can fill out a pledge card to help us plan our budget for 2019.
2. Friends of St. Nicholas can donate to our ministries through fundly. You can make a one time donation or a recurring monthly donation. Thank you!
ADVENT, 2018 Wed, Dec 19 @ 6 PM: Nativity Paraklesis
Sun, Dec 22 @ 10 AM: Divine Liturgy
followed by Children's Nativity Concert
CHRISTMAS EVE Tuesday, Dec 24 9 AM, Royal Hours 10 PM: Festal Orthros
11 PM:Festal Divine Liturgy (This is the primary Christmas service, followed by light feasting.)
Royal Hours for Nativity is on the morning of Christmas Eve. It is characterized by special Psalms and hymns, as well as special Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel Readings, relating to the Feast of the Nativity. Late on Christmas Eve, we begin the Christmas celebration with festal Orthros, when we will finally sing "Christ is born!" The Divine Liturgy immediately follows, so that we welcome Christmas with the Eucharist. After the services, we will enjoy a midnight potluck feast! Visitors are welcome to this beautiful service! (Young children are welcome to bring pillows.)
We conclude the 12 days of Christmas with the feast of Theophany on Jan. 6. Theophany is the feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ, when we bless the water that will be used throughout the year.
Thank you for joining us for another great St. Nicholas Festival! We celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the feast of St. Nicholas tonight at 5:30 PM, followed by a potluck and story time. Please join us for as much of our patronal feast as you are able, even if it means coming late. Blessed feast!
Enjoy the third annual St. Nicholas Festival on Saturday, Dec 1st, from 11-5 PM, where you can meet the gift-giver who started a legend that spread around the world. This year you can PRE-ORDER International Food and pick up on festival day. ACTIVITIES INCLUDE: - Story time with St. Nicholas - Bouncy house and FREE kids' crafts - Ready-to-eat or Pre-Order International Food - Coffee and cocoa around the fire pit - Shopping in the St. Nicholas marketplace - Canned Food Drive for the Little Free Pantry - Church tours and Vespers prayers at 5 PM - FREE admittance For updates and more information, follow our FB event page.