On the first Sunday of Great Lent, we commemorate the victory over the iconoclasts (condemned by the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787) and the re-institution of icons into the Church. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a special molieben is served in which the canons of the Church are re-affirmed over past heresies. This ancient rite is served usually only in cathedrals before the icons of the Saviour and the Mother of God and our church is one of only a handful in this country in which this is performed.
SUNDAY OF THE MYRRH-BEARING WOMEN
On the 7th Sunday after Pascha, the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, Fr. Christopher Stade from St. John Chrysostom church in House Springs, MO (outside of St. Louis) and several of his flock travelled to the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral to participate in the ordination of a new deacon. After the greeting of His Grace, Bishop Peter, during the reading of the Hours, Isaac Crabtree was ordained a reader. At the Little Entrance of the Divine Liturgy, Reader Basil Vogt was made a subdeacon and just before the singing of the Lord's Prayer, he was elevated to the rank of Deacon. We congratulate newly ordained Fr. Basil and the parishioners of St. John Chyrsostom church - may he serve to the glory of God! Axios!
CELEBRATION OF HOLY PENTECOST
SCHOOL GRADUATION AND PERFORMANCE - 05/23/10
On Trinity Sunday after Divine Liturgy, the St. Jonah parish school held its graduation ceremony. The youngest class performed a song entitled "Goodbye kindergarten" and received their certificates of completion. The older theatre group then sang and danced in their comedy production "A Wolf and Six Goats" which delighted parents and viewers alike. We wish all students a restful summer vacation and God willing, they will return in the fall to a new school building!
KONEVETS QUARTET FROM ST. PETERSBURG SINGS BENEFIT CONCERT
On Thursday, June 3, the Konevets QUARTET of St. Petersburg, Russia performed an exclusive Chicago concert for the benefit of our Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral Building Fund, at the Serbian Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection. More than 150 people from various Orthodox jurisdictions attended. The concert began with sacred music in the sanctuary and continued with secular music – folk and classical - in the social hall. A reception offering Russian tea as well as varieties of delicious piroshki and sweet tea cakes prepared by our Sisterhood and sold by the dozens, raised more than $500. A raffle drawing for a Russian gift collection brought in another $500. Our custom-designed coffee mugs and chai glasses earned an additional $300. (These items continue to be available at our parish book store.)
All four Konevets singers are professional musicians with well-established performance and academic reputations throughout the international music world. Their magnificent voices and harmonic blend brought the audience to their feet with repeated thunderous applause. The performance was part of their 8th North American tour, since 1992. It was an honor to have such prestigious performers visit Chicago and perform the glorious music of our Russian Orthodox Church for the general public.
This concert was produced by our cathedral’s Fund Raising Events Committee. Be sure to watch for the 2nd annual Russian Winter Festival, which is coming up in December. For further information on these events, or anyone wishing to volunteer to serve on the committee, contact Masha Furmanov at (847)730-5678 or Lydia Swenton at (847)724-0332.
LITURGICAL MUSIC SEMINAR
On June 4-6, a liturgical music seminar took place at the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral bringing together nearly 60 attendees from various corners of the diocese to take part in a 2-day seminar of workshops dedicated to improving the level of singing on the kliros. Read more in our coverage of the conference including more pictures and audio recordings...
PASTORAL SCHOOL GRADUATION
On Sunday, June 20th at the Holy Virgin Protection Catheral in Des Plaines, at the end of the Divine Liturgy, there was a graduation ceremony for this year's graduates of the diocesan Pastoral School.
This year, 3 individuals came to Chicago to undergo exams and defend their theses. Deacon Kevin Kalish, Subdeacon Nicholas Ganson and Subdeacon Victor Klimenko received their diplomas.
The Pastoral school is a graduate level program in theology which is conducted mostly online. In addition to the extensive readings and completing a thesis, enrolled students are also required to spend a summer at the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville in the summer music program. The school is in existence for the past 6 years and has been administered by Fr. Martin Swanson from St. Basil church in St. Louis.
ORPR CAMP 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
While celebrating its Jubilee Anniversary, ORPR Camp hosted a festal Divine Liturgy on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 for the feast of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, the Camp’s heavenly protector and the patron of the parish located at Vladimirovo. His Grace Bishop Peter, Chairman of the ORPR Board, lead the hierarchical services along with His Grace Bishop Longin (Serbian Orthodox Church) and His Grace Bishop Mark (Antiochian Orthodox Church). Archpriest John Sykaluk, rector of St. Vladimir Church, was the senior of the six priests who served along with Fr. Deacon Kevin Kalish. The clergy came from the Russian, Serbian, Antiochian and Georgian Orthodox Churches.
All 65 campers partook of Holy Communion after preparing with Confession on Tuesday. The choir, readers, bell ringers and altar servers for both the festal Vigil and Hierachical Liturgy were campers who had been preparing for these services throughout the 4-week-long camp session. The Liturgy concluded with a festal moleben and procession with the Cross. At the end of the moleben, His Grace Bishop Peter presented Mrs. Helen Pregl, nee Victorov, with a Gramota from His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, congratulating the camp organization on its jubilee. Mrs. Pregl participated in the first camp session and received the Gramota on behalf of all those who have participated over the years.
ORPR Camp will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a series of events in Chicago and Lost Lake over Labor Day weekend. For more information, see the camp website: www.orprcamp.org/50th-anniversary
RECORDING OF SACRED HYMNS
August 2 - 4, several members of the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral choir took part in a historic recording of sacred hymns in Cincinnati. Sponsored by a grant through Northern Kentucky University, the works of two contemporary composers, Kurt Sanders from St. George's Russian Orthodox Church in Cincinatti and Gennadi Lapaev from Tver (Russia) were performed and recorded under the direction of Dr. Peter Jermihow. Read more about this on the diocesan webiste: http://chicagodiocese.org/news_100816_1.html
PROCESSION OF THE CROSS
On August 14th, the Church celebrated the holiday of the Procession of the Precious Wood of the Precious and Life-Creating Cross. This is the first feast of the Savior in August and for this reason carries the Russian name "First Savior". By tradition, after the Divine Liturgy, there was a blessing of the waters.
The summer feast of the Lord, His Transfiguration, was celebrated quietly but triumphantly. It was especially joyous to feel the unapproachable light when we are fasting and preparing ourselves for the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. Despite the fact that the holiday fell on a weekday, the temple was full and 92 people partook of the Holy Mysteries. Following the Divine Liturgy, there was a blessing of the fruits in the church hall.
DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS
Thanks be to God, we were once again able this year to celebrate the feast of the Dormition according to the Jerusalem rite. Starting at midnight on August 28th, the matins began with the singing of the familiar melody "The Noble Joseph" but with words from the Jerusalem service pertaining to the Dormition. As on Good Friday, the praises were sung to the verses of Ps. 118 over the shroud of the Virgin, followed by a procession with the cross at the end of matins. The Divine Liturgy began straightways after this with 53 people receiving Holy Communion. Later in the morning a second liturgy was served and the church was again full, this time mainly with parents and their children, most of whom also partook of the Holy Mysteries.
On Sunday, September 5th, the Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral hosted a gathering of all past and present participants of the diocesan summer camp ORPR. At the end of the Divine Liturgy a gramota from Metropolitan Hilaron was presented to the organizers of the camp and George Ignatiev was awarded a 4th star for his long-time service to the camp. A luncheon was held in the church hall during which past campers recounted their life-long remembrances and friendships from summer camp.
NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
On September 20th, amidst a large congregation of people, the wonder-working Kursk-Root icon was joyfully and triumphantly greeted with the singing of a short moleben service. Immediately afterwards, the Vigil service for the Nativity of the Theotokos began. How especially joyous it was to hear the words of the troparion of the feast: "Thy nativity of Virgin Theotokos, has brought joy to the whole universe" with the wonderous image of the Mother of God standing before us! The icon will be visiting the mid-America diocese from Sept. 20 through Dec 6.
EXALTATION OF THE CROSS
On Sept 26th at the end of the vigil service, the rite of the Exaltation of the Cross was celebrated, in which the cross is raised on high by the celebrating hierarch, blessing all four sides of the church (symbolically - the world) with the instrument of our salvation. The holiday was founded in rememberance of the discovery of the Precious and Life-Creating Cross by Empress Helen in Jerusalem in the IV century.
PATRONAL FEAST DAY - PROTECTION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
METROPOLITAN OF BATUMI AND LAZSKI SERVES
On Sunday the 24th of October, His Grace, Dimitry, Metropolitan of Batumi and Lazski, North America and Canada (Georgian Orthodox Church) led the Divine Liturgy in the cathedral. For the last year, the Georgian Orthodox faithful in Chicago have been actively taking part in the parish life of our cathedral as they currently do not have a church of their own. With the arrival of Fr. Mathias from Tbilisi, the community has grown and flourished and currently serves Divine Liturgy on Saturdays in the Georgian language. On this particular Sunday, they had the honor of welcoming a Georgian Metropolitan. During the liturgy, a trio of Georgian voices chanted responses alternating with the cathedral's pontifical choir. After the service, all were welcomed to a trapeza prepared by the Georgian community featuring delicacies such as Georgian shishkabob, pita and bean dishes. Those in attendance were also treated to a concert perfomed by the ensemble "Allilo" singing Georgian folk songs.
Valentina Mozhayski then discussed the activities of the Russian-American Company in the 19th centruy and the actual events leading to the sale of Alaska by the Russian government to the United States of America. The discussions were accompanied by slides showing authentic maps and currencies of the time.
Protopriest Andrei Papkov then shared some opinions of contemporary Alaska from the point of view of his sister who had recently visited Russian heritage sites and Orthodox churches there.
For more information on the activities of the Congress of Russian Americans, please contact Lydia Swenton at 847-724-0332.
Russian Winterfest 2010 - 12/05/10On Sunday December 5, the second annual Russian Winterfest was held, drawing even more visitors than last year's event including many Des Plaines residents who dropped in to sample authentic Russian cuisine, watch the exquisite performance of Russian folk dancing and hear carols and songs performed by the pontifical choir as well as a bayanist and vocalist. Many thanks to all who helped make it such a successful day!