Pascha also called Easter, is the feast of the Resurrection of the Lord. Pascha is a transliteration of the Greek word, which is itself a transliteration of the Aramaic pascha, from the Hebrew pesach meaning Passover. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Orthodox Christian faith. Weeks of preparation precede it. This is made up of pre-lenten Sundays, Great Lent, and Holy Week. The faithful try to make this long journey with repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and study. When the feast finally arrives, it is celebrated with a collection of services combined as one. Here is a collection of celebrations of the past.
ANNUAL FOOD FAIR
The Annual Greek Food Fair is a must if you are in town the first weekend of June. People show up to our church and they love to go through the grounds and eat the Greek food and pretend they are Greek for a day. At the food fair, people can try a variety of traditional Greek foods like desserts, beverages, and Serbian foods. While you are enjoying a home-made meal, you can watch as people jump in and learn how to Greek dance. The dances you will see at the food fair are performed at Greek events like weddings and parties. Admission to the fair is free and is located here on the church grounds. Enjoy the photos of years past and hope to see you this year!
Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches celebrate the Theophany of Jesus Christ on the 6th of January according to a liturgical calendar as one of the "Great Feasts". In Orthodox Christian tradition, the feast commemorates the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist, which is considered a theophany, partly because this event marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Primarily, the account of this event in St Matthew's Gospel is the first occasion in all of the Bible where the Holy Trinity is revealed explicitly as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN NATHANAEL OF CHICAGO
On February 7, 2018, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate unanimously elected Nathanael (Symeonides) the Metropolitan of Chicago, succeeding His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of blessed-memory. He was ordained a Bishop on March 17th in the Holy Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, New York, and was enthroned on March 24th in the Holy Cathedral of the Annunciation, Chicago. Shortly thereafter His Eminence made his first visit to our parish as part of his 2018 Listening Tour making the comment that he would like to return for the Iowa State Fair. In 2019, he came through on his comments and returned celebrating a Paraklesis service and a trip out to the fair grounds.
Our Parish was honored again as His Eminence made a visit to Saint George for the eve of Theophany 2021, presiding over a Vesperal Hierarchical Divine Liturgy and Blessing of the Waters. During this time His Eminence also presented Kathy Beauchamp with the Metropolis Bronze Cross for her examples of servant leadership within the Saint George community over the years.
There is a lot that is done that is captured in photos. From creating a “Little Pantry” to help those in need, figuring out how to make the perfect Loukoumathes, or teaching a cooking class. Enjoy some of the faces of St. George.
Oxi Day ("Anniversary of the No") is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world on 28 October each year. Oxi Day commemorates the rejection by Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on 28 October 1940, the Hellenic counterattack against the invading Italian forces at the mountains of Pindus during the Greco-Italian War, and the Greek Resistance during the Axis occupation. Every year the local members of AHEPA commemorate this in the church hall.
Vasilopita is a New Year's Day bread or cake in Greece which contains a hidden coin or trinket. It is associated with Saint Basil's day, January 1, in most of Greece, but in some regions, the traditions surrounding a cake with a hidden coin are attached to Epiphany or to Christmas. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time, by order of age from eldest to youngest. Slices are also cut for various symbolic people or groups, depending on local traditions. Enjoy the pictures from our community’s Vasilopita cutting celebrations from the past.
ABOUT OUR PHOTOGRAPHER
The community at Saint George is fortunate enough to have a talented photographer in its midst. Jim Zeller has been a part of St. George for over 30 years and his story was captured by Drake University’s Professor Knepper’s Summer 2015 Religions of Des Moines: Christianity. You can hear Jim’s story here.
Jim is easy to find on Sundays, usually wearing a bow tie, a camera hanging from his neck, and assisting those new or visiting to the parish as to what page we are on in the liturgy. Make sure to say hello to Jim Zeller the next time you visit St. George.