Saturday, October 25, 2014

St. Tabitha the Widow

In Joppa (Israel) there was a certain disciple named Tabitha the widow, which is translated as Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deed.. But it happened in those days that she became very ill and died.
At the time, the Apostle St.  Peter was preaching at Lydda, not far from Joppa. Messengers were sent
to him with an urgent request for help. When the Apostle arrived at Joppa, Tabitha was already dead. On bended knee, St Peter made a fervent prayer to the Lord. Then he went to the bed and called out, “Tabitha, get up!” She arose, completely healed (Acts 9:36). Tabitha was raised from the dead by the Apostle St. Peter!

St. Tabitha is considered the patron saint of tailors and seamstresses, since she was known for sewing coats and other garments (Acts 9:36-42).

St. Tabitha is the patron saint of seamstresses & tailors, and spend a great deal of her life sewing and repairing garments - probably for those less fortunate citizens. In her honor, do a threading craft with your child in the shape of a coat or garment.

First, print out a coat or jacket (below)

Decorate it with your child.

Then, with a hole punch (or scissors if you don't have one) make a few holes around the perimeter of the coat.

With the yard of your choice, knot one end on the back of the paper and have your child thread ("sew") the coat by weaving in and out of the holes like St. Tabitha did.

Or just color a picture of a seamstress and discuss how important they were in society when resources were scarce.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

St. Luke the Prophet and Evangelist

St. Luke, who is credited with recording the life of Christ through his Gospel of the New Testament, was also known as the "glorious physician," and for his artistic ability. St. Luke was born in Antioch, Syria, where he began to commit his life to Christ upon meeting St. Paul. Prior to this time, Luke was a well-known physician of his time, praised with his skill in healing the afflicted. However, around 50 AD, Luke left his calling behind and joined St. Paul so that together they could glorify Christ.
As a missionary orator, St. Luke was not as skilled as St. Paul. However, his talent in writing and artistry far surpassed the skill of many during that time. St. Luke is highly acclaimed for his contributions to The New Testament. The Book of Acts and the Gospel according to St. Luke are detailed in history, expression, and narration that is often thought to outshine other Christian literary works. His mastery of the Greek language allowed him to express his thoughts about Christ with such passion, much of which is lost in translation.
Moreover, St. Luke is recognized as one of the first iconographers of Christianity. He used his talent in art to depict the Virgin Mary holding the Christ-child. Upon seeing the icon, the Theotokos gave
St. Luke her blessing to continue with the depiction, which he later completed and presented to the Mother of God as a gift. Currently, this icon resides at the Mega Spileion monastery in Greece. Participants of Ionian Village visit this monastery to learn about St. Luke’s contribution to iconography, as well as of the icon’s discovery after being hidden in a cave and guarded by a beast for so long.

Saint Luke the Evangelist is the patron saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, and students.  

The holy relics of St. Luke the Apostle are so divided:
Read the miraculous story of "The Hermit, The Icon & The Emperor: The Holy Virgin Comes to Cyprus" by Chrissi Hart.

Color (or paint!) a picture of the most Holy Theotokos with your child and describe the importance of icon writing in our church life.

Monday, October 6, 2014

St. Kendeas of Cyprus

St. Kendeas was a monk who lived between the 7th and 10th centuries and is recognized as a saint by the Orthodox Church. His cave, church, and monastery are located near the village of Avgorou, in a fertile region of Cyprus that is famous for growing potatoes and for basket-weaving. Nearby coastal towns are known for their sandy beaches and clear turquoise water.
Saint Kendeas left his homeland of Alemanni (modern Germany) when he was 18 and went to Jerusalem to live a monastic life with other hermits in the desert of Jordan. There he healed a young boy who was the son of a great nobleman from Jerusalem. From Jordan he traveled by boat with other hermit monks to Cyprus, where, upon arrival, they miraculously survived a shipwreck. Eventually, Saint Kendeas went to live alone in a cave near Avgorou, spending the rest of his life as an ascetic. When Saint Kendeas arrived at the cave, he was thirsty and prayed to God for water to drink. The Stone he knelt on filled with clear holy water, which still flows today.
Throughout the centuries many sick people have asked Saint Kendeas for his help. Through his prayers to God, they have been cured. He lived a long and virtuous life and has continued to perform numerous wonders and miracles for children and adults who believe in him and love Jesus Christ. His feast day is celebrated on October 6.

Read "Under The Grapevine: A Miracle By St. Kendeas of Cyprus" by Chrissi Hart.

For a craft, color a cave and paste small rocks on it to represent the rocks that provided water as a mircale.
Troparion to Saint Kendeas
Having hallowed through struggles the Jordan wilderness and the island of Cyprus,
You shone out upon all through remarkable battles as a fixed star.
Therefore, having seen the fullness of your wonders,
O God-bearing Kendeas, we lift our voices:
Glory to You, O Christ, through him who extols.
Glory to You through him who magnifies.
Glory to the One who through you heals illnesses for all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

St. Romanos the Melodist

St. Romanos the Melodist (or Hymnographer) was one of the greatest of Greek hymnographers in the Orthodox church. He was called "the Pindar of rhythmic poetry." St. Romanos flourished during the sixth century, which is considered to be the "Golden Age" of Byzantine hymnography.

St.Romanos was born in the fifth century in the Syrian city of Emesa of Jewish parents. After moving to Constantinople, he became a church sacristan in the temple of Hagia Sophia. The monk spent his nights alone at prayer in a field or in the Blachernae church beyond the city.

St Romanus was not a talented reader or singer. Once, on the eve of the Nativity of Christ, he read the kathisma verses. He read so poorly that another reader had to take his place. The clergy ridiculed Romanus, which devastated him.
On the day of the Nativity, the Mother of God appeared to the grief-stricken youth in a vision while he was praying before her Kyriotissa icon. She gave him a scroll and commanded him to eat it. Thus was he given the gift of understanding, composition, and hymnography.
That evening at the all-night Vigil St. Romanos sang, in a wondrous voice, his first Kontakion: “Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One...” All the hymns of St. Romanos
became known as kontakia, in reference to the Virgin’s scroll. St. Romanos
was also the first to write in the form of the Oikos, which he incorporated into the all-night Vigil at his places of residence.
For his zealous service, St.Romanos was ordained as a deacon and became a teacher of song. Until his death, which occurred about the year 556, the hierodeacon Romanos
the Melodist composed nearly 1,000 hymns, many of which are still used by Christians to glorify the Lord. Only about eighty survived.

To celebrate his feast day, read "Sweet Song: A Story of Saint Romanos the Melodist" by Jane G. Meyer

Here are a few "visuals" to help your child appreciate the beauty of St. Romanos the Hymnographer's music:  

This music sheet candle is one way to celebrate the feast day of our greatest musical saint! Would be a fun craft for kids both young and old!

Troparion (Tone 4)
You gladdened Christ's Church by your melodies
like an inspired heavenly trumpet.
You were enlightened by the Mother of God
and shone on the world as God's poet.
We lovingly honor you, righteous Roman.