Although organized at the last minute by the Chicago Orthodox Clergy Association, the Vespers service on the Sunday of Orthodoxy was a moment of Orthodox communion that seemed lost in the last year due to coronavirus restrictions, the Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Americas reports.
Clergy and believers from the Chicago area met at St. Charalambos Greek Orthodox Parish in Niles, Illinois.
The homilist of the evening was His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae who recalled the significance of the veneration of icons:
‘The veneration of the icon is based on the Incarnation of the Son of God, but also on His Resurrection. In the icon, we see the Son of God, the One who took on a human body, who passed with it through death and Resurrection. In the icon, we see the image of Christ illuminated by the glory of the Resurrection, and then the image of the Mother of God and the faces of the saints illuminated by the same uncreated glory of the Kingdom of Heaven, expressed in the halo of light around their head.’
‘In the icon, we discover the restored human face, illuminated by the glory of the Kingdom, as a call for our own sanctification, that is, for the shining of the image of God on our face. Such an understanding of the icon helps us to penetrate the mystery of our life and that of our neighbour.’
The icon reveals to us the value of the human person, of our person, but also of our neighbour. Christ and the saints look at us from the icons and call us to have a pure vision. This pure way of seeing should also be directed at our fellow person, who bears on their face the seal of the image of God, which makes them a unique and unrepeatable person, full of mystery, a being with eternal destiny.
At the end of the Vespers service, the Synodicon of Orthodoxy, the common confession of the true faith, was read. A procession with the holy icons ended this service of the Pan-Orthodox Vespers in Chicago.
In the morning, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Romanian Orthodox Cathedral of Sts Constantine and Helen.
Photography courtesy: Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of the Romanian Patriarchate