The Basil Leaf. A Sweet scent of spiritual Fragrance. C h u r c h S t a f f Parish Priest, Editor: Fr. Demetrios Kounavis

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1 A M o n t h l y P u b l i c a t i o n o f H o l y C r o s s G r e e k O r t h o d o x C h u r c h o f J u s t i c e, I L C h u r c h S t a f f Parish Priest, Editor: Fr. Demetrios Kounavis Parish Council President: Paraskevas Jim Lilas Secretary: Rebecca Mallios Chanters: Athanasios Hatzis George Villis Evangelos Pagunas Taso Tsiganos Choir: Gus Kotoulas Philoptochos President: Helen Katsoudas Church School: Chrisanthe Litsogiannis Greek School: Maria Poulos I n s i d e t h i s i s s u e : Church Events 2 Calendar 3 Articles Pictures & Church Registry Kid s Page 10 Ad Page 11 Check out our website: holycrossil.org Beloved Stewards of Holy Cross, May the blessings of the Lord be upon you! It is an exciting time now as we embark into the Fall season and look ahead towards the holidays. It seems to me that I see countdown calendars to Christmas popping up everywhere, Christmas music on the radio, and Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. I wonder if we would just take a moment and enjoy the Fall for what it has to offer. We tend to skip our focus straight to the holidays because there is a commercial focus on the festivities. While we can stretch Christmas cheer for over two months now, let us not forget that as a community we hold this cheer all-year-round. It is in the Divine Liturgy that we see a reenactment of the entire history of our salvation which includes the Nativity. So, every Liturgy that we attend expresses the warmth, comfort, and security of the The Basil Leaf Nativity season as we lay the baby Jesus in the manger of our hearts through receiving the sacraments. You should soon be receiving a Forty-Day- Liturgies mailing that explains the significance of our preparations for Christmas and the celebrations through Theophany with a paper to return for commemorations. Along with our prayers and efforts in the fasting period upon us, we joyfully participate in the proper way to receive the holiday. Just as we decorate and plan activities to remind us of Christmas, let us remember to take the same effort in participating in our spiritual preparations. Focusing on only one half of the preparations can only give us half the experience. Joining us in prayer and the church s activities will truly make this season a fulfilled experience without missing out on anything. In a couple of weeks, we will be having a community Thanksgiving dinner. A Sweet scent of spiritual Fragrance N o v e m b e r Please attend so we can share our stories and sidedishes. I m amazed at the delicious spread, not because it is bountiful and tasty but because it is a decadent offering and expression of philoxenia, philotimo, and love to each other. If you are interested in making prosforo bread, our workshop should cover any questions or concerns, especially if you feel like you ve baked a bad batch in the past. Together we can celebrate Christmas in a more meaningful and fulfilling way. Let s not miss out on this beautiful parea we have. May God bless you with a wonderful Nativity Season!

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3 4 Sunday School 11 Sunday School 18 Sunday School 1 Christianiki Philoxe :30am: Synaxis of 21 8:00am: Entry of am: Greek School 9 8:30am: Feast of St am: Greek School 30 8:30am: Feast of November 2018 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sunday Service: 8am - Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy Please check weekly bulletin for updates General Assembly after Church Sunday School Staff Mtg. after church 5:30pm: Grand Raffle Banquet 1pm: Parish tree decorating at Brookfield Zoo Sunday School 26 7pm: Philoptochos Mtg. 7pm: Parish Council Meeting 6pm: Parish Thanksgiving Feast 20 6pm: Holy Unction 27 nia at Assumption Church, Homer Glen the Archangels 11am: Orthodoxi Zoe am: H.O.P.E. Group the Theotokos am: Orthodoxi Zoe Nectarios St. Andrew 10am: Prosforo Workshop 17 10am: Greek School 24

4 The ring of St. Catherine the Great Martyr "This ever-memorable daughter of the earthly ruler of Alexandria, Konstas (Kestou), was tall in stature, incomparably beautiful, and exceedingly kind. She was instructed in the wisdom of the Greeks, learning all the works of the poets and philosophers, including Homer, Virgil, Aristotle, and Plato. Not only was she well-versed in philosophy, but in the medical writings of Aesculapius, Hippocrates, and Galen. Indeed, the maiden was a master of all the nuances of many languages, surpassing all others in rhetoric and logic. All who saw and heard Catherine marveled at her scholarship. Many of the wealthy and leading men of the Senate besought Catherine's mother for her hand in marriage. Now her mother was a Christian in secret, because of the great persecutions brought about by the followers of Maximian. Both the maiden's relatives and mother counseled her to marry, so that her father's estate would not fall to another, thus cutting her off altogether. Now Catherine, on account of her many philosophical studies, cherished her virginity and protested, giving many excuses, for she had no wish whatsoever to wed. However, when she saw that they troubled her greatly over the matter, she proposed the following--actually to divert them--so as not to be further importuned. "Present unto me a young man who is like unto me in the four virtues in which you claim that I am peerless among women, and I will take him as my husband, for I will not condescend to be yoked to one who is to seek his counsel. The ascetic, perceiving her modesty and proper deportment, gave close attention to her judicious and well-spoken words. He resolved to bring her to the knowledge of Christ the heavenly King, and began, saying: If I am acquainted with a unique Man Who incomparably transcendeth all those attributes thou hast mentioned and countless others. His comeliness eclipseth the radiance of the sun; His wisdom governeth those things both perceptible by the sense and the intelligence; the world of His treasures is distributed to the ends of the earth, yet never diminisheth, rather increases; His nobility is indescribable, infinite, inconceivable, and incomprehensible! The venerable elder expounded on this many other salutary things. Now the maiden presumed all the while that he referred to an earthly prince; whereupon, her expression changed, and she questioned him in detail if all the commendations and praises were indeed true concerning this Man. He reinforced his praises further, extolling His other attributes. The maiden asked: "Whose Son is this Man whom thou dost laud?" He asserted: "He hath no father on earth, but was born of a most noble and holy grace-filled virgin in a manner surpassing our understanding and transcending the nature of generation; she was deemed worthy by her sublime sanctity to remain immortal both in soul and body, being assumed to the highest heavens, wherein our Lady is venerated by the holy angels as Queen of all creation." Further interested, Catherine continued: "Is it possible to see the Youth?" The old man responded: "If thou wilt do as I say, thou shalt be deemed worthy to behold the radiant splendor of His splendid countenance!" Catherine replied: "I perceive thee to be a faithful witness and a venerable elder. I believe all thou hast revealed to me; therefore, I am prepared unworthy or inferior. Therefore, search here and abroad for one who is equal to me in rank, wealth, wisdom, and beauty--if such an individual exists. Furthermore, if he is deficient in any of these areas, he is unsuitable." to follow thine instructions implicitly." Then, the Now they knew that it would be quite impossible ascetic gave her an icon depicting the most holy to find such a qualified suitor. They suggested Theotokos holding the divine Child. He then called the son of the Roman emperor and other possible to Catherine's attention: "This is the Ever-virgin candidates of exalted rank and even greater wealth, Mother of the One Whose wonders I have extolled. but they were inferior to her in the categories of erudition Take this sacred image and close the door to and appearance. She stubbornly persisted in thy bedchamber; pray all night with profound reverence her refusal to contract a marriage with an unlettered to her whose name is Mary. Implore her to man. However, her mother had a most holy condescend to reveal her Son and, I believe, if thou spiritual confessor who was in hiding outside the wilt pray with faith, she will hearken and show to city limits. She took her daughter to visit the elder thee Him Whom thy soul desireth." The maiden then took the holy icon and returned to the palace. She closed herself in her in-

5 ner room as the elder directed. From the tremendous effort exerted in her supplications, she fell asleep and beheld in a vision the Queen of the angels, as portrayed in the icon, holding the holy Child, Whose Person emitted rays more radiant than the sun; yet His face was turned towards His Mother. Thus, Catherine saw His back only. She yearned to behold His countenance, and so went to the other side; but once again He turned His face away. This happened thrice. She then heard the most holy Mother say: "My Child, look upon Thine handmaiden Catherine! How beautiful and comely she is!" But He answered: "Nay, rather she is somber and so repugnant that it is not possible for Me to look upon her!" The most holy Theotokos continued: "Is she not more wise than all the orators, wealthy, and the most elegant in all the cities?" But Christ replied: "My Mother, I tell thee that she is ignorant, poor, and contemptible! Whosoever is in like condition, I do not wish to look upon!" Again, the Theotokos spoke: "I beg Thee, my sweet Child, despise not the work of Thy Hands! But, advise and guide her as to what she should do, so as to have a share of Thy glory and behold Thy face resplendent with light, which the angels long to gaze upon!" Christ then said: "She should go to the elder who gave her the icon. Whatever instructions he giveth, she should do. Then, when she desireth to see, she will receive joy and benefit." Having beheld this vision, she awoke and pondered deeply on the matter. In the morning, she hastened with a few other women to the elder's cell. Falling at his feet in tears, she related the vision and implored him to advise her how to proceed, that she might attain her heart's desire. The blessed one explained in detail the sacraments and mysteries of our true Faith, commencing with the creation of the universe and the making of man. He catechized her thoroughly as to the Second Coming of our Lord Christ and the ineffable glory of paradise in contrast to the all-grievous and never-ending torments. Intelligent and quick of mind, Catherine grasped, within a short period of time, all the fine points of the Faith. She believed with all her heart and was received into the Faith through holy baptism at his hands. Afterwards, he instructed her to entreat the most Holy Theotokos to appear once again. The holy maiden, having thus put off the "old man" and put on a garment woven by God, went to the palace and kept vigil all night, fasting and praying with tears. Finally sleep overcame her, and she beheld the heavenly Queen with the divine Child, Who looked upon Catherine with a gracious eye. This time the Mother of God inquired of the Master Christ if the virgin pleased Him. Our Lord answered: "She who was formerly unillumined and unsightly is now resplendent and glorious to behold! The poor and ignorant one hath become wealthy and enlightened; the contemptible and undistinguished hath become noble and eminent, possessed now of so many good blessings and graces that I am well-disposed and desire to betrothed her to Myself as Mine undefiled bride!" At that moment, Catherine fell prostrate weeping: "0 exceeding glorious Lord, I am unworthy to look upon Thee! Make me worthy to be numbered among Thy servants! The Theotokos then took the right hand of the maiden and said: "My Child, give her a ring as a token of Thy betrothal to her, so as to deem her worthy of Thy Kingdom." The Master Christ then gave her a beautiful ring, saying: "Behold, this day I take thee as Mine unsullied bride forever. Diligently preserve this troth inviolate, taking no man to thyself!" And with these words the vision came to an end. Catherine arose and, verily, a ring was on her right finger! At that moment, her heart was enraptured with the divine love of our Lord Christ." "The marble chest containing the relics of Saint Catherine is located at the south side of the sanctuary in the catholicon of the holy monastery. It is the construction of Procopius the stonecutter, who took nine years to complete the shrine in honor of Saint Catherine. This shrine replaced the earlier marble chest, which is preserved today in the monastery s treasury. Inside are to be found two precious reliquaries given by the Russian Empire for this purpose, the one enshrining the precious head of the martyr, and the other her left hand. The relics of Saint Catherine are brought out for the veneration of the faithful on special occasions, at which time each pilgrim is given a silver ring bearing the monogram of the saint, in honor of the ring that Saint Catherine received from Christ. These are preserved by pilgrims as a blessing from the saint." A picture of the ring given as a blessing to pilgrims to the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine, in memory of the ring that she received from Christ.

6 Η αγάπη για τους ζώντες και κεκοιμημένους αδελφούς μας είναι χρέος Άγιος Ιωάννης της Κροστάνδης Μερικοί ρωτούν γιατί μνημονεύουμε τα ονόματα των κεκοιμημένων και των ζώντων στις προσευχές που κάνουμε γι αυτούς. Ο Θεός σαν παντογνώστης που είναι, δεν ξέρει τα ονόματά τους και τις ανάγκες τους; Όμως αυτοί που μιλούν και σκέπτονται έτσι, ξεχνούν ότι την προσευχή δεν την κάνομε για ενημέρωση του Θεού. Φυσικά ο Θεός δεν έχει ανάγκη τέτοιας ενημερώσεως. Άλλη είναι η σημασία αυτής της προσευχής. Προσευχόμεθα υπέρ των ζώντων και των μεταστάντων και τους μνημονεύουμε με τα ονόματά τους, για να δείξουμε, ότι τους αγαπάμε με όλη μας την καρδιά. Γιατί δεν είμαστε απλώς συγγενείς ή φίλοι ή γνωστοί, αλλά «αλλήλων μέλη». Μέλη της Μίας Εκκλησίας. Του Ε- νός Μυστικού Σώματος του Χριστού. Υπάρχει τεράστια διαφορά ανάμεσα στη μηχανική και απαθή μνημόνευση των ονομάτων και στην ολοκάρδια προσευχή. Το ένα απέχει από τον άλλο, όσο ο ουρανός από τη γη. Η προσευχή πρέπει να είναι ειλικρινής εκδήλωση αγάπης. Η αγάπη είναι η πρώτη και μεγάλη εντολή. Γι αυτό ο Θεός τη δέχεται. Και γι αυτό την περιμένει! Η αγάπη για τους ζώντες και κεκοιμημένους αδελφούς μας είναι χρέος. Το πρώτο από όλα. Κάθε λέξη στην προσευχή, κάθε λέξη που πηγάζει από τα βάθη της καρδιάς, έχει πολλή δύναμη: «Πολύ ισχύει δέησις δικαίου ενεργούμενη», λέγει η Αγία Γραφή. Και αν έχει τόση μεγάλη σημασία η μνημόνευση των ονομάτων ζώντων και κεκοιμημένων σε οποιαδήποτε προσευχή, πόσο μεγαλύτερη σημασία και αξία έχει, όταν μνημονεύονται τα ονόματα στην ιερότερη προσευχή, στη Θεία Λειτουργία; Στη Θεία Λειτουργία ο ιερέας επισφραγίζει τη μνημόνευση των ονομάτων ζώντων και κεκοιμημένων με τα λόγια «Απόπλυνον, Κύριε, τα αμαρτήματα των ενθάδε μνημονευθέντων δούλων Σου τω αίματί Σου τω αγίω». ******************************************************************** Δεν φθάνει να ξέρω ότι το πέλαγος που διαπλέω έχει πολλά και μεγάλα κύματα. Πρέπει ακόμη να ξέρω ότι πίσω και πάνω από τα κύματα υπάρχει κάποιος, που διατάζει και κυριαρχεί στα κύματα κι αυτός είναι ο Θεός. Έτσι δεν φθάνει να ξέρω ότι υπάρχουν θλίψεις και δυσκολίες στη ζωή, αλλά ότι πάνω και πίσω από τις θλίψεις και τις δυσκολίες είναι ο Θεός. Σαρανταλείτουργα Για την μεγάλη αξία και σωτηριώδη δύναμη που έχουν τα σαρανταλείτουργα (σαράντα συνεχείς Θείες Λειτουργίες) στην ζωή των πιστών μας δίνει το παρακάτω περιστατικό που διηγήθηκε πιστός στον ιερέα της ενορίας του το έτος Πριν κοιμηθεί, άφησε εντολή ο πατέρας στο γιό του Γεώργιο για ένα Σαρανταλείτουργο. Εκείνος παρακάλεσε τον ιερέα, που παρά τις δυσκολίες του δέχθηκε και είπε στους οικείους του: «Επί σαράντα μέρες να μη με περιμένετε. Θα εφησυχάζω διαρκώς στους Αγίους Αποστόλους.» Πρόθυμα ο ιερέας τέλεσε τις 39 Θείες Λειτουργίες. Τότε ένας φοβερός πονόδοντος ανάγκασε τον ιερέα να γυρίσει στο σπίτι του μεταθέτοντας την 40η Θεία Ακολουθία για την μεθεπόμενη μέρα. Την ίδια νύχτα ο γιός του κοιμηθέντος Γεώργιος σκεφτόταν: «Άραγε ωφελούν τα σαρανταλείτουργα τις ψυχές ή τα σύστησε η Εκκλησία για παρηγοριά των ζώντων;» Τον πήρε ελαφρός ύπνος και τότε βλέπει ένα υπέρλαμπρο τόπο με ένα υπερκόσμιο ανάκτορο και μπροστά στην πόρτα τον πατέρα του, ο οποίος του είπε: «Η καλοσύνη του Χριστού με έφερε εδώ. Ήταν να μπω σήμερα στο παλάτι αλλά επειδή ο οικοδόμος που το χτίζει είχε κάποια ταλαιπωρία - έβγαλε το δόντι του σήμερα - δεν τέλειωσαν οι σαράντα ημέρες της οικοδομής του. Γι αυτό θα μπω αύριο». Την άλλη μέρα ο γιός έτρεξε στον ιερέα να του πει αυτό που είδε και να τον ρωτήσει τι μπορεί να σημαίνει όπου έμαθε για την 40η Θεία Λειτουργία. ********************************************** Ελεημοσύνη Τίποτε δεν είναι χαρακτηριστικότερο του Χριστιανού από την έμπρακτη εξάσκηση της αγάπης. Τίποτε δεν θαυμάζουν πιο πολύ και οι άπιστοι και όλος ο κόσμος από το να μας βλέπουν να ασκούμε ελεημοσύνη. Σ αυτήν ανοίγονται διάπλατα οι πύλες των ουρανών. Και καθώς η βασίλισσα μπαίνει στα ανάκτορα, κανένας από τους φρουρούς δεν θα τολμήσει να τη ρωτήσει ποια είναι και από πού έρχεται, αλλά όλοι στέκονται και την υποδέχονται με τιμές και σεβασμό, έτσι απαράλλακτα γίνεται και με την ελεημοσύνη. Βασίλισσα είναι και αυτή και κάνει τους ανθρώπους να μοιάζουν με το Θεό. - Αγ. Ιωάννου του Χρυσοστόμου ********************************************** Αν θέλετε να τιμήσετε τον Χριστό, τιμήστε Τον στο πρόσωπο των φτωχών. - Αγ. Ιωάννου του Χρυσοστόμου

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8 Feed My Starving Children August 2018 CHURCH REGISTRY April 21: Wedding of Mary Korbos and Michael Crawley June 2: Wedding of Joanna Kotsiovos and Frank Gigliotti July 28: Funeral of Paul Karounos August 3: Funeral of George Kollias August 25: Wedding of Tom Diamantopoulos and Abbie Cook September 15: Funeral of Gust Karamagianis September 17: Funeral of Efstathios Athanasopoulos September 22: Wedding of Eric Carson and Ryann Rumbaugh October 20: Wedding of Angeline Klementzos and Nicholas Marneris

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10 St. John the Almsgiver St. John was born in Cyprus in the year 560. His father, whose name was Epiphanus, was the ruler of the country. When John grew up, he married and had children. But his children died. And then, when his wife also died, he was left alone and suffered very much. Then John began to direct his life more towards that of a monk. He practiced all the Christian virtues through his great love for God. St. John had a special love for all men who were poor, and for strangers. He gave them everything that they had need of! The people elected John to be the Patriarch of Alexandria during the time that Heracles was the Emperor. As a Patriarch of he Church, St. John's preaching was like a brightly burning candle, a light which shone into the world. St. John built a special hospital and house for strangers and for poor people, supporting these places from his own riches. He gave of his mercy, not only to the faithful of his flock, but also to those who were not faithful of the Church. Because of this, the people called him "The Merciful One. St. John lived as Patriarch until he was very old. When he died, the people whom he loved so much cried for him, and buried his body with great honor. We celebrate his feast on November 12.

11 Holy Cross Philoptochos Society The Holy Cross Ladies Philoptochos Society is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and Archdiocese of America that has offered many years of philanthropy through a multitude of programs that make a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. Come help us in our many philanthropic activities! By placing an ad in our newsletter, you help defray the cost of all the church s printing needs and mailings in the year. Please call the Church office for more information.

12 Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church 7560 South Archer Road Justice, IL Phone: Fax: Follow us on Facebook & Instagram Wheelchair Accessible Entrance and Restroom Available