Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Have you ever really wanted to touch something, but you couldn’t? Maybe you were at an art museum, and you really wanted to touch a painting or a sculpture so you could know what it felt like. (Maybe you even discovered the alarms that are all around the art work!)
In today’s Gospel reading, and in today’s celebration, we remember Saint Thomas, the disciple who really wanted to touch Something too—our Lord, Jesus Christ! The Gospel tells us that all the other disciples had already seen Jesus, Who had risen from the dead. Thomas hadn’t seen Him yet though, and at first he didn’t believe the other disciples.
Thomas said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” So you see, Thomas really wanted to touch the Lord so he could believe too!
But did you know something? The Lord wasn’t like an art museum, where you just can’t touch! He invited Saint Thomas to touch His side, so that he would believe He had risen! Our Lord calls everybody—everybody in the world— to believe in Him! Our Lord wants everybody to have this joy of the Resurrection!
God Works Through an Icon! The Panagia Chrysafitissa Icon
Today we remember how Saint Thomas wanted to touch the Lord’s side. We know that God blesses things we can touch—holy water, holy crosses, and special icons, too!
Tomorrow, on the Monday after Saint Thomas Sunday, we celebrate a very special icon that is 500 years old! This icon is called the Panagia Chrysafitissa icon. It is called Panagia because it is of the all-holy (Panagia, in Greek) Theotokos. It is called Chrysafitissa because it once came from a village in Greece called Chrysafa.
The funny thing is the icon didn’t stay in Chrysafa. That’s because one day, it mysteriously showed up in a church in Monemvasia (also in southern Greece). The people in Chrysafa thought the icon had been stolen, so a judge ordered that the icon be given back! They locked the church in Chrysafa, but the next day, the icon was back in Monemvasia! Then the people knew that the icon should stay there.
Many people still pray to the Holy Theotokos in front of this special icon of Panagia Chrysafitissa in Monemvasia. God has worked many miracles through His mother, and through this amazing icon!
We remember this icon on the Monday after St. Thomas Sunday.
Welcome to “The Children’s Word,” a weekly ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network. Each week, Presvytera Alexandra Houck writes this little newsletter for young parishioners! You will find age-appropriate articles, stories, and activities in every edition. The newsletter is provided in PDF format so that you can easily download and print it, and share it with your parish, church school, homeschool, family, and friends.
Each issue includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find a coloring page and other activities. It is designed for a 8.5 x 14 page, so it can be printed and folded.
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