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.
What would you do if somebody came into your house and destroyed all your pictures? What if somebody poked holes in the photos of your family? Or cut through some of the pictures of your friends? Or burned the precious pictures of your grandparents or great-grandparents?
That’s exactly what iconoclasts did, 1300 years ago. Iconoclasts were people who destroyed icons. That’s right—they destroyed pictures of our family—Jesus Christ, the Theotokos, and the saints. They made it against the law to have icons, and even destroyed these holy images whenever they could.
Today is the first Sunday of Lent. Today we celebrate the return of icons into our churches and into our homes. We celebrate how we still use icons in our Orthodox faith. We pray with icons, because we know that God became a real person, Who lived here on earth. The Theotokos and the saints are real people too, and we remember them when we see pictures of them!
In 843, St. Theodora and the Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council finally brought icons back, making icons legal once again. Today, let’s all hold our icons up high, thanking God for our freedom, and thanking St. Theodora and the Church Fathers for their courage!
A TURNAROUND LIFE: ST. EUDOCIA
Have you ever eavesdropped, and heard something you probably shouldn’t have? Maybe you heard your parents talking about your birthday surprise. Maybe you listened to two classmates talking about YOU. Listening in is hardly ever a good idea. But for St. Eudocia, it was!
St. Eudocia was a very early saint—She lived just about a hundred years after Christ lived! At first, Eudocia was not a Christian, and she was definitely going down the wrong path. She made lots of mistakes. But one day, a holy man, Germanos, came to stay at the house of her next-door neighbor (who was a Christian). As Eudocia was trying to sleep, she could hear Germanos singing psalms from the Bible. He was also reading something about asking for forgiveness.
St. Eudocia really couldn’t sleep then. She started to think about all the mistakes she made. The next day, she began to turn her life around. She was baptized. She gave her valuable things away to the poor. She prayed all the time. She changed everything. Soon, she became very holy, and even gave up her life for Christ when the governor found out she was a Christian.
God gave St. Eudocia another chance to do the right thing, and she sure took that chance!
We celebrate St. Eudocia on Thursday, March 1st (March 14th, OC).
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.
Photo credit: OCA
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