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 three small children: Lydia, Paul, and Silas. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Have you ever wondered why we wear crosses? Have you wondered why we make the sign of the cross when we pray? Do you know why, today, on the Sunday of the Holy Cross, we decorate a cross with flowers and see a procession around the whole church with it? We remember that our Lord, Jesus Christ was killed on the Cross.
We remember that the people were angry at Him, and we remember how they shouted “Crucify Him!” when they wanted Him to be killed on the cross. That doesn’t sound so great, so why do we make such a big deal about the cross in our Christian faith today?
When we think about the Cross, we think about what our Lord, Jesus Christ did for us. We think about how He gave up His life for us, so that we could live in heaven someday with Him. When we think about the Cross, we think about how it didn’t stop there… our Lord came out of the tomb, and He rose from the dead!
So for us, the Cross wasn’t a bad thing. It is the best thing ever because it gives us all life!
A WONDER-WORKING ICON: THE PANAGIA PORTAITISSA ICON
Do you have icons in your house? In your family’s car? In your room? We use these icons to remember Christ and His saints. But God sometimes uses icons in other special ways too. Tomorrow we’ll remember a very special icon called the Portaitissa Icon.
More than a thousand years ago, iconoclasts tried to destroy icons all over the Christian world. A Christian lady kept an icon in her house. Once, these icon-hating men came into her house and stabbed this icon with a spear. Blood poured out of it!
Then, of course, she knew it was a very special icon. With this miracle, God wanted to show how important icons are to our faith. The lady asked the soldiers to wait until the morning to take it. When they left, she put it in the sea, and it floated away. It floated to Mount Athos, a place in Greece that is filled with monasteries and churches.
This amazing icon has been at a monastery on Mount Athos ever since then. Today we celebrate this miracle that God worked through this special icon.
We celebrate this special icon today, Mar. 31st (April 13th, OC).
Photo Credit: Orthodox Christianity
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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