Before your school day starts, do you ever have any special announcements at the beginning of the day? You might hear some announcements about things that are coming up, things you need to know, things you need to keep in mind throughout the day.
In our Church, we also hear some special announcements in our liturgy. Before we hear the epistle and gospel, we hear something called the prokeimenon (it means “before the reading”). This prokeimenon is some good advice or a beautiful thing that we can keep in mind when we hear the readings.
Today, you will hear the chanter sing, “God is wonderful among his saints. Bless God in the congregations.” Doesn’t that sound like good advice to keep in mind? The prokeimenon is like our morning announcement. Just like at school, we remember the special advice we hear, we can remember these special words too.
FIRM IN HER FAITH: SAINT OLYMPIAS THE DEACON
Do you have a deacon in your church? You might see him helping the priest or bishop with the prayers, or with Holy Communion. “Deacon” means somebody who serves, and that is just what he does.
Today, we celebrate the nameday of Saint Olympias. She was a deaconess, a woman deacon. (You probably haven’t seen one of those in your church. That’s because there are just a few in the world today.)
Saint Olympias grew up in a very rich family, but when she was older, her parents gave her all the family money. She gave that money away—to the poor, to orphans, and to widows. So, as a deaconess, she really served the people. She was very close to another saint, Saint John Chrysostom. Later in her life, some people were jealous of Saint Olympias, and she got in trouble for something she didn’t do. She was sent to prison. Saint John Chrysostom wrote letters to her there, and we still have some of these today. Saint Olympias was a real deacon. She spent her life serving the needy, and as the Bible tells us, when we serve the needy, we serve God, too!
We remember St. Olympias today, July 25th (OC: August 7th).