St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
9100 Youree Drive, Shreveport, LA 71115
December 1, 2010

Blessings and greetings in Christ on this 3rd Wednesday of the Nativity Fast.  Today, Dec. 1, we commemorate St. Philaret the Merciful.  See below for his remarkable life.

Cherishing Damaged Icons
"Christ saw the beauty of the divine image in every person who came to him.  Perhaps it was hidden or deformed, but it was beauty, nevertheless.  We must do the same.  Each of us resembles a damaged icon.  When anyone gives us a painted icon that has been damaged by age or circumstances, or profaned by human sinfulness, we always treat it with tenderness, with reverence and with a broken heart.  It is what remains of its former beauty, and not what has been lost, that is important.  And that is how we should learn to treat ourselves and each other.

~Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, This Holy Man, Gillian Crow (tr), p. 194.

Services this week:
This evening (Wed.) 6pm - Advent Paraklesis, followed by Catechism class
Friday, 7:15am - 1st Hour and Men's Meeting
           6pm - Great Vespers (Ss. Barbara and John of Damascus)
Saturday, 5:45pm - 9th Hour; 6pm - Great Vespers
Sunday morning services as usual
Sunday 5:30pm - Great Vespers for Feast of St. Nicholas
Monday 9am - Orthros   10am - Liturgy for St. Nicholas


- Feast of St. Nicholas: This coming Sunday is the day before the Feast of St. Nicholas, which is our patronal feast.  Since the feast falls on Monday, we will have our “Creative Arts Festival” and treats for children on Sunday, along with a parish potluck.  Price of admission for the Creative Arts Festival: 1 canned or boxed food item. The services for the feast will include: Great Vespers on Sunday evening at 5:30pm, Orthros Monday morning at 9 and Liturgy at 10.

- Stewardship Forms have been mailed out to parish members.  Please fill out your form and bring it to church this coming Sunday, December 5th.

- Almsgiving opportunities: Remember to bring in canned/boxed goods for our ongoing food drive, and remember, during this Advent season to look for other ways to give alms to those in need. One way to give alms is to donate to our parish discretionary fund, from which we help those who come to us with special needs.

- Texarkana: The next service and meeting in Texarkana will take place next Friday, Dec. 10, at 6pm.

- New iconography at Holy Trinity in Santa Fe: For an interview in the "Santa Fe New Mexican" with FATHER JOHN BETHANCOURT of Holy Trinity/Santa Fe, NM accompanied by photos of the new iconography recently installed in the church temple, visit:


The Life of St. Philaret the Merciful
Philaret was from the village of Amnia in Paphlagonia. Early in life, Philaret was a very wealthy man, but by distributing abundant alms to the poor he himself became extremely poor. However, he was not afraid of poverty, and, not heeding the complaints of his wife and children, he continued his charitable works with hope in God, Who said: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). Once, while he was plowing in the field, a man came to him and complained that one of his oxen had died in the harness and that he was unable to plow with only one ox. Philaret then unharnessed one of his oxen and gave it to him. He even gave his remaining horse to a man who was summoned to go to war. He gave away the calf of his last cow, and when he saw how the cow pined for her missing calf, and the calf for the cow, he called the man and gave him the cow too. And thus the aged Philaret was left without food in an empty house. But he prayed to God and placed his hope in Him. And God did not abandon the righteous one to be put to shame in his hope. At that time the Empress Irene reigned with her young son, Constantine. According to the custom of that time, the empress sent men throughout the whole empire to seek the best and most distinguished maiden to whom she could wed her son, the emperor. By God's providence, these men happened to stay overnight in Philaret's house, and they saw his most beautiful and modest granddaughter Maria, the daughter of his daughter Hypatia, and took her to Constantinople. The emperor was well pleased with her, married her, and moved Philaret and all his family to the capital, giving him great honors and riches. Philaret did not become proud as a result of this unexpected good fortune, but, thankful to God, he continued to perform good works even more than he had before, and thus he continued until his death. At the age of ninety he summoned his children, blessed them, and instructed them to cleave to God and to God's law, and with his clairvoyant spirit he prophesied to all of them how they would live out this life, as once had Jacob. After that he went to the Rodolfia Monastery and gave up his soul to God. At his death his face shone like the sun, and after his death an unusual, sweet fragrance came forth from his body and miracles took place at his relics. This righteous man entered into rest in the year 797. His wife, Theosevia, and all his children and grandchildren lived a God-pleasing life and reposed in the Lord.

~From the Prologue From Ochrid

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