December was filled with tidings of great joy at St. George Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia. We welcomed home for the holidays His Grace, Bishop Thomas, who served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Nativity and was in attendance for several of our holiday presentations.
On December 5th, after Divine Liturgy, our teen group served their annual pancake breakfast with all the toppings. On December 6th, 8th, and 10th, the Antiochian Women/Ladies Guild, St. Ignatius, and the Young Adults held their Christmas Dinners and end of year meetings.
HARK! The voices of angels were heard on Sunday, December 12th, and fourteen members of our Junior Choir performed solos and duets of traditional Christmas carols for the congregation, after Divine Liturgy. Under the direction of our choir director, Lexie Damous, and accompanied by Michael Barnhouse, this was truly a gift of the season.
That same evening, we returned to the sanctuary to hear a Christmas Cantata by our Liturgical Choir. The musical selection entitled “Night of the Father’s Love” by Pepper Choplin, related the awe and mystery of our Savior’s birth, and was narrated by Becky and Terry O’Fiesh. A unique blend of musical styles and words-combining traditional carols and scriptures-provided a most joyous evening!
Members of St. Ignatius participated in the service December 19th for St. Ignatius Sunday by reading the epistle and passing the offering trays. After Divine Liturgy, our Church School presented their Annual Christmas program with each class participating in the play and caroling. Refreshments were served to all afterward.
St. George was blessed to host the visitation of the Kursk Root Icon of the Mother of God on Wednesday, December 22nd. This 13th century icon is one of the most miraculous icons of Russia. The Little Compline Service with Akathist to the Theotokos was held at 7pm, with the veneration of the Icon immediately following. A presentation of the history of the Icon was given by Archpriest Serge Lukianov. Copies of the Holy Icon were for sale and then were blessed in front of the Kursk Root Icon. We were truly moved by the number of people present for this holy event.
As Bishop Thomas greeted everyone with “Christ is Born!” after the Feast of Nativity, and the echo of “GLORIFY HIM” was returned, everyone returned home to be with family and friends. Upon the dawn of that glorious morn of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we awoke to a white Christmas. Christmas at the Cathedral in Charleston, WV, was a most blessed and memorable one!
May the New Year bring good health, peace, happiness, and His Blessings to Metropolitan Philip, Bishop Thomas, Fr. Olof Scott, Fr. Stephen, the parishioners of St. George and the Archdiocese.