Category Archives: sermon

The Christian Symbol of the Fish

The Christian Symbol of the Fish.  The Ichthys

Explanation of the Christian Symbol of the Fish with the Greek lettering inside the image.

In the earliest of Christian times, when Christians were heavily persecuted, the fish symbol came to represent Christianity long before the Cross symbol was in use.   The symbol of the fish was used to identify oneself as a Christian to others, mark burial places of the saints and martyrs and would also indicate the location of where a prayer meeting was held.

There are many different interpretations as to why or how the fish symbol originated, some of which can be traced back to a time long before Jesus Christ came into the world – as far back as the third and fourth century BC with the stories of the mythical Orpheus of Thrace that was described as a fisher of men.  Many other ancient cultures and religions used the symbol of the fish as well to denote various observances.  But, in the case of Christianity, the fish symbol was most likely adopted from the writings of the Apostles which speak of the miracles that Jesus preformed in feeding the multitudes and the calling of the first Apostles, Simon Peter, James and John (Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20) who were referred to as the “reputed pillars” of the Jewish Christian community in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Gal. 2:1-10).  Most Orthodox Christian theologians also think that the great catch of fish in Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20, fulfills the prophesy in the Old Testament of Jeremiah 16:16, “…says the Lord….behold ….I will send many fishermen, and they will fish them.”.

The Christian Fish symbol is also aligned with Jesus’ Resurrection and the story of Jonah and the Whale of the Old Testament (Jonah 1:17- 2:10) through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians 15:1-58; and, the Gospels of Matthew (12:38-40) and Luke (11:29-30) (KJV).

IΧΘΥΣ is an acronym for Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ – phonetically pronounced: Isous Christos, Theou Yios, Soter – in English: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.  Some believe the acronym inside the fish started to become popular in the 1970s.  But I believe the existence of the acronym inside the fish was in use long before that time; and, although I cannot find a reference now, I remember as a child seeing the Fish symbol  with the IΧΘΥΣ written inside in documents that dated well before the 1970s, perhaps even as early as the 1950s or before.  At some point, modern culture converted the Greek acronym IΧΘΥΣ written inside the first symbol to simply the English word Jesus and other variations also exist in contemporary society today.

 

References:  Lawrence Farley, The Gospel of Luke, Good News for the Poor, Conciliar Press; Walter Liefeld, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Vol. 8; Zondervan; Paul Tarazi, Luke and Acts, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, KJV.

All of the educational information and posts on this website are copyrighted by the Author, Dr. Christine Cheryl Kerxhalli.  You are free to use anything in your ministry that is posted on this site as long as a link is provided to this website and the author is given appropriate credit.

 

 

 

 

Guide to creating a didactic (teaching) Divine Liturgy in your Home School or Parish.

The following is a link to a helpful guide for establishing an Eastern Orthodox Christian  Didactic (teaching) Divine Liturgy in your Home School or Parish:  Didactic (teaching) Divine Liturgy Guide.

The following is also a link to a template that can be used as a handout in your parishes when the teaching Liturgy is conducted:  Template for Didactic Liturgy Handout

Some helpful hints for stylizing the Didactic Divine Liturgy Guide and creating your own document for handout in your Home School or Parish are:

  1. Use the actual Divine Liturgy book your parish has in the pews and insert page numbers and the titles of the Hymns your pew edition uses so the people can readily refer to the page number and hymn names during the teaching Liturgy.
  2. Take pictures of your own Priest during the Liturgy and insert those pictures in the document to be used as a handout.
  3. Take pictures of your own icons, church paraments, liturgical items on the Table of Oblation, etc. and insert those pictures in the document to be used as a handout.
  4. Almost all images and name references used in this document are what is typically used within the Greek Orthodox Christian jurisdictions.  Please feel free to change these images and name references according to your jurisdictional preferences.
All of the educational information and posts on this website are copyrighted by the Author, Dr. Christine Cheryl Kerxhalli.  You are free to use anything in your ministry that is posted on this site as long as a link is provided to this website and the author is given appropriate credit.

 

Orthodox Christian Youth Craft for Christmas Lent – Christmas (Advent) Wreath

For Orthodox Christians, the fast period for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ begins on November 15 and extends through December 25. Orthodox Christians often refer to this time as the Christmas Fast or Christmas Lent. This is a spiritual period of moderate fasting, prayer, scripture reading and reflection on the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the USA, other Christian traditions often use what is called an Advent Wreath to enrich the spirituality of the Christmas Lenten season as they await the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. According to those Christian traditions, a candle is lit every Sunday during the Christmas Advent (Lent) season marking the passing of time until the Nativity of the Lord. This craft project borrows that Advent Wreath Christian tradition and adapts it for use in the Orthodox Christian home during the forty-day (40 day) Christmas Lenten fast period while providing appropriate scriptural readings for each lighting.

Click this link for detailed information: A SAFETY Orthodox Christian Advent Wreath.

Orthodox Christian Safety Advent Wreath Orthodox Christian Safety Advent Wreath
All of the educational information and posts on this website are copyrighted by the Author, Dr. Christine Cheryl Kerxhalli.  You are free to use anything in your ministry that is posted on this site as long as a link is provided to this website and the author is given appropriate credit.
 
 
 
 

Lord’s Prayer in Greek, Phonetics, and English

It is a common fact in English speaking countries that English Translations of the Lord’s Prayer used in the Orthodox Church deviates considerably from one text to another.  They all say essentially the same thing but use different, sometimes complex, English words in the translation.  What absolutely never changes is the original text in the original language in which it was written.   Below, under the original Greek Text, is a phonetic interpretation for those of you who may not read Greek but would like to learn to say the Lord’s Prayer in the original Greek language.  Even the phonetics can be challenging to read, so following the phonetics is a video with a voice saying the Lord’s Prayer very slowly in Greek so you can follow along.

GREEK:
Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἁγιασθήτω τό ὄνομά σου, ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου, γενηθήτω τό θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καί ἐπί τῆς γῆς. Τόν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τόν ἐπιούσιον δός ἡμῖν σήμερον καί ἄφες ἡμῖν τά ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καί ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν καί μή εἰσενέγκης ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλά ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπό τοῦ πoνηροῦ.

GREEK USING PHONETICS:
Pá-ter i-món o en tis ou-ra-nís, a-gi-as-thí-to to ó-no-má Sou; el-thé-to I Va-s-il-ía Sou; ge-ni-th-íto to thé-li-má Sou, os en ou-ra-nó ke e-pi tis ghis. Ton ár-ton i-món ton e-pi-oú-si-on dos i-mín sí-me-ron; ke á-fes i-mín ta o-fe-lí-ma-ta i-món os ke i-mís a-fí-e-men tis o-fi-lé-tes i-món; ke mi i-se-né-gis i-más is p-iras-món, a-la rí-se i-más a-pó tou po-n-iroú.

Official Translation of the Lord’s Prayer as adopted by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 2004
Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

References:  Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/lords_prayer

All of the educational information and posts on this website are copyrighted by the Author, Dr. Christine Cheryl Kerxhalli.  You are free to use anything in your ministry that is posted on this site as long as a link is provided to this website and the author is given appropriate credit.
 
 

 

The Nicene Creed of Faith in Greek, Phonetics, and English

It is a common fact in English speaking countries that English Translations of the Nicene Creed of Faith used in the Orthodox Church deviates considerably from one text to another.  They all say essentially the same thing but use different, sometimes complex, English words in the translation.  What absolutely never changes is the original text in the original language in which it was written.   Below, under the original Greek Text, is a phonetic interpretation for those of you who may not read Greek but would like to learn to say the Creed of Faith in the original Greek language.  Even the phonetics can be challenging to read, so following the phonetics is a video with a voice saying the Creed of Faith very slowly in Greek so you can follow along.

GREEK:
Πιστεύω είς ενα Θεόν, Πατέρα, παντοκράτορα, ποιητήν ουρανού καί γής, ορατών τε πάντων καί αοράτων. Καί είς ενα Κύριον, Ίησούν Χριστόν, τόν Υιόν του Θεού τόν μονογενή, τόν εκ του Πατρός γεννηθέντα πρό πάντων τών αιώνων. Φώς εκ φωτός, Θεόν αληθινόν εκ Θεού αληθινού γεννηθέντα, ού ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τώ Πατρί, δι’ ού τά πάντα εγένετο. Τόν δι’ ημάς τούς ανθρώπους καί διά τήν ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα εκ τών ουρανών καί σαρκωθέντα εκ Πνεύματος ‘Αγίου καί Μαρίας τής Παρθένου καί ενανθρωπήσαντα. Σταυρωθέντα τε υπέρ ημών επί Ποντίου Πιλάτου καί παθόντα καί ταφέντα. Καί αναστάντα τή τρίτη ημέρα κατά τάς Γραφάς. Καί ανελθόντα είς τούς ουρανούς καί καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιών τού Πατρός. Καί πάλιν ερχόμενον μετά δόξης κρίναι ζώντας καί νεκρούς, ού τής βασιλείας ουκ εσται τέλος. Καί είς τό Πνεύμα τό ¨Αγιον, τό Κύριον, τό ζωοποιόν, τό εκ τού Πατρός εκπορευόμενον, τό σύν Πατρί καί Υιώ συμπροσκυνούμενον καί συνδοξαζόμενον, τό λαλήσαν διά τών Προφητών. Είς μίαν, αγίαν, καθολικήν καί αποστολικήν Έκκλησίαν. ‘Ομολογώ εν βάπτισμα είς άφεσιν αμαρτιών. Προσδοκώ ανάστασιν νεκρών. Καί ζωήν τού μέλλοντος αιώνος. Άμήν.

GREEK USING PHONETICS:

Pis-té-vo is é-na Thé-on, Pa-té-ra Pan-to-krá-to-ra, Pi-i-tín ou-ra-noú ke ghis, o-ra-tón te pán-ton ke a-o-ráton. Ke is é-na Kí-ri-on I-i-soún Hri-stón ton I-ón tou The-oú, ton mo-no-ghe-ní, ton ek tou Pa-trós gen-ni-thén-ta pró pán-ton ton e-ó-non. Fós ek Fo-tós, The-ón a-li-thi-nón ek The-oú a-li-thi-noú, gen-ni-thén-ta ou pi-i-thén-ta, o-mo-oú-si-on to Pa-trí, di ou ta Pán-ta e-gé-ne-to.  Ton di i-más tous an-thró-pous ke di-á tin i-me-té-ran so-ti-rí-an, ka-thel-thón-ta ek ton ou-ra-nón ke sar-ko-thén-ta ek Pnév-ma-tos A-ghí-ou ke Ma-rí-as tis Par-thé-nou ke en-an-thro-pí-san-ta.  Stav-ro-thén-ta te i-pér i-món e-pí Pon-tí-ou Pi-lá-tou, ke pa-thón-ta ke ta-fén-ta. Ke a-nas-tán-ta ti trí-ti i-mér-a ka-tá tas Gra-fás. Ke a-nel-thón-ta is tous ou-ra-noús, ke Ka-the-zó-me-non ek dex-i-ón tou Pa-trós. Ke pá-lin er-hó-me-non me-tá dó-xis krí-ne zón-tas ke ne-kroús; ou tis Va-si-lí-as ouk és-te té-los. Ke is to Pnév-ma to Á-gh-ion, to Kí-ri-on, to Zo-o-pi-ón, to ek tou Pa-trós ek-po-re-vó-me-non, to sin Pa-trí ke I-ó sin-pro-ski-noú-me-non ke sin-do-xa-zó-me-non,  to la-lí-san di-á ton Pro-fi-tón. Is Mí-an, A-gí-an, Ka-tho-li-kín ke A-pos-to-li-kín Ek-kli-sí-an.   O-mo-lo-gó en Váp-tis-ma is á-fe-sin a-mar-ti-ón. Pros-do-kó A-nás-ta-sin ne-krón. Ke Zo-ín tou mél-lon-tos e-ó-nos. A-min.

Official English Translation of the Creed of Faith as adopted by the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, 2004
I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through Whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; And He rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father; And He will come again with glory to judge the living and dead. His kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, Who spoke through the prophets. In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen.

References:  Greek Orthodox Archdiocese http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/creed

All of the educational information and posts on this website are copyrighted by the Author, Dr. Christine Cheryl Kerxhalli.  You are free to use anything in your ministry that is posted on this site as long as a link is provided to this website and the author is given appropriate credit.