St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church
Shrine of the Holy Virgin Mary
2701 N. Narragansett Ave., Chicago, IL 60639 * 773-889-4282
Feast of the Assumption - Gallery

Falling asleep in the Lord of His Excellency Metropolitan Ilia of Philomelion

We are deeply saddened to announce that on October 6, 2022, our most beloved Hierarch, his Excellency Metropolitan Ilia (Katre) of Philomelion, of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America, passed away at the age of 85. He was predeceased by his beloved Presvytera Helen. He was the beloved father of Mark and Eugenia (Chris), grandfather, brother, and uncle. Above all, he was a beloved spiritual father, hierarch, and friend.
Our hearts are filled with pain as we mourn the sudden loss of our beloved Hierarch but at the same time we are filled with the hope of Resurrection in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Metropolitan Ilia was a respected husband, a beloved father and grandfather, a most honored and beloved Bishop and shepherd of our St. Nicholas community and the Albanian Orthodox community in the US and Canada, and above all an exemplary faithful Christian, who through his untiring service to the church, his edifying words and sermons, and his unconditional love and compassion shown to all people whose lives he touched, set an inspiring example for all of us to follow.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America upon learning of the falling asleep in the Lord of our beloved Metropolitan Ilia expressed his deep respect with the following words:
“I am deeply saddened by the sudden loss of my beloved brother in Christ Metropolitan Ilia of Philomelion. He was an exemplary hierarch, and man of deep faith who never ceased answering the Church’s call to service. He was an ardent supporter of Hellenic College – Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology where he spent much time celebrating services and mentoring the future clergymen of our Church. His passing is a significant loss for Orthodoxy in America. May his memory be eternal!”

His Excellency Metropolitan Ilia was born in July 14th, 1937, in a family of Albanian immigrants who came in the United States in the early 20th century. The piety of his family, especially his father and an active participation in the life of the church would influence his decision to pursue the vocation of becoming an Orthodox priest.
After graduating from high school with honors, Ilia went to Boston to continue his studies at the Holy Cross School of Theology. Following graduation after six years of studies, he married Helen in 1962. They were blessed with two children. He was ordained to the Holy Diaconate in St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church in 1962. Two weeks later he was ordained to the Holy Priesthood by Bishop Mark Lipa, in Holy Trinity Church, South Boston, were he was assigned to serve as a priest. In 1983, he completed his post-graduate master's studies at Holy Cross School of Theology and was then appointed Dean of Student Affairs at Hellenic College Holy Cross. In 1988 he accepted the position of pastor at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he served until 2002.
Upon the arrival of Archbishop Anastasios as Patriarchal Exarch in Albania, he served the Orthodox Church there during the years 1991-1992, and contributed tremendously in the restoration of the religious life and ecclesial order in Albania, particularly as the Director of the Theological School in Durres, where he taught and mentored candidates for the priesthood.
In 2002, the widowed Fr. Ilia was unanimously elected titular Bishop of Philomelion by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and was appointed to lead the Albanian Orthodox Diocese in America. For his contribution to the Albanian Orthodox Diocese in America and to the Orthodoxy worldwide, the Ecumenical Patriarchate elevated him to the rank of Metropolitan in 2019.

During his 60 years of service to the faithful and his ministry in the church, our most beloved Metropolitan Ilia was revealed to be a truly dedicated shepherd to his flock and a luminous example of faith and wisdom. He will always be remembered for his warmth and as a loving father in Christ for all of us.

May his memory be eternal!

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Ndërroi jetë Shkëlqesia e tij Mitropolit Ilia i Filomilit

Me trishtim të thellë ju njoftojmë se në datën 6 Tetor, 2022, ndërroi jetë Hierarku ynë i dashur, Shkëlqesia e tij Mitropolit Ilia (Katre) i Filomilit, i Dioqezës Ortodokse Shqiptare në Amerikë. Ai ishte 85 vjeç.
Zemrat tona janë mbushur me dhimbje ndërsa vajtojmë humbjen e papritur të Hierarkut tonë të dashur, por njëkohësisht jemi të mbushur me shpresën e Ngjalljes në Zotin dhe Shpëtimtarin tonë Jezu Krisht.
Mitropolit Ilia ishte një bashkëshort i respektuar, një baba dhe gjysh i dashur, një Episkop dhe bari shumë i nderuar dhe i dashur nga komuniteti ynë i kishës së Shën Nikollës por edhe më gjerë nga komuniteti Ortodoks Shqiptar në Shtetet e Bashkuara dhe Kanada. Mbi të gjitha, ai ishte një i krishterë shembullor, i cili nëpërmjet shërbimit të tij të palodhur, fjalëve dhe predikimeve të tij mësimdhënëse, dhe dashurisë e dhembshurisë së tij të pakushtëzuar për të gjithë njerëzit, jetët e të cilëve ai preku, dha një shembull frymëzues për tu ndjekur nga të gjithë ne.

Kryepeshkopi Elpidophoros i Kishës Ortodokse Greke në Amerikë, pasi mësoi lajmin e fjetjes në Zotin të Mitropolit Ilias, u shpreh me respekt të thellë si më poshtë:
“Jam thellësisht i trishtuar nga humbja e papritur e vëllait tim të dashur në Krishtin, Mitropolit Ilia i Filomilit. Ai ishte një hierark shembullor dhe njeri me besim të thellë, i cili kurrë nuk reshti së shërbyeri në Kishë. Ai ishte një mbështetës i zjarrtë i Seminarit Teologjik Grek Kryqi i Shenjtë, ku kalonte mjaft kohë duke celebruar shërbesat e shenjta dhe duke mësuar klerikët e ardhshëm të Kishës sonë. Kjo është një humbje e thellë për Ortodoksinë në Amerikë. I paharruar qoftë kujtimi i tij!”

Shkëlqesia e tij Mitropolit Ilia u lind në 14 Korrik, 1937, në një familje emigrantësh Shqiptarë të cilët erdhën në Shtetet e Bashkuara në fillim të shekullit të 20. Familja e tij besimtare, veçanërisht i jati, dhe pjesëmarrja aktive në jetën e kishës, ndikuan vendimin e tij për të ndjekur rrugën e priftërisë.
Pasi u diplomua me rezultate të larta nga shkolla e mesme, Ilia shkoi në Boston për të vazhduar studimet në Seminarin Teologjik Kryqi i Shenjtë. U diplomua pas gjashtë vjet studimesh dhe u martua me Helen në vitin 1962. Ata patën dy fëmijë së bashku. Po në vitin 1962 u hirotonis Dhjak në kishën Shqiptare të Shën Kollit në Çikago dhe me pas Prift në kishën e Shën Trinisë në Boston, ku edhe u caktua të shërbente si prift. Në 1983 ai mori një Master në Seminarin Teologjik Kryqi i Shenjtë dhe më pas u caktua Dekan i Kolegjit Helen. Në 1988 ai pranoi të shërbente si prift në kishën e Shën Gjon Pagëzorit në Las Vegas, Nevada, ku shërbeu deri në vitin 2002.
Me mbërritjen në Shqipëri të Kryepeshkop Anastasit si Ekzark i Patriarkanës Ekumenike, ai i shërbeu Kishës Ortodokse atje gjatë viteve 1991-1992, duke kontribuar jashtëzakonisht në ripërtëritjen e jetës fetare dhe rregullit kishtar në Shqipëri, veçanërisht si Drejtor i Seminarit Teologjik në Durrës, ku ai mësonte dhe drejtonte klerikët e ardhshëm.
Në vitin 2002, At. Ilia, tashmë i ve, u zgjodh unanimisht Episkop titullar i Filomilit nga Sinodi i Shenjtë i Patriarkanës Ekumenike dhe u caktua të udhëhiqte Dioqezën Ortodokse Shqiptare në Amerikë. Si vlerësim për kontributin ndaj Dioqezës Ortodokse Shqiptare në Amerikë dhe për Ortodoksinë më gjerë, Patriarkana Ekumenike e ngriti në rangun e Mitropolitit në vitin 2019.

Gjatë 60 viteve të shërbimit të tij ndaj besimtarëve dhe kishës, Mitropoliti ynë i dashur Ilia u tregua një bari me të vërtetë i përkushtuar ndaj tufës së tij dhe një shembull i ndritshëm besimi dhe mençurie. Ai do të përkujtohet gjithmonë për ngrohtësinë e tij dhe si një at i dashur në Krishtin për të gjithë ne.

I paharruar qoftë kujtimi i tij!

 

IOCC Annual 5K Walk

It is once again that time of the year where the IOCC annual 5K Walk fundraising event is approaching. This year it will take place on Saturday, September 30th, as usually departing from St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church 
at 5649 N. Sheridan Rd Chicago, where they will also host a fellowship-breakfast at the end of the walk for all the participants. 
 
St. Nicholas Ladies Auxiliary, members and families have been participating over the years in this event but this. year the team created a link on the IOCC 5K Walk registration website representing them to increase chances of raising more funds for IOCC and at the same time hopefully keep strengthening the name and making the work of out Ladies Auxiliary known more out there.
 
Please visit this [LINK] to donate or register to walk with us.
His Grace Bishop Theophan of Philomelion

We are honored to announce that on Saturday, October 14, 2023 the Installation Ceremony of His Grace Bishop Theophan of Philomelion will be held at St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church. This ceremony is a liturgical rite by which a ruling bishop is installed in his cathedral.  This is when he officially begins to oversee his diocese.  Archbishop Elidophoros will preside with other members of the clergy in attendance. Having this ceremony take place at St. Nicholas is a great honor for our church.  A luncheon reception will follow in our hall. Click HERE to view flyer for specific details.  

One Year Memorial for Metropolitan Ilia

Please join us for a one year memorial for our much respected and beloved Metropolitan Ilia on Sunday, October 15. His Grace Bishop Theophan will be celebrating Divine Liturgy with our parish that Sunday and will conduct the memorial service. A light lunch will be served in the hall following Liturgy. May his memory be eternal.

Metropolitan Ilia, of blessed memory

His Excellency Metropolitan Ilia Katre of Philomelion fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday, October 6, 2022. He was a beloved spiritual father, hierarch, and friend. Full article (English and Shqip)

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Metropolitan Ilia’s memory be sent to one of the following parishes:

St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Las Vegas, NV (Building Fund)
St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church, Chicago, IL
Holy Trinity Albanian Orthodox Church, South Boston, MA
St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Sault St. Marie, MI

May his memory be eternal.

This Weekend

October 14 & 15th

Albanian Orthodox Christians from across North America will be gathering in Chicago at the St. Nicholas Albanian Orthodox Church to take part in the Doxology of Installation for His Grace Theophan, Bishop of Philomelion and archpastor of the Albanian Orthodox Diocese of the Americas. 

The services, commencing at 10:30 AM on October 14th will be led by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros in his role as Exarch of the Patriarch of Constantinople, more frequently known as the Ecumenical Patriarch.  A celebratory luncheon is to follow.

His Grace Theophan succeeds His Excellency Metropolitan Ilia of blessed memory whose one year memorial will be held in the church on Sunday, October 15th after the regular Divine Liturgy.

The church, which contains the world-famous and miraculous weeping icon of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, is located at 2701 N. Narragansett Avenue across from the Brickyard.  The office of the church may be reached at (773) 889 4282.

General Meeting & Parish Council Elections

We would like to remind you that our General Meeting will take place on Sunday, November 26. A new Parish Council for the 2024-25 term will be elected. A letter was sent several weeks ago containing the Statement of Candidacy form. Any regular member in good standing who would like to put their name in nomination must fill out the form and return it to the church by Sunday, November 19, as stated in the letter. Attached is the Statement of Candidacy form for your use. Mark your sealed envelope, “Attention: 2023 Election” and mail it or drop it off at the church office.

Holiday DCFS Christmas Gift Drive

The Ladies Auxiliary is happy to announce that we will be participating, again this year, in the DCFS Christmas Gift Drive which is a Chicago area Pan-Orthodox ministry. As Orthodox Christians we are called to fulfill our Lord’s teaching: “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40

View the DCFS Christmas Gift Drive Flyer

New Kitchen Windows!

A heartfelt shoutout to Christopher Glass and Aluminum and Abe Asllani for our new kitchen window! We are incredibly grateful for our community members who continually support us in every way. The old window was long overdue for a replacement and the new one adds a touch of brightness to our church kitchen.

Thank you, Christopher Glass and Aluminum, and Abe Asllani, for your generosity and dedication to our church. We are blessed to have you with us! 🙏🏻✨
 
Hierarchical Pastoral Visit!

Hierarchical Pastoral Visit!
 
Our hierarch, His Grace Bishop +THEOPHAN, is making a pastoral visit between December 5th and 6th on the occasion of our Church Feast Day (Nameday).
 
All members and friends of St. Nicholas Church are invited to attend the church services on both days according to the following schedule:
 
December 5 - Tuesday
7:00 PM - Hierarchical Festal Great Vespers for St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Feast Day of our Church.
 
December 6 - Wednesday
9:00 AM - Matins
10:00 AM - Hierarchical Festal Divine Liturgy for St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Feast Day of our Church.

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Vizitë Baritore Hierarkike!
 
Hierarku ynë, Hirësia e Tij Peshkopi +THEOFAN, do kryejë një vizitë baritore ndërmjet 5 dhe 6 dhjetorit me rastin e Ditës së Festës së Kishës tonë (Dita e Emrit).
 
Të gjithë anëtarët dhe miqtë e Kishës së Shën Nikollës janë të ftuar të marin pjesë në shërbesat kishtare në të dyja ditët sipas programit të mëposhtëm:
 
5 dhjetor - e martë
7:00 PM - Mbrëmësorja e Madhe Festive Hierarkike për Shën Nikollën Mrekullibërësin, Dita e Festës së Kishës tonë.
 
6 dhjetor - e mërkurë
9:00 AM - Mëngjesore
10:00 AM - Liturgjia Hyjnore Festive Hierarkike për Shën Nikollën Mrekullibërësin, Dita e Festës së Kishës tonë.
 
St. Nicholas Day Celebrations

Once again, all the Ladies of St. Nicholas Church are being called upon to help with the preparations for our Patron Saint Feast Day Celebrations in December. We are very grateful for the ladies who will continue our tradition of the making of the burek by hand on Sunday, December 3 Even if you don’t know how to make burek we still need help putting up the Christmas tree in the hall and setting the tables for the celebration. We also need people to help serve the burek on Tuesday evening, Dec. 5 and Wednesday morning, Dec. 6. For more information and/or if you would like to volunteer, please call Sofia Panajoti at 312-593-6417.

Annual Shen Kolli Dinner Dance

The Ladies Auxiliary is hosting our annual Shen Kolli Dinner Dance in celebration of our patron saint on Sunday, December 10, 2023. You should have received your invitation via US mail by now. The proceeds from this event will enable the Ladies Auxiliary to continue their work in support of our church and various charitable projects. Any individual or business from the community is invited to prayerfully consider becoming a sponsor to this event. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please call Sofia Panajoti at 312-593-6417. We hope that you will join us for a wonderful evening of great food, music and fun!

DCFS Christmas Gift Drive

To all the parishioners of our church who, in a spirit of giving by imitating our patron saint St. Nicholas, participated in the DCFS Christmas Gift Drive, a big, heartfelt THANK YOU! May God bless you for your kindness and generosity toward children in need and rest assured that you have a brought a smile and warmth to all these children this Christmas. 

This year we were able to sponsor 30 children as St. Nicholas church family and what is even more joyful is that all together as a Pan-Orthodox community in Chicago we were able to give gifts to 1,575 children in total! 

 

Një falënderim të veçantë për të gjithë anëtarët e kishës sonë, që duke imituar shpirtin bujar të Shën Kollit, morën pjesë në Projektin për mbledhjen e dhuratave të Krishtlindjes për fëmijët jetimë. Perëndia jua shpërbleftë për mirësinë dhe bujarinë tuaj ndaj fëmijëve në nevojë dhe të jeni të sigurt se keni sjellë ngrohtësi dhe buzëqeshje në fytyrat e këtyre fëmijëve që do të marrin dhuratat për Krishtlindje. 

Këtë vit, si kishë e Shën Kollit, ishim në gjendje të mblidhnim dhurata për 30 fëmijë. Por akoma më e mrekullueshme është se të gjithë së bashku si kisha Ortodokse ne Çikago ishim në gjendje të dhuronim për 1,575 fëmijë gjithsej këtë vit! 

Holiday Food Drive

The Ladies Auxiliary is sponsoring their annual Holiday food drive again this year. We are accepting donations of canned goods and non-perishable items from now until January 7, 2024. Make sure to check the expiration dates. You can drop your donations off in the church hall on the small table to the left as you enter. This food drive will benefit children and adults in need residing in our local communities. Join us to help turn hunger into hope this holiday season!

View the Food Drive Flyer

Fr. Dean Photos

We would like to inform you that Fr. Dean Photos will be serving as our priest for the time being.  Fr. Dean will start Orthros at 9:00 AM, followed by Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM on the days he is here.  The updated schedule of services is on our Service Schedule Page (HERE).  The Parish Council is working closely with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese to bring an Albanian priest to St. Nicholas church.

 

Father Ignatius' Arrival

Father Ignatius is arriving in Chicago on February 1, 2024 and will be celebrating his first Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Church on Sunday, February 4, 2024. Following Liturgy, we will have a meet and greet for Father in the hall. He is looking forward to getting to know all of us and our families, so please make every effort to come to Church that Sunday. We look forward to seeing you there.

Pre-Lenten Luncheon And Fr. Ignatius’ Installation

This year, our traditional Pre-Lenten Luncheon, which usually takes place on Meatfare Sunday, will be held on Sunday, March 3 with Bishop Theophan’s blessings.  Bishop Theophan will be at St. Nicholas on the 3rd to perform Fr. Ignatius’ installation service.  In order to avoid having two lunches on consecutive Sunday’s we are combining both celebrations in one.  Tickets will be sold on Sunday’s in the church hall beginning on Sunday, February 4.  The suggested donation is $30 for adults, $15 for children 6-12, and no charge for children 5 and under. Tickets will NOT be sold at the door. The last day to purchase tickets is Sunday, February 25.  If you cannot make it to church to purchase your tickets in person, please call the church office at 773-889-4282 or send an email and leave your name, number and number of tickets desired.  Someone will contact you to confirm your reservation.  Reserved tickets can be picked up and paid for on the day of the event when you check in after Liturgy in the hall.  Tickets are limited, so get yours soon.  Proceeds will go toward phase two of our hall refresh project.  Phase one, replacing the ceiling light fixtures, was recently completed.

Holiday Messages from St Nicholas Church

To Our Beloved Parishioners,

Wishing you many blessings this Christmas season. On behalf of Fr. Dean and the Parish Council, warm Christmas greetings are sent to you and your loved ones. May God’s love and wisdom guide you throughout the New Year. Christ is Born! Glorify Him!


Të gjithë anëtarëve të kishës së Shën Kollit,

Urimet dhe Bekimet me të mira ne këtë periudhe Krishtlindjesh. Në emër të At Dean dhe Këshillit të Kishës , dëshirojmë tju përcjellim urimet tona të përzemërta për Krishtlindje për ju dhe të dashurit tuaj. Le te jete dashuria e Perëndise udhërrëfyes dhe bekim gjate gjithe vitit te ri. Krishti Lind! Lavdërojeni!

Friends and Supporters of the St. Nicholas Ladies Auxiliary

Dear Friends and Supporters of the St. Nicholas Ladies Auxiliary,

This is the time of joy, of giving, of sharing and of spreading love and warmth. It is the time of being grateful. It is with the deepest gratitude toward all of you that I'm writing this message of thanksgiving on behalf of the St. Nicholas Ladies Auxiliary.

The Shen Kolli Dinner Dance, which we celebrated on December 10th, was a beautiful event to be remembered and a huge success thanks to your generosity. It is a blessing and a privilege to witness year after year your faithful support to our ministry and to our beloved St. Nicholas church. Our greatest joy was to see many of you attending the Dinner Dance together with your families. For those of you who were not able to join us this year, we sincerely desire to welcome you at our next celebration.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Warmest Wishes On Behalf of St. Nicholas Ladies Auxiliary

Sofia Panajoti

President

Fr. Ignatius’ Installation

General Meeting - April 7

Our March General Meeting is being held on Sunday, April 7, 2024, immediately following Divine Liturgy. There will be updates on the status of our church, completed projects, pending and new projects. According to our church constitution, you must be a member in good standing in order to vote. In part, this means being up to date in payment of your dues for 2024. Please make every effort to attend this important meeting.

Palm Sunday Lunch - April 28

Tickets for our annual Palm Sunday Lunch on Sunday, April 28 will be available for purchase tomorrow, Sunday, March 31, in the hall following Liturgy. Tickets will not be sold at the door. If you cannot make it to church to purchase your tickets in person, please send an email or call the church office at 773-889-4282 and leave your name, number and number of tickets desired. Someone will reply to confirm your reservation. Reserved tickets can be picked up and paid for on the day of the event when you check in after Liturgy in the hall. The suggested donation for adults is $30, children 6-12 years old $15, and children 5 and under are free. The proceeds will go toward the IOCC Emergency Relief Fund helping people in need worldwide. Please join us in sharing wonderful food and each other’s company while helping others.

Easter Food Drive - Now through May 12

The annual Easter Food Drive is part of the Ladies Auxiliary charitable giving program which benefits children and adults in need in our local communities. We are accepting donations through Bright Monday, May 6. Any non-perishable food items in cans, jars and seal packets can be dropped off in the church hall on the small table to the left as you enter. Please be sure to check the expiration dates. Thank you in advance for helping turn hunger into hope!