Harvey Hesse

Church Address 125 Academy Street Belleville, NJ 07109

December 2008 letter

Dear Brethren,

We congratulate you with the beginning of the Nativity fast which reminds us of the Kiahk nights known as seven and four, in which the church stays up praising the Lord with beautiful praises focused on the incarnation of Christ. Symbols from the Old Testament help our understanding of the incarnation of Christ, and how the divinity and the humanity united in St. Mary’s womb. We also learn that she remained a virgin after the birth of Christ:

v Aaron’s censor that held the lit coal is the womb of Virgin Mary which held the humanity (the coal) united with the divinity (the fire).

v The burning bush symbolized the unity of the humanity and the divinity without actually burning the bush. It’s also the same with the Jesus Christ the Word, and as God talked to Moses through the burning bush He also talked to us through His Incarnate Word.

v The pot of manna symbolizes Virgin Mary who held Christ in her womb, and as Christ said clearly “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die” (John 6: 48-50).

v The golden lamp-stand is the Mother of God who held Christ, who spoke truly: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12). That is why we call her the mother of Light.

These are only some of the symbols which are sung about during Kiahk, which explain Incarnation in a clear and easy way. These nights will begin on Saturday December the 13th.

We also remind you of the feast of the martyrdom of St. Philopateer Mercurius, the intercessor of the church, which is 25 Hatour (December 4). There will be vespers prayers on Wednesday, December 3rd at 7:00 p.m., and a mass on Thursday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m.

For the church news, the renovation of the church’s entrance is complete, and the installation of the new sign on Rutgers Ct. announcing the church from a distance. It has received the attention of our youth who have decided to fundraise to install another sign onAcademy St.

Please remember the church, the priest, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius and the blessing of the Nativity fast be with us always, Amen.

Fr. Youssef Halim

Belleville, December 1, 2008