SSJC Pittsburgh Meeting April 2018

On Monday April 30 2018 the second meeting for the Pittsburgh chapter of the Society of St. John Chrysostom was held at St. Anthony Chapel on Pittsburgh’s northside.

St. Anthony’s chapel on Pittsburgh’s north side is home to thousands of relics of the saints and has been designated a Historical Landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. This was the perfect venue to discuss the common heritage of the saints and their relics in both the eastern and western church with presentations from both the perspectives with an active discussion session among participants.

Western devotion to the saints and their relics spread in the Roman Catholic community. The extensive collection at this Pittsburgh landmark provides both the example and the spiritual and prayer focus of these practices. The eastern churches also devoted to the examples of the saints have used relics in liturgical practice like the Antimension in Byzantine Liturgy and seen them as sources of miracles throughout the ages.

Both east and west have the long standing tradition of incorporating relics of the saints, especially martyrs, into the consecrated permanent altar or holy table in churches.  The consecration of a new place of worship includes the special blessings and prayers as the relics are incorporated.

Opening prayer:  Here abbreviated vespers in the Roman Catholic chant tradition led Fr. James Orr (Chapel Director) and Deacon Greg Jelinek.  At the conclusion of vespers we had the opportunity to venerate the chapel’s relic of St. John Chrysostom.

Presentation & discussion:  The history of St. Anthony chapel and a brief review of the major sections of relics enshrined here.  Along with an overview of the churches collection and preservation of relics dating back to the first Christians.  A discussion of the Eastern and Western practices of consecrating altars with relics.  The Byzantine liturgical practice of the use of relics in the Antimensia for the celebration of liturgy.

After the main presentation and discussion finished, Fr. James hosted participants in the rectory for some social time with private discussions.  The attached rectory is even older than the chapel and provided an architecturally unique and elegant venue.

The next meeting of the SSJC Pittsburgh chapter will be on Monday June 4 @ 7:00 PM hosted by SS Cyril and Methodius Seminary on Pittsburgh’s Northside (More Information).

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About St. Anthony Chapel

About Relics

Byzantine Antimensia

Saints and Sacred Matter: the Cult of Relics in Byzantium and beyond

Feast days on the Byzantine Calendar Associated with relics

January 27 Translation of relics of St. John Chrysostom 435
February 22 Finding of the relics of martyrs of Eugenia by iconoclasts 735
May 24 3rd finding of the head of St. John the Baptist 867
June 8 translation of the relics of St. Theodore the Great Martyr
June 15 translation of the relics of our father Theodore Sykeot 613
June 28 translation of the relics of SS Cyrus & John wonderworkers
July 2 Disposition of the robe of the Theotokos in Blachernae
August 2 translation of the relics of St. Stephne protomartyr in Jerusalem 312
August 14 translation of the relices of St. Theodosius 1091
August 16 translation of icon of Christ made without hands 950
August 31 disposition of the cincture of the Theotokos 908
September 14 326 finding of true cross by empress Helen
November 3 renovation of the church of St. George where his relics are held

Learn more about the Society of St. John Chrysostom Pittsburgh Chapter

Founded in London, UK in 1926, the Society of Saint John Chrysostom has three main areas of mission:

Education and promotion of Eastern Christian Churches history, worship, spirituality and theology.

Pittsburgh has a great diversity of Eastern Christian Churches both Orthodox and Catholic along side a vibrate and varied set of ethnic Roman Catholic communities. This should form a strong foundation for building a strong SSJC chapter in the Greater Pittsburgh area.