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The St. Iakovos Retreat Center is thrilled to launch our very first newsletter!

Click HERE to view the first issue of The Ark.

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The Pascha of Summer: The Dormition of the Virgin Mary

The Pascha of Summer: The Dormition of the Virgin Mary

By Fr. Dimitri Burikas

It is that time of year when we in the Orthodox Church once again approach the joyful celebration of the feast of Pascha. You may say, “How did this priest graduate seminary? Pascha was on April 16th this year.” And you would be right, but I’m right too. The Pascha I’m referring to is celebrated every year on August 15th and is known as the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, a.k.a. the Pascha of Summer.

What do these two feasts have to do with each other? One is the Resurrection of Christ, the other is the falling asleep of the Virgin Mary. Yet they are intimately connected. The life, teachings, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ liberated mankind from the power of death and come with a promise for humanity: “A time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live” (John 5:25). Not only did Christ break death’s power over us, but Christ promises eternal life to those who hear His voice.

Even so, it’s easy for our faith to be challenged. How can we really know that this will happen? How do we know that there is a life waiting for us beyond the grave?

God has given us the assurance of His promise in the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. Holy Tradition tells us that after her death and burial, the disciples of Christ found her tomb empty and beheld her alive in the Heavenly Kingdom. As we hear in the hymn of this feast: “You were translated unto life, you who are the mother of Life.”

This feast strengthens us as Christians living in the modern world that the promise which God has made us is true and will be fulfilled, that one day we too will rise and dwell forever in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ!

As Orthodox Christians, there are many ways in which we can celebrate this feast. The Orthodox Church observes a two-week fasting period before the feast itself as a way of preparing. On each weekday evening, our churches hold Paraklesis or Supplication services to the Virgin Mary. On August 14th, Great Vespers will be held at the various parishes named in honor of this feast. And on August 15th, we will complete the festivities with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

During this time, the Church gives us many opportunities to connect with God through the prayers of His Holy Mother. Just as we flock to our parishes for Holy Week and Pascha services, let us again flock to the church to celebrate the Pascha of Summer, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. With her intercessions and help, we are sure to receive the gift promised to us, life everlasting in God’s Heavenly Kingdom.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

Our Spiritual Father and Hierarch: May His Memory Be Eternal!

It is with great sorrow that we inform everyone on the falling asleep of His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago on Friday evening, June 2, 2017. He was the spiritual leader of the Metropolis of Chicago and one of the driving forces behind the creation of the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. May His Memory Be Eternal!!!!

Please continue to check here as well as the Metropolis website for additional information as it is provided.

Royal Family Kids Camp Staff Training 4.28-4.29.2017

The Royal Family Kids Camp held the summer 2017 staff training at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Guests stayed at the Tomaras Lodge and participated in various training activities as they prepared for their summer camp.

Northwestern University Retreat 4.22-4.23.2017

Northwestern University held their 2017 Greek Leadership retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Guests stayed at the Tomaras Lodge and participated various teambuilding and training activities.  

Feast Day of the Life-Giving Spring 4.21.2017

The chapel at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center dedicated to the Feast of the Life-Giving Spring celebrated its feast day on April 21st. We were graced by the presence of Metropolitan Iakovos, Bishop Demetrios, numerous priests and many faithful on this very special day.

Metropolis of Chicago Young Adult League 3.31-4.2.2017

The Metropolis of Chicago YAL held their young adult retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Guests stayed at the Tomaras Lodge and was treated to a great weekend of fun and learning led by the keynote speaker Fr. Fouad Saba.

Saints Peter & Paul Family Retreat 3.17-3.19.2017

The Saints Peter & Paul parish held their 2017 family retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Participants stayed in the cottages as well as the log lodge and took part in various fun and educational activitis.

Great Escape Winter Camp 3.10-3.13-2017

The Metropolis of Chicago held the 2017 Great Escape Winter Camp at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. The campers stayed in the cottages and took part in various fun and creative activities. The Icon making workshop and watermelon challenge were particularly entertaining for the campers. They were even able to interact with some of the animals at the barn. Thank you clergy, staff and campers for your wonderful participation.

Chris Kupczak Mens Retreat 3.3-3.5.2017

The Christ Kupczak men's recovery program held their 2017 retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat center. Attendees stayed at the Tomaras Lodge and participates in numerous activities

Assumption Parish Stewardship Training 2.24 - 2.25.2017

Assumption of Our Lord in Chicago held their Parish Stewardship training at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. The guests stayed in the Tomaras Lodge where they participated in various sessions as well.

Assumption Chicago GOYA Retreat 2.17-2.18. 2017

Assumption of Our Lord in Chicago held their 2017 GOYA retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center.  Nearly 20 guests stayed in the Log Lodge and took part in discussions and team building activities. The weather permitted the group to participate in the hayride and interact with the barn animals.

Metropolis of Chicago Family Synaxis Ministry Men's Retreat 2.10 - 2.11.2017

The Metropolis of Chicago Family Synaxis ministry held a one night - two day - men's retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. The guest speaker was Fr. Timothy Sas from Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church in Duluth, Minnesota. In three keynote addresses Fr. Timothy spoke about "Humble Glory: Stories of Men Yearning for God". Other highlights from the overnight include a walk amongst the Saints in the Proskinitaria forest, worship and fellowship amongst the participants.

St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church Leadership Retreat 2.3 - 2.4. 2017

The St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church from Chicago, IL held an overnight Retreat at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center for their leaders in Ministry. Guests stayed in the Tomaras Lodge, shared in meals in the cafeteria. Lots of hard work to grow together as a team and grow in ministry was done.

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church Chicago, IL 1.28 - 1.30.2017

St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church from Chicago, IL held a two night - three day - retreat for their teen youth at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Guests stayed in the cottages and shared in meals in the cafeteria as well as preparing their own meals in the Log Lodge. Highlights from the weekend include outdoor games, discussion, worship[, a visit to the barn and a scavenger hunt where the winning team won the official duck named Bunny!

Ascension of Our Lord Lincolnshire, IL GOYA Retreat 1.20 - 1.21.2017

The Ascension of Our Lord Greek Orthodox Church held an overnight GOYA Retreat for it's youth at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. GOYAn's stayed in the Tomaras Lodge, and shared in fun and fellowship into the wee hours of the morning. Highlights include a rousing game of catch phrase, discussion, worship and a morning stroll with the Saints in the woods.

Program Director Wanted

The St. Iakovos Retreat Center is seeking a dynamic and creative individual to be it's program director. This person will be responsible for launching new initiatives and ministry for the St. Iakovos Retreat Center. Those who are interested may review the Job Description and submit a resume and cover letter by emailing our Director Chrysanthy Tiggas - CTiggas@GoSIRC.org

All applicants are reviewed by the program committee of the Board of Directors. Questions? Call our office 262-864-9090

St. Iakovos Retreat Center Program Director - Job Description