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Fr. Nicholas Livingston blesses palms at St. Philip the Apostle church in Nashua, New Hampshire. (Photo by TNH/Theodore Kalmoukos)
BOSTON – All generations and ages filled the nave of St. Philip the Apostle in Nashua, New Hampshire on Palm Sunday and celebrated the entry of Christ into the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Fr. Nicholas Livingston, presiding priest of the parish, at the end of the Matins blessed the palms and at the end of the Divine Liturgy the children of the parish lead a procession into the nave holding palms in their hands in commemoration of the children of Jerusalem who welcomed Jesus.
Fr. Nicholas who belongs to the new generations of priests in his sermon spoke about the sacredness of the Palm Sunday and also the meaning of the resurrection of Lazarus as the symbol of the resurrection of all. Fr. Nicholas does the Holy Services of the Church with piety and faithfulness to the age-old tradition and the typicon of the Orthodox Church.
Speaking about Holy Week Fr. Nicholas said “the Holy Week is such a special time of the year for us to really remember who we are as Christians. We are looking to the life and the Passion of our Lord and we join ourselves to His Passion. We walk with him to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and we unite in our experience, our suffering, our understanding of [what his suffering means for us]. And we look to His Example to strengthen us.”
Fr. Nicholas did a procession in the nave with small children holding palms in their hands and said “the Gospel talks about the children. The children were central to recognizing who Christ was, and He said ‘unless you become little children you are lost.’ And we have to look to the children as an inspiration for us in their purity, [to look into] their eyes to see truth where it is and to be childlike, but not childish.”
Asked how the parish is doing he said, “thank God, by God’s grace, doing well. The church was full today, it was a beautiful day of celebration for us. Kali Anastasi!”
It should be noted here that St. Philip is the only parish in the Metropolis of Boston and also the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to be named in honor of Saint Philip the Apostle.
According to the Website of the parish, in February 1906, the estimated 350 Greek-Americans in the Nashua area established the Annunciation Parish. In 1923 another parish, named for St. Nicholas, was created in Nashua. In the early days, the faithful of both parishes met in rented halls and churches. Eventually, both communities built churches in the local neighborhoods. They existed within clear view of each other until the decision to unify in 1971, establishing what is now the St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church.
In March of 1972, Fr. Soterios Alexopoulos was assigned to serve the new parish. Construction began on the current church building and in October of 1973, the first service in the new church was celebrated by Archbishop Iakovos. One year later, the Archbishop returned to name the parish after Saint Philip the Apostle.
With the proceeds from the sale of the two previous churches and the generosity of the faithful, the interior appointments of the church were purchased and installed. Of particular interest is the hand-carved iconostasis, which due to the layout of the church, stretches the width of the building, providing the opportunity to include additional icons and a large, arching 12-foot wide Royal Gate. The additional icons include the Annunciation and St. Nicholas, paying tribute to the previous parishes in Nashua.
In 2003, nine large panel icons were installed by the iconographer Thomas Clark. These icons, together with the stained-glass icons of the church, depict the life of Christ and the Theotokos.
The Saint Philip community made its last mortgage payment in August 1993. During the summer of 2000, an addition was added to the facility, which was paid for at its completion.
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