Each year on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the children of the St. Tikhon’s Community are given a very special responsibility. At the end of the service, after the veneration of the cross, the children all make their way to the front of the line holding Icons. Some of the children have brought their favorite icons from their family prayer corner others receive their icons from a large box of paper icons kept on hand for the occasion.
After the kissing of the cross the children all line up, icons displayed prominently in front of them, and one by one the adults all circle around and stop to venerate and kiss each of the Icons, pausing only briefly to ask the child about the particular saint they are holding or to take a closer look at the holy image being presented.
The impact such activities have in the life of a young child cannot be emphasized enough. It is the same movement of the heart that an adult experiences when they see a patriarch or a president bow with bended knee in reverence before and image of the Mother of God or a particular saint. It is a very real encounter with the knowledge that within the orthodox life that all, regardless of station, position, or vocation, honors the heroes and leaders of faith that have come before them.
As they grow in years and in the faith may they never forget this lesson and may those of us who have gone on to become “older and wiser” never forget to revisit this lesson as often as possible.