On Sunday, December 16th, a Premier Screening of an hour-long, professionally produced documentary video on the life of Fr. Nicola Yanney of Kearney, Nebraska, titled, Father Nicola Yanney: Apostle of the Plains, will be held at Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Omaha, Nebraska immediately following the morning Liturgy.
Fr. Nicola, who died one hundred years ago in 1918, lived a life of great sanctity and of commitment to advancing the Work of the Great Commission. A century after his repose, his sanctity and selfless ministry continues to have an impact on the Church today.
In the late 1800’s, Nicola Yanney and his wife immigrated from Syria to Nebraska. Nicola was seeking a quiet life on his farm near Kearney. A chance encounter with St Raphael of Brooklyn changed all that. Nicola would be the first priest ordained by St. Raphael.
Fr. Nicola Yanney would go on to serve thousands of Orthodox Christians across the Great Plains as a circuit riding priest in the early 20th century. Fr. Nicola, a regular man placed in extraordinary circumstances, is an American example of the beauty of our Orthodox Catholic faith.
Returning to Kearney after one of his trips, Fr. Nicola arrived just in time for the Spanish Fu outbreak to hit the town. The Spanish Flu spread in three waves — the first and least deadly wave came in the spring of 1918. The second began in late summer, peaking in October, when it killed 195,000 Americans in one month.
The local and state governments imposed a quarantine. Some of Fr. Nicola’s parishioners were sick, and despite the quarantine, Fr. Nicola took the reserved Sacrament and began going house to house, anointing them, and giving them Holy Communion. A young man in the parish died, and then a toddler. Fr. Nicola served the funerals. More and more people came down with the flu. Fr. Nicola’s own health continued to deteriorate — he was weak, his breathing worsened. He had to have known that he was dying.
He ministered to his people until he physically could not continue and literally collapsed. This calls to mind the Lord himself, whom Fr. Nicola imitated and served — having loved his own, he loved them to the end (John 13:1). His last words to his sons were, “Keep your hands and your heart clean.” He died at midnight, as October 28 turned to October 29.
Here is a link to a two minute trailer on the documentary. You will want to see it and share the trailer with others:
Father Nicola Yanney: Apostle of the Plains will be screened immediately after the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday, December 16th. The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist is celebrated at 10:00 AM, and the documentary will be shown during our fellowship and refreshment time and should begin around Noon.
You will not want to miss this professionally produced documentary on the life on Fr. Nicola Yanney, produced by our very own Chris Potratz. There is sanctity among us. Holiness is real and is achievable. Be sure to attend, and to invite family and friends. Hearts will be touched and lives changed…
We’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127