St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2022-01-23
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St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church

General Information

  • Phone:
  • 860-664-9434
  • Street Address:

  • PO Box 134, 108 E Main St

  • Clinton, CT 06413-0134

Contact Information

Services Schedule

Please see our online calendar for dates and times of Feast Day services.

Past Bulletins



Jesus Christ taught us to love and serve all people, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality. To understand that, we need to look no further than to the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Every time we celebrate the Divine Liturgy, it is offered "on behalf of all, and for all." As Orthodox Christians we stand against racism and bigotry. All human beings share one common identity as children of God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatian 3:28)

Members of our Parish Council are:
Joseph Barbera - Council Member at Large
Susan Davis- Council Member at Large
Carolyn Neiss - President
Marlene Melesko - Vice President
Susan Egan - Treasurer
Dn Timothy Skuby - Secretary

Parish Shared Folder -

Pastoral Care - General Information

Emergency Sick Calls can be made at any time. Please call Fr Steven at (860) 866-5802, when a family member is admitted to the hospital.
Anointing in Sickness: The Sacrament of Unction is available in Church, the hospital, or your home, for anyone who is sick and suffering, however severe. 
Marriages and Baptisms require early planning, scheduling and selections of sponsors (crown bearers or godparents). See Father before booking dates and reception halls!
Funerals are celebrated for practicing Orthodox Christians. Please see Father for details. The Church opposes cremation; we cannot celebrate funerals for cremations.




Please help yourself to any and all of the poinsettias. Their time at church is reaching a conclusion.

Upcoming Travels

I will be traveling with Aaron next week from Jan 28th through Feb 2nd). Services will be covered by Fr Dn Timothy, both online and in person. On Sunday, Typika will be celebrated with Communion. For the Feast day of the Presentation (1st and 2nd). Fr Dn will determine the best format, although the services will be at least online. Please contact Dn Timothy if you have any need.

Upon my return, we will re-evaluate are current COVID proticols. 

ByLaws Review

I am in need of a few stout souls to help with the review of our ByLaws. If you are interested or have some expertise that you would like to contribute your talents, please let Fr Steven or Marlene Melesko know that you would be willing to help. Thank you.

Social Media

We are looking for a couple of extrodinary individuals who would like to be involved with taking and posting photographs, soliciting and authoring articles on our social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook and web site). No experience necessary as we are willing to train! Please see Fr Steven if interested.

Zoom Management

We are looking for someone to help manage the computer running Zoom, most particularly during Liturgy. We will be making some changes to make the computer more accessible during services, but it the computer does need to be monitored throughout the services. We would like to start stream to Facebook or YouTube once again. Again, no experience necessary as we will train you! Please see Fr Steven if you have the time and desire to help. Thank you.


Prayers, Intercessions and Commemorations


Archpriest Dennis, Archpriest Michael, Deacon Timothy, Evelyn, Katheryn, Anne, Aaron, Veronica, Richard, Nancy, Susanne, Carol, Alexander, Gail, Kelley, Nina, Ellen, Maureen, Elizabeth, Christopher, Joshua, Jennifer, Petra, Olivia, Jessica, Sean, Sarah, Justin, Edward, Dayna and Maria.

Please pray for our catecumens: Daniel, Gregory and David.


  • Pray for: All those confined to hospitals, nursing homes, and their own homes due to illness; for all those who serve in the armed forces; widows, orphans, prisoners, victims of violence, and refugees;
  • All those suffering chronic illness, financial hardship, loneliness, addictions, abuse, abandonment and despair; those who are homeless, those who are institutionalize, those who have no one to pray for them;
  • All Orthodox seminarians & families; all Orthodox monks and nuns, and all those considering monastic life; all Orthodox missionaries and their families.
  • All those who have perished due to hatred, intolerance and pestilence; all those departed this life in the hope of the Resurrection.


New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Ancyra, and Martyr Agathangelus (312). Ven. Gennádii of Kostromá (1565). Translation of the relics of St. Theóctist, Archbishop of Novgorod (1786). Ven. Mausimas the Syrian (4th c.). Ven. Salamanēs the Silent of the Euphrates (ca. 400). St. Paulinus the Merciful, Bishop of Nola (431). Commemoration of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680-681).





Parish Calendar

  • Schedule of Services and Events

    January 23 to January 31, 2022

    Sunday, January 23

    14th Sunday of Luke

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, January 24

    Xenia, Deaconess of Rome

    8:30AM Akathist to St Xenia of Petersburg

    Tuesday, January 25

    Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Wednesday, January 26

    Xenophon & his Companions

    Fr. Steven Voytovich - B

    4:30PM Open Doors

    Thursday, January 27

    Removal of the Relics of John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

    8:30AM Akathist to St John Chrystostom

    Friday, January 28

    Ephraim the Syrian

    Saturday, January 29

    Removal of the Relics of Ignatius the God-bearer

    Mary Ella Luft - B

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    Sunday, January 30

    Synaxis of The Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, & John Chrysostom

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, January 31

    Cyrus & John the Unmercenaries


Saints and Feasts

January 23

The Holy Hieromartyr Clement, Bishop of Ancyra

Saint Clement, who was from Ancyra in Galatia, was the son of an unbelieving father, but a believing mother whose name was Sophia. At first he lived as a monk, later he became the bishop of his city. He suffered so many things in confession of the Faith in Christ, that the time of his sufferings and struggles stretched out over a period of twenty-eight years. Finally he and Saint Agathangelus (who was from Rome) were beheaded together during the reign of Diocletian and Maximian, in the year 296.

January 24

Xenia of St. Petersburg, Fool-for-Christ

Our righteous Mother Xenia of Petersburg was born about the year 1730. She was married to a Colonel named Andrew; when she was twenty-six years old, her husband died suddenly, having been drinking with his friends. Left a childless widow, Xenia gave away all that she had, and vanished from Saint Petersburg for eight years; it is believed that she spent this time in a hermitage, learning the spiritual life. When she returned to Saint Petersburg, she wore her husband's military clothing, and would answer only to the name Andrew, that is, the name of her late husband. She took up the life of a homeless wanderer, and was abused by many as insane; she bore this with great patience, crucifying the carnal mind through the mockery she endured, and praying for her husband's soul. She was given great gifts of prayer and prophecy, and often foretold things to come; in 1796 she foretold the death of Empress Catherine II. Having lived forty-five years after her husband's death, she reposed in peace at the age of seventy-one, about the year 1800. Her grave became such a source of miracles, and so many came to take soil from it as a blessing, that it was often necessary to replace the soil; when a stone slab was placed over her grave, this too disappeared over time, piece by piece. Saint Xenia is especially invoked for help in finding employment, lodging, or a spouse.

January 24

Xenia, Deaconess of Rome

Our righteous Mother Xenia of Rome was of a distinguished family. While her parents were preparing to wed her, she stole away secretly, taking two handmaids with her, and departed for Mylasa of Karia in Asia Minor, and there she completed her life in asceticism. She was ordained deaconess by Paul, her spiritual father, who became Bishop of Mylasa. Although she was originally named Eusebia, to conceal her identity, she took the name Xenia - which means "stranger" in Greek - because of her estrangement from her country.

January 25

Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople

This great Father and Teacher of the Church was born in 329 in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who later became Bishop of Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated Jan. 1), and his mother was named Nonna (Aug. 5); both are among the Saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (Mar. 9) and his sister Gorgona (Feb. 23). At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine, then in Alexandria, and finally in Athens. As he was sailing from Alexandria to Athens, a violent sea storm put in peril not only his life but also his salvation, since he had not yet been baptized. With tears and fervour he besought God to spare him, vowing to dedicate his whole self to Him, and the tempest gave way to calm. At Athens Saint Gregory was later joined by Saint Basil the Great, whom he already knew; but now their acquaintanceship grew into a lifelong brotherly love. Another fellow student of theirs in Athens was the young Prince Julian, who later as Emperor was called the Apostate because he denied Christ and did all in his power to restore paganism. Even in Athens, before Julian had thrown off the mask of piety; Saint Gregory saw what an unsettled mind he had, and said, "What an evil the Roman State is nourishing" (Orat. V, 24, PG 35:693).

After their studies at Athens, Gregory became Basil's fellow ascetic, living the monastic life together with him for a time in the hermitages of Pontus. His father ordained him presbyter of the Church of Nazianzus, and Saint Basil consecrated him Bishop of Sasima (or Zansima), which was in the archdiocese of Caesarea. This consecration was a source of great sorrow to Gregory, and a cause of misunderstanding between him and Basil; but his love for Basil remained unchanged, as can be plainly seen from his Funeral Oration on Saint Basil (Orat. XLIII).

About the Year 379, Saint Gregory came to the assistance of the Church of Constantinople, which had already been troubled for forty years by the Arians; by his supremely wise words and many labours he freed it from the corruption of heresy, and was elected Archbishop of that city by the Second Ecumenical Council, which assembled there in 381, and condemned Macedonius, Archbishop of Constantinople, the enemy of the Holy Spirit. When Saint Gregory came to Constantinople, the Arians had taken all the churches and he was forced to serve in a house chapel dedicated to Saint Anastasia the Martyr. From there he began to preach his famous five sermons on the Trinity, called the Triadica. When he left Constantinople two years later, the Arians did not have one church left to them in the city. Saint Meletius of Antioch (see Feb. 12), who was presiding over the Second Ecumenical Council, died in the course of it, and Saint Gregory was chosen in his stead; there he distinguished himself in his expositions of dogmatic theology.

Having governed the Church until 382, he delivered his farewell speech - the Syntacterion, in which he demonstrated the Divinity of the Son - before 150 bishops and the Emperor Theodosius the Great; in this speech he requested, and received from all, permission to retire from the see of Constantinople. He returned to Nazianzus, where he lived to the end of his life, and reposed in the Lord in 391, having lived some sixty-two years.

His extant writings, both prose and poems in every type of metre, demonstrate his lofty eloquence and his wondrous breadth of learning. In the beauty of his writings, he is considered to have surpassed the Greek writers of antiquity, and because of his God-inspired theological thought, he received the surname "Theologian." Although he is sometimes called Gregory of Nazianzus, this title belongs properly to his father; he himself is known by the Church only as Gregory the Theologian. He is especially called "Trinitarian Theologian," since in virtually every homily he refers to the Trinity and the one essence and nature of the Godhead. Hence, Alexius Anthorus dedicated the following verses to him:

Like an unwandering star beaming with splendour,
Thou bringest us by mystic teachings, O Father,
To the Trinity's sunlike illumination,
O mouth breathing with fire, Gregory most mighty.

January 28

Ephraim the Syrian

Saint Ephraim was born in Nisibis of Mesopotamia some time about the year 306, and in his youth was the disciple of Saint James, Bishop of Nisibis, one of the 318 Fathers at the First Ecumenical Council. Ephraim lived in Nisibis, practicing a severe ascetical life and increasing in holiness, until 363, the year in which Julian the Apostate was slain in his war against the Persians, and his successor Jovian surrendered Nisibis to them. Ephraim then made his dwelling in Edessa, where he found many heresies to do battle with. He waged an especial war against Bardaisan; this gnostic had written many hymns propagating his errors, which by their sweet melodies became popular and enticed souls away from the truth. Saint Ephraim, having received from God a singular gift of eloquence, turned Bardaisan's own weapon against him, and wrote a multitude of hymns to be chanted by choirs of women, which set forth the true doctrines, refuted heretical error, and praised the contests of the Martyrs.

Of the multitude of sermons, commentaries, and hymns that Saint Ephraim wrote, many were translated into Greek in his own lifetime. Sozomen says that Ephraim "Surpassed the most approved writers of Greece," observing that the Greek writings, when translated into other tongues, lose most of their original beauty, but Ephraim's works "are no less admired when read in Greek than when read in Syriac" (Eccl. Hist., Book 111, 16). Saint Ephraim was ordained deacon, some say by Saint Basil the Great, whom Sozomen said "was a great admirer of Ephraim, and was astonished at his erudition." Saint Ephraim was the first to make the poetic expression of hymnody and song a vehicle of Orthodox theological teachings, constituting it an integral part of the Church's worship; he may rightly be called the first and greatest hymnographer of the Church, who set the pattern for these who followed him, especially Saint Romanos the Melodist. Because of this he is called the "Harp of the Holy Spirit." Jerome says that his writings were read in some churches after the reading of the Scriptures, and adds that once he read a Greek translation of one of Ephraim's works, "and recognized, even in translation, the incisive power of his lofty genius" (De vir. ill., ch. CXV).

Shortly before the end of his life, a famine broke out in Edessa, and Saint Ephraim left his cell to rebuke the rich for not sharing their goods with the poor. The rich answered that they knew no one to whom they could entrust their goods. Ephraim asked them, "What do you think of me?" When they confessed their reverence for him, he offered to distribute their alms, to which they agreed. He himself cared with his own hands for many of the sick from the famine, and so crowned his life with mercy and love for neighbor. Saint Ephraim reposed in peace, according to some in the year 373, according to others, 379.

January 28

Isaac the Syrian, Bishop of Ninevah

The great luminary of the life of stillness, Saint Isaac, was born in the early seventh century in Eastern Arabia, the present-day Qatar on the Persian Gulf. He became a monk at a young age, and at some time left Arabia to dwell with monks in Persia. He was consecrated Bishop of Nineveh (and is therefore sometimes called "Saint Isaac of Nineveh"), but after five months received permission to return to solitude; he spent many years far south of Nineveh in the mountainous regions of Beit Huzaye, and lastly at the Monastery of Rabban Shabur. He wrote his renowned and God-inspired Ascetical Homilies toward the end of his long life of monastic struggle, about the end of the seventh century. The fame of his Homilies grew quickly, and about one hundred years after their composition they were translated from Syriac into Greek by two monks of the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine, from which they spread throughout the monasteries of the Roman Empire and became a guide to the hesychasts of all generations thereafter.


Hymns of the Day


Tone 6 Troparion (Resurrection)

The Angelic Powers were at Your tomb;
the guards became as dead men.
Mary stood by Your grave,
seeking Your most pure body.
You captured hell, not being tempted by it.
You came to the Virgin, granting life.
O Lord, Who rose from the dead,//
glory to You.

Tone 4 Troparion (New Martyrs)

Today the Church of Russia forms a chorus in joy,
praising her new martyrs and confessors;
hierarchs and priests, royal passion-bearers, right-believing princes and princesses,
venerable men and women, and all Orthodox Christians.
Having laid down their life for faith in Christ during the days of godless persecution,
they preserved the truth by the shedding of blood.//
By their protection, O long-suffering Lord, preserve our land in Orthodoxy till the end of the age.

Tone 6 Kontakion (Resurrection)

When Christ God, the Giver of Life,
raised all of the dead from the valleys of misery with His mighty hand,
He bestowed resurrection on the human race.//
He is the Savior of all, the Resurrection, the Life, and the God of all.

Tone 3 Kontakion (New Martyrs) (Today the Virgin)

Today the new martyrs of Rus’ stand in white robes before the Lamb of God,
and with the angels they sing to God the hymn of victory:
“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and praise, and honor,
and power, and strength be to our God//
unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

Communion Hymn

Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest! (Ps. 148:1)
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the just! (Ps. 32:1)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 6th Tone. Psalm 27.9,1.
O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance.
Verse: To you, O Lord, I have cried, O my God.

The reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy 1:15-17.

Timothy, my son, the saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory to the ages of ages. Amen.

Gospel Reading

14th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 18:35-43

At that time, as Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." And he cried, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me receive my sight." And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.


Wisdom of the Fathers

We may learn from this that when we ask with faith, God does not give something other than what we ask for, but the very same thing. However, when we ask for one thing and receive something else, it is clear that either we did not make a good request or we did not ask with faith.
Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria
The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Luke, 11th Century


Beyond the Sermon


New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia
Commemorated on January 23

On the Sunday closest to January 25, the Church commemorates the Synaxis of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, remembering all those Orthodox Christians who suffered for Christ at the hands of the godless Soviets during the years of persecution. These include the royal Passion Bearers Tsar Nicholas II and his family, and the Grand Duchess Elizabeth. Countless thousands of martyrs, both clergy and laity also suffered, some of whose names are known, as well as millions of simple believers whose names have been lost to history.

It is estimated that the number of the New Martyrs of Russia, who were glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church at the Jubilee Council of 2000, far exceeds that of all the martyrs who died for Christ during the first three centuries of Christianity. The Russian Church lost millions of its sons and daughters, not only at the hands of external enemies, but also those of their own country. Among those who were murdered and tortured in the years of persecution were countless Orthodox: laity, monks, priests, and bishops, whose only “crime” was their unshakable faith in God.

In the long history of the world, never have so many new heavenly intercessors been glorified by the Church in such a way (more than one thousand New Martyrs were numbered among the saints). Among those who suffered for their faith were some who labored in America before the Russian Revolution: St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (April 7); St. Alexander Hotovitzky (Dec. 4); St. John Kochurov (Oct. 31).



Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov
Dear fathers, brothers, sisters, and children!

Today we celebrate the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia. This day is notable for us for several reasons.
A quarter of a century ago, the foundation of our church was laid in the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and under their prayerful protection. Ivan Vladimirovich and Lyudmila Raymondovna Assur founded this church in the memory of Ivan's father, the New Martyr Vladimir, who was killed for preaching Christ. Metropolitan Veniamin (Fedchenkov), the well-known churchman and writer blessed New Martyr Vladimir to preach. The history of this small parish in its picturesque setting is similar to the mountains which are visible to the northeast: there have been peaks and there have been valleys. The ever-memorable Hieromonk Seraphim Rose once prayed at Divine Liturgy in this solitary place, and later heavy trucks roared along Route 213, destroying the usual prayerful silence. The parish grew and became strong in the Truth. We need not recall all of the days of difficulties, but there was a schism in 2001, the deep wounds of which are not yet healed to this day. By the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, may the Lord strengthen us, and may the trials which are sent to us be for our spiritual growth.

The church was built by the efforts of several families, several of whom are among us today. All of us come to church, pray, and help according to our abilities. But there are certain people who respond to God's question "Whom shall I send? And Who will go forth for us?" loudly and with full responsibility, "here I am, send me" (Isaiah 6:8). They build, sing, give offerings, and do everything necessary for the existence of the church, and then again they build, and continue to sing, and continue to give offerings, and again do all things that our parish needs... Maybe we do not thing about this often, but without these people, the doors of our small church would not open for services -- the doors themselves would not even be there. Therefore, on this day of celebration for our parish, I would like to thank from my whole heart our laborers, who already for a quarter of a century have worked for the good of the parish, without whose sacrificial help and support our parish simply could not exist. By the prayers of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, may the Lord give them His most-abundant blessing and many years!

Our laborers, always putting the service of God and others in the first place, follow in the footsteps of those saints whose memory we celebrate today. The Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia show us an example of personal bravery and patient bearing of one's cross.

The way of following Christ is always the way of cross-bearing. The road to Pascha always passes through Golgotha. Christ went along this road; the first Christians chose this road, and the saints followed after them, generation after generation.

The Holy New Martyrs and Confessors were not only an incarnation of the entire treasure of Christian tradition, but were also exactly worthy imitators of the first Christians. Let us recall that the first work of the infant Church was not leadership by hierarchs, nor monasticism, nor lofty theological thought, but martyrdom and confession. It is precisely the first martyrs and confessors that laid the foundation on which the fruit-bearing tree of Christ's Church flowered. And it is precisely with this rock of faith, with this apostolic leaven that the holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia unite us.

The way of faith in Christ is always the way of cross-bearing. The Lord Himself showed us this salvific path, and if there were some other way that leads to eternal life, then undoubtedly the Lord would have showed it to us. The path of following Christ, the path of imitation of Christ are the paths of humility without complaining, the paths of joyful bearing of sorrows, the ways of bearing not only one's own, but also others' burdens, the ways leading to the Cross, the ways leading to the eternal Pascha.

The next time it seems to us that the cross that we are given is greater than we can bear, when not only the attainment of Christian virtues, but even the usual attendance at services and following the Church-established fasts seems unbearable, let us turn with fervent prayer for help to the Lord and to the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, who did not give only a day or an hour, but their whole lives to Christ.

Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the former Russian Empire suffered for faith, and by this showed their loyalty. In many cities and villages of Russia, churches are now being restored on the places of their executions, on the blood of the new-martyrs. Here is just one of the most fearful examples. On Butovo Field, the NKVD [People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs] shot tens of thousands of people from the 1930s to the 1950s. In the years 1937 and 1938 alone, in fifteen months 20,765 people were shot there. As research has shown, about a thousand of them suffered for Christ and loyalty to His Church. The place where shots and dying groans of uncountable executed people so recently sounded without ceasing is now a place of church prayer. As in the first centuries of Christianity, services were performed over the tombs of the martyrs, even today the Butovo Field has become a place of offering the Bloodless Sacrifice.

On May 15, 2004, Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and All Russia and the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, Metropolitan Laurus, laid the foundation of a church in the memory of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia on the Butovo Field. This year on the May 20, both hierarchs will perform the consecration of the church. There, at every service prayer will be offered to the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, just as this prayer has been offered at every service in our church for a quarter century.

Let us remember "all who suffered for faith in Christ in Butovo and in other places during the years of cruel persecution", let us honor their memory by our God-pleasing lives, and let us bring as a gift to them works of mercy and love.

Eternal memory!

Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, pray to God for us!

Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov
Translated from the Russian by Priest Michael van Opstall
8 февраля 2015