St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2023-07-09
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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:
Greg Jankura - Vice President
Susan Davis- Council Member at Large
Carolyn Neiss - President
Marlene Melesko - Council Member at Large
Susan Egan - Treasurer
Dn Timothy Skuby - Secretary


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.



We had applied for a grant to get an AED, however, the company underestimated the number of applicants and ran out of the available defibulators. They have put together a fund raising site for us, which is linked below. I will also place this on our Facebook and Parish web sites. Please share and/or consider making a donation. Thank you.


A message from our Chancellor:

Dear Fathers,

As you know, the OCA recently posted for the position of the General Counsel of the Orthodox Church in America ( To date, applications have trickled in.

With this email, I ask that you make known this posting to your dioceses to the degree you are able in order that this posting has a wider distribution.

Thank you!

Fr. AR
The Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel
Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America
Ὁ Πρωθιερεύς Ἀλέξανδρος Rentel
Πρωτοσύγκελλος τῆς Ὀρθοδόξου Ἐκκλησίας ἐν Ἀμερικῇ
Протоиерей Александр Рентель
Управляющий делами Православной Церкви в Америке

A New Bishop for Our Diocese – Some Questions and Answers

The New England Diocese website has some basic information about our current situation with regards to our Locum Tenens and the process of selecting, electing and elevating a new bishop. Please read through this information found on the first page of the website. DNEOCA.ORG


Prayers, Intercessions and Commemorations


Many Years! to John Skrobat on the occasion of his birthday

Please continue to pray for our catecumen Dierdre.

Please pray for Evelyn Leake and Victor Hoehnebart who are in need of God's mercy and healing; and for Kelley Hosking-Billings.

  • 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.

Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Taormina in Sicily (1st c.). Hieromartyr Cyril, Bishop of Gortyna in Crete (3rd-4th c.). Martyrs Patermuthius, Coprius, and Alexander the Soldier, in Egypt (4th c.). St. Theodore, Bishop of Edessa (9th c.). St Dionysios the Rhetorician and his disciple Saint Mētrophánēs (Mt. Athos—1606).



Parish Calendar

  • Schedule of Services and Events

    July 9 to July 17, 2023

    Sunday, July 9

    5th Sunday of Matthew

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, July 10

    45 Holy Martyrs of Nikopolis, Armenia

    Tuesday, July 11

    Euphemia the Great Martyr

    St. Olga, Princess of Russia

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Wednesday, July 12

    Proclus & Hilary the Martyrs of Ancyra

    John Skrobat - B

    4:30PM Open Doors

    Thursday, July 13

    Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel

    Akathist to Archangel Gabriel

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Friday, July 14

    Aquila the Apostle among the 70

    Saturday, July 15

    St. Vladimir Equal to the Apostles

    The Holy Martyrs Cyricus and His Mother Julitta

    Skip & Deborah Bray - A

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    Sunday, July 16

    Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, July 17

    The Holy Great Martyr Marina (Margaret)


Saints and Feasts

July 09

The Holy Hieromartyr Pancratius, Bishop of Tauromenium in Sicily

This Saint, who was a contemporary of the Apostles, had Antioch as his homeland, where he was guided to the Faith of Christ by Peter, the Chief of the Apostles. Later, he came to Sicily, where he brought many to the Faith, and was finally put to death by the pagans.

July 11

the All-Praised Olga, Equal-to-the-Apostles, Princess of Kiev

Saint Olga, renowned for her wisdom and sobriety, in her youth became the wife of Igor, Great Prince of Kiev, who ruled during the tenth century. After her husband's death, she herself ruled capably, and was finally moved to accept the Faith of Christ. She traveled to Constantinople to receive Holy Baptism. The Emperor, seeing her outward beauty and inward greatness, asked her to marry him. She said she could not do this before she was baptized; she furthermore asked him to be her Godfather at the font, which he agreed to do. After she was baptized (receiving the name of Helen), the Emperor repeated his proposal of marriage. She answered that now he was her father, through holy Baptism, and that not even among the heathen was it heard of a man marrying his daughter. Gracefully accepting to be outwitted by her, he sent her back to her land with priests and sacred texts and holy icons. Although her son Svyatoslav remained a pagan, she planted the seed of faith in her grandson Vladimir (see July 15). She reposed in peace in 969.

July 11

Sophrony the Athonite of Essex

July 12

Veronica, the woman with the issue of blood who was healed by Jesus

The account of the woman with an issue of blood, who had the unusual name of Veronica, may be found in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (9:20-22), in Saint Mark's Gospel (5:25-34), and also in Saint Luke's Gospel (8:43-49).

The Synaxaristes of Saint Νikόdēmos of the Holy Mountain states that this Saint was from the city of Paneada. When the Lord healed her issue of blood, she was very grateful, because for twelve years she had "suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and nothing had helped, but instead she became worse" (Mark 5:26).

She had heard of Christ, and decided to go to Him, believing that she would be healed merely by touching His garment. When she did this, the Savior felt that power had gone forth from Him. Turning to the crowd, He asked who had touched His garment. His disciples were puzzled by the question, since many people were pressing Him on all sides. Saint Veronica came forward and fell down before Him in fear and trembling, and admitted what she had done. The Lord said, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction" (Mark 5:34).

In her gratitude, she made a statue of Him and placed it in front of her house, where everyone could venerate it. A healing plant grew at the base of the statue, which was able to cure various diseases.

Later, Saint Veronica became a member of the early Church. After living a life of holiness, she surrendered her soul to God.

Roman Catholics venerate a saint named Veronica, who is said to have wiped the Savior's face with her veil as He carried His Cross to Golgotha. She is not the saint who is commemorated by the Orthodox Church. That cloth was called the "Veronica," or true image (from vera and iconica) of Christ's face. Saint Gregory of Tours uses this word (Vita Patrum chapter 12) for an image (see the Greek word εικόνα). This incident, is not mentioned in the Gospels.

Some uninformed iconographers confuse these two women and depict our Saint Veronica holding a cloth with the imprint of Christ's face, which is not in accordance with Orthodox Tradition. On August 16, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Image not made by hands, the cloth which Christ sent to King Abgar with the imprint of His Face.

July 13

Synaxis of Archangel Gabriel

It is believed that the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel was transferred to this day from March 26 so that it could be celebrated more festively than in the period of the Great Fast; and, in fact, all the miracles of the Archangel are celebrated on this feast day, which has been listed here in the church books since the ninth century.

July 14

Nicodemus the Righteous of Mount Athos

Saint Nikodemos (Νikόdēmos) of the Holy Mountain was born on the Greek island of Naxos in the year 1748, and was named Nicholas in Holy Baptism. As a child he was well-behaved, avoiding bad company and everything which might harm the inner man. He was zealous in his love for that which is good and beneficial, and he loved sacred and secular learning. His first education on Naxos came from the village priest, who taught him to love Christ and His Church. He also assisted the priest during the Divine Liturgy and other Services.

Later Nicholas attended the school at Naxos, where Archimandrite Chrysanthos, the brother of Saint Cosmas Aitolos (August 24), taught him sacred and secular letters.

At the age of twenty-six, he arrived on Mount Athos and was tonsured at Dionysiou Monastery with the name Nikodemos. As his first obedience, Father Nikodemos served as the monastery’s secretary. Two years after entering Dionysiou Monastery, the Metropolitan of Corinth, Saint Makarios Notaras (April 17), arrived there, and assigned the young monk to edit the manuscript of the Philokalia, which he had found in 1777 at Vatopedi Monastery. Editing this book was the beginning of many years of literary activity for Saint Nikodemos. He soon moved to Pantokrator Skḗtē, where he was under obedience to Elder Arsenios of the Pelopónnēsos, under whose guidance he studied Holy Scriptures and the writings of the Holy Fathers.

According to the testimony of his contemporaries, Saint Nikodemos was a simple man, without any malice, unassuming, and distinguished by his profound concentration. He possessed remarkable mental abilities: he knew the Holy Scriptures by heart, and even remembered chapter, verse, and the pages they were on. Moreover, he could recite long passages from the writings of the Holy Fathers from memory.

In 1783 Saint Nikodemos was tonsured into the Great Schema, and spent the next six years in complete silence. On his next visit to Mount Athos, Saint Makarios gave Nikodemos the obedience of editing of the writings of Saint Symeon the New Theologian (printed in three volumes: Syros, 1790). This meant giving up his silence and occupying himself once more with literary work. From that time until his death, he continued to devote himself to such endeavors.

One of the ascetic's remarkable books was his Exomologitarion (Manual of Confession), which was published in 1794. This was the first book of its kind in the Orthodox Church. Drawing from Holy Scripture and from the Fathers of the Church, Saint Nikodemos lists the qualifications a confessor must have, if he is to be a true confessor, and offers advice on how one should prepare for Confession, how to confess, and how one ought to guard himself against sin after Confession.

The Saint also made great contributions by publishing liturgical books. Using materials from the manuscript collections on Mount Athos, he published sixty-two Canons to the Most Holy Theotokos under the title, New Theotokarion (Venice, 1796).

The most wise Nikodemos is also known as a composer and interpreter of hymns. His Canon in honor of the "Quick to Hear” Icon of the Mother of God (November 9) and his “Service and Encomium in Honor of the Fathers who Shone on the Holy Mountain of Athos” are used even beyond the Holy Mountain. Some of his other books include the Heortodromion, an interpretation of the Canons which are sung on Feasts of the Lord and of the Mother of God (Venice,1836), and The New Ladder, an interpretation of the 75 Hymns of Degrees (Anabathmoi) of the liturgical book called the Oktoekhos (Constantinople, 1844).

It is readily apparent that the literary work of Saint Nikodemos was multi-faceted, representing more than half a dozen fields of theology: ascetical-mystical theology, ethics, Canon Law, exegesis, hagiology, liturgics, and hymnography. He wrote the preface to the Philokalia, and brief Lives of the ascetics whose writings are included therein. Among the Saint’s ascetical works, his translation of Lorenzo Scupoli’s book, Unseen Warfare (1796), is well known, and has been translated into Russian, English, and other languages.

Saint Nikodemos had a special love for hagiography, as attested by his work, New Eklogion (Venice, 1803), and his posthumous book, The New Synaxarion (1819). He completed a Modern Greek translation of Saint Paul's Fourteen Epistles in three volumes (1819) as interpreted by the Hierarch Mētrophánēs, by Saint Theophylaktos, the Archbishop of Bulgaria (December 31), and others.

Saint Nikodemos also wrote An Interpretation of Saint Paul's Seven Catholic Epistles (published in Venice in 1806).

In 1799 Nikodemos edited the New Martyrologion, which he and Saint Makarios of Corinth seem to have prepared together in order to demonstrate that the Orthodox Church continues to produce Saints, particularly Martyrs, who were subjected to the same trials, torments, and death as the ancient Martyrs. The example of the Saints whose Lives appear in this book strengthened and encouraged the Orthodox to remain faithful to Christ, and not to convert to the religion of their oppressors.

Saint Nikodemos prepared a new edition of the Pedalion or Rudder, in collaboration with Hieromonk Agapios. This was printed in 1801, and contained the Canons of the Holy Apostles, those of the Holy Ecumenical and Local Synods, and of the Holy Fathers.

His most edifying book, Christian Morality, was published in Venice in 1803. In it he says: "Those monks who are strong in body and in soul ... should occasionally go into the world to preach and to counsel. Those who cannot go into the world, either because of the passions that assail them when they are in the midst of society, or because they are physically infirm, should seek the good of their brethren through prayer and by offering counsel to those who visit them, and if they are learned, by writing edifying books."1

Not long before his repose, Father Nikodemos, worn out by his literary work and ascetical struggles, went to live at the Kelli of the iconographers Hieromonks Stephen and Neophytos Skourtaίos, who were brothers by birth. He asked them to help with the publication of his works, because he was hindered by his infirmities.

The day before he went to the Lord, he was able to make his Confession, receive Holy Unction, and then Holy Communion.

His first biographer, Father Euthymios, describes the Saint's repose in this manner: "When the sun rose on the earth that day (Wednesday July 14, 1809), the intelligible sun of the Church set. The fiery pillar, the guide of the New Israel into piety disappeared; the cloud which refreshed those who were melting in the heat of sin, hid itself.”

His many friends and acquaintances mourned, and the words of a certain Christian were typical of the thoughts of many individuals of that time: “Oh, my Fathers, it would have been better for a thousand Christians to have died today, and not Nikodemos.”

Saint Nikodemos reposed peacefully at the age of sixty on July 14, 1809, and was glorified by the Church of Constantinople in 1955.

1 Constantine Cavarnos, Modern Orthodox Saints Volume 3, Saint Nicodemus the Hagiorite, pages 46-47. (Belmont, Massachusetts, 1974).

July 15

Vladimir, Equal-to-the-Apostles of Kiev

Grandson of Saint Olga, Saint Vladimir ascended the throne of Kiev in 980. Though a zealous idolater, he was illumined by the grace of God, accepted the Christian Faith, and completely changed his ways. He was baptized in Cherson in 988, receiving the name Basil; he came forth from the font not only healed of a blindness lately afflicting him, but also from being passionate and warlike, he became meek, peaceable, and exceedingly godly. Whereas his grandmother had refused marriage with the Emperor in Constantinople (see July 11), he married Anna, sister of the Emperors Basil and Constantine, and was accompanied home by priests from Constantinople. Diligently seeking to spread Christianity throughout his realm like a new Constantine, he destroyed the idols (having the chief diety Perun scourged and then cast into the Dnieper River), and summoned all his subjects to Holy Baptism. He reposed in peace in 1015.


Hymns of the Day


Tone 4 Troparion (Resurrection)

When the women disciples of the Lord
learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection,
they cast away the ancestral curse
and elatedly told the apostles:
“Death is overthrown!
Christ God is risen,//
granting the world great mercy!”

Tone 4 Troparion (St. Pancratius)

By sharing in the ways of the Apostles,
you became a successor to their throne.
Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God;
by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood.//
O Hieromartyr Pancratius, entreat Christ God to save our souls!

Tone 4 Kontakion (Resurrection)

My Savior and Redeemer
as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earth-born from their chains.
He has shattered the gates of hell,
and as Master,//
He has risen on the third day!

Tone 4 Kontakion (St. Pancratius)

O Pancratius, you were revealed as a brilliant star for the people of Taormina.
You were also shown to be a sufferer for Christ.//
Since now you stand before Him, O blessed one, pray for those who honor you.

Communion Hymn

Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest! (Ps. 148:1)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 4th Tone. Psalm 103.24,1.
O Lord, how manifold are your works. You have made all things in wisdom.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 10:1-10.

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.

Gospel Reading

5th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 8:28-34; 9:1

At that time, when Jesus came to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one would pass that way. And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.


Wisdom of the Fathers

Now, should any one say, "And wherefore did Christ fulfill the devils' request, suffering them to depart into the herd of swine?" this would be our reply, that He did so, not as yielding to them, but as providing for many objects thereby.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 28 on Matthew 8, 4th Century


Beyond the Sermon


Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
The healing of the men of Gergesene
(St. Matthew 8:28-9:1)
Sunday, 30th June 1991

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
How familiar is this story to us. Yet every time we read it we rediscover something in it which touches our heart, or gives a new light to our mind. And to-day I would like to attract your attention to three features of this passage.
The first is the attitude of the devils, of the powers of evil, to their victims. The powers of evil have no other intention or desire than to take possession of a living creature and to make it both a sufferer and one that will fulfil their will. The Fathers of the Church teach us that the devils can have no direct action in this world; all they can do is enslave human beings and through them work the evil within them. So this is what these powers of evil had intended: to enslave these men and to make them instruments of destruction, but at the same time to make them suffer for it.
When Christ commanded them to leave their victims they cried, shall I say, for a place of refuge, a place where they could dwell and work destruction. And Christ allowed them to in-dwell the pigs. Pigs, in the eyes of Jews, were a symbol of impurity; the request to be lodged in their bodies was a sign for all who could understand - and every Jew could - that they were as impure as the impurest of the animals. But what happened next was a demonstration to people of what happens when we allow ourselves to be possessed of evil, when we allow passions to have power over us - hatred, lust, jealousy, and all the passions of body and soul. Being possessed by them we are doomed to destruction, as this herd ended in death.
We should remember this because we do not always realise how much we are in the grip, in the power of those things which rule our life: likes and dislikes, hatreds, resentments and so on. We are not only possessed, but we are also working evil through our subjection to the power of evil. And the warning is clear: if we only allow evil to take possession of us completely, it will mean death; not physical death, but a total, tragic alienation from all that is life: from God, from love, from beauty, from meaning. We cannot fall out of existence but we can be possessed of an existence which is a ghostly one, an existence without life, without content - a shell that is empty, and yet a torment.
And in contrast to this we see the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God become Man. He is the Creator, He is the Lord, He is the Saviour of the whole world; and He forgets everything, as it were, the whole of creation to pay attention to nothing but these two men who are in need of salvation, indeed He is prepared to leave ninety-nine righteous, whole people who do not need Him at that moment alone in order to give all His attention, all His life, indeed all His power to save these two men. In the face of all the need of the world He can see every individual need and respond to it with all His love, all His compassion, all His understanding and all His divine power to save and to heal.
There is a third group of people whom we see in action in this Gospel story; it is the inhabitants of the country. They had known of the desperate condition of these two men; they were told of what Christ did for them; they were told who their master was, who was their tormentor; should they not have come to give glory to God and thank Him for delivering the two men from the power of evil? NO! All they saw in the act of Christ was that they were deprived of their herd of swine. What mattered to them the wholeness and the life and the salvation of these two men? They were deprived of what was important to them, what mattered to them more than a human life, and they asked Christ to leave their borders, to go because they did not want to risk another miracle that would be costly to them. What a tragic - not monstrous, but just tragic contrast between the attitude of God and the attitude of these people.
Let us give thought and ask ourselves, where do we stand? Of course, the first movement we shall have is to say, 'On God's side' - it is not true. When there is a tragic need, and the cost of helping would be perhaps not a disaster but a pain or loss to us, what would we choose? Let us reflect on this: are we really on the side of Christ Who can forget the whole world because His Heart is pierced, transfixed with compassion, or - do we allow our heart to be moved one moment, and then recalculate the cost and turn away from the need?
Let us reflect - because every one of these stories, every parable, every image, every act of God is challenging us: Where do you stand? Who are you? The person possessed, to whatever extent? A disciple of Christ ready to forget everything for the sake of a desperate need? Or rather one of those who say to Christ: Go, go away - you are disturbing our peace, the harmony of our life and our security?
Let us reflect deeply; but not only reflect, take a decision and act. Amen.


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