St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2023-12-03
Bulletin Contents
Zephania
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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


Welcome

Gospel1

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                                              Sharon Hanson - Council Elect
Marlene Melesko - Council Member at Large                    Luba Martins - Council Elect
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.

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Announcements

Soup Kitchen

Our parish will be hosting the Soup Kitchen on Wednesday, December 6th. If you can help in anyway, whether through your time, talent or treasure, please connect with Luba Martins or Susan Egan.

Ramp Railing

I have put up a temperary rail on the ramp because the previous wooden one was rotting out in several places. I am currently awaiting a quote for the materials to install a "proper" rail that conforms with the ADA requirements. Please be aware, and thank you for your patience. Fr S

First Sunday of Advent
Candle: green (faith)
Symbolism: The first candle reminds us of faith, the faith we have in God that He will keep His promise to send His Son.
Scripture: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; 40:3-5; 52:7
Theme: God’s promise to send the Messiah.

Second Sunday of Advent
Candle: blue (hope)
Symbolism: The second candle reminds us of the hope we have that Christ will come again this year to bring new joy into our lives.
Scripture: Luke 1:5-31
Theme: Ways in which Christ brings joy to our hearts today and why should a Christian be joyful.

Third Sunday of Advent
Candle: gold (love)
Symbolism: Remember the words of St. John, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.”
Scripture: St. Luke 1:26-38.
Theme: The life of St. Nicholas who was known for his great generosity in distributing gifts and money to the poor. He preferred to deliver his gifts after dark and in disguise so that no one would know who left them. How can we follow his example by giving gifts to the needy?

Service Schedule for the Nativity

The calendar has been updated. Please note that all Friday services are online only. Services for Sunday and Monday are hybrid.

Friday Dec 22nd
Akathist for St Anastasia 8am
Royal Hours 8:30a
Akathist for Nativity 6pm

Saturday Dec 23rd
Vigil 5:30p - I will have some of the Canon for reading

Sunday Dec 24th
Divine Liturgy of St John 9:30a followed by coffee-hour (fasting)
Vespers 1pm

Monday Dec 25
Divine Liturgy of St Basil 8:30a

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Prayers, Intercessions and Commemorations

Christ_forgiveness

Please pray for Evelyn Leake and Victor Hoehnebart who are in need of God's mercy and healing.

  • 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.

Please let Fr. Steven know via email if you have more names for which to pray.

  • Departed: Fr Anthony, Mat Elizabeth, Kenneth, Fr Michael
  • Clergy and their families: Mat. Ann, Fr Sergei, and Mat Nancy
  • ​Catechumen: Robert, Abbie, Matthew, Joseph, Mary and Lynn
  • Individuals and Families: Susan, Luba, Suzanne, Gail Galina Evelyn, Rosemary, John, Lucille, Karen, Oleg, Lucia, Victor, Melissa, Christine, Sebastian, Olga, Daniel & Dayna, Branislava, Alton, Richard, Kristen
  • Birthdays and Name’s Days this Month: Dori Kuziak, Bill Brubaker, Malcolm Littlefield, Anastasia Littlefield (ND), Stasia PenkoffLedbeck (ND), Nancy Davis (ND), James Ifkovic (ND)
  • Anniversaries this Month: 
  • ​Expecting and Newborn: Megan and her unborn child
  • ​Traveling: 
  • ​Sick and those in distress: Maria, Brian, Fr Vasily

Prophet Zephaniah (Sophonias—635-605 B.C.). Ven. Savva (Sabbas), Abbot of Zvenígorod, disciple of Ven. Sergius of Radonezh (1406). St. Theodulus, Eparch of Constantinople (ca. 440). Ven. John the Silent of St. Sabbas’ Monastery (558). Hieromartyr Theodore, Archbishop of Alexandria (606). Monastic Martyr Cosmas of St. Anne’s Skete (Mt. Athos).

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Parish Calendar

  • Schedule of Services and Events

    December 3 to December 11, 2023

    Sunday, December 3

    🐟 14th Sunday of Luke

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, December 4

    🐟 Barbara the Great Martyr

    Glorification of St Alexander Hotovitzky

    Tuesday, December 5

    🐟 Sabbas the Sanctified

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Wednesday, December 6

    🍇 Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra

    St. Nicholas the Wonderwork

    8:30AM Akathist to St Nicholas

    4:00PM Soup Kitchen

    4:30PM Open Doors

    Thursday, December 7

    🐟 Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Friday, December 8

    ☦️ Forefeast of the Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

    Saturday, December 9

    🐟 The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    Sunday, December 10

    🐟 10th Sunday of Luke

    Dori Kuziak - B

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, December 11

    🐟 Daniel the Stylite of Constantinople

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Saints and Feasts

Zephania
December 03

The Holy Prophet Sophonias (Zephaniah)

This Prophet, who is ninth in order among the minor Prophets, was the son of Chusi (Cushi), from the tribe of Levi, or according to some, the great-grandson of King Hezekias. He prophesied in the years of Josias, who reigned in the years 641-610 before Christ. His book of prophecy is divided into three chapters. His name means "Yah has concealed."


Barbara1
December 04

Barbara the Great Martyr

Saint Barbara was from Heliopolis of Phoenicia and lived during the reign of Maximian.

She was the daughter of a certain idolater named Dioscorus. When Barbara came of age, she was enlightened in her pure heart and secretly believed in the Holy Trinity. About this time Dioscorus began building a bath-house; before it was finished he was required to go away to attend to certain matters, and in his absence Barbara directed the workmen to build a third window in addition to the two her Father had commanded. She also inscribed the sign of the Cross with her finger upon the marble of the bath-house, leaving the saving sign cut as deeply into the marble as if it had been done with an iron tool. (When the Synaxarion of Saint Barbara was written, the marble of the bath-house and the cross inscribed by Saint Barbara were still preserved, and many healings were worked there.) When Dioscorus returned, he asked why the third window had been added; Barbara began to declare to him the mystery of the Trinity. Because she refused to renounce her faith, Dioscorus tortured Barbara inhumanely, and after subjecting her to many sufferings he beheaded her with his own hands, in the year 290.


1204-alexander-hotovitsky01
December 04

Alexander Hotovitzky, New Hieromartyr of Russia, Missionary to America


Savas
December 05

Savas the Sanctified

This Saint was born in 439 in Moutalaska, a small village of Cappadocia. He entered the arena of the monastic life from childhood and was under that master trainer of monastics, Euthymius, the Great, the teacher of the desert. He became the spiritual Father of many monks and an instructor for the monasteries in Palestine, and was appointed leader (archimandrite) of the desert-dwellers of Palestine by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. In his old age he went to Constantinople, to the Emperors Anastasius and Saint Justinian the Great, in behalf of the Orthodox Faith and the dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon. Having lived ninety-four years, he reposed in 533. The Typicon for the ecclesiastical services had its beginning in the monastery established by this righteous one.


Nicholas
December 06

Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra

This Saint lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, and reposed in 330, As a young man, he desired to espouse the solitary life. He made a pilgrimage to the holy city Jerusalem, where he found a place to withdraw to devote himself to prayer. It was made known to him, however, that this was not the will of God for him, but that he should return to his homeland to be a cause of salvation for many. He returned to Myra, and was ordained bishop. He became known for his abundant mercy, providing for the poor and needy, and delivering those who had been unjustly accused. No less was he known for his zeal for the truth. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity what disciplinary action was to be taken against this hierarch whom all revered. In the night our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him, since he had acted not out of passion, but extreme love and piety. The Dismissal Hymn for holy hierarchs, The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock ... was written originally for Saint Nicholas. He is the patron of all travellers, and of sea-farers in particular; he is one of the best known and best loved Saints of all time.


Ambrose
December 07

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

This Saint was born in Gaul in 340, and was a member of the Roman Senate. After the death of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, a violent dispute arose among the Orthodox and Arians about who would succeed him. Ambrose, desiring as Governor of the province to restore the peace, attempted to mediate between them. As he spoke to the people, eloquently persuading them to elect a new bishop without tumult and disorder, a young child, inspired from on high, suddenly cried out "Ambrose, bishop!" To his astonishment and dismay, the people immediately took up this cry themselves, and over his many protests, he was raised to the episcopal throne of Milan on December 7, 374. A great Father of the Church, he wrote many works in Latin, and was both an unwearying opponent of Arianism, and a fearless accuser of emperors when they transgressed the law of God. Having lived fifty-seven years, he reposed on April 4, on the eve of Pascha, in the year 397.


Anna
December 09

The Conception by St. Anna of the Most Holy Theotokos

According to the ancient tradition of the Church, since Saint Anna, the Ancestor of God, was barren, she and her husband Joachim remained without children until old age. Therefore, sorrowing over their childlessness, they besought God with a promise that, if He were to grant them the fruit of the womb, they would offer their offspring to Him as a gift. And God, hearkening to their supplication, informed them through an Angel concerning the birth of the Virgin. And thus, through God's promise, Anna conceived according to the laws of nature, and was deemed worthy to become the mother of the Mother of our Lord (see also Sept. 8).


Allsaint
December 09

Hannah the Righteous, mother of Samuel the Prophet

The Holy Prophetess Hannah dwelt in marriage with Elkanah, but she was childless. Elkanah took to himself another wife, Phennena, who bore him children. Hannah grieved strongly over her misfortune, and every day she prayed for an end to her barrenness, and vowed to dedicate her child to God.

Once, as she prayed fervently in the Temple, the priest Heli thought that she was drunk, and he began to reproach her. But the saint poured out her grief, and after she received a blessing, she returned home. After this Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel (which means “Asked from God”).

When the child reached the age of boyhood, the mother herself presented him to the priest Heli, and Samuel remained with him to serve before the Tabernacle (1 Kings/1 Samuel 2: 1-21).


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Hymns of the Day

Angel_design

Tone 1 Troparion (Resurrection)

When the stone had been sealed by the Jews,
while the soldiers were guarding Your most pure body,
You rose on the third day, O Savior,
granting life to the world.
The powers of heaven therefore cried to You, O Giver of Life:
“Glory to Your Resurrection, O Christ!
Glory to Your Kingdom!//
Glory to Your dispensation, O Lover of mankind!”

Tone 2 Troparion (Prophet Zephaniah)

We celebrate the memory
of Your prophet Zephaniah, O Lord;
through him we beseech You://
“Save our souls!”

Tone 1 Kontakion (Resurrection)

As God, You rose from the tomb in glory,
raising the world with Yourself.
Human nature praises You as God, for death has vanished.
Adam exults, O Master!
Eve rejoices, for she is freed from bondage and cries to You://
“You are the Giver of Resurrection to all, O Christ!”

Tone 4 Kontakion (Prophet Zephaniah)

You have been revealed by the Spirit of God to be brilliant, O Prophet Zephaniah,
for you proclaimed the coming of God:
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Proclaim Him, O Jerusalem!//
Behold, your King is coming to save mankind!”

Communion Hymn

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

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Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 1st Tone. Psalm 32.22,1.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 5:8-19.

Brethren, walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.


Gospel Reading

The Reading is from Luke 18:18-27

At that time, a ruler came to Jesus and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.' " And he said, "All these I have observed from my youth." And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." But when he heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" But he said, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."


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Wisdom of the Fathers

Spiritual delight is not enjoyment found in things that exists outside the soul.
St. Isaac of Syria
Unknown, 7th century

Love of money is the worship of idols, a daughter of unbelief, an excuse for infirmities, a foreboder of old age, a harbinger of drought, a herald of hunger.
St. John Climacus
The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 16:2,7 and Step 17:1, 6th Century

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Receive the Light

Burnbush

St Paul's Epistle to the Romans

Lesson 4: Sinfulness Among God’s People

Reading

Romans 2:1-16
Romans 2:17-29
Romans 3:9
Romans 3:10-20

St. Paul opens Chapter 2 of Romans with a general condemnation of those individuals who sit in judgement of their fellow man. The same problem that caused the Jews to be expelled from Rome under Emperor Claudius had returned. Jewish Christians were, once again, judging the Gentile Christians by the Mosaic Law, causing conflict within the community. He said those who judge according to the Mosaic Law are guilty of violating it themselves. (Romans 2:1-16)

St. Paul writes that those who are circumcised according to the Jewish Law become uncircumcised when they violate the law. Knowing and teaching the law does not provide justification before God on the Day of Judgement. Those who are not circumcised but keep the law are inwardly circumcised; circumcised “of the heart in the spirit. ”(Romans 2:17-29) St. Paul writes that we are all guilty before the law. We all
fall short. (Romans 3:9)

The law acts as a yardstick by which we measure our guilt before God, not our accomplishments and self-perceived righteousness. On the Day of Judgement, having kept the Law will not be enough to save us. It will only reveal our failure in loving God and our fellow man. (Romans 3:10-20)

Discussion & Reflection

Q1: What does St. Paul say about judging our fellow man?

A1: St Paul says when we judge one another, we condemn ourselves. God will be our judge “rendering to each according to his deeds.

Q2: How can we prepare for God’s dread Judgement Seat?

A2: Knowing we are to be judged according to God’s righteousness, we should be led to repentance. With repentance, we should be doers of good works and be doers of the law. The summary of the law is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Q3: The Christian community in Rome had an on-going problem between Jewish Christians - who were still zealous in obeying the Mosaic Law - and Gentile Christians, who were free from circumcision and the Mosaic Law. The result was discord and conflict in the community. How do such conflicts take away from Christ? How are new and existing members driven away by such communities?

A3: The earliest church communities were commended by and attractive to the outside world because of the love
of God that was evident in those communities. Conflicts within the community only serve to steal the focus from Christ and His Church. Many of our churches are diverse with various ethnic groups, including people born into Orthodoxy and those who have come to Orthodoxy later in life and/or from another religion. Unless we show patience, love, and forbearance to one another and not judge the faith of our brothers and sisters in Christ, members will be driven away.

 

Resources

  • Orthodox Study Bible: Epistle to the Romans
  • St. John Chrysostom’s Commentary on Romans
  • (https://sites.google.com/site/aquinasstudybible/home/romans/st-john-
  • chrysostom-on-romans)
  • Podcast: "The Whole Counsel of God" Romans, Chapter 2 & Romans, Chapter 3
  • by Fr. Stephen De Young (www.antientfaith.org/podcasts/wholecounsel)

Meditation & Activity

As a family: Wad up three sheets of paper into three balls. As a target, place a trash can several feet away from the group so that hitting the target is a challenge but not impossible. Each family member will take three shots. Nearly all will miss the
intended target.


The word “sin” means missing the mark (target). Sin is missing God’s mark of keeping His commandments. Take a few minutes to ask yourself (and/or family) and answer these questions: Do we all miss? Do we all come up short? 

St. Paul’s message in Chapter 2 of Romans is our answer: We all (Cradle/Convert Christian, Gentile, Jewish) come up short of what God wants us to do. We all sin and are subject to His judgement. We must remember “that a man is justified by faithapart from the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

Church Wisdom

Troparion (Tone 4)
First-enthroned of the apostles,
teachers of the universe:
Entreat the Master of all
to grant peace to the world,
and to our souls great mercy!

Words of St. John Chrysostom
“He (St. Paul) had accused the Gentiles, he had accused the Jews; it came next in order to mention the righteousness which is by faith. For if the law of nature availed not, and the written Law was of no advantage, but both weighed down those that used them not aright, and made it plain that they were worthy of greater punishment, then after this the salvation which is by grace was necessary.”



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The Back Page

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Parish Shared Folder (for all documents, bulletins etc) - http://bit.ly/St-Alexis

The QR Code here may be used as well.

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Parish Web Site - http://www.stalexischurch.org ; calendar (https://bit.ly/StA-Calendar)

Facebook - @stalexisorthodox

Youtube Channelhttps://bit.ly/StA_Youtube

Join Zoom Meeting - http://bit.ly/St_Alexis_Zoom

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