St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2023-12-24
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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
Sharon Hanson - Council Elect
 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.



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?

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Candle: white (peace)
Symbolism: This candle reminds us of the Angel’s message to the shepherds, “Peace on earth, goodwill toward men.”
Scripture: Luke 2:1-18
Theme: Reflect on whether there is someone who has something against us, or if we have something against anyone. Are there relationships that need repairing or people we need to forgive? Forgive and be forgiven.

Fifth Sunday of Advent
Candle: purple (repentance)
Review the meaning of the first four candles.
Symbolism: This candle reminds us of our need to repent before we can meet the coming of Christ. “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Scripture: Mark 1:1-8, 14-15.
Theme: Discuss repentance and then prepare oneself with a thorough self-examination followed by confession and communion.

Sixth Sunday of Advent
Candle: red (Holy Communion)
Symbolism:  Christ, Who was born in Bethlehem and Who will come again at the end of time, comes to us now in the great Sacrament of Holy Communion. The reason He was born in Bethlehem was that we might allow Him to come and be born in the manger of our hearts.
Scripture:John 1:1-18 and John 6:52-58.
Theme: Reflect on Holy Communion

“Jesus is called the New Adam. Jesus was every­thing Adam failed to be. Adam disobeyed God, but Jesus was “obedient to the point of death” (Phil. 2:8). Through Adam death came into the world; through Jesus eternal life (see 1 Cor. 15:21–22). The first Adam was made by God from the earth; the New Adam was “begotten of the Father before all ages” and “came down from heaven” (Nicene Creed). The Incarnate Christ is the one and only God-man. He is what it means to be God, and He is what it means to be human. We were children of Adam, but because of Christ we are now children of God.

A simple choice has been laid before us: to die to Adam—that is to sin, passion, and self—and live to Christ; or to go on living as though the Incarnation never happened. Will I accept the Image and Likeness of God that is given to me anew in the person of Jesus? Or will I continue to live for myself? Will I choose the tree of knowledge of good and evil over the tree of life? Or will I choose to become[…]”

Excerpt From
Vassilios Papavassiliou
This material may be protected by copyright.



Prayers, Intercessions and Commemorations


Please pray for Joan and John Skrobat, 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

Eve of the Nativity of Christ Sunday before the Nativity. Nun-martyr Eugenia of Rome, and with her Martyrs Philip, her father, Protus, Hyacinth, Basilla, and Claudia (ca. 262). Ven. Nicholas the Monk, of Bulgaria (9th c.).

The Nativity According to the Flesh of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ . The Adoration of the Magi: Melchior, Caspar, and Balthasar. Commemoration of the Shepherds in Bethlehem who were watching their flocks, and went to see the Lord. Priestmonk Jonah the Martyr of Pechenga (1590).


Parish Calendar

  • Schedule of Services and Events

    December 24, 2023 to January 1, 2024


    Sunday, December 24

    Roderick Seurattan

    🍇 Sunday before Nativity

    Nativity Eve

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    1:00PM Vespers

    Monday, December 25

    The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

    Malcolm Littlefield

    Nativity of Our Lord

    8:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Tuesday, December 26

    Synaxis of the Holy Theotokos

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    7:00PM Catechumens

    Wednesday, December 27

    Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr

    8:30AM Akathist to St Stephen

    Thursday, December 28

    20,000 Martyrs burned in Nicomedia

    8:00AM Akathist to Prophet David*

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Friday, December 29

    14,000 infants (Holy Innocents) slain by Herod in Bethlehem

    Saturday, December 30

    Anysia the Virgin-martyr of Thessaloniki

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    Sunday, December 31

    Sunday after Nativity

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    12:00PM Thanksgiving for the New Year


    Monday, January 1

    Circumcision of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ


Saints and Feasts

December 24

Sunday before Nativity

On the Sunday that occurs on or immediately after the eighteenth of this month, we celebrate all those who from ages past have been well-pleasing to God, beginning from Adam even unto Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, according to genealogy, as the Evangelist Luke hath recorded historically (Luke 3:23-38); we also commemorate the Prophets and Prophetesses, and especially the Prophet Daniel and the Holy Three Children.

December 24

Eugenia the Righteous Nun-martyr of Rome and those with her

This Martyr was the daughter of most distinguished and noble parents named Philip and Claudia. Philip, a Prefect of Rome, moved to Alexandria with his family. In Alexandria, Eugenia had the occasion to learn the Christian Faith, in particular when she encountered the Epistles of Saint Paul, the reading of which filled her with compunction and showed her clearly the vanity of the world. Secretly taking two of her servants, Protas and Hyacinth, she departed from Alexandria by night. Disguised as a man, she called herself Eugene while pretending to be a eunuch, and departed with her servants and took up the monastic life in a monastery of men. Her parents mourned for her, but could not find her. After Saint Eugenia had laboured for some time in the monastic life, a certain woman named Melanthia, thinking Eugenia to be a monk, conceived lust and constrained Eugenia to comply with her desire; when Eugenia refused, Melanthia slandered Eugenia to the Prefect as having done insult to her honour. Eugenia was brought before the Prefect, her own father Philip, and revealed to him both that she was innocent of the accusations, and that she was his own daughter. Through this, Philip became a Christian; he was afterwards beheaded at Alexandria. Eugenia was taken back to Rome with Protas and Hyacinth. All three of them ended their life in martyrdom in the years of Commodus, who reigned from 180 to 192.

December 25

The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

The incomprehensible and inexplicable Nativity of Christ came to pass when Herod the Great was reigning in Judea; the latter was an Ascalonite on his fathers's side and an Idumean on his mother's. He was in every way foreign to the royal line of David; rather, he had received his authority from the Roman emperors, and had ruled tyrannically over the Jewish people for some thirty-three years. The tribe of Judah, which had reigned of old, was deprived of its rights and stripped of all rule and authority. Such was the condition of the Jews when the awaited Messiah was born, and truly thus was fulfilled the prophecy which the Patriarch Jacob had spoken 1,807 years before: "A ruler shall not fail from Judah, nor a prince from his loins, until there come the things stored up for him; and he is the expectation of the nations" (Gen.49:10).

Thus, our Saviour was born in Bethlehem, a city of Judea, whither Joseph had come from Nazareth of Galilee, taking Mary his betrothed, who was great with child, that, according to the decree issued in those days by the Emperor Augustus, they might be registered in the census of those subject to Rome. Therefore, when the time came for the Virgin to give birth, and since because of the great multitude there was no place in the inn, the Virgin's circumstance constrained them to enter a cave which was near Bethlehem. Having as shelter a stable of irrational beasts, she gave birth there, and swaddled the Infant and laid Him in the manger (Luke 2:1-7). From this, the tradition has come down to us that when Christ was born He lay between two animals, an ox and an ass, that the words of the Prophets might be fulfilled: "Between two living creatures shalt Thou be known" (Abbacum 3:2), and "The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib" (Esaias 1: 3).

But while the earth gave the new-born Saviour such a humble reception, Heaven on high celebrated majestically His world-saving coming. A wondrous star, shining with uncommon brightness and following a strange course, led Magi from the East to Bethlehem to worship the new-born King. Certain shepherds who were in the area of Bethlehem, who kept watch while tending their sheep, were suddenly surrounded by an extraordinary light, and they saw before them an Angel who proclaimed to them the good tidings of the Lord's joyous Nativity. And straightway, together with this Angel, they beheld and heard a whole host of the Heavenly Powers praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men" (Luke 2:8-14).

December 25

The Adoration of the Magi: Melchior, Gaspar, & Balthasar

December 25

The Commemoration of the Shepherds in Bethlehem who were watching their flocks and came to see the Lord

December 26

Synaxis of the Holy Theotokos

This Synaxis - which is to say, our coming together to glorify the Theotokos - is celebrated especially in her honour because she gave birth supernaturally to the Son and Word Of God, and thus became the instrument of the salvation of mankind.

December 27

Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr

Saint Stephen was a Jew, by race, and, as some say, a disciple of Gamaliel, the teacher of the Law mentioned in Acts 5:34 and 22:3. He was the first of the seven deacons whom the Apostles established in Jerusalem to care for the poor, and to distribute alms to them. Being a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, he performed great signs and wonders among the people. While disputing with the Jews concerning Jesus, and wisely refuting their every contradiction, so that no one was able to withstand the wisdom and the spirit whereby he spake, he was slandered as a blasphemer and was dragged off to the Sanhedrin of the elders. There with boldness he proved from the divine Scriptures the coming of the Just One (Jesus), of Whom they had become the betrayers and murderers, and he reproved their faithless and hardheartedness. And finally, gazing into Heaven and beholding the divine glory, he said: "Lo, I see the Heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God." But when they heard this, they stopped up their ears, and with anger cast him out of the city and stoned him, while he was calling out and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then, imitating the long-suffering of the Master, he bent his knees and prayed in a loud voice for them that were stoning him, and he said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge," And saying this, he fell asleep (Acts 6, 7), thus becoming the first among the Martyrs of the Church of Christ.

December 29

14,000 infants (Holy Innocents) slain by Herod in Bethlehem

The infant-slaying Herod mentioned here is the same one that ruled at the time of Christ's Nativity. In those days, certain Magi, who were wise and noble men, perhaps even kings, set forth from the East, and came to Jerusalem, seeking the King of the Jews, Who had been born; and they said that in the East, where their homeland was, an unusual and strange star had appeared two years before, which, according to an ancient oracle (Num 24:17), was to signify the birth of some great king of the Jews. "For we have seen His star in the east," they said, "and have come to worship Him" (Matt. 2:2). Hearing these things, Herod was troubled, and the whole city together with him. Then, having inquired and been informed by the high priests and scribes of the people that, according to the prophecies, Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, he sent the Magi thither and ordered them that, when they would find the Child, to inform him, so that he also - as he affirmed - might go and worship Him. But the Magi, after they had worshipped, departed by another way to their own country by a divine command. Then Herod was wroth and sent men to slay all the infants of Bethlehem and the parts round about, from two years old and under, thinking that with them he would also certainly slay the King Who had been born. But this vain man who fought against God was mocked, since Jesus the Child, with Mary His Mother, under the protection of Joseph the Betrothed, fled into Egypt at the command of an Angel. As for those innocent infants, they became the first Martyrs slain in behalf of Christ. But their blood-thirsty executioner, the persecutor of Christ, came down with dropsy after a short time, with his members rotting and being eaten by worms, and he ended his life in a most wretched manner.


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 2 Troparion (Holy Fathers)

Great are the accomplishments of faith,
for the three Holy Youths rejoice in the fountain of flames as though in the waters of rest;
and the Prophet Daniel appeared
a shepherd to the lions as though they were sheep.//
So by their prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!

Tone 4 Troparion of the Forefeast

Mary was of David’s seed,
so she went with Joseph to register in Bethlehem.
She bore in her womb the Fruit not sown by man.
The time for the birth was at hand.
Since there was no room at the inn,
the cave became a beautiful palace for the Queen.//
Christ is born, raising up the image that fell of old.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

Tone 1 Kontakion (Holy Fathers)

Rejoice, O Bethlehem! Prepare yourself, O Ephratha!
The Lamb is on her way to give birth to the Chief Shepherd she carries in
her womb.
The God-bearing Forefathers will rejoice, beholding Him,//
and with the shepherds, they will glorify the Virgin nursing Him.

now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Tone 3 Kontakion (Forefeast)

Today the Virgin comes to the cave
to give birth to the Eternal Word.
Hear the glad tidings and rejoice, O universe!
Glorify with the angels and the shepherds
the Eternal God, Who is willing to appear as a little child!


Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest!
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous; praise befits the just!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Nativity according to the Flesh of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

The First Antiphon

I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will make all Your wonders known. (Ps. 110:1a)
    Refrain: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us!
In the company of the upright, in the congregation, great are the works of the Lord. (Ps. 110:1b-2a) (Refrain)
They are sought out according to His will. (Ps. 110:2b) (Refrain)
Full of honor and majesty is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.
(Ps. 110:3) (Refrain)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever,
    and unto ages of ages. Amen. (Refrain)

The Second Antiphon

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. (Ps. 111:1)
    Refrain: O Son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to You: Alleluia!
His descendants will be mighty in the land, the generation of the upright will be blessed. (Ps. 111:2) (Refrain)
Glory and wealth are in His house and His righteousness endures forever. (Ps. 111:3) (Refrain)
Light rises in the darkness for the upright; the Lord is merciful, compassionate, and righteous. (Ps. 111:4) (Refrain)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

(“Only-begotten Son and immortal Word of God… “)

The Third Antiphon

The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand.” (Ps. 109:1a)
Tone 4    Troparion
Your Nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone to the world the light of wisdom!
For by it, those who worshipped the stars,
were taught by a star to adore You,
the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know You, the Orient from on high.//
O Lord, glory to You!
“Until I make Your enemies Your footstool!” (Ps. 109:1b)
    Troparion of the Feast
The Lord will send You the scepter of power from Zion: “Rule in the midst of Your enemies!” (Ps. 109:2)
    Troparion of the Feast
With You is dominion on the day of Your power, in the radiance of holiness.
(Ps. 109:3)
    Troparion of the Feast
    Entrance Verse
Out of the womb before the morning star have I begotten You. The Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind: “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” (Ps. 109:4)

Tone 4    Troparion

Your Nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone to the world the light of wisdom!
For by it, those who worshipped the stars,
were taught by a star to adore You,
the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know You, the Orient from on high.//
O Lord, glory to You!

Tone 3    Kontakion

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One,
and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One.
Angels with shepherds glorify Him;
The Wise Men journey with the star,//
since for our sake the eternal God was born as a little Child.

(Instead of “It is truly meet…,” we sing:)

Magnify, O my soul, the most pure Virgin Theotokos,
more honorable and more glorious than the heavenly hosts.

I behold a strange, most glorious mystery:
heaven—the cave;
the cherubic throne—the Virgin;
the manger—the place where Christ lay:
the uncontainable God, Whom we magnify in song.

Communion Hymn

The Lord has sent redemption to His people. (Ps. 110:8a)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 4th Tone. Daniel 3.26,27.
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
Verse: For you are just in all you have done.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:9-10; 32-40.

BRETHREN, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundation, whose builder and maker is God.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets - who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated - of whom the world was not worthy - wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Gospel Reading

Sunday before Nativity
The Reading is from Matthew 1:1-25

The book of the Genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel, and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.


Wisdom of the Fathers

Great indeed was the faith of Abraham. . . It was necessary to go beyond human reasoning. . . to manifest also something more.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily XXV on Hebrews XI, 1,2. translation found in The Bible and the Holy Fathers for Orthodox, Monastery Books, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY 2003, p. 955., 4th Century

Pray, my brethren, to the Mother of God when the storm of enmity and malice bursts forth in your house. She, Who is all-merciful and all-powerful, can easily pacify the hearts of men. Peace and love proceed from the one God, as from their Source, and Our Lady - in God, as the Mother of Christ the Peace, is zealous, and prays for the peace of the whole world, and above all - of all Christians.
St. John of Kronstadt
My Life in Christ: Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pg. 179, 19th century


Receive the Light


One Body In Christ
Lesson 7: Struggle With Sin

Romans 7
Romans 8:1-13

St. Paul uses a different analogy in Romans Chapter 7 to counter another Jewish Christian objection to his position. Their
accusation is that St. Paul is saying “the Law is sin. ” To counter their claim, he compares obedience to the Mosaic Law to a marriage in which the man dies. The wife is then free to marry another man. When Christ died, we were freed from the Law. We are now free to be wed to another – the risen Christ.

We were previously under the Law of the flesh; but now delivered from the Law by Christ’s death we serve in newness of Spirit. We can overcome sin because we are no longer under the Law, but under grace. (Romans 7:1-7) St. Paul wrote that the Mosaic Law limits our expression of God’s love by limiting our actions. The Law is not powerful enough to overcome the will of the flesh and sin. It drives our energy, thoughts, and actions to push the limits of the Law when it should instead be pushing the limits of freedom in expressing God’s love. With the focus on Law, our flesh is drawn toward sin while our spirit desires to do good. It creates a spiritual war within us. The Law cannot deliver us from the struggle going on inside of us. Only faith in Jesus Christ can deliver us to spiritual freedom. (Romans 7:7-25) Sin was condemned in the flesh by God sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to die on the cross for our sins. Hades was conquered and death (sin) was destroyed. By our walking in the Spirit, we can live freely according to the Spirit. Now, the Spirit of God lives in us. Thus, led by the Spirit we become the sons of God. (Romans 8:1-13)

Discussion & Reflection

Q1: The Mosaic Law Christians accused St. Paul of saying that “the Law is Sin.” Does Paul agree with them? What is St. Paul really saying?
A1: St. Paul strongly denies these accusations. He says that before Christ’s death on the cross the Jewish Christians were married to the Law; but Christ’s death on the cross freed us from sin and the Law to live in newness of the Spirit.

Q2: St. Paul used a legal example (marriage) to illustrate a point: the death of a spouse cancels the legal contract of
marriage. How does this relate to Christ’s death on the cross?
A2: Christ’s death on the cross cancelled our obligation and marriage to the Mosaic Law. We are free to join with the risen Christ and walk in the Spirit.

Q3: The Law without Christ drew us toward sin. Without the Spirit we were
unable to overcome sin, death, and condemnation. What allows us or aids us in overcoming our human nature and propensity toward sin?
A3: Jesus Christ in our lives aids in overcoming the weakness of our human flesh. Jesus Christ within our spirit and in our hearts can overcome our desire to sin. Not law, but love, leads us forward in our new life in Christ. The Law limits us and restrains us. The Spirit of Christ frees us, and the love of Christ inspires us to do those things God wants us to do.


  • Orthodox Study Bible: Epistle to the Romans
  • Icon key features and symbolism, by Fr. Jeremy McKemy (
  • Podcast: "The Whole Counsel of God" Romans, Chapter 6 and 7, Romans, Chapter 8 & Romans, Chapter 8 Cont. by Fr. Stephen De Young (

Meditation & Activity

Family Activity: Distribute two 3”X 5” cards to each person in the group. Everyone should think about a big mistake they have made and then write about it on the card. (It should be something that can be shared without embarrassment.) Next, on the other card, write down one or two words that describe how the person felt after making the mistake. Each person should stack their two cards together as a set in the center of the table, face down. A volunteer will select a set and read the mistake card as if it were their own mistake. Then read the feeling card. Group members will take turns until all card sets have been read.

Follow up with these questions:

  • How did you feel as you read the mistake card?
  • Could you relate to the feelings on the feeling cards? Why or why not?
  • What drove you to make the mistake?
  • How should our faith in Christ play a role in our decision making? (Recall that faith in Jesus Christ can deliver us to spiritual freedom.)

Discuss as a family, or meditate and journal on this thought: Each of us is uniquely made in the image of God. Yet, a common weakness we share is that we all make mistakes which sometimes result in sinning against someone else. We should seek forgiveness for the mistakes we’ve committed and offer forgiveness to others for their mistakes through the grace of Jesus Christ.


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