St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2024-02-11
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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- President
Sharon Hanson - Member at Large
 Luba Martins - 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.



Choir Rehearsals

As we move toward the season of Great Lent, I am asking that anyone who would like to sing in choir please come to rehearsals on Sundays beginning at 8:45a. Other rehearsals will also be scheduled throughout thr upcoming weeks. This is an essential ministry within the Church and practices ensure a well-ordered and beautiful prayer offering. Thank you, to everyone who makes this conscientious effort to the prayer life of our community.

"Book" Study beginning Tuesday, February 20th at 7p via Zoom.

This study will be based on the book, "Living the Mission; A Spiritual Fomration Guide". This book is a broad study of the themes introduced in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. I will provide all the necessary reading materials the week before each session. This will be our Lenten study for this upcoming season.

There is no better way to get a sense of how the Church came into being than the book of Acts, formally known as the Acts of the Apostles. A con­ tinuation of the Gospel of Luke, Acts traces in vivid narrative the period from one of Jesus’s last appearances before his disciples to the apostle Paul’s house arrest in Rome, a span of approximately thirty-five years. A synopsis of the early years of the Church, Acts is true to its title. It is full of action. And at the center of every action is the Holy Spirit, so much so that some have suggested the book should be titled “The Acts of the Holy Spirit” because of the huge role the Spirit plays in the drama that unfolds on its pages. Studying the way the disciples allowed the Holy Spirit to guide them as they dealt with every challenge and opportunity that came their way is incredibly helpful as we too seek to live the mission we are called to by Jesus.
In this book we focus on what it means to be a part of a fellowship, part of the community of the Church of Jesus Christ. Throughout Living the Mission we point to specific insights we can learn from the events Luke records and the stories he tells as the People of God form communities first in Jerusalem and then radiating outward, much like circles emanate from a stone thrown into a lake. The farther the circles go out and the larger the communities become, the more their actions are scrutinized and opposed. In spite of opposition and human hesitation, the Holy Spirit continues to work through the disciples and to reveal that the kingdom of God is avail­ able to everyone here and now. Acts is the story of how the followers of Jesus became the Church. It shows us exactly how those of us who are not able to be in Jesus’s physical presence can still follow him, how Jesus is still with us in the Holy Spirit, and how we are called to form communities into which we are forever inviting others.
We invite you to join us as we meet and learn from the first members of the Church as they proclaim and live the good news and make disciples of Jesus Christ.


Prayers, Intercessions and Commemorations


Many Years! to Christine Hoehnebart, Gabrielle Niess and Christine Schauble (Brubaker) on the occasion of their birthdays.

Please pray for Sarah, Aaron, Evelyn and Victor 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, Kenneth
  • Clergy and their families: Mat. Ann, Fr Sergei, and Mat Nancy
  • ​Catechumen: Robert, Abbie, Matthew, Joseph, Mary, Kevin 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, Subdeacon Paul, Leonore
  • Birthdays and Name’s Days this Month: Nadia PenkoffLedbeck, Connor Kuziak
  • Anniversaries this Month: Stasia and Glenn PenkoffLedbeck
  • ​Expecting and Newborn: Anastasia and her unborn child
  • ​Traveling: 
  • ​Sick and those in distress: Maria, Brian, Katy, Lauren

Hieromartyr Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste (ca. 316). Ven. Dimitri (Demetrios), Wonderworker of Priluki (Vologdá—1392). Rt. Blv. Great Prince Vsevolod (in Baptism Gabriel), Wonderworker of Pskov (1138). Righteous Theodora, wife of Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast (ca. 867).

Again we pray for those who have lost their lives because of the wars in Ukraine and in the Middle East: that the Lord our God may look upon them with mercy, and give them rest where there is neither sickness, or sorrow, but life everlasting.
Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, for those who are suffering, wounded, grieving, or displaced because of the wars in Ukraine and in the Middle East.
Again we pray for a cessation of the hostilities against Ukraine and the Middle East, and that reconciliation and peace will flourish there, we pray thee, hearken and have mercy.


Parish Calendar

  • Schedule of Services and Events

    February 11 to February 19, 2024

    Sunday, February 11

    16th Sunday of Matthew

    Sunday of the Canaanite

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, February 12

    Vera Martin

    Meletius, Archbishop of Antioch

    Robert Pavlik

    Tuesday, February 13

    Martinian of Palestine

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    7:00PM Catechumens

    Wednesday, February 14

    ☦️ Holy Father Auxentius of the Mountain

    4:30PM Open Doors

    Thursday, February 15

    Alex Martins

    Onesimus the Apostle of the 70


    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Friday, February 16

    ☦️ Pamphilus the Martyr & his Companions

    Saturday, February 17

    Theodore the Tyro, Great Martyr

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    Sunday, February 18

    Sunday of Zacchaeus.

    Nadia PenkoffLidbeck

    Mission Sunday

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, February 19

    The Holy Apostles of the Seventy Philemon, Apphia, Archippus, and Onesimus


Saints and Feasts

February 11

Blaise the Hieromartyr of Sebastia

Saint Blaise was Bishop of Sebastia. Divine grace, through which he healed the diseases of men and beasts, and especially of infants, made his name famous. He contested for the Faith under Licinius in the year 316. Saint Blaise is invoked for the healing of throat ailments.

February 14

Cyril, Equal-to-the-Apostles & Teacher of the Slavs

Saint Cyril was born in Thessaloniki in the early 9th century to pious parents. His family was one of only a few Byzantines in Thessaloniki at that time since it was largely populated by Slavs. Growing up in this situation, Cyril learned the Slavonic language, which later in life would serve him and the Church at large. He continued his education in Constantinople with his brother Methodios (see May 11th), each taking to their particular interests: Methodios in politics, and Cyril in philosophy and teaching.

The two brothers were approached in 850 by Saint Photios the Great (see February 6th) to lead a diplomatic mission to the Khazars, the people who inhabited the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Cyril and Methodios accepted this mission and departed to the North. After the success of this trip, the brothers lived for a time in a monastery on Mount Olympus where Methodios became a monk. At this time the brothers utilized their childhood Slavonic education to develop a written alphabet for the Slavonic language, which to this time had never existed. This alphabet became known as the Glagolithic Alphabet. On their own instigation, the brothers began translating the Gospels and liturgical service books into Slavonic.

Providentially, Cyril and Methodios were again called upon for a mission, this time to travel to Moravia to spread the Christian faith to King Rostislav (see May 11th) and his people. The brothers departed in 862, bringing with them their Slavonic alphabet and service books. After five years of service, the brothers made their way to Rome in 867 to have members of their company ordained to the priesthood to aid in the missionary journey. The group of missionaries celebrated the Divine Liturgy in Rome in the Slavonic language for the very first time with members of their party being ordained as they intended. While in Rome, Cyril fell deathly ill. He was tonsured a monk and died. His brother Methodios continued their missionary work, utilizing the Glagolthic Alphabet. Cyril and his brother Methodios are commemorated together on May 11th.

February 15

Onesimus the Apostle of the 70

This Apostle, who was from Colossae, was a bond-servant of that Philemon to whom the Apostle Paul addressed his epistle. Onesimus escaped from Philemon and fled to Rome, where he became a disciple of Saint Paul. Saint Paul brought him to the Faith of Christ, and then sent him back to his master, who in turn gave him his freedom and sent him back to Rome again, where he ministered to Saint Paul. Later, he was seized because he was a Christian and was sent to Puteoli, where he was beaten to death with clubs. Saint Onesimus is also commemorated on November 22 with the holy Apostles Philemon, Apphia, and Archippus.

February 17

Theodore of Tyre the Great Martyr

Saint Theodore who was from Amasia of Pontus, contested during the reign of Maximian (286-305). He was called Tyro, from the Latin Tiro, because he was a newly enlisted recruit. When it was reported that he was a Christian, he boldly confessed Christ; the ruler, hoping that he would repent, gave him time to consider the matter more completely and then give answer. Theodore gave answer by setting fire to the temple of Cybele, the "mother of the gods," and for this he suffered a martyr's death by fire. See also the First Saturday of the Fast.


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Gospel Reading

Sunday of the Canaanite
The Reading is from Matthew 15:21-28

At that time, Jesus went to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.


Wisdom of the Fathers

She had a great perfection of faith. She had no uncertainty about His divine majesty. She had no small measure of the virtue of patience. Yet the pitying Physician of the pitiful disdained her petitions. He kept her waiting for answer in order to demonstrate to us the perseverence of this woman that we can always imitate. She had the characteristics of constancy and humility. She willingly embraced the indignity she received, and even confirmed the Lord`s statement. This woman rightly signifies the faith and devotion of the Church gathered from the nations
Saint Bede
Hom. I. 22, In Lent, Homilies on the Gospels, Bk. One, 216, 217.

He kept her waiting for an answer in order to declare that the minds of His disciples should also be merciful. As human beings they were ashamed of the clamor of the woman as she pursued them publicly, but He Himself knew the character of His mercy.
St. Bede
Hom. I. 22, In Lent, Homilies on the Gospels, Bk. One, 216


The Faith We Hold


Sermon preached by Fr. Antony Hughes on Sunday, February 1, 2009
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I am reminded of the prophecy of Isaiah quoted in the Gospel of St. Matthew when I read this splendid reading from Luke, "The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned." (Mt. 4:15-16)
Today Jesus goes even further than the "Galilee of the Gentiles" all the way to the district of Tyre and Sidon in present day Lebanon where the light, according to the religious tradition of first century Palestinian Judaism, was not supposed to shine!
There Jesus and his disciples meet a Canaanite Woman. The disciples, of course, as always, were horrified. Blinded by their social, cultural and religious beliefs, they protested loudly. "Send her away!" This woman, this Gentile, this unclean, unworthy, despicable Canaanite who dared to cry out to Jesus to heal her daughter. Unfortunately, many of us today are equally blinded. "Send her away," they cried, "for she is crying after us!"
Jesus plays along, but only for a moment. I do not believe he is being cruel. It is not in Jesus to be cruel. Perhaps he was testing her when he said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But I believe he framed his response more for the sake of the disciples. This is what they wanted him to say, knew he should say, and believed he must say! After her memorable reply, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table," Jesus reveals his true intent. He intended to heal her daughter from the beginning and to show his disciples that their hardness and narrowness of heart, no matter how religiously, culturally or socially justifiable had no place in his ministry. Jesus shows us an entirely new and radical perspective. Marcel Proust once wrote, "The voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
If we are not motivated to change our ways of thinking and being when we read Holy Scripture we are not reading them correctly. If the Gospels do not cause a revolution of love for God and for one another to take place in our hearts, then we need some help with our interpretation. The Scriptures should move us, as the prayer before the Gospel reading in the Liturgy says, "to enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing what is pleasing" to God.
Orthodoxy has an unfailingly positive view of humanity when it is not perverted by some other ideology. Made in the image of God, called to become divine, with unlimited potential to share God's verynature, to shine with uncreated light, to do the works Jesus did in this world and, as He Himself said, even greater works, the Church looks deeply into even the worst of sinners and finds pure gold. Is that not what Jesus did with Zacchaeus last week and the Canaanite Woman this week? We do not focus on human limits and pathology when we approach pastoral care, we focus rather on the scriptural teaching that human beings are made in God's image. What hinders us is not truly part of us. Sin, death and disease are not natural. They cannot define us. It is our Maker who defines us and He has called the creation of humanity "very good." We believe in Original Goodness rather than Original Sin. Pastoral care consists in helping to reveal to those who come to us for care the truth of who they are.
Jesus did not allow the Canaanite Woman to be defined by the social, cultural and religious mores of the time as we so often do in our dealings with one another. He demonstrated a new and holy way. A way of the heart. A way for us to follow. It is the radical way of self-denial, of unlimited compassion and unconditional love. You see, that is our true nature. That is who we really are. Underneath the layers of fear and delusion lies the glorious image, the mirror that reflects the very face of God. The spiritual life is a journey to the center of the heart. It is a choice we make every moment: to see as God sees or to fall into the darkness of Zebulon and Naphtali that Jesus came to dispel. We can choose love over hate, peace over war, mercy over judgment, selflessness over selfishness any time we want, in any situation we face and in any encounter we have. Each moment is rich with possibilities, good and bad. It is up to us to choose the good, the narrow path, the selfless path, the path Jesus showed us.
If our principals or belief systems hinders us in our love for our neighbor there is something wrong with them! Often that is where repentance must begin, in jettisoning all those false ideals we have enshrined as sacred, but which are actually the very opposite of God's intent.
The other element is the discovery that when we choose the good in even the small things we strengthen and nurture the image within and slowly, but surely we become more and more capable of loving as God loves. We find that our good choices produce in us stillness and peace of mind. From stillness wisdom and discernment arise. From wisdom and discernment arise unshakable joy. Even when we find ourselves in difficult situations we find within ourselves a quiet place to rest. As one teacher said, "If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?" The benefits of following the way of Christ are innumerable and infinite.
It is really more like this: we long to return to Eden, to our original innocence. Our hearts are not at ease until we begin this journey. To make it we must open ourselves to two mysteries: first the mystery of God who is above all thought, concept and word and to the mystery of our neighbor in whom we find the very same divine mystery.
We have not been called to eat the crumbs under His table, but to sit at His side and enjoy the feast.


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