On behalf of Fr. Peter Balkas and the entire Parish Council, we wish all of you and your families a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!
Prot. No. 296/2021
Archiepiscopal Encyclical on the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord
Christmas, December 25, 2021
Unto the Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs, Pious Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, Honorable Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Members of Leadership 100, the Day and Afternoon Schools, Philoptochos Societies, the Youth, Greek Orthodox Organizations, and the entirety of the Christ-named Plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of America.
You were born secretly in the cave, but Heaven proclaimed You to all, O Savior, using the star as its mouth, and led the magi to You, who worshipped You with faith. Have mercy upon them and upon us!(Troparion from the Vespers of the Feast of Christmas)
My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we gather across our Nation to celebrate Christmas — the quintessential and most sentimental religious holiday of the American People — we Orthodox Christians are called to an experiential participation with the Nativity of our Savior in Bethlehem of Judea. Through the divine services, and most importantly, the Divine Liturgy, we are called to become the Cave where the Child was born in a secret, hidden manner. For each of us possesses a heart-cave in which God yearns to be born, and which He desires to fill with His presence. And each of us can become the place where Divinity takes shape through our actions.
Much like how an infant grows by absorbing its world and interacting with it, our growth in Christ is symbolized most profoundly by the worship experiences we share in the Church services. But the actual growth takes place everywhere and at every time in our lives. As we practice the virtues of patience and forbearance, humility and generosity, forgiveness and compassion, mercy and love, the Divine Life of the Holy Trinity takes hold in our hearts and grows, as the Apostle Paul says, “in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect person, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
My beloved Christians, Christ the Lord condescended to be born in the humble cave of Bethlehem. We are also caves where He desires to be born, but we must humble ourselves before Him. Let us become like the Shepherds and Magi who journeyed to meet Him. For He descended through the very ranks of the Angels to become like us in order to show us the way to a beautiful life on earth and eternal life in Heaven.
As we cry out: “Χριστὸς Γεννᾶται! Δοξάσατε! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!” – let us also welcome Him to be born anew in our hearts and minds. As we practice what we preach, we will experience a transformation in our lives that is the greatest Christmas gift of all – Emmanuel, God with us.
With paternal love in the Newborn King,
Archbishop of America
ORTHROS BEGINS AT 8:30AM
WE ENCOURAGE ALL OF OUR PARISHIONERS TO WEAR MASKS INDOORS.
All unvaccinated parishioners must continue to wear protective masks indoors.
To find the prayers for each service and to follow along, visit the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Digital Chant Stand at https://digitalchantstand.goarch.org.
To light a candle or make a donation follow this link https://st-george-greek-orthodox-churchand-the-shrine-of-st-nectarios.square.site/.
The mission of our beloved parish of St. George is to put into practice our Orthodox faith for our spiritual growth while creating fellowship and ministries for all the faithful. It should be our mission to spread the word of the Gospel and build harmony and love within the community and be the example of our Orthodox faith for our youth.
WE WELCOME EVERYONE TO OUR COMMUNITY!
We are grateful that you have joined us for prayer and worship.
The Artoclasia Service for Friday evening's Liturgy is offered by the Haritos family in honor of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and for the health and well-being of their brother Christos and all those who celebrate today.
Friday, Dec. 24 - The Nativity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Morning Great Hours, Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (with Holy Communion)….……………...........8:00am
Evening Orthros, Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (with Holy Communion)….…....................6:30pm
Sunday, Dec. 26 - Sunday after Nativity
Orthros & Divine Liturgy...........8:30am/9:30am
Saturday, Jan. 1 - New Year’s Day & Saint Basil the Great
Orthros & Divine Liturgy…….................8:30am
Baptized and Chrismated Orthodox Christians who have properly prepared, according to the Holy Orthodox Church guidelines, may receive Holy Communion. Please allow families with young children to receive Holy Communion first and wait for the ushers to dismiss your row. Fr. Peter will be preparing a second chalice and offering Communion at the end of Liturgy for those with health concerns. Those who want to receive with a separate spoon may wait in the first pew until after the distribution of the andithoron.
Sunday Memorials, Artoclasias and Other Blessings:
Please inform the church office well in advance of Sunday mornings for all memorials, artoclasias, 40-day blessings and other blessings so as not to disrupt the Divine Liturgy. If any requests or lists of names are received after the Great Entrance they will have to wait until the following Sunday.
****Additionally, in order to preserve the sanctity of the Divine Liturgy, please wait to light candles in the St. Nectarios Chapel at the correct time. If one arrives after the Great Entrance, they will have to wait until the end of Liturgy, while the Andithoron is being given out, to light candles in the Chapel.
If you wish to partake in the Sacrament of Holy Confession, please feel free to call the Church office or Fr. Peter to arrange a time.
Is Any Among You Sick? - James 5:14:
If you are sick or hospitalized and need prayers or a visitation, or have any other pastoral need, do not hesitate to call Fr. Peter. He can always be reached by calling the church phone number, 973.779.2626. If he is not in, please leave a message.
Mark Your Calendar:
December 24th, 29th & 30th ………….Church Office Closed
Prayers to Heaven Memorial Tree:
Prayer Angels adorn the Christmas tree inside our church. Please take the opportunity to make a donation in memory of a departed loved one this holiday season. The memorial names will be read at a special Trisagion service during the Liturgy on Sunday, January 2, 2022. The ornaments will be given to the family of the donor after the service.
Young Adults – Let us know! YAL Fellowship Volleyball Event – Jan. 7th:
Calling all young adults ages 18-25! St. George is excited to host the first YAL volleyball fellowship event on January 7, 2022! See flyer in the online bulletin with more details. We are asking all young adults who are interested to forward their email address to YAL@stgeorgeclifton.org to be included in emails about this event and future YAL events. We are thrilled to begin this new ministry at St. George!
Sponsor A Day Program:
As a church community, it is our ambitious goal to meet our operating budget through Stewardship. It is estimated that the operating expenses of our church average to be $1,400 per steward/family. If this average were to be reached, then the Church would be able to pay all its expenses only with Stewardship donations. All other funds collected from candles, trays, raffles, fundraisers, etc. could be used towards capital improvements. One way to bridge the gap is through our “Sponsor a Day” program. We encourage our parishioners to select a day that has special meaning to them like a birthday, feast day, anniversary or a memorial and make a $250 donation. With the advent season upon us please consider sponsoring the following feast days: The Nativity of our Lord, St. Stephen, St. Basil, the Epiphany or St. John the Baptist. Remember that as Orthodox Christians, we are also stewards of our Church family – those with whom we worship, fellowship and serve the community. In the same way that we care for our immediate family, we also care for our Christian brothers. For more information about the program, speak to one of our Parish Council members, Ministry Leaders or call the church office.
St. John Commandaria Communion Wine:
One of the traditions or customs in the Orthodox Church is to donate the Communion wine for sacraments, memorial services, or Church Feast Days. The preferable choice is St. John Commandaria. Anyone wishing to make an offering of communion wine can contact the church office. The donation for each bottle of wine is $30.