Christmas Archpastoral Letter from His Grace Bishop Gregory

Protocol. No. 21/2015

December 25, 2015 / January 7, 2016


Dear Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I greet you with great joy and love in the Name of our Incarnate Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  I give thanks to Almighty God by whose grace we have been given the opportunity to celebrate the Birth of His Son.  Looking around, we still see hatred, mistrust, violence, suffering, and the absence of peace in our world.  This reality of life in this world makes us cry out for God’s help, assistance and intervention.

The holy gift of God’s Son at Christmas reveals to us His love and care for all humanity.  As human beings, we are awed by the miracle of God becoming man: the divine glory revealed in a child born in poor circumstances, the omnipotent Creator a little baby in His Mother’s arms.  Indeed on this night the Redeemer becomes one of us, as St. John Chrysostom says, He took on our flesh to make us holy, and gave us His Spirit so that we can be reconciled with our Creator and enter into eternal life with Him.

Therefore as we celebrate the miracle of His Birth, let kindness come with every gift, and compassion, forgiveness and love with every greeting.  Let us beautify our hearts with prayer and charity, so that all people may enter into the joy of the Feast of the Nativity with us.  Let us give our families and friends the lasting gift of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Let us pray for one another, that we may forget about our own concerns and truly love our neighbor as ourselves.  Let us worship the One who came from the highest heaven to dwell with us on earth, raising us from this world into the Kingdom of God.

Today may all of us, Priests, Panis, Deacons, Subdeacons, Readers, Parish Officers, Parishioners, Friends, and Supporters of our God-protected American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese experience the joy and wonders of the Shepherds and the awe and respect of the Three Wise Men at the arrival of the Messiah, our new born King.  Christ is Born!

Greetings from Johnstown with much love,

+His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Nyssa

Christmas Message from the Assembly of Bishops


For the Lord your God is God of Gods and the Lord of Lords…He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing (Reading from Great Vespers of the Nativity; Deuteronomy 10: 17-18).

To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family of the United States of America.

Beloved Faithful Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On these most blessed days of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we are all invited to consider how we may manifest among our neighbors the love, mercy and compassion of the Christ-child. This is especially important because Christmas represents the profound and sacred point in history when invisible God, taking the form of a servant, dwells among us. From this time forth the eternal message of salvation is not merely declared through law and prophetic message, but is finally something, as Saint John the Evangelist says, that we have heard, that we have seen with our eyes, that we have looked at and touched with our hands (1 John 1: 1).

From this time forth, therefore, our actions are meant to reflect this tangible reality. Having heard, seen, and touched the Lord, we are called to share with the downtrodden and forgotten the same joy of the Incarnation. To do this, however, we must move beyond selfish endeavors and turn to the needs of others.

Certainly, many have contributed significantly to the Church’s evangelism and outreach ministries on parish, diocesan, and jurisdictional levels. These initiatives, however, must never be viewed apart from national and global humanitarian efforts. Through our Assembly of Bishops, we have the unique blessing to participate in the work of our Agencies, and thereby become agents of the Holy Gospel in more dynamic ways than ever before. As you and your loved ones prepare to celebrate the holy feast of the Nativity, I encourage you to learn how IOCC responds to national and global humanitarian crises; how OCMC brings the good news of the Holy Gospel to all corners of the world; how OCPM cares for and offers hope to those in prisons; how OCN introduces people to Orthodoxy through digital media; and how OCF cultivates the minds and hearts of our young people on college campuses.

During the Christmas season, which is marked by an increase in God’s grace upon us, we are called to serve as the all-merciful hands of God in the world. From the very beginning of His public ministry, Jesus Christ is approached by countless people who are suffering and in desperate need of help, and in every such instance, Christ has compassion on them. In like fashion, we must feed the countless men, women and children who go to sleep on empty stomachs; provide shelter to the homeless; and visit our neighbors in prisons and hospitals.

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, as we prepare to receive the Incarnate Lord into the world and into our lives, let us keep in mind that the light of Bethlehem and the joy of the manger of the Nativity are meant to be witnessed and experienced by all of humanity and not just a select few. During this blessed period, I extend to you the blessings of all brother Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States. We wholeheartedly pray that the compassion and mercy of our Lord may be bestowed upon you and your families.

With paternal love in Christ,

+Archbishop Demetrios of America


12 Days of Christmas










“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree”

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” refer to the eight days of the Christmas Octave from December 25 to New Years Day, and the four additional days up to and including the eve of January 6, the traditional date of the Epiphany.  It contains hidden meanings intended to help children remember lessons of faith.  Instead of referring to an earthly suitor, the “true love” mentioned in the song really refers to God.  The “me” who receives the presents is symbolic of every baptized person.

Partridge in a pear tree        Jesus Christ, symbolized as a mother
partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from helpless

Two turtle doves                     Old & New Testaments

Three French Hens                 Faith, hope, charity

Four Calling birds                    The Four Gospels

Five Golden Rings                  The Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses   (Genesis through Deuteronomy)

Six geese a laying                   Six days of creation

Seven Swans a swimming     7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Eight maids a-milking             8 Beatitudes

Nine Ladies Dancing               Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

Ten Lords a-leaping
                10 Commandments

Eleven pipers piping                The 11 faithful disciples

12 drummers drumming         12 articles of the Apostles Creed

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of December 20 – December 27

Monday, December 21
6 PM –
Prayer Group
7 PM – Spirituality Class

Tuesday, December 22
8:30 AM –
First Hour

Thursday, December 24
9 AM
– Royal Hours
5 PM – Holy Supper at Parish Hall – Lenten Covered dish
7 PM – Christmas Eve Complines and Christmas Carols

Friday, December 25
10 AM
– Liturgy Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Saturday, December 26
9 AM
– Liturgy – Synaxis of the Virgin Mary
5 PM – Vespers

Sunday, December 27
10 AM
– Liturgy
12:30 AM – Christmas Caroling

Tuesday, December 29
9:45 AM
– Deanery Bowling

Please Note:
Christmas Eve is a Day of Strict Fasting. No Meat or Dairy is to be eaten.

Also, there is No Fasting between Christmas and the Eve of Theophany.

Readers Schedule
12/20 – Luke Mihaylo
12/27 – Sandi Fong

Coffee Hour
12/20 – Toaso
12/27 – Suzanne

Our Need For Christ

Without Christ our world is devoid of hope, and for others to know this Christ, they must be able to see Him in us. The light of this very Christ must shine forth through the love of His Church and be made manifest in the works of His people. Without this love there is only darkness upon the face of our world, and the world will remain without hope

Others can not know they need Christ if they do not see Him in us. They do not know this Christ fills hearts and transforms lives if they do not see transformation in us. If we are fearful, angry, judgmental, arrogant or aloof, the world will see nothing in our Christian faith worthy seeking.

If others do not see in you a forgiving heart, how will they know there is forgiveness in Christ? If others do not see in you a heart filled with joy, how will they know they need the very Christ whom you proclaim as your Lord and Savior? If others see in you a judgmental, narrow minded, unhappy person, why would they be drawn to the Orthodoxy you claim is the true faith?

With love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon


About Abbot Tryphon

The Very Rev. Fr. Tryphon is a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) and abbot of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington.

Services and Events for the Week of December 13 – December 20

Sunday, December 13 – Parish Council Meeting

Monday, December 14
6 PM –
Prayer Group
7 PM – Spirituality Class

Tuesday, December 15
8:30 AM –
First Hour

Wednesday, December 16
7 PM
– Catechism Class

Thursday, December 17
8:30 AM
– Akathist
7 PM – Monthly St. Nectarios Service

Friday, December 18
9:30 AM
– Old Testament Class

Saturday, December 19
5 PM
– Vespers

Sunday, December 20
9 AM
– Church School
10 AM –Liturgy
11:30 AM – Church School

Readers Schedule
12/13 – Jeff Szymanowicz
12/20 – Luke Mihaylo
12/27 – Sandi Fong

Coffee Hour
12/13 – Breakfast to raise funds for St. Nicholas Fund/Syrian relief
12/20 – Toaso
12/27 – Suzanne

Christmas Bake Sale 2015: Online Pre-Order Form!

This Saturday, December 12 from 10 am to 3 pm

As a reminder, we will have other baked goods and assorted items available on the day of sale, including jams, jellies, and more!

We now have online pre-ordering and purchasing available via paypal!! Place your order online and come to the sale to pick it up!

Online ordering for this sale is now closed. Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow where more baked goods etc. will be available in the church hall.

Jalepeno Perogies
Prune Perogies
Sauerkraut Perogies
Fully Cooked!
Just Heat and Serve!
Walnut Roll
Poppyseed Roll
Lekvar Roll
Apricot Roll
Russian Tea Cookies
0.5lb package
Stuffed Cabbage
1.5lb package
(3-6 pieces)

(203) 797-8326

Please join our mailing list!

Join Our Bake Sale Mailing List!



Schedule of Services and Events for December 6 – December 13

Sunday, December 6
11:30 AM – St. Nicholas Brunch
3 PMASP Kickoff fundraiser 

Monday, December 7
9  AM – Making Stuffed Cabbages
6 PM – Prayer Group
7 PMSpirituality Class 

Tuesday, December 8
8:30 AM – First Hour
9 AMPerogie Session

Wednesday, December 9
7:30 AM – Lions Breakfast Amber Room
7 PM – Catechism Class

Thursday, December 10
8:30 AM– Akathist

Friday, December 11
9:30 AM Old Testament Class
7 PM – Ornament Exchange Sulich’s House

Saturday, December 12
10 AM to 3 PM – Christmas Bake Sale
11 AM – Advent Youth Day – Ahmal and the Night Visitors
5 PM – Vespers

Sunday, December 13
9 AM – Church School
10 AM –Liturgy
11:30 AM – Church School
12:30 PM – Parish Council Meeting

Readers Schedule
12/6 – Susan Paltauf
12/13 – Jeff Szymanowicz
12/20 – Luke Mihaylo

Coffee Hour
12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch
12/13 – Breakfast to raise funds for St. Nicholas Fund/Syrian relief
12/20 – Toaso
12/27 – Suzanne