Schedule of Services and Events for the week of December 25 – Janaury 1, 2016

Sunday, December 25 10 AM – Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of our Lord Monday, December 26 9 AM –Divine Liturgy – Synaxis of the Mother of God Tuesday, December 27 9 AM – Divine Liturgy – Feast of St. Stephen Wednesday, December 28 7 PM – Titans Hockey Game at the Danbury Ice Arena Sunday, January 1 10 AM – Divine Liturgy of St. Basil There is NO FASTING or KNEELING between Christmas, December 25 and the Eve of Theophany, January 5. Readers Schedule 12/25 – Paul Toaso 1/1 – Bob Faubel 1/8 – Susan Paltauf 1/15 – Susan Sulich 1/22 – Paul Sulich 1/29 – Harry Fong Coffee Hour 12/25 – Christmas Day 1/1 – Open House at Sulich’s On behalf of Pani and our Family, we want to greet all of you on this the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity.  May the joy of this season ever abide in your hearts and give you Peace and Comfort all the days of your life.  May all of us search out the Christ child in our lives as did the Magi who searched far and wide to find the King of Peace.  May we all bow down and worship Him who bowed the heavens and became man for us and our salvation.  With all my love and prayers, Fr. Luke

Nativity Archpastoral Letter from Bishop Gregory

2016 Nativity Archpastoral Letter The American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America. ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE OF CONSTANTINOPLE Protocol No. 19/2016 CHRISTMAS ARCHPASTORAL LETTER December 25, 2016 / January 7, 2017 CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM! Dear Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ, On this glorious Feast of the Nativity of Christ we celebrate a truly a wondrous event in which God, in His infinite and marvelous grace, became man bringing us enduring hope, newness of life, and eternal salvation. The Son of God, the Lord of Glory and King of kings who upholds the universe by His word of power, became man so that we human beings might be redeemed, renewed, united with Him, and become fellow citizens with the Saints and members of God’s kingdom. The magnitude and depth of the event of the Nativity of Christ are impossible to grasp, but the message is clear and true. It is a message of grace, hope, and salvation to all humanity and to all the created order. It is a message which we both celebrate and share on this sacred day, an invitation to "come and see" what our loving Creator and God has done for us. On the night of the Nativity, the angels appeared in the glory of God and announced the birth of Christ to the Shepherds. In response they said, "Let us go…and see this thing that has happened." Accepting the invitation to participate in this glorious event, they came and saw the newborn Christ, and becoming amazed by what God had done for our salvation, went away glorifying and praising Him for all that they had seen and heard (Luke 2:8 – 20). Following the Nativity, Wise Men in the East saw a mysterious star and following it came seeking the King who was born in Judea. Upon learning of the place of the birth of the Lord, they came and saw the Christ child, offered Him gifts, and worshipped Him. Responding to the invitation presented to them in the sign of the star, they came and encountered the One who would be a great ruler of His people as foretold by the prophets (Matthew 2:1 - 12). As the Shepherds and Wise Men received the invitation to "come and see" the superb miracle of the Incarnation of God, we are also invited to "come and see" Christ and the great work He has done for our salvation. On this day we "come and see" the bright light of truth and life shining through the darkness and despair of our violent and war torn world. On this day we hear a message of hope, grace, and peace. We come to Christ and see justice, holiness, and love. Today may all of us, Priests, Panis, Deacons, Sub-Deacons, 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, +Bishop Gregory of Nyssa

The Nativity of Christ

The Nativity of Christ

The Nativity of Christ (Christmas) is easily one of the most important and most celebrated feasts in both the Eastern and Western Churches. This mystery is noted for its great joy. The heavens rejoice, the shepherds race to welcome their new king and the magi come bearing gifts. But in this mystery we can also find sorrow. We find that we still live in a “not yet” reality that desperately longs for our full redemption as the sons of God. In the East, the icon of the Nativity is an image that gives us a much fuller picture of this event than any modern Western art with its calm and sweet imagery.The Nativity of Christ In the icon, we see Jesus and Mary as the focal points around which everything else is based.   Mary is reclined upon a red cloth having performed the act of giving birth. The red cloth represents life, which Mary gives to all believers by her obedience and labor. Just as Eve was named the Mother of the Living, so Mary is the mother of the new humanity that will be united and deified in Christ. To her right is Jesus in the midst of the cave, in which Jesus (according to tradition) was born. Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, but the way in which he is portrayed is symbolic. Jesus is wrapped in cloths, strongly evocative of his burial; the manger is made of stone and shaped more like a grave, reminding us that even at the beginning of his earthly life, Jesus was already prepared to die and rise. nativity-icon copy 2Jesus is in the mist of the dark cave reminding us that Jesus, the Author of Life, descended into sin and death to raise us up. Around him is an ox and a donkey which hearkens back to Isaiah 1:3 which states, “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people does not understand.” The animals also represent all of creation, which “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:19-20) Creation has been waiting for its redemption from sin as well. nativity-icon copy 5Above the crib we see a mandorla representing both the divine presence and the star over Bethlehem. The star is found within the ray, offered by God to point the Magi (to the left on horseback) on to Bethlehem. The three Wise Men vary with age, one having white hair and a beard, the middle having brown hair and a beard, and the closest having no beard. This expresses to us that wisdom is not a matter of age but of the heart. Above the Wise Men we see the angelic choir, some of whom are looking toward the mandorla in praise of God, some of whom look toward each other (recalling the fact that the Angels speak the praise of God to one another in Isaiah 6:3), some who adore Christ, and one who is telling the news to the shepherds (to the right). One of the shepherds plays the flute (expressing his joy) next to a tree that represents the tree of Jessi, who is the father of David and ancestor of Jesus.  In the Magi and in the Shepherds, we see the invitation of many classes of people- the rich and the poor, rulers and subjects, Jews and Gentiles- to the worship of Christ the Lord with Heaven and Earth.nativity-icon copy nativity-icon copy 4To the bottom left, we see two midwives who wash Jesus, showing that his birth happened by natural means and thus shows his humanity. The midwives’ arms are bare due to a tradition that Joseph approached them and asked them to tend to the Son of God. When they mocked him their arms withered because of their unbelief but when they came to clean Jesus their arms were restored back to their normal state.  We see in this that before we come to believe in Christ, we come disfigured by sin and disbelief but we are made whole by Christ. nativity-icon copy 3Finally, to the bottom right we find Joseph, apart from Jesus and Mary because he did not have a role in this miracle, but only acted as their protector. Joseph sits in a pensive, perhaps even a despondent, posture. He is approached by an old man who, in the iconographic tradition, is the devil. The devil here is trying to convince Joseph that this birth is not a miracle (why would God enter the world in this way?), that Jesus is not the Son of God, and that Mary was unfaithful to him. This reminds us that the miraculous birth of Christ, even for a holy man like Joseph, is not a thing of reason but of faith, which cannot be fully grasped.  This struggle of Joseph is not resolved in this image, but will find its answer in another icon. This image communicates to us a reality- that even here, at this moment of great joy, we find that we look forward to the Death and Resurrection of Christ.  Even now we still await our the total redemption of our bodies in our “not yet” universe of sin, pain and death. Yet in all the midst of this, we see Christ shining in the darkness, showing us the way to the Father.

Schedule of services and events for December 18 – December 25

Monday, December 19 7 PM – Spirituality Class Tuesday, December 20 8:30 AM – Hours 9:30 AM - Prayer Group Wednesday, December 21 12 noon – Akathist of the Inexhaustible Cup Friday, December 23 9 AM – Royal Hours Saturday, December 24 9 AM – Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom 5 PM – Holy Supper/Strict Fast 7 PM – Complines and Christmas Carols Sunday, December 25 10 AM – Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of our Lord Monday, December 26 9 AM –Divine Liturgy – Synaxis Tuesday, December 27 9 AM – Liturgy – Feast of St. Stephen Wednesday, December 28 7 PM – Titans Hockey Game at the Danbury Ice Arena Readers Schedule 12/25 – Paul Toaso 1/1 – Bob Faubel Coffee Hour 12/25 – Christmas Day 1/1 – Open House at Sulich’s

Schedule of services and events for December 11 – December 18

Monday, December 12 7 PM – Spirituality Class Tuesday, December 13 8:30 AM – Hours 10:30 AM - Prayer Group Wednesday, December 14 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, December 15 8:30 AM – Akathist 7 PM – St. Nectarios Anointing Service Friday, December 16 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 6:30 PM – Ladies Ornament Exchange at Susan Sulich’s home Saturday, December 17 3:30 PM – Video Class 5 PM – Vespers 7 PMA Christmas Carol featuring our own Ava Baroody 6 PM to 11 PM – The Gross Family Party Sunday, December 18 10 AM – Divine Liturgy 11:30 AM - Church School Readers Schedule 12/18 – Nick Fong 12/25 – Paul Toaso 1/1 – Bob Faubel Coffee Hour 12/18 – OPEN 12/25 – Christmas Day 1/1 – New Year’s Day

Christmas Bake Sale Online Order Form 2016

This Saturday, December 10 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!
Online ordering for this sale is now closed. Thank you to everyone who came by and made this sale a success!
Potato/Cheese Perogies $7.00/dozen Potato/Onion Perogies $7.00/dozen Potato/Cheese/ Jalepeno Perogies $7.00/dozen
Prune Perogies $7.00/dozen Sauerkraut Perogies $8.00/dozen Fully Cooked! Just Heat and Serve!
Walnut Roll $12.00/roll Poppyseed Roll $11.00/roll Lekvar Roll $11.00/roll
Apricot Roll $11.00/roll Russian Tea Cookies 0.5lb package $6.00/pkg Stuffed Cabbage 1.5lb package (3-6 pieces) $12.00/pkg
Questions?? Call: (203) 797-8326 Email: padreluke@aol.com Please join our mailing list!

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Schedule of services and events for December 4 – December 11, 2016

Monday, December 5 7 PM – Spirituality Class Tuesday, December 6, 9 AM – Liturgy St. Nicholas - NO FASTING 10:30 AM - Prayer Group 7 PM – Making Kielbasa Wednesday, December 7 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, December 8 8:30 AM – Akathist Friday, December 9 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 12 noon – Set up for Bake Sale Saturday, December 10 10 AM – Christmas Bake Sale 3:30 PM – Video Class 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, December 11 10 AM – Divine Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School 12 noon – Parish Council Meeting 4 PM – OYMT/Mary Kay Fundraiser Readers Schedule  12/11 Susan Paltauf 12/18 – Nick Fong 12/25 – Paul Toaso Coffee Hour 12/11 – OPEN 12/18 – OPEN 12/25 – Christmas Day