Category Archives: Adult Spiritual Education

Schedule of services and events for January 1 – January 8

Monday, January 2 7 PM – Spirituality Class Tuesday, January 3 8:30 AM – Hours 9:30 AM – Prayer Group Wednesday, January 4 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, January 5 7 PM – Vigil for Theophany Great Blessing of Water – Strict Fast Day Friday, January 6 9 AM – Divine Liturgy – Theophany – No Fasting 1 PM – 5 PM – Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen Saturday, January 7 3:30 PM – Video Class 5 PM -Vespers Sunday, January 8 10 AM- Divine Liturgy – Renewal of Baptismal Vows 11:30 AM – Church School 12:30 PM - Christmas Caroling There is NO FASTING or KNEELING between Christmas, December 25 and the Eve of Theophany, January 5. The Eve of Theophany, January 5, is a day of Strict Fasting. Readers Schedule 1/8 – Susan Paltauf 1/15 – Susan Sulich 1/22 – Paul Sulich 1/29 – Harry Fong  

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

Schedule of Services and Events for the week of November 13 – November 20

Tuesday, November 15 The Start of the Advent Fast Wednesday, November 16 7:30 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, November 17 7 PM – St. Nectarios Anointing Service Friday, November 18 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 12 noon – set up for Thanksgiving bake and Craft Sale Saturday, November 19 10 AM to 3 PM – Thanksgiving Craft & Bake Sale 5 PM - Vespers Sunday, November 20 10 AM – Divine Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School 11:30 AM to 1 PM – Thanksgiving Craft & Bake Sale Sunday, November 20 is the Last Day of the Clothing Drive!!! Readers Schedule 11/13 – Suzanne Molineaux 11/20 – Luke Mihaylo 11/27 – Sandi Fong Coffee Hour 11/13 – Behrend 11/20 – IOCC Fundraising Brunch 11/27 - OPEN  

Schedule of Services and Events for the week of October 16 – October 23

Monday, October 17 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM – Spirituality Class Tuesday, October 18 8:30 AM – Hours 9 AM – Perogie Session Wednesday, October 19 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, October 20 8:30 AM – Akathist 7 PM- St. Nectarios Anointing Service Friday, October 21 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 5 PM-  Consecration of St. George’s Church Taylor, PA Saturday, October 22 9 AM - Consecration of St. Georges' Church Taylor, PA 5 PM – Vespers in Danbury Sunday, October 23 9 AM – Church School for Middle and High School Students 10 AM – Divine Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School elementary Students 12 noon – Parish Council Meeting 4:30 PM – DDD Appreciation Dinner Readers Schedule 10/16 – Paul Sulich 10/23 – Nicholas Fong 10/30 – Robert Faubel 11/6 – Chris Mihaly Coffee Hour 10/16 – FONG 10/23 – OPEN 10/30 - OPEN

St. Nectarios Adult Retreat hosted by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

sower-seedsSt. Nectarios Adult Retreat hosted by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church Missions Retreat Master: Kenneth Kidd, Development Director Orthodox Christian Mission Center  The Village Inn – Lenox, MA November 4-6, 2016   Cost: $320 per couple/$210 per single (tax included) Includes: 2 nights stay at the inn, 2 complete breakfasts, 1 dinner Rooms will be reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis. Reservations may be made by contacting Susan at 203-746-6008 or via email at ssulich@yahoo.com. Reservations must be received by October 1st. Checks should be made payable to Holy Trinity Orthodox Church and given to Susan Sulich or mailed to the church, 74 Joe’s Hill Rd., Danbury, CT 06811. Schedule: Friday November 4th 2:00:  Start of check in time at The Village Inn (www.villageinn-lenox.com); choose entrée for Saturday dinner at the inn when you check in. Dinner: On your own at one of the many restaurants in Lenox Saturday November 5th Breakfast at your leisure in the Village Inn dining room 9:30—11:30 a.m.: Morning Prayers and Retreat Program: Kenneth Kidd on Missions Afternoon: Free time. Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum, Prime Outlets or one of the many other area attractions or take in the scenic beauty of the Berkshires 5:30—6:30 p.m.: Moleben to St. Nectarios and Confessions 6:30—7:30 p.m.: Fellowship Hour in the Village Inn living room 7:30 p.m.: Dinner together in the Village Inn dining room Sunday November 6th 8:45—10:15 a.m.: Divine Liturgy 10:30 a.m.: Group Photo at the inn 10:45 a.m.: Full country breakfast Village Inn dining room 12:00 noon: Checkout

Elevation of the Life-Giving Cross

The Exaltation of the Honorable Cross crosselevation Two events in connection with the Honorable Cross of Christ are commemorated on this day: first, the finding of the Honorable Cross on Golgotha and second, the return of the Honorable Cross from Persia to Jerusalem. Visiting the Holy Land, the holy Empress Helena decided to find the Honorable Cross of Christ. An old Jewish man named Judah was the only one who knew where the Cross was located, and, constrained by the empress, he revealed that the Cross was buried under the temple of Venus that Emperor Hadrian had built on Golgotha. The empress ordered that this idolatrous temple be razed and, having dug deep below it, found three crosses. While the empress pondered on how to recognize which of these was the Cross of Christ, a funeral procession passed by. Patriarch Macarius told them to place the crosses, one by one, on the dead man. When they placed the first and second cross on the dead man, the dead man lay unchanged. When they placed the third cross on him, the dead man came back to life. By this they knew that this was the Precious and Life-giving Cross of Christ. They then placed the Cross on a sick woman, and she became well. The patriarch elevated the Cross for all the people to see, and the people sang with tears: ``Lord, have mercy!'' Empress Helena had a silver case made and set the Honorable Cross in it. Later, the Persian Emperor Chozroes conquered Jerusalem, enslaved many people, and took the Lord's Cross to Persia. The Cross remained in Persia for fourteen years. In the year 628 the Greek Emperor Heraclius defeated Chozroes and, with much ceremony, returned the Cross to Jerusalem. As he entered the city Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross on his back, but suddenly was unable to take another step. Patriarch Zacharias saw an angel preventing the emperor from bearing the Cross on the same path that the Lord had walked barefoot and humiliated. The patriarch communicated this vision to the emperor. The emperor removed his raiment and, in ragged attire and barefoot, took up the Cross, carried it to Golgotha, and placed it in the Church of the Resurrection, to the joy and consolation of the whole Christian world. http://98.131.104.126/prolog/September14.htm

The Nativity of our Most Holy Lady the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary

The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary: The Most Holy Virgin Mary was born at a time when people had reached such a degree of moral decay that it seemed altogether impossible to restore them. People often said that God must come into the world to restore faith and not permit the ruin of mankind. The Son of God chose to take on human nature for the salvation of mankind, and chose as His Mother the All-Pure Virgin Mary, who alone was worthy to give birth to the Source of purity and holiness. The Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary is celebrated by the Church as a day of universal joy. Within the context of the Old and the New Testaments, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary was born on this radiant day, having been chosen before the ages by Divine Providence to bring about the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. She is revealed as the Mother of the Savior of the World, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Most Holy Virgin Mary was born in the small city of Galilee, Nazareth. Her parents were Righteous Joachim of the tribe of the Prophet-King David, and Anna from the tribe of the First Priest Aaron. The couple was without child, since St Anna was barren. Having reached old age, Joachim and Anna did not lose hope in God’s mercy. They had strong faith that for God everything is possible, and that He would be able to overcome the barrenness of Anna even in her old age, as He had once overcame the barrenness of Sarah, spouse of the Patriarch Abraham. Sts Joachim and Anna vowed to dedicate the child which the Lord might give them, to the service of God in the Temple. Childlessness was considered among the Hebrew nation as a Divine punishment for sin, and therefore the righteous Sts Joachim and Anna had to endure abuse from their own countrymen. On one of the feastdays at the Temple in Jerusalem the elderly Joachim brought his sacrifice to offer to God, but the High Priest would not accept it, considering him to be unworthy since he was childless. St Joachim in deep grief went into the wilderness, and there he prayed with tears to the Lord for a child. St Anna wept bitterly when she learned what had happened at the Jerusalem Temple. Never once did she complain against the Lord, but rather she prayed to ask God’s mercy on her family. The Lord fulfilled her petitions when the pious couple had attained to extreme old age and prepared themselves by virtuous life for a sublime calling: to be the parents of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, the future Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Archangel Gabriel brought Joachim and Anna the joyous message that their prayers were heard by God, and of them would be born a most blessed daughter Mary, through Whom would come the Salvation of all the World. The Most Holy Virgin Mary surpassed in purity and virtue not only all mankind, but also the angels. She was manifest as the living Temple of God, so the Church sings in its festal hymns: “the East Gate... bringing Christ into the world for the salvation of our souls” (2nd Stikhera on “Lord, I Have Cried”, Tone 6). The Nativity of the Theotokos marks the change of the times when the great and comforting promises of God for the salvation of the human race from slavery to the devil are about to be fulfilled. This event has brought to earth the grace of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of Truth, piety, virtue and everlasting life. The Theotokos is revealed to all of us by grace as a merciful Intercessor and Mother, to Whom we have recourse with filial devotion. https://oca.org/saints/lives/2016/09/08/102541-the-nativity-of-our-most-holy-lady-the-mother-of-god-and-ever-vi

THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST

Transfiguration[1] In the third year of His preaching, the Lord Jesus often spoke to His disciples of His approaching passion but at the same time of His glory following His suffering on the Cross. So that His impending passion would not totally weaken His disciples and that no one would fall away from Him, He, the All-wise, wanted to partially show them His divine glory before His passion. For that reason, He took Peter, James and John with Him and, with them, went out at night to Mt. Tabor and there was transfigured before them: "And His face shone as the sun and His garments became white as snow" (St. Matthew 17:2). There appeared along side Him, Moses and Elijah, the great Old Testament prophets. And, seeing this, His disciples were amazed. Peter said: "Lord, it is good for us to be here: if You will, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah" (St. Matthew 17:4). While Peter still spoke, Moses and Elijah departed and a bright cloud overshadowed the Lord and His disciples and there came a voice from the cloud saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear Him" (St. Matthew 17:5). Hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the ground on their faces as though dead and remained that way, lying in fear, until the Lord came near to them and said: "Arise and be not afraid" (St. Matthew 17:7). Why did the Lord take only three disciples on Tabor and not all? Because Judas was not worthy to behold the divine glory of the Teacher, Whom he will betray and the Lord did not want to leave him [Judas] alone at the foot of the mountain so that the betrayer would not, by that, justify his betrayal. Why was our Lord transfigured on a mountain and not in a valley? So as to teach us two virtues: love of labor and godly-thoughts. For, climbing to the heights required labor and height represents the heights of our thoughts, i.e., godly-thoughts. Why was our Lord transfigured at night? Because, the night rather than the day is more suitable for prayer and godly-thoughts and because the night, by its darkness, conceals all the beauty of the earth and reveals the beauty of the starry heavens. Why did Moses and Elijah appear? In order to destroy the error of the Jews, as though Christ is one of the prophets; Elijah or Jeremiah or some other that is why He appears as a King above the prophets and that is why Moses and Elijah appear as His servants. Until then, our Lord manifested His divine power many times to the disciples but, on Mt. Tabor, He manifested His divine nature. This vision of His Divinity and the hearing of the heavenly witness about Him as the Son of God, should serve the disciples in the days of the Lord's passion, in strengthening of an unwavering faith in Him and His final victory. http://98.131.104.126/prolog/August6.htm