Divine Liturgy Every Sunday at 10:00am
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...is to tend to the flock of our Lord Jesus Christ and to spread the Good News of Christ to those outside the flock. The mission is to be accomplished by:
- Living a full and liturgical and sacramental life
- Proclaiming the Orthodox Christian Faith to all people
- Providing effective charitable and social programs
- Establishing strong spiritual leadership and educational resources
To join the "Bell-ringer Team" please speak to Lisa Tereshko
This year’s episcopal visit by His Grace Bishop THOMAS will take place during the celebration of the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. His Grace will be with us beginning some time on Monday, December 22. He will depart early in the morning on December 25.
THE SEASON OF ADVENT:
How are We Called to Respond?
By His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph
Greetings and Blessings to the Members of the Antiochian Women, the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Teen SOYO, and all of the beloved faithful of this Archdiocese.
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight the paths of our God” (Isaiah 40:3).
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary offers the following as one of the definitions for the word “prepare”: “to make yourself ready for something that you will be doing or something that you expect to happen.”
How appropriate it is to focus on the word “prepare” as it relates to the goal of the Advent Season. We are called to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus Christ Himself, the Incarnate God. We are called to remove ourselves from the distractions and unhealthy lifestyles which characterize our material existence. We are called, during a season when our culture calls for indulgence in material things, to reject this indulgence, and focus on our spiritual health.
The quote given above from the Book of Isaiah is of course the prophecy of the ministry of John The Forerunner, who came to prepare the way for the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. On another level, it is a call to each of us to prepare ourselves for the “way of the Lord.” What is this “way of the Lord?”
The quote above gives us a strong clue in the text “make straight the paths of our God.” The implication is that we have caused our path to become “crooked,” and not straight. Something that is “crooked” can be said to be dishonest, or tainted, and this is exactly what we wish to avoid in our lives. The Advent Season is a time for taking that which has been tainted, and reaching out to the Lord to make it straight and pure.
The entire message of the bible is a message of the call by God to His children to be reconciled to Him, and to be united to Him in love. This effort passes through the judges, kings and prophets of the Old Testament where God, through these holy people reaches out to His children. The ultimate outreach from God to His people is the Incarnation of God as man, embodied in the nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ in the Flesh. God chooses to come into this world in partnership with His creation. He chooses to come as a humble babe in the cave, born to the Theotokos, so that humankind could share as intimately as possible in His coming. The question for us is this: Will there be room in the “inn of our hearts” for Him to lay His head, or will the “inn of our hearts” be filled with carnal things and clogged with passions so that there is no room for the Lord?
It is clear then, that there is only one appropriate response for us to the incarnation of God in the flesh, and that is a response of a loving child who returns their loving Father. A response which offers up to God the only thing that we can offer, and the only thing that He asks of us. That is the offering of ourselves, which requires a change in heart, a radical departure from all of the things of this world which separate us from God. A departure from all of the things which prevent us from fulfilling our ultimate destiny, that is to strive to “be perfect just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
Therefore my beloved in Christ, I ask you to join me in this Advent journey which will culminate in the Nativity of Christ. I ask you to join me in resisting the ways of our secular culture and to utilize this season to cleanse, renew and restore our souls and our hearts. I ask you to join me in waiting patiently for the time of this season when we will indeed leap for joy at the coming of the Lord. I ask you to simply open your hearts to God so that He may fill them with the peace, love, and joy that can never be taken away, and that we may worthily exclaim “Christ is Born! Glorify Him!”
St. Nicholas Day is being celebrated Sunday, December 7th instead of on its regular calendar day, December 6, because Fr. John was out of town on Friday and Saturday at the Enthronement Ceremonies for Metropolitan JOSEPH at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY.
The shoes you see this morning outside the entrance to our church remind us of the muddy shoes of the poor family which were left outside their door that were secretly filled with money by the charitable bishop to save the parents from having to sell their daughters into slavery in order to survive.
St. Nicholas has likewise left in our children’s shoes gifts that remind them of the salvation that Christ brings: 1 dollar gold coin, reminding us of the One True God; 2 quarters, reminding us of the two natures of Christ; and 3 nickels, reminding us of the Mystery of the Trinitarian God.
Other presents in our children’s shoes are a card imprinted with a prayer to God in honor of St. Nicholas, a candy cane reminding them of the crooked pastoral staff of the Christ, the Good Shepherd, who is emulated by Saint Bishop Nicholas, and a chocolate candy treat in the saint’s image.
Through the prayers of St. Nicholas, Lord Jesus Christ our God have mercy on us and save us!
THE ROYAL PATH: True Orthdoxy in the Age of Apostasy
We are living in “perilous times” as St Paul prophesied about the “last days” (2 Tim 3:1-5). The love of many would grow cold, and people would become “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” These descriptions of the “last days” parallel the “apostasy” St. Paul foretold would come shortly before “the day of Christ,” “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him.” (2 Thes 2:1-3). It appears that we could be that very generation that sees the coming of the Son of Man in the heavens. If that be the case, we will first see the “falling away,” the “apostasia,” the “departure from the faith” (1 Tim 4:1) and that man of sin, the son of perdition, the Antichrist, be revealed.
What is needed in these perilous times is a knowledge of the “true faith” that leads to a personal, Spirit-filled, relationship with Jesus Christ and communion with His Holy Church, which is His Body (Eph. 1:19-23). Orthodoxy means “true faith and true praise.” But even within “Orthodoxy” there are wolves at work leading the faithful to the left and to the right. May God help us to remain on “THE ROYAL PATH” and not fall into the ditch of compromise on either side of the Narrow Path. This is what is meant by “True” Orthodoxy. You could say “True Truth.” This will take great desire, great humility, great obedience and sacrifice. It will take radical actions, serious renunciation of the world, once and for all. It will take detachment from the things of this world with “NO Compromise.” It will take a complete commitment to living in exile as pilgrims and strangers on the earth, no longer living for the beggarly elements offered here.
Begin to sever yourself from your sins, make repentance and confession a daily practice. No, make repentance a moment-by-moment practice. We must make drastic changes in our superficial and worldly lifestyles. Ask yourself, “What are the things that cause me to be slack in my walk with Christ?” “What idols do I cling to and refuse to smash?” “What magical arts and dark books are in my house that I should burn in a fire?” (Acts 19:13-20). Jesus calls us to “lose our lives for His sake” (Mt.16:25). Jesus calls us “forsake all” and “follow Him” and if necessary, “sell everything you own and give to the poor” (Mk. 10:21). This kind of thinking, this “Jesus-kind” of thinking, this heavenly kingdom living must become our “Way.” So, my friends in Jesus, let us “set our affection on things above, not on the things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. MORTIFY THEREFORE your members which are upon the earth…” (Col. 3:1-6). Turn your back on the watered-down false gospels that plague popular culture. Seek the “pearl of great price.” Dig for it like your life depends on it because it does.
Let us discover “true Orthodoxy,” and live “true Orthodoxy,” in this “age of apostasy.” Dear brothers and sisters, “It is later than you think.” (Blessed Seraphim Rose).
Recommended Reading: “Father Seraphim Rose - His Life and Works” (Chapter 81 - The Royal Path) www.sthermanpress.com
Article On Ecumenism: By Fr Seraphim Rose www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/royal.aspx
A blog posting by Mike Simmons on August 6, 2014
His Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph
Metropolitan Joseph was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on June 30, 1991 at the St. Mary Cathedral in Damascus, after many years of serving as a deacon and a priest. His Eminence was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1950. He completed his basic schooling at the St. John of Damascus and al-Alliyeh schools in Damascus and then at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in Koura, Lebanon. He completed his undergraduate studies at Lebanese University in Beirut and then earned his Master of Theology (M.Th.) with special studies in music and languages from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from St. Tikhon Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, in May, 2010.
Please read the entire article by CLICKING HERE
Church School Activity Calendar
You May Find the Text of the Divine Liturgy beginning on the bottom page 91 of the Service Book (gold embossed cross on the reddish brown cover) or in the green-spiral-bound book; sheet music can be found in the 8.5” x 11” large, spiral-bound booklet.
At the Kiss of Peace,our practice is for each of us to greet the person to our right and left with the bowing of our head, hands held in a prayerful clasp or crossed on the chest, while offering each other the Christian greeting, “Christ is in our midst!” and responding, “He is and shall be!”
Please remember that Holy Communion is reserved for those Chrismated Orthodox Christians who have appropriately prepared themselves through prayer, fasting and Confession to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Church. The bread (anti’doron, which means ’in place’ of the gifts) which we share after Communion and at the end of the Liturgy is for all.
Being mindful we are in church, let us always remember to…
...be quiet and attentive.Let us sing, pray, stand., sit, kneel and respond where responses are indicated. Let us not talk, look around, text message, play games, etc. Especially let us work at this in the Communion line and when in line to venerate the Cross and depart. If we cannot hear the post-Communion prayers being chanted during our departure, we are way too noisy.
...refrain from eating, drinking or chewing gum (most obviously and especially if you will be receiving Holy Communion).
...stay put. Except in rare cases, there are few of us who cannot stay in one location for two hours (usually less, for most of us).
Blessing of the Bells
Blessing of the Bells - 10/27/13
Dinner with Bishop Thomas, Father John and Deacon James - 10/25/13
ABOUT BISHOP THOMAS
His Grace, the Right Reverend Thomas (Joseph) is a bishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, serving in the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic. READ MORE
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St. Michael's Antiochian Christian Orthodox Church Tour
Please click "View Slideshow" for the tour of the church of pictures from - 05/26/12
3 DAY CALENDAR
|Tuesday, December 23rd|
NATIVITY of CHRIST
6:00pm Nativity Paraklesis
Refreshment and Fellowship with Bishop THOMAS will follow our prayers
|Wednesday, December 24th|
7:00am - Royal Hours and Vesperal Divine Liturgy
of St. Basil the Great
7:00pm Nativity Orthros and Festal Divine Liturgy
|Saturday, December 27th|
6:00 Great Vespers
|Monthly Calendar >|
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Print and Read December 21st 2014 Weekly Bulletin...CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE for all of the details about "The Orthodox Choirs of Pittsburgh sinf for the Impoverished of Pittsburgh."
FourthSunday of Advent
Dedicated to the Wonder-working
Hierarch Nicholas of Myra
We sing with the choir the Pre-Nativity Kontakion.
Today the Virgin cometh unto the cave
To give birth to the Word Who was born before all ages,
Begotten in a manner that defies description.
Rejoice, therefore, O Universe if thou should hear
And glorify with the angels and the shepherds.
Glorify Him who by His will shall become a newborn Babe
And who is our God before all ages.
Everyone says together:
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Then the priest reads:
Make Ready, O Cave, for the Virgin Comes,
Bearing Christ in her womb.
O manger, accept Him who has saved us by His Word…
You shepherds abiding in the fields,
Bear witness to this wonder.
And you Magi from Persia, Offer to the King
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh,
For the Lord has appeared from a Virgin Mother…
With the lighting of the Fourth candle, all together, say:
Sing praises to our God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
“The Nativity Forty-day Fast represents the fast undertaken by Moses, who — having fasted for forty days and forty nights — received the Commandments of God, written on stone tablets. And we, fasting for forty days, will reflect upon and receive from the Virgin the living Word — not written upon stone, but born, incarnate — and we will commune of His Divine Body.”
- St. Symeon of Thessaloniki
How Does Your Preparation Proceed to Receive Christ?
If your answer to this question is some version of “business as usual,” then let the question having been asked be a wake-up call. It is one thing to hear this question as it regards the present Fast. It is quite another query when seen in the perspective of one’s entire life. May we all wake up and pray that God will bless us with “ears to hear” His call to us to “prepare the way of the Lord” in each of our hearts, now and ever.
AT LAST WEEK’S WOMEN’S MEETING
THIS SHOW GOT RAVE REVIEWS FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEEN IT IN PAST YEARS.
First United Methodist Church of Greensburg invites you to their 8th annual CRÉCHE Show. There is no charge. It is a lovely display of Nativities in all sizes, shapes, and materials. There are children activities, refreshments, and a Live Nativity on Friday.
Thursday and Fri. Dec. 4-5, 4-8 pm; Saturday, Dec. 6, 11 am to 3 pm.
First United Methodist Church, 15 East Second St, Greensburg, PA
at the Palace Theater
Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30 PM
Reservations due by November 9
$30 per ticket
Show includes Christmas music, singing and dancing!
See Michelle Gajewski or Michele Murray
to make your reservation.
Father John's 25th Anniversary Luncheon - from our You Tube site
Blessing of the Bells from our You Tube site
Please CLICK HERE for the form to provide us with your information. Or, see the form on the new back page of the weekly bulletin. We want to serve you better and we need your help. Please understand that we will protect yur privacy from the standpoint of the church. We will not show or distribute your email address!
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It’s now a little less treacherous to navigate the Internet seas to our website and discover what’s happening at St. Michael’s! Set your course to a simplified ‘www.stmgbg.org’ and “Land-ho,” you are on our shores! “Argh,” to ’Skipper’ Ed Sam, Jr. for pacifying the web waters for us internet salty dogs, virgin voyagers and Landlubbers alike!
Vacation Bible School 2013
CLICK HERE for pictures from the last day of Vacation Bible School 2013
Check out the 2012 Vacation Bible School Album on Facebook
Son Harvest Bible School Slideshow
CLICK HERE to view a slide show of last years Vacation Bible School
NEW.....the stories of the Icons. CLICK HERE or on "Icons in Nick Papas's words" on the menu
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- Calendar: Check out what's scheduled this month including weekly services, meeting, fasting dates, events etc.
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- The Holy Gospel: This weeks reading
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