St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2023-10-29
Bulletin Contents

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St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre Orthodox Church

General Information

  • Phone:
  • 860-664-9434
  • Street Address:

  • PO Box 134, 108 E Main St

  • Clinton, CT 06413-0134

Contact Information

Services Schedule

Please see our online calendar for dates and times of Feast Day services.

Past Bulletins


Jesus Christ taught us to love and serve all people, regardless of their ethnicity or nationality. To understand that, we need to look no further than to the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Every time we celebrate the Divine Liturgy, it is offered "on behalf of all, and for all." As Orthodox Christians we stand against racism and bigotry. All human beings share one common identity as children of God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatian 3:28)

Members of our Parish Council are:
Greg Jankura - Vice President
Susan Davis- Council Member at Large
Carolyn Neiss - President
Marlene Melesko - Council Member at Large
Susan Egan - Treasurer
Dn Timothy Skuby - Secretary


Pastoral Care - General Information

Emergency Sick Calls can be made at any time. Please call Fr Steven at (860) 866-5802, when a family member is admitted to the hospital.
Anointing in Sickness: The Sacrament of Unction is available in Church, the hospital, or your home, for anyone who is sick and suffering, however severe. 
Marriages and Baptisms require early planning, scheduling and selections of sponsors (crown bearers or godparents). See Father before booking dates and reception halls!
Funerals are celebrated for practicing Orthodox Christians. Please see Father for details. The Church opposes cremation; we cannot celebrate funerals for cremations.



September 2023 Treasurer’s Report

Pledges were $2,000 below budget. Cash was $200 above budget. Donations were $350 below budget. I did not record any income from the Red House, pending formal council decision to use the security deposit as the September rent. Total Income was $6,487 or $3,500 below budget as we need to average $10,00o per month.
Outside of the normal monthly expenses, the only additions were $216 for the PO Box rental and $159 for the A/C cleaning. Total expenses were $9,505 or $965 below the expense budget of $10,470/month.
For the month of September, expenses exceeded income by $3,018. We also received $10,170 in special funds ($10,000 from Blanche York for Altar furnishings, $145 for the AED and $25 for the St. Elizabeth Fund.

Total income for the quarter was $25,306 or $5,000 below budget ($30,250). Pledges were below budget (but that was offset by a strong 1st quarter). Cash exceeded budget by $900 which is double the expected amount, but unfortunately external donations fell short (actuals were $350 versus a budget of $600). As stated above, we did not record any September Red House Rent.
For the quarter, expenses underran budget by $3,123. Actuals were $28,288 versus a budget of $31,411.
Expenses exceeded income by $2,982. For the year we are virtually even, being $129 in the black.

Pledge/4th Qtr Income status
Most pledgers are on track to meet/exceed. However, one pledge will definitely not be met. I’m now only expecting about $17,000 in pledge income for the 4th quarter. Cash in the basket has exceeded budget of $4200. We are averaging $500/per month, so that should be $1500 over budget by year end. External donations are lagging this year. They only total $4750 so far this year and I’m expecting them to be about $1,000 under budget for the year.

As I stated in the YE projection that I send out previously, I expect we will have a deficit of $7700 versus the unbalanced budget deficit of $4645. If every giving member donates an extra $165, that will cover the deficit.

Cash Reconciliation
We currently have $47,000 in unrestricted savings (savings and CD’s), plus another $19,000 in restricted of which $5500 is from prior year tag sales and earmarked for beautification and outreach, plus $60 in unused donations from Archbishop NIKON (memory eternal). We should designate a purpose for these funds. Also, there is $3500 in the St. Elizabeth fund and $10,000 in Luke Hosking memorial donations.

Respectfully submitted by Susan Egan, Treasurer


Prayers, Intercessions and Commemorations

Please pray for Evelyn Leake, Melissa Josefiak and Victor Hoehnebart who are in need of God's mercy and healing.

Memory Eternal for Joan Novarro on the anniversary of her falling asleep in the Lord.

  • Pray for: All those confined to hospitals, nursing homes, and their own homes due to illness; for all those who serve in the armed forces; widows, orphans, prisoners, victims of violence, and refugees;
  • All those suffering chronic illness, financial hardship, loneliness, addictions, abuse, abandonment and despair; those who are homeless, those who are institutionalize, those who have no one to pray for them;
  • All Orthodox seminarians & families; all Orthodox monks and nuns, and all those considering monastic life; all Orthodox missionaries and their families.
  • All those who have perished due to hatred, intolerance and pestilence; all those departed this life in the hope of the Resurrection.

Please let Fr. Steven know via email if you have more names for which to pray.

  • Departed: Bishop Tikhon, Erin
  • Clergy and their families: Mat. Clara, Mat. Evelyn, Mat. Ann, Mat. Amanda
  • ​Catechumen: Robert, Abbie, Matthew, Joseph, Mary and Lynn
  • Individuals and Families: Susan, Luba, Suzanne, Gail Galina Evelyn, Rosemary, John, Lucille, Kenneth, Karen, Oleg, Lucia, Victor, Melissa, Christine, Sebastian, Olga, Daniel & Dayna,
  • Birthdays and Name’s Days this Month: Vincent Melesko, Lloyd Davis, Marlene Melesko, Victor Hoehnebart, Greg Jankura
  • Anniversaries this Month: Ed and Susan Hayes, John and Joan Skrobat, Melissa and Lou Josefiak
  • ​Expecting and Newborn: Megan and her unborn child, David & Rachel and the newborn child Kaleb
  • ​Traveling: Aaron Hosking
  • ​Sick and those in distress: Maria, Zena

Monastic Martyr Anastasia of Rome (3rd c.). Ven. Abramius the Recluse, and his niece, Bl. Mary, of Mesopotamia (ca. 360). Ven. Abrámii, Archimandrite of Rostov (1073-77). Martyr Claudius, Asterius, Neon, and Theonilla of Aegæ in Cilicia (285). Righteous Anna of Constantinople (826). Monastic Martyr Timothy of Esphigmenou (Mt. Athos—1820).


Parish Calendar

  • Schedule of Services and Events

    October 29 to November 6, 2023

    Sunday, October 29

    7th Sunday of Luke

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, October 30

    The Holy Martyrs Zenobius and His Sister Zenobia

    Tuesday, October 31

    Stachys, Andrew, Amplias, Apelles, Urban, Aristobulus & Narcissus of the 70

    Martyrdom of St. John Kochurov

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    7:00PM Catechumen Class

    Wednesday, November 1

    +Joan Narvaro

    🍇 Cosmas and Damian the Holy Unmercenaries of Asia, and their mother Theodota

    4:30PM Open Doors

    Thursday, November 2

    The Holy Martyrs Acindynos, Pegasios, Aphthonios, Elpidophoros, and Anempodistos

    8:30AM Daily Matins

    Friday, November 3

    ☦️ Acepsimas the Bishop, Joseph the Presbyter, & Aeithalas the Deacon, Martyrs of Persia

    Saturday, November 4

    Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn

    5:30PM Great Vespers

    6:00PM General Confession

    Sunday, November 5

    Stewards of the OCA Sunday

    5th Sunday of Luke

    9:30AM Divine Liturgy

    Monday, November 6

    Paul the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople


Saints and Feasts

October 29

Our Righteous Father Abramius

Our Righteous Father Abramius, born in Edessa in Mesopotamia in 296, took up the monastic life and brought many pagans to Christ. Mary, his niece, upon the death of her parents, joined Abramius at his hermitage and under his guidance advanced swiftly in the love of God. Through the wiles of the evil one, however, she fell into sin, and falling from them into despair, she left her uncle and became a harlot. When he learned where his niece was, Abramius put on the clothes of a man of the world and went to visit her in disguise. Through his exhortations, Mary returned to her first hope in the mercy of God, was rescued from the life of harlotry, and ended her life in great holiness. He himself reposed in the year 366. Saints Abramius and Mary were friends of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, and it was he who wrote their account.

October 29

Anastasia the Martyr of Rome

Saint Anastasia, who was young in age and lived in a convent, was seized by the impious. Confessing Christ openly and with boldness and enduring manifold torments, she was beheaded in the year 256, during the reign of Valerian.

October 30

Zenobios & Zenobia the Martyrs

These Saints were from Aegae in Cilicia, brought up in piety by their parents. Zenobius was a physician, and healed many freely by the power of God; because of his virtue he was consecrated Bishop of Aegae. With his sister he was taken by Lysias the Governor, and after many tortures they were beheaded, about the year 290, during the reign of Diocletian.

November 01

Cosmas and Damianos the Holy Unmercenaries and their mother Theodota

These Saints were from Asia (that is, Asia Minor). After the death of their father, their Christ-loving mother Theodota reared them in piety and in all manner of virtue, and had them instructed in every science, especially that of medicine. This became their vocation, and they went about healing every illness and malady, bestowing healing freely on both men and beasts alike; because of this, they are called "Unmercenaries." And thus, having completed the course of their life, they reposed in peace.

November 04

Bishop Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn

Saint Raphael Hawaweeny was born on November 8th, 1860 A.D., in Damascus, Syria, to pious Christian parents. He studied Arabic grammar and mathematics at the Antiochian Patriarchate parochial school where he was tonsured a reader in 1874. His strong academics served him well throughout his life, providing for him numerous opportunities to succeed and grow. He accepted a position in 1877 as an assistant teacher of Arabic and Turkish, which became full time in 1879. In 1879 he was tonsured a monk while working with Patriarch Hierotheos at the patriarchate, traveling with him on pastoral visits and serving as his personal assistant.

Longing to continue his theological studies, Raphael petitioned the Patriarch for permission to study at Halki Theological School, which was the only option for students of the Antiochian Patriarchate as the Balamand Seminary in Lebanon had been closed since 1840. After much persistence, Raphael received the blessing of the Patriarch and enrolled in Halki Seminary where he was ordained a deacon in 1885. After completing his degree at Halki, the young Deacon Raphael studied at the Kiev Theological Academy, working as a liaison between the Moscow and Antiochian patriarchates. Deacon Raphael was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1889 while in Kiev, continuing to serve that community for many years.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 led to the subsequent collapse of the silk industry in the Middle East, causing many Syrians and others to immigrate to the United States. These new citizens desired to have their religion present in their new homeland and sent letters to their mother churches for pastoral help. A few priests were sent, but none lasted, and so the people asked for Father Raphael Hawaweeny to come to America and serve. Both the Antiochian and Moscow Patriarchs agreed to this idea, and Father Raphael left for America where the people greeted him with great love. Father Raphael then spent many years serving the Syrians in Brooklyn, New York, but he desired to scan the continent for Syrians and other Orthodox Christians who were without spiritual leadership. He traveled by train and carriage across the nation, finding Orthodox Christians, recording their location, and performing liturgies, baptisms, and weddings. Upon his return to Brooklyn, Father Raphael worked to find clergy to send to these dispersed communities, giving them a full time pastor to minister to their needs.

In 1909, by the hands of Bishops Tikhon and Innocent of the Moscow Patriarchate, he was the first bishop consecrated in the New World. The now Bishop Raphael continued his ministry to the Christians throughout America. Bishop Raphael worked tirelessly in Brooklyn to mediate disputes between the Orthodox Christians from Syria and Maronite Catholic Christians who often fought violently with one another. Despite numerous outbursts and setbacks, Bishop Raphael continued his ministry serving the Orthodox throughout his vast diocese. One such incident was when an influential leader of the Maronite group was killed and many people accused Bishop Raphael of ordering his murder. This led to many people attempting to harm the bishop, but he endured it all willingly. He was arrested under attempted murder charges, but was eventually cleared and let go after much time and money was spent in his defense.


Throughout his time in North America, Bishop Raphael founded 36 parishes to bring the Church to the faithful who were without a priest to guide them. Bishop Raphael truly lived out Gospel in all aspects of his life, striving tirelessly for the people in his care, even to the point of sacrificing his own physical health in order to maintain the spiritual health of his people. Bishop Raphael died on February 27th, 1915, at his home in Brooklyn. His funeral was attended by hundreds of people, including clergy from all ethnic backgrounds, illustrating his love for all of the people of God regardless of where they came from. The sacred relics of Saint Raphael, “the good shepherd of the lost sheep in North America,” were first interred in a crypt beneath the holy table at his Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn on March 7th, 1915, before being moved to the Syrian section of Mount Olivet Cemetery in Brooklyn on April 2nd, 1922. They were finally translated to the Holy Resurrection Cemetery at the Antiochian Village near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, on August 15th, 1988. His sanctity was officially proclaimed by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on March 29th, 2000, and his glorification was celebrated on May 29th of that year at the Monastery of Saint Tikhon in Pennsylvania.

November 04

Ioannikos the Great

Saint Joannicius was born in Bithynia about the year 740. His father was named Myritrikes and his mother Anastaso When he had reached maturity, he excelled in soldiery and was counted worthy of royal honours for his bravery. He had been brought up an iconoclast, but while yet a soldier, he was converted to Orthodoxy by a certain holy elder. He later forsook all things and departed for Mount Olympus, where he spent the remainder of his life in asceticism. Becoming great in virtue, he reposed in the Lord in the year 834, having lived some ninety-four years. To this Saint is ascribed the brief prayer, "My hope is the Father . . . ."


Hymns of the Day

Tone 4 Troparion (Resurrection)

When the women disciples of the Lord
learned from the angel the joyous message of Your Resurrection,
they cast away the ancestral curse
and elatedly told the apostles:
“Death is overthrown!
Christ God is risen,//
granting the world great mercy!”

Tone 4 Troparion (St. Anastasia)

Your lamb Anastasia calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”//
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful!

Tone 8 Troparion (Ven. Abramius)

The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Father,
for you took up the Cross and followed Christ.
By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away;
but to care instead for the soul, for it is immortal.//
Therefore your spirit, venerable Abramius, rejoices with the angels.

Tone 4 Kontakion (Resurrection)

My Savior and Redeemer
as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earth-born from their chains.
He has shattered the gates of hell,
and as Master,//
He has risen on the third day!

Tone 3 Kontakion (St. Anastasia)

Purified by the waters of virginity,
righteous Anastasia, you were crowned by the blood of martyrdom.
You grant healing and salvation to those in need,
and who call on you from their hearts,//
for Christ gives you strength, pouring out on you ever-flowing grace.

Tone 3 Kontakion (Ven. Abramius)

You lived in the flesh on earth as an angel,
and through your ascetic life you became like a tree nourished by the waters of abstinence and flourished.
You washed away stains with the streams of your tears
and so you have been revealed, O Abramius,//
to be a God-like vessel of the Spirit.

Communion Hymn

Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the highest! (Ps. 148:1)
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 4th Tone. Psalm 103.24,1.
O Lord, how manifold are your works. You have made all things in wisdom.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians 2:16-20.

Brethren, knowing that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified. But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we ourselves were found to be sinners, is Christ then an agent of sin? Certainly not! But if I build up again those things which I tore down, then I prove myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


Wisdom of the Fathers

For if we, going about on the earth which is familiar and well known to us, being encompassed with a body, when we are journeying in a strange road, know not which way to go unless we have some one to lead us; how should the soul, being rent away from the body, and having gone out from all her accustomed region, know where to walk without one to show her the way?
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 28 on Matthew 8, 4th Century

Some say, 'Why do they [demons] possess people?' I answer those who wish to have this explained that the reason of these things is very deep. Somewhere one of His saints addressed God by saying, 'Your judgments are a vast abyss.' As long as we bear this in mind, we will perhaps not miss the mark.
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Commentary on Luke, Homily 44. (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture; vol 3: Luke, Intervarsity Press)


Beyond the Sermon

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
Sermon on Galatians 2:16-20
28th October, 1990

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
To-day's Epistle is not clear in every respect, and I think it is worth giving some thought to it. The first thing which Paul the Apostle, who had been a law-abiding, very strict disciple of the Synagogue, underlines is that simply doing the things which the Law commands does not save us, because salvation does not consist of being righteous, being able to say before God, 'I have done all that Thou commandest’, but in entering into such communion with God that, again to use St. Paul's own words, the Law should be within our hearts, within us, be our very nature. Just being the doers of the Law may make us righteous in the sense that we will have done all that was commanded, and yet it will only have brought us to the frontier of life.
This is what he meant when in another place St. Paul says that the Law is like a teacher. We know what the teacher is in our ordinary experience, it is someone who takes us when we are small, who teaches us step by step until we are mature enough to do without him and able to enter, in a mature and responsible way, into life which is before us. Such was the Law of the Old Testament; by disciplining the people of Israel, and beyond them all those who entered under the Law, it prepared all of them to come to the threshold where they would take full responsibility for life.
And then, Christ comes. Christ also gives us commandments, but they have another quality. He Himself says that when you will have fulfilled all that I have told - recognise, confess that you are still unworthy servants. Because it is not in the doing but in the becoming, that lies the mystery of salvation, the mystery of freedom and of the Gospel.
One of the ancient writers of Christendom says that there are three ways of being obedient to God: one can obey His will for fear of punishment, one can obey Him because one hopes for a reward, one may be a slave or a hireling. But neither of these conditions makes us close to our Master. There is only one way in which doing the will of God is a manner of communing with Him: it is the attitude of a son who so loves, so reveres his Father that every word of His, every bit of advice, every command, every example is for him a road to maturity, a way of becoming truly himself, by becoming more than he is at any given moment.
That is the way of the commands of Christ. He has brought us the law of freedom; that is, we are no longer slaves or hirelings, we are called to be sons and daughters of the Most-High. This is what Paul means when he says that Christ in a sense does away with the commandments, the Law of the Old Testament. But He is not a breaker of the Law, He does not sin against it - He transcends it by being the Way, the Truth, the Life which opens before us when we have reached the point when a guide, a human guide, a fallen guide is no longer enough.
What does Paul mean when he says that he does not live himself anymore - that it is Christ Who lives in him? We all know something of it: when we revere someone, when we love someone, we identify with the other person in thought, in heart, in will, in his ways - not that we ape the other person, but we try to emulate him, to be worthy of being like the other person. And this is what he means. He discovered Christ as his God; he discovered Him as the teacher of life, of eternal life that begins already on earth in those who discover Who Christ really is, and who become His messengers on earth, a vanguard of the Kingdom, people whom He sends to bring a message of liberation.
We know it also at times from examples in our life and in the life of others. I remember a person who had come out of a concentration camp where danger of death and continuous suffering was his lot, and he said to me ‘The moment I was freed, I realised that I was born again, that all I had been had died out in the camp, that the new life I was given was a gift, and was not mine, it was God's, and I had to live in such a way that God should live in me, act through me, that I should be His eyes, and His ears, His compassion and His love, His truths". It happens also to people who come to the brink of death, knowing that they are about to die, for some inconceivable, humanly speaking reason, are healed. Some forget it, but some realise that if they are alive now, it is not by the power of their natural life, it is not the continuation of their life of the past - it is a new life which is given them, and that this new life must be lived on new terms, on terms on which the previous one could not, or would not be lived.
Let us reflect on this, because we all repeat constantly in our litanies, 'Let us commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life to Christ, our God". Usually we think of it as though we were saying, 'Let us look to Him for safety, let us put our lives in His care, let us abandon ourselves to Him counting on Him to save us from all adversity'. This is not what it means; it means that generously, courageously, whole-heartedly, by an act of will that transcends our very will to do good and our proclivity towards evil, we say to Christ, 'I don't want to live my life - I want to live Yours! I do not want to live according to my own standards - I want to live according to Yours!"
This is what Paul perceived when he first met Christ and discovered that the One he was out to persecute, to destroy, was in reality the Son of God become the Son of man. Each of us should have realised this long ago, because we all were baptised into Christ; over each of us was read the passage of the Epistle that said that in Him we die, and in Him we rise again, that we die for everything which is not worthy of our divine vocation. And now, in an act of will and faith that is of surrender and faithfulness, we intend to live the life of Christ so that Christ's life should pervade us, fill us, unfold itself in us, that we should be, within the limits of our faith, of our faithfulness and courage, His presence and a revelation of Him.
Let us reflect again and again on this confusing passage of the Epistle to the Galatians, to see where we belong; and if we do not belong where our Christian vocation calls us to be - let us make a decision, take ourselves in hand, and put our whole selves into the hands of God. Amen.


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