St. Basil's Day Eve - 12/31/09
On Thursday, December 31st members of our community gathered for a Vesperal Divine Liturgy to mark the feasts of the Circumcision of our Lord, St. Basil the Great, as well as the Civil New Year. Per our parish custom, the Vasilopita (St. Basils bread) was blessed at the conclusion of the service and distributed during the festive potluck which followed. Leavitt Keener received the blessing (and spiritual responsibility) of the coin in his slice of bread! May God bless Leavitt, and each of us, with everything which is necessary for our salvation in this New Year.
Lichtenstein Family Visit and Annual Parish Nativity Party - 12/27/09
On Sunday, December 27th (the third day of Christmas, and the celebration of SS. Joseph the Betrothed, James the brother of the Lord, and David the King, as well as Stephen the Protomartyr) we welcomed our "adopted Seminary family" for Christmas - the Lichtensteins (3rd year student-family) from St. Tikhon Seminary to our parish for the Divine Liturgy. Subdeacon Mark, Suzanne and children were treated to gifts from our parish and its many organizations, and were our guests of honor at our Annual Parish Nativity Party later in the evening. At Liturgy we were also blessed with many visitors, and to witness three children (Sophia Shoffner, Benjamin Coles, and Daniel Coles) receive their first Eucharist... glory to God!
Nativity of our Lord - 2009 - 12/24/09
On Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25th our community gathered to celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Despite the poor weather conditions many were able to celebrate the Feast. In it we contemplate the great love of God - He "humbled Himself" by becoming man, so that we might share in His Divinity by grace. What an awesome gift! Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Community Christmas Gifts - 12/21/09
On Monday, December 21st our parish clergy distributed our faithfuls "Angel Tree" gift items and non-perishable food items to individuals, as well as local agencies who help those who are in need, during this Christmas season. We ask that God will continue to "bless those who remember the poor" and to always make us mindful of the needs of others!
St. Nicholas Day Pageant - 12/06/09
On Sunday, December 6th (St. Nicholas Day) the children of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church, under the direction of Andrea Zart and the church school teachers, put on a wonderful Advent Pageant following the Divine Liturgy. Many in attendance remarked on the great set work, and on how technologically savvy it was... we all look forward to seeing what they come up with next year! May God bless all who were involved for their efforts to proclaim Him, who became Man for our salvation. Following the pageant the children were treated to a visit from St. Nicholas and received a special blessing from him as well.
Thanksgiving Food Distribution - 11/23/09
On Monday, November 23rd our parish clergy distributed over 20 turkeys and numerous boxes of canned goods and other non-perishable items donated by our parishioners to needy members of our community. May God continue to bless and inspire the faithful of our parish to care for the needs of the poor and down-trodden, always mindful that as we strive to fulfill our Lord's command to do so (Matthew Ch. 25), that ultimately we are offering our love and charity to Christ Himself.
Fr. Paul Fetsko - 11/15/09
On Sunday, November 15th Fr. Paul Fetsko served as celebrant at the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Paul is a "native son" of the parish and he and his wife Michelle now live in Arkansas. He currently serves as chaplain at St. Edward Mercy Hospital and assistant priest at SS George and Alexandra Orthodox Mission in Fort Smith (http://www.georgeandalexandra.org)
. May God continue to bless Fr. Paul in his ministries, we look forward to his next trip back "home" to Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg.
Fr. Daniel Byantoro Lecture - 10/14/09
New School Year Blessing - 09/20/09
On Sunday, September 20th Christ the Saviour parish began the new school year with a special blessing for all students and teachers at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. We prayed that God would bless the minds and hearts of our students and teachers, so that they might comprehend the power of His law and all the useful things that will be taught to them in this new academic year. Per our parish tradition, the Men's Club prepared a special Parish Family Picnic on our parish grounds for our community to enjoy fellowship with one another.
Six Days of Creation Icon Workshop (Harrisburg, PA) - 08/21/09
On Sunday, August 16th Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (Harrisburg, PA) welcomed master iconographer Xenia Pokrovsky and her daughter Anna Gouriev to lead a week long workshop. The event began Sunday evening with Vespers and a public lecture entitled "Silent No Longer" by parishioner and iconologist John Barnes. Each morning participants gathered for Matins in the church, and continued throughout the rest of the day with instruction and icon writing practicum with Xenia and Anna in our parish hall. The workshop has been a blessing for our entire community and we look forward to welcoming Xenia and Anna back in the future. For information on future workshops, please see www.hexaemeron.org
Vacation Church School - 08/15/09
From Thursday, August 13 - Saturday, August 15th nearly twenty youth of our community participated in a Vacation Church School program. The theme of this year's event was "Journey to the Kingdom: The Divine Liturgy". Coordinators (Angie DiFlorio, Andrea Zart, and Janice Zuro) used the three main parts of the Divine Liturgy to show participants how the service takes us from Bethlehem, to Jerusalem, and into the Kingdom. There were educational, social, and liturgical components of the 3 day event, which ended on Saturday with the festal Dormition Divine Liturgy, and a pool party at the Friendship Center.
Great Feasts of the Transfiguration of Christ (Aug 6) and Dormition of the Theotokos (Aug 15) - 08/06/09
Over the past two weeks our community gathered to celebrate the two Great Feasts of August. These Feasts, filled with heavenly light, confirm that all things will be renewed in Christ. We were reminded that we are called to be partakers of His Divine energies (Transfiguration), and to be co-conquerors with Him over death (Dormition of the Theotokos). Each of these August feasts also had a special blessing, fruit on the Transfiguration, and flowers on the Dormition. Spraznikom! Keep high the Feast Days!
Sisters of Mercy - 08/04/09
On Tuesday, August 4th two lay Sisters of Mercy (Olga and Elena) from the St. Elizabeth Convent in Minsk, Belarus (www.obitelminsk.by) visited Christ the Saviour. Over 50 members of our local Orthodox community gathered to view a DVD on the ministry of their convent to bring the love and compassion of Christ to the many disadvantaged and vulnerable members of their community. Following the presentation and a lively question and answer session, the sisters offered some items from their monastery for sale, and joined us for some light refreshments offered by our St. Mary's Altar Guild. May God bless the sisters and nuns of St. Elizabeth Convent, and all the members of our local Orthodox community who came to support them for many years!
St. Elijah Vehicle Blessing - 07/19/09
On Sunday, July 19th at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the community at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church participated in a blessing of their vehicles and "other" modes of transportation in anticipation of the feast of the Great Prophet Elijah and his fiery chariot (Feast Day July 20, see also 2 Kings 2:11). We hope to make this an annual event, in which we might continue to ask Him to travel with us, as He once accompanied Luke and Cleopos and the road to Emmaus.
Also present with us at the Divine Liturgy were Fr. Patrick and Popadia Mara Burns, who recently arrived to serve at Holy Annunciation Bulgarian Mecedonian Church in nearby Steelton, PA, as well as, Mother Barbara from Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Monastery in Ellwood City, PA. It was a day of many blessings - Glory to God!
CTS Softball Team Wins Consolation Tournament - 07/18/09
Christ the Saviour' softball team: won the league’s consolation five-team tournament July 9th, 12th, and 14th in impressive style by scores of 13-6, 17-7, and 17-6, with timely hitting and great defense. After falling short of making the league championship this year Coach Carl Hisiro believes the stage is set for a comeback season next year with expectations of competing for the league championship again. The team wants to thank all the church members who came out to support it this season and wants to encourage everyone to come out and watch a game next year.
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco - 07/02/09
On Thursday, July 2 our greater-Harrisburg Orthodox community gathered at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church to celebrate Divine Liturgy on the feast of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. Concelebrating were Frs. Daniel Ressetar, Timothy Hojnicki, and Stephen Vernak. Those present were annointed with holy oil from the lampada which hangs above his holy relics in San Francisco. We pray that in this "age of coldness and unbelief", the prayers of St. John will help illumine and "inkindle in our hearts the fire of love for Christ".
St. John (Maximovitch) - 07/01/09
On Wednesday, July 1st our greater-Harrisburg Orthodox community gathered at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church to celebrate Vespers for the feast of St. John (Maximovitch) the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco on the 15th Anniversary of his canonization. Following the Vespers service, a newly released DVD on the life of St. John was viewed on our parish "BIG SCREEN" projector. To see a trailer of the movie visit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOQSZeZ2gl8
It was a spiritually edifying evening for everyone. Holy hierarch John, pray to God for us!
2009 Slavic Food Fest - Sunday - 06/14/09
Our Slavic Food Fest was held on Saturday June 13th and Sunday June 14th. Many people worked long and hard to make this event a success. To all those workers we say THANK YOU! We would also like to thank all those who attended our Food Fest and confirmed once again that it really is "All about the food".
2009 Slavic Food Fest - Saturday - 06/13/09
Graduates Honored - 05/31/09
On Sunday, May 31st, at the completion of the Divine Liturgy, we honored our High School and College Graduates. We send these young adults off to their next phase in life with our love and prayers. We pray that they will not only continue to be educated in the way of their intellect, but most importantly to continue to be nurtured in the way of their souls, and to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
CTS Welcomes Visitors Derek Schmidt and Chrissi Hart - 05/10/09
On Sunday, May 10th (4th Sunday of Pascha and Mothers Day) our community was blessed with a visit from Derek Schmidt, a second year seminarian from St. Tikhon Seminary, who is being sponsored with a $6,000 scholarship from our parish. His home parish is Holy Assumption Orthodox Church in Philadelphia, PA. Derek offered the homily and helped out in the choir. May God grant him many years, and bless his studies to the glory of God! We were also delighted to welcome Orthodox children's book author Chrissi Hart, and her husband Barry and children Adam and Sophia. Chrissi read her newest book to our Sunday School class, and spent time with our parishioners during the fellowship hour. May God continue to bless her work and her family! The Hart's are parishioners of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in York, PA.
Altar Server Outing - 05/09/09
On Saturday, May 9th altar servers from Christ the Saviour Church and Holy Apostles Mission gathered at the West Shore YMCA for an afternoon of fellowship, basketball, and wally-ball (volleyball played in a raquetball court). This was a wonderful opportunity for the young men in our parishes to share some time together, and we look forward to many more opportunities in the near future.
Fr. Peter Gillquist Lecture at Christ the Saviour Church - 05/01/09
On Friday, May 1st, Fr. Peter Gillquist, renowned Orthodox speaker and director of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Churches Department of Missions and Evangelisn, offered a lecture entitled "Finding the New Testament Church" to over 120 Orthodox faithful and inquirers at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, PA. In his reflections Fr. Peter shared with those gathered the historical and spiritual principles that led him and 2,000 other former Evangelical Protestants into the Holy Orthodox Faith in 1987. He encouraged those in the audience who were Orthodox to avoid being "lukewarm" (Rev. 3:16); and to those who were searching for the fullness of the integrity of the New Testament Church to continue their study of Holy Orthodoxy. We pray that our Lord will continue to bless Fr. Peter's ministry and we are thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to be inspired by Fr. Peter's journey and his commitment to Jesus Christ and His Holy Orthodox Church.
Great and Holy Pascha - 04/19/09
From the late hours of Saturday, April 18th through the early morning hours of April 19th our community gathered to celebrate the bright and radiant feast of Holy Pascha, our Lord's Resurrection. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Great and Holy Friday Evening Lamentations and Procession - 04/17/09
On Great and Holy Friday evening (April 17) our community gathered for the Matins and Lamentations service. This services is marked by funeral hymns (or Lamentations) sung at the Tomb of our Lord, as well as a procession around the church building, which signifies our participation in our Lords passage through Hell, as He destroys death by His Life-giving Death, and Hell groans because it cannot hold Jesus. Passing underneath the Plaschenitsa (or Holy Shroud) we become liturgical participants in this event, and we hear the first "news" of the Lord's impending Resurrection.
Great and Holy Friday Vespers - 04/17/09
At 3:30pm on Great and Holy Friday our community participated in the Burial Service for our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, our Lord died at 3pm (the 9th Hour), and His Body was taken down from the Cross and buried in a new tomb. The event is expressed in the following hymn sung at the service - "Joseph together with Nicodemus, took Thee down from the Tree [the Cross], Thou who clothest Thyself with light as with a garment. He gazed upon Thy Body, dead, naked and unburied, and in grief and tender compassion lamented: 'Woe is my, my sweetest Jesus'... I magnify Thy Passion, I glorify Thy burial, and Thy Holy Resurrection, crying 'O Lord Glory to Thee'"
Holy Unction Service - 04/15/09
On Great and Holy Wednesday, April 15th 2009 we were joined by Fr. Timothy and faithful from Holy Apostles Mission in Mechanicsburg, as well as Holy Annunciation Church in Steelton for the service of Holy Unction. We also welcomed Fr. Joseph Toroney from Coatesville, PA and Fr. Nicholas Harris from Merrit Island, FL. Our own pastor-emeritus, Fr. Daniel Ressetar delivered the homily. We pray that through our cooperation with His Divine will, that God will enable this annointing to be for the healing of our souls and bodies.
Lazarus Saturday Chrismation - 04/11/09
On Lazarus Saturday, April 11th 2009 Sean Cameron was received into the Holy Orthodox Faith by Chrismation. We are thankful to God for allowing us to accept another 'member' into His Body (the Church), and pray that He will nourish and sustain us all as we strive for the Heavenly Kingdom. Many Years to the newly Chrismated Sean, and his sponser John Osuch!
Pascha Nutroll Baking - 03/31/09
Vesperal Divine Liturgy - 03/25/09
On March 25th, the community at Christ the Saviour celebrated the Great Feast of the Annunciation with an evening Vesperal Divine Liturgy. The joy of the message of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary was tangibly felt by all, even as we were in the midst of the Great Fast. This feast is a reminder to us that "God is with us", that He chose to dwell in the womb of the Theotokos, and that His birth would usher-in the mystery of Salvation. At the end of the service those present were blessed with water that Fr. Stephen recently brought back from the well at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
Joint Pre-Sanctified Liturgy - 03/18/09
On Wednesday, March 18th, our community welcomed Fr. Timothy Hojnicki and parishioners of Holy Apostles Mission (Mechanicsburg) for the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts. Fr. Alexander Atty (St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church, Lousville, KY & St. Tikhon Seminary Board Member) was our guest homilist. Following the service a Lenten pot-luck meal and fellowship was enjoyed by all.
Fr. Michael's Lecture On Confession - 03/15/09
On Sunday, March 15th, Fr. Michael Kovach delivered a lecture on confession to our morning adult discussion group. As always, Fr. Michael, gave a thorough and enlightening presentation and we look forward to his next topical lecture.
Orthodoxy Sunday - 03/08/09
On Sunday, March 8th, our parish clergy and young adults processed around the church with icons in commemoration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy and the restoration of icons (March 11, 843 - which was the first Sunday of Great Lent that year). This annual commemoration reminds us of the importance of the Apostolic Faith and the sacrifices made by our predecessors who preserved and "handed over" the message of salvation in Jesus Christ and the purity of the Christian Orthodox Faith established by Him.
Seminary Choir - 03/01/09
On Sunday, March 1st, the St. Tikhon Seminary Mission Choir visited Christ the Saviour parish to sing the responses at the Divine Liturgy. Our parish looks forward to their annual visit, and is always uplifted by their God-given ability to express the beauty of our Orthodox liturgical worship. Fr. Michael Dahulich concelebrated the Liturgy with our parish clergy and offered an inspiring sermon on the theme of Forgiveness Sunday and the Expulsion of Adam & Eve from Paradise. The parish raised over $1600.00 to support the work of the seminary. May God continue to bless St. Tikhon's seminary (and all our seminaries) as they struggle to educate & inspire clergy and lay-workers to care for the faithful in our churches throughout the world.
Majmudar Update from: Agois Georgois (St. George), Cyprus - 01/26/09
Greetings from the Mediterranean!
I hope all of you are warm and cozy in beautiful Harrisburg. I hear things have cooled off a bit over there.
We've had a cool spell ourselves-- I think the highs have only gotten up to about 19 degrees since Christmas. 'Course, that's 19 Celsius, so lemme think...that'd be...umm...about 70 Fahrenheit. Brrrrr!
Everyone is doing quite well, thanks be to God. I am assigned to a women's monastery, so it's all the services with none of the hassle. Perfect! The chapel is relatively new for this part of the world (about 1000 years), and I am really looking forward to celebrating the liturgy there with our beloved Fr Stephen Vernak very soon. The sisters are jolly, generous and full of God's love. This expresses itself in copious gifts of Cadbury's chocolates for the kids EVERY time we go. So if you don't recognize the 250 pound Brigid Majmudar when she visits, you'll know why.
Brigid and John were offered free tuition at St Phanourios private school, so they troop out about 7 and return at 4:30. Their Greek has now surpassed their parents', alarmingly.
Grandpa Kit, who has been living and travelling with us, is now in India and will be returning to California next month.
So with me at services and classes, the kids at school, and Granpa in South Asia, the music has stopped--and only Sophie's got a chair. Hence, she spends her days lazing around our quaint stone village here in the wine country of Cyprus. And of course, Granpaw hired Sita, a Sri Lankan woman in our village (and a professional cook) to make dinner three times a week, leaving Sophie with even less to do. She claims she deserves it, having spent three years of slavery at work to "put her husband through seminary"-- pishaw! Whatever THAT means...
You are all in our prayers to the Lord, as always. Please keep us in yours.
And if Fr Stephen doesn't show up for work after his trip, you'll all know why...
36th Annual March for Life - 01/22/09
On Thursday January 22nd, representatives from our parish gathered along with over 100,000 other Pro-Life supporters at the 36th Annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan JONAH spoke on behalf of the Orthodox Christians in America and led our delegation up Constitution Avenue, adjacent to the Supreme Court building, where we sang a Memorial Service. May God continue to guide and strengthen us in our support for the sanctity of all human life, and as we offer love and compassion to those who are in need of the "healing balm" of Christ's love and forgiveness.
Susquehanna River Blessing - 01/11/09
Orthodox parishes of Greater Harrisburg met today at the City Island Beach to participate in a Pan-Orthodox Service of Blessing of the Waters of the Susquehanna River. This was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our faith with our fellow Orthodox, as well as our community at large!
Theophany Eve - 01/05/09
On Monday, January 5th members of our parish community gathered for our annual Theophany Holy Supper. Traditional fasting foods were served and authentic Christian fellowship was shared by all. Following the meal the services of Great Compline and the Great Blessing of Water were sung. We are reminded of the fundamental message of this feast: God became man and revealed Himself, giving us the opportunity to share in the light of His Divinity. He was baptized by John the Forerunner in the waters of the Jordan to sanctify all of creation, but most especially fallen humanity.
St. Basil's Day - 01/01/09
On Thursday, January 1st members of our parish community gathered to celebrate the feast of our Lord's Circumcision, St. Basil's Day, as well as the civil New Year. At the conclusion of the service the Vasilopita (St. Basils Bread) was blessed and then distributed at the coffee hour. The Vasilopita originated during the life-time of St. Basil, when he had women bake gold coins into sweet bread and then distribute them to the poor. This year parishioner Evelyn Onufer and guest Chet Lubecki received the blessing of the coin in their piece of bread! The tradition is a reminder of the necessity of outreach and care for the poor in the Christian life. May God bless us with everything that is necessary for our salvation in this New Year!