Page 1


This Issue PAGE 2 News , Events, and Spotlight

A Monthly Newsletter of Holy Apostles Orthodox Church

PAGE 3 Calendars PAGE 4 Practicing the Faith & World News

PAGE 5 Liturgics 101 & Sophia PAGE 6 Christmas & Crossword

December 2016 & January 2017 Holy Apostles Institutes the Handmaidens of the Lord With the blessing of Archbishop Michael, Holy Apostles has begun the ministry of the Handmaidens on the Sunday the 20th of Novemeber, the Eve of the Feast of the Presentation.. It provides an opportunity for the girls of our parish to assist in the Divine Liturgy. The duties of the service are divided between them and the altar boys with the Handmaidens assuming responsibility for all actions in the Nave and the boys for all those in the altar. For our first Liturgy with the Handmaidens we had three girls: Sasha Avrutis, Beatrice Olderog, and Genevieve Brown. The girls practice prior to the Liturgy on previous Sundays and had Rebecca Fiorini as their caretaker who helped oversee the girls.

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In November the parish celebrated Veterans day by holding a Panikhida (memorial service) after the Liturgy for all fallen soldiers and deceased veterans of the United States. There was also a special blessing for our members who are veterans: George Vislocky, John Hoc, Yuri Metelow, and Ray Obssuth. The parish also started its new Handmaidens ministry. The young girls of our parish now have an opportunity to help out during the Divine Liturgy. The Bible Study on the Scripture Readings for the Feasts of Christmas and Theophany was concluded this past month and the Nativity fast began mid-month with parishioners already making their confessions. The feast of the Presentation was celebrated with a Divine Liturgy and the Vespers was combined with the Sunday service. Father Matthew represented the parish at the town’s 300th Anniversary Gala. Father also represented the parish at the annual Diocesan Assembly which was held at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers this year at which an important resolution moving all the parish assessments to a proportional model was passed. Father acted as Recording Secretary for the Assembly. Father also met with our College Students at Montclair State and visited our homebound members. Lastly, the choir has begun regular practices with great success so far.

Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors Since Bishop Michael first began his episcopal ministry in the diocese of New York and New Jersey he instituted a philanthropic fund known as Distinguished Diocesan Benefactors, or DDB. With the coming of His Grace also came a new vision for the future of the diocese which had for a long time lacked the episcopal care and leadership it needed. In order to fund this new vision for the future, DDB was created. Since its inception in 2011 the fund has raised over $650,000. The money goes to support three main causes: mission par- “Please consider becoming a Distinishes, seminarians, and struggling older parishes. In each of these categories communities and in- guished Diocesan Benefactor by ofdividuals have been empowered by financial dofering a sacrificial gift of $100, $250, nations to help our diocese fulfill its mission. The fund has also funded many of our diocesan de- $500, $1,000 or whatever you are partments like Youth Ministry, College Ministry, able this year to help our Diocese and and Children’s Ministry.


 St. Nicholas Day Fish Fry at

Holy Assumption in Clifton on Saturday the 3rd. It starts at 7 PM and costs $25.  Church School Fundraiser: The Children of our parish will be sell ing handmade Christmas cards and other goods after Church on Sun day the 18th to raise funds for the Orthodox Charity FOCUS to help hungry children in this country. Bake Sale: Bake Sale will be held at 11:30 AM to 2 PM on the Sun day before Christmas, the 18th.   Christmas: Vigil will be held Sat. evening at 6 PM and will be fol lowed by a reading of the Christ mas Story for children and a Carol Sing-along for all. Liturgy Christ mas Day will be held at 10 AM on Sunday. Cleaning Night on Wed. the 14th at 6 PM

Each year an honor roll is assembled of all the donors and a special appreciation banquet is held to honor them. How can you become a DDB donor? You can mail a check to the diocese or go online and give via credit card. Some donors give other financial assets to the fund, such as stocks, land or other assets. It is even possible to set up legacy giving such as gift annuities and designations in one’s will.

support a ministry of your choice. May the Lord bless and keep you in His loving care!”

+ Archbishop Michael

To Learn More Visit: To Donate, Make Checks Out To: Diocese of New York and New Jersey Mail Your Donations To: Chancery, 33 Hewitt Ave., Bronxville, NY 10708

Remember to Make your Confession during the Nativity Fast Father Matthew is available 1/2 hour before Liturgy, before or after Vespers, or by appointment. If you see someone else for confession just let Father know. 2


D ECEMBER 2016 Sun




Thu 1

Fri 2


Sat 1

3 Baking 10 AM

Circumcision of Christ & Saint Basil Liturgy of St. Basil 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour

Baking 7 PM Confession & Vespers 6 PM 4


Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour


Sunday of the Forefathers


St. Nicholas Day




13 14 15 St. Herman of Anna Dutko’s Alaska & Fr. Matthew’s Bday

Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour

Work Night 6 PM


Sunday Before 19 Nativity Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour




Tue 3






5 Vigil 6 PM Followed by Blessing of Water 12

Fri 6 7 Theophany Liturgy 9 AM

Vespers 5 PM 13






Baking 7 PM Confession & Vespers 6 PM 22







Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour Vespers 5 PM





Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour

Christmas Eve Vigil 4 PM


4 Judy Reifel’s Bday


Vespers 5 PM

Followed by a Story for the Children & a Carol Sing-along 26


Blessing of the Brook 12 PM

Baking 10 AM

Bake Sale & Church School Fundraiser at 11:30 AM 25 Nativity of Our Lord

2 Elki Demaj’s Bday on the 1st

8 9 Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour

10 Genevieve’s Bday Baking 10 AM

Baking 7 PM Confession & Vespers 6 PM 12


25 Lutz Anniversary

26 Nina Dutko’s Bday



Vespers 5 PM


29 Church School 9:15 AM Divine Liturgy 10 AM Followed by Coffee Hour

Divine Liturgy 9 AM Followed by light Christmas Treats NO VESPERS 3



Orthodox World News


Edited by Sub-Deacon Peter Eagler

Silence and Solitude Being alone is more difficult than we think. This is why solitude and silence are called disciplines; they take work. Whether it is embarking on a retreat for the weekend or locking yourself away in a room for an hour, solitude, and the silence that comes with it, is a powerful tool in the spiritual life. By removing all our distractions (TV, computers, phones, radio, conversations, the noise of the city) we are able to pray more deeply, and maybe even hear God more clearly. If we are unaccustomed to silence it can be anxiety producing. It should be no surprise that all our busyness and distractions are Icon of the Angel of Silence an unconscious attempt to avoid ourselves; to avoid examining ourselves and our lives; to avoid listening to our heart, our conscious, and the inner voice of the Divine. Something happens to the body and the soul when we are still, quiet, and alone. We become aware—aware of the spiritual realm and aware of our own spiritual condition. In an extreme measure the Desert Fathers and Mothers sought out solitude and found it in the deserts of Egypt and Palestine. They devoted their whole lives to living as hermits. By this way of life they heard the voice God, saw clearly their own sins, per“All human evil comes from a single cause: man’s of formed miracles, and learned the great inability to sit still in a room.” Blaise Pascal depths of the love and wonder of the Triune God. We do not have to devote our entire lives to living in the desert to also reap some of the benefits of solitude. Every day we can carve out 10 minutes, or a half an hour to be alone with God in a quiet space. The Jesus Prayer—Lord, Jesus Christ, Have Mercy on Me—and the use of a prayer rope is an excellent aid in achieving inner solitude. The mind often wanders when still. The Jesus Prayer can help keep us focused. We ought also consider making a spiritual retreat once a year, for a day, a weekend, or even a whole week. We can do this at a monastery, a camp, or a retreat center. In preparation for Christ’s birth make this Advent one of solitude and silence. To fight against the business and anxiety of the Christmas season with this spiritual discipline you will need to do some subtraction. Put off your trips, your parties, your gift giving till after Christmas. Save it all for the 12 days of feasting which follow. Don’t travel. Don’t make big plans. Keep your Advent simple and quiet. If you do, you might just hear the angels sing.

Archbishop Michael to lead 2017 Holy Land Pilgrimage The Department of Evangelization of the Orthodox Church in America, together with Archbishop Michael (Dahulich) and the Diocese of New York and New Jersey announce a first annual Pilgrimage -- this year to the Holy Land, beginning in Nazareth and ending in Jerusalem, with an optional additional trip to Petra in Jordan, June 4-17, 2017. The pilgrimage begins on the Monday of Pentecost, in Israel. The itinerary includes the following cities and major sites: Capernaum, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Mar Sabba, Jerusalem (Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount Zion), and Petra (in Jordan). “It is my joy to be able to lead this inaugural pilgrimage to the Holy Land,” said Archbishop Michael. “As an Archbishop and as a Professor of New Testament at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, I cannot overstate the value of the living connection between the Scriptures and the Holy Sites where our Lord took flesh, grew up, was tempted; where He taught, where He healed; where He was crucified and where He arose from the dead. We will walk on those paths, we will stand in those hallowed sites, we will sit in those holy places, we will pray where He prayed, as we trace the Lord’s ministry in the Holy Land.” My experience in the Holy Land,” added Priest John Parker, Chair of the Department of Evangelization, “indeed brought the Scriptures to life. For my whole life I had read about the Sea of Galillee, but to sail on it puts it in perspective. How many times did I play the role of the inn-keeper in the Nativity Play as a child? But touching the very cave where Jesus was born brings his Holy Nativity into a whole new focus. And indescribable is the opportunity to kneel at the very tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ (still empty!) and to pray for my family, my parish, and the salvation of the world. These are some of the gifts of a pilgrimage of this nature.”



In addition to the usual sites one would expect on such a pilgrimage, we will also have the opportunity to visit significant archeological sites, not to mention Petra, an ancient city that is literally carved into rock cliffs.

Remember to get your orders in by 11th of December. Our Bakes goods make great Christmas gifts for friends, co-workers, and neighbors!

The Pilgrimage will offer a remarkable opportunity for us to get back to our roots, and to make life-changing connections between the words of our Faith, and the Living Word, Jesus Christ. The pilgrimage is being organized by Archpriest Ilya Gotlinsky, Rector of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church, 53 Baxter St Binghamton, NY 13905-2029 . Telephone: 607-797-1058



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Garden of Gethsemane

Liturgics 101


By Sub-deacon Ben Kalemba

Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life

Vespers – Part 10 If the Litya was sung before the Apostikha, the Blessing of the Bread would now take place. Standing before the Tetrapod on which the Litya Tray is placed, the Priest or Deacon will say: Let us pray to the Lord..

HE HAD COMPASSION But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. - Luke 10:33

People: Lord, have mercy.

Compassion is action. It is not a mere feeling. In the Gospels whenever Jesus is said to have ‘had compassion’ he immediately acts. He does something to help the person who is suffering. Take the widowed women in the funeral procession of her only son. “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’” (Luke 7:13). He then raised her son from the dead. Or consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. The Father upon seeing his son afar off ‘had compassion’ on him and proceeded to forgive him, accept him, and throw him a feast (Luke 15:20). The entire ministry of Jesus is certainly one of showing compassion on the broken, the suffering, and the hopeless. And he urges us to do the same. “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’” (Matthew 18:33).

Priest: O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Who blessed the five loaves in the wilderness and with them You satisfied the five thousand, + bless these loaves, wheat, wine, and oil, and multiply them in this city, and in all the world, and sanctify all the faithful who partake of them. For it is You, O Christ our God, Who bless and sanctify all things, and to You we ascribe glory, together with Your Father, Who is without beginning, and Your all-holy, and good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. People: Amen. Blessed be the name of the Lord, henceforth and forevermore. (3x) The priest, taking the Litya Tray, stands on the Ambon and facing the people, blessing them with the Litya Tray saying: The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and love for mankind, always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Albert Einstein saw this cosmic and divine connectedness when he wrote: "A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part Pity on the other hand is just a feeling. We feel sorry but we do not limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as act. It is stunted compassion; cut off before it could grow into love something in action. Our pity can be a nuisance. We feel bad and want to rid separated from "What does love look like? It has the ourselves of that bad feeling. And if performing an act of charity the rest, a hands to help others. It has the feet to removes the discomfort of pity then we act. Pity can also take on a kind of optical hasten to the poor and needy. It has condescending and judgmental character. We feel bad for our delusion of his eyes to see misery and want. It has the neighbor but we look down on them, and blame them for their lot. consciousness. What we think is compassion is actually pity or worse when we This delusion ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." perform deeds of charity and kindness only out of a bitter sense of is a kind of - St Augustine of Hippo duty, or to earn a good reputation. There are many ways our Chris- prison for us, tian compassion can be corrupted. restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task St. John Chrysostom preaches on this very danger and the proper must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to attitude of compassion: "Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." This unidegree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you versal compassion has been most clearly seen in the ministry of show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of Jesus Christ who came to ‘have compassion’ and to teach us to do duty, then the person may receive your help but may feel awkward and embar- the same. For ‘having compassion’ as Christ did is freedom as Alrassed. This is because he will feel indebted to you. If on the other hand, you bert Einstien so eloquently said. It is freedom from selfishness. It is help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The per- what it truly means to be alive. It is the secret to happiness. It is not son will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel a nice and noble extra to our life; it is essential. Because "Love and glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropri- compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot surate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of vive" (Dalai Lama XIV). blessing to the giver as well as the receiver." Let us have compassion and find what it means to be fully alive. Mother Theresa, like St. John, also teaches us what true compasBecause "You have not lived today until you have done something for someone sion looks like. "Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is who can never repay you” (John Bunyan). True compassion seeks about love. Charity and love are the same -- with charity you give love, so don't nothing in return and it is in that total selflessness, in our abandonjust give money but reach out your hand instead." Compassion is not just ment of our self that we find ourselves in the one we are helping. about solving the problem of the other but connecting with them. We can enlarge our hearts to embrace and contain the whole world. And this is truly love; oneness with the other. So that we can identify ourselves with every human person and How then do we cultivate this virtue and make compassion part of with all living things and then we will be able to “pray for the world as who we are as a person? How do we so become love that deeds of for our own selves” (Elder Sophrony of Essex). And then when we see compassion freely flow from us? St Augustine shows us: "What does another suffering we see ourselves, and we see God. This vision is the root of compassion and its end. love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the

The reader then reads Psalm 33:1-10: I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall be continually in my mouth. My soul will be praised by the Lord; let the meek hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He answered me, and He delivered me out of all my troubles. Come to Him and be radiant, and your faces will not be ashamed. This poor man called and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord will camp round those who fear Him and will deliver them. O taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who hopes in Him. O fear the Lord, all you His saints, because those who fear Him lack nothing. The rich do become poor and hungry, but those who seek the Lord will not be in want of anything good. Vespers concludes as follows: Priest/Deacon: Wisdom. People: Father, bless. Priest: Christ our God, the Existing One, is blessed, always, now and ever and unto ages of ages. People: Amen. Confirm, O God, the holy Orthodox faith and Orthodox Christians unto ages of ages. Priest: Most holy Theotokos, save us. People: More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God, the Word. True Theotokos, we magnify you. Priest: Glory to You, O Christ, our God and our hope, glory to You. People: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy (3x). Father, bless. Standing in the Royal Doors, facing the people, the Priest says the dismissal: Priest: May [He Who rose from the dead,] Christ our true God, through the prayers of His most pure Mother; of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles; of St. (of the temple.....; of (of the day) , whom we commemorate today; of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna; and of all the saints: have mercy on us and save us for He is good and loves mankind. People: Amen. The faithful will now come forward to venerate the Cross. If the Litya was celebrated, the people will venerate the icon of the Feast, the priest will anoint them with the blessed oil, and then the people will partake of the blessed bread and wine. (To be continued…)

poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." We are not ‘moved to compassion’ because we do not see the one in need. Not that we do not physically see them, or notice their plight, but we do not see into them. Our heart does not resonate with them. It does not resonate because we have not brought the virtue of compassion to a maturity within us. But when we have fed this virtue and nurtured it we will see the world differently and we will truly see our suffering brother. Because love is unity and if we become love as God is love we will see and be connected with all the world, the world whom ‘God so loved’ (John 3:16).


Advent Crossword Puzzle

A Brief History of Christmas & Its Traditions The Christian ecclesiastical calendar contains many remnants of pre-Christian festivals. Christmas includes elements of the Roman feast of the Saturnalia and Solis Invicti. Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on December17th and later expanded with festivities through to December 23rd. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn, in the Roman Forum, and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving (including gag gifts), continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. In a practice that might be compared to modern greeting cards, verses sometimes accompanied the gifts. Prior to and through the early Christian centuries, winter festivals—especially those centered on the winter solstice—were the most popular of the year in many European pagan cultures. Many modern Christmas customs have been directly influenced by such festivals, including gift-giving and merrymaking from the Roman Saturnalia, greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year, and Yule logs and various foods from Germanic and Slavic feasts. Many of the customs and traditions of Christmas have both pagan origins and Christian symbolism. Decorating with greenery, especially the heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly with its thorns and red berries was held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed. The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianization of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and pagan tree worship. Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity. Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. The Yule Log is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth around the period of Christmas. Similar folk practices are recorded in various areas of Europe, such has the Badnjak in Serbia. The festive kindling of the badnjak commemorates the fire that the shepherds of Bethlehem built in the cave where Jesus Christ was born, to warm the Baby Jesus and his mother throughout the night. In its pagan origins its was a celebration which fused both tree worship and fire worship. One theory to explain the choice of 25 December for the celebration of the birth of Jesus is that the purpose was to Christianize the pagan festival in Rome of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which means "the birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” According to this theory, during the reign of the emperor Constantine, Christian writers assimilated this feast as the birthday of Jesus, associating him with the 'sun of righteousness' mentioned in Malachi 4:2 (Sol Iustitiae). Another view on the origins of the date for Christmas based on an old tradition, states that the date of Christmas was fixed at nine months after 25 March, the date of the vernal equinox, on which the Annunciation was celebrated. There is early evidence from the 4th century of the celebration on December 25 of a Christian liturgical feast of the birth of Jesus. This first occurred in Rome, while in Eastern Christianity the birth of Jesus was already celebrated in connection with Theophany (Epiphany) on January 6. The December 25 celebration was imported into the East later: in Constantinople by Gregory the Theologian in 379, in Antioch by John Chrysostom probably in 388, and in Alexandria only in the following century. The prevailing atmosphere of Christmas has also continually evolved since the holiday's inception, ranging from a sometimes raucous, drunken, carnival-like state in the Middle Ages, to a tamer, family-oriented and children-centered theme introduced in a 19th-century transformation. Additionally, the celebration of Christmas was banned on more than one occasion within certain Protestant groups, such as the Puritans, due to concerns that it was too pagan or unbiblical. 6



6. The Pennsylvania Dutch counterpart to St Nicholas who brings gifts for good children and whips bad ones with his switch. 9. What people do going from house to house 11. What Serbian families burn on Christmas eve 15. The name of the 2nd Sunday before Christmas 16. A Christmas treat which resembles a bishops staff 17. The length of the Nativity Fast 18. One of the traditional gifts that Saint Nick puts in children's shoes or stockings 19. The ancient pagan precursor to caroling of singing to the trees for good harvest 20. The liturgical color for Nativity

1. The Carpatho-Rusyn tradition comprised of twelve dishes served on Christmas Eve 2. Jolly Old... 3. How many days of Christmas? 4. The name for wise men from the east who visited Christ 5. The Greek name for the Virgin Mary 7. Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of ... 8. Who brings gifts to children in Mexico on Christmas eve 10. The feast which concludes the 12 days of Christmas 12. A traditional spiritual practice done during the Christmas season 13. What little children from Poland look for in the night sky on Christmas eve 14. The service on Christmas Eve

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