The following Pan-Orthodox Lenten services and events will be held in and around the Lehigh Valley in 2014:
|Sun., Mar. 9, 4pm||Triumph of Orthodoxy||St. Nicholas OCA, Bethlehem|
|Thur., Mar. 13, 6:30pm||Holy Land Pilgrimage Lecture||Holy Cross GOC, Stroudsburg|
|Thur., Mar. 20, 6:30pm||Russia Pilgrimage Lecture||Holy Trinity OCA, Stroudsburg|
|Sun., Mar. 23, 7pm||Lenten Vespers||St. Nicholas GOC, Bethlehem|
|Thur., Mar. 27, 6:30pm||Mount Athos Lecture||Holy Cross GOC, Stroudsburg|
|Sun., Mar. 30, 4pm||Lenten Vespers||Assumption BVM UOC, Northampton|
|Thur., Apr. 3, 6:30pm||Bp. Mark’s Pilgrimages Lecture||Holy Trinity OCA, Stroudsburg|
|Sat., Apr. 5, 10am-4pm||Marriage/Family Retreat||St. Mary UOC, Allentown|
|Wed., Apr. 9, 6:30pm||Presanctifed Liturgy (followed by Lenten Potluck)||St. Paul AOC, Emmaus|
|Thur., Apr. 10, 4-8pm||Campbell Lectures (Orthodox & Catholic speakers)||DeSales University, Center Valley|
On Sunday, March 9, 2014, at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a standing-room-only crowd of faithful Orthodox Christians and guests gathered along with His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of the Antiochian Archdiocese, seventeen priests and three deacons to celebrate the service of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. His Grace, Bishop THOMAS, was the featured speaker.
During the event, a number of pan-Orthodox events during the Lenten period were announced, along with the formation of a new pan-Orthodox, multi-parish lay and clergy group for the region, Lehigh Valley Orthodox Christians (LVOC). LVOC will serve to facilitate better communication and resource sharing between parishes and will eventually begin planning, hosting and executing pan-Orthodox events, as well.
Following the service and Bishop THOMAS’s address, the people of St. Nicholas Church greeted their fellow Orthodox Christians with warm hospitality in the parish hall for a shared Lenten meal. A collection was also taken up to support the work of the Lehigh Valley Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood.
Watch this space for a full calendar of pan-Orthodox events, as well as more on the newly-formed LVOC.
On Thursday, Nov. 21 (Nov. 8 OS), on the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos (NS) / Synaxis of the Archangels (OS), the Lehigh Valley Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood met at the Top Diner in Allentown to elect officers and set plans for the coming year. Nine Fathers representing eight parishes were present.
The newly-elected officers of the brotherhood are:
- President: Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick (Saint Paul, Emmaus)
- Vice President: Rev. Dcn. Alexandros Petrides (St. Nicholas (GOA), Bethlehem)
- Treasurer: V. Rev. Protopresbyter Robert Rebeck (Protection of the Virgin Mary, Allentown)
- Secretary: Rev. Dcn. Michael Sawarynski (Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Northampton)
With the election of officers, Fr. Andrew chaired the meeting, and the following plans were made for the coming year:
- His Grace, Bishop THOMAS (Antiochian Archdiocese), will preside over pan-Orthodox services for the Sunday of Orthodoxy on March 9. A pan-Orthodox service will be held at 4pm at St. Nicholas (OCA) in Bethlehem, followed by a talk by Bishop THOMAS and a shared meal. On the following day, the Brotherhood plan to make a day pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Holy Protection in White Haven.
- During Great Lent 2014, joint services will also be held on Mar. 23 and 30 (Lenten Sunday Vespers), as well as Apr. 9 (Presanctified Divine Liturgy). Locations will be announced.
- Plans were begun to hold two pan-Orthodox Lenten retreats, one for men and one for women. Date, location and speakers will be announced.
- Beginning in May 2014, monthly Holy Unction services will be held at the various parishes represented by the Brotherhood.
It was also announced that a new and active OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) chapter has been started at Lehigh University, led by Dcn. Alexandros Petrides. All Orthodox Christians and other interested parties are welcome at OCF events.
Further, Dcn. Alexandros, who assists Fr. Nicholas Palis at St. Nicholas (GOA) in Bethlehem, is scheduled to be ordained to the holy priesthood on Sunday, Dec. 8, by His Eminence, Metropolitan SAVAS.
There was also general discussion about goings-on at Lehigh Valley parishes and our representative jurisdictions as well as sharing of a more personal nature about family and other such matters.
The next meeting of the Brotherhood will be held on Dec. 19 at St. Paul in Emmaus.
On Wednesday, June 26th at 7pm, His Grace, Bishop Ignatius (Sennis) of Madagascar will be speaking at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Bethlehem, doing a PowerPoint presentation and speaking on the Orthodox Christian missionary work being done on the African island of Madagascar. All are invited!
WHAT: “Mission to Guatemala: Receiving the Mayan People into the Orthodox Church”
WHO: Fr. John Chakos, OCMC Missionary to Guatemala
WHERE: St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral at 1607 West Union Blvd., Bethlehem, PA
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, November 27
Fr. John Chakos will speak and lecture and will be available to meet the public and discuss the ministry to the people of Guatemala, some 100,000 to 200,000 of whom have recently converted en masse to Orthodox Christianity. This is a great opportunity to meet Fr. Chakos and hear about his efforts to establish the first Orthodox Seminary in Latin America.
FATHER JOHN CHAKOS is an OCMC Missionary to Guatemala, working under Metropolitan Athenagoras of Mexico City to help establish the first Orthodox Seminary in Latin America. He simultaneously is working with Fr. Andres Giron in helping tens of thousands of Mayan People enter into the Orthodox Church. Fr. John was the priest of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Mt. Lebanon, PA, for 31 years. He and his wife Sandy served as short-term missionaries in Tanzania for six months, and spent three years in the slums of Brazil with the Peace Corps before becoming a priest.
As part of its forty days of Divine Liturgies served during the Nativity Fast, St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral at 1607 West Union Blvd., Bethlehem, PA, has invited all Orthodox Christians of the Lehigh Valley and beyond to join them in Thanksgiving (Evcharistia) to God on Thursday, November 22, at 9am. The Liturgy will be served by Orthodox clergy of the Lehigh Valley.
To mark the beauty of this day of Thanksgiving, please read the following brief sermon from the departed Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who served his last Divine Liturgy on Thanksgiving in 1983 and preached this homily:
Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.
Thank You, O Lord, for having accepted this Eucharist, which we offered to the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which filled our hearts with the joy, peace and righteousness of the Holy Spirit.
Thank You, O Lord, for having revealed Yourself unto us and given us the foretaste of Your Kingdom.
Thank You, O Lord, for having united us to one another in serving You and Your Holy Church.
Thank You, O Lord, for having helped us to overcome all difficulties, tensions, passions, temptations and restored peace, mutual love and joy in sharing the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Thank You, O Lord, for the sufferings You bestowed upon us, for they are purifying us from selfishness and reminding us of the “one thing needed;” Your eternal Kingdom.
Thank You, O Lord, for having given us this country where we are free to Worship You.
Thank You, O Lord, for this school, where the name of God is proclaimed.
Thank You, O Lord, for our families: husbands, wives and, especially, children who teach us how to celebrate Your holy Name in joy, movement and holy noise.
Thank You, O Lord, for everyone and everything.
Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your deeds, and no word is sufficient to celebrate Your miracles.
Lord, it is good to be here! Amen.
May Fr. Alexander’s memory be eternal!
This website is a collaborative, “pan-Orthodox” effort between the Orthodox Christian churches of the Lehigh Valley, administered by the Lehigh Valley Orthodox Clergy Brotherhood. Our prayer is that it would serve as a witness to the ancient Christian faith, the Orthodox faith, the faith given by Christ to His Apostles and then handed down in every generation without any alteration for twenty centuries, beginning first in Jerusalem, and then brought to the uttermost parts of the Earth, yes, even to the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Though ancient, it is neither exotic nor esoteric, and though it began in faraway places, it is as fresh and relevant to every person in every place as the moment that Christ rose from the dead.
Our hope is that the Orthodox Christians of the Lehigh Valley may stand as living witnesses to this timeless faith, welcoming all who would seek healing, meaning and wholeness in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world.