St. Gregory of Nyssa Orthodox Church

HomeAdministrationSt. Gregory Nursery SchoolDaily Scripture ReadingsParish CalendarParish News and NotesPhoto GalleryDiocesan NewsAbout OrthodoxyEcumenical Patriarchate NewsContactDriving DirectionsThe Life of St GregoryArchons_of_the_Ecumenical_PatriarchateHogar Rafael OrphanageSermons
Pascha 2012

Reading of Matins Gospel
Reading of Matins Gospel
Reading of Matins Gospel
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
Blessing Paschal Baskets
Blessing Paschal Baskets
Blessing Paschal Baskets
+Demetrios Paschal Letter
+Demetrios Paschal Letter
+Demetrios Paschal Letter
Parish News and Notes - March 15

St George Medal Receipents
St George Medal Receipents
St George Medal Receipents
Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring
Signs of Spring
+Met. Nicholas
+Met. Nicholas
+Met. Nicholas
March 15 2012
  
Congratulations to our Scouts, Megan Kirtyan and Hannah and Cathryn Popadin-Lesniak on being awarded the St. George Medal. All three girls were active in the sending of greeting cards to our troops during our Fall Ethnic Food Festival.  Megan also made a beautiful diorama of the iconostasis and altar at St. Gregory's.

With Spring beginning to show its first signs of renewed life around the parish grounds and as we move onwards in the Great Fast, many thanks to Lori Appice for again donating the most beautiful pussy willows for our Palm Sunday observances.  We also planted some new pussy willow branches in the hopes that they will take so that we can continue to have a ready supply for the holidays.

Last Sunday we marked the one year anniversary of the repose of our beloved archpastor, His Eminence, Metropolitan Nicholas. This Sunday there will be official remembrances and memorial services at our diocesan Cathedral in Johnstown, PA as well as in Perth Amboy at St. John the Baptist Church. His Eminence, Archbishop Demitrios, the Locum Tenens of our diocese will lead the services assisted by His Eminence, Archbishop Anthony of the Ukrainian Diocese in the USA, Protopresbyter Michael Roscoe, the Vice-Chancellor of our diocese and many area clergy.

The Kursk Icon of the Mother of God will be venerated at an Akathist service this Friday at Holy Cross Monastery (ROCOR) in East Setauket, NY.  All are encouraged to participate.

Our Spring Bake Sale will be on Saturday, March 31.  Many thanks to everyone who has helped making Peroghi, gathering items for our raffle Gift Basket and baking. We will need as many helping hands as we can to setup, work and clean up on the 31st.  Please see Kyra Kirtyan or Lori Appice to volunteer.

All of our donated new liturgical items have arrived and we will bless them this Sunday after Liturgy. Many thanks to one anonymous donor as well as Karen Greene, Joe and Pat Romano, Gheroghe and Daniela Staicu, and Bob and Daniela Bush for purchasing the items.

Have you seen the new icon votive shelves in the church?  They are a nice addition and help draw our attention to the icons of the saints.

Thanks to all who have signed up to host coffee hour. The signup sheet is on the freezer in the hall. 

We are very sorry to see Martha and John Lo Biondo move away to New Jersey. The decision was made a couple of weeks ago so that they can be closer to their daughter in New Jersey. They will be living in Fairhaven, NJ and as soon as we have an address and other contact information we will share it. There are two Orthodox Churches near to where Martha and John will be living. Father Joseph knows the priest who cares for those parishes and he will make sure that he knows that Martha is new in town.  

Please keep subdeacon Michael Owczar in your prayers. He is facing a serious health concern and he asks for everyone's prayers.

James and Martha Podobinski recently visited our parish in Taylor, PA where an icon of the Virgin Mary and been exuding sweet-smelling myrrh. As James and Martha recount, it is an amazing and spiritually moving experience.  If anyone would be interested in making a trip to Taylor to see the icon and pray before it, please let Fr. Joseph know so that he can arrange transportation.

Just a reminder that confessions are heard before and after Saturday Great Vespers, before and after Presanctified Liturgy, by appointment on Sunday morning and by appointment during the week. Don't wait until the last minute to come to Confession before Pascha.  Call or email Fr Joseph.

A signup sheet for Paschal flower donations and for reading at the Tomb of Christ from Friday evening until Saturday night will be available at the back of the Church starting this Sunday. The Book of Psalms is reader after the Friday Burial Service until the Vesperal Liturgy on Holy Saturday. After the Liturgy on Holy Saturday until the start of Nocturns on Saturday evening, the Book of Acts is read.

We wish to welcome two newcomers to our parish community, Anthony Ferrara and Kathy Kulek.  Anthony lives in Happaugue and Kathy just a few blocks away from St. Gregory's in Massapequa. 


Parish News and Notes - February 19


Recently posted on the St. Gregory Website are the Sunday sermons for the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and for the Sunday of the Last Judgement.  We also posted an excerpt from the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, February 19.

Check the SGN website homepage for the latest updates to the website, including the Web-Edition of the Sunday Bulletins.

This coming Sunday is Cheesefare and Forgiveness Sunday. We will celebrate Forgiveness Vespers at the conclusion of the Liturgy with the Rite of Forgiveness. There is no more appropriate way to enter the Great Fast than by asking one another for forgiveness. During this final week before the Great Fast, we should make every effort to begin to enter into the spirit of the Lenten season.  The words from Forgiveness Vespers can help us:



Let us begin the fast with joy!
Let us prepare ourselves for spiritual efforts!
Let us cleanse our soul and cleanse our flesh!
Let us abstain from every passion as we abstain from food!
Let us rejoice in virtues of the Spirit and fulfill them in love,
that we all may see the Passion of Christ our God,
and rejoice in spirit at the holy Pascha!


Click here to review the services for the First Week of Lent.  Let us prepare ourselves and arrange our schedules so that we may participate in as many of these services as possible.


Parish News and Notes - February 5


The expanded Web-Edition of the Sunday, February 5, 2012 Bulletin is now available.  We have started to post the Sunday and Feastday sermons when recorded. Sermons can be downloaded here.

Some additional news since Sunday. Mary Grell is recovering in Myrtle Beach, SC after having three coronary artery stents implanted. Her address was sent to the St Gregory Friends List. Sending her a card would cheer her up. 

Mary Pilosi had a set back in her recovery from broken ribs. She was admitted to Glen Cove Hospital and was then discharged to the Marquis Care Center in Glen Cove. Fr Joseph visited her on Monday. She is a bit down in the dumps. Here is her address if you would like to send her a card:

Mary Pilosi
Marquis Care Center
2 Medical Plaza
Glen Cove, NY 11542
516-671-0858 - Room 50 

We have paid down an additional $5,000 on our mortgage debt bringing the total down to just $15,000.  Looks like we will retire this debt by the end of 2012.  Praise God and thanks to all of you for your generous help.

We have rescheduled Scout Sunday to Sunday, March 4. The St. George and Alpha Omega Awards will be bestowed that day.  

Don't forget. Annual Meeting this coming Sunday. All those not in attendance will be elected to the Parish Council! ;)



Parish News and Notes - January 29

Web-edition of the Sunday, January 29, 2012 Bulletin.  Click Here.

To listen to Sunday's sermon, click here.


Parish News and Notes - January 22


Parish News and Notes - January 15

Diocesan News

The ACROD will once again be present at the annual DC March for Life.  Former St. Gregory's pastor, Fr. Edward Pehanich, was one of the original founders of Orthodox Christians for Life. Read more here...

It's time to start thinking about Summer Camp at Camp Nazareth.  Read more here....

The New Jersey and New York City deaneries will meet at St. John the Baptist Church in Perth Amboy on Monday, January 16. One of the topics of discussion will be the selection of a new bishop for the ACROD.




Parish News and Notes - January 8

January 8

Click here for the expanded version of the Sunday, January 8 edition of the Sunday bulletin.

 
Parish News and Notes - December 31

Parish News and Notes - December 24


The expanded web-edition of the Sunday Bulletin




CHRIST IS BORN!  GLORIFY HIM!
Parish News and Notes - December 24

Church School Christmas Party and Yolka

The youth of St. Gregory's held their annual Christmas party on December 11 and held their Yolka on December 18 with a visit from St. Nicholas.

(14 images)

Parish News and Notes - November 22


Father Joseph and Pani Kathy were guests of St. Nicholas Church, the Mother parish of our own St. Gregory's here in Seaford on Sunday afternoon for their annual St. Nicholas Kermesh.  It was a day full of good food, good fellowship and wonderful ethnic song and dance.  The St. Nicholas Kermesh was a regular yearly stop for our late Metropolitan Nicholas who was pastor of St. Nicholas before coming bishop of our diocese.  His loving presence was felt and his Memory Eternal.

For a glimpse of the spirit of the day, click here and watch.


For more St. Gregory parish news, the web-edition of the Sunday, November 20 weekly bulletin is now available.


As we prepare to celebrate the civil holiday of Thanksgiving our prayer is that we will all arrive safely at our respective destinations to be with family and friends and return home in peace.  Here are two prayers you may wish to include in your Thanksgiving Day blessing as you prepare to eat.  Please also remember those who have no family, those who have no friends to share this day with, the unemployed, the homeless and the outcast.  



A Prayer of Thanksgiving

O Lord our Savior and Master, we, your servants, with fear and trembling give thanks to You for Your loving goodness and for all Your benefits which You pour out so abundantly upon us. We bow down in adoration before You and offer You, O God, our fervent praise; and we humbly ask that You deliver us from all adversities and mercifully fulfill in us those things that are for our salvation. For You are the Hope of all the ends of the earth, and unto You, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed glory, now and ever.  Amen.

We praise You, O God of our Fathers, we hymn You, we bless You, we give thanks to You for Your great and tender mercy. To You we flee, O merciful and mighty God. Shine into our hearts with the True Sun of Your righteousness. Enlighten our minds and keep all our senses, that henceforth we may walk uprightly and keep Your commandments, and may finally attain unto eternal life, even to You, Who are the source of life, and be admitted to the glorious fruition of Your inaccessible Light. 

For You are our God, and to You, O Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be ascribed glory, 
now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. 

Parish News and Notes - November 14


Greetings in the Lord!

Here is the web-edition of the Sunday, November 13 Bulletin.  God blessed us with a beautiful Sunday and a good crowd. The Sisterhood met after Fellowship Hour which was hosted by Pani Kathy. Several of you asked for the recipes Pani used. She has made copies that can be picked up on Wednesday or Saturday at Vespers and Sunday during Fellowship Hour.

Volunteer sign up sheets for the Ethnic Food Festival are circulating and we need everyone to pitch in and help so that this year's Festival, December 3 and 4 will be a big success.  Please contact Kyra at kkirtyan@yahoo.com for how you can help.  In the meantime, tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers. We have flyers available that you can give out. Let's make a big push to the finish line and have fun doing it!

Well it is official. Debbie White got a job in the Myrtle Beach, NC area and she will be moving there in December. Mom too will be making the move. We will miss them very much. They have been faithful and energetic members of St. Gregory's for many years.  God bless you Debbie and Mary. 


Parish News and Notes - October 31

Parish News and Notes - October 31

The 20th Anniversary of His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew took place in Constantinople last week. A special section on the EP website is dedicated to this event.  To view, click here.

The October 30 Sunday Bulletin Web edition is now available.  Click here to read.

Perogi making sessions this Thursday at 6pm, Friday at 5pm and Saturday at 8am this week. We need you help. Thanks for participating!


Parish News and Notes - October 24

Lots of additional news in this week's web edition of the Sunday, October 23 Bulletin.  Click here to view.


Parish News and Notes - October 18

Parish News and Notes - October 12


Check out our Facebook Page and the report from our Diocesan Chancery on the ACROD Flood Relief for our parishes in New Jersey

Parish News and Notes - October 11

The Web-edition of the Sunday, October 9, 2011 Bulletin is now available.

Next Sunday's Fellowship Hour Host is 

October 16 Diana Cantone

October 23 Linda Griffith

October 30 Mary Prieston

If you would like to sponsor a Fellowship Hour, please contact Daniela Staicu

ACROD Consistory Meets with Archbishop Demetrios

NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America met yesterday (Oct 4, 2011) with the Consistory of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Archdiocese Headquarters in New York City. The Consistory requested the meeting from the Archbishop who is the Locum Tenens for the Diocese since the passing of the late Metropolitan Nicholas earlier this year. The members are Protopresbyter Frank P. Miloro, Chancellor; Protopresbyter Michael S. Rosco, Vice Chancellor; Protopresbyter Ronald A. Hazuda; Protopresbyter Michael Polanichka; Protopresbyter Lawrence R. Barriger; Protopresbyter Mark Leasure, and Protopresbyter Kenneth Bachofsky. Protopresbyter Mark Arey of the Department of Inter-Orthodox Relations, was also present in the meeting. Following the meeting, the Consistory attended a luncheon hosted by the Archbishop.

This meeting is the second of its kind since the repose of the late Metropolitan. Among the items for discussion were the following: the search for a new presiding bishop for the Diocese, administrative issues affecting various parishes, and representation of the Diocese at the celebrations at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in honor of His All Holiness's 20th Anniversary of election and enthronement as Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch. Archbishop Demetrios thanked the Consistory for their offering of stable, decisive stewardship during this season of "widowhood" of the Diocese. The Archbishop also offered a substantial contribution to the two Carpatho-Russian parishes affected by the recent floods in New Jersey. For their part, the clergy of the Consistory expressed their gratitude to the Archbishop for his leadership, generosity and pastoral care for the Diocese.

http://www.acrod.org/news/releases/sept-consistorymeeting

Parish News and Notes - October 3


It is good to share that we see new faces (well at least they are new to me) every Sunday at St. Gregory's, for which we give all glory and thanks to God.  The choir has been beautiful and the spirit good.

Speaking of the choir, our choir director, Paul Sauer will undergo micro back surgery on October 26. The surgery is to help relieve the constant pain he has been in for the past year.  In spite of this, Paul faithfully directs the choir every Sunday.  Please keep Paul in your prayers as he prepares for the surgery.

Next Sunday we will sing plain chant from the blue liturgy books. Let's all sing from our hearts. Remember, God has perfect pitch only listening to the intention of our prayer and not if we can hit all the notes perfectly!

Perogi preparations start this Friday and Saturday. We needs everyone's help this year to make our annual fall event a success.  Please contact Kyra or Carol if you can help and if you didn't sign the Perogi Volunteer Help Lists in the hall on Sunday, please do so ASAP.  Many Thanks.

Please find HERE, the Sunday, October 2, Expanded Web Edition of the Sunday Bulletin with an excerpt from "Encountering the Mystery" by Patriarch Bartholomew.

Have a blessed week!
Parish News and Notes - September 27

Church School Students
Church School Students
Church School Students
The Sisterhood
The Sisterhood
The Sisterhood
The St. Gregory Church School started on Sunday, September 25 and also on Sunday the Sisterhood held an important meeting to elect new officers and plan activities for the Fall.

For more details and other Parish News and Notes, check out the Expanded Web Edition of the St. Gregory Sunday Bulletin.


St Gregory Welcome Back Picnic - September 18

Sunday, September 18, 2011  Sunday Bulletin - Web Edition

St. Gregory Nursery School Back in Session!

Welcome Back Teachers!
Welcome Back Teachers!
Welcome Back Teachers!
September 15

The St Gregory Nursery School is off to another great year with over 135 new and returning students ages 2-4 enrolled in the morning and afternoon sessions.  Our 16 great teachers have worked very hard to provide their students with a fun and stimulating school year.

One of the great signs that points to the success of the St. Gregory Nursery School is the length of service of our teachers.  All teachers have been with the school at least three years and many over 20 years and one, over 25 years!  Teachers are now teaching children of parents who use to come as children to St. Gregory’s School!

Check out our School website page for more information on the school and God bless all our teachers, students and their parents!

Protopresbyter David Wine, Memory Eternal!


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We have been informed by our Johnstown Chancery that Father Protopresbyter David Wine, of Massillon, Ohio fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, September 11  after an extended illness.  Father David is the brother-in-law of Father John and Pani Marie Brancho.  His death ends a marriage of 49 years to Pani Joan (Kerestesy) Wine.

Services for Father David will be held in Canton, OH, Akron, OH and Johnstown, PA. where he will be buried at Christ the Savior Cathedral cemetery.  May Fr David’s memory be eternal.

Parish News and Notes - September 12

Sunday, September 11, 2011 Weekly Bulletin - Expanded Web Edition

Parish News and Notes - September 8

UPDATES FROM THE CHANCERY IN JOHNSTOWN, PA.

We have been informed by our Diocesan Chancellor, Protopresybter Frank Milaro of the following:

"Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Fathers:

                The Chancery has been advised that our priest, Father David Wine, is hospitalized in critical condition.  We ask your prayers from this moment on.

                                Fr. Miloro"


"Glory to Jesus Chrsit!

Dear Fathers:

                Fr. Jim Dutko has reported to the Chancery that some of his parishioners are being effected by flooding in the greater Binghamton, NY area.  It has been raining for 24 hours, and there are mandatory evacuations for thousands of people.  It was impossible for Fr. Dutko to conduct a burial - the grave site was like a swimming pool with water cascading down the hills into the cemetery.  Thankfully, there has been no flood danger to the church or rectory.  Please keep the faithful, and all residents, of the Binghamton area in your prayers.

                Fr. Miloro"




Please keep Fr David in your personal prayers and also those being affected by the flood waters in New York and in the Northeast.  Let us ask our Lord to protect those in danger and to calm the rising waters.


Fr Joseph

 
Parish News and Notes - September 7

Tonight at 6:30, we will celebrate Great Vespers and Litiya for the Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary and tomorrow at 9:30am the Festal Liturgy for the Feast. 

As usual, Confessions will be heard starting at 5:30 or by appointment. 

FESTAL TROPAR

Your nativity, O Mother of God, has brought you to all the inhabited earth: for from you has shone forth the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God. He freed us from the curse and gave the blessing; He has made death of no effect and bestowed on us eternal life.

FESTAL KONTAK

By your holy birth, O Undefiled, Joachim and Anna were  set free from the reproach of childlessness, and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. Delivered from the guilt of sin. Your people keep the feast as they sing to You: The barren woman bears the Mother of God who sustains our Life.


Sunday, September 4, 2011  Sunday Bulletin - Web Edition

The Sunday, September 4, 2011 Sunday Bulletin - 


Parish News and Notes - September 2

What's coming up this weekend and next week at St Gregory's in Seaford?  


Parish News and Notes - August 29

Request for Prayers

Please keep in your prayers the newly-departed and ever memorable Archbishop Dmitri (Royster). Information on the life of Archbishop Dmitri can be found here.

We have also been asked by our Chancery in Johnstown to keep the following clergy from the ACROD:

Father David Wine and Pani Joan.  Father David has been hospitalized. 

Father Daniel Mahler who has recently completed his therapy after a double knee replacement. He is now serving again. Let us pray that he might be continually strengthened.


Protodeacon John Youhas will undergo a surgical procedure on Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM.  He will appreciate your prayers to strengthen him.


Let us also continue to pray for all those who have suffered as a result of Hurricane Irene.


Tomorrow Night-we will celebrate a service of Thanksgiving for the beginning of the new liturgical year which begins on September 1.  The Thanksgiving Service will start at 6:30pm. 


Please Check-the parish calendar available here on our new website.

 
Parish News and Notes - August 27 - 9:00am

Because of the real danger of flooding, downed trees and power lines Sunday, August 28 Divine Liturgy is being CANCELLED.

Please be safe. Continue to pray that the Lord spare us from the worst effects of Hurricane Irene.  If you know of anyone in the evacuation areas that needs a place to stay, please check in with them. There is room in the parish rectory for those who need to evacuate. 

God be with you all.

Fr Joseph
Parish News and Notes - August 24

The news concerning Hurricane Irene and its potential impact on Long Island this weekend is being closely monitored. Storms of this nature can and do move either increasing or decreasing their effects on areas. In light of this,  Father Joseph will decide by Friday evening or Saturday morning if we will have Sunday Liturgy.  

Saturday Vespers are cancelled.

Please take all necessary precautions for your safety and the possibility of the loss of electrical power for an extended period of time. If you live in low lying areas prone to flooding, please heed all evacuations notices. 

If you have any questions, please call 516-754-7804 or email St. Gregory's at sgnseaford@gmail.com
Parish News and Notes - August 22

St Gregory Church School Teachers
St Gregory Church School Teachers
St Gregory Church School Teachers
The St Gregory Church School teachers - met with Fr. Joseph on Sunday to discuss the curriculum for the upcoming 2011/12 Church School Year. There will be three classes for elementary, middle school and high school age students. A variety of new materials are being reviewed to provide exciting and engaging classes for the parish children.  We are grateful again to Carolyn Popadin Lesniak, Kathy Riedman and Cesar Cantone (pictured left to right) and Janine Vassallo for their continued commitment to the education of our parish youth.

Many Thanks - to the family of the newly departed Anne Kasenchak for offering a beautiful fellowship meal on Sunday in memory of Anne Kasenchak.  May her memory be eternal!

Last Year the grounds around - the parish and school suffered some damage with the prolonged drought. We lost several shrubs and other vegetation.  Thanks to the Myers Family, we will have two new spruces planted as a backdrop to the King of Glory Cross on the parish grounds.

Confessions - are heard on a regular basis before, starting at 5:30pm and after Saturday Great Vespers and by appointment.  It is the practice of the Orthodox Church that Her faithful avail themselves of the Mystery of Holy Confession at least four times per year. Of course we should come to Confession as often as we feel the need for such is the medicine of the Mystery (Sacrament) of Confession and the benefits drawn when we keep a close watch over our thoughts and actions.  If you would like to schedule a Confession by appointment, either call Fr. Joseph at 516-754-7804 or via email at sgnseaford@gmail.com.

Please-continue to keep Deacon Richard Howrilka in your prayers has he recovers from his recent heart attacks.  


Parish News and Notes - August 17

At The Conclusion - of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August, 21, the clergy and faithful of St. Gregory's will mark the 40th day of repose of the newly-departed handmaiden of God, Anne Kasenchak. The Kasenchak family will host the coffee hour following Liturgy and Memorial Service. Everyone is invited to attend.  May the memory of Anne Kasenchak be eternal!

Deacon Richard Howrilka suffered two more heart attacks while in hospital on August 16. He will be given a pacemaker to help regulate his heartbeat.  Please continue to keep him, Pani Diana and Lydia in your prayers.

Sunday, September 11 - will mark the 10th anniversary of the attack on the USA.  Many who lived on Long Island lost their lives that day either in the attack or those trying to rescue the victims.  At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on the 11th we will celebrate a Memorial Service for all those who lost their lives on that fateful day. May their memory be eternal!

Mark Your Calendars-for St. Gregory's Annual Welcome Back Picnic on Sunday, September 18.  This traditional event brings all the friends and members of the parish together after the long summer vacation.  Bring your favorite dishes and drinks and let's have a great time making new friends and seeing old friends.

The 2011-2012 St. Gregory Church School - will begin on Sunday, September 25.  A new and exciting Church School year is being planned by Father Joseph and our Church School teachers.  More information will be forthcoming.

Please Sign Up for the new Friends of St. Gregory email list. The new email list is a part of the new St. Gregory website.  The sign up sheet will be in the back of the Church and in the parish hall every Sunday.
Why Orthodox Bless Homes at Theophany

January 4

In ancient times the Feasts of our Lord’s Nativity (birth) and that of His Theophany (manifestation to the world) were celebrated as one Feast in the Church. Later  these two essential events in the life of our Savior were separated into two unique celebrations.

The Feast of Theophany, also known as Epiphany, makes present again for us the central message of our Lord coming in the flesh into the world. He came to re-orient, to re-focus the world to its original purpose and orientation.  This original purpose of man, made in the Image and according to the Likeness of God, was to offer up the creation back to God, “offering to You, Yours of your Own, in behalf of all and for all...”  This is the essential work of man as the “Royal Priesthood” to offer ourselves to God the Father in an act of sanctifying whatever we do as an active offering in our daily life and returning it to God who has given us life. We are all a part of the Royal Priesthood.

The beautiful tradition of the annual blessing of homes by Orthodox Christians brings this act of offering and blessing to the very place where we live.  The blessing of homes shows forth this central sign of God’s sanctification of all things through Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan and His manifestation to the world.

The Christian home in the Orthodox understanding is imagined as a “small church.” As we gather as the Body of Christ to receive His Body and Blood at the Divine Liturgy, we also gather in our homes to receive our “daily bread.” We gather at our family table where we give thanks to God in the Name of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit for this day, this meal, this family, this life. 

We live most of the time of our life in our homes, as children in the home of our parents, as adults in our own home, and it is in the home that we work out most of our salvation. Thus the blessing or sanctification of the home is central as we connect that which we “do” in Church with what we “do” in our little church, the home. 

During Church services on the eve of Theophany we bless Holy Water. This water is then carried home by the faithful. It is used throughout the year to bless and sanctify in time of need. This Theophany touchstone of the Incarnate Christ symbolizes Him touching the created world and sanctifying it. We bring this water, not only as the essential element of life for man, but as sanctified waters revealing to us the essential eternal life that Christ freely offers to man by His birth and epiphany as the Savior of the world. 

We bring this Holy Water, this sanctifying presence of God to where we live and the priest comes and blesses where we live. The priest brings Christ to where we work out our salvation and, as it were, “re” plants Him in our midst - Christ is in our Midst - so that we may live another year in his Presence in a consecrated home dedicated to God and to His service.

The short but deeply spiritual service of the blessing of the home at Theophany asks of God to bring peace and His blessing Presence to all the members of the household. It is not easy to live an Orthodox Christian life each day. We need God’s help to carry on and not give up. We can’t do this alone, we need God and we need one another. Thus everyone in the household comes together and prays together for the living and the dead of the family, and all who live and have lived in the house. We all sing the hymn of salvation and process from room to room while the priest blesses the home. The liturgical act of processing first greets us at our own entry into the Church at Baptism, again at the Sacrament of Marriage, at Holy Ordinations. This movement makes present our sojourn in this life and we are called to move toward the Kingdom of God, already made present in the Church. So we process through our homes bringing again the sanctifying presence of God in the sprinkling of the Holy Water. In truth, man is forgetful and such reminders are necessary to keep us oriented and focused on God.

Traditions of the ceremony differ according to local custom, but these general guidelines should are observed. A candle with an icon and a shallow bowl with some holy water should be  placed in a suitable place, such as kitchen or dining room table, or a home  altar. A list of first names for whom prayers are to be offered, including members of the family and all those living in the house. The list should have a clear  distinction between the living and the dead. When the priest comes, all who are present in the house gather around the icon with the candle and offer their voices to God in the celebration of the service. 

In the act of opening our homes to the priest who comes to make Christ present in our home, we are also opening our life to Christ and inviting Him to be with us. It is in the opening of ourselves to Christ that we have the opportunity to become more, each day, little by little, with much effort and sacrifice, the person God knows we can be and created us to be.

It is not by chance that the Feast of Theophany comes just a few weeks before we begin our most intense period of personal reflection and assessment as Orthodox Christians, the time of the Great Fast or Great Lent. In the opening of our homes at Theophany we signal, as it were, a first new opening to Christ who is knocking at the door of our hearts. We invite the priest into our homes to make a personal contact with us where we live and, by God’s grace and our cooperation with Him, to open up more of our hearts and life to Christ during the Great Fast as we prepare for His glorious and saving Pascha.

Let us all again invite Christ into our homes during the Theophany season and ask Him to sanctify our “little churches” and the church of our heart and be that much more personally in us as we strive to make God present in the words we speak, the actions we take, and the way we live every day God gives us as His stewards.

Glory to God for all things!

Fr Joseph

  Powered by Orthodox Web Solutions Home Back Top