St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA
- Who We Are
- Parish Life
- Calendar & Schedule of Events
- Schedule of Services
- Biographies of Serving Clergy
- Parish Council Information
- Pictures of Parish Life
- Tour of the Church & Explanation of Icons
- Testimonies from Parishioners
- Useful Information
- Sacraments Policies
- Guidelines for Prayer Life
- Fasting Guidelines
- Church Etiquette
- Guidelines for Memorial Services, (Trisagion Prayers for the Departed)
- Guidelines for Reading the Epistle
- Guidelines for Reading the Bible (Church Lectionary of Daily Readings)
- Thoughts/ Guidelines for Alms- Giving
- Photo Gallery
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES 2011
On Memorial Day, Monday May 30 2011, St. Mary’s held its annual Memorial Day Service in the parish cemetery. The Trisagion Service was sung by Father David and Deacon John in memory of the parish’s war dead, as well as all the reposed buried in the parish cemetery and all the family and friends of the people of St. Mary. Following the Trisagion Service, Retired Master Sergeant Neno Sartini presided over the civil military service during which the flag was raised, Taps played, a 21 Gun Salute was offered, and the memorial bell rung in honor of the war dead commemorated on the WW II Memorial Stone. After the service was finished, family members gathered to pray at the graves of their reposed that they may have Memory Eternal.
FATHERS' DAY CELEBRATION 2011
To honor all the fathers, grand-fathers, uncles and god-fathers of St. Mary’s there was a special sermon given in honor of the fathers by Father David, the priest of St. Mary’s. During the coffee hour the fathers had a special meal prepared by the women of the church and photographs of many of them were taken by Kh. Anne to honor them on their special day.
MOTHERS' DAY CELEBRATION 2011
On Mothers’ Day 2011 the community of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church honored all the mothers of the church. Father David preached on the role of mothers and at the end of the Divine Liturgy each mothers was given a flower. Then a breakfast was served in the parish hall. The teens of the parish served the food and the men of the parish cooked the food in honor of their mothers and wives. It was a special day for all the women of the community.
CHRISTMAS AT ST. MARY ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH 2010
Early in December the Seniors of St. Mary held their annual pre-Christmas Luncheon. More than 20 seniors gathered at Kazimi’s Restaurant in Kingston. There was a festive family-style meal followed by the giving of Christmas gifts. After the meal all present posed for several group pictures.
On Sunday December 5th St. Nicholas visited the children of St. Mary. Father David gave a children’s sermon in which he showed the children an icon with the events of the life of St. Nicholas and then told them about the gifts of three bags of gold which St. Nicholas gave to a poor man for his daughters. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the children sang the song, “All who love Nicholas the saintly…”, after which St. Nicholas came and gave the children the traditional gifts of gold coins, an orange and a candy cane.
On Tuesday December 14th the Women of St. Mary’s gathered for a pre-Christmas dinner at Kazimi’s Restaurant. The women enjoyed the meal and were entertained by the chorus from a local high school which sang many different Christmas songs. After the meal the women had a gift exchange and then posed for pictures with the women from their tables.
On Sunday December 19th several of the children spoke at the end of the Divine Liturgy about the meaning of Christmas. All were touched as they spoke about events in their lives and how Christmas is so important for them. After each child spoke the entire community joined in singing a Christmas carol.
IN HONOR OF THE VETERANS 2010
On Sunday November 14, 2010 there was a special breakfast following the Divine Liturgy to honor all Veterans for Veterans’ Day. The Italian-American Veterans were the special guests for the breakfast. During the program the children of the parish led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and then sang some patriotic songs to honor the veterans. These were followed by the meal. After the meal there were some words spoken to honor veterans and to thank them for their service to the country. The Italian-Americans Veterans also offered a gift to St. Mary Orthodox Church. The food was enjoyed by all and it was a special day to thank all those who have served their country in the armed forces. At the end of the celebration a group photograph was taken of many of the veterans present for the occasion.
FATHERS' DAY CELEBRATION
On Fathers’ Day, June 20, 2010, there was a special Brunch during the Coffee Hour following the Divine Liturgy to honor all the Fathers of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church. During the Divine Liturgy Father David gave a special sermon speaking of the importance of our fathers in our lives and what fathers contribute in the lives of their families. The women prepared special food and some of the children gave each of the fathers a blue carnation as they entered the parish hall. During the meal pictures were taken of several of the fathers and at the end of the celebration one of the younger parishioners sang a song in honor of all the fathers present. It was a special day to honor all the men of the parish and wish them Many Years.
MEMORIAL DAY 2010
On Memorial Day, May 31, 2010, special services were held in St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Cemetery. There was a Trisagion service for the reposed veterans, as well as for all the reposed in the cemetery, and all family and friends reposed. Following that there was a lowering of the flag to half staff and the National Anthem. The Ashley American Legion Color Guard gave a Rifle Salute which was followed by Taps. Retired Master Sergent Neno gave a speech about the contributions of Veterans, as well as did Deacon John, also a veteran. After the service Father David went to graves with family members to pray Memory Departed for individual family members buried in St. Mary’s Orthodox Cemetery.
MOTHERS' DAY 2010
On Sunday May 9 St. Mary’s had a special Breakfast honoring all the mothers of the parish, as well as grand-mothers, aunts, godmothers, and special caregivers. It was a day to remember all the special women of the parish. Each woman was given a carnation, and then commemorated in the Divine Liturgy. After the Liturgy there was a breakfast served by some of the youth of the parish. A small program was held in honor of the mothers. During the meal photos were taken of some of the mothers with their children.
ACTIVITIES FOR CHRISTMAS
During the pre-Christmas season of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ, there were a variety of events at St. Mary. On the 6th of December, St. Nicholas visited the children and teens of St. Mary, and then in the parish hall there was a special breakfast honoring the 80 and 90 year olds of the parish. Some of these seniors posed for a prepatory photo. At the end of the breakfast some 40 seniors were honored as their names were called and they received a gift icon. The Senior Citizens group has a pre-Christmas dinner, as well as the Ladies of St. Mary’s. The children also had a program on the Sunday before Christmas in which they read the Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ and led the congregation in the singing of some Christmas carols.
Veterans honored at St. Mary's
Following the Divine Liturgy there was a special celebration and breakfast to honor all the Veterans of St. Mary Orthodox Church and all of the members of the Italian-American veterans of Luzerne County. The children led the Pledge of Allegiance and sang God Bless America. All enjoyed the special breakfast which the men of the church prepared and the teens and young adults served. After the breakfast all the veterans gathered for a group photo standing under the Flag in front of the Church Hall.
JOHN AND SYLVIA MORRASH CELEBRATE THEIR 60TH ANNIVERSARY WITH AN ANNIVERSARY CROWNING SERVICE
At the end of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday May 31, 2009, John and Sylvia Morrash celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary with their family and the people of St. Mary with an Anniversary Crowning Service. All the community of St. Mary congratulated them and wished them Many Years. It was a special opportunity to recognize these two people who have contributed so much to St. Mary’s and to wish them all the blessings of God.
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICES AT ST. MARY ORTHODOX CEMETERY
On Memorial Day, May 25, the parish community came to St. Mary Orthodox Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day Services. Father David served the Trisagion Service for alll the war dead, as well as all the reposed parishioners and their families and friends. Master Sargent Retired Neno Sartino presided over the civil ceremonies with a talk given by Deacon John Karam, the National Anthem sung by Amber Hyder, taps, a memorial bell ringing by John Hyder, and the Ashley Veterans Organization with a 21 gun salute. It was a day full of prayer and remembrance for all the reposed parishioners, family and friends of those who gathered for the service.
MOTHERS' DAY PROGRAM
On Mothers’ Day there was a special breakfast and program to honor all the mothers, grand-mothers, aunts and god-mothers of St. Mary’s. The teens gave flowers to each woman and also served the breakfast which was coordinated by Suanne Moses. Several of the men, led by Andy Kuhl and Drew Mamary, cooked the meal so that the women could be honored. At the end of the meal the children put on a program to honor all mothers.
CHET & RUTH CHRZANOWSKI RECEIVE CROWNING FOR THEIR 65TH ANNIVERSARY
On Sunday, March 22, Chet and Ruth receive the Holy Crowning to celebrate the 65th anniversary of their marrage. It was a special time for their family and the entire parish. Their original Crowning took place in a small service at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre, when the couple eloped to be married secretly since it was not common practice for a Syrian girl to marry a Polish boy. Their marriage was, however, quickly accepted by their families and they both are well-beloved members of St. Mary’s and of their large families.
Childrens' Christmas Pageant
On Sunday, December 21, 2008, the children and teens of St. Mary had their annual Christmas Pageant under the leadership of the Church School teachers. The children read the story of Christ’s Nativity and sang songs in honor of the birth of the Lord. Each child read a part of the Nativity Account and then led in the singing of Christmas songs. Prior to the presentation, the Women of St. Mary lit six candles on the wreath in preparation for the Birth of the Lord, as they had been doing over the previous five weeks, lighting one more candle each week in preparation for the Great Feast.
WOMEN'S CHRISTMAS PARTY
On Tuesday, December 9, 2008, the Ladies of St. Mary had their annual pre-Christmas party. The women joined together for a meal at Kazimi’s Restuarant and at the end of the meal had an exchange of gifts. During the exchange, the women either took a gift from a table or a gift from another woman. Some of the gifts were taken many times from one woman after another. At the end some Christmas Carol were sung. A good evening was had by all the 40 women who came for the party.
Saint Nicholas visits the children of St. Mary's Orthodox Church
On Sunday December 7, 2008, Saint Nicholas visited the children of St. Mary’s at the end of the Divine Liturgy. During the sermon Father David spoke to the children about the life and deeds of St. Nicholas. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, as the children were singing the song “All who love Nicholas the saintly” Saint Nicholas came and gave the children the traditional gifts of gold coins, an orange and a candy cane. He spoke to the children about he importance of being helpful and obedient in their families and of the importance caring for one another.
Quote of the Holy Fathers
A brother went to see Abba Silvanus on the mountain of Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard he said to the old man, “Do not labor for the food which perishes (John 6:27). Mary has chosen the better part (Luke 10:42).” The old man said to his disciple, “Zacharias, give the brother a book and put him in a cell without anything else.” So when the ninth hour came the visitor watched the door expecting someone would be sent to call him to the meal. When no one called him, he got up, went to find the old man and said to him, “Have the brothers not eaten today?” The old man replied that they had. Then he said, “Why did you not call me?” The old man said to him, “Because you are a spiritual man and do not need that kind of food. We, being carnal, want to eat, and that is why we work. But you have chosen the good portion and read the whole day long and you do not want to eat carnal food.” When he heard these words the brother made a prostration saying, “Forgive me, Abba.” The old man said to him, “Mary needs Martha. It is really thanks to Martha that Mary is praised.”
It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.
St. John of Damascus (8th century)
It is necessary to establish a pattern of going to church as often as possible, usually to Matins, Liturgy and Vespers. Have a longing for this, and go there at the first opportunity and if you can, stay without leaving. Our church is heaven on earth. Hasten to church with the faith that it is a place where God dwells, where He Himself promised to quickly hear prayers. Standing in church, be as if you are standing before God in fear and reverence, which you express through patience, prostrations, and attention to the services without wandering thoughts.
Saint Theophan the Recluse (19th century)
The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.
Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (4th century)