Welcome to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church!
Do you love God and desire a deeper union in Him through Christ? Are you moved by the beauty of traditional architecture, iconography, and liturgy? Do you love to experience warm, family-friendly fellowship, to hear good music and Christ-centered preaching, to participate in enriching adult education and to offer the same to your children? If so, then "Come and See" us! We are a parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA under the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and our doors and hearts are open to you and your family! Our church follows the Julian (Old) Calendar. All Orthodox Christians are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Blessed Sacraments of Repentance and Eucharist.
We are located at 1301 Newport Avenue in Northampton, Pennsylvania.
DAILY LITURGICAL CALENDAR, SCRIPTURE READINGS AND MENAION
Friday, 13 (31 Dec.) January
Leave-taking of the Nativity.
Ven. Melania the Younger, nun, of Rome (439).
St. Peter Mohyla, metropolitan of Kyiv (1647).
Heb. 11, 8, 11-16 Mk. 12, 1-12
5:00 p.m. Festal Vespers
Saturday, 14 (1st) January
THE CIRCUMCISION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Saturday before Theophany.
St. Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesaraea in Cappadocia (379).
Martyr Basil of Ancyra (362).
St. Emelia, mother of St. Basil the Great (375).
1 Tim. 3, 14 – 4, 5 Mt. 3, 1-11
8:30 a.m. Third & Sixth Hours
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy
5:00 p.m. Great Vespers
Sunday, 15 (2nd) January
30th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone 5
Sunday before Theophany.
8:30 a.m. Third & Sixth Hours
Holy Mystery of Repentance
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy
31st Week after Pentecost.
Monday, 16 (3rd) January
Forefeast of Theophany
Prophet Malachi (400 B.C.).
Heb. 11, 17-23, 27-31 Mk. 12, 13-17
Tuesday, 17 (4th) January
Forefeast of Theophany
Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles.
Ven. Aquila, deacon of the Kyiv Caves (XIV cent.).
Heb. 12, 25-26; 13, 22-25 Mk. 12, 18-27
Wednesday, 18 (5th) January Fast Day
The Eve of Theophany
Martyr Theopemptus, bishop of Nicomedia (303).
1 Cor. 9, 19-27 Lk. 3, 1-18
9:00 a.m. Vespers & Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
5:00 p.m. Great Compline
Thursday, 19 (6th) January
THE HOLY THEOPHANY OF OUR LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD.
Titus, 2, 11-14; 3, 4-7 Mt. 3, 13-17
8:30 a.m. Third & Sixth Hours
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy
Great Blessing of Waters
Friday, 20 (7th) January Fast Day: Fish
Post-feast of Theophany
Synaxis of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John.
Jas. 2, 1-13 Mk. 13, 1-8
Saturday, 21 (8th) January
Saturday after Theophany.
Post-feast of Theophany.
Venn. George the Chozebite, abbot (VII cent.) and St. Emilian, bishop of Cyzicus (IX cent.).
Ven. Gregory, wonderworker of the Kyiv Caves (1093).
Ven. Gregory, hermit of the Kyiv Caves (XIV cent.)
Eph. 6, 10-17 Mt. 4, 1-11
9:00 a.m. Parastas: +Vladimir Zarayko (Rita & John Pavlick)
5:00 p.m. Great Vespers
Sunday, 22 (9th) January
31st Sunday after Pentecost. Tone 6
8:30 a.m. Third & Sixth Hours
Holy Mystery of Repentance
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy
"When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy" ~ Matthew 2:10 Christ is born! Glorify him!
The Holy Nativity Fast
Every year with great joy our Orthodox Church prepares Her faithful for the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Holy Hierarch of Christ’s Church, St. John Chrysostom, says: ”The day of the Nativity of Christ is the most important of all the feasts, because it is the mother of all feasts. If there was no Nativity, there would be no Resurrection”. In accordance with the typicon of the church, the Nativity of Christ is preceded by a forty-day fast, known among our people as “Pylypiwka” (“St. Philip’s Fast”). Thus the church typicon regards the Nativity of Christ as a second Pascha, and as the faithful prepare themselves for Pascha by prayer and fasting, so the Nativity Fast is for us Christians a time of preparation for the coming of our Saviour into the world. St. Simeon of Thessalonica writes: “This 40-day fast is similar to the fast of Moses, who fasted 40 days and nights and received the tablets with God’s Commandments. We fast 40 days and receive the living Word of God, incarnated from the Virgin, and we commune of His Body”.
The Holy Nativity Fast in our Orthodox Church begins on the 28th of November, on the day after the commemoration of the Holy Apostle Philip, and so has the name “Pylypiwka” (“Philip’s Fast”). Venerable Anastasius of Sinai in his writings says that the Nativity Fast is of apostolic origin, and relates the following tradition about the Holy Apostle Philip: “The Holy Apostle Philip, before his martyric death, asked God to punish his tormentors. Because of this it was revealed to him that he himself, as punishment for this request, would not be able to enter paradise until forty days had passed following his death. And so St. Philip entreated the other apostles to fast on his behalf for forty days, and the apostles instructed all the faithful to fast for forty days”. The Nativity Fast for us Christians and for all the faithful of the Church of Christ is a symbol of the prayer and fasting of the old-testament patriarchs and prophets, who with great longing awaited the advent on earth of the Messiah Christ.
The Nativity Fast has at its foundation deep spiritual meaning, because it prepares us Christians for the appearance of God on earth. And in general fasting, as means of spiritual perfection, was known to humanity from the time of the first people who lived on earth. The prohibition to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the earthly paradise of Eden – this was a spiritual foreshadowing of our Christian fasting, where, by means of the taming of the flesh, a person may attain their own spiritual perfection. The Fast is a promise of spiritual growth for a Christian. We can say with confidence that mankind always obtained benefit from fasting and from the most ancient times had consciousness of the fact that a pure fast brings a person great physical and spiritual benefit. In accordance with the teaching of the Church, bodily fasting should absolutely be accompanied by spiritual fasting. Let us remember that the time of the Nativity Fast which we are now entering is a time of spiritual warfare for each one of us, in which both the soul and the body participate. The soul takes part by way of more zealous prayer, sincere repentance, and the true fulfilment of the Christian virtues. There can be no spiritual fast without the mortification of the flesh. St. Basil the Great writes: “As much as you deprive the flesh, this is how much you add luster and spiritual health to your soul. For it is not by the increase of physical strength in our bodies, but through the endurance of the soul and patience in difficult circumstances that we gain strength against the unseen enemies”. As well, a true fast strengthens our health, constrains the flesh, cleanses our soul, and leads us to God. Fasting gives us spiritual wings, by means of which we Christians are victorious over satan’s wiles and spiritually rise up to the heavens. The Lord speaks to us through fasting, He teaches us humility and holiness. May Love to our Lord, Jesus Christ, be an inspiring power, so that this yearwe might in a proper way observe this Nativity Fast and prepare our souls and hearts to worthily greet the feast of the Nativity of Christ.
With Archpastoral Blessings,
YURIJ, Metropolitan Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
ANTONY, Metropolitan Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora
IOAN, Archbishop Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora
JEREMIAH, Archbishop Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Brazil and South America
ILARION, Bishop Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
ANDRIY, Bishop Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
DANIEL, Bishop Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Many Americans have expressed dismay over the phenomenon of "Christmas Creep", where decorations and carols begin to appear earlier and earlier every year (especially in stores). This doesn't happen in traditional Ukrainian culture, where the season has very definite start and end date. And unlike the American tradition, the celebratory season starts on Christmas Day! See link below:
Archpastoral Letter on Philip's Fast
REFLECTIONS ON PYLYPIVKA ST. PHILIP’S FAST 2016
All great things in life must be prepared for—we human beings can’t just casually “walk up to” significant events without readying ourselves for them. In the Secular world the Shopping Seasons is at hand. Some people will spend it jostling for bargains; others will pass the time lamenting the commercialization of Christmas. The Orthodox Church, on the other hand, encourages her faithful to prepare for the Great Feast of the Nativity of our Lord by fasting – serious but joyful preparation season. Once again, presently we have formally arrived to the time of year made sacred because of our preparation for the solemn commemoration of the Nativity/Incarnation of the Only-Begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is a time of pilgrimage, a spiritual journey which began on 15/28 November and lasts for 40 days and focuses attention on personal renewal based on not a minimal observance of the Orthodox Christian lifestyle, but on attention to quality and excellence in following the life-giving Gospel.
Pylypivka – St. Philip’s Fast, which calls for renewal by reflecting on the Person of Jesus Christ and the miracle wrought by His Nativity/Incarnation, can very easily be overshadowed and even buried by concerns, which, if not bridled, can plague and distract many of us during the holy season.
For those of us who adhere to the Orthodox faith and Order embraced by the Blessed Ol’ha and the Venerable Prince Volodymyr of Kyiv and who appreciate the richness of the heritage, which binds us to Kyivan Rus’ – Ukraine’s venerable past and challenging present, Pylypivka 2016 is the time to stand up among those who seek and proclaim Christ, as did our forefathers. We proclaim Christ the Only Begotten Son of the Father, born of Mary through the Holy Spirit, Christ the True Light shining brightly from the holy cave in Bethlehem and from the Holy Tables of our parish churches. For us, Pylypivka 2016 is the time to “let our light so shine before men, that they might see the good works and give glory to our Father Who is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is the Father, Whose Beloved Son “loves those who are just and shows mercy to those who are hardened in sin.” (Prayer of the First Hours)
May He, who so loved the world that He sent His Only-Begotten Son to be our Lord and Savior, assist us in our resolve to mature and be nourished by the word of Truth and Life-giving mysteries.
May we grow and mature in faith as Ukrainian Orthodox Christians so that others, having witnessed the faith manifested in our personal lives and in our parish communities, will be drawn to Christ and, like the shepherds of Bethlehem, will glorify and praise God for all that they have seen and heard through us.
The official Instagram account of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA: https://www.instagram.com/uocofusa/
"Protection of the Mother of God" by Fr. Myron Oryhon
, Allentown, PA
"O Mother of God, sheltered by Thy coming /
we faithful people today keep feast in joy, /
and looking at Thy most pure image, /
moved to the depths of our hearts, we say: /
Protect us with Thy precious Veil /
and deliver us from every ill, /
by entreating Christ, Thy Son and our God, /
to save our souls."
(Tropar in tone 4 - Protection of the Mother of God)
Early one morning, two sisters were getting ready for school, as one sister walked out of her room with one pillow on her back and one pillow on her chest. Her sister asked, “why do you have pillows on you?” “Well,” she said, “the pillow on my chest is to protect from all the boys that will break my heart. And the pillow on my back is to protect me from all the friends that will stab me in the back."
We all have, at one time or another, felt like that sister who needed protection from the hurts and pains of our earthly life. The same was for the residents of Constantinople in the early tenth century (c. 911 A.D.), as they were under siege from pre-Christian Slavs. Threatened, overwhelmed and full of fear, the inhabitants of Constantinople turned to prayer. The people were able to assemble in the Church of the Mother of God at Vlakherna (Blachernae) where a relic; of the veil of the Virgin Mary was kept for veneration. During the all-night vigil service, Righteous Andrew fool-for-Christ, saw a vision of the Mother of God carrying her veil which she stretched out over the city and all the people. It was beneath her protection that all could come for refuge. Accounts vary as to how the siege ended, however the faithful believed that the Lord, through the prayers of His Most Holy Mother, had preserved their city from certain destruction.
One might say, "nice story, Father, but what meaning does it have for me 1100 years later?" This feast reminds us that, like the Orthodox faithful who have come before us, we are to remember and cherish the good things that have been done for us. The Divine Liturgy is a wonderful example of how we are to work together in the corporate nature of prayer. Praying not only with those who are standing next to us but with the countless millions who who have returned to the earth from which they were taken.
The universe is made up of two parts, spiritual and physical, and we stand at the edge of these two worlds. The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God shows us the union of these two worlds. The miracle of this feast is that it was witnessed by the faithful and it was made visible to the human eye. It is a reminder to us that the Mother of God and all the saints are so close to us that they pray together with us in our churches.
We must remember that if we are to witness this vision we must shake off our blindness that comes from the darkness from within. If we have a revulsion against things, it is so often from the way in which we are centered on ourselves and can not look with serenity, with a purity of heart. Ultimately, we see not only with our physical eyes which convey to us impressions, but with a heart that can see God only when it is pure. We see not only God in His mysterious being, but God in His presence through grace and beauty and blessings such as the miracle of the Protection of the Mother of God. Saint Isaac the Syrian says, "that a person who has got a clear eye and a pure heart does no longer see the darkness in the world because this darkness is superseded by the shining of the divine grace at work and resting on all things, however dark they may appear".
The Holy Orthodox Spiritual Mothers and Fathers tell us plainly that the saints see everything as holy. They say that only the sinful see the sins of others. What strange statements. How counter-intuitive! But what this means is that the holy see the deepest realities. With their enlightened senses they look with compassion on everything and see things as they really are, such as the sojourner who was delighted with all things. If we are not yet able to see like that, to the essential heart of things, then we know we are far from where we want to be.
Let us be vigilant to see with purity, to interpret with purity of heart and to act with love. Then we shall be able to see freely the divine light shining on the world and in the world. In this manner we can better love, serve, and be part of the world which God given us.
All of us are capable of ascending the heights of holiness. This is God's promise for everyone, His help is assured, whether or not we succeed, depends entirely on us. Amen.
Read about the ministry of a deacon in the Orthodox Church: http://goodguyswearblack.org/2015/05/05/the-ministry-of-the-deacon-in-the-orthodox-church/
See our church pictures of Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Pascha here at http://uocofusa.org/news_150415_1.html
See pictures taken during Holy Week at http://holyassumption.org/public/sv/gallery.php?ssid=33
“Lent after Lent” and “Life after Pascha”
Fr. Steven Kostoff
April 23, 2014
Christ is risen!
Recently, I posed a question to the faithful of our parish: Is there life after Pascha? Another question has formed in my mind this morning: Is there Lent after Lent? Before proceeding any further, I need to offer two points of clarification: 1.) I apologize if I just happened to unsettle anyone with the frightening prospect of another immediate lenten period, and 2.) I am not a “lent freak!” My purpose in asking “Is there Lent after Lent?” is meant to pose a challenge. Is there anything spiritually fruitful that we began to do – or anything spiritually unfruitful that we ceased to do – during Great Lent that we can carry over with us into the paschal season and beyond? Are we able to establish some genuine consistency in our ecclesial lives? Surely this is one of the most important elements in nurturing a holistic approach to our Faith. If I am not mistaken, a real temptation that exists once Great Lent is over is to return to “life as usual,” as if Great Lent is at best a pious interlude during which we act more “religiously” and at worst a period of specific rules that are meant to be more-or-less mechanically observed out of a sense of obligation. This undermines the whole reality of repentance at its core, and drives us back into the dubious practice of the religious compartmentalization of our lives. Great Lent is over – now what?
I am not even sure just how healthy it is to assess and analyze our Lenten efforts. Great Lent is a “school of repentance,” but this does not mean that we are to grade ourselves upon its completion. However, there are a number of things we can ask ourselves.
• Did I practice prayer, charity and fasting in a more responsible, regular, and consistent manner?
• Did I make a point of reading the Scriptures with the same care and consistency?
• Did I participate in the liturgical services with greater regularity?
• Did I watch over my language and gestures, or my words and actions, on an over-all basis with greater vigilance?
• Did I make a breakthrough in overcoming any specific “passions” or other manifestations of sinful living?
• Did I work on establishing any broken relationships?
• Did I simply give more of myself to Christ?
• Did I come to love Christ even more as I prostrated myself in faith before His life-giving Cross and tomb?
Then why not continue? Not to continue is to somehow fail to actualize in our lives the renewal and restoration of our human nature that definitively occurred through the Cross and Resurrection. Appropriating the fruits of Christ’s redemptive Death and life-giving Resurrection is essential for our self-designation as Christians.
In other words, can we carry the “spirit” of Lent (and some of its practices) with us outside of Lent? In this way, we are no longer “keeping Lent” but simply practicing our Faith with the vigilance it requires. We still must fast (on the appropriate days), pray and give alms. We still need to nourish ourselves with the Holy Scriptures. We must continue to wage “warfare against the passions” that are always threatening to engulf us. We need to deepen our love for Christ so that is surpasses any other commitment based on love in our lives. Or, have we doomed ourselves to being intense in the practice of our Faith for a short, predetermined length of time, and then pay “lip service” to, or offer token observance of, the Christian life until next year? In a rather unfortunate twist, Great Lent can work against us when we reduce it to such a limited purpose. Great Lent is the designated time of year meant to get us “back on track” so as to live more consciously Christian lives because certain circumstances and our weaknesses often work against us. It is the “example” rather than the “exception” if properly understood. In other areas of life, do we simply abandon good practices – in matters of health, let us say – because a designated period of testing or observing these good practices has come to an end?
Today may be a good day to reawaken to the glorious gift of life offered to us in the Church. One week from today—on Wednesday, April 30—we will return to our usual pattern of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, as the initial glow of Pascha slowly recedes. I would suggest that this may be one of the most difficult days of fasting in the entire year. It is very hard to reestablish a discipline temporarily suspended with the paschal celebration. Yet, in many ways, we are returning to “life as usual,” even in the Church, but that is a “way of life” directed by the wisdom of the Church toward our salvation and as a witness to the world. Let us take the “best of Lent” and continue with it throughout the days of our lives.
“Lent after Lent” means that there is “Life after Pascha.”
See http://uocofusa.org/news_141124_2.html for the entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple
See pictures of His Eminence Metropolitan ANTONY and elevation of Deacon Mychail Sawarynski to rank of Protodeacon in the Holy Orthodox Church at http://avmocnpa.orthodoxws.com/pictures.html
Click on this link to see pictures of the Holy Land Pilgrimage with Bishop Daniel, Kathy Crayosky, Linda and Michael Tilson, and 20+ pilgrims!: Sacred Holy Land Pilgrimage 2014 at http://uocofusa.org/news_141112_1.html!
Five Powerful Sayings of the Fathers
1. St. John Chrysostom on Scripture
“The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
2. St. Nektarios of Aegina on Faith
“Christian religion is not a certain philosophic system, about which learned men, trained in metaphysical studies, argue and then either espouse or reject, according to the opinion each one has formed. It is faith, established in the souls of men, which ought to be spread to the many and be maintained in their consciousnesses.”
3. Elder Cleopa of Sihastria on the Cross
“Do not do anything without signing yourself with the sign of the Cross! When you depart on a journey, when you begin your work, when you go to study, when you are alone, and when you are with other people, seal yourself with the Holy Cross on your forehead, your body, your chest, your heart, your lips, your eyes, your ears. All of you should be sealed with the sign of Christ’s victory over hell. Then you will no longer be afraid of charms, evil spirits, or sorcery, because these are dissolved by the power of the Cross like wax before fire and like dust before the wind.”
4. St. John of Kronstadt on the Saints
“What does the daily invocation of the saints signify — of different ones each day, during the whole year, and during our whole life? It signifies that God’s saints — as our brethren, but perfect — live, and are near us, ever ready to help us, by the grace of God. We live together with them in the house of our Heavenly Father, only in different parts of it. We live in the earthly, they in the heavenly half; but we can converse with them, and they with us. God’s saints are near to the believing heart, and are ready in a moment to help those who call upon them with faith and love.”
5. St. Seraphim of Sarov on Christian Homes
“Neither do walls or rich furniture make a home. Millionaires in magnificent mansions may never know a home. But where there are good relationships, where love binds the family together and to God, there happiness is always to be found. For good relationships are heaven anywhere.”
Go to pictures to see Paschal service procession and food blessing.
Go to pictures to see Clergy at the Service of Orthodoxy in St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church on Sunday March 9, 2014.
Read about the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ at http://www.uocofusa.org/news_131219_4.html
Read the Paschal Encyclical of the Permanent Conference of Bishops at http://ukrainianorthodoxchurchusa.org/news_130429_8.html
Matthew 25:35-36, 40
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me . . . as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
See pictures tab for 1) videos of 2014 Theophany Eve Shchedryj Vechir 2) St. Nicholas program at http://avmocnpa.orthodoxws.com/pictures.html
Go to the Weekly Bulletin Tab for DAILY LITURGICAL CALENDAR, SCRIPTURE READINGS AND MENAION for the current week.
XPYCTOC BOCKREC – BOICTYNU BOCKPEC!
XPYCTOC AHECTI – ALITHOC ANECTI!
CHRIST IS RISEN – INDEED HE IS RISEN!
Hear "Christ is Risen" in several languages on YouTube:
Part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vofvMRYCg_c
Part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SynvdFT-rqU