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During Great Lent of 2020 the COVID 19 pandemic has closed many of our churches completely and left others doing services with only a priest and deacon/reader.

Since Orthodoxy literally sings it liturgies, we are posting beautiful hymns and thoughtful reflections on this page and updating them frequently.

11 28 2021 Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge, MA

Dear Parish Family:
The readings for Sunday November 28, 2021 are below. The sermon is based on the gospel (The Healing of the Bent-over Woman).
Link to today’s Divine Liturgy:

11 14 2021 Meditations on the Gospel for the Day (The Good Samaritan)

Dear Parish Family, Because we closed the church today as a precaution against a possible (but very unlikely) Covid breakthrough event we have no liturgy. Instead, I've created a meditation on the gospel for today. We fully expect to be back in Church next week.
Link to mediation here:

11 07 2021 Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA
Today's sermon, "Miracles, Freedom, and Faith", focuses on the mystery of freedom, our freedom to choose rightly or wrongly, what and Who we put our faith in and our ability to perceive and receive the miraculous in our lives.
Link to today’s Liturgy is:

10 31 2021Sunday Divine Liturgy St Niholas Southbridge MA

The sermon today revisits the theme of faith and action. How do we preach the gospel in a world that doesn't want to hear it?

Link to our liturgy today:

10 24 2021 Sunday Divine Liturgy St Nicholas , Southbridge, MA
The sermon today, “They will not believe”, is based on today’s gospel reading. It focuses on the enormous capacity we have as human beings to use our freedom to disbelieve in the face of even the greatest signs and miracles—the greatest among them the resurrection from the dead.
Link to Liturgy and sermon:

09 26 2021 Sunday Liturgy St Nicholas Southbridge MA
Today's sermon, "The call to be fishers for "men"", follows the gospel account of the miraculous haul of fish that Peter and his companions took in when the Lord told them to cast their nets at what everyone knew was the wrong time of day....
Link to today’s Liturgy and sermon:

09 19 2021 Sunday After the Exaltation of the Cross

The sermon today, "The Way of the Cross", focuses on embracing the cross as the only true way to freedom.
Link to today’s liturgy and sermon:

08 29 2021 Sunday Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA (Beheading of St John the Baptist)

Today’s sermon, “Herod or Paul”, is based on the Epistle for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost and the Gospel for the Commemoration of the Beheading of St John the Baptist. Herod is a tragic figure. He heard the Baptist’s preaching gladly, though he was perplexed about the meaning of what was said. When his wife’s daughter asked him for the Baptist’s head on a platter, he was appalled but had him executed so as not to be embarrassed in front of his guests. His heart desired the Kingdom of God but his lust for power overcame that desire. St Paul, on the other hand, fought against Christ and His Kingdom, but was converted. He endured constant humiliation for the gospel and persisted to the end. Most of us experience both Herod and Paul in our lives—often in the course of single day. We desire God’s Kingdom, but we are also pulled by the desires of this world—for power or wealth or carnal passion. How can we handle this “war in the flesh”, as St Paul alludes to elsewhere?

Link today’s liturgy and sermon:

Announcement:  The Church will be closed next Sunday, September 5. We will return on Sunday, September 12.

08 15 2021 Dormition Sunday Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge, MA

The sermon today, "Martha and Mary", is based on the gospel reading for the feast day. It focuses on the need to know when to listen and when to act, which is why Jesus said that "Mary has chosen the better part.”.  Jesus loved both Martha and Mary deeply. Together with their brother Lazarus they were the Lord’s best friends outside of the apostles themselves. The dynamic of the relationship between the sisters is one that almost everyone can relate to. When should we be “Martha” and when should we be “Mary”? When should we listen and when should we act?

Link to Liturgy and Sermon:

ANNOUNCEMENT: St Nicholas will be closed next Sunday, August 22. We will return on Sunday August 29

Sunday August 8, 2021 St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge, MA

The sermon today, "...In so far as they could bear it", is based on the Troparian and readings for the Feast of the Transfiguration (August 6). The hymn declares that Christ revealed His divine glory on Mt. Tabor to his closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) to the greatest degree that they could bear. The images of the Lord's clothes blazing "white as the light" while his face “shone like the sun” are powerful signs of His divinity and also of His mercy. The disciples are confused and frightened, falling on the faces in terror when they hear the voice of God declare, “This is My beloved son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”. They were brought to extreme edge of what they could “bear” so that they would remember that even before His death and resurrection He has shown them clearly Who He is.  
How God reveals Himself is always dependent on what his creatures can tolerate. For those in deep darkness the Light may be soft as nightlight; for those in lesser darkness, something more. And for those prepared like the apostles, something much greater. God, Who is all love, meets his children where they are. This brings to mind the famous image of St Gregory of Nyssa where he speaks of our life in the Kingdom as growing “from glory to glory”—one step at a time. It answers the psalmist’s question, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4). Evidently, human beings are of great worth that God should reveal the Light of His glory to us in this way.
Link to today’s Liturgy:

08 01 2021 Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA

The sermon today, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”, is the taken from the last verse of this morning’s epistle reading. Blessing those who persecute and curse us is not “natural” to human beings and yet it as at the very core of the gospel teachings of our Lord. How do we accomplish such a thing? How do we learn to love our enemies? And why is it so important?
Link to today’s liturgy and sermon:

07 25 2021 Sunday Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Southbridge MA

Today's sermon, "Rejected by Jews and Gentiles Alike", focuses on the images of Christ in today's epistle and gospel readings. In the first, St Paul bemoans the Lord's rejection by Israel, in the second, St Matthew tells us of the rejection he experienced from the local Gentiles after he healed the Gadarene demoniacs. The dynamic of rejection hasn't changed today and can even creep into the Church in the form of extremism or indifference.
The link to today’s Liturgy and sermon can be found here:

07 18 2021 Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA

Today’s sermon, “The Anti-Gospel of Race”, is based on St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 3:18, (“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”).
Below is the link to today’s Liturgy and sermon:

(Note: Our liturgy recording is abbreviated this week because we had to use a smaller video card than usual.)

07 04 2021 The Sunday of All Saints of North America, St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge , MA

On this Sunday of All Saints of North America the homily is a reflection on the mission of Orthodoxy on our continent. Is Orthodoxy true? Is it beautiful? Is it Good? If so, then how do we preach it, teach it, and most importantly, how do we live our faith?
Link to today’s homily:

06 27 2021 The Sunday of All Saints, St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Southbridge, MA

The sermon today, "Who is a saint? What are the qualifications?" looks at the theme found in today's Epistle reading (Hebrews 11:33-12:2). The answer is faith, not perfection. But, how does this apply to us?
Link to today’s Liturgy and Sermon:

Sunday, June 20, 2021 Holy Pentecost
The sermon today, “Who is the Holy Spirit?”, focuses on the role of the most enigmatic Person of the Trinity in the creation and salvation of the world. As the prayer to the Holy Spirit proclaims, He is the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter (consoler, strengthener), and Giver of Life, “everywhere present and filling all things”. The Holy Spirit is the active presence of God’s love for the entire creation—for every created being and even the “inanimate” objects that exist all around us. As one of the Trinity He shares fully in the Divine Essence and exists as a “Person”, not a mere force or power. Ultimately, He (like the Father and the Son) is love and His love upholds the entire universe.
Link to today’s Liturgy and Sermon:

06 13 2021 Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council St Nicholas Southbridge MA
Today’s sermon, “Jesus Christ, the Only Way to Salvation”, explores the ramifications of the radical claim that salvation is found in Christ alone. Does this mean that all non-Christians are not saved? If not, then what does it mean? And how do we preach this message in a largely de-converted culture?
Link to Divine Liturgy and Sermon:

6 6 2021 Sunday of the Man Born Blind St Nicholas Southbridge MA
The sermon today, "I was blind, but now I see", focuses on our "spiritual sight". What is it that we see when we look around us? What we see, what we focus on in life, is a real indication of the disposition of our hearts. Do we first see the glory and beauty of God's creation, or, do we see the wreckage left behind by death and human sin? When we look at others, do we pass judgment, or, do we pray for others as our brothers and sisters? Jesus taught us that, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" In spiritual terms, He is teaching us that if we look for the Light, we shall be filled with the light of love for God, for others, and for ourselves, but if we look for the darkness we shall find it--and how terrible it will be! So, what do you see when you look out at God's creation? What do you see when you look at your neighbor?
Link to today’s Liturgy and Sermon:

5 16 2021 Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women St Nicholas Southbridge MA
The Gospel of the Myrrhbearing Women is another example of the shock which the earliest witnesses of the Resurrection felt at the empty tomb of the Lord. The other disciples experienced the same mixture of astonishment and fear when they, too, went to the empty tomb. These stories show us the natural human response to an event that was outside and beyond nature. These stories remind us that the disciples, like us, did not regard the raising of the dead as something to be expected--though the Lord Himself had predicted His rising after three days. Yet, once the news sunk in, once they were able to accept (with joy and fear), that Christ Jesus is truly risen, their world (and ours) was forever changed. They experienced, full force, the knowledge that death had been done in by the death of the Christ and that they had been forever ransomed from its afflicting power. May God grant us the same joy and the same knowledge. May He give us the certainty that Life has overcome death and that death itself becomes the gateway to new and eternal life.
Link to today’s Liturgy:

05 02 2021 PASCHA St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA
Dear Parish Family,
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Krishti U’Ngjall! Vertet U’Ngjall!
Below is the link to the Resurrection Liturgy at St Nicholas, Southbridge.

Pascha! The Feast of Feasts and Holiest of Holy Days!
The Feast of the Resurrection is the absolute heart of the Orthodox Christian Faith. If Christ is not risen, as St Paul says, then we are the greatest and most pitiful of fools. The Resurrection is an all or nothing proposition. Either it happened and we may have hope in the rising of our own bodies on the last day, or, we simply go into the earth and go to dust. It is one or the other.
We believe in a real, physical, bodily resurrection. Like Christ's own body, our risen body will be the same flesh as the body that was laid in the tomb--though transfigured and made more "real", more solid, more complete. What dies as mortal rises as immortal and utterly beyond the power of death.

The words of the homily of St John Chrysostom put our hope this way:

"If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!
You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith.
Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into hades and took hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted his flesh!
And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions."
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and, face to face, met God!
It took earth and encountered heaven!
It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!
"O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.
To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen."

4 30 2021 The Matins of Holy Saturday (the Lamentations Service Holy Friday Evening)

The Lamentations Service marks the beginning of the Resurrection. Though we still wear the dark colors of Lent,  the prophecy of Ezekiel presents us with the powerful and haunting image of the Valley of Dry Bones wherein God commands the prophet to prophesy to the dried bones to come together, put on sinews and skin, and finally to receive the breath of life from the Holy Spirit.  We celebrate the harrowing of hell, when the Lord destroys death by means of His own death and rescues those held captive.
Link to service:

4 30 2021 Vespers of Holy Friday (The Taking Down from the Cross)

The Vespers of Holy Friday recounts the crucifixion and burial of the Lord. At the end of the gospel reading the Lord's body is taken down from the cross and wrapped in a lined cloth. It is then brought into the altar, where it will remain until the eve of the Feast of the Ascension. Later in the service the epithaphion (the large cloth icon of the entombment of Jesus, surrounded by the apostle John, the Theotokos, the other Mary's and the centurion) is brought out in solemn procession and placed under a canopy decorated with flowers in the middle of the church. The epistle reading ( I Corinthians 1:18-2:2) speaks of the "foolishness" of the wisdom and power of God in comparison to what human beings consider those things to be. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Link to service:

4 29 2021 Holy Thursday Passion Gospels St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA

The 12 gospel readings about the Lord's Passion reveal the darkest side of our fallen human nature. There is betrayal, denial, suicide, course political maneuvering, and callous cruelty everywhere. The "Hosannas!" have turned into, "Crucify Him!" and darkness falls at noon. The encounter of God with man ends in a murder--the creature's attempt to silence the Creator. Why did God permit this? Justice would seem to demand a terrible punishment. And yet, God gives us a gift instead. In return for murder He gives us life. In return for hatred He overwhelms us with love.

4 28 2021 Holy Wednesday Unction Service St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Southbridge, MA

The Service of Holy Unction, done on Wednesday night in Holy Week in the Byzantine tradition, is a service of both healing and forgiveness. The connection between illness, sin, and death is grounded in the disruption caused by the Fall. It is God's response, in Jesus, that points us to the way out from the seemingly endless triumph of death over life, sickness over health, and sin over righteousness. In Christ the old order has been, is being, will be, overthrown. God's compassion will heal us, God's justice and mercy will overcome sin, God's love destroys death and restores life.
Link to the Unction Service:

04 25 2021 Palm Sunday St Nicholas Southbridge MA

The sermon topic, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Crucify Him!”, looks at the fickle cruelty of our broken human nature. God’s response is even more astonishing—defying human logic and justice.  In the days ahead we see humanity at its very worst—and this includes all of us from the beginning of time until the end. It’s not just about first century Jews and Romans; we must see ourselves in them if we are to even begin to understand the great mystery we celebrate in this most holy of weeks.
Link to today’s liturgy:

04 18 2021 Fifth Sunday in Lent (St Mary of Egypt) St Nicholas Southbridge MA

The Sermon today, "How much am I willing to give up in order to be saved", is based on the life-story of St Mary of Egypt. St Mary went out into the desert to flee from her compulsion to sin. She lived there for 38 years and struggled constantly against her desire to return to her old life for half that time (19 years!) before she attained peace. St Mary is a radical example of what we are all called to do.
Link to today’s liturgy and sermon:

04 14 2021 PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY St Nicholas Southbridge MA

The Presanctified Liturgy is served on Wednesdays and Fridays during Great Lent. The communion is taken from the holy gifts consecrated the Sunday before and given to the people at the Presanctified Liturgy. This beautiful Lenten service is slow moving and meditative. It repeatedly celebrates the mercy and compassion of God toward the weak and the fallen.

04 11 2021 The Fourth Sunday in Lent St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA
The sermon today, “What’s in a name?”, focusses on God’s knowledge of us “by name, even from his mother’s womb” (Liturgy of St Basil).  What does this mean? What does it mean to say God is “our father”? Why does this matter—especially now when so many have lost all hope for something more than this world has to offer?
Link to today’s liturgy and sermon:

Sunday, April 4, 2021 The Third Sunday in Lent—Sunday of the Cross
Today’s sermon, “The Feast of Paradoxes”, focuses on our Lord’s commandment to take up our cross and follow Him. The image of the cross was one of a horrific death saved for the very worst of criminals. The suffering of the crucified was intentionally terrible—a sign from the Roman government that no opposition, no resistance would be tolerated. The “burial” of one who was crucified was often to be thrown in a garbage dump to be eaten by wild dogs and vultures. To ask for the body of the crucified in order to give it a decent burial was in itself a subversive act.
So, why did Jesus command us to take up the cross?  What was it that turned the curse of that terrible form of punishment in a source of joy and hope? And how can our own suffering and humiliation, caused by the “cross” we are called to take up, become the very means by which we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?
Here is the link to today’s liturgy:

3 28 2021 Second Week in Lent St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA
The sermon today focusses on the call to all Orthodox Christians to counter the anti-gospel of despair, hopelessness, and rage that is consuming our nation, and especially our young people, with the true gospel of joy, hope, and forgiveness. We hear of rising suicide rates among our young people as a result of the disruptions caused by the plague and the waves of violence that we've endured for the past year. The world can offer them no hope beyond its own limited and mortal dimensions. Jesus Christ can. It’s up to us to bear the good news.
Link to today’s Liturgy:

3 21 2021 Sunday of Orthodoxy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA
The sermon today focusses on the theme of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, which is, restoration of the holy icons after several periods of fierce iconoclasm (literally, the smashing of icons) by the Byzantine Emperors. The massive resistance by the monastics and lay people was met with ferocious persecutions.
So, why was the restoration of icons so important? Why is iconoclasm such a big deal? Why is it not only good, but necessary, to have depictions of Christ, the Theotokos (Birthgiver of God), the saints and angels in our churches? What do icons have to say about the reality of the Incarnation of God in Christ? What do they have to say about us?
Link to today’s Liturgy:

3 14 2021 Forgiveness Sunday St Nicholas Southbridge MA
"There is no such thing as love without forgiveness" God, in Christ, reveals His infinite love for the world He made. His forgiveness of even our greatest offence (crucifying His only-begotten Son) is a sign that there is no one and nothing outside the reach of Divine forgiveness. In order to receive it, though, we must let go of the offences and hurts done to us--even very great ones. We cannot say we truly love if we cannot forgive; forgiveness itself requires a heart which has learned to love through suffering and endurance. Are we ready to drop the bag of stones--the bag of grievances and grudges that grows ever heavier over the years? Are we ready to forgive and be forgiven?
The link to today’s liturgy can be found here:

3 7 2021 Liturgy St Nicholas Southbridge, MA Sunday of the Last Judgment
Sermon: “Active Compassion: The Only Passport into Heaven”
Link to today’s Liturgy:

Sunday February 28 2021 (Prodigal Son)
Sermon: "Our Father Will Meet  Us on the Road: It is Up to Us to Decide When to Start the Journey"

Dear Parish Family and Friends, below is a link to a beautiful setting of the Hymn to the Theotokos (Birthgiver of God) that our choir will soon be singing. The singers here are, our choir director, Emily Daly, and her fiance, Stephen Pye.

Sunday, February 21, 2021: The Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee
The sermon today focusses on the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (tax collector). Where are we on the spectrum? What about our society?

Link to today’s Liturgy:

Sunday February 14, 2021: Zacchaeus Sunday
The sermon topic today ("Canceled!) is based on the gospel story of Zacchaeus. In this gospel we see that Zacchaeus has been walled off from the rest of society--in this case literally by the bodies of the people in the crowd, who are determined not to let him see Jesus. Zacchaeus's solution to the problem was utterly unlike anything the crowd might have expected.

Here is the link to today’s Liturgy:

02 07 2021 The Sunday of the Canaanite Woman
Sermon: Jesus and the Canaanite Woman: The Power of a Desperate Love

Link to today’s reflection :

In this extraordinary gospel reading we are confronted with Jesus’s apparent coldness and indifference to the plight of the Canaanite woman. He first ignores her and then compares her and her people to dogs. In the culture of the times, it was a grave insult and it continues to be in Middle Eastern cultures today. Why did Jesus do this? Was he testing her? Is he testing us? Or, was he teaching us something about the desperate quality of selfless love that overcomes every division and endures every insult in order to acquire what is necessary for the beloved?  

Sunday January 31, 2021, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (by anticipation)
Today we celebrated by anticipation the Feast of the Lord's Presentation in the Temple. The actual Feast Day is on February 2 (this coming Tuesday) and marks the end of the Christmas cycle (which starts on November 15, the beginning of Advent). The sermon focusses on recognizing the Messiah in the infant Lord and allowing Him to "presented" within the temple of our own hearts, to allow Him to grow in us. We are all called to bear witness to the hope and consolation of Christ in what often seems to be a hopeless and inconsolable world.
Here is the link to today’s liturgy:

Liturgy Sunday January 24 2021 St Nicholas Southbridge, Sanctity of Life Sunday
Sermon topic: "They Passed Their Children through the Fire". We look at how the Canaanites tempted the Hebrews into offering their children to their demonic gods and how God rejected the practice as the most abominable of all sins. They brought destruction upon themselves and the valley of Hinnom (where the sacrifices were offered) outside Jerusalem became the Hebrew word for hell (Gehenna). What will become of our nation if we don't repent of this evil? What can we do as Orthodox Christian people to assuage the evil our country has fallen into? How can we help mothers keep their children? We are not powerless to act, therefore we must act.
Link to the Divine Liturgy:

Liturgy Sunday January 17 2021 St Nicholas Southbridge
What are you NOT willing to give up? The sermon today focusses on the rich young man in this morning's gospel who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. After listing the things the young man ought to do--all of which he claimed to be doing his whole life--our Lord upped the ante and asked him to give up his riches. The same applies to us. What or who will we not "give up" for the sake of the God's Kingdom? In the end we lose everything and everyone to death and there is only One who can overcome death.
Here is the link to the Liturgy:

Sunday January 10 2021 Liturgy and Great Blessing of Water (Sunday After Theophany)

The link to the Liturgy and Great Blessing of Water can be accessed here:

In the sermon today we look at the images of Light and Darkness in the Gospel. Why is the Light of Christ both joy and suffering for the Christian believer? Why would anyone prefer the darkness to the Light? How do we learn to embrace both the suffering and the joy (the Cross and the Resurrection)? How do we come to accept that we cannot have the one without the other?

The Link to the Liturgy for Sunday January 3, 2021 is here:

The sermon today explores St. John the Baptist's admonition to repent of our sins and turn to the One Whose sandals he was unworthy to untie. What does this mean? How do we do it?

12 27 2020 Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Southbridge (the Sunday After Christmas)

In the sermon today we look at King Herod as the model of this world's kingdom, subject to the politics of death and destruction, versus the Kingdom of God come into the world in Jesus Christ. Ultimately there is no peace to be found in the "politics" of this world. The rulers of this world understand "victory" as obtaining power and using it to meet their own agendas, often at horrific costs to those around them. We are presented with a choice when we meet Christ. Do we follow the way of the politics of this world and, like Herod, attempt to kill the Christ in us before it can grow? Or, do we choose, like Mary, to keep him in our hearts so that we can be changed into His likeness? The choice is simple and clear. Are we citizens of the dying world of Herod, or citizens of the Kingdom opened to us through the baby in the manger in Bethlehem?

Christmas Liturgy 2020 St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA

Divine Liturgy Sunday December 20, 2020, The Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Ancestors of Christ)

On this Sunday of the Holy Ancestors of Christ, we are taught that God reaches out to human beings where they are. The question is how do we respond? In the sermon today, we look at some of the people mentioned in the Epistle and Gospel genealogies. If God could take the likes of Jeptha, who sacrificed his own daughter--an act forbidden and despised by God--and use him as an example of faithfulness, then he can certainly work with the likes of us. If Rahab, a prostitute who handed over her city to the Hebrews because she believed their God was the true one, then he can work with us. If he could raised an adulterer, David, and make him the symbol of a righteous king, then he can work with us.

Sunday, December 13, 2020 The Second Sunday Before Christmas (Holy Forefathers)

Today's sermon is taken from the Gospel in which Jesus tell the parable of the ungracious guests who made excuses not to attend a great supper given by a wealthy man. Seeing the ingratitude of his original guests, he orders his servants to bring in the poor, the maimed, the blind and the homeless living in the streets and hedgerows of the city and countryside. Here Jesus tells of the "righteous" who cannot see their need for the Lord's hospitality and the "sinners" who know they need God's help desperately. Who we identify with?

St Nicholas Feast Day, St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Southbridge, MA December 6, 2020

As we celebrate our patronal Feast Day, we recall the "real" St. Nicholas as a true icon of the good bishop and defender of his flock in times of peril. The sermon focusses on the life of St Nicholas as one of mercy, justice, truth, and courage. His role as intercessor for all of us, and especially for those of us who have him as our patron, is especially important in our current time of plague and civil unrest.
Video link

Divine Liturgy St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA November 29, 2020

Below is the version of the Great Doxology sung before every Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas and on other important occasions.

Today’s Gospel reading focusses on the relationship between the Law and human frailty. The Law given by God to the Jewish people revealed the impossibility of human perfection and therefore, the need for humility on our part so that we may be open to the healing grace and mercy of God. The bent woman’s humility and God’s mercy in Christ reveal this beautifully.

Below is the link to the Liturgy for Sunday November 22, 2020

The sermon today looks at the question, "Who is my neighbor?", in the context of our mission in this time of plague. It turns out that our neighbor is sometimes our enemy, in terms of beliefs or practices. Sometimes they are the ones who end up saving us.

Below is the Link to the Liturgy for Sunday November 15

The two links below will bring you to some beautifully rendered hymns from our Sunday Liturgy made by Emily Daly, our choir director, and Stephen Pye, her beau.
The Hymn to the Theotokos in 3 parts (2 voices)

What Shall I Render to the Lord in 5 parts (2 voices)

Dear Parish Family,

Below is the link to the Liturgy for Sunday, November 8, 2020

Dear Parish Family,

Below is the link to the Divine Liturgy yesterday.

God Bless you all and keep you well!

Father John

Dear Parish family,

The link below will lead you to the Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas, Southbridge, MA Sunday, October 25, 2020.

Sermon topic: “Truth, Beauty, and Goodness--The Ultimate Political Standard of Measure"

God Bless you all and keep you well.

Dear Parish Family,

Below is the link to yesterday's Divine Liturgy. Stay well and God Bless you all!

Father John

The Divine Liturgy from St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Southbridge MA
Dear Parish Family,
Below is the link to the Liturgy at St Nicholas on Sunday, October 4, 2020.

We will NOT be open next Sunday as Fr John has to be away.
We will RESUME posting our online Liturgies on Sunday, October  18, 2020.

Dear Parish Family,
Here is the link to Sunday’s Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas Southbridge, MA.

Dear Parish Family,
We will be closed on Sunday, September 6, 2020. Liturgy will resume on September 13.

We will also resume videoing the Liturgy on September 13th. Our loyal video person, Dan Dono (also our Parish Council president), has had to take a couple of weeks to recover from surgery. He will be back with us on Sept 13.

Our choir director, Emily Daly, and her boyfriend, Stephen Pye, made a four part harmony recording (in video mode) of one of the settings of the Trisagion (Holy God).  
As we move forward, I hope to bring you additional recordings of our liturgical music and add slide shows to them.  Its especially nice to hear familiar voices singing and it would be wonderful to add parish photos and icons to the mix.

Dear Parish Family,
Below is the link to yesterday’s liturgy and sermon.
God Bless you all and stay well.

Video Link to Liturgy and sermon
Sermon topic: “All of creation rejoices in you, O full of grace!” Why Orthodox venerate the Mother of God and what this has to say about the role of women in the Church.

Dear Parish Family and Friends,

Here is the link to the Divine Liturgy for Sunday August 9, 2020:

Dear Parish Family and Friends,

Due to very slow internet in my part of Worcester today, we are very late publishing our Liturgy for Sunday August 2, 2020.
Here is the link :

Link to the Liturgy and sermon for Sunday July 26 at St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Southbridge, MA
(Sermon Topic: God's persistence vs human resistance.)

Liturgy & Sermon 07 12 2020 St Nicholas Southbridge

The sermon topic this week contrasts the godless "heaven on earth" proposed by the communists who murdered the Russian Imperial family on July 17, 1918 with the true Kingdom of God. Any system or ideology based in division and hatred (left, right, or otherwise) proceeds from the mind of the great divider and hater of humankind, the devil. Only the Christian virtues of forgiveness, mercy, and love can overcome division and fear. Our constant struggle must be against returning hatred for hatred, violence for violence, injustice for injustice. The meekness and humility of the last Tsar and his family in the face of the ever-increasing torments of their captors is what makes them saints. Nicholas II was an inept Tsar but, in the end, he and his family became models of the Orthodox Christian way.

It is Meet and Right (Hymn to the Theotokos) Byzantne Chant

Before Thy Cross: Kievan melody

What is the Orthodox perspective on Original Sin? What is Original Sin? How does it affect theology in general and what is the difference between the Eastern Orthodox approach and the Roman Catholic and Protestant understanding? Watch our latest video with Fr. Panayiotis, Ph.D. as he answers these questions and discusses the teachings of St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom.

Video about St. Isaac of Syria, a desert monastic who became the Bishop of Nineveh. The great luminary of the life of stillness, he became a monk at a young age. He was consecrated Bishop of Nineveh but after five months received permission to return to solitude. He spent many years far south of Nineveh in the mountainous regions of Beit Huzaye, and lastly at the Monastery of Rabban Shabur. He wrote his renowned and God-inspired Ascetical Homilies toward the end of his long life of monastic struggle, about the end of the seventh century. The fame of his Homilies grew quickly, and about one hundred years after their composition they were translated from Syriac into Greek by two monks of the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine, from which they spread throughout the monasteries of the Roman Empire and became a guide to the hesychasts of all generations thereafter.

Sunday, July 5, 2020  Divine Liturgy and sermon  (“Orthodox Patriotism”)

Sunday June 28 2020
Divine Liturgy and Sermon:

Sunday of All Saints of North America June 21 2020 Divine Liturgy and Sermon

Divine Liturgy: The Sunday of All Saints June 14 2020

Pentecost 2020
Divine Liturgy at St Nicholas Orthodox Church Southbridge MA – Albanian Archdiocese/Orthodox Church in America  

A beautiful rendition of the Cherubimic hymn by a trio from Sochi, Russia

Sunday May 31 2020 The Sunday after Ascension (Divine Liturgy with sermon from St. Nicholas Southbridge MA)

Sunday May 24 2020 The Sunday of the Man Born Blind (Divine Liturgy with sermon from St Nicholas Southbridge)

Dear Parish Family,

Below are the links to the Divine Liturgy at St Mary’s OCA Cathedral and St Tikhon’s Monastery.

Matins and Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman from St Mary’s Cathedral (OCA), Minneapolis, MN

Hours and Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman from St. Tikhon’s Monastery, Waymart, PA

I will upload my homily later today.
I will also be sharing with you our plans for a very limited opening of our parish in a letter later today. With God’s help, our first liturgy since March will be held next Sunday. Because of the strict limitations on gatherings with will be a very small start, but signs of the dawn are finally showing after this very long night of the plague.

I'm sharing this version of "Let God Arise" for the sheer Paschal exultation of the singers. The swirling of the chandeliers is a custom from the monasteries of the Holy Mountain on Mt Athos in Greece. In the midst of a year without Lent and with the Paschal season fleeing fast, it’s good to hear the joy.
With God's help, we may be able to open for extremely limited attendance services soon. I have submitted a petition to reopen ASAP. While it will not be anywhere near normal, the Liturgy will be done again at St Nicholas Church after two months. I will keep you posted as we move ahead.

Dear Parish Family,
Here is the Matins and Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Paralytic (4th Sunday in the Paschal Season) from St. Mary's Cathedral in Minneapolis (OCA).
The Sunday homily will be posted later than usual today.
We have had a death in our family. My beloved brother in law, James Monahan, passed away unexpectedly last night. Please pray for his soul and for the consolation of his wife, Christina, his son Nicholas and family. May his memory be eternal!

Divine Liturgy for the Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women. From St Mary's OCA Cathedral in Minneapolis.
St Mary's has been offering beautiful services in English.

Matins and Divine Liturgy for St Thomas Sunday from St Mary's (OCA) Cathedral in Minneapolis. The choir is very good and the readings are clear.

The  wonder-full story of St. George. It is easy to debunk the lives of the saints as fairy tales or "baptized" pagan myths. This story, though, seems especially apropos after Holy Week. There is an intense "realism" in it. People are named. Events happen. In some ways it is a virtual replay of Moses vs Pharaoh. Well worth reading.

Absolutely beautiful! Listen to it during this Bright Week! From St Mary OCA parish in Minneapolis

The Agape Vespers on Pascha from our dear friends at St Michael's parish in Southbridge. God bless Father John Downie and his faithful few who were able to do these services. (Fr. John's diocese is under a different jurisdiction and Archbishop Nicolae permitted services within the strict guidelines set down by the state).

The Paschal Liturgy from the nuns of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City PA. In English

The Paschal Liturgy from St Tikhon's Monastery, Waymart, PA.  In English with Metropolitan Tikhon.

The Matins of Holy Saturday with Lamenations from St. Tikhon's Monastery in Pennsylvania:

The Lamentations service from Holy Transfiguration monastery in Ellwood City. The melodies for the stasis will be familiar to anyone from our parish. All in English.

The Vespers Service (taking down from the cross) and Lamentations from St. Tikhon's monastery, with the Metropolitan

The Matins of Holy Friday from the nuns at Holy Transfirguration in Ellwood City, PA

The late Archbishop Job singinging the 15th Antiphon during the Mattins of Holy Friday (The singing of the 12 gospel readings and antiphons on Holy Thursday evening)

The 12 Gospel readings from last night at St Tikhon's monastery in Pennsylvania. Metropolitan Tikhon is presiding.

A very clear rendition of the hymn of Kasiane, the woman fallen in sin. Sung at the Matins of Holy Wednesday.

The first of the Bridegroom Matins (Palm Sunday evening) from the nuns at Holy Transfiguration monastery Ellwood City, PA.

For those who have a basic idea of the Orthodox services (and for those who love the beauty of our services), this is the Bridegroom Matins for Holy Monday in Slavonic from St Elizabeth's monastery in Belorus. The singing is beautiful.

Attached below is the Palm Sunday Liturgy from St George Albanian Orthodox Cathedral in Boston. It is in English and Albanian. The first couple of minutes show the filmer in gloves and mask but from there this video is quite clear. They will be broadcasting the Liturgy for Pascha starting 8 PM on Saturday April 18 (next Saturday). We will stream and broadcast it as we are able.

The hymn "Rejoice O Bethany", in English. Done by the Boston Byzantine Choir.

The troparion of Lazarus Saturday sung in the many languages of the Orthodox Church, including English (several times). Accompanied by images of icons, people in church, processions. A reminder of the springtime of hope this feast anticipates.

This is a beautiful rendition of the Akathist for the Lord's Passion. It is in Church Slavonic, but the icons presented parallel the hymn.

The hymn of Kassiane, to woman who wept at Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair.
In English, by the nuns at Holy Transfiguration, Ellwood City  in the traditional Byzantine mode

The Passion Service at St Elizabeth's convent in Minsk, Belorus

Here is a link to the story of St. Mary of Egypt

The nuns of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Elwood City, PA are livestreaming services on their Facebook page. These services are recorded so that they can be watched later. They are in ENGLISH and the nuns' singing is very lovely.

A "Holiday Choral" by a mixed choir from St. Elizbeth's convent, Belorus

A beautiful setting of "Holy God", and "O Lord of Hosts be with us" from St Elizabeth's Convent in Belorus

The Paraklesis Service to the Mother of God in English: This is a beautifully sung rendition of the Paraklesis hymn to the Mother of God in English. This service is sung both in praise and repentance. It is one of the services recommended by the Holy Synod of Bishops during the pandemic. It is always appropriate in any season to praise the one who gave birth to God in the flesh.

A movie about St Mary of Egypt for the 5th Sunday in Lent

Fr John's homily for Sunday March 29, 2020

His Holiness Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Cyril was deeply moved by the repentance-calling Chant "Let my prayer arise" during Lent Divine Liturgy (The Liturgy of  Presanctified  Gifts) that is served only during Great Lent.

The singing of the Akathist hymn in English. The hymn is sung  on Friday evenings during Lent. It is sung on the 5th Friday in the Russian Churches.

A Russian Orthodox Youth Choir singing a penetential hymn

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