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.
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-
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: https://youtu.be/f3CEkSaY9OA
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: https://youtu.be/2dhqeRBSjvY
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-
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: https://youtu.be/iAlQvG8qGZ0
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-
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: https://youtu.be/8Y4va-
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: https://youtu.be/_njWEH812uk
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-
Here is the link to today’s Liturgy: https://youtu.be/tG7wi6nsdFU
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 : https://youtu.be/yvZJgfK0jkU
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: https://youtu.be/dyoWo4XXMBY
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: https://youtu.be/kAWcXQYVBLg
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-
Here is the link to the Liturgy: https://youtu.be/j5fjK4qHw6g
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: https://youtu.be/_2q3Lu3aBpg
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: https://youtu.be/DiYebQu54w4
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? https://youtu.be/lAn-
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-
LINK TO LITURGY & SERMON: https://youtu.be/OqK7Tb4fEAM
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.
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!
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-
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!
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 : https://youtu.be/FEq1iDBONt0
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-
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-
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
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.
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-
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