Sunday before Theophany
St. Nicholas Bulletin - January 16, 2021
God's Peace! Christ is born! Мир Божији! Христос се роди! Paz de Dios! Cristo ha nacido!
Homily for the Sunday before Theophany

from Fr. Philip LeMasters
Today is the Sunday before the Feast of Theophany (or Epiphany), when we will celebrate Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan and the revelation that He is truly the Son of God. His divinity is made manifest and openly displayed at His baptism when the voice of the Father declares, “You are my beloved Son” and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him in the form of a dove. Theophany shows us that Jesus Christ is not merely a great religious teacher or moral example. He is truly God—a member of the Holy Trinity– and His salvation permeates His entire creation, including the water of the river Jordan. Through His and our baptism, we become participants in the holy mystery of our salvation.

Consider how perplexing these statements about Jesus Christ as God must have been to those who knew Him before He began His public ministry. St. Luke records that the Theotokos and St. Joseph were shocked to find the12-year-old Savior discussing the Law in the Temple in Jerusalem with the elders. The gospels of Matthew and Luke record the appearance of the angelic choirs to the shepherds and the visit of the wise men, but these events do not seem to have figured prominently in our Lord’s earthly ministry.

Moreover, we must remember that no one at the time expected a Messiah who was both God and man. The word “messiah” means “anointed one,” and the Jews were looking for a leader who would deliver them from Roman oppression and lead Israel to political power and independence. Christ’s own disciples thought of Him in those terms until after His resurrection, for even those closest to the Lord had great difficulty accepting that He was not an earthly king, the kind of Messiah they had grown up expecting. How difficult it was for anyone at that time to accept that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God, the incarnate second Person of the Holy Trinity, the divine Word Who spoke the universe into existence.

It was necessary for God to send a prophet to prepare the way by opening the hearts and minds of the people for a coming Messiah Who did not fit their preconceived notions. Few people were comfortable around St. John the Baptist and Forerunner, for he was a strict ascetic, living in the desert, eating only locusts and honey, and wearing camel skin. Like many of the Old Testament prophets before Him, St. John was outrageously bold. In addition to his stark appearance and lifestyle, his message was severe to the point of being insulting. He proclaimed God’s truth and did not care who might be offended. Instead of gently welcoming the Pharisees and Sadducees into his movement, St. John mocked them as a brood of vipers—a bunch of slimy snakes. He told the rich to share with the poor, soldiers to stop abusing their authority, and tax collectors to stop stealing from the people. He went beyond offending those powerful groups by criticizing the immorality of the royal family and lost his head as a result.

God shook up Israel with St. John the Baptist, the Forerunner of our Lord, who began to open their eyes to a Messiah Whom they did not expect. Gentle words from a respectable rabbi would not have worked, for everyone had seen and heard that before. The Jews needed a call to repentance from a wild and holy man who was absolutely fearless in calling everyone to repent by changing the direction of their lives in relation to God and neighbor. They were to make straight whatever crookedness was in them. They were to abandon hypocritical and self-serving distortions of God’s Law. No one was to say, “But I am a child of Abraham or a religious leader or a well-respected person, so repentance is not for me.” The Forerunner called everyone to greater holiness in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

As we prepare for the Feast of Theophany, St. John’s message should certainly get our attention. We must conform our character to Jesus Christ’s because we have already received the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham. Having celebrated His birth as Orthodox Christians, we already proclaim that our Savior is the Son of God. In Him, we are “partakers of the divine nature” by grace as members of His Body, the Church. The more that we share in His life, the more clearly we will see how infinitely much more room we have for embracing the healing of our souls, for our lives have not yet become perfect epiphanies of what Christ’s salvation means for those who bear the divine image and likeness.

It would be different if the Epiphany of Jesus Christ as the Son of God were merely an idea or concept to be grasped as an abstract truth, like a mathematical equation or a philosophical statement. The spiritual life is not like that, however, because this feast calls us to participate in the gracious divine energies of the One who unites humanity and divinity in Himself.  In order to enter into the holy mystery of our Lord’s epiphany, every facet of who we are as we live and breathe in this world must be transformed by His divine glory. His life must become ours. Like an iron left in the fire, we must become radiant with the glory of His salvation.

No matter how much healing we have found for our souls so far, ongoing repentance remains essential for sharing more fully in the eternal life of the God-Man. That means that we must persist in cooperating with His mercy, actively making straight what remains crooked in our lives. Like those who first heard the Forerunner, we have become too comfortable with life on our own terms, perhaps thinking that our beliefs or heritage somehow let us off the hook as God’s favorites, as those who are respectable and decent and therefore do not have to worry about repentance.  “At least we are better than those groups we love to hate,” we might think of those we do not like or whom we fear for whatever reason. St. John would have no patience with such foolishness, of course. As he did to the Jews of the first century, he would tell us to wake up, abandon our excuses, and stop trying to turn God into an idol who pats us on the back and serves our agendas for worldly power, success, and comfort.  He would call us, instead, to become true icons of our Lord, participating as fully as we can in the divine healing and transformation made possible for us in Jesus Christ. Those who have put on Christ in baptism and who receive the Communion of His Body and Blood must become epiphanies of His fulfillment of the human person in God’s image and likeness.

As we prepare to celebrate Theophany, let us gain the spiritual clarity to behold the glory of Christ’s baptism by straightening the crooked areas of our lives. Instead of finding ways to ignore the preaching of the Forerunner, let us take his sobering message to heart as we confess our sins and reorient ourselves to our Lord and His Kingdom. The Messiah is born and is on His way to the Jordan where His divinity will shine forth. Will we have the eyes to see His glory? Will we be ready for Him? There is only one way to prepare and that is to repent as we turn away from all that hinders our full participation in the divine glory manifest in Him. Now is the time to get ready to share personally in this great mystery of our salvation by preparing the way of the Lord and making His paths straight in our own lives.

~Hymnography of the Day~
Commemorating the Forefeast of the Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Holy Prophet Malachi, Martyr Gordius at Caesarea in Cappadocia, Venerable Genevieve of Paris, St Euthymius, New Martyr Ephraim
Let us the faithful praise and worship the Word; Co-Eternal with the Father and the Spirit, born for our salvation from the Virgin. For He willed to be lifted up on the Cross in the Flesh, to endure death and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection!

Prepare, O Zebulon, and adorn yourself, O Naphtali! River Jordan, cease flowing, and receive with joy the Master coming to be baptized! Adam, rejoice with our First Mother, and do not hide yourself as you did of old in Paradise; for having seen you naked, He has appeared to clothe you with the first garment. Christ has appeared to renew all creation.

You descended into hell, O my Savior, Shattering its gates as Almighty; Resurrecting the dead as Creator, And destroying the sting of death, You have delivered Adam from the curse, O Lover of mankind, And we all cry to You: O Lord, save us!

Today the Lord enters the Jordan and cries out to John: “Do not be afraid to baptize me! For I have come to save Adam, the first-formed man.”
~Scripture Readings of the Day~
Next Week:     Matins : Lenny Tepsic      Epistle: Natalija Gligorevic
EPISTLE: II Timothy 4: 5-8

DEACON:     Let us pay attention. 
PRIEST:        Peace be unto all!
READER:      And with your spirit!
DEACON:     Wisdom.
READER:  The Prokeimenon in the Sixth Tone: O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance!
CHOIR: O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance!
READER: v: To You, O Lord, will I call. O my God, be not silent to me!
CHOIR: O Lord, save Your people, and bless Your inheritance!
READER: O Lord, save Your people...
CHOIR: ...and bless Your inheritance!
DEACON: Wisdom!
READER: The Reading is from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to Timothy
DEACON: Let us attend!
READER: Timothy my son, be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
PRIEST: Peace be unto you, reader!
READER: And with your spirit! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
READER: O God, be bountiful to us and bless us, show the light of Your countenance upon us, and have mercy on us!
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
READER: That we may know Your way upon the earth, and Your salvation among all nations.
CHOIR: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

АПОСТОЛ:  2 Тимотеју 4: 5-8

Ђакон:          Пазимо
Свештеник: Мир свима!
Читач:           I Духу Твоме!
Ђакон:          Премудрост
Читач : ПРОКИМЕН- глас 6 Спаси, Господе, народ Свој и благослови наследство Своје.
Хор: Спаси, Господе, народ Свој и благослови наследство Своје.
Читач: Теби, Господе вапим: Боже мој, немој ме оставити без одговора!
Хор: Спаси, Господе, народ Свој и благослови наследство Своје.
Читач: Спаси, Господе, народ Свој
Хор: и благослови наследство Своје.
Ђакон: Премудрост
Читац: Читање је од посланице Светог апостола Павла до Тимотеја.
Ђакон: Пазимо
Читач: Чедо Тимотеје, буди трезвен у свему, злопати се, врши дјело јеванђелиста, служење своје испуни. Јер ја се већ приносим на жртву, и вријеме мојега одласка настаде. Добар рат ратовах, трку заврших, вјеру одржах. Сад ме чека вијенац правде, који ће ми у онај Дан дати Господ, праведни Судија: али не само мени, него и свима који с љубављу очекују Долазак његов.
Свештеник: Мир ти читачу!
Читач: I Духом Твоме! Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Читач:  Боже, буди нам милостив и благосиљај нас.
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа
Читач: Обасјавај нас лицем Својим и помилуј нас.
Хор: Алилуиа, Алилуиа, Алилуиа


Mark 1: 1-8

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.” “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ ” John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Марко 1: 1-8

Почетак јеванђеља Исуса Христа, Сина Божијега. Као што је писано код пророка: Ево ја шаљем анђела својега пред лицем твојим, који ће припремити пут твој пред тобом. Глас вапијућег у пустињи: Припремите пут Господњи, поравните стазе његове. Појави се Јован крстећи у пустињи, и проповиједајући крштење покајања за опроштење гријехова. И излажаше к њему сва Јудејска земља и Јерусалимљани; и крштаваше их све у ријеци Јордану, и исповиједаху гријехе своје. А Јован бијаше обучен у камиљу длаку, и имаше појас кожни око себе: и јеђаше биље и дивљи мед. И проповиједаше говорећи: Долази за мном јачи од мене пред ким ја нисам достојан сагнути се и одријешити ремена на обући његовој. Ја вас крстих водом, а он ће вас крстити Духом Светим.

~ The Week Ahead: Scriptures and Services ~
January Birthdays
Kristina Carricato (Jan 3), Brad Livingston (Jan 4), Betty Matovich (Jan 5), Christine Krnjaic (Jan 5), Voni Brown (Jan 6), Jody Atty (Jan 7), Fred Book (Jan 7), Ellen Long (Jan 8), Lauren Spangler (Jan 9), Jason Milletics (Jan 11), Peggy Radanovic (Jan 13), JoAnn Filepas (Jan 13), Tracy Petrovich (Jan 13), Bill Wenner (Jan 15), Stacey Stanovich (Jan 15), Nicole Stefan Imschweiler (Jan 15), Christina Radanovic (Jan 15), Tatyana Reznitchenko (Jan 16), Sylvia Stefan (Jan 18), Nina Radanovic (Jan 19), Makrina Rocknage (Jan 19), Kristina Vukalo (Jan 20), Rita Vorkapich (Jan 22), Popadija Andreja (Jan 24), Kobe Petrovich (Jan 24), Sophia Mummert (Jan 28), Jane Svitchan (Jan 29), Maxim Reznitchenko (Jan 29), Ashtyn Isadora Cruz (Jan 30)

~Bulletin Board~
Please call Daria Milletics in the office at 717.939.3872 if you do NOT want your house blessed this year. Otherwise, expect to receive a call 1-2 days in advance of Fr. Christopher's visit.

Tuesday, January 25 — Friday, January 28 
(Jan. 29 Make-up Day)
17113, 17022, 17033, 17034, 17036, 17057

Monday, January 31 — Friday, February 4 
(Feb 5 Make-up Day)
17011, 17015, 17018, 17025, 17043, 17050, 17053, 17055

Monday, February 7 — Friday, February 11 
(Feb 12 Make-up Day)
17102, 17104, 17109, 17110, 17111, 17112

Due to recovering clergy, the service schedule for Holy Theophany will be as follows:

Tuesday, January 18 - 9:00am Vespral Liturgy of St. Basil

Wednesday, January 19 - 9:00am Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom w/ Blessing of Water

Thursday, January 20 - 9:00am Liturgy

If you are not receiving envelopes and wish to, receiving envelopes and no longer wish to, or you need to make an address change, please inform the office by January 16!

As with previous years, Fr. Chris will be blessing homes according to the zip code schedule printed in the bulletin. You will receive a call and/or email one or two days beforehand, letting you know which day Father will be coming. Please have ready: a candle, a bowl of water, the list of names you would like Fr. Chris to pray for, both living and departed.

The KSS meeting scheduled for today, January 16, has been postponed until January 30.

JoAnn Filepas is collecting 2022 dues for the St Nicholas Seniors. Please mail your dues to her at (7054 Red Top Road, Harrisburg 17111). Dues are $5 for the year.

Peggy Radanovic and Jovanka Shaffer will be seated in the church hall after Liturgy on Sundays to collect 2022 dues. Dues remain at $5 for the year.

Mothers Club dues for 2022 are due. Please submit $5 to Popadija Andreja. The Mothers Club primary mission is to support our Sunday School and children. If you are not a member and would like to join, please also contact Popadija Andreja.

Our SOTAYA Group is once again selling frozen packs of cevapi at $15/pack (32 pieces). To order see Dn. Bojan Gligorevic, Matthew Hoover, or call the office at 717.939.3872.
The following positions for the Parish Council are open for nominations for the Annual Assembly in February: 

I Vice President—responsible for helping to manage Church events.
II Vice President—responsible for the operation of the Church buildings and grounds.
Treasurer—responsible for managing Church expenses
Financial Secretary—responsible for managing Church income.
Member at Large—responsible for assisting II VP in operation of buildings and grounds.

All those who are interested in serving on the Council are required to the following: 
1)  Regularly attend services.
2)  Regularly participate in the Holy Mysteries of Confession and Communion.
3)  Regularly offer of their Time, Talents and Treasures to the Church.
Please notify Fr. Christopher by calling 717.939.0251, emailing at if you are interested in serving our parish in this way.

January Charity
International Orthodox Christian Charities

IOCC is a humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians. Established in 1992 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA), it works in cooperation with the Orthodox Church and on behalf of Orthodox Christians. In carrying out its mission, offering emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthening the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond, IOCC applies the highest profession standards and renders itself fully accountable to the public and its donors. Since its inception, IOCC has administered more than $580 million in humanitarian relief, sustainable development and self-help programs worldwide.
Approximately 92% of all money donated directly helps those facing dire situations and every dollar given helps secure $7 in support from various sources. All assistance is provided solely on the basis of need and benefits orphans, refugees and displaced persons, the elderly, school children, families and people with disabilities. Over the course of their history, IOCC has been able to assist people in 50 countries with priority currently in the Balkans (Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro), Cameroon, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, Iraq, Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Romania, Syria, Uganda, and the United States. Since the need for help is great, IOCC continually works to expand its programs to other areas. Visit for additional information.