The Saint Barbara Parish in Orange, CT Prepares for Christmas

December 23, 2019

ORANGE, CT – Saint Barbara’s in Orange, Connecticut is a growing parish in numbers, in faith, and in good works. In an interview with The National Herald its presiding priest Fr. Peter Orfanakos said that “the Saint Barbara community consists of 750 families that live in 67 towns in the State of Connecticut.”

Apropos of the holidays, he said that “in anticipation of the celebration of Christmas, children of the Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Parish participate in a variety of programs and events.  The members of the Sunday School Program offer a Christmas Pageant that involves nearly 200 children, who participate with various speaking and non-speaking parts and in the Children’s Choir. The 70 students of the parish’s Greek Language School also hold an annual and very well attended Christmas celebration. This year it will be held on December 19 and consists of poems, songs and special reflections. Meanwhile, the children of GOYA continue their year-round ministry at the Community Dining Room in Branford, CT where they prepare and serve meals to approximately 100 individuals and families in need. During the month of December the teenagers also visit many parishioner homes and local Senior Housing facilities singing Christmas Carols and spreading holiday cheer while the Sunday School sponsors a toy drive for the patients at Yale Children’s Hospital.”

Asked about the Holy Services Fr. Peter said that “analogous to many Greek Orthodox parishes throughout the world, the celebration of the Feast of the Incarnation of Christ begins with the service of the Royal Hours of the Nativity on the morning of December 24.  This special service offers readings, prophesies, and hymns which point to and interpret the Birth of Christ. Later that afternoon the community gathers for the celebration of the Vesperal Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. This service ‘opens the liturgical day’ and begins the celebration of the Nativity. Parishioners from near and far gather for the evening service before traveling to family celebrations.  For the Saint Barbara Community, this service is the one that is attended by the majority of the faithful. The beautiful choir leads the congregation in the chanting of the hymns of the Liturgy and the singing of a selection of Christmas Carols in both Greek and English at the conclusion of the service.”

Fr. Peter said that, “on Christmas morning the parish celebrates the Orthros and Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, providing another opportunity to offer prayers of thanksgiving to God for His timeless Love and Mercy. Children of the parish participate in the above services by prayerfully reading many of the Psalms and Prophesies as well as serving in the Altar as Acolytes.”

Asked, “what does Christmas mean to you, Fr. Peter said that “Christmas is God’s continuing response of love to humanity’s cries of repentance, that began with the voices of Adam and Eve. God is born on Earth to show us the way home, the way back to heaven.  Saint John Chrysostom states it much more eloquently that I do: ‘…that coming among us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that man cannot see.’”


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