Preparing for the Nativity of Our Lord

View of St. Mary's Orthodox Church from the choir loft displaying the Christmas vestments, candles, icons, and decorations.

As you prepare for Christmas, St. Mary’s is also getting ready for this joyous celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether or not you’ve ever been here before, each of you are invited to join us as we worship and sing praises to our good God who loves mankind.

Our celebrations begin on Wednesday, December 21 at 6 PM when we hold our Akathist to the Theotokos. An akathist is a fancy Greek term meaning “unseated (i.e. standing) hymn” and Theotokos means “Mother of God,” our patroness, St. Mary. This beautiful veneration of the Virgin Mother is an excellent way to prepare for Christmas as it centers our thoughts on the truly important meaning of the holiday, the miraculous incarnation of God in the flesh. This is a short service and is also a good introduction to Orthodox prayer.

Christmas Eve, Saturday December 24 at 4PM is our vespers service. Vespers is an solemn evening service in preparation for the Lord’s Day. Begin your holy evening in our parish as we pray, hymn, and give thanks to God for the birth of His Son.

On Christmas, Sunday December 25 at 9:30 AM, we will celebrate with our Typika service. Typika is a variation of our usual Divine Liturgy served without a priest (St. Mary’s is a small parish and we share priests with other local parishes, so we don’t always have one on hand, but that doesn’t keep us from worship!). Afterwards, join us for fellowship and coffee before you head home to exchange presents.

If you are looking for a place to celebrate Christmas — even if you haven’t been to church in a long time, or have never been there before — God and our parish family would love to welcome you this special time of year and for every day afterward!

Nativity Decorating – November 2019

St. Marys Orthodox Church decorated for Nativity
St. Mary’s Orthodox Church in Saint Clair, PA decorated for Nativity.

Cleaning and beautifying God’s house.

The morning of Saturday, November 30th our parish family came together to clean and decorate our small Temple for the upcoming Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. In the past the Church was decorated by one of our faithful parishioners, but this year we decided to do something a little different and organize a “crew”. With renewed leadership, we invited our people to participate and the call was answered with a resounding YES!

Decorating and cleaning, St. Marys Orthodox Church

We started by preparing the decorations to be placed on the window sills. It was decided to add a candle and some green and holly to accent the beauty of the stained glass. Our parish youth helped by making sure all of the tree decorations had hooks suitable for the tree branches. A long time parish member gratefully donated a new (to us) tree to be placed in the Church.

All of the glass was cleaned, the pews wiped down, candle stands polished, and floor vacuumed. After all of the cleaning and decorating of both the Church and parish hall, we decided that it would be best to feed our worker-bees! As we sat in fellowship sharing a meal, we reminisced about days gone by and shared stories of our unique family experiences during the holiday season.

At the end of each Divine Liturgy, the Priest prays that our Lord will “sanctify those who love the beauty of Thy House”. May our offering of time and effort be accepted and blessed by the Lord of Hosts, who’s Temple we adorn in celebration of His blessed Nativity!

We cordially invite to come and celebrate with us as the Church is robed in majesty in anticipation of our Savior’s birth!