Holy Trinity Orthodox Church:
What’s Happening December 2020

"Let us not give up the habit of meeting together... Instead, let us encourage each other all the more,"
the earliest Christians said (Hebrews 10:25). So join us for worship and fellowship. To find us, click here: Find HTOC.
For a printer-friendly PDF version of our monthly newsletter, click here: HTOC Newsletter.

Yes, We're Open!

With our new priest Father Alexis Woytek on board and common-sense pandemic precautions in place, weekly Sunday worship has relaunched at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church! What joy it is to see so many faces and hear so many prayerful voices within our walls again. If you haven’t yet joined us for Sunday Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m., we hope to see you soon!


Sunday, November 15 - Thursday, December 24
Nativity Fast

Wednesday, December 2
Nativity Fast Prayer Service: Moleben to Saint Nicholas
12 noon

Sunday, December 6
Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
Feast of Saint Nicholas
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

Sunday, Sunday, December 13
Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
Typica: Reader's Service
9:30 a.m.

Wednesday, December 16
Nativity Fast Prayer Service: Emmanuel Moleben
12 noon

Sunday, December 20
Twenty-Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday Before Nativity
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

Friday, December 25
Christmas: Nativity of Christ Jesus
Compline and Carols
9 a.m.

Friday, December 25
Christmas: Nativity of Christ Jesus
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.

Sunday, December 20
Twenty-Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
Sunday After Nativity
Divine Liturgy
9:30 a.m.


Christmas at HTOC: Prepare for Christmas by joining us for Nativity Fast Prayer Services at noon on the Wednesdays listed on our calendar, then celebrate the Nativity of Christ with us on Friday, December 25 with Compline and Carols at 9 a.m. and Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. Christ is born! Glorify him!

Heading Toward Bethlehem: The Nativity Fast (November 15 through December 24) is in full swing. As we get ready for December 25 socially by decorating our houses, buying presents, and stuffing stockings, let's prepare for it spiritually with almsgiving, prayer, and fasting — holy habits that keep our egos and appetites from overlooking God and neighbor, on whom Jesus' message of selfless love so keenly focuses. It's also a good time to take stock of our lives in the sacrament of confession, so we welcome the Christ Child with clean consciences and unburdened hearts. Let's make the most of this Nativity Fast to remember the reason for the season while we head spiritually toward Bethlehem!

Feeding Hungry Jesus: Along with relaunching worship, our parish has resumed serving our needy neighbors by collecting groceries for People Helping People in Hernando County — putting into practice the holy habit of almsgiving Jesus taught us (Matthew 6:1-4). Our parish charity bin stands ready to receive your weekly gifts of non-perishable food for the hungry. For a grocery list of what's needed, click this link: HTOC Grocery List. Jesus said how we treat those in need is how we treat him (Matthew 25:31-46) — so let's make sure we treat him well!


"Rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15). Best wishes to our kinfolk in Christ celebrating special milestones this month. Birthdays: Father Michael Miklos (December 3), Diane Orloff (December 9), Stephen Kuzmiak (December 25), and Tim Hostnick (December 27). God grant you many years!

December 6: Saint Nicholas Day


On December 6, the Church honors Saint Nicholas of Myra — the fourth-century bishop who gave generously to the needy, helped the helpless, protected children, defended the innocent, stood up against injustice, and righted wrongs. That track record made him one of the best-known saints in the world and an all-time favorite among Carpatho-Rusyns and other Slavic peoples. How can we best honor him? By doing charity as he did, through our parish charity bin that collects groceries for the hungry for distribution through our friends at People Helping People in Hernando County.

December 13: Saint Herman of Alaska


On December 13, the Church honors Saint Herman of Alaska (1756-1836) — the first saint of North America. He was a Russian monk who spent his life as a missionary in the wilds of far-off Alaska. His Christlike character, simple lifestyle, and tireless care for native-born Alaskans in the face of colonial exploitation earned him the loving nickname "Apa" (Grandfather) among the locals in their own language. He left us this sage advice: "From this day, from this hour, from this minute, let us strive to love God above all and do his holy will."

December 25: The Ultimate Christmas Gift


What is the meaning of Christmas, the Nativity of Christ Jesus, which we celebrate on December 25? Saint Paul the Apostle put it this way: "Remember how generous the Lord Jesus was: he was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty" (2 Corinthians 8:9). A generation later, second-century bishop Saint Irenaeus of Lyons echoed that thought with these words: "In his immeasurable love, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, became what we are in order to make us what he is." Though God is "rich" (immortal and all-powerful), he willingly became "poor" (mortal and vulnerable) like us by being born into the human race as the baby Jesus, in order to make us "rich" by freeing us from sin and death to make us heirs of his own eternal life! In this wondrous mystery of the Incarnation (a word whose Latin roots mean "in the flesh"), God shared our human nature in the person of Christ Jesus so that we "can share in God's nature" (2 Peter 1:4) in return. God gives himself to us in Christ Jesus, so that we can become Christlike — there's no better Christmas gift than that!

Pray for Church Growth!


God, thank you for this church. Help us to take care of it with our gifts and our toil. Make us grow together in spirit and numbers. Keep us faithful to your Christ, alert to your Spirit, and welcoming to one and all, so that they too may find your truth, love, and peace within this holy house of yours. Amen.

Safe Church Regathering: Parish Pandemic Precautions

Reopening our church amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic means we must adjust our familiar churchgoing habits for the safety of one and all. Please join us in following these precautions:

Safety First

If you are feeling ill, please stay home, follow doctor's orders, and take good care of yourself.

Face masks and hand sanitizer will be available in the entryway of the church in case you forgot yours at home. Please use them!

Please practice social distancing and respect personal space. The seating and choir stands have been rearranged to ensure safer leeway between each other.

Please do not kiss icons, crosses, or the hands of clergy. Until less contagious days return, a simple bow is ample sign of reverence and respect.

Please drop any offerings in the collection plate set in the entryway of the church, so we do not have to pass it hand to hand.

To avoid any possible cross-contamination, there will be no "coffee hour" or other re-freshments served after church until after the pandemic.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our church experience as safe as possible amid these challenging times. It's all part of doing what Christ Jesus told us to do: "Love others as much as you love yourself" (Mark 12:31).