St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA
- Who We Are
- Parish Life
- Calendar & Schedule of Events
- Schedule of Services
- Biographies of Serving Clergy
- Parish Council Information
- Pictures of Parish Life
- Tour of the Church & Explanation of Icons
- Testimonies from Parishioners
- Useful Information
- Sacraments Policies
- Guidelines for Prayer Life
- Fasting Guidelines
- Church Etiquette
- Guidelines for Memorial Services, (Trisagion Prayers for the Departed)
- Guidelines for Reading the Epistle
- Guidelines for Reading the Bible (Church Lectionary of Daily Readings)
- Thoughts/ Guidelines for Alms- Giving
- Photo Gallery
Photos of Parish Life
SAINT NICHOLAS VISITS IN 2016
On the first Sunday of December 2016 Saint Nicholas visited the people of St. Mary’s. Father David gave a special sermon to the children about the life and deeds of St. Nicholas. He spoke about his great love for young people and how he cared for them. He also told the story about the family with three daughters to whom St. Nicholas gave bags of gold as needed for the marriage of the three daughters. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the children and teens sang the song to welcome St. Nicholas, and when he came, there was a group photograph made with him. He gave gifts of chocolate golden coins, oranges and candy canes to the young people. It was a special day for all in the parish.
To welcome St. Nicholas on his feast, December 6, Father David gave a sermon to the young people of the parish about St. Nicholas and his care and love for people. He spoke about the young girls who needed dowery money in order to marry, and how St. Nicholas threw bags of gold into their home to allow this to happen. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the children sang the Carpatho-Russin song, “All who love Nicholas the saintly…”, to welcome him. The children then received golden (chocolate) coins, a golden orange, and a candy cane (the symbol of his bishop’s staff) from St. Nicholas as they had the opportunity to speak with him and to have their photo taken with him.
On Sunday evening, December 13, the Ladies of St. Mary held their annual pre-Christmas dinner at the Wyoming Valley country club. Our parishioners, Nancy Hunter and her daughters, Mary and Megan, together with Kate Namey hand made all the decorations for the party. The parishioners were invited to come to the dinner which offered a variety of foods and desserts. Many extended families came to join in the celebration. Music was provided by a parishioner, Dave Abraham, and his Acoustic Trio. People enjoyed the variety of music and the dancing.
BISHOP THOMAS VISITS ST. MARY 2015
Bishop Thomas visited St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church over the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd. During his visit he presided over Great Vespers which was followed by a covered dish dinner provided by the parishioners. On Sunday he served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy which was followed by the annual Parish Picnic. On Sunday the choir was conducted by his cousin Amber Hyder and his cousin Birdie Hyder/Molnar was one of the members of the choir. Sayidna was glad to learn that the parish was having some more infants being baptized into the parish and that for the first time after may years the parish was getting some new people moving into Wilkes-Barre to become members of the parish.
As St. Mary’s prepared itself for the Nativity of Christ, there were three special Pre-Christmas celebrations to prepare for the feast. On December 7th St. Nicholas visited the teens and children of the parish. On December 14th the Ladies sponsored their annual Pre-Crhistrmas Parish Dinner where friends and family are invited. At the request of the parishioners who enjoyed Dave Abraham’s Acoustic Trio for the 110th Anniversary Dinner, he and the trio were invited back to play for the parish dinner. On December 16th the Father Nahas Seniors held their Pre-Christmas Luncheon. All three events were special celebrations of the joy of the Nativithy.
SAINT MARY 110th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OCTOBER 2014
The 110th anniversary of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church was celebrated over the weekend of October 10-12th, 2014. The 110th Anniversary Committee, chaired by Suanne Moses, had been preparing all year for special events which led to our special weekend of celebration. On Palm Sunday, we took a Group picture of the Parishioners who were present followed for the first time by family photos for the Anniversary book. Bishop THOMAS presided over all of the events. On Friday morning the parish had the funeral of the oldest parishioner, Lorraine George, who was 98. Bishop THOMAS arrived earlier to be able to serve her funeral.
On Friday evening there was a Potluck Dinner to which the parishioners brought many different kinds of delicious fast-day foods. The hall was decorated with a beautiful fall motif which added to the festivities and joyous atmosphere.
On Saturday, Bishop THOMAS went to visit his family’s restaurant in Wilkes-Barre and enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers from Abe’s Restaurant on Main Street. He reminisced there about his family during the meal.
On Saturday evening Great Vespers was presided over by Bishop THOMAS and several seminary students from St. Tikhon’s Seminary chanted. In addition, two of the former pastors of St. Mary’s, Father Mark Sahady and his family, and Father John Winfrey, arrived for the occasion and they also joined in the chanting. On Sunday Father Thomas Zain, another former pastor, and his family joined the celebration at the Banquet. Vespers was followed by a dinner of Kibbee Iros and other Arabic foods prepared by our parishioners and American music provided by Drew Mamary, Jr. who was our DJ for the night, and Arabic musical instruments played by Riad Attar, John Hyder, Christopher Kerlish and John Kerlish. This provided music for dancing during the Hafli.
On Sunday morning there was Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy which was served by Bishop THOMAS, Father David Hester, pastor of St. Mary’s, and Fathers Mark Sahady and John Winfrey, as well as Deacon John Karam, and several subdeacons. Bishop THOMAS spoke in his sermon about the Gospel passage of the day, reminding the parishioners of the importance of their service to Christ in his Holy Church.
That afternoon there was a Grand Banquet held at the new Mohegan Sun Hotel and Conference Center. During the banquet another parishioner, David Abraham, and his acoustic trio played music of the 60, 70, and 80’s which was enjoyed by all. At the banquet Bishop THOMAS spoke of many memories he had of visiting St. Mary’s in his youth when he came to visit his grandparents and his relatives in Wilkes-Barre. Father David spoke about the many contributions of the parishioners and the hard work that they do so constantly for the parish. Suanne Moses, the chair of the Parish Council, thanked the many people who put in countless hours to prepare for the weekend celebration. Nancy Tenneriello led those in attendance in God Bless America, while one of our oldest parishioners, George Morrash, led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Andrew Kuhl, another parishioner and Superintendent of Hanover Area Schools was our Toast Master for the evening. Subdeacon Norm Namey was Banquet Chair. John Moses did a fantastic job on our Anniversary Banquet book and donated each book in memory of his daughter, Rachel Hebda. The Anniversary book included stories from our Senior Parishioners, family pictures taken by Photographer John Kasko, who also took the group picture, and the beautiful photo of our inside Dome of Icons.
It was a weekend that all appreciated and that will be remembered for years to come. We had a good time and we all enjoyed sharing the memories.
CHRISTMAS SEASON 2013
On Sunday, December 8, 2013, St. Nicholas visited the people of St. Mary. Father David gave a special sermon to the children of the parish, speaking of some of the events of the life of St. Nicholas. The young people participated in the sermon. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy the children and teens sang the song to welcome St. Nicholas, who then came and spoke to the young people of St. Mary. The children then received the traditional gifts of gold coins, an orange, and a candy cane (St. Nicholas’ bishop’s staff).
On Sunday, December 15, 2013, the Women of St. Mary held their annual pre-Christmas Dinner at the Wyoming Valley Country Club. This year they decided to invite their spouses and families to the party. It was enjoyable to have a larger group come to the dinner. During the dinner photos were taken of the families and friends present.
During the Nativity Fast, parishioners donated Crosses which were placed on the Christmas Tree in the Church Temple. Each Cross was given as a Memorial of one reposed, or for prayers for health and salvation for the living. At the Christmas Divine Liturgy all of these people were remembered in the Prothesis and the Great Entrance of the Liturgy.
VETERANS DAY 2013
On Sunday November 3, 2013 a special Breakfast was held in the Parish Hall of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church. The breakfast honored the military veterans of the parish and of the community with many of the Italian American Veterans and veterans of other groups present. The breakfast was well prepared by the cooks and well served by all their helpers. At the end of the meal a presentation was made to thank all of the veterans for their service and the Italian American Veterans gave a gift to St. Mary’s to thank the church for the fine meal, and also for hosting the veterans meeting each month as part of the weekly Spaghetti Dinner.
BISHOP THOMAS VISITS SAINT MARY 2013
Over the weekend of September 27 to 29, 2013, Bishop THOMAS visited St. Mary in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His visit began on the day of the parish’s Annual Golf Outing. Sayidna came to the game at the Sand Springs Golf Course in Drums and after talking with some of the parishioners began the 1pm tournament by blessing all of the golfers. During the afternoon he enjoyed the beautiful Pennsylvania weather and foliage and was driven around by Father David, the pastor of St. Mary, to watch the golfers play. Neither Sayidna nor Father David are golfers, but that did not stop them from noticing how well or poorly the play was going. At the end of the day there was a meal in the club house where Sayidna blessed the food. Sayidna even discovered that one of the golfers, John Charles, was a Wilkes-Barre high school classmate of his mother.
On Saturday Sayidna made his annual visit to his family’s hot dog restaurant, Abe’s on Main Street, and he saw both family and parishioners in the very busy restaurant. Then later that day he came to St. Mary’s for Great Vespers where he was received at the doors of the Church Temple and led into the Church. At the end of Great Vespers he spoke to the parishioners about how that afternoon he had spent some time looking at the parish’s Baptismal and Marriage records which go back to the 1890’s, looking at some of the records of his family members. He noted how some of the earliest of the records show that the parish was served by two saints, where the records show Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny performing baptisms, and Protopresbyter Alexis Toth having both baptisms and weddings for the parishioners. After the Great Vespers, Sayidna joined the parishioners for a dinner that was prepared by parishioners, Riad and Eileen Attar, with a whole crew of helpers. That evening we spoke with Sayidna about the fact that 2014 will be the 110th anniversary of St. Mary, and how we plan to have a special celebration in October of that year to celebrate. In addition, we spoke about the vitality of the parish, noting that we had two new families move to the parish, and that over the year the parish now has four infants, the first in many years.
On Sunday Sayidna served the Divine Liturgy and at the end of the Liturgy blessed three children who had received silver or bronze ribbons from the Parish Life Conference. Sayidna mentioned his constant hope that the area of North East Pennsylvania, with its affordable housing and beautiful mountainous scenery, will gradually experience an economic rebirth, and that the parish will continue to be a welcoming place for all who look to come to it.
MOTHERS' and FATHERS' DAYS AT ST. MARY 2013
For Mothers’ Day and for Fathers’ Day there were special celebrations at St. Mary’s. For the Mothers there was a brunch with the children entertaining the mothers, and for the Fathers there was a special coffee hour to honor the fathers. Photos were taken by the Khouriyee to commemorate the mothers and fathers in the community.
20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SPAGHETTI DINNER 2013
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the Spaghetti Dinner at St. Mary’s Antiochian Orthodox Church. The dinner began in February 1993 and has continued for some 40 weeks each year for the last 20 years. The longevity of the dinner is due to the commitment of the parishioners of St. Mary’s who work to prepare the five sauces and the five pastas each week, and who come to serve the dinners each Thursday evening from September to June. In addition, there are the very loyal customers who come to the dinner year after year, week in and week out, for some almost 12-15 or more years. While the loyal cooks and customers have changed over the twenty years, their commitment to this parish outreach and fundraiser continues to support this work of St. Mary’s. Perhaps the most common comment of those who come from all around the area to the dinner, is that the people of St. Mary Orthodox Church are so friendly and hospitable, and are so committed to work for the church. This dinner provides an opportunity to witness to our Orthodox faith, and also to give tours of the church temple to many of the non-orthodox. This is God’s blessing to St. Mary’s that we have such good people willing to work for the Lord’s holy Church.
CHRISTMAS SEASON 2012
To celebrate the Birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, there were several different gatherings in the Parish of St. Mary. On the 8th of December St. Nicholas visited the young people of St. Mary’s. On Tuesday December 11th the Seniors had a prefestive luncheon. On Tuesday December 18th the Ladies of St. Mary’s had a prefestive dinner. Then on Sunday January 6th after the Divine Liturgy and Great Blessing of Water, Father David’s 65th Birthday was celebrated in the Church Hall with a special meal prepared by Khouriyee Anne. Then on the following Tuesday, the Seniors also celebrated his birthday with a luncheon in the Church Hall also prepared by Kh. Anne.
VETERANS DAY BREAKFAST 2012
On Sunday, November 2, 2012, St. Mary Orthodox Church had its annual breakfast honoring veterans. The breakfast followed the Divine Liturgy. The breakfast was prepared by a group of parishioners and was enjoyed by all the veterans. Special guests were the Italian-American Veterans and other veterans groups. One of the children of the parish performed some patriotic songs. It was a celebration which was enjoyed by all who came.
THE PATRIARCH REPOSES IN THE LORD 2012
It is with sadness that it was learned that Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, reposed in the Lord on December 5, 2012. After suffering a serious stroke he then went to his eternal reward on the following day. Information about his funeral is available on the archdiocesan website.
Six weeks prior to his repose the Patriarch was in the United States for a visit. On Thursday October 18, 2012, he was at the Archdiocesan headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. While there he convened a special meeting of the University of Balamand and the Antiochian House of Studies. The purpose of this meeting was to make preliminary plans for the establishment of a Doctoral Program in Orthodox Theology to be offered in the United States in joint collaboration of the University of Balamand and the Antiochian House of Studies.
Present at the meeting was the Patriarch, Metropolitan Philip, the President of Balamand University, Dr. Salem, members of the faculty and administration of the University of Balamand, and a delegation from the Archdiocese. In this delegation was Fawaz El Khoury, Vice-Chairman of the board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, and three Doctoral members of the Antiochian House of Studies, Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Allen, Very Rev. Dr. Michel Najim, and Very Rev. Dr. David Hester. These three are teachers in the Doctor of Ministry Program offered jointly by the House of Studies and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
The meeting laid the ground work for this future proposal and more will follow in the coming months.
BISHOP THOMAS VISITS ST. MARY 2012
On the weekend of October 14, 2012 Sayidna Thomas visited St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church. Sayidna arrived on Friday afternoon and that evening had dinner with the Parish Council and their families. Suanne Moses, the President of the Council, welcomed Sayidna and hoped that he would have a good visit at St. Mary’s. During the meal they spoke about the life in the parish and about the economic growth in the area which is connected mostly to the service industry. Sayidna noted that there were several new hotels in the area and stated that they would provide an opportunity for interested Antiochian Orthodox to find work in this area. He particularly noted how in Pennsylvania the price for housing is relatively inexpensive compared to other metropolitan areas. He hoped that this would be attractive to people looking for a less expensive life in a beautiful geographic area who could become viable members of our Orthodox parish.
On Saturday Sayidna visited some of his family, the owners of a local restaurant, Abe’s, which is famous for its Hot Dogs in Wilkes-Barre, where Sayidna has eaten from the time that he was a child. Then that evening he presided over Great Vespers which was served by the pastor of St. Mary’s, the Very Rev. David Hester and the Deacon John Karam. Assisting at the Great Vespers were Subdeacon Norman Namey, Subdeacon John Moses, and several of the seminary students from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary. Andrew Carpenter, a seminarian assigned to the parish, along with his fiancé, served as chanters along with the parish chanter Dallal Neddoff. Following the service there was a special meal served in the Parish Hall for some 60 people. It was a Syrian meal featuring Muddi which was prepared by a parishioner, Riad Attar, and several other members of the parish.
On Sunday, Sayidna served the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, assisted by Father David and Deacon John. The choir was directed by Sayidna’s cousin Amber Hyder and other members of his family also sang in the choir. Reading the Epistle for the Teen Soyo month was one of the parish teens, Alia Mazzatosta. Another teen, Hannah Kasko, also took up the collection. Sayidna preached about the special feast of the Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council and spoke about the importance of keeping and living out our Orthodox faith.
After the Divine Liturgy Sayidna went to the Parish Hall where he was able to greet many of the parishioners and then visit with his cousins who are part of the Parish and those who came to visit for the weekend .
MEMORIAL DAY 2012
On Memorial Day, Monday May 28, 2012, Memorial Day services were held in St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Cemetery. Father David and Deacon John served the Trisagion for the Dead. After that the Ashley Veterans of War Honor Guard had a 21 gun salute, followed by Taps from two parts of the Cemetery. Master Sergent Neno Sartini presided over the program and spoke of the importance of honoring our military and our veterans. After his talk, Deacon John spoke about Taps and the importance of remembering our war deceased. After the service Father David prayed at the graves of various parishioners whose families awaited his arrival. May their memory be eternal.
FATHERS' DAY 2012
All the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, godfathers and special men of St. Mary’s were honored on Fathers Day, June 17, 2012. The Coffee Hour offered them a lunch and a Fathers’ Day Cake. Many of the men posed for a photo to be used for a special display on the Parish Bulletin Board. The men enjoyed the food and the honor that was paid to them.
MOTHERS' DAY 2012
On Sunday, May 13, 2012, Mothers’ Day, there was a special celebration to honor the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, god-mothers and all the important women of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church. Father David preached a special sermon on the importance of all our mothers in our lives and their place always in our hearts. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the teens of the parish gave the women flowers and then in the Church Hall there was a breakfast cooked by the men and served by the teens. Pictures were taken of the women so that they would be remembered on their day of honor.
SUNDAY OF HOLY CROSS 2012 AND 90TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
On the Third Sunday of Great Lent, March 18, 2012, following the Divine Liturgy, the Cross was carried in procession around the Church Temple. This mid-point of Lent is a time to remember the great celebration for which we are preparing, the death and resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Also on this Sunday, there was a special celebration in the Parish Hall for the 90th birthday of George Morrash. George’s family and parish family gathered to honor him on this special occasion.
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY IN WILKES-BARRE 2012
On Sunday March 4, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, a procession carrying Icons concluded the Divine Liturgy at St. Mary’s. The clergy led the procession and the children of the parish carried Icons behind them. At the Solea the Icon carried by Father David was placed on a stand and then an excerpt from the Synodikon of Orthodoxy (a brief statement of our Orthodox Christian beliefs) was read.
That afternoon at 4pm the PanOrthodox Great Vespers service was held in the OCA Cathedral in North Wilkes-Barre. At the end of the Procession with Icons and the reading from the Synodikon, Father David preached a sermon on the importance of Icons and on the history of the events between 726 and 843, the period of Iconoclasm, and the final triumph over it.
During the pre-Christmas season, there were various events at St. Mary’s as part of the pre-Christmas preparation for the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. On Sunday December 4, St. Nicholas visited the children of St. Mary’s bringing them the traditional gifts of golden coins, oranges and candy canes. To prepare for the visit, Fr. David gave a sermon to the children about St. Nicholas, and after the Divine Liturgy the children all sang a song to welcome St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas spoke to the children and then gave them a bag of gifts.
The Women of St. Mary’s had a pre-Christmas Dinner on Sunday December 11, 2011. During the dinner the women all had their pictures taken with the women from their table. The highlight of the party was entertainment by one of our own children who sang a variety of Christmas music. At the end of the dinner the women all received gifts which were brought by the women to be secretly selected.
On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the Seniors held their annual luncheon. They too had their pictures taken as a group from each table and after the meal, which was served family-style, they each received a Christmas present.
Each of these events was a special and joyful occasion, and was an important part of the preparation for the joy of the Nativity which was soon to come.
VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION 2011
On Sunday November 13th, St. Mary Orthodox Church had a special breakfast and program to honor the veterans of the parish and also the Italian American Veterans, the Koreans War Veterans, and the Veterans of the Vietnam War. All of these people are special friends of the parish. There was a program to welcome the veterans and a young parishioner led in the Pledge to Allegiance and the National Anthem. The Parish Council President welcomed all the veterans and when the breakfast was finished there was a song to honor the veterans, and then a presentation was made to the church by the Italian American Veterans. It was a special day for all who attended the celebration.
NEW ICONS IN THE DOME
After a year of preparation, and through the generosity of the people of St. Mary’s, particularly in offering memorial donations towards this work, the dome of St. Mary’s has been repaired and repainted, and 24 icons of the Saints of the Church of the New Testament and the Saints of the Church of the Old Testament have been placed in the dome. The icons were painted on canvas by the iconographer, Ivan Roumiansev, of South Canaan, Pennsylvania, and installed by the H.A. Smith Company under the leadership of Joe Dotzel. Each icon is over six feet tall.
The order of the icons is as follows:
Virgin Mary, The Theotokos centered in the east
Archangel Michael ————————- Archangel Gabriel
Apostle Peter ————————————————— Apostle Paul
Apostle and Evangelist Matthew —————— Apostle and Evangelist John
Apostle Andrew ——————————— Apostle James Brother of the Lord
Apostle Bartholomew ———————————————— Apostle Jude
Apostle James Son of Zebedee ————————— Apostle Simon
Apostle Philip ——————————————————- Apostle Thomas
Prophet Jonas ——————————————————— Prophet Daniel
Prophet Ezechiel —————————————————— Prophet Isaias
Prophet Moses ———————————————————- Prophet Elias
Prophet and King Solomon ——————— Prophet and King David
Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist, centered in the west
BISHOP THOMAS VISITS OCTOBER 2010
On the weekend of October 3, 2010, Bishop THOMAS made his annual visit to St. Mary. On Friday evening he had dinner with the members of the Parish Council. On Saturday evening he met with the Antiochian Orthodox seminary students who study at St. Tikhon’s Russian Orthodox Seminary. He presided over Great Vespers and had dinner with 100 of the parishioners in the Parish Hall. On Sunday morning he served the Divine Liturgy. At the end of the Divine Liturgy Sayidna inducted a new member into the Order of St. Ignatius. This new member was sponsored by her cousin, and in joining the Order, she was now a member along with her father and her son. At the end of the induction all the members of the Order joined for a group photo along with Sayidna and Father David. It was a good weekend and all enjoyed have Sayidna with us at St. Mary’s.
FATHER DAVID'S 20-10 ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
On Sunday, September 12, 2010, the parish of St. Mary Orthodox Church celebrated the 10th anniversary of their priest, Father David, as the pastor of their church, and the 20th anniversary of Father David’s ordination to the Orthodox priesthood. It was a special day for all the parish. During the Divine Liturgy Father David spoke about his 10 years of serving as the pastor of St. Mary’s and remembered many special times and occasions. Following the Divine Liturgy there was a special Arabic meal cooked by parishioners with Kafta, green beans and rice. Following the meal there were special presentations led by the Master of Ceremonies, and offered by the Parish Council and the Teen SOYO. Everyone enjoyed the celebration and it was a time to rejoice in our lives as the clergy and people of St. Mary Orthodox Church.
ANNUAL SUMMER PICNIC 2010
On Sunday August 22 St. Mary’s had its annual summer picnic. As over the past few years the picnic was held in the parish hall. The people of St. Mary’s enjoyed a variety of picnic foods: hot dogs, sloppy joes, corn, beans, salads, and different cakes and deserts. For the children there was a place to jump in an inflatable trampoline. After the food many of the people of all ages played bingo. The afternoon was enjoyed by all.
Quote of the Holy Fathers
A brother went to see Abba Silvanus on the mountain of Sinai. When he saw the brothers working hard he said to the old man, “Do not labor for the food which perishes (John 6:27). Mary has chosen the better part (Luke 10:42).” The old man said to his disciple, “Zacharias, give the brother a book and put him in a cell without anything else.” So when the ninth hour came the visitor watched the door expecting someone would be sent to call him to the meal. When no one called him, he got up, went to find the old man and said to him, “Have the brothers not eaten today?” The old man replied that they had. Then he said, “Why did you not call me?” The old man said to him, “Because you are a spiritual man and do not need that kind of food. We, being carnal, want to eat, and that is why we work. But you have chosen the good portion and read the whole day long and you do not want to eat carnal food.” When he heard these words the brother made a prostration saying, “Forgive me, Abba.” The old man said to him, “Mary needs Martha. It is really thanks to Martha that Mary is praised.”
It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped when giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God.
St. John of Damascus (8th century)
It is necessary to establish a pattern of going to church as often as possible, usually to Matins, Liturgy and Vespers. Have a longing for this, and go there at the first opportunity and if you can, stay without leaving. Our church is heaven on earth. Hasten to church with the faith that it is a place where God dwells, where He Himself promised to quickly hear prayers. Standing in church, be as if you are standing before God in fear and reverence, which you express through patience, prostrations, and attention to the services without wandering thoughts.
Saint Theophan the Recluse (19th century)
The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry. The garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of the person who is naked. The shoes you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot. The money you keep locked away is the money of the poor. The acts of charity you do not perform are the injustices you commit.
Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (4th century)