2015 Parish Photos (Updated 1/8/2016)

Nativity Season - 12/25/2015

The community Christ the Saviour was blessed with full schedule of services and activities throughout the Nativity fast and Feast. 

Community Outreach: Thanksgiving Turkey's and gift cards were distributed to our neighbors in need; and in December we collected Christmas presents for local children, as well as for our beloved mothers and sisters at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City! 

On Sunday, Dec 13th the Church School held its annual Nativity Program. We are thankful to our dedicated teachers, parents, and students who make such a wonderful effort each year  - edifying and entertaining all of us! At the conclusion of the program the children were treated to a visit from "St. Nicholas"!

On the Eve of the Feast we celebrated the Royal Hours and Vesperal Divine Liturgy in the morning, and the Nativity Vigil (Great Compline & Matins) in the evening. The Festal Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Christmas morning, where we welcomed Fr. Christopher Rocknage from St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church in Steelton. 

On Sunday, December 27th our parish family and their guests were treated to an Open House, sponsored every year by our Men's Club; and on Tuesday, Dec 29th our choir visited several shut-ins to bring the joy of Christ's birth through the singing of Liturgical hymns and carols. 

Please visit us at www.CTSHBG.org; be sure to join us for a service when you are in the area!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Russian: Христос рождаєся ! Славити його!

Greek: Χριστός γεννιέται! δοξάσατε!

Serbian: Христос се роди! Ваистину се роди!

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Nativity Program - 12/13/2015

On Sunday, December 13th (the anniversary of the repose of St. Herman of Alaska) the parish Church School at Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg) held its annual Nativity Program. We are thankful to our dedicated teachers, parents, and students who make such a wonderful effort each year  - edifying and entertaining all of us! May God grant them many blessed years! At the conclusion of the program the children were treated to a visit from "St. Nicholas"!

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Teen Spiritual Retreat - 12/06/2015

Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (Harrisburg, PA) hosted our Diocesan Youth for a Teen Spiritual Retreat entitled "Purity and Prayer" from Friday, December 4th - Sunday, December 6th. The event was organized by Fr. Michael Demko of Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church in Berwick, and featured Dr. Albert Rossi, Director of Field Education and professor of Pastoral Theology at St. Vladimir Seminary. Over the three day event our teens were engaged in exploring their relationship with Jesus Christ, and how this necessarily affects our desire for purity - "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". 


We thank Dr. Al, Fr. Michael, our chaperones and meal sponsors, and parents for helping make this event a success. Glory to God for all things!


All our teens are encouraged to register for the Diocesan Annual Teen Retreat being held from February 26-28, 2016 at the Spruce Lake Retreat Center in Canadensis, PA. Click HERE to visit the 2016 Retreat Page.


  • NOTE: If you would like to attend and need financial assistance, please be sure to talk to your pastor, and your dean. There are also scholarships available through the OCA Dept of Youth "Peter the Aleut Grant Program" - click HERE to learn more.

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Eritrean/Ethiopian Fellowship - 11/08/2015

On Sunday, November 8th our parish family enjoyed its 2nd Annual Eritrean/Ethiopian Fellowship, hosted by members from both communities. We were blessed to share in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of two of the many cultures that constitute our ethnically diverse parish family. This year we were also treated to two special powerpoint presentations, which included music and video clips! A special thanks to those who prepared and served the meal, as well as those that prepared the special coffee and tea that was enjoyed by all - thank you! 

  "Thank you" in Amharic (Ethiopian) 

 አመሰግናለሁ - Ameseg-inalehugn!

  "Thank you" in Tigrinya (Eritrean) 

 የቐንየለይ! - Yeken-yeley!

 NOTE: this event will be held annually, the Sunday before the beginning of the Nativity Fast.

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Archbishop Mark Visits CTS - 10/25/2015

From Saturday, October 24th - Sunday, October 25th our community welcomed our arch-pastor His Eminence Archbishop Mark. It was a special blessing to also welcome the V. Rev. David Vernak from Christ the Saviour in Paramus, NJ; as well as the youth choir from St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, who sang select hymns with our youth choir. His Eminence conferred an award on our pastor, and at the conclusion of the Liturgy he blessed our new street sign. Glory to God for His rich gifts!

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V. Rev. Abbot Tryphon Gives Talk - 10/21/2015

On Wednesday, October 21st, the V. Rev. Abbot Tryphon (All Merciful Saviour Monastery in Vashon Island, WA) returned to Harrisburg as part of his speaking tour in the Diocese of Eastern PA. He visited Agia Sophia Coffeehouse and Bookstore, and was presented with a gift from our manager Robbin Staller. That afternoon he attended our weekly downtown Wednesday noon Bible Study. The same evening, following Compline, he gave a wonderful talk to over 150 parishioners and guests at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church. One participant summarized his talk with these words "Christianity must be Authentic; if you say you believe it, you must live it. Christians must be others contact with Christ - not simply conforming to the peer group or situation. With love for all." Following the talk, we enjoyed a time of fellowship. It was a special joy for Fr. Tryphon to spend time with OCF students from Messiah College and Penn State Harrisburg. Glory to God for all things!

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Fr. Tryphon Visits CTS - 10/18/2015

On Sunday, October 18th the Very Rev. Abbot Tryphon of the All Merciful Saviour Monastery (Vashon Island, WA) gave the homily at the Divine Liturgy. During his homily Fr. Tryphon used vivid stories to relate the relevance of the Gospel to our daily life, and gave practical examples on how to cultivate our relationship with Jesus Christ. 


Fr. Tryphon is well known to many through his daily blog "the Morning Offering", as well his devotional book by the same title published by Ancient Faith Publishing. He is visiting our Diocese to give a series of talks entitled "Engaging the Culture: While Remaining Faithful to the Gospel in the Time and Place We are Called". 


  • NOTE: He will be returning to Christ the Saviour on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm (Compline at 6:30pm). 


We ask that God strengthen Abbot Tryphon in his ministry that inspires the faithful here in North America, and beyond! 

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2015 Slavic "+" Food Fest - 10/03/2015

From Saturday, October 3rd - Sunday October 4th the community of Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg) held its annual Slavic Food Fest. We welcomed hundreds of our parishioners, neighbors and friends to enjoy a "taste" of several of the many cultures that constitutes our ethnically diverse community. Guests were treated to homemade pierogies, halupki, and halushki, as well as Macedonian hamburgers, kielbasa sandwiches, and a variety of pastries and baked goods. The "+" represents the addition of an Eritrean (East African) spicy chicken stew called tsebhi derho, along with injera (thin spongy bread), and himbasha (desert bread).  In conjunction with the Food Fest, we also held our annual basket raffle, which featured over 50 baskets, and a vendor faire with lots of great products.

Many visitors made their first trip into our beautiful Orthodox Church, which was open for tours throughout the two day event. We pray that while our guests filled their bellies for the day, they might have found that "one thing needful" that will nourish their souls for eternity. Glory to God for all things!

NOTE: Our Food Fest is held annually, the first weekend in October.

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Welcome Our New Catechumens - 09/13/2015

"O Lord our God, who dwellest in the heavens, and lookest down upon all Thy works, look down upon Thy servants, the catechumens, who have bowed their necks before thee, and grant them a light yoke. Make them honorable members of Thy holy Church, and vouchsafe unto them the laver of regeneration, the forgiveness of sins, and the robe of incorruption, unto the knowledge of Thee, our true God."

Late this summer and early fall we welcomed two new catechumens into our parish family: Timothy Monko (9/13/15) and Ronald Miller (10/4/15). We pray that God will continue to nurture them as they prepare themselves for entry into the Church, and that we would be found worthy of our vocation to be good examples of the Faith "once delivered to the saints", and rededicate ourselves to the daily Christian struggle which leads to eternal life! Glory to God for all things!

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Elevation of the Holy Cross and Parish Picnic - 09/13/2015

On Sunday, September 13th the community at Christ the Saviour had a FULL day! We welcomed Fr. John Ealy from Florida as guest concelebrant for the Divine Liturgy, where we also enrolled Timothy Monko into the Catechumenate of the Orthodox Church. At the conclusion of Liturgy we immediately celebrated the Vespers of the Elevation of the Life-Giving Cross. Following Vespers we enjoyed our annual Parish Family Picnic on the church grounds. Author Jane Svitchen from St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church (Steelton), and illustrator Sheena Hisiro (a daughter of our parish, now living NYC), signed copies of their new book "Herman My Love". We also recognized Carl Hisiro (manager) and our parish softball team with the League Championship trophy for the fifth consecutive season. A special thanks to our St. Alexis Toth Men's Club for organizing the picnic for the benefit our entire parish family. Glory to God for His many blessings! 

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Teacher and Student Blessing - 08/30/2015

On Sunday, August 30th at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, our teachers and students gathered for a special blessing as they return to classes this week. May our Lord who inspires the heart and the intellect - guide them in their instruction and their studies; and preserve them as faithful followers of His commandments!


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Missionary Cathy Bucharew - 08/09/2015

From June 15th - July 4th, Cathy Bucharew, a parishioner at Christ the Saviour in Harrisburg, PA participated in an OCMC Mission Trip to Albania. Her work there consisted of assisting in a childrens summer program for orphaned and under-served children at the "Orthodox Home for Hope". 


  • Read more about the Albanian Orthodox Churches mission at the "Home for Hope" HERE
  • Learn more about the Orthodox Christian Mission Center HERE


Our community was blessed to hear a presentation about her trip during fellowship following Divine Liturgy on Sunday, August 9th. Cathy reminded us of the "Great Commission" (Matthew 28:18-20), and the importance of being a "missionary" wherever the Lord has called us to be a witness to His Passion, Death, and Resurrection! 

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Vehicle Blessing - 07/19/2015

On Sunday July 19th, the community of Christ the Saviour asked God's blessing upon our "various means of transportation", in anticipation of the feast of the great Prophet Elijah (July 20th). May the Lord keep the drivers and passenger in safety, as they strive glorify God through the use of their vehicles. 

We were blessed to have Fr. Paul Fetsko, a son of our parish, from Ss. George and Alexandra Mission (Ft. Smith, Arkansas) with us for the Divine Liturgy. May God grant him many years in his ministry to the parish and in his work as a hospital chaplain. 

O Lord our God, Who dost ride upon the Cherubim; Who walks on the wings of the wind; Who didst send Thy servant the Prophet Elijah a chariot of fire, and Who with Thine All-Holy Spirit has inspired and guided the human mind to invent various and expedient means of transportation and travel: We give Thee thanks, O Master, for Thou has provided us, Thy servants, with these vehicles to serve our different needs...(Excerpt from the Prayer of Blessing of Vehicles)

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Ressetars' 50th Anniversary - 07/05/2015

On Sunday, July 5th our community celebrated the 50th anniversary of Fr. Daniel and M. Theodora Ressetars ministry in Harrisburg, PA. They were assigned on July 2, 1965 to "Christ the Saviour Mission" in Colonial Park, and Fr. Dan celebrated his first Divine Liturgy at a house chapel in Pleasant Hills, north of the Colonial Park Mall. To celebrate with the community, the Ressetar family hosted a "Patriotic Picnic" during the fellowship hour. May God bless Fr. Dan and M. Theodora with peace, prosperity, and good health as they continue to serve our parish, and the Church in their retirement! Mnogaya Lyeta!

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Pentecost - 05/31/2015

On Sunday, May 31st, the faithful of Christ the Saviour celebrated the great and holy feast of Pentecost. We were overjoyed to receive Chrissi (Ruth) Lamb into the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church through the Sacrament of Chrismation! Following the Divine Liturgy and Kneeling Vespers of Pentecost our community enjoyed our 3rd Annual International Day. We were treated to the cuisine and aesthetic that lend to our culturally diverse community - united in the Trinity, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven!

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Bright Week - 04/13/2015

Bright Week
Throughout Bright Week, our community will to gather and celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection. On Monday we were joined by clergy and faithful from our local Orthodox Churches - Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission (Mechanicsburg); Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Camp Hill), and St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church  (Steelton) for the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Christopher Rocknage, pastor of St. Nicholas, was our celebrant and gave an inspiring homily about the joy of the Resurrection of our Lord and our need to share it wherever we go!
We will again join our local Orthodox communities to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Bright Tuesday at St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, and on Bright Friday at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Camp Hill) for the Feast of the Life-giving Spring.
Aposticha Hymn at Vespers for the Life-Giving Spring
With hymns of wonder, let us, the faithful, praise and glorify the heavenly cloud that lets fall upon the earth the heavenly Rain, the life-giver Christ! He is the living divine Water that eternally pours forth the Ambrosia of nectar that never diminishes even after it has been drunk, but which dispels the thirst and also refreshes our soul. As we drink of it with wisdom, the most divine streams shall come forth from our hearts, and shall shower us all with bountiful grace.

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Late Saturday evening, and “while it was still dark” into Sunday, our community gathered for the “Feast of Feast, and Holy Day of Holy Days”. We were blessed to welcome Fr. Michael and M. Xenia Oleksa from Alaska!
Christ is Risen!    Христос Воскресе!
Χριστός Ανέστη!   المسيح قام!  
Ode 1 - Canon of Holy Pascha
It is the day of Resurrection, let us be illumined O ye people, Pascha, the Pascha of the Lord, from death unto Life and from earth unto Heaven has Christ our God led us singing the song of Victory! Let us purify our senses, and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the light ineffable of the Resurrection, and shall hear Him say in accents clear, rejoice as we sing the song of victory. For meet it is that the Heavens should rejoice, and that the earth should be glad, and the whole world, visible and invisible, should keep the feast, for Christ, the everlasting joy is Risen!

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Great and Holy Friday - 04/10/2015

Vespers of Great and Holy Friday (Burial Service)
In the afternoon on Friday, April 10th our community gathered for the Burial Vespers, in which we participate in the death of the Son of God upon the Cross. The Body of our Lord is tenderly removed from the Cross, and wrapped in a burial shroud, assisted by the children of our community. Later the Plaschenitsa (Holy Shroud depicting the Body of our Lord) is processed and placed in the Tomb in the center of the Church and venerated by the faithful!
Matins of Great and Holy Saturday (Lamentations)
In the evening on Friday, April 10th our community gathered for the Matins and Lamentations, in which we sing songs of love and tenderness to our Lord in the Tomb. This service also marks the transition from the solemnity of Holy Friday and our Lord’s Crucifixion and Death, to the first announcements of His harrowing of Hades (Old Testament prophecy of Ezekiel and the resurrection of the “dry bones”; and the Epistle and Gospel lessons), following our return from our procession around the church.
We are blessed by the presence of Archpriest Michael Oleksa and his wife Mat. Xenia, who are visiting from Alaska through Pascha. Fr. Michael gave an inspired homily reminding us that our faith teaches us live in joyful anticipation of the Kingdom – Holy Pascha!

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Great and Holy Wednesday - 04/08/2015

Great and Holy Wednesday (Holy Unction)
On Wednesday, April 8th, the communities of Christ the Saviour and Holy Apostles Mission, gathered to celebrate the Mystery of Holy Unction - interceding the Lord’s mercy, and healing of soul and body. Dn. Seraphim Reynolds offered a beautiful homily, which prepared each of us to realize our own spiritual sicknesses and poverty, and to ask the Lord for healing!
Excerpt from the Third Prayer of Holy Unction
Yes, Lord, send forth from heaven your healing power; touch the body, quench the fever, calm the suffering and chase away every lurking infirmity. Be the physician of your servants; raise them up from their bed of pain and their couch of distress; give them to your Church safe and sound, well-pleasing to you and doing your will.

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Great and Holy Tuesday - 04/07/2015

Great and Holy Tuesday (Presanctified & Bridegroom Matins)
On Tuesday, April 8th our community welcomed His Eminence Archbishop Mark, as he led us in the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, along with gathered local clergy and faithful. At the conclusion of the Liturgy he blessed a processional lamp and deacons candle donated in memory of, and for the health and salvation of the Atty and Gelles families.
The same evening His Eminence led our community at the final Bridegroom Matins.  We are grateful for the visit of Archbishop Mark, and were encouraged in our Holy Week struggle by his presence and pastoral care. Many years, O Master!
Holy Tuesday Troparia at the “Lord I Call”
As the Lord was going to His voluntary Passion, He said to the Apostles on the way: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up, as it is written of Him.” Come, therefore, let us also go with Him, purified in mind! Let us be crucified with Him and die through Him to the pleasures of this life! Then we shall live with Him and hear Him say: “I go no more to the earthly Jerusalem to suffer, but to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. I shall raise you up to the Jerusalem on high in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

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Archbishop Mark Visits CTS - 03/29/2015

On Friday, March 27th His Eminence led our faithful in singing the beautiful Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God, and also offered his congratulations to Fr. Daniel Ressetar who celebrated his 88th birthday.

On Saturday, March 28th the local clergy and their families enjoyed brunch with Archbishop Mark. It was encouraging to strengthen one another in our common struggle, and to share stories about our trials, God's mercy, and the many blessings that come when serving Him!

Later the same afternoon, His Eminence met with our parish council. Each member had the opportunity to share about themselves, and how they serve our parish in their ministry as a council member. Archbishop Mark also shared about his life, as well as his vision for our parish councils. In the evening, following the Vespers service he spent time with the choir as they practiced for the upcoming services of Holy Week and Pascha.

On Sunday, March 29th, His Eminence led the clergy and faithful at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for the 5th Sunday of Lent. We also welcomed Protodeacon Gregory Moser from St. Mark Orthodox Church in Wrightstown, PA. The Liturgy was glorious! A special thanks to  the choir who sang so beautifully, and to the servers who assisted in the service! Following the Liturgy Archbishop Mark spent  time with our parish teens, who asked questions and listened to the loving and pastoral guidance of their bishop. Finally, Archbishop Mark spent some time with our inquirers and catechumens as we discussed our final section of "Orthodoxy 101", which dealt with the Mystery of Death and the Funeral Service!

Glory to God for all things! May He bless, preserve, and strengthen our archpastor in his labors to our Diocese. Eis Polla Eti Dhespota! Many years, O master!

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Welcome Seminary Choir - 03/22/2015

On March 22nd (St. John Climacus), the community of Christ the Saviour in Harrisburg welcomed the St. Tikhon Seminary Mission Choir. The choir sang beautifully and Seminary Dean, Fr. Steven Voytovich delivered a wonderful homily, encouraging us in our Lenten struggle!

Following the Divine Liturgy we sang a one-year memorial for Fr. Alexander Atty, who reposed in the Lord on Sunday, March 23, 2014. Koliva was offered in his memory, and we blessed a Processional Cross, which was donated to our church by his family, as a reminder of his love for our community and its faithful! May his memory be eternal!

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2015 Parish Council - 03/08/2015

On Sunday, March 8th, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Mark, we installed our newly elected parish council. We pray that God will grant them wisdom and strength, and that they will grow in their love and obedience to Christ and His Church through their vocation as parish lay-leaders. May God grant them many years!

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Sunday of Orthodoxy - 03/01/2015

The Orthodox Council of Churches of South Central PA, held its annual Pan-Orthodox Triumph of Orthodoxy Vespers at St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, York PA on Saturday, February 28th. His Grace, Bishop THOMAS of Oakland (ANT) presided and was the homilist. Diocesan clergy and faithful from Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg), St. Herman of Alaska (Shillington), and Holy Apostles Mission (Mechanicsburg) participated in the services and fellowship which followed.


On Sunday, March 1st the clergy and faithful of Christ the Saviour marked the first Sunday of Lent by celebrating the Triumph of Orthodoxy with an icon procession. Despite another weekend of inclement weather, we had a "full" celebration! Glory to God for all things!


Excerpt from the Synodikon of Orthodoxy (787 AD)
As the prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught, as the Church has received, as the teachers have dogmatized, as the Universe has agreed, as Grace has shown forth, as Truth has revealed, as falsehood has been dissolved, as Wisdom has presented, as Christ Awarded, thus we declare, thus we assert, thus we preach Christ our true God, and honor as Saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in Holy Icons; on the one hand worshipping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord; and on the other hand honoring as true servants of the same Lord of all and accordingly offering them veneration.

This is the Faith of the Apostles!
This is the Faith of the Fathers!
This is the Faith of the Orthodox!
This is the Faith which has established the Universe!

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Scout Sunday - 02/08/2015

On Sunday, February 8th our parish honored our Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Each was given a special patch to celebrate their participation in Scout Sunday. Following the Divine Liturgy our community also held its annual meeting, reviewing the past year and discerning the Lord's will for the coming year. Glory to God for all things!

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Susquehanna River Blessing - 01/18/2015

On Sunday, January 18th the Orthodox parishes of Greater Harrisburg gathered at City Island Park for the 7th Annual Pan-Orthodox Great Blessing of the Susquehanna. His Grace, Bishop Mitrophan of Eastern America (Serbian Orthodox Church) was our celebrant, along with the clergy and faithful from the following communities:

•    Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (OCA) in Harrisburg
•    Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission (OCA) in Mechanicsburg
•    Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral (GOA) in Camp Hill
•    St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (SER) in Oberlin

Following the River Blessing, the clergy and faithful gathered at Agia Sophia Coffeehouse and Bookstore (www.agiasophiaharrisburg.com) for fellowship and a soup/chili cook-off. His Grace, Bishop Mitrophan blessed the shop, asking that God would continue to allow it to be a place of peace, and an encouragement to our Orthodox faithful and our patrons. Agia Sophia has donated over $10,000 to local charities in its 3 years ministry/business!

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