2017 Parish Photos (Updated 01/04/2018)

New Years Eve - 12/31/2017

On Sunday, December 31st the community of Christ the Saviour was blessed to welcome Metropolitan Tikhon, who was in the area visiting family for the holidays. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy several Vasilopita (St. Basil's bread - learn more HERE) were offered by parishioners in honor of the saint and with petitions for the upcoming New Year. Glory to God for all things!

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Nativity Eve - 12/24/2017

Nativity Vigil 2017 (Harrisburg, PA)

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

(Kontakion) Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! Angels, with shepherds, glorify Him! The wise men journey with the star! Since for our sake the Eternal God is born as a little child!

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

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FOCA Award Scholarship - 12/24/2017

On Sunday, December 24th (Nativity Eve) our parish "O" Club presented Wade Hisiro with a FOCA (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America) Central PA District Scholarship. Wade was also awarded a FOCA National Scholarship. Shreya Jacob, who was not able to be present, was also awarded a district scholarship. Our parish "O" Club President John Dotsey made the presentation and shared the history, and philanthropic work done by FOCA over its 90 year history. Congratulations and "Many Years" to Wade and Shreya as they continue their college careers, and especially as they strive to be active Orthodox Christians.


To learn more about FOCA, please visit their website: https://www.orthodoxfellowship.org/ 

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Nativity Pageant - 12/10/2017

On Sunday, December 10th at fellowship the Sunday School of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (Harrisburg, PA) held its annual Nativity Pageant. This years pageant was entitled "The Miraculous Birth". 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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Thanksgiving Service - 11/22/2017

On Wednesday, November 22nd (the eve of Thanksgiving) the community of Christ the Saviour was especially pleased to welcome His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon, as well as clergy and faithful from our local Orthodox churches to offer the Akathist "Glory to God for All Things". This Pan-Orthodox event is held annually, and rotates between each of our Harrisburg area parishes.

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Eritrean / Ethiopian Fellowship - 11/12/2017

On Sunday, November 12th our parish family of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (Harrisburg) enjoyed its 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.  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 is held annually, the Sunday before the beginning of the Nativity Fast.

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Fr Patrick Henry Reardon - 10/24/2017

On Tuesday, October 24th the community of Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg, PA) welcomed well known author and theologian Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon. His lecture was part of series delivered in the Diocese of Eastern PA, and was focused on an Orthodox understanding of the Atonement. Fr. Patrick wove stories, humor, and deep Scriptural & theological reflections together as he masterfully engaged the audience. We encourage everyone to listen to a recording of his talk - available on our parish website by clicking HERE


On Wednesday October 25th following a brief visit to Agia Sophia Coffeehouse, Fr. Patrick led our weekly Pan-Orthodox Downtown Bible Study on a reflection on Luke Ch. 13. 


May God grant Fr. Patrick many more years of ministry to his flock of All Saints in Chicago, to the greater Orthodox Church, and to many others through his writings, podcasts, and lectures! 

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Ministry Faire - 10/22/2017

On Sunday, October 22nd the faithful of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church participated in our 2nd Annual Ministry Faire. The event was held immediately following Divine Liturgy in the Fellowship Hall, and featured the various ministry opportunities that serve Christ, His Church, and our local community. We are reminded in the Gospels, that when we serve "the least of the brethren" we are serving our Lord. We are thankful to Samantha Lopez and the organization committee, as well as the 20 parish ministries that offered a display. We pray that our parish members will  grow spiritually in their cheerful and sacrificial service to others! 

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Welcome Una and Theodore - 10/01/2017

On Sunday, October 1st (Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God) our parish family welcomed Una McManus into the Catechumate of the Orthodox Church, and celebrated the Churching and first reception of Holy Communion of the newly Illumined child of God Theodore. May God grant them many years!

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Konevets Quartet - 09/19/2017

On Tuesday, September 19th the community of Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg, PA) hosted the renowned Konevets Quartet from St. Petersburg, Russia for a concert of sacred and folk music. Our faithful and guests enjoyed a beautiful concert, and time of fellowship that followed. We look forward to welcoming them back again next year! 

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Welcome Rdr Christopher & Martha Rakowski - 08/27/2017

On Sunday, August 27 our community welcomed our new choir director, Rdr. Christopher Rakowski and his wife Martha. They are both graduates of St. Vladimir Seminary. Christopher brings over 20 years of directing experience, and both he and Martha are quickly becoming woven into the fabric of our parish family. We also welcomed Fr. Vasili Hillhouse, pastor of Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Anchorage, Alaska. Fr. Vasili gave a beautiful homily, encouraging us to grow in a dynamic relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ! 


This day also marked the annual commemoration of St. Phanourios, and we blessed a special bread in his honor (learn why - HERE). 


Finally, at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, our teachers and students gathered for a special blessing as they prepared to return to classes. 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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Farewell Rdr James and Family - 08/20/2017

On Sunday, August 20 our parish community bid a fond farewell to Rdr. James, Alison (Elizabeth), and Madeleine Latimer. Rdr. James has been our choir director the past four years, and under his directorship our choir has flourished, and with it, the spiritual atmosphere of our parish. The Latimer's will be attending St. Tikhon Seminary in the fall. May God grant them many blessed years!

We were also over joyed to have Fr. Leonid Schmidt, pastor of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Paramus, NJ and his family visiting with us. Fr. Leonid's wife, M. Laura (Hadginske), is a daughter of our parish!

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Dormition of the Mother of God - 08/15/2017

The community of Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg) celebrated the feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. On the eve we participated in the burial rite and sang lamentations at the tomb of the Theotokos, "who is constant in prayer, and our firm hope in her intercessions".

Troparion — Tone 1 In giving birth thou didst preserve thy virginity. In falling asleep thou didst not forsake the world, O Theotokos. Thou wast translated to life, O Mother of Life, and by thy prayers, thou dost deliver our souls from death.

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Pierogi 101 - 07/22/2017

Thanks to all those who came out today to help make "homemade" pierogi for our upcoming Slavic+ Food Fest (Sat Oct 7 & Sun Oct 8).  Along with our seasoned veterans (young and old) , we thank our "newbies" who participated in the fine art of pierogi making.  More help will be needed in September when we will be making halushki (buttered noodles with cabbage and onions), nutrolls, halupki (stuffed cabbage), tsebhi derho (Eritrean spicy chicken), and alicha (Eritrean vegetarian dish). 

All help is welcomed.  No experience is needed.  On the job training will be provided.  

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Holy Prophet Elijah - 07/16/2017

On Sunday July 16th, the community of Christ the Saviour asked God's blessing upon Rdr. Leo (Fred) & Garnice Leer as they recently marked their 40th wedding anniversary. May God grant them many blessed years!


We also celebrated our annual vehicle blessing in honor of the feast of the great Prophet Elijah (July 20th). 


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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Iconography - 07/02/2017

Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (Harrisburg, PA) welcomed Fr. Theodore Jurewicz back to our parish (June 13 - July 2) to continue working on our temple iconography. This visit saw the completion of the Angelic Liturgy icons, which are located immediately outside the iconostasis, in the nave of the church. They reflect the heavenly reality of our worship - as we pray during the Liturgy of St. Basil -


O Lord, our God, Thou hast created us and brought us into this life. Thou hast shown us the ways to salvation, and have bestowed upon us the revelation of heavenly mysteries. Thou hast appointed us to this service in the power of Thy Holy Spirit. Therefore, O Lord, enable us to become servers of Thy new Covenant and ministers of Thy holy Mysteries... Look down on us, O God, and observe this our worship. Accept it as Thou didst accepted the gifts of Abel, the sacrifices of Noah, the whole burnt offerings of Abraham, the priestly offices of Moses and Aaron, and the peace-offerings of Samuel. As Thou didst accept this true worship from Thine holy Apostles, so now, in Thy goodness, accept these gifts from the hands of us sinners...


Before he left Fr. Theodore also sketched out two of the Altar icons - Moses and Aaron in the Sanctuary, as well as Melchizedek with Abraham and Lot. On his next visit he will complete these as well as icons of the Feeding of Israel with the Manna, and the Feeding of the 5,000 on the North and South Altar Walls respectively. 


For further reading on the Angelic Liturgy, please see the following short articles:


  • "Divinely Revealed Appearance of Angels in Icons" - click HERE
  • "Angelic Liturgy - Why?" (from a Jewish scholar) - click HERE


Glory to God for all things!

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Miraculous Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon - 06/17/2017

On Saturday, June 17th the Miraculous, Myrrh-streaming Iveron Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos from Honolulu, Hawaii once again visited Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (Harrisburg, PA), and was greeted by the faithful clergy and laity from the greater Harrisburg Orthodox Churches. Following Vespers & Litya for the feast of All Saint of N. America, all in attendance came forward to venerate the Holy Icon and receive anointing from the precious Myrrh that flows from Her. 

In an age of cold and unbelieving hearts, our Lord has offered us His Mother to help melt away our skepticism and our fear, with the knowledge that we do not face our struggles alone - truly God is with us! Many of the faithful stayed until the very end, when the Icons guardian, Subdeacon Nectary, opened the wooden case and allowed us to see how, indeed, precious and sweet-smelling myrrh was covering the Holy Icon, and that cotton balls placed below the icon were saturated with it. 


To learn more, please visit: http://www.orthodoxhawaii.org/icons.html 

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Pentecost - 06/04/2017

On Sunday, June 4th the faithful of Christ the Saviour celebrated the great and holy feast of Pentecost. Before the Divine Liturgy Kenneth and Ita (Stephanie) Snyder were received into the Holy Church through the Sacrament of Chrismation - glory to God! May they be granted many years! We also welcome Bill Marianes (Stewardship Calling Ministry), who offered an inspiring homily on the awesome invitation we have been given to participate in the work of Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Following the Divine Liturgy and Kneeling Vespers of Pentecost we enjoyed our 5th Annual International Day. We were treated to the cuisine and aesthetic that comprise to our culturally diverse community - united in the Trinity, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven! A special thanks to coordinator Angie DiFlorio and all of our parishioners who offered food this year!


Troparion of the Feast: Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God; Who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending down upon them the Holy Spirit. Through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net// O Lover of man, glory to Thee!

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Rebuilding Hbg - 04/29/2017

On Saturday, April 29th over 20 members of Christ the Saviour parish (Harrisburg) participated in a community service day with "Rebuilding Together Harrisburg" http://www.rtgh.org/.


It was a wonderful time of service and fellowship as we served Christ through the homeowner (Mat. 25). 

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Holy Fire - 04/29/2017

The Holy Fire, which miraculously emerges from the Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem each Pascha, continues to be distributed to parishes throughout N. America (and all over the world), and was received by our parish on Saturday, April 29th before Vespers. This continues to be a blessing for our parish, and tangible reminder of our physical and spiritual connection to the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Learn more about the Holy Fire by clicking HERE.

 Link: http://www.holyfire.org/eng/

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St.Thomas Sunday - 04/23/2017

Christ is Risen!    Христос Воскресе! 

Χριστός Ανέστη!   المسيح قام!  

On Sunday, 23rd the community at Christ the Saviour celebrated our patronal feast - St. Thomas Sunday (Antipascha); At the conclusion of the Liturgy the clergy and faithful also made a Paschal procession and offered a blessing to commemorate our parish feast, as well as to bless the bell tower renovations completed by Vladimer Kellachow as part of his Eagle Scout project. A special thanks to our Men's Club who prepared a delicious meal to celebrate our Parish Feast.

(Aposticha Hymn) Oh, most glorious wonder! Doubt bore certain faith. Thomas said: “Unless I see, I shall not believe!” By touching His side, he blessed the incarnate Son of God, Who had suffered in the flesh, and he proclaimed the resurrected God, crying out with joy: “My Lord and my God, glory to Thee!” 

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Bright Monday - 04/17/2017

Throughout Bright Week, our community will gather to celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection. On Monday we were joined by clergy and faithful from our local Orthodox Churches: Holy Apostles Orthodox Church (Mechanicsburg); Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral (Camp Hill), and St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church (Steelton) for the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Timothy Hojnicki, pastor of Holy Apostles, gave an inspiring homily about the joy of the Resurrection! His Eminence Archbishop Mark presided from the throne, and led us in the Paschal procession that followed!

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Holy Pascha - 04/16/2017

Christ is Risen!           Христос Воскресе!

Χριστός Ανέστη!        المسيحقام!  

Late Saturday evening (April 15), and “while it was still dark” into Sunday (April 16), our community gathered for the “Feast of Feast, and Holy Day of Holy Days”. It was a special joy for us to have our father in Christ, and Diocesan hierarch Archbishop Mark with us for Pascha services!

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!



At 12pm on Pascha Day, we gathered for the Agape Vespers. During the Vespers we read the Gospel in 12 languages, including American sign-language!

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Great and Holy Friday / Saturday - 04/14/2017

Vespers of Great and Holy Friday (Burial Service)

In the afternoon on Friday, April 14th 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 14th 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.


(Holy Friday Burial Vespers Aposticha) Joseph, together with Nicodemus, took Thee down from the Tree, Who clothe Thyself with light as with a garment. He gazed on Thy body – dead, naked, and unburied, and, in grief and tender compassion, he lamented: “Woe is me, my sweetest Jesus! A short while ago, the sun beheld Thee hanging on the Cross, and it hid itself in darkness. The earth quaked in fear at the sight. The veil of the Temple was torn in two. Lo, now I see Thee willingly submit to death for our sake. How shall I bury Thee, O my God? How can I wrap Thee in a shroud? How can I touch Thy most pure body with my hands? What songs can I sing for Thy Exodus, O compassionate One? I magnify Thy Passion. I glorify Thy burial, and Thy holy Resurrection, crying, ‘O Lord, glory to Thee!’

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Paschal Play - 04/09/2017

Following Divine Liturgy on Palm Sunday, April 9th the community of Christ the Saviour in Harrisburg was treated to its first Paschal Play entitled "Our Risen Lord". The extensive production was a labor of love amongst the talented parishioners of our community. A special thanks to our director Angie DiFlorio, and all of the cast and crew! Bravo! 

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Palm Sunday - 04/09/2017

On Sunday, April 9th the community of Christ the Saviour (Harrisburg) celebrated the Feast of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem - Palm Sunday. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy we processed around the church, carrying the palms (and pussy willows) of victory - reminding us that Christ the King has come to defeat death by His death and establish His Kingdom which has no end!

TROPARION -  By raising Lazarus from the dead before Thy passion, Thou didst confirm the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with the branches of victory, we cry out to Thee, O Vanquisher of Death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! 

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Fr Dan's 90th Birthday - 03/26/2017

On Sunday, March 26th Christ the Saviour community celebrated Fr. Daniel Ressetars 90th Birthday (actual date March 27th). Our parish surprised him with a new set of red vestments, and held a luncheon in his honor at Fellowship. May God bless Fr. Dan with continued peace, prosperity, and good health as he continues to serve our parish, and the Church - even as he officially becomes a nonagenarian! Mnogaya Lyeta!

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OCF/IOCC Real Break - 03/20/2017

From Monday, March 20th - Saturday, March 25th Fr. Stephen Vernak, the pastor of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, PA, served for the second year as the clergy leader for an OCF/IOCC Real Break service trip to New Orleans. There were 6 students from throughout the country who participated in this years project, including one from our Diocese - Benjamin Solak from Holy Trinity in Stroudsburg. The main focus of the trip was to serve two New Orleans families whose homes are being built by Habitat for Humanity West St. Tammany Parish


To find out more about OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) visit: www.ocf.net

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Sunday of the Cross - 03/19/2017

On Sunday, March 19th (Sunday of the Cross), the faithful of Christ the Saviour welcomed our archpastor - His Eminence, Archbishop Mark, who was accompanied by Deacon Andrew Nelko. At the Hours he tonsured John Shingara to the order of Reader; and at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy Archbishop Mark installed our newly elected parish council. May God grant Reader John, his wife Sharon, and our newly installed parish council members many blessed years!

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St Tikhon Seminary Choir - 03/12/2017

On March 12th (St. Gregory Palamas), the community of Christ the Saviour in Harrisburg welcomed the St. Tikhon Seminary Mission Choir. The choir sang beautifully under the direction of Benedict Sheehan. Third year seminarian Fr. Mikel Hill delivered a wonderful homily, encouraging us in our Lenten struggle! 

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Triumph of Orthodoxy - 03/05/2017

On Sunday, March 5th the clergy and faithful of Christ the Saviour marked the first Sunday of Lent by celebrating the Triumph of Orthodoxy with an icon procession. Our community also held its Annual Parish Meeting following the Divine Liturgy. 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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Diocesan Assembly - 01/26/2017

From Thursday, January 26 - Friday, January 27 the community of Christ the Saviour hosted His Eminence Archbishop Mark and the clergy and faithful from throughout the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern PA. The spirit of the Assembly was peaceful, the liturgical services were beautiful, and the hospitality was gracious and delicious! Many thanks to all our parishioners who offered their time and talents in hosting this important event!

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Annual River Blessing - 01/22/2017

On Sunday, January 22nd the Orthodox parishes of Greater Harrisburg gathered at City Island Park for the 9th Annual Pan-Orthodox Great Blessing of the Susquehanna. Amongst those present were clergy and faithful from the following communities:

  • Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church (OCA) in Harrisburg
  • Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission (OCA) in Mechanicsburg
  • Holy Resurrection of Christ Orthodox Church (SER) in Lebanon
  • 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. 

  • Agia Sophia has donated over $26,000 to local charities in its 6 years of ministry/business!

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