Pilgrimage to the city of St. Nicholas

Editor | December 6, 2016

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Clergy, Religious, and Faithful of the Archeparchy,

Every Byzantine Catholic Church in the United States has an icon of our most beloved Saint Nicholas. All of our children have prayed to his icon for his help. This fervor is increased by the connection to the giving and receiving of gifts during the Christmas celebration honoring the birth of Jesus Christ. For children, Saint Nick is remembered because he is a saint who answers their prayers for presents under the Christmas tree.

The icon and stories of the generosity of Saint Nicholas of Myra are given to us as a model to follow in our lives. These vary from giving gold coins to poor young women for their dowry, to the giving of his life to the service of the Church. As one of the bishops who gathered for the Council of Nicaea in 325, he helped define our understanding of church and of our Lord Jesus Christ. We should thank him and the other church fathers each time we recite the Nicene Creed during the Divine Liturgy.

In October of this year, a Byzantine Metropolitan Pilgrimage group journeyed to Bari, Italy to visit the resting place of Saint Nicholas. In my many years of travel to Italy for retreats and the work of the Church, I have always dreamed of praying at the tomb of Saint Nicholas. Bari is not an easy place to visit because it is a day’s ride over the mountains to the Southeastern corner of Italy. We were able to make the trip and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the crypt church of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas.

As does every Byzantine Catholic child, I too gazed upon the icon of Nicholas in our home and church. I was impressed by the story of the transfer of his relics to a place called Bari in the year 1087. I always imagined Bari as a small fishing village on the coast of the Adriatic Sea on the East coast of Italy. The Basilica of Saint Nicholas is located in the ancient part of the city which is preserved. There are two altars for the celebration of liturgies: one for Catholic and the other for Orthodox pilgrims. The Saint has blessed the city of Bari with growth. A metropolitan area with a city of over one million people now surrounds the Basilica. Continue reading

Through pilgrims’ eyes

Editor | December 6, 2016
Metropolitan Leads Memorable 12-day tour Metropolitan Archbishop William C. Skurla accompanied a group of 15 pilgrims to Italy, where the entourage visited the cities of Bari, Rome, Assisi, Ravenna and Venice October 19 - October 30, 2016. The tour itinerary … Continue reading

Pilgrims Share Personal Memories of Exceptional Trip

Editor | December 6, 2016

Great memories are exactly what little Denny and I encountered during our October, 2016 pilgrimage to Italy. My son continues to reminisce about the 12 days we shared together. It was our first European journey as international travelers and it … Continue reading

Blessed Theodore Romzha Theological Seminary Choir

Editor | December 7, 2016

‘Sing Joyfully to the Lord’ Concert Tour of Sacred Music of Carpathian Mountains A concert program by the Seminary Choir of the Blessed Theodore Romzha Theological Academy of Užhorod, Transcarpathia (Ukraine) was presented Sunday Sept. 18 at St. Elias Church … Continue reading

97 Years of Fraternal Excellence

Editor | December 6, 2016
GCU District 1 Bids Farewell “Thank you District 1 for all of your efforts throughout the years to bring GCU fraternalism to the people of Western Pennsylvania. The mark that the district has left on the GCU — from the events … Continue reading

Mount St. Macrina Academy Class of ‘66 in 50th Reunion

Editor | December 6, 2016

Friends from another era still keep in touch after a half century The occasion was the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1966 at Mount Saint Macrina Academy, Uniontown, Pa. This event was held at The Summit Inn Resort in … Continue reading

Seminary hosts ‘Come and See’ Weekend of Discovery

Editor | December 7, 2016

PITTSBURGH — Sixteen exceptional young men from around the country representing Ruthenian and Melkite jurisdictions gathered 14-16 October 2016 as the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius hosted its annual “Come and See” Weekend of Discovery. Invited to … Continue reading

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“STRASTI” SERVICES OF THE HOLY PASSION OF OUR LORD according to the BYZANTINE TRADITION

Good Friday, known to the primitive Church as the Pasch of Crucifixion, was since apostolic times, dedicated to the solemn commemoration of the passion of our Lord. By the word “passion”, we understand all the sufferings endured by our divine Savior, from the Last Supper until His death on the cross, including His burial. Continue reading