St. Michael Newsletter, December 2023

Table of Content

Meet Our New Priest Father James Irving and His Family – by Patti Sowpel

Fr. James & Kh. Valerie Irving

We are overjoyed to welcome Father James in his new role as our parish priest! Many of us know him from the last several years serving as our deacon, where he and his family are faithful and beloved members of St. Michaels. With his recent ordination to the priesthood, and assignment by Metropolitan SABA to our community, we feel it is a good time to get to know him a little better.

Born in Burlington, Vermont to Catholic parents, he was raised in Scituate and Weymouth, Massachusetts. He has a younger brother and had an older sister who unfortunately passed away earlier this year. Father attended Northeastern University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. Following college, he began a career at an electrical utility where he became an energy analyst and negotiated contracts, supervised personnel, developed budgets and led many projects. Later he earned his Masters in Business Administration from Curry College. He was the manager of the municipal electric power plant before retiring in April 2023.

Father James enjoys fishing, kayaking, traveling with his family, and coaching Little League baseball. He and his wife Valerie have been married 36 years. While Father was born and raised Catholic, he found the depth and personal sense of community in Orthodoxy very close to his sense of values. In the past, they volunteered for many years in a prison ministry program called Bethany House. They attended Roman Catholic Liturgy at prison weekly followed by a prayer group with the prisoners. Valerie also led a teen group at the prison where the men were trained to counsel incarcerated teens, called Second Thoughts Program. They were invited by a friend to attend St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Boston in 1999 for a book study. They also attended their parties, annual bazaars and feast day celebrations. They were Chrismated in 2002 by Father Michael Elias, and the now Father James started helping on the altar. Both he and his wife then began intensive study of Orthodox Theology in the St. Stephen’s Program at the Antiochian House of Studies. After graduating, he was ordained as a sub-deacon in 2007 by Metropolitan PHILLIP. Since then, Father has aided other students with their classes at the AHOS. Father also studied Liturgics at Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline with Father Ed Hughes. Both are members of the Order of Saint Ignatius and have encouraged others to participate.

Khouria Valerie continued studying after completing St. Stephen’s and graduated with a Masters in Applied Orthodox Theology from Balamad University. Her thesis was on the life of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk. While at St. George’s in Boston she served many years in various capacities of the Ladies Society, such as President, Secretary, and Treasurer. She also served ten consecutive years on the Executive Board of Antiochian Women (AW), the Diocesan of Worcester and New England (DOWNE) Women’s organization, as Vice President, Treasurer, and acting President. She completed the Witness To Christ Program which was led by Bishop JOHN and others from the Diocese. Her latest interest is studying Byzantine Chant online with Paul Murray of Schole Academy and assisting at the chanter’s stand.

Father James and his wife started attending St. Michael’s in 2015 in the summers. In May of 2021, they had a Marriage Blessing ceremony led by Father Ben and Father Joseph in preparation for his ordination to the Diaconate. He was ordained a Deacon in October 2021 by Bishop JOHN and has been assigned here and with us ever since.

Father and Khouria Valerie have three children. Their daughter Alison is a sophomore in high school. She loves to swim and is on the swim team, a member of the Film Club, and a member of the Junior Classical League. She has been active with our youth group SOYO, and the Diocesan SOYO group, prepared for the Bible Bowl for the past two years, and has helped in the church kitchen every Sunday. Paul is in seventh grade, and his favorite thing to do is fish. Whether it is from the shore, a pier, a friend’s boat, or his kayak, he is happiest with a fishing rod in his hand. Ben is in sixth grade, and his favorite thing to do is play baseball, or any game involving a ball. Both boys play little league spring ball and usually attend summer baseball camp through the Cape Cod League. They are faithful servants on the altar at St. Michael’s, just as they were at St. George Boston, their former parish.

Khouria is self employed as a practicing trial attorney in the Juvenile Court, and has been a mentor for new attorneys for twenty-four years. She has served on and led Committees for the Massachusetts Bar Association and Norfolk Bar Association. When not working she likes to spend time with family and friends, their dog Tricki, read, garden, bake, and travel. She has one sibling, an older brother, who is also an attorney.

On a practical note, when a priest is ordained in the Orthodox Church, his wife is given an honorific title. In Russian usage it is Matushka (little mother), in Greek – Presbytera, and in Arabic – Khouria. As a show of respect, we refer to her using this term alone, or in combination with her name. For example – “Matushka Valerie is in the parking lot” or “Hello Khouria”.

We are very grateful that Father James and his family are a part of our community. They are extremely kind, easygoing, and friendly, so please feel free to ask them any questions, and perhaps tell them a little more about yourself!

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A Message from Fr. James Irving

Fr. James Irving

Blessing to You

The year 2023 was a year of many important and joyful events in the life of our Church. We saw catechumens enter into the Life of the Orthodox Church, the celebration of Pascha, fulfilling our mission to help members of our community and people around the world to name a few. The continued teaching of the Word of God and to the younger members of the church, the blossoming of a Men’s group, and the carrying on of the traditions of the Ladies’ group fulfilled our commitment to the faith.

We saw changes at the Archdiocesan and diocesan levels. Fr. Ben’s and Fr. Joseph’s departure leaves an emptiness that over time will be filled by the growth of others. With heavy hearts we wish Memory Eternal to Fr. Nicholas “Nick” Manikas a leader and mentor to the church.

Change is not easy to accept, our faith is built on the foundation of the love of God. God never changes, and His attributes of love, mercy, kindness, justice, and knowledge are always flawless. God has built into us the ability to change our bodies, brains, ideas, and values. Many of these changes affect our faith and understanding of God’s will and timing and what it means to us.

St. Michael’s church is a vibrant and loving community. We are blessed to share in the light and love of the Lord and to have the opportunity to come together in celebration of this love.

With the celebration of the Nativity of Christ still in our mists we can look forward to the church calendar and the Joy of Christ’s resurrection at Pascha. I am humbled and privileged at becoming the pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church. Feel free to contact me and please pray for me and my family in your daily prayers.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you.
Father James Irving

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Father Nick–May His Memory Be Eternal – by Fr. James Irving

Fr. Nick Manikas

Dr. Nicholas Charles “Fr. Nick” Manikas of Framingham, passed away on August 24, 2023.

The youngest of six born to Greek migrants in Manchester, NH. He was preceded in death by his cherished wife of 67 years, Euphoria “Effie;” They met when they were in school together as kindergarteners. Their daughter, Pamela, of Wayland, MA (Kevin Washek), memory eternal, preceded their deaths. Fr. Nick leaves behind his children, Paul of Cotuit, MA (Becky Gydosh), Joanna of Ogunquit, ME (Elizabeth Cutler), and Mary of West Boylston, MA (Michael Leach); as well as six grandchildren.

Fr. Nick was an avid learner graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Bachelor of Divinity in 1956 and 1959, respectively, at Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline. Additionally, Fr. Nick went on to completed his Master’s of Divinity in 1973 and Doctorate of Ministry and Pastoral Counseling in 1986. This love of knowledge transformed into teaching what he had learned. He became an adjunct professor at Holy Cross Seminary, teaching Parish Administration to the next generation of priests.

Fr. Nick lived his life by faith and service to the church. He served four churches over 58 years, specifically here as pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cotuit, MA from 2001-2014. Fr. Nick arrived at Cape Cod upon his retirement from St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church in Weston Ma. He did not stay retired long as he saw a need to continue his leadership, and love of Christ at St. Michaels. Fr. Nick was instrumental in establishing a permanent home of the Church. He fulfilled a lifelong wish to lead Orthodox Christians of all jurisdictions and created a Pan Orthodox worshiping type community on Cape Cod. Fr. Nick attracted people from all over the Cape Cod regional and conducted liturgy in English and included traditions of other cultures. In 2003, St. Michaels took ownership of the current land and building. Later the construction of the church hall to which is dedicated in his name was completed.

The term father used to identify a priest fit Fr. Nick very well. He had the ability to bring out the best in people and empower people. His wisdom, compassion, spiritual leadership and understanding of others touched the countless people that had the privilege of meeting him. We the parishioners of St. Michael’s are forever grateful to the faithfulness, love and kindness of Fr. Nick.

May His Memory be Eternal

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Farewell to Kjendal Family

Fr. Ben & Kh. Alyssa Kjendal

It is with great sadness that we said goodbye to Fr. Ben Kjendal who was reassigned to the parish of Holy Cross in Yakima, WA, as of September 1, 2023. Since 2015 Fr. Ben & Kh. Alyssa have faithfully served at St. Michael Church. We thank them for their service to the faithful. We pray all of God’s blessings upon them as they begin the next chapter in their ministry and service to Christ’s Holy Church!

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History of St. Michael Church

Kh. Valerie Irving is interested in writing a comprehensive history of our church and has already started speaking with some of our founding members and collecting articles and photos. If you are interested in helping, or would like to write something of particular historical interest, please contact Kh. Valerie if you haven’t done so already.

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Parish Life Conference 2024

Each year, we have a time to share with our fellow Orthodox throughout the diocese, in fun, and fellowship and faith. How? Of course, during the Parish Life Conference for our Diocese of Worcester and New England.

Many of us have attended the PLC in the past, but many have not. So, let’s visit a bit with each other about PLC 2024. His Eminence Metropolitan SABA has established the theme of 2024 PLCs throughout the Archdiocese as “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” + Romans 8:28. His Grace, our Bishop JOHN has sub themed our 2024 PLC “Getting Serious about our Faith”.

As you know from the bulletin and Fr. James’ announcements in church, our parish is honored to have been selected to host the Parish Life Conference in 2024 which will be held June 21-23 at Hotel 1620 in Plymouth, MA. With this year’s theme and sub theme in mind, a group of us have been working hard to develop a program through which we can focus equally on fellowship, faith, and fun during our time together. We have secured a great hotel rate for rooms at the PLC venue, Hotel 1620, which is within short walking distance to Plymouth Harbor, Plymouth Rock, and the Mayflower II. There are many excellent restaurants and exciting places to visit in the immediate vicinity of the hotel. The hotel is a perfect base for a weekend or a week.

Whether you are most interested in attending Divine Liturgy, cheering on our teams in the Bible Bowl, or learning more about the faith from our Keynote speaker, Fr. Ted Pulcini, there is something for all of us at the PLC. The PLC provides an opportunity:

  • To share in fellowship by meeting and renewing acquaintance with our fellow orthodox from the Diocese;
  • To grow in faith as we learn from Fr. Ted Pulcini, participate in working business sessions of the Society of St. Ignatius, Antiochian Women’s Group, Antiochian Men’s Group and SOYO, watch “Man of God” and attend the Oratorical Festival;
  • To share in fun at the Bible Bowl and Plymouth Harbor Sunset Cruise with dinner and dancing aboard the Pilgrim Belle on Saturday night;
  • To celebrate the Great Feast of Pentecost on Sunday morning.

So, whether you are younger, older, or in between, we know you will find something of interest at the PLC. Please keep your eyes on the bulletin for the full program and join us as we prepare for this great event, the Diocese of Worcester and New England, Parish Life Conference 2024.

  • Fr. James Irving
  • Kh. Valerie Irving
  • Soraya Bandeli
  • Rick Bardine
  • David Easa
  • Anastasia Klokova
  • Stephen Winters
  • Ned Chatelain

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Choir Corner – with David Easa

On November 7th we were blessed to celebrate the “The Synaxis of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel & Raphael and all the bodiless powers of Heaven” with our Bishop John and many of the priests from our Diocese. As happens fairly regularly, I was approached after the service and told “the Choir sounds very nice”. My answer is always the same: “They work very hard”. There are a few reasons I say that every time, but basically it comes down to the fact that I want people to realize that it’s a group effort. Being a member of our choir doesn’t just mean showing up on Sunday and singing. Ideally, they would have looked over the different hymns for that particular Sunday and practiced them ahead of time, warmed up their voice before liturgy, either at home, in the car, or both, and we also hold regular rehearsals as often as three times a month. I invite anyone who inquiries about the Choir to join us, but not everyone who starts singing with us continues singing with us, because it does require a commitment and often people don’t realize that until they ‘sign up’. So, consider this: If you’d like to tell me that the Choir sounds good on a particular Sunday, please feel free to do so. I love hearing it, and I always pass it along to the other Choir members – or take a look at who is over there singing, and choose one of the other Choir members to tell. They work very hard.

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Outreach – by Soraya Bandeli

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the World: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me…inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me.”

Matthew 25:34-36; 40

God’s command is very clear to all of us. When we recognize that someone needs something, we are prepared to offer it. It is time spent with shut-ins or visiting the sick. It is sharing our talent to bring a smile to someone’s face. It is financial support to help someone heal from their wounds. Outreach is literally REACHING OUT and touching someone through love and compassion, in whatever form that may be.

St. Michael has been blessed with parishioners filled with compassion. Our outreach projects throughout the years have heeded the call to action without judgement. The need is great, but our love is greater. If you are interested in being involved with the outreach committee, please contact Soraya Bandeli.

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A Quote from a Saint

“I am an Arab by birth, a Greek by primary education, an American by residence, a Russian at heart, and a Slav in soul.”

St. Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn

In October, at the request of His Eminence Metropolitan Saba, the Holy Synod of Antioch added St. Raphael to its calendar, ensuring his commemoration in all archdioceses of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Now at St. Michael Church, we have the icon of St. Raphael of Brooklyn with his relics. We commemorate St. Raphael on November 4th.

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Women’s Group – by Soraya Bandeli

St. Michael Women have been busy with November’s very successful White Elephant Boutique and Bake Sale. Our group of ladies was able to raise the funds needed to sponsor the 2024 Parish Life Conference that St. Michael will be hosting in June 2024 in Plymouth.

December saw even more activity with Nativity season in full swing! Our Nativity card is raising money for the Metropolitan’s Project – “Clergy Widows”. Proceeds from the card will support these women who have lost their priest husbands. These women have dedicated their lives and their families to their churches. We are proud to be able to support them as they will always be “Khourie”!

We are also busy with Nativity decorating to beautify our church for the Glory of God!

All women of the parish are Antiochian Women. Come join this group of dedicated ladies who are a sisterhood providing support to the parish community and to those in need in the greater community.

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Men’s Group – by Stephen Winters

After SOYO and Young Adult Fellowship, where do Antiochian men go to collectively grow in Faith, Fellowship, and Service; supporting each other and the church? Is it clergy or nothing? Certainly, men do great work in our parish. But consider the idea that our efforts will have a greater effect if we are organized and are supported by the clergy of our parish and our diocese. If you agree or would like to know more, please reach out to me personally at coffee hour. During the last men’s group meeting we discussed the actionable opportunities for our parish and started developing a plan to meet them. Also, I have been working with the Antiochian men’s group of the Archdiocese of North America who are more mature in this process. We had a meeting with Michael Baclig, the President of the Antiochian Men’s group for the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast. They are 4 ½ years into their journey and are coordinating strong work across 11 parishes. If you want to ensure you are on the email list, come see me.

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Church School – by Michelle Matz

Church school is off to a great start for the year! We began meeting in the atrium in late October after the materials were complete. Thank you to everyone who helped prepare the materials. We are blessed to have so many talented and dedicated parishioners who helped make it possible for us to continue this program. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is in its second year at St. Michaels with Macrina Stewart as lead teacher and Michelle Moeck assisting. Both Macrina and Michelle have completed their Level 1 training and were officially certified in June. The Atrium is based on the Montessori model of education and is child led with ample time for prayer and contemplation of God. We would love to have a couple of backup assistants who would not need to be certified, if you are interested in learning more or coming to observe in the Atrium, please let Macrina or Michelle know. If you have a child between the ages of 3 and 10, please come visit us (we meet every Sunday from 9 am-10 am) or fill out a registration form available on the church website and return it to Macrina. We are looking forward to another wonderful year ahead for CGS. Christ is Born, Glorify him!

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Bible Study for Kids & SOYO – by Kristin & Ned Chatelain

Bible Study for our older students is off and running. This year we are focusing on St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. Please ask you student what Paul means by being ‘justified’ to Christ. As always, the students are doing a tremendous job with difficult material, and helping each other (and their instructors) grow together towards Christ. Bible study meets every Sunday during Orthros – please join us as often as you can!

Our first youth fellowship event of the fall was apple picking at our local Crow Farm in Sandwich. It was a great event and a beautiful day! The first youth service project was a food-packing event held at the cathedral in Worcester. Participants helped pack 34,244 shelf-stable meals for needy families around the world!!! SOYO meetings are the first Sunday of the month after Liturgy. The new officers for 2024 are: President – Alison Irving, Vice President – Sophia DiSavino, Secretary – Aubrey Moek, Treasurer – Ethan Simoneau, Bookstore Manager – Max Stewart. All middle and high-school students are welcome – please join us!

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Children’s Library – by Sophia Chatelain

Did you know that St. Michael’s has a children’s library? It has books for all ages, including board books, reference books, chapter books, and much more! There is a sign-out sheet on the top shelf of the library. You can take as many books out as you like for two weeks. It is located in the hall by the atrium. There is a list of books we would like to add to the children’s library. If you would like to donate a book to the children’s library, please speak with Sophia Chatelain.

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Recipe Box – by Anastasia Klokova, picture by Annie Boruch

You can find video instructions on Antiochian Village Camp’s YouTube Channel – “How to make Artoklasia”. The original recipe is from Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum, MD. Lillian “Yia-Yia” Athas of Eternal Memory.

Artoklasia Bread for Vespers
(Yields 5 small loaves)
● 3 ¼ – 3 ½ C flour (my preference is King Arthur red)
● ½ C sugar
● ½ t salt
● 1 T active dry yeast
● ½ t cinnamon
● ¼ t nutmeg
● ¼ t cloves
● 1/6 C vegetable oil
● 1 ¼ – 1 ½ C warm water (not hot, not boiling, 105-110°F)
If you’re baking for a big church, please double each ingredient.

Activate yeast: add yeast into water and set aside for 5-10 min. Active yeast should be very bubbly.
Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix well.
Add activated yeast, and oil and knead for about 5 minutes. You can use a mixer with a dough hook. Place in greased bowl and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes. Knead and divide into 5 equal parts and place in pans. Let rise until doubled again.
Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, watching carefully to ensure loaves are browned but not burned.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes; while still slightly warm, wrap in tea towels to keep loaves soft.
Keep wrapped in towels until ready to use.

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St. Michael Nativity Card 2023

This year, St. Michael Women will send out a Nativity Greeting to all our parish members. A portion of the proceeds of this year’s Nativity card will be going to the Clergy Widows Fund. These women who have dedicated their lives and their families to the church will always be our “Khourie” / “Presvitera” / “Matushka” – even after they suffer the loss of their priest-husbands. This fund will cover some of their needs for utilities, food, and shelter.

The order form for the Nativity Greeting has been mailed out. If you would like your name on the St. Michael Nativity Card, please complete the form and return it by December 17, 2023. Please donate to St. Michael Women and write ‘Nativity Card’ in the memo. We thank you for your continued generosity.

You can also download the Nativity Card 2023 Order Form.

White Elephant Boutique & Bake Sale – Thank You!

Thanks to all who baked, manned tables for the sale, donated items, purchased items and to those who fed volunteers: Katya, Julia, Anastasia, Galina, Michelle, Colleen, Anya, Chris, Pauline and her sister Martha, Annie, Natalie, Soraya, Hadley, Aubrey, Aurora, Max, Ben, Alli, Rick, Subdeacon Joe, Fr. James & Kh. Valerie. Thanks to Ana Procopeuco who donated a beautiful handmade wool shawl for the raffle – congratulations to Julia Shanghina Petitt who won this item. Thanks to Pauline Rassias who donated an original oil painting by Cape Cod artist Sandra Sedell – congratulations to Soraya Bandeli who won this item.
Special thanks to Pauline, Chris, Mary, Natalie and Soraya for organizing the tables and pricing all the items during the week leading up to the event. Thanks to Eric Ayoub who drove down from Boston to direct traffic in the rain. To Chris Rassias and Eric for getting our signs in from the rain. Thanks to Judy Crocker and Oscar Crocker for creating our flier and advertising.
GREAT thanks to all who stayed Sunday to help pack everything up and get the hall back in order: Pauline, Chris, Alex, Colleen, Max, Aurora, Michelle, Hadley, Olga, Sophia, Jacob, Rick and Soraya. Thanks to Rick & Soraya who filled their cars with lots of boxes. We have a bit to go. If you can grab a few boxes or fill your truck to take to your local donation center or swop shop, we will be back to normal by Sunday Nov 26.
This was an amazing group effort and we are grateful for all your support. May God bless you all.

White Elephant Boutique & Bake Sale

Our White Elephant Boutique will be filled with beautiful gift-ware, home goods, antiques, new and handmade goods, artwork, jewelry, and too many items to mention. Come find your treasure!
Saturday, November 18th • 9AM – 2PM
St. Michael the Archangel • 62 Main Street, Cotuit MA
All proceeds support St. Michael Orthodox Church Women’s programs

  • Fine Art Raffle! Enter for your chance to win an original oil painting by a local Cape Cod artist
  • Religious Book Store and gift items
  • Bake Sale & Coffee offering Ethnic and American baked goods (get there early before we sell out!)

Come find desserts for your Thanksgiving table and start your holiday shopping

White Elephant Boutique Donations Needed

Women’s Group is organizing a WHITE ELEPHANT BOUTIQUE to be held on Saturday, Nov 18. We will be selling raffle tickets for original oil painting at coffee hour leading up to the event so please support us and take you chance at winning!!!

Accepting donations: Nov 11 before/after Vespers; Nov 12 after Liturgy; Nov 13-17 by special arrangement with committee members below! Please include a list of your donated items along with your name and phone number. THIS IS REQUIRED FOR ALL DONATIONS as unsold items must be returned to the donor since we are not able to store them at church or bring them to another donation facility.

We will also need empty boxes for use in packing sold items. Please help us collect and bring to church Nov 11-12. Liquor stores and supermarkets are a great source of empty boxes!


  • Small appliances
  • Small Electronics – speakers, headphones, games
  • Tools
  • Kitchenware – pots, pans, bakeware, corning ware, pyrex, mixing bowls, serving platters
  • Giftware – decanters, vases, candy dishes
  • Collectibles – figurines, depression glass, crystal, English Bone China
  • Original Artwork – Water Colors and Prints
  • Jewelry
  • Toys, Puzzles, Baby items
  • Table linens, placemats, napkin rings
  • Seasonal / Holiday Items
  • Books, CDs, DVDs (make sure they are appropriate to be sold at a church event)
  • Sporting goods
  • Ladies Pocket books, leather goods
  • Luggage (weekend bags, carry-on, two-suitors, etc…)
  • Baskets

Please contact any of the committee members with your questions: Mary Rahal // Pauline Rassias // Soraya Bandeli

Thank you for your continued commitment to St. Michael!

Holy Bread Baking Tutorial

Thanks to Annie Boruch for leading an amazing Prosphora baking tutorial. Thanks yo everyone who came out to be part of this important ministry.

Thanks to Tatiana for the video.

Orthodox Holy Bread (Prosphoron)

A prosphoron is a small loaf of leavened bread used in Orthodox liturgies. The term originally meant any offering made to a temple, but in Orthodox Christianity and Byzantine Rite Catholicism it has come to mean specifically the bread offered at the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist).

A prosphoron is made from only four ingredients, wheat flour (white), yeast, salt, and water.[1] Salt was not used in early times and is still not used in the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.

A prosphoron is made up of two separate round pieces of leavened dough which are placed one on top of another and baked together to form a single loaf. This double-loaf represents the two natures of Christ: human and divine. Before baking, each prosphoron is stamped with a special seal called Sphragis or Panagiari, usually bearing, among other things, the image of a cross with the Greek letters IC XC NIKA (“Jesus Christ conquers”) around the arms of the cross. This impression is baked into the bread and serves as a guide for the priest who will be cutting it.

The Lamb and particles placed on the diskos during the Divine Liturgy.

Greek-style prosphora seal, for one large loaf: in the center is the Lamb (symbol: IC XC NI KA Christogram), to the viewer’s right is the Panagia (symbol: ΜΘ (Μήτηρ Θεοῦ)), to the left are the Nine Angelic Ranks (symbol: nine triangles), and on the top and bottom are extra Lambs for Presanctified (symbol: said Christogram). The positions of the Panagia and Nine Ranks will be reversed when the impression is made.

In the part of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist) known as the Liturgy of Preparation (Proskomedia), a cube is cut from the center of the prosphoron and is referred to as the Lamb (Greek: Ἀμνός, translit. Amnos). It is this Lamb which is consecrated into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ and from it both the clergy and the faithful will receive the Most Holy Eucharist, while the rest of the prosphora which was not consecrated into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ is cut up for the antidoron, the blessed bread which is distributed at the end of the Liturgy.

The motto “the loaf of Nature’s kitchen table,” a common metaphor for returning thanks and agape (unconditional love) back to nature, is derived from prosphora.

Prosphora can vary in size and imprinted design in different liturgical traditions. Generally, the Slavic traditions use five small prosphora with a simpler stamp, while the Greek-Byzantine tradition uses one large prosphoron with a more complex stamp, indicating the place from which the Lamb is to be taken and the places from which particles are removed for each of the remaining commemorations.

In addition to the Lamb, particles are removed from the prosphoron to commemorate the following:

  • The Theotokos (Panagia)
  • Nine ranks of Angels and Saints
  • The living (including the local authorities and the ruling bishop)
  • The departed

Baking Prosphora for Liturgy


  • Flour – Must be King Arthur Bread Only Flour (Blue package)
  • Salt – Course Kosher
  • Yeast – Fleischmann’s – Instant Dry or Rapid Rise (Do not use “Active”)
  • Warm Water
  • Non-Stick Spray


  • Prosphora Seal
  • Large Mixing Bowl (preferably glass or plastic)
  • Dough Hook or Fork
  • Cake Tester Pin
  • 7 x 3-inch round baking pan
  • Dish Towel
  • Plastic wrap
  • Large Ziplock Baggies


  1. Say First Prayer:
  2. Mix ingredients together in a bowl with Dough Hook or Fork:
    a. 4 Cups of bread flour,
    b. ½ tsp Salt,
    c. 2 ½ tsp Yeast (or 1 small pkg),
    d. Add 1 ¾ cup Warm Water.
  3. Lightly kneed the mixture into a ball, adding in light flour as needed to reduce stickiness.
  4. Lift the dough out and spray non-stick spray in the bowl then pat the dough down in the bowl and poke soft indentations with your fingers into the dough.
  5. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let sit to rise for approximately 45 minutes.
  6. When the dough has risen, punch down several times to release the air and knee back into a ball.
  7. Flatten the dough just a bit and mark with a knife a cross to separate into fourths.
  8. Pre-Heat Oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Spray the baking pan with non-stick spray.
    Remove ¼ of the dough and put it onto a lightly floured flat surface, put the remaining ¾ of the dough into the baking pan, and patted down to spread to all edges.
  10. Take the Prosphora seal and press firmly on the ¼ portion of the dough on a flat surface.
  11. Take the cake tester pin and poke four times around the inner lamb square at each corner and then poke four times as if making a cross at the top, bottom, left, and right, then lay on top of the dough in the baking pan.
  12. Say the second prayer:
  13. Place pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until lightly brown. Check at 30 minutes with a cake tester. If the tester comes out clean, it is done. If you have a thermometer, check the internal temperature to be 350F degrees.
  14. Remove pan from oven. Leave the bread in the pan for at least 15 minutes to cool. Wait for at least 4-6 hours for the bread to completely cool before bagging the bread. You can put a towel over the bread while it cools so it doesn’t dry out.
  15. Wrap the cooled bread in plastic wrap and store it in a large zip-lock bag. Write the date on the bag. Freeze.

Food For Thought 01: Great Lent – February 25, 2023

Thanks to all who attended our first Food for Thought on Saturday, Feb 25. It was a wonderful evening of discussion about Great Lent led by Fr. Ben. Here is the audio presentation.

In anticipation of our next session on Saturday, March 25, Fr. Ben asked that we prepare by reading the Didache. Here is the link for you or you can purchase the Didache at the bookstore for only $7.

Stay tuned for the schedule for that day as it will include Liturgy for the Feast of the Annunciation, our annual Fish Feast to support Zoe House crisis pregnancy center, followed by our discussion in the church. We will plan to have activities for the kids in the hall while the adults are in class.

Special thanks to Fr. Ben for offering this informative program to all parish members, catechumens, and friends who are curious about the Faith.

St. Michael Pascha Card 2023

The Pascha Card order form has been mailed out. If you would like your name on St. Michael Pascha Card, please fill out the form and return it by April 9, 2023.
A portion of the proceeds of this year’s Pascha card will be going to Archdiocese 2023 Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. We thank you for your continued generosity. You can also download Pascha Card 2023 Order Form.