St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church is a parish of the ancient Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Locally, we belong to the Eastern Eparchy (diocese) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA which has its headquarters in South Bound Brook, New Jersey, and are led and served by the archpastor of our Eparchy, His Eminence Archbishop Antony. Our parish was founded by Ukrainian immigrants and this heritage is revered to this day. Yet, people of all nationalities are warmly welcomed here. The Orthodox faith is the unchanged faith of the Apostolic Church, the church of the seven ecumenical councils and, as such, we believe it to be the true Christian faith. Orthodoxy, alone in Christendom, has not accepted new theological fads or ideas but keeps the teachings of the Apostles and the Church Fathers in a pure and unadulterated form. Orthodoxy, the “one thing needful”, is the sure road to salvation in Christ Jesus.
The Eucharistic Divine Liturgy is the central act of worship in the Orthodox Church. Most Sundays, the Liturgy is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.
In respect to the historic Ukrainian heritage of this parish, on the first Sunday of every month most of the music of the Liturgy is sung in Ukrainian language. Liturgy books are provided in the pews to help you follow the service in English. This provides our choir the opportunity to sing unique choral arrangements in the Ukrainian language. Yet, even on this Sunday, the Epistle, Gospel, sermon, and Communion prayers are always in English. On the remaining Sundays of the month, the Liturgy is 99% in English so that you may fully understand the prayers and worship.
In this parish, the communal Service of Repentance is scheduled on the first Sunday of the month at 8:30 a.m.. It has scriptural material and litanies arranged to help remind us of the gulf we place between ourselves and God, as well as His immanent desire to transcend it. It is followed by the individual sacrament of confession and absolution. Father Anthony is also available to hear confessions ten to fifteen minutes before every Liturgy, on Saturday evenings after Vespers (held at 5:30pm), and by appointment. If you desire to come to Confession, please sit in the first pew on the right side of the church.
Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church is reserved for Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves through the Church’s disciplines of prayer and fasting. Communion is not the means to an end of Christian unity, but is the culmination and celebration when such unity is achieved. Of course Christ desires that all should come to Him and be fed – if you would like to become a communicant of the Holy Orthodox Church and participate in all of her salvific and sanctifying mysteries, please see Father Anthony! As we receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Communion, it should not be received casually. All are required to prepare themselves through the Church’s disciplines of prayer and fasting, supplemented by the purifying sacrament of Confession when needed (at least once a year). This includes preparatory prayers and – for those whose health would not be put at risk - abstention from food and drink for several hours preceding communion.
As you enter the church, you may give an offering for vigil (prayer) lights and either light your own in the front of the church or have an usher light them for you. Suggested donations are listed in the vestibule. The candles are lit as we offer up one another to the Lord in prayer.
During Liturgy, you will note two collections. The first, which occurs after the sermon, is for vigil lights. The second, occurring later, is either for the maintenance of our iconography or some announced special purpose.
Join us! If you would like to make Saint Michael’s your parish home, ask to see a Parish Officer at coffee hour. They will provide you with additional membership / stewardship information. If you have enjoyed today’s experience and would like to be added to our mailing list, please leave your name and address to receive special schedule and event information. Our website is also a good place to keep up to date of services and special events. We would love to have you as a regular member of our parish.
Parish organizations provide a social aspect to our church life and you are welcome to join.
Our Choir is a crowning glory of our parish. The choral excellence always receives high praise by our visitors. If you sing, please join the ranks of our choir and help amplify the beautiful singing to the Lord Jesus
For those of you with children, please note that this is a child friendly parish! We like to have children worshipping with us, and the crying of babies is music to our ears. During the school year, Religious Education classes are provided from nursery thru high school age.
The Junior Chapter of the Ukrainian Orthodox League provides a venue for our youth under the age of 18. They sponsor our weekly coffee hour and meet regularly to grow in the Faith.
Our Ladies’ Sodality generally meets monthly after Liturgy on announced dates. The fruits of their work provide vital funds for the functioning of the parish. They are known for the tasty food produced in their Ukrainian Kitchen. For our Parish Picnic in late Summer, during Great Lent, and at other specified times, a full menu of Ukrainian food specialties are on sale. A great amount of time is entailed in food preparation. Helpers are always needed. Won’t you come?
Parishioners are always sought to volunteer to serve on the Parish Council. This group is responsible for the fiscal management of the parish community.
Our parish does not just look in on itself, but is outward looking. As our diocese is a member of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America (SCOBA), the national and international institutions of that organization are duly supported.
College students will find that Orthodox Christian Fellowships exist on some local campuses. See Father Anthony to make connections with active campus fellowship groups.
Tragedies, famines, wars, and other disasters occur around the globe and it is the International Orthodox Christian Charities that has an excellent track record for delivering aid to those in need. Their website tells of the scope of their work.
We have the mandate for spreading the Gospel message of salvation from Jesus Himself, both here in Woonsocket and around the world. The Orthodox church is actively doing mission work in various parts of the world. The Orthodox Christian Mission Center has many programs for doing mission work and nurturing local churches. Several of our parishioners have taken part in international mission work. For an awakening to the mission possibilities, and how they are addressed by the OCMC, check out their informative website.
Our own diocese has an excellent website that has much pertinent information for the enquirer.
At the church entrance, please take a copy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Word, which is our diocesan magazine containing many articles of interest.
[This webpage is based on our welcome brochure]