St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church
980 Bridle Path Rd Bethlehem, PA. 18017
Orthodox Church in America

Below is a list of annoucements that have been emailed to our distribution list, with the most recent announcement at the top.  Our Frequently Asked Questions Section can be found at the bottom of the page.

Week of January 18, 2021 Updates from St. Nicholas

(Email sent 01/18/2021 at 10:00 am)

Parish Faithful,

*Please note that you must RSVP if you are planning to bring your children to receive communion only.  Please arrive at the church at 10:30 am on Sunday if you will not be attending the full liturgy but wish for your children to receive communion.*

Below please find a summary of services & events for the upcoming week.

(All Parishioners must review and follow the St. Nicholas Church Reopening Guidance when attending services in person.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

          7:00 pm – Readers Vespers (Live Stream only)

Thursday, January 21, 2021

          12:00 pm – Deadline to RSVP for Great Vespers and/or Divine Liturgy

Saturday, January 23, 2021

          6:00 pm – Great Vespers (Live Stream will also be available)

Sunday, January 24, 2021

          9:10 am – Reading of the Hours (Live Stream will also be available)

          9:30 am – Divine Liturgy (Live Stream will also be available)

          10:30 am – Communion for Parish Children (RSVP Required)

In Christ,

Jennifer N. Bzik

Administrative Assistant

December 2020 Reactivation Update

(Email sent 12/07/2020 at 1:35 pm)

Dear St. Nicholas Parishioners,

The St. Nicholas Reactivation Team continues to monitor the COVID-19 recommendations of state and federal health advisors in order to adjust guidelines to increase attendance for services.   As the number of positive COVID cases continues to increase in Pennsylvania, it is imperative that everyone takes the appropriate precautions.  The St. Nicholas community will continue to emphasize and follow the currently established safety protocols.

 Updates to the current protocols, as of December 3rd 2020 include: 

  1. Entrance into the Church for Services

As we enter the winter season, starting Sunday, December 6th, all attendees must use the doorway located at the center of the church hallway.  Using this entrance will eliminate the need to climb stairs to enter the church.  A Parish Staff member will be available to conduct the health check and survey at this entrance.  Please continue to wear a mask and to follow appropriate social distancing. 

  1. Children Receiving the Holy Sacrament – however not attending Divine Liturgy

Children, not attending the Divine Liturgy, can still receive Holy Communion after parishioners have completed receiving the sacrament.  The children and their guardian should enter through the doorway at the center of the church and follow the guidance of the Parish Council member staffing the Narthex.  Upon entering the church hallway, the guardians must be wearing a mask and maintain appropriate social distancing. 

  1. Prayer Offering Candles

 Candles will be available for purchase in the Narthex before the Divine Liturgy service.  A Parish Council Staff member will be available at the candle stand to assist you.  To ensure the safety of all parishioners please use the following guidance:

- Bring the exact dollar total and place in the provided candle basket.  Monetary change will not be available.

- Allow the Parish Council member to hand you the candles.

To ensure appropriate social distancing, check to make sure no other parishioner is near the candle stand before proceeding to light your candle. 

  1. Parish Council Ushering

During church entrance, procession to communion, and service dismissal, a Parish Council member will provide ushering services.  We ask that all attendees follow the direction of the usher.  This will assist in maintaining proper social distancing. 

Church Attendance Precautions

Due to the need for social distancing, there is limited seating availability in the church.  As service attendance increases additional seating will be provided in the church hall.   Access to all other areas of the church remain restricted. 

The church Administrative Assistant will continue to send an email for you to continue to sign up for church services the Monday before the weekend services.  You must RSVP to indicate if you will attend Vespers on Saturday and / or Divine Liturgy on Sunday.  Provide your name and the names of all family members that will attend by noon, on Thursday, of that week.  All RSVP’s will receive a confirmation to attend services by Friday or Saturday.  If you do not receive a confirmation, do not attend services.

Having the opportunity to gather for worship again has been a truly wonderful experience, and it is truly something to give thanks to God for.

To help mitigate community exposure to COVID-19, continue these best practice measures when attending church:

 Please arrive at the church before the start of services to participate in a temperature and health screening check.   The church doors will lock at the beginning of Divine Liturgy and Vespers.

  1. Wear a mask.
  2. Practice social distancing before, during and after services.
  3. Follow the guidance of the Parish Council members staffing the church service.

As an additional precaution, if you have attended a church service and later require a COVID test, we ask that you inform the Parish Council President so that proper safety steps may be taken.

While we follow these temporary guidelines for as long as necessary, our continued hope and prayer is to return to normal participation in liturgical worship and parish life. 

You will receive updated communications as protocols change.  Please direct questions to the Administrative Assistant at

Yours in Christ,

St. Nicholas Parish Council

Reactivation Committee

Please click here for a pdf copy of the December 2020 Reactivation Update

St. Nicholas Reactivation Update 08-28-2020

Green Phase Updates from St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas Reopening Guidance

Helping Our Parishioners

(Email sent 04/24/2020 at 2:40 pm)  

Chris is Risen!

Dear Faithful of St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Parish,

Like many across the nation, our community continues to abide by the PA state to stay at home and socially distance ourselves to help prevent the further outbreak of COVID-19.

We realize these recommendations impact most everyone’s daily comings and goings, from healthy individuals, to those that are the least healthy.  While many in our church community have nearby friends and family to assist them during times of need, we do not want any of our parishioners to be overlooked if a need for food arises during the corona virus outbreak.

As a reminder, if a parishioner is not able to obtain food and/or does not have the ability to prepare it on his/her own, please contact Guliana Holobeny to make your needs known and to request assistance.  We will make every effort to help during these uncertain times, but please know, there may some situations that we may not be able to assist.

Christ is in our Midst.

Bryan Distefano

Frequently Asked Questions about Covid-19 Precautions at St. Nicholas

(Originally posted April 2020, Updated October 2020)

Parish Faithful,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

In this time of uncertainty and stress, it is a blessing and a joy to be able to maintain our relationship with our parish family.

You may be asking how you might be able to do that while not being physically present for services, and what you might do to maintain participation in the life of the church.

Here we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers. I pray that they are helpful to you, and that they assist in your continued devotion to our Lord.


Frequently Asked Questions about Covid-19 Precautions at St. Nicholas


Where can I find current information about Covid-19 topics relating to St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church?

We have established a dedicated page on our website for Covid-19 Information.  This page includes this FAQs document, as well as copies of the informational emails that are sent to our parish distribution list.  The FAQs will appear at the top of the page, with emailed announcements to follow.


How can I stay connected?

If you would like to be added to our parish email distribution list, please send your name and email address to  Please also be sure to add that email address to your “safe senders” list so that our messages are not flagged as junk by your email provider.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact Fr. Matthew, or the parish Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Bzik.  Please keep in mind that during this unusual time, response times may be slightly delayed.


How can I participate in liturgical services? 

Please refer to the St. Nicholas Reactivation Update 08-28-2020.


Is the Bulletin still available?

Yes, you may view or print the bulletin for each Liturgy as well as service books for our other liturgical services on the Bulletins Page of our website.  The bulletin will include the hymns and scripture readings for that service, along with our customary prayer lists, announcements, etc.  If you wish to have an announcement included in the bulletin, please provide the information to the Adminstrative Assistant by noon on Thursday for inclusion on Sunday.


Which services are being live streamed?

We plan to live stream the following services:

  • Readers Vespers on Wednesday evenings beginning at 7:00 pm
  • Great Vespers on Saturday evenings beginning at 6:00 pm
  • Divine Liturgy on Sunday mornings with the Hours beginning at 9:10 am and Liturgy beginning at 9:30 am

Please check our website Calendar Page for current information about services.


How can I receive the sacrament of Confession during this time?

During this challenging time, Archbishop Mark has given his blessing for Fr. Matthew to hear confessions remotely using a variety of technology including phone or video conferencing.  Please contact Fr. Matthew directly to make arrangements for confession.


How can I continue my Stewardship during this time of COVID-19?

Thank you to those who are continuing to give of their time, talent and treasure during this remarkable time.  Our community continues to reach out to fellow parishioners to provide assistance and to send their financial contribution to St. Nicholas.

COVID-19 is changing the way the world interacts and the church is not immune to those changes. Amid social distancing and shelter in place orders, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church has moved liturgical services to a virtual form of worship.  As active parish members, it is important that we continue to pray, participate in worship, and continue to be stewards of the church and church community. 

During this time, it is important that we sustain financial stewardship.  The church continues to have financial obligations and despite virtual worship, your financial offering is essential to support the operational requirements of St. Nicholas.  

All financial offerings should be sent to:

          St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

          980 Bridle Path Road

          Bethlehem, PA 18017

To simplify sending your offering, consider donating bi-monthly or monthly.  Deposits will be made either once or twice a month so please allow additional time for your check to clear. 


Is there anything I can do to help?

Yes.  During these unique circumstances, it is important for us to:

  • Renew our faith and hope in God through prayer and fasting
  • Be of service to our fellow parishioners by reaching out to check in and have a conversation
  • Help those in our church community that may have special needs and request for support

An email was sent to the parish on Tuesday, March 24th regarding providing support for parishioners in need.  “While many in our church community have nearby friends and family to assist them during times of need, we do not want any of our parishioners to be overlooked if a need for food arises during the corona virus outbreak. 

Therefore, if a parishioner is not able to obtain food and/or does not have the ability to prepare it on his/her own, please contact Guliana Holobeny to make your needs known and to request assistance.

We will make every effort to help during these uncertain times, but please know, there may some situations that we may not be able to assist.”


With Love In Christ,


Rev. Matthew R. Joyner, M.Div



Bryan Distefano

Parish Council President