Parish Life


Karen Donch Raydo spent two weeks on a Lenten retreat at St. Nicholas House (the Matychak family home now owned by Holy Transfiguration Monastery).   She cleaned, cooked, baked and sang with us during her stay! She “imported” her son, David Donch, to direct the Palm Sunday Vespers and Divine Liturgy.  David is a choir director at the Orthodox Church in Auburn, NY, about 2 1/2 hours north of Lopez.  They both liked St. Vladimir’s and Lopez and look forward to returning sometime this summer.  Thank you for your generosity and service!

Karen and David



Ten clergy concelebrated the Lenten Vespers at St. Vladimir’s on Sunday, April 6th.


We counted over eighty faithful from Wilkes-Barre Deanery parishes at the service.  That’s Kathy Neufer in the midst of the congregation.


Sister Helene, Mother Christophora and Sister Martha.  They sang the afternoon Vespers service and joined with our singers Sunday morning for the Divine Liturgy.

 Mission_Mother Christophora

Mother Christophora gave a talk at the end of the Vespers.  She gave a brief history of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA.   It was founded fifty years ago by Mother Alexandria (the Princess Ileana of Romania in her “former” life).  Mother Christophora is now the Abbess of the Monastery. She then spoke of the common life that we have together as Orthodox Christians,  the monastics and those living in the world depending upon one another and supporting one another in prayer and good works.  We need each other in order to “fight the good fight” and grow spiritually both as the Church and in our own personal lives.  Mother Christophora told the faithful that she was not only born and raised by wonderful parents in Lopez,  but that she was also spiritually born in St. Vladimir’s Church in her baptism and through the ministries of the Church’s Priests and parishioners.  (Please go HERE to help support the Monastery.  Make a pilgrimage there in the near future.  Say  “hello!”)


Fr. Michael Evans, now retired and living in Edwardsville, was with us at the Vespers.  Seven years of his priestly service was given to St. Vladimir’s (1972-79).

Mission_Nadine reading

A beautiful job of reading at the Vespers.  Bob Neufer and Craig Kachmarsky’s niece joined with the nuns to give us a beautiful and uplifting Vespers.


God willing, we are planning on a St. Vladimir’s Yard Sale in late May, early June.  As you do your spring cleaning, you may find items that are in reasonably good shape (even new!) that you do not use.  Get them to the Church here in Lopez for the yard sale.  In addition to making a little money to support the Church, the sale is a good outreach to the Lopez community.  Call the church for more info or keep checking back here.


Ted Puzo, a parishioner of St. Vladimir’s living a good part of the year in Ashtabula, Ohio often returns to his Lopez family home to pursue his artistic interests.  He has been working with wood-burning art (pyrography) for many years now.  Below are a few samples of his work.  They and other works can be purchased.  Contact Ted at 440-645-4641 or e-mail       Lopez pics 004Lopez pics 005Lopez pics 006



Whoops!  That must be Robert and Kathy in Georgia?  Maybe Rosie in Florida?  Below is Lopez (15-18 below a week ago).

St.Vladimir winto snowSteenburg Rd in winter

OUR NEW BISHOP… His Grace Mark, Bishop of Baltimore and the current Administrator of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, pending final approval of the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, was nominated by parish delegates at the Annual Diocesan Assembly held in St. Nicholas Church, Bethlehem, PA on January 17th,  to become our new Bishop.  You can go to the Diocesan website at: for more information and photos.  We look forward to having Bishop Mark in  Lopez! Check this website for a future announcement of his visit, then come and celebrate with us!



(from St. Matthew 3:13-17)   Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.  And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”   But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”  Then he allowed Him.  When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

When Thou, O Lord, was baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest!  For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, and called Thee His beloved Son! And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word.  O Christ, our God Who has revealed Thyself, and has enlightened the world,                                                                     Glory to Thee!  (Troparion of the Feast)


We were blessed to have with us Sister Mary from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA.

Lopez Theophany getting Holy Water

Cold, pure, life-creating water!

Lopez Theophany eve SteveMary

Blessing of Waters – the Lopez Mountain Spring

Lopez Theophany group at spring

Lopez Theophany cross in spring water

Blessing of Waters – the Lopez Creek 

Brandon_Robin_Sister Mary_FrD

Blessing Lopez Creek #5  1-6-14

Blessing Lopez Creek #6  1-6-14

The Cross was on a string after no one volunteered to jump in the water to retrieve it!



St.Vladimir Christmas tree and tableLopez Theophany eve CraigDinky


Lopez Holy Supper group pic(2)

Holy Supper participants.

  Lopez Holy Supper straw bale(2)

The bale of hay reminds us of Christ’s birth in an animal “barn.” (a cave)

Lopez Holy Supper food for animals

Bread for the birds, fish for the parish cat!  “Stand- ins” for the animals present at Christ’s Birth.

 Lopez Holy Supper(2)

The twelve Lenten dishes for us!

Lopez Holy Supper place setting

The reserved place setting.  The mat reads:

 Holy Supper place setting


One of the most joyous holidays of the Orthodox Church and all Christians is Christmas, or as we refer to this Great Feast, “The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”  A forty day fast (St. Philip’s Fast), often called “Advent,”  precedes it.  On Christmas Eve, the last day of Advent, a Holy  Supper which consists of twelve Lenten dishes is served.  These preparations symbolize the twelve apostles chosen by Christ to preach the Gospel. The Russian Orthodox people come from many different villages in Europe.  Although the foods vary   because of geographical locations, many of the traditions have remained.  Foods to be eaten are prepared without the use of any dairy or meat products such as butter and milk which come from animals. The family gathers around a table upon which a candle has been lit.  The candle represents the Star  of Bethlehem and also Christ as the Light of the World.  Prayers are said, and the meal begins with the head of the household breaking bread and giving some to those at the table.  Often, a glass of wine is passed around the table with each member partaking of it.  Both acts symbolize Christ at the last Supper.   In many homes, a place setting is reserved at the table to represent the deceased members of the family. Eaten by candlelight, the meal consists of wine, garlic, honey, potatoes, mushroom gravy, oats, beans, pirohi filled with prunes or potatoes or sauerkraut, fish, sauerkraut, pea or vegetable soup, bread and bread pasties made with poppyseed and honey called  either foochki or babalki.  Fruits, nuts, coffee or tee are served at the end of the meal.  Christmas Carols are sung and then the family prepares to leave for Church for the Nativity Eve Vigil service. With Christmas Day, the birth of Christ and the coming in the flesh of the Son of God, comes the Divine Liturgy. We greet each other with —-  “Christ is Born!”  and respond with “Glorify Him!”


This great tradition in Orthodox Christian family life is in danger of being lost.  Maybe your family used to do this?  We are trying to bring new life to the Holy Supper by making it a “Church family” happening.  We have been questioning parishioners as to what they remember from growing up in a household which practiced it and will try to reintroduce these family traditions in our parish celebration.  Join us if you can! Tuesday evening, Dec 24th.      Meet at 4:00 p.m.  in the parish hall.   The Supper will begin at 4:30 p.m.     We then go to the Church for the Compline service at 6 p.m.  The Divine Liturgy of the Nativity of Christ is Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.


BISHOP VISIT — BUT NOT YET!!!    His Grace, Bishop Mark, Bishop of Baltimore and Administrator of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania, hoped to visit and celebrate with us “before the snow flies.” Unfortunately, his December schedule was full and the snow is flying!   We look forward to his visit in the near future.   Stay tuned!

December 1:  St. Vladimir’s was pleased to have the Lopez Community Christmas Party in our parish hall.  Santa Clause himself attended and distributed gifts to Lopez children. Dedicated community leaders take names of those “naughty and nice” each year and then purchase gifts and plan a party.  We were glad to host them once again.  The hall was a joyous place with many children and their families.  Lopez is not just for retirees and hunters!  Fr. Dennis and Matushka Helene attended some of the festivities and met many of our youngest Lopez residents.

Santa Clause and children

November 11:  We had our annual fundraising Holupki Dinner in the church hall.  The public was  served 12 noon to 4 p.m..   A dedicated crew produced a great dinner!

October 24-25:  Memory Eternal to the servant of God Helen Hubiak Coles.  A Parastas was held at the funeral home on Thursday evening.  The Burial service was held at St.  Vladimir’s Orthodox Church and the internment at our church cemetery.  May our Good and Compassionate Lord grant Helen a peaceful and blessed repose and make her memory to be eternal.

October 13:  The Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration is preparing to begin a second phase of their expansion and remodeling.  Sister Mary   was here and gave a little presentation after the Divine Liturgy.  We took a special collection  for the Monastery to help the nuns in their holy work and prayer — it benefits the whole Church, which includes us!    See the Monastery website:

October 12: We held our first (hopefully annual!) Community Outreach Breakfast.  We had a good turnout of Lopez neighbors and friends.  Most stayed a while after their breakfast and visited.  Sister Mary from Holy Transfiguration Monastery gave quite a few tours of the Church with explanations of icons and worship and answering questions.  Fr. Dennis and Matushka Helene introduced themselves to the guests.  We had a dedicated and hospitable breakfast crew preparing and serving a delicious breakfast.  Thank you!  It was a very pleasant and uplifting morning!

Lopez gathering

September 15:   Maria Farrell received the sacrament of Holy Chrismation  and entered into full communion with Our Lord Jesus Christ in His Holy Church through the partaking of Holy Communion.  May God Grant Her Many Blessed Years!

August 10:  The Dushore Outhouse Races!  A yearly community event on the second Saturday in August.  Dushore is six miles up the road.  We do live in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania!  Those outhouses can move!

Dushore races (6)

August 4:  Lopez Old Home Days.  Saint Vladimir’s had a booth.  Perogies, holupki, halushki  and potato pancakes were sold at the community pavilion at the top of the hill in Lopez .  A long line formed, and everything was sold out.  This event occurs every year on the first Sunday in August.

July 28:  After retiring on July 14th from 36 years at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Crossingville, Pa.  and moving east–Father Dennis is now attached to the altar of Saint Vladimir’s Church in Lopez, Pa.  Fr. Dennis Hendershot  and Matushka Helene are excited to be in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania near two beautiful state parks, World’s End  and Ricketts Glenn.   You have to visit us and see these glorious works of God and be thankful for the stewardship exercised by men and women through the years which has preserved these wonders for our enjoyment.

Worlds End_Loyalsock below                                                                                 Rickets Glen_strangers at falls