UPDATED COVID-19 guidelines

4 Jun

Updated 3/1/22

Effective February 28th, 2022, Bridgeport, CT’s mask mandate has been lifted. It is no longer mandated to wear masks indoors, and therefore not necessary to be worn in church. If you are more comfortable wearing a mask when attending a service, we respect your decision to do so.

All Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines can be read here.

updated 3/1/22

Parish hosts bottle drive & vaccination clinic

15 Apr

Being a good neighbor is part of the reason for our parish’s existence here in Bridgeport. During the Lenten season, we’re hosting two special activities as we endeavor to act as “Christ’s body” (I Cor. 12:27) within our community.

For one thing, we’re running a “Bottles and Cans Fundraiser” to benefit children through a local non-profit, Restoring Life Through Christ Ministries. Pastor Success Smith is teaching a group of neighborhood kids about finances—earning, spending, and saving. All funds collected will go into a special savings account for the children to manage. So, please, when your bottles and cans begin to pile high, drop them into the blue bin beside the back door of the parish rectory, and say a prayer for Pastor Success and the kids as you do so!

For another thing, our parish opened its doors to the Bridgeport Health Department on April 13 to conduct a COVID vaccination clinic. Twenty-five people got vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine, and they will return for their second shot in about three weeks. We appreciate our neighbors being able to step inside the nave of our church to take in the beauty of that space before they proceed to the church hall to get vaccinated. It makes us feel like we’re caring for their souls and their bodies as we provide for their health needs.

What a privilege to serve our Lord, in the guise of our neighbors (Matt. 25:40), as we journey through Great Lent.

—Deborah Belonick, Webmaster

Photo Gallery by Barbara Dulin

1st phase of church restoration complete

25 Mar

The initial phase of a major restoration of our church building has been completed! Contractor Leo Chavez of LCT Home Improvement, LLC and his crew accomplished stunning work in refinishing the nave, sanctuary, choir loft, and ladies’ restroom. Additionally our own parishioner, Steven Doughty, took the lead in repairing sections of the ladies’ restroom, and our trustworthy plumber, Linson Rhodes, provided for the electrical and plumbing work in that room.

Chavez‘s love for our church and our parish members was evident as he accomplished the following detailed work quickly and equitably:
-Installed a new exterior wall with reinforced framing in the ladies’ room, thus stopping water penetration through the deteriorating existing wall, with the installation of a new vanity, sink, and mirror, along with new electrical and plumbing work;
-Patched and repaired holes in plaster walls throughout the stairwells and in the basement;
-Repaired and painted kitchen walls and performed professional cleaning of fixtures;
-Repaired heavily damaged walls in the choir loft, using multiple layers of new plaster, and painted the choir loft and the vaulted ceiling over it, including the addition of new hand-painted gold stars;
-Cleaned, sealed, and painted (2 coats) all walls and arches in the main part of the nave;
-Steamed-cleaned the large center chandelier, as well as the smaller chandeliers in the choir loft, and in the altar and vestibule areas;
-Repaired and painted the heating system vent/returns in the rear of the nave;
-Caulked and sealed around windows; and
-Performed a final cleaning of the church.

We are grateful to God for this breathtaking transformation, and we thank Chavez and all the workmen involved in the project.

All indoor services resume

21 Oct

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst!

All liturgical services will resume inside of our church building, beginning Saturday, March 27, 2021, with strict public health safety protocols in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus pandemic. (The Liturgy is also continuing to be live-streamed on our parish’s Facebook Page.)

COVID-19 restrictions require modifications of our church routines, with the aim of minimizing touching of surfaces and movement within the church. I ask for your understanding and patience as we work out practical procedures to protect each other’s health in accordance with guidelines from the civil authorities.

Vespers and all other services are being live-streamed only, for the time being.

Please note: By entering the church you are acknowledging that you are aware of and agree to follow the below guidelines; represent that you are in good health; and assume the risk of becoming ill.

Yours in Christ, Fr. John Jillions, Pastor

Where to enter the church for Divine Liturgy

Please use the back entrance to the church when you arrive. Designated doorkeepers for each service will make sure to understand all procedures and commit to arriving early to greet congregants. The doorkeepers will greet each household one at a time; you must wait your turn to enter the church. The doorkeepers are responsible for ensuring that the following health and safety instructions are observed for the good of both our parish and the surrounding community.

How to enter the church for Divine Liturgy


  • If you currently have COVID-19 and have not recovered, or if you are presenting symptoms of it, you must refrain from attending.
  • If you are caring for someone who either has been diagnosed with or who is presenting symptoms of COVID-19, you must refrain from attending.(View common symptoms of COVID-19 here.)
  • If you are a vulnerable individual—that is, a senior citizen in frail health or a person who has a serious underlying health condition such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, or a compromised immune system—you are highly encouraged to stay safe at home and to follow liturgical services online.
  • We will keep a written record of who is attending services, in case there are outbreaks of the virus within our community that necessitate contact tracing.
  • You must wear a mask upon approaching a doorkeeper and upon entering the church, and you must be checked with a non-contact thermometer prior to entering. (The state of Connecticut has provided such a thermometer to all congregations). In the event that you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 after attending a service, others who were in attendance at that same service will be notified that they should quarantine for 14 days.
  • Please park your car after 8:30 a.m. in our church parking lot, and then proceed to the back entrance of the church for a temperature check, name recording for contact tracing, and hand sanitizing.
  • You may purchase candles inside, using the honor system. (No change will be given.)
  • An usher will guide you to an available seat and will place a candle for you, if you so desire. You may sit with members of your same household in a group, but you will need to sit at least six feet apart from others who are not of your own household.

How to conduct yourself during Divine Liturgy


  • Please bring your own personal hand sanitizer. (This will be appreciated since the parish has limited supplies.)
  • No one over the age of 5 is permitted to attend the indoor services without a mask, with two exceptions for children:
    • Children under the age of two should not wear masks; and
    • Parents should judge for children between the ages of two and five whether or not they should wear a mask.
  • Please cover your sneezes and coughs.
  • The choir will be limited to a small number of people each week, standing in the choir loft, 6 feet apart from each other.
  • Please refrain from congregational singing.  Congregants will softly recite only the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer together at the appropriate times.
  • We will not pass the collection plate; instead collections plates will remain at the entrance and the exit, so you may leave donations as you either enter or exit the church.
  • We will use multiple metal spoons (one per person) for distributing Holy Communion. While waiting for Communion, please maintain your social distance from others. Individual tissues will be made available for reception of the Eucharist. While in line to receive Communion, take a tissue and wait to approach the chalice until the person in front of you has moved away. After receiving the Eucharist, wipe your lips with the tissue and place it in the container for that purpose. (These will be burned afterwards.) After the reception of Holy Communion, no blessed bread or wine (antidoron) will be provided.
  • We will not offer the blessing cross at the conclusion of Liturgy.

How to exit the church after Divine Liturgy

  • Please exit the church after the Liturgy by using the door on the far right front side of the church as you face the altar, unless it is necessary for you to use the chair lift that can be found through the door on the far left front side of the church as you face the altar.
  • We will offer no food or drinks after the Divine Liturgy, but you may bring your own “coffee hour” drink and socialize six feet apart outdoors on the grounds of Holy Ghost Church.


ONLINE PARISH DEVELOPMENT FORUM, JULY 16TH, the Orthodox Parish: ―Awakening to Opportunity

6 Jul

Fr John Jillions and Dr. Nathan Jacobs are featured speakers at the 2021 Online Parish Development Forum, to be held Friday, July 16 from 10:00 a.m. EDT to 5:15 p.m. For the past seven years this conference has attracted persons from virtually every OCA Diocese and many other Orthodox jurisdictions.

There are three content tracks — Personal Spiritual Resiliency, Parish Renewal and Resiliency and Becoming Fishers of Men. These workshops aim to help parish leaders think about the future. For registration and further information, click here.

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