While in Florida and undergoing tests in the hospital, Metropolitan Philip suffered a minor heart attack on Sunday. He is in an encouraging situation in ICU.
A prayer service for His Eminence will be held this Monday afternoon at the Archdiocese Headquarters. We ask all of you to hold prayer services for his speedy recovery.
Update Tuesday Mar 11: Thanks to your collective and fervent prayers, Metropolitan Philip's status has improved. He is extubated (i.e. the doctors removed the tube from his mouth) and has conversed with his relatives and friends around him. He also conversed with His Beatitude Patriarch John X on the phone.
Please continue to pray for his speedy recovery.
On the Sunday of Orthodoxy, March 9, 2014, multiple media outlets including a leading newspaper in Lebanon, The Daily Star, reported that the thirteen nuns held in captivity by Syrian rebels for over three months were freed late in the day, as a result of Lebanese and Qatari mediation. Officers from Lebanon's General Security received the nuns on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal.
Parishioners and clergy at the Archdiocese's mother cathedral, St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, received the joyous news during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in which Bishop Nicholas was presiding. "We learned of the release just prior to commencing Holy Communion, and began ringing the bells of the Cathedral loudly, chanting 'O Lord, save Thy people' and 'To Thee the Champion Leader,'" says Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar-General of the Antiochian Archdiocese. An English translation of a statement from His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch, is being prepared by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.
Today hath appeared, a day full of joy, because the splendor of true doctrine shineth forth brilliantly, and the Church of Christ now sparkleth, adorned by the elevation of the Icons of the saints and their illustrating pictures, and believers attain there a unity rewarded of God.
+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 4
On the first Sunday in Lent, we commemorate the decision of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787 A.D. upholding the use of holy icons in Orthodox worship. We also commemorate today the unity of Orthodox belief and the oneness of our Faith throughout our various jurisdictions, nations and languages and across the continents and the centuries.
The Great Lent: When Mercy Dries Up, Fasting Suffers Drought
By God's mercy John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
Brethren, Pastors of the Holy Church of Antioch;
Beloved children in all dioceses in this apostolic see
Brethren and dearest spiritual children, whose strength and anticipation in God, strengthen ours;
Entering this redemptive period which leads us to the Cross (of Christ) and the dawn of His and thus our resurrection, these days bring to us the anticipation to Jesus and His divine consolation for His beloved humans; for whom He descended from His highest, incarnated in the Virgin, submitting Himself to the human law, willingly walking the path of the Cross, in order to rise from the dead, becoming the first fruit for our resurrection from our earthly misery and tribulation.
Jesus chose the path of the Cross, and drank from the chalice of death to simply tell us that the tribulation of our times will not overshadow our hope for light, and that hardship cannot eclipse the brightness of resurrection.