Skip to Navigation

Diocese of Wichita News

Antiochian Author and Speaker Fr. Joseph Huneycutt Records Syrian Pilgrimage

Metropolitan SABA and Fr. Joseph HuneycuttMetropolitan SABA and Fr. Joseph HuneycuttAntiochian Orthodox priest and author, Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of Houston, made a pilgrimage to Syria visiting Metropolitans, monasteries, and ancient churches from April 11-24. Father shares his journal here, and in his Ancient Faith Radio podcast "The Blindside."

The airport: It was a 16-hour flight from Dubai to Houston, having left Damascus the previous day.  The lines to get through American Customs were long.  When it finally came my turn, I approached the counter to see a sight not seen in my two-week absence:  a very white woman with red hair and freckles.  “Where you coming from?” she asked.  “Dubai,” I said, “I’ve been traveling in Syria.”  “Syria!  On business?” she asked.  “No, I was visiting the holy sites,” I replied.  The fair skinned Customs Agent looked at me as if I had six heads and said, 'Why Syria?!'

Youth Events in Oklahoma City


Following Bright Week, 30 Orthodox teens and chaperones gathered in Oklahoma City at St. Elijah to participate in the YES program. (YES stands for Youth Equipped to Serve and is a program sponsored by FOCUS North America that gives Orthodox youth the opportunity to participate in hands on ministry in cities across the United States.) Facilitated by Katrina Bitar, Director of the YES program, and Christina Saad, YES intern, this weekend gave teens from St. Eljah and St. George Cathedral a chance to see a different side of Oklahoma City.

Sponsor a Camp St. Raphael Staff Member

A note from  Fr. James Shadid, Director of Camp Saint Raphael: 

Each year our DOWAMA's Camp Saint Raphael must pay to the YMCA $18,000 in fees to cover the camp costs for our own non-paid, volunteer staff. In other words, although our clergy and those great folks from our parishes volunteer their time and talents (and pay their own way to and from Camp!) for those two weeks to be our camp chaplains, counselors, nurse or doctor, etc., CSR must pay the YMCA $18,000 to cover the costs of for their meals and lodging. That breaks down to a weekly fee per staffer of $300 ($600 per staffer for our full two-week camping program). This year - to mark CSR's 10th anniversary - we are asking that congregations, parish groups and individual parishioners consider sponsoring a CSR staff member. Please see the attached flyer (PDF) and publicize this opportunity among your parish groups and individual members. 

Questions? Contact CSR's Executive Director Gayle Malone at or myself at Thanks!

Erin Elizabeth Learned Appointed DOWAMA Youth Director

Bishop BASIL writes:

May it be blessed! Erin Elizabeth Learned, a daughter of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas, employed as full-time Youth Director at St. Elijah in Oklahoma City, has been appointed Diocesan Youth Director for DOWAMA to succeed Fr. Anthony Baba.

Anthony Baba Ordained to Priesthood

Bishop BASIL writes:

HE IS WORTHY! Fr. Anthony Baba of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas and DOWAMA Youth Director was ordained to the holy priesthood at his home parish of St. George in Houston, Texas on the Fifth Sunday of the Fast, March 21st, 2010. He will be assigned to the pastorate at St. Anthony Church in Spring, TX effective Monday, April 12th. He will begin his "Week of Liturgies" at St. George in Houston and will conclude it at St. George Cathedral in Wichita.

Paschal Greetings from His Grace Bishop BASIL

“When Thou hadst fallen asleep in the flesh, as one mortal, O King and Lord, Thou didst rise again on the third day, raising up Adam from corruption, and abolishing death: O Pascha of incorruption! O Salvation of the world!” (The Exaposteilarion of Pacha)

To the Right Reverend, Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, the Christ-loving Monastics, and the Faithful Laity of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of our Risen Saviour. Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! ! ألمسيح قام Христос Воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Cristo ha resucitado!

"Death was terrible to the human race before the death of Christ, but after Christ’s Resurrection man became terrible to death, for One of us conquered death, did not remain in the grave, and did not see corruption. The former Pascha was the liberation of Israel from Egypt. Our Pascha is the liberation from the slavery of death and corruption. Christ is risen! I now know that my salvation has indeed been wrought. I know that God did indeed appear on earth. There have been great men, conquerors of the elements, conquerors of nature, but death equalized all and revealed our common nothingness. Who is this Who has passed through the gates of death? He can only be God. This means that God was indeed incarnate on earth, has indeed brought the healing medicine against that which consumes me and the corruption that tortures me. The Incarnation and the Resurrection are combined into one. The Incarnation gives the meaning of the Resurrection, and the Resurrection irrefutably confirms that the Incarnation is truth and reality, and not illusion or dream. Now death is not frightening to me, for I have seen the victory over corruption." (New Hieromartyr Hilarion Troitsky, 1886-1929)

Diocese of Wichita to Organize Consortium of Professional Counselors

His Grace Bishop BASIL has appointed Fr. John Mefrige of St. Ephraim the Syrian Church in San Antonio, Texas to begin the process of organizing a "DOWAMA Consortium of Professional Counselors" to be a resource for clergy in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. Professional counselors in the Diocese are encouraged to download and submit a registration (PDF). For more information, please contact Fr. John Mefrige at

Online Registration Available for 2010 DOWAMA Parish Life Conference

Online registration is now available for the 2010 DOWAMA Parish Life Conference at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Parish Life Conference will take place June 16-19, 2010. For more information or to register, please visit

Bishop THOMAS visits St. Paraskevi Monastery in Washington, Texas

On March 9, 2010, His Grace Bishop THOMAS visited St. Paraskevi Monastery in Washington, Texas for the feast day of the Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. It was His Grace's first visit to the Monastery. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, who serves at St. George Church in Houston, Texas, accompanied His Grace.

For more pictures, please visit Fr. Joseph Huneycutt's blog.

Harry and Florence Kouri Scholarship

This is the third year that Jim and Ruth Cohlmia have offered the Harry and Florence Kouri Scholarship of $2,000 to a graduating high school senior from the Diocese of Wichita. Eligible high school seniors may download an application form here. Please note that the signature of the applicant's parish priest is required. The deadline to submit applications to the Wichita Chancery is May 3rd. The recipient will be announced at our Parish Life Conference in Oklahoma City, OK this June.

Download Application Form (PDF)

Joy Magazine to be Published in English-Language Edition

Sample page: click to enlargeSample page: click to enlargeBishop BASIL writes:

His Eminence Metropolitan SABA of Syria's archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran announces that the very popular Arabic-language, full-color, Orthodox Children's Magazine "FARAH" (which means "joy") will soon be published in an all-English edition - to be called "JOY" - for our children here in America.

His Eminence Metropolitan SABA writes:

Dear Brother in Christ,

As our Holy Orthodox Church is embarking on a very special time of the year in preparation to celebrate the Feast of all feasts, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I greet you with a holy kiss from the land that was blessed to witness the conversion of the Apostle Paul and the martyrdom of one of the seven first Deacons, Timon.

With the blessing and the enthusiastic support of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, the Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, I present you with the first issue of the “JOY” magazine in English, which is intended to help children (7-13)with their parents to learn about our holy Orthodox faith. “JOY” will be a colorful publication of about forty pages, containing a variety of simple educational materials, offered three times a year, for the sake of enriching the children of Christ, for the nominal cost of twenty dollars a year including postage cost.

Bishop BASIL Celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy in Denver

On Sunday, February 21, 2010, His Grace Bishop BASIL attended the annual Triumph of Orthodoxy weekend concelebrated by the "Three Hierarchs of the Heartland." The celebration was hosted this year by His Eminence METROPOLITAN ISAIAH of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver at his Assumption Cathedral in Denver, Colorado. His Eminence ARCHBISHOP DMITRI of the OCA's Diocese of Dallas and the South preached at the concelebrated Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning and Sayedna BASIL preached at Vespers on Sunday evening. The 2011 celebration will be hosted at St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas, Texas.

Forgiveness Sunday Message from Bishop BASIL

14 February 2010
Forgiveness Sunday

To the Right Reverend, Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, the Christ-loving Monastics, and the Faithful Laity of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

Blessings and greetings in the Name of the Lord Christ. As we stand at the thresh-hold of the Great Fast, I make my prostration before you and ask your forgiveness. As this year’s Forgiveness Sunday Message to our Diocese, I share with you the following counsel of our Venerable and God-bearing Father Theodore the Studite (759-826).

2011 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

Dr. Krastu BanevDr. Krastu BanevΠαναγία - Εκκλησία

The Church and the Mother of God: Questions of Ecclesiology and Personal
Holiness in the Early Church and in the Later Orthodox Tradition

Presented in seven talks by

The 2011 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat will be held at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas, Tuesday through Friday, February 8th-11th.  Invited to be our guest speaker is Dr. Krastu Banev, Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Durham in England. Dr. Banev will adress the theme "Παναγία - Εκκλησία - The Mother of God and the Church: Questions of Ecclesiology and Personal Holiness in the Early Church and in the Later Orthodox Tradition."

Dr. Banev, a native of Bulgaria, teaches the history and theology of the Greek-speaking Church: from Nicea (325AD) to Chalcedon (451AD) and beyond; his research interests include patristic anthropology; early Christian asceticism and later Orthodox spirituality; Byzantine hymnography; the cultural and religious links between Byzantium and the Slav world. His forthcoming book is on the use of classical rhetoric in the Byzantine homiletic tradition.

Schedule (Download PDF Version)

TUESDAY – February 8th: Afternoon arrival of the clergy

2010 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

Bishop BASIL writes:

Our 2010 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat was crowned with the Divine Liturgy for the Leavetaking of the feast Meeting of the Lord in the Temple concelebrated this morning at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas by Archimandrite Zacharias and Hieromonk Petros of the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England and Fr. James Shadid and Dn. Anthony baba of the Cathedral.  Father Zacharias preached the homily in which he addressed the providential confluence of the Leavetaking with the Marcan gospel pericope appointed for this Friday of the Week of Meatfare.  All of the brothers chanted the responses together, led by our new DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Choir under the direction of Fr. David Barr of St. Elias/Austin, TX.

Audio Recordings Available from 2010 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

Audio recordings of the 2010 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat with Fr. Zacharias may now be ordered through Eighth Day Books in Wichita, KS (  The price for the 7-CD set -- "Fulfillment of Personhood According to Elder Sophrony of Essex, Spiritual Son of St. Silouan the Athonite" -- is $60.00 (which includes domestic postage & handling).  For shipment of orders outside the U.S., please inquire concerning additional charges.

Bishop BASIL Visits Syria and Antioch

His Grace Bishop BASIL of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America recently returned from a journey to Syria. His Grace's travels included visits to many holy sites in in Aleppo and Antioch (in Turkey), as well as visits with Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, Metropolitan SABA of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, monastics, college students and others. Sayedna has kindly provided us with numerous photos from his trip: click here to visit the gallery!

Apply Now for Camp St. Raphael 2010

Application forms for Camp St. Raphael's 2010 Summer sessions are now available online. The first session runs from June 27-July 3, 2010; the second session runs from July 4-10. Deadlines for applications are May 1 for the early-bird rate ($300) and June 1 for the regular rate ($325). For more information, please visit

Fr. Anthony Yazge has made camp scholarship applications available to each congregation. For more information, please contact your parish priest. The absolute deadline for scholarship applications in March 1.

Sanctity of Life Observations Encouraged by Bishop BASIL

His Grace Bishop BASIL, in his St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood newsletter on January 8, encouraged the faithful and clergy of his Diocese to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision with prayers, volunteer work with local pro-life ministries, and participation where possible in the Washington D.C. March for Life.

His Grace writes:

"FRIDAY, JANUARY 22nd will mark the 37th anniversary of the infamous decision given by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case known as "Roe v. Wade." Please find below two links about how Orthodox Christians will observe that day:

Nativity Greetings from Bishop BASIL

The Nativity 2009

To the Right Reverend Archimandrites, the Very Reverend and Reverend Priests and Deacons and their families, the Venerable Monastics, and all the Christ-loving Faithful of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Incarnate Christ. I send to each of you and your communities my paternal love, festal greetings and prayerful best wishes for the merriest of Christmases and a healthy and happy 2010.


In Christ Jesus the Incarnate Word,





+ Basil
Bishop of Wichita and the Diocese of Mid-America


Bishop BASIL Discusses Nativity on OCN

This week on Special Moments in Orthodoxy, in an Orthodox Christian Network vaulted interview, Fr. Chris Metropulos interviews His Grace Bishop BASIL on the importance of the Nativity Season and Advent.

"As Orthodox Christians, we're used to our Fast periods being periods of repentance, and rather dark periods. And the period of Advent, the pre-Nativity Fast, is a very different kind of season ... It's more of a preparation, a preparation for a great Feast. And there's joy that permeates that entire Fast." + Bishop BASIL

Click here to listen to the full interview on OCN.

Bishop BASIL to Receive Doctor of Divinity Degree

Bishop BASIL writes:

In a letter received from Fr. Chad Hatfield, formerly of All Saints in Salina, Kansas and currently serving as Chancellor of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY, I was informed that at its most recent meeting the Seminary's Board of Trustees decided to confer upon me the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) during the Seminary's Commencement on May 22nd, 2010.

Third Annual DOWAMA Wintercamp

The 3rd Annual DOWAMA Wintercamp will be held February 26th - 28th, 2010! The camp will take place in Huntsville, Texas, one-and-a-half hours north of Houston, and the featured speaker will be Fr. Jason Roll. Please visit for all of the forms needed for the camp as well as a flyer to put up in your church! We hope to see you all in the Lone Star State!

St. Saba the Sanctified + December 5

Shrine with the incorrupt relics of St. Saba at Mar Saba Monastery near BethlehemSanctified from youth, O righteous Saba, thou wast a summit of righteousness equal to the Angels. Thou didst lead a heavenly life, and guide thy flock to godliness by word and deed. And they cry to thee with faith: Glory to Him who hath strengthened thee; glory to Him who hath crowned thee; glory to Him who through thee worketh healings for all.

+Troparion, Tone 1

Read about the life of St. Saba
Many years to Metropolitan SABA of our Sister Diocese of Bosra Hauran in southern Syria, who keeps this as his Name's Day!

Latest Message from Hauran

Bishop BASIL writes:

In early November 2009, a donation of $9,000.00 was sent as a gift from DOWAMA to METROPOLITAN SABA for the benefit of projects in our "sister diocese" of Bosra-Hauran in southern Syria. These funds were raised by our Diocese's fifty-one parishes and missions during our 2009 "St. Timon Sunday" observances. In response, His Eminence sends the following note to us:

"Dearest Sayyidna Basil, beloved brother: Christ is in our midst! Thank you very much for the $9,000.00 sent to my Archdiocese as yet another gift from the clergy and people of your Diocese. Sayyidna, really I do not how to express my thanks. I received your help at very crucial time.