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Diocese of Wichita News

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!

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.

He is Worthy!

Bishop BASIL writes:

HE IS WORTHY! On November 29th, 2009, our DOWAMA and Cathedral Youth Director Subdeacon Camille Anthony Baba, a vocation from St. George Church in Houston, TX and a graduate of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, was ordained to the holy diaconate at St George Cathedral/Wichita, KS.

An Invitation to be a Signatory of the Manhattan Declaration

On Friday, November 20, 2009, His Grace Bishop Basil sent an invitation to his flock, inviting them to sign a statement affirming the historic Christian teaching on life, marriage, and religious freedom. He wrote:

"Dear to Christ:

We invite you to join with other Christians across the nation who support the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty by endorsing the Manhattan Declaration.

Consecration of Holy Table at St. Nicholas + Shreveport, Louisiana

Bp BASIL, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt and Fr. John BethancourtBp BASIL, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt and Fr. John BethancourtAfter much anticipation, Fr. Daniel Bethancourt and the faithful of St. Nicholas Church in Shreveport, Louisiana, were blessed and honored to have His Grace Bishop BASIL consecrate their Holy Table on Sunday, September 27, 2009.  The parish also welcomed other distinguished guests from near and far, including Archimandrite Daniel Keller, the local dean, as well as Fr. John Morris, former pastor at St. Nicholas, along with his wife Kh. Cheryl. Fr. John Bethancourt and his wife, Kh. Photina came from Holy Trinity in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Also attending was Kh. Michelle Burke from St. Anthony’s in Spring, Texas, who, along with her husband Fr. Stephen Burke, made the generous donation of the holy table in memory of Kh. Michelle’s parents.  The community of St. Nicholas is deeply grateful to them for that gift.

On Saturday evening, before the service of Great Vespers, the relics of the Holy Hieromartyr, St. Blaise, were processed into the church by His Grace.  At the end of the Great Vespers service, everyone was able to walk behind the iconostasis to see the holy table as it was before the consecration. This was the one and only time most of those present would enter the altar area, and the last opportunity to see the table in its uncovered and pre-consecrated state. We were able to see the cavity in the table where Bishop BASIL would place the relics of St. Blaise as well as a list of all the founders and members of the church. It was humbling and awesome for those present to think of their names remaining inside the holy altar until the day of our Lord’s return!

Chris Farha Honored for Twenty-Five Years of Musical Service

Bp BASIL with Chris Farha and her husband WarrenBp BASIL with Chris Farha and her husband WarrenBishop BASIL writes:

MANY YEARS! This past Sunday, November 22nd, 2009, the Archdiocese's Silver Antonian Medal of Merit was presented to Chris Farha of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas in recognition of her twenty-five years of service as director of the Cathedral choir and her work as a member of the Archdiocesan Department of Sacred Music and coordinator of the DOWAMA Sacred Music Committee.

Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund

Each year during the Nativity season, all congregations in the Diocese of Wichita are requested to solicit contributions from all of their individual parishioners and parochial organizations for this worthy endeavor, which provides assistance to mission priests throughout the Diocese.

Download PDF brochure

Every year we have the opportunity to celebrate the feast of St. Basil the Great and honor our own Bishop BASIL by donating to the Bishop BASIL Missions Endowment Fund.

It began in 1975 when the Southwest Region (name at that time) wanted to increase awareness of the need for mission work in the Region. At that time, the Southwest Region consisted of only 8 communities (our Diocese now numbers 51 congregations). Pledges were made to the "Missions Fund", and in 1977 Father Michael Wellborn was partially funded by the Region and assigned to the Region's first mission, Three Hierarchs in New Orleans, Louisiana (renamed St. Basil and relocated to Metairie, Louisiana). In 1978 a "Region Missions Blitz Weekend" was held in Dallas, Texas, resulting in the founding that very weekend of the Region's second mission, Ss. Constantine and Helen in Dallas. The Region also helped fund their first priest, Father Anthony Nelson. Over the years, the Region has funded many missions and helped fund their priests.

He is Worthy!

His Grace with Dn. Michael and Shamassy Melanie SakranHis Grace with Dn. Michael and Shamassy Melanie SakranOn Thursday, November 12, 2009, during the Divine Liturgy for the commemoration of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop BASIL ordained to the holy diaconate Michael Sakran, a DOWAMA vocation at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, at his home parish of St. George in Houston, Texas.

Report from the DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament

The gymnasium at St. Elijah in Oklahoma City was bouncing with activity as more than 150 teens and advisers gathered for the third annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament. SOYO members traveled from El Paso, Houston, Denver, Wichita, Omaha and everywhere in between to attend this wonderful event and retreat.

Fr. Michael Nasser served as the retreat speaker for the weekend. He talked with the teens about "Maintaining Faith in Chaos." Everyone in attendance was enlightened by his words of wisdom on how we can make our lives more focused on Christ while living in a world with many distractions.