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Diocese of Wichita News

Patrick Henre Ordained to Holy Diaconate

HE IS WORTHY! Subdeacon Patrick Henre of St. Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, Kansas was ordained to the holy diaconate by Bishop Basil this past Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 and is assigned to that parish.

Spring 2015 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2015 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America! The issue contains:

  • Living the Christian Life in a Secular Age, by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • The Springtime of the Soul, The Season of Repentance, by His Grace Bishop Basil
  • Introducing The 2013 - 2015 Board of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America
  • I Am an Antiochian Woman, by Deana Bottei, Diocesan President
    Happenings Around the Diocese of Wichita & Mid-America

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Lenten Retreat in Wichita, KS + March 20-21, 2015

I Was in Prison and You Visited Me:
Witnessing the Gospel in the Depths of Hell
Download Flyer (PDF)

A Lenten retreat with Fr. Stephen Powley will be held March 20th and 21st, 2015 at St Mary Church in Wichita, Kansas. Please see the attached flyer (PDF). The retreat is free to the public.

Fr. Stephen Powley has served in prison ministry for over 30 years, having the great privilege of being a spectator of many incredible events the God did in those prisons, some of which he has the honor to share with you! Fr. Stephen serves as Executive Director with Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM). OCPM assists men and women in prison with their spiritual journeys by providing study Bibles, correspondence studies, devotional books, prayer books and icons. The Correspondence Ministry of OCPM sends out hundreds of personal letters and cards each week. OCPM is also helping to establish and train Orthodox Prison Ministry teams throughout North America that go into prisons to provide Orthodox visits and services in person.

Lenten Retreat in Kansas City + February 21-23, 2015

A Lenten retreat with Dr. Christopher Veniamin will be held February 21st and 23rd, 2015 at St Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Please see the attached flyer (PDF). For more information, please contact host pastor Fr. Elias Issa at 913-663-2200 or

Dr. Christopher Veniamin is a spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex and Professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan PA, where he has served for more than 20 years. He received his first degree in Theology from the School of Theology in the University of Thessalonica, and his doctorate from the University of Oxford. Professor Veniamin is also the President of Mount Thabor Publishing.

Application for 2015 Harry and Florence Kouri Scholarship Now Available

Application forms are now available for the 2015 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. Submissions must be postmarked no later than April 27th, 2015. Completed forms may be sent to:

The Chancery
1559 North Woodlawn Boulevard
Wichita, KS 67208-2429

Download 2015 Harry & Florence Kouri Memorial Scholarship Application Form (PDF)

Samuel Trant Ordained to Holy Diaconate

His Grace BIshop Basil writes:

AXIOS! Subdeacon Samuel Trant of Christ the Saviour Church in Jacksonville, Texas was ordained to the holy diaconate on Sunday, January 11th, 2015 and is assigned to that parish.

Niketas Sanders Elevated to Archdeacon

His Grace BIshop Basil writes:

AXIOS! On Sunday, January 11th, 2015, Deacon Niketas Sanders of St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas was elevated to the rank and dignity of Archdeacon.

Endowment Established to Honor Dr. George J. Farha

Students from Christ the Savior AcademyStudents from Christ the Savior AcademyDr. George J. Farha didn't like big events. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, people listened. So, when the idea of forming the first Orthodox day school in Kansas was presented to Dr. George and a group of his peers in 2009, he listened quietly, looked around the room and then proclaimed, "This school must happen. I'm going to support it, and I want each of you to support it too."

It is fitting, then, that five years later, the Dr. George J. Farha Endowment for Christ the Savior Academy is being established on the one-year anniversary of his passing on January 7 a year ago. The goal of the endowment is to raise $1 million, and the Trustees of the endowment board are asking Dr. George's friends and colleagues to join the family in raising the funds.

"It is my desire to secure his dream long-term for the Academy," said Brenda Farha, Dr. George's wife. "I believe with all of my heart that my husband would be so pleased, you see, this school was his dream."

St. Panteleimon Fellowship: A Society for the Practice of Orthodox Christian Healthcare

Christ healing the Paralytic (6th C. Mosaic)Christ healing the Paralytic (6th C. Mosaic)Greetings, Orthodox healthcare professionals!

With the approval of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Basil (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America), the St. Panteleimon Fellowship has been launched for the benefit of all Orthodox health care professionals. This new organization has emerged from the coordinated efforts of Deacon Luke Stauffer, MD of St. Thomas Orthodox Mission in Frederickburg, TX and Father Symeon Kees of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX.

The Great Martyr Panteleimon, a physician counted among the Unmercenary Healers of the Church, is our patron. Orthodox physicians, nurses, and all others who work in health care are invited into the Fellowship. Since the Church has always held the healing of the soul and body together, Orthodox clergy are certainly welcome. While our organization is currently rooted in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, all Orthodox Christians from our sister canonical jurisdictions are welcome. Indeed, the founders hope that the efforts of the Fellowship will create opportunities for health care professionals to share the Orthodox Way to non-Orthodox workers as well.

If you would like to be added to our email list, contact Alexandra Funchess ( For more information, please download the St. Panteleimon Fellowships inaugural newsletter (PDF).

Let us confess the presence of Him who is both King and Physician. For Jesus the King when about to become our Physician, girded Himself with the linen of humanity, and healed that which was sick.

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Antiochian Priests Offer Teaching, Encouragement to Uganda's Church

Fr. John ChagnonFr. John ChagnonFr. George DahdouhFr. George DahdouhThis reflection was written by Fr. John Chagnon of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN, about a missions trip in which he and Fr. George Dahdouh of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX travelled to Africa to minister to the Ugandan Orthodox Church. The article was originally published on November 25, 2014, in the Orthodox Christian Mission Center News.

Uganda is an Oregon-sized country in East Africa, 20 hours away by air and nine time zones ahead of us, and yet, by Faith we are family. Since just after World War II, canonical Orthodoxy has been part of the life of Uganda, spread not by missionaries but rather by Ugandans themselves who sought out and found the apostolic Christian Faith they were seeking, a Faith they chose rather than accept the faiths of the colonial powers that ruled them until the early 1960's.

The Ugandan Orthodox Church is led by His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah, himself the son of the leader of those who discovered Orthodoxy and brought it to Uganda. It is a young church, vital, and working in a culture where old and new are intertwined and some traditional brick houses have solar panels to make sure the cell phones are charged every night.

2015 Winter Camp St. Raphael

A Love Story
God's Love Revealed through Salvation history
with His Grace Bishop Basil

WHEN: Friday January 16 - Monday January 19, 2015


WHERE: Camp St. Raphael (a.k.a. YMCA Camp Takatoka - Wagoner, OK)

COST: $125 Teens (T-Shirt included) - $110 Chaperones (Must complete application and be accepted)

2015 Winter Camp (WAMP) will take place January 16th-19th at Camp St. Raphael (YABOY!) in Wagoner, OK. The featured speaker will be Bishop Basil. Flyers and registration forms are attached to this page. If you have questions, please contact Diocese of Wichita Youth Director Erin Ghata at

Ordination and Elevation of Fr. Gabriel Tannous and Archdeacon Meletios Marx

Elevation of Archdeacon MeletiosElevation of Archdeacon MeletiosHis Grace Bishop Basil writes:

AXIOS! Fr. Gabriel Tannous, a son of DOWAMA and a senior at St. Vladimir's Seminary, was ordained to the holy priesthood at St. Anthony Church in Spring, Texas on Sunday, November 2nd, 2014.

WORTHY! Dn. Meletios Marx of St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas was elevated to the rank and dignity of archdeacon on the feast of the Holy Archangels (Saturday, November 8th, 2014).

Memory Eternal! + Charles Slemon

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

MEMORY ETERNAL! Charles Slemon, father of Kh. Sharon Nasr (retired at St. Elijah in Oklahoma City), OK, fell asleep in Christ in Rhode Island on Sunday, October 5, 2014, at the age of 96. Mr. Slemon will be buried this Saturday, October 11th, from St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Pawtucket, RI. Condolences may be sent to Archpriest Constantine Nasr and Kh. Sharon at and

Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of his soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of thy departed servant." May he be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.

Read his obituary here.

Memory Eternal! + Catherine Kouri Massad

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Memory eternal! Catherine Kouri Massad of Ss. Constantine & Helen Church in Carrollton, Texas reposed last evening, October 11, 2014. Catherine (along with her late daughter Mary) was a longtime fixture at Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conferences and Antiochian Women functions, and was also well known for her volunteer icon and gift shop "Catherine's Corner" at her parish church. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Catherine's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of thy departed servant." May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.

Juvenaly Hale Ordained to Holy Diaconate

His Grace BIshop Basil writes:

AXIOS! Juvenaly Hale of St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas was ordained to the holy diaconate Sunday, October 5th, 2014 at St. Joseph Church in Houston.

Deacon Juvenaly, Shamassy Debbie and their childrenDeacon Juvenaly, Shamassy Debbie and their children

Fr. John Flora Elevated to Archpriest

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

WORTHY! Yesterday, September 28, 2014, Fr. John Flora of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Park City, Kansas was elevated to the rank and dignity of Archpriest.

Hierodeacon Benedict, Fr. John Flora, Bishop Basil, Dn. Basil AndersonHierodeacon Benedict, Fr. John Flora, Bishop Basil, Dn. Basil Anderson

Houston Town Hall Meeting Highlights Middle East Persecution

On Friday evening, September 5, 2014, The Orthodox Clergy Association of Southeast Texas held a Town Hall Meeting at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas (with rector The Rev. James Shadid), titled "The Silent Holocaust—The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East." The press release following the event reported that all of the Orthodox, Coptic and Syriac Christian communities in the area participated—approximately 300 persons, including 16 priests. Jurisdictions represented were the Greek Archdiocese (GOA), the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Serbian Diocese of Midwestern America, and Coptic and Syriac Dioceses.

There were four speakers, including Hieromonk Bashar (al-Shamany) of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Originally from Mosul, the he spoke about the current situation in the Middle East. Father Bashar's family are currently among the thousands of scattered refugees. A question and answer period followed, and a large collection was taken for the IOCC's relief work in the Middle East.

At the conclusion of the Town Hall, all of the Orthodox clergy offered up the Trisagion Prayers for those who have died.

2015 Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference

The 2015 Diocese of Wichita Parish Life Conference will be hosted by St. Elias Church in Arvada, Colorado (Denver metro). Dates are Wednesday to Saturday, June 10th-13th, 2015.

Our featured guest speaker will be ELISSA BJELETICH of Holy Transfiguration/Austin, TX, author of In God's Hands: A Mother's Journey through her Infant's Critical Illness (

For registration, forms, schedule and more information, please visit

2015 DOWAMA Bible Bowl Registration

2015 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat

2015 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat
February 3rd-6th, 2015
Spiritual Life Center + Wichita, KS
Featuring guest speakers Sam Noble, Matthew Namee and Fr. Christopher Morris

DOWAMA'S 43rd Annual Clergy Brotherhood Retreat will be held at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas during the Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple, Tuesday-Friday, February 3rd-6th, 2015.

Since February 27th, 2015 will mark the centenary of the repose of the patron saint of our Clergy Brotherhood St. Raphael of Brooklyn, DOWAMA will inaugurate the centennial year at the Clergy Brotherhood Retreat, which will focus on St. Raphael's life, ministry and legacy. The featured guest speaker will be Samuel Noble, well known for his blog "Notes on Arab Orthodoxy" and the newly published book he co-authored with Alexander Treiger The Orthodox Church in the Arab World 700-1700: An Anthology of Sources.

8th Annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament

The 8th Annual DOWAMA SOYO Basketball Tournament will hosted Friday through Sunday, October 3rd-5th, 2014 at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The retreat speaker will be Khouriya Gigi Shadid of St. George Church in Houston, Texas. A flyer and registration forms are attached hereto.

Questions? Contact DOWAMA Youth Director Erin Ghata at

Pan-Orthodox Young Professionals Conference in Austin, TX

A note to our young adults from Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, Texas. Father David writes:

Howdy, y'all! We are thrilled to be hosting Austin's first pan-Orthodox Young Professionals Conference. Join us on October 24th-26th, 2014, deep in the heart of Texas, for an incredible weekend, packed full of spiritual and social activities. Get to know and spend time with fellow Orthodox Christians as we learn what it means to live authentically. Explore the concepts of 'Real Life, True Faith' with Dr. George Stavros during the keynote address, as well as during breakout sessions led by both esteemed clergy and theologians. Later on, perhaps you'd like to check out the vintage shops on South Congress, or maybe you'd rather try your luck at paddling on Town Lake. One thing's for sure -- you can't leave Austin without some authentic BBQ! We'll reflect, learn, and worship together, discover Austin's hotspots, and form lifelong connections.

Early bird registration ends on September 1st.

Register on our website:
Check us out on Facebook:!/events/268607640009171
Email us at:

CD Features Chants for the Feast of the Dormition

An audio CD of the hymns of Great Vespers, the Lamentations, and the Orthros hymns for the Feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos has been made available in anticipation of the August 15, 2014 feast day. Chanted by Dr. Sam N. Cohlmia, Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS, the CD is available for $15.00 by contacting Dr. Cohlmia at his email address.

Read an interview with Dr. Cohlmia, and more details about the CD.

St. Timon Sunday 2014

The Feast of St. Timon, when our parishes and missions pray for and highlight the history, ministries and needs of DOWAMA's Sister Diocese of Bosra-Hauran shepherded by Metropolitan Saba, is Sunday, July 27th, 2014.

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

Beloved and Christ-loving priests, deacons, monastics and lay folk of DOWAMA:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Lord Christ.

In the Biblical account of the feast of Pentecost (Acts 2) we read of people from a multitude of nations who heard for the very first time and “everyone in his own language” (2:6) the proclamation by the Holy Apostles of the Good News. Among those people were “Arabians” (2:11) which meant people from Rome’s frontier province of Arabia Petraea (the area of modern Syria south of Damascus, the Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, the Sinai peninsula and the northwestern tip of modern Saudi Arabia).

Much of Decapolis (Matthew 4:25), an area frequently visited by Christ and His disciples, is situated in this Arabia, as is Caesarea Philippi (modern Banyas in Syria) where the Holy Apostle Peter confessed Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-20). It was to this Arabia that, following his baptism in Damascus by St. Ananias (9:17 & 18) and his escape over the city’s wall (9:25) that the Holy Apostle Paul fled and spent three years (Galatians 1:15-18). And it was to this Arabia that St Timon, one of the Seventy Apostles appointed by the Lord Christ (Luke 10:1) and one of the Seven Deacons chosen by the Twelve (Acts 6:5), was sent to preach and later served as first bishop of the province’s capital city of Nova Trajana Bostra (modern Bosra in Syria).

Gallery Features Highlights from Unity Conference

From June 25–28, 2014, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East His Beatitude John X joined with the Fathers of the Holy Synod to call the faithful from around the world to the Hill of Balamand for a conference on Antiochian unity. Appropriately, the Conference concluded with the joyous celebration of the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, patron saints of the Antiochian Church. (Read the text of Patriarch John's homily.) has assembled a collection of photographs highlighting the Unity Conference. Additionally, the Patriarchate of Antioch's website has published photo galleries and written reports of the historic events in both Arabic and English, and galleries are also available on the Patriarchate's Facebook page. The sizable North American delegation, pictured here with Patriarch John X, was composed of bishops, priests, key department heads, and organization leaders. Members of the group will begin returning home on Monday, June 30.

Diocese of Wichita 2014 PLC: Something for Everyone

Photo by Sheridan O'NealPhoto by Sheridan O'NealWe are eager to receive PLC reports from all of our dioceses—send your photos and information to!

Watch a photo collage video from the 2014 PLC

This year's Diocese of Wichita and Mid America's (DOWAMA) Parish Life Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. The host church was the tiny St. Ephraim the Syrian, with host pastor The Rev. John Mefrige. Not only was there great weather, but the 412 people who attended conference found old friends, met new ones, and were both physically and spiritually encouraged.

There was something happening for everyone. The younger kids went to a children's Whitte Museum one day and did some interesting craft projects the next. Teens were busy going to Six Flags/Fiesta Texas as well as making blankets to be donated to a community home for unwed mothers.