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Diocese of Charleston News

West Virginia Flood Victims Express Gratitude to Metropolitan Joseph for Support During June Disaster

Flood victims in West Virginia have expressed their gratitude to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for offering prayers and support in relief of wide-spread devastation to the state on June 23, 2016.

The V. Rev. Samuel Haddad of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beckley addressed those assembled at the Archdiocesan Clergy Symposium this week to offer to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, His Grace Bishop Thomas, all of the hierarchs, and our clergy for their support for the suffering people in West Virginia who were devastated by the recent flood. Twenty six lives were lost and as many as 4,000 homes were catastrophically damaged; 2,000 homes were completely destroyed. The storm has been called a "once in 1,000 year meteorological event."

Bishop Thomas Ordains Dn. David Jacobs to Holy Priesthood

Deacon Evangelos Prieston writes:

In 2016, the parish community of St. Mary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, did not have the usual amount of time to prepare for the annual visit of our shepherd, Bishop Thomas. It has become somewhat of a tradition that Bishop Thomas conduct his visit with us over the weekend before Thanksgiving. However, in late May our pastor Fr. Theodore Pulcini received word from the Archdiocese that one of our deacons, Dn. David Jacobs, had been approved for ordination to the Holy Priesthood to fill a pastoral vacancy in our diocese. It just so happened that because Bishop Thomas was not scheduled for a parish visit over the weekend of June 25-26, he arranged to come to Chambersburg then to ordain the new priest.

Accompanied by Subdeacon Todd Mokhiber , the manager of the AV Bookstore, Bishop Thomas arrived at the church on Saturday afternoon, where he was met by Fr. Ted, who helped him and the subdeacon to set up for the next day's hierarchical liturgy.

The Sanctification of Our Parish Life

by His Grace Bishop Thomas

From the very beginning of Our Lord's ministry, when he called the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, the Church has existed both as a community and within a community. In these roles, there are a variety of activities that the parish Church undertakes, both in terms of liturgical services and in charitable work and outreach, both within the parish and out in the larger community as a whole. If any of these are lacking, then the parish has not lived up to the calling of Christ. If there is liturgy without outreach, then we fail, since "faith without works is dead," but if we have outreach without liturgy, we also fail, since "man is not justified by works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ." Therefore, it is necessary for a healthy parish to effectively balance both liturgy and community outreach in order to properly work towards the salvation of each of its members. This requires careful planning and scheduling, as well as the proper delegation of tasks throughout the parish community.

Need for Charity after West Virginia Flooding

Fr. Christopher Eid, Dean of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Charleston, West Virginia, writes:

Your Eminence, Yours Graces, Reverend Clergy and Esteemed faithful,

Master bless,

Greetings to you all and your families in the name of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ; I pray you all had a blessed feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

The entire state of West Virginia has undergone, recently, heavy rain which caused a deadly and devastating flood. Most of the counties in the State of West Virginia were severely affected by this flood disaster. At least eight counties are eligible to receive federal assistance by FEMA. Roads, houses, farms, businesses, malls and schools were, if not destroyed, at least damaged by water, sewage or mud. Many of the infrastructure is no longer qualified to be reoccupied or repairs will cost more than clean up and rebuild. Many of these areas lost power and drinking water. In addition to that sad situation, it was reported that in some areas there were looting incidents. To say the least it is an extremely sad and difficult situation.

Some newscasts report that the state is back in business after the rain has seceded. That is far from the truth. Large numbers of lives have not gone back to anything close to normal and may never go back to what was normal. Roads are not passable. Houses are not on even ground anymore. Cars destroyed. Trees have been uprooted and electrical wires destroyed. Supermarkets are no more. Water is not available for drinking or washing.

Dn. David Jacobs Ordained to Priesthood

On Sunday, June 26, 2016, His Grace Bishop Thomas ordained Deacon David Jacobs to the Holy Priesthood at St. Mary Church in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

May God Grant him many years!

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Theodore Mikovich

On May 5th, 2016 the Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore J. Mikovich, formerly of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, reposed in the Lord. May his memory be eternal!

From the St. Paul Church website:

The Very Rev. Archpriest Theodore J. Mikovich (affectionately known as “Fr. Ted”) was born on September 18, 1945, to Orthodox parents, John and Anna (Goida) Mikovich in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, with two sisters, Helen (Berezniak) and Dorothy (Macenka). He was baptized by the Rev. John Zeliniak in St. John’s American Russian Orthodox Church (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese) in Nesquehoning. It was in this church that as a young boy he served as an acolyte. It was also at St. John’s that he began a life long career in teaching when he became a student religious education teacher. There he received the Boy Scouts of America “God and Country” Award, known in the Orthodox Church as the Alpha Omega Award.

2016 Paschal Letter From Bishop Thomas

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2016

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him Who suffered and rose again for us— you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognize our Dignity; let us honor our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died. (St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 1.4)

The great sacrifice that Christ our High Priest has made for us on the Cross, the sacrifice which enables our sanctification when we partake of it worthily, has been fulfilled for us in the resurrection of Jesus, the first-born from the dead (Col. 1:18).

What has been offered is shown to be a perfect Offering well-pleasing to God, as Jesus Christ is both Offerer and Offering, the One Who both distributes and is distributed in this sacrifice given for us.

Upcoming BeeTreat for Youth: From YouTube to You!

BeeTreat: From YouTube to You!

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Youth & Parents / Youth Workers start time: 9:30 a.m. 
Young Adults start @ 7:00 p.m.

Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral
24 W. Preston St.
Baltimore, MD  21201

Register here
Visit us on Facebook

 

Syrian Relief Gathering to Benefit IOCC's Middle East Outreach

On Sunday, April 17, 2016 the IOCC Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee plans to hold a prayer service and fund raising dinner that will benefit our Syrian brothers and sisters. This "Syrian Relief" gathering will be held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. We would like to cordially invite your Parish to attend, and support IOCC's aid efforts in Syria. The recent conflict has been devastating. It has resulted in the displacement of a substantial percentage of the population which is now hungry, homeless, and lacking essential items. (Please see below)

Last year Archbishop Melchisedek, Metropolitan Savas, Bishop Thomas, Bishop Dr. Mitrophan, Bishop Daniel and Metropolitan Theodosius (retired) lead our Syrian Relief gathering. This year we are hoping to more fully engage all of the Orthodox jurisdictions and faithful in this Orthodox offering of love, prayer, and mercy. Please join us!

Purchase a Spot in the 2016 PLC Souvenir Journal

Greetings Antiochian Orthodox Family!

The deadline for purchasing a spot in the 2016 Parish Life Conference Souvenir Journal is April 15th.

https://www.antiochianeve...

Please take a look at pricing options and choose what you'd like to create. We have a team to assist you in design and layout of your church ad, your business or a family photo. We'd also love to see personalized writings of how the church has changed you in a positive way; a shout-out to someone who has inspired you. Get creative!! The journals are a great fundraiser for our archdiocese and read by over 500 people! Only 2 more weeks to get your ad in our popular souvenir journal!

Orthodox Center at Eastern University Announces New Summer Program

Advanced High School students and recent graduates can earn college credit while studying Orthodox literature
July 7-14, 2016
Application deadline: May 2, 2016
Program website
Download Brochure (PDF)

March 14, 2016 (St. Davids, Pa.) — What do Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, and Alexandros Papadiamantis all have in common?

They are some of the celebrated Orthodox Christian authors whose works students will read and discuss during a new honors program offered this July at Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia.

The Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars, sponsored by the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, will provide promising High School and transfer students the opportunity to earn college credit while challenging themselves intellectually and spiritually. Participants will live in residence on the university's campus from July 7th to the 14th with a select group of peers, engaged in rigorous coursework and discussion of Great Books by Orthodox Christian literary figures.

St. Emmelia Homeschooling Conference at Antiochian Village + April 7-10, 2016

Does your family homeschool? Are you considering homeschooling? If so, plan now to attend the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, scheduled for April 7-10, 2016 at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center outside Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

This year, keynote addresses will be delivered by Fr. Noah Bushelli, Pastor of St. Philip Orthodox Church in Souderton, PA, homeschooling dad, and Director of the Department of Homeschooling for the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. Fr. Noah will present the topic of Homeschooling and the Marriage Relationship.

Costs are as follows:

Early Bird - Before March 15th
Single Adult/Married couple - $82
Each child 3 and over - $32

Regular Pricing - March 16 to 28
Single Adult/Married Couple - $92
Each child 3 and over - $37

Conference schedule
Registration

Rooms and meals are separate - click here for pricing.

The conference offers workshops for both experienced and beginning homeschoolers alike, with simultaneous activity sessions for children ages 3 and up.

Our weekend is both educational and retreat-like, with many opportunities for worship and fellowship with other Orthodox homeschooling families. Workshops cover topics of interest to inquiring, beginning, veteran homeschoolers and supporting spouses. If your entire family cannot attend, we welcome solo attendees, as well!

Winter 2016 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2016 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of New York, the Archdiocesan District and the Diocese of Charleston! The issue contains:

  • The Sanctification of Our Parish Life by His Grace Bishop Thomas
  • A message from St. Barbara's Monastery
  • Profiles of diocesan officers

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

Bishop Thomas Visits Saint Andrew the Apostle in Lewes, DE

His Grace Bishop Thomas was welcomed to the mission community of Saint Andrew the Apostle in Lewes, Delaware by Fr. Boniface Black and enthusiastic parishioners on the beautiful fall weekend of October 17-18, 2015.

Saturday Vespers, Sunday Orthros and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy were well attended and the choir was outstanding. The Antiochian Women provided hospitality to parishioners and visitors after Vespers and again after the Sunday Divine Services. Among those visiting were Deacon Herman Acker and family from Saint Philip Church in Souderton, PA; and Subdeacon Jason Flowers and family from Saint John Chrysostom Church in York, PA. On Sunday morning, three new members were inducted into the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

On January 1, 2016, Saint Andrew the Apostle moved forward from its "mission status" to a fully recognized church in the Archdiocese. A building expansion program is currently under way to provide more worship and classroom space, and a new kitchen and fellowship hall.

St. Tikhon's Announces New Scholarships for Antiochian Seminarians

February 11, 2016 (South Canaan, PA) — St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary has announced the creation of three new scholarships for students who attend the seminary with the blessing of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

“It is a great joy to announce the creation of these three new full scholarships,” His Eminence Archbishop Michael, Seminary Rector, said. “The scholarships will cover tuition, room, and board, allowing these seminarians to focus on their priestly formation and enter ministry in the Holy Orthodox Church without any debt.”

The scholarships, named in honor of three current hierarchs in the Antiochian church, are: The Patriarch John X Scholarship, The Metropolitan Joseph Scholarship, and The Bishop Thomas Scholarship.

14th Annual Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference Meets in Dallas

Over 80 clergy and lay youth and camp workers gathered in Dallas, TX for this year's Orthodox Camp and Youth Workers' Conference. This annual conference is sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and the leaders of all the different jurisdiction's youth departments. The Orthodox Church in America hosted at their Saint Seraphim's Cathedral here in Dallas. There was a large delegation representing camping and youth ministry from the Antiochian Archdiocese led by His Grace Bishop Thomas.

New Inspirational Resources Available from the Diocese of Charleston

Thanks to His Grace Bishop Thomas and the clergy of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, a new collection of inspirational readings is now available at www.antiochian.org/charleston/readings. The series "Spiritual Notes from the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic" (formerly "Notes from Bishop Thomas"), complied by Fr. Daniel Meyer, offers teachings selected from Sayedna Thomas' treasured collection of essays, articles, homilies and more, including many rare pieces from earlier decades of The Word. "Diocese of Charleston Bible Study" is a study of scripture from Fr. Stephen DeYoung and includes weekly scripture texts, reflections on the readings, and questions for further contemplation. In "Spiritual Nuggets from the Diocese of Charleston," Fr. Noah Bushelli provides brief reflections and quotations from Church fathers as a source of concise spiritual edification.

All three series are updated weekly, and Spiritual Notes and Bible Study pieces are also available in PDF format for easy download and printing. May God reward the efforts of Bishop Thomas and his dedicated priests in providing spiritual nourishment to the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese and all those who seek to hear the Word of God!

2015 Nativity Greetings from Bishop Thomas

NATIVITY OF CHRIST 2015

Our Saviour, dearly-beloved, was born today: let us be glad. For there is no proper place for sadness, when we keep the birthday of the Life, which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity. No one is kept from sharing in this happiness. There is for all one common measure of joy, because as our Lord, the destroyer of sin and death, finds none free from the charge, so He comes to free us all. Let the saint exult in that he draws near to victory. Let the sinner be glad in that he is invited to being pardoned. Let the Gentile take courage in that he is called to life. For the Son of God in the fullness of time which the inscrutable depth of the Divine counsel has determined, has taken on Him the nature of man, thereby to reconcile it to its Author: in order that the inventor of death, the devil, might be conquered.
– St. Leo the Great, Sermon 21 on the Nativity of Christ

The universality of what is begun in Christ's coming to our earth should give us all hope. He did not come only as the Messiah of the Jews, but also as the Christ Who invites all of us to life. He did not come only to give salvation and victory to the saint but also pardon and gladness to the sinner, transforming him into a saint.

Diocese of Charleston Holds Clergy Synaxis at Antiochian Village

Fr. Noah Bushelli writes:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 134:1)

The priests of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic enjoyed a few days of "Indian Summer" at Antiochian Village. This came at the perfect time for me, after the crown of Church's New Year and re-energizing the ministry programs after the summer.

I especially appreciated the time in discussion and fellowship with our beloved Bishop Thomas, and all our brother clergy. The Village is a perfect setting for this, with serene and scenic trails, comfortable gathering spaces, and the grounds hallowed by the relics of saints, the resting place of our beloved hierarchs, and prayers of campers. If all of this free exchange of ideas weren't enough, we "the shirts" came back to beat "the cassocks" in bocce on the back lawn!

The services were beautifully celebrated with hearty singing and punctuated with very profound sermons. I especially am grateful that in the sunset service we had in the cemetery a memorial for Metropolitan Philip and a supplication to St. Raphael.

We had our pastoral vision refocused by a presentation of Dn. Paul Abernathy about his ministry in inner city Pittsburgh's FOCUS Center. He related that all of Christian life, especially ministry, requires a step of faith. He told stories demonstrating how we must listen to people before we can help them. He reminded us that we can't be afraid to preach the truth, even in the face of our national crises, social ills, and the need to raise money.

Paul Abernathy Ordained to Holy Diaconate

His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:

Beloved in Christ, May God bless you always. May God grant many years to the newly ordained Deacon Paul Abernathy and his wife Kristina. Deacon Paul was ordained this morning at the church of Ss. Peter and Paul at the Antiochian Village. He is attached currently to St. George Church in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.

Blessed Namesday to Bishop Thomas!

His Grace Bishop Thomas' namesday is October 6, Thomas the Apostle of the Twelve. Many years, Master!

Read Notes from Bishop Thomas

Read about St. Thomas the Apostle

Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: "You are my Lord and my God!"
Kontakion — Tone 4

Bishop Thomas Celebrates Feast Day with St. Mary, Hunt Valley, MD

September 8 is always a very special and blessed day for our parish, St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Hunt Valley, MD, in which we celebrate the Nativity of our Mother and the Mother of the Lord.  This year, 2015, we were even more blessed by the visit of our beloved Bishop Thomas. Together, we moved to our new church building.  

Moreover, together we shared the joy of our newly purchased nineteen-acre lot surrounding our current six-acre lot, which was graciously donated by four of our friends: Mr. Nick and Jeanne Tsakalos, and Dr. George and Anna Lazar.  This lot will open the door for a new era in the life of St. Mary.  
All the glory be to the Lord, our dear Archdiocese, and our beloved parish.

Registration is Open for OCF Winter College Conferences

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conferences 2015 will be held from December 28-31st at both the Antiochian Village in PA, and St. Nicholas Ranch in CA. The Keynote Speakers are Rev. Fr. Apostolos Hill (West) and Sr. Vassa Larin (East). Registration is now open for the conferences. In 2015, $100.00 scholarships are being offered to those students in need.


LINKS
College Conference
College Conference East 2015
College Conference West 2015
Scholarship Application

Invitation to Attend Vigil at St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery, Glenville, PA

September 10, 2015

Beloved and most Reverend Fathers, Mothers, and Friends of St. Thekla's Monastery,

God be with you all.

The Lord is Wondrous in His Saints.
St. Thekla Antiochian Orthodox Monastery in, Glenville, Pa, will be celebrating an all night vigil for, St. Thekla, on the 25th of September, at 8:00pm. We would be greatly blessed by your attendance and prayers.

Please, refer to the following contact information, so that we have an idea of how many may be coming:

Email: protomartyrthekla@hotmailcom
Land line: 717-630-8298
Cell: 443-244-0207

Keep us in your prayers.

Your unworthy servant in Christ,
Mother Justina