Diocese of Miami News
Parish Life Conference (PLC) season continues as the parishioners of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church prepare for the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's PLC, presided over by His Grace Bishop Antoun. The beautiful Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort in Ft. Lauderdale is the site of the event, which will kick off on June 13 and run through the weekend. A packed, family-friendly schedule includes childcare and teen meetings, a Marriage and Family Workshop with Khouria Maggie Hock, the daily cycle of services, the Creative Festival and Bible Bowl events, and much more.
In the meantime, the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America concluded their successful PLC, themed "Cowboys and Cassocks." The busy four day weekend was hosted by the St. Joseph Orthodox Church of Houston; a highlight for attendees was the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of His Grace Bishop Basil's consecration to the episcopacy.
The Summer 2012 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, and contains:
- A message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph
- A message from His Grace Bishop Antoun
- The Living Waters of Mid-Pentecost by Diocesan Spiritual Advisor Fr. Stephen Rogers
- A message from Diocese of Miami Antiochian Women President Dorothy Tampary
...and more! Click here to download (PDF)
His Grace Bishop Antoun writes:
Great and Holy Pascha, 2012
Christ is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
To my beloved clergy and laity of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast.
I pray you all have a blessed feast of our Lord's Resurrection and that the next 40 days will bring you all the joys of the risen Lord.
Auxiliary, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast
From the March 2012 edition of The Word:
St. Andrew – Intercessor for the Orthodox in America
St. Andrew the First-called Apostle began work as a fisherman and, as proclaimed by our Lord Jesus Christ, he became a fisher of men particularly through his missionary journeys along the Black Sea. Not only did he work during his life here on earth, but he continued to pray and nurture the seeds he had planted in small villages such as Byzantium and Kiev to such a degree that these areas flourished over the centuries and became glorious and mighty centers of the Orthodox Faith. Thus St. Andrew is recognized as the patron saint of Constantinople, Ukraine, Russia, and Romania, as well as several other places. But to what degree does St. Andrew care for the Orthodox Faith here in America?
God revealed St. Andrew as a powerful intercessor for the Orthodox Church in America on the weekend of December 3–4, 2011, when two church temples dedicated to St. Andrew were consecrated in our Archdiocese – one in Riverside, California, and one in Pensacola, Florida. Both of these consecrations share in the blessings of God’s grace through St. Andrew, overcoming earthly hardships with a heavenly respite; temporary sickness with an eternal hospital; demonic despair with divine glory; and murky sin with the light of salvation. Having an incarnate location in these communities in which to bring such cares to God mercifully provides the spiritual nourishment the body requires.
On February 26, 2012, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip inducted six new members into the Order of St. Ignatius at St. Philip Church in Davie (Fort Lauderdale), Florida. Pictured above: to the right of the Metropolitan, Elizabeth Peters Manzini (Life Member), Fr. Elia Shalhoub, Fadi Khoury (Knight), Alfonso Cristofaro (Knight), Mary Winstanley O’Conner (No. American chair of The Order); to the left, Ellena Haddad (dame), Michael Haddad (reinstated), Eddie Sadawie (Knight), Kh. Odette Shalhoub. Dr. Samir Kousa was not present.
"His Grace, Bishop Antoun arrived in Orlando on Friday, February 10th 2012, to Bless and visit the faithful of St. George’s. His Grace was met at the airport by Fr. John E. Hamatie and Sub Deacon Charles P. Hill. After checking in at the hotel, His Grace was driven to St. George’s to attend the weekly Church feeding of homeless people. Fr. John gave his weekly homily/address to the 300 people gathered for the feeding, after which His Grace addressed the assembly. Father John explained to Bishop Antoun that St. George’s has expanded its homeless feeding ministry to include daily breakfast and lunch to approximately 200 people. In addition to the Friday dinner put on by the Ephraim Project and Saint George’s; other organizations hold an evening meal every night in the Church’s parking lot.
After the feeding, Sayidna asked to be taken to the Holy Altar to prepare his vestments and such for the Sunday Hierarchal Divine Liturgy. Sub Deacon Charles had previously taken the suitcase with Sayidna’s things to the Holy Altar. After venerating the Holy Altar, Sayidna looked to see if everything was properly laid out – to his surprise his green vestments were not on the table-but rather a new gold and white bishop’s vestment!
On Sunday, January 22, 2012, His Grace Bishop Antoun inducted four new members into the Order of St. Ignatius at St. Anthony the Great Mission in Melbourne, Florida. The inductees pictured above are, from left to right, Kh. Odette Shalhoub (Sponsor), Dr. Donna Soto (Dame Commander), Dr. Enrigue Soto (Knight Commander), Patricia Smith (Dame), and Ted Theodoropoulos (Knight).
Recently, the Order of St. Ignatius in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast elected new officers to serve in the region.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — A shipment of personal health kits, many of which were donated by Orthodox Christians from across the United States, have been shipped by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to Birmingham, Alabama for distribution to survivors of recent severe storms and tornadoes that devastated the area in late April. The kits, valued at more than $120,000, represent the first of several planned shipments of relief supplies that have been requested following an assessment by one of IOCC's Frontline responders working in Alabama.
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society also announced its support today for the IOCC response to Alabama and flood areas along the Mississippi River and committed $20,000 from the Society's National Emergency Fund.
"Accommodations are being found for the many affected residents of the stricken areas," reported Deacon Dan Gray, a retired Naval Officer from Eagle River, Alaska and member of the IOCC Frontline who has been in Alabama since May 5. "There are now only about 150 people living in shelters – a good sign considering the scope and severity of this disaster."
Two recent IOCC press releases explain how the pan-Orthodox organization is reaching out to regions battered by storms and earthquakes, both in the United States and abroad.
April 29, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Following a historic series of storms in the southern United States that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been in contact with Orthodox Christian communities and partner organizations in several U.S. States to assess the needs of survivors.
"While some areas of the United States have been unseasonably dry and experiencing widespread fires, there have been reports of more than 750 tornadoes already this year," says IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. "We have been contacting Orthodox hierarchs and parishes, ecumenical partners, and local authorities in communities across the South and Midwest to assess the needs and offer our support."
May 4, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announced its support for efforts by Christian churches in Japan to provide housing for as many as 1,000 families in the Japanese prefectures hardest hit by the tsunami – Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate.
Working together with Church World Service and in support of the National Christian Council in Japan and the Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief, assistance is being provided to match families with offers of housing made by member churches. The housing service is being administered by the National Christian Council in Japan at its central office in Tokyo and local churches are assisting in matching families who are in need of housing in the affected prefectures.
St. Ignatius Mission in Boca Raton Celebrates First Anniversary and Metropolitan Philip's 80th Birthday
The Divine Liturgy celebrated every Sunday at 10am on a huge college campus… this is the Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Mission of St. Ignatius of Antioch is based on Florida Atlantic University (FAU) on Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida. FAU is a University which boasts over 28,000 students. St. Ignatius Boca at FAU may be the first Antiochian Orthodox Christian ministry ever established to serve upon a college campus in the history of this great Archdiocese. This Orthodox mission maintains unlimited growth potential where the hope is “to bring America home to Orthodoxy!”
His Grace Bishop Antoun arrived in Orlando, Florida on Friday, January 7th, 2011, to Bless and visit the faithful of St. George Church. Upon arrival, His Grace asked Fr. John E. Hamatie, pastor of St. George’s, to please take him to visit Monk James of the Orthodox Community of Ss. Cosmas and Damian. The Community has a long-standing ministry of housing, helping and caring for homeless HIV-positive men in the Orlando area. Afterwards, His Grace and his dear sister Marie Shaleesh, who accompanied Sayidna for the week-end, drove to St. George’s to attend the weekly Church feeding of homeless people. His Grace was very much impressed with this ministry of St. George’s and with the feeding of over two hundred men, women and children that day.
The evening was chaired by Economos Antony Gabriel. Following are his remarks. There was also a slide presentation by Rt. Rev. John Abdalah and remarks by both Very Rev. Joe Shaheen and Very Rev. George Rados.
Metropolitan Philip and Metropolitan Ephraim
Hierarchs of the God-protected Archdiocese
Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
This evening I was tempted to recall all the humorous episodes in our life that we shared with you.
However, it is “serious” business to salute you on the occasion of your 50 consecrated years in God’s holy Priesthood. Few among this audience know of the Antoun we met in 1959 and the suffering you endured in your early years in North America, miles away from family and friends in a different culture and attending St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York City with professors who at times were difficult to understand with their various accents, living with complete strangers who barely spoke English.
The Diocese of Miami, the Diocese of Wichita, and the Diocese of Worcester all launched the season for Parish Life Conferences over the long weekend of June 16-20. St. George of Jacksonville, Florida, hosted the southern conference with the keynote speaker The V. Rev. Fr. Paul Tarazi featured at the Saturday evening banquet. In the meantime, in Oklahoma City, the faithful of DOWAMA met for their "family reunion" at the Marriott; significantly, the Diocese host parish of St. Elijah was celebrating its 90th Anniversary as a community. In a young ladies' sweep, Nora Haddad won the junior division and Melissa LIkiardopoulos won the senior division in the Oratorical Festival. Back east, St. George Cathedral in Worcester hosted a busy schedule at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in the historic city of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in honor of the two new mission parishes that had joined the Diocese in the previous year, Emmanuel Church of Warren, MA and St. Stephen Church of Springfield, MA. See the Archdiocese calendar for information on other parish life conferences coming this summer.
Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:
"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."
"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this region...to constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."
"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"
"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."
"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."
Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, Antiochian.org has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.
Remaining true to our roots as a mission church, Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church continues to grow by the grace of God to meet the demands for Orthodoxy in Lafayette, Louisiana. It has only been a few years since the church welcomed her first full-time pastor in the persons of Father Philip and Khouria Kathryn Rogers. Under their leadership, we have extended our reach into the community, beautified our sanctuary, and increased our numbers. God has allowed us to establish a choir, a Sunday school program, and a local chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship at the nearby university. While still looking ahead to the future, we paused on the last weekend in February, 2010 to remember all that God has already given us. We were honored and delighted to host a visit from our spiritual father Bishop ANTOUN, who would help us consecrate a new Holy Table.
Valentine’s weekend is usually a time for sweethearts to get together and celebrate their love for each other. Here in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during this time, parishioners of St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church and members of the Archdiocese were celebrating love as well, but love for the Church in the form of stewardship. The ground breaking ceremonies for the new John and Hooda Germack Hall took place over this wonderful weekend with lots of events and fun.
The events started Friday night with a dinner welcoming His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP where the plans and the model for the new hall were presented by Architect Alex Khoury to the Metropolitan, Parish Council, and a few Archdiocese Board of Trustees members. This event was hosted by Salim and Deborah Khoury at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club. There was a short question and answer session about the new hall which was very informative. At the same time, the weekend chairman, Richard Zakka, Spoke about the new St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program, which will “serve a greater cause than ourselves”, to help orphaned children in need. He stated that “There are over 1 million homeless children in the United States and someone has to take the initiative of changing that number”. Mr. Zakka, who is spearheading this effort, asked “If we don’t do it, who will? If not now, then when?”
Please pray for His Grace Bishop ANTOUN of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, who is resting following successful surgery on Thursday, February 11, in Florida.
There will be an official visit to South Florida by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP on the weekend of February 12th -14th, 2010 at St. Philip Orthodox Church. Metropolitan PHILIP will be accompanied by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and Assistant to the Metropolitan. His Eminence will preside over a weekend of activities celebrating:
- The official Ground Breaking of the new Germack Hall which is named after the late Mr. and Mrs. John and Hooda Germack, who left $1,000,000 to St. Philip Church for the construction of the new Hall.
- The launch of the St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program. This program was spearheaded by Mr. Richard Zakka, Chairman of the Ground Breaking Committee.
On Friday night, February 12th 2010, His Eminence will preside over a private meeting with the Pastor, Parish Council, and Building Committee members of St. Philip Orthodox Church at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Waterway. The dinner is hosted by Salim Khoury, Chairman of the Parish Council, and his wife Deborah.
On Saturday, February 13th, 2010, His Eminence will preside over a luncheon with the parish children at St. Philip Orthodox Church, 4870 Griffin Road, Davie, FL 33314, while the Parishioners and guests from around the country will enjoy a Golf Tournament, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. David and Terri Dorta, at the Bonaventure Country Club. David Dorta is the Chairman of the Building Committee and his wife, Terri, is the Choir Director at St. Philip Orthodox Church.
A cold November rain could dampen the ground, but it could not dampen the mood. On Sunday, November 1st, 2009, the families and children of All Saints Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC, joined His Grace, Bishop +ANTOUN, in breaking ground on a new temple and education building.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, groundbreaking, and reception capped off a weekend full of events.
After arriving in Raleigh Friday night, His Grace enjoyed dinner with the members of the Parish Council and their spouses. After dinner, Sayedna related a recent parish visit in which he burned that parish’s mortgage papers. He encouraged the Council to work diligently and faithfully toward the day when he could do the same for All Saints’ new building.
Saturday brought brilliant sunshine and mild temperatures, a perfect day for the parish’s children to gather and meet with His Grace. The day’s events began with a children’s luncheon with Sayedna. After lunch, the children got the chance to ask him questions about their faith and his role as their bishop. Sayedna also shared his excitement for the building project, telling them he hoped that many of them would eventually get married in the new temple. He also invited the children to bring their shovels to help break ground for the building. Later that evening, Sayedna presided over Great Vespers, followed by a dinner in the parish hall.
Unfortunately, the weather turned on Sunday, bringing clouds and a cold, steady rain. However, the dramatic change in the weather did not stop the morning’s special activities.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself…” (Luke 10:27)
Who is my neighbor?
It was in answer to this question that Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. With that question still on our minds, SOYO introduces a brand new program: The Good Samaritan Project. Through this new program SOYO chapters are given the opportunity to minister to their neighbor; whether it is a member of their local Church community, someone in a nursing home, a person who is homeless or just about anyone that they meet. It is through these projects that we learn about the love of God through serving our neighbor. The Good Samaritan Project is a great way to learn to live up to the great command and to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, member of the group of Archdiocese bishops that visited His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV in Damascus, Syria, last week, has prepared the following reflection on the journey:
After a long flight from New York’s JFK airport, myself with Their Graces, BASIL, MARK and THOMAS (Bishop JOSEPH traveled separately) arrived safely in Damascus on Tuesday, June 2. We were greeted at the airport by a delegation from the Patriarchate and went immediately to take the blessing of our father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. His Beatitude greeted us warmly and lovingly and thanked us for making the long journey on such short notice and for such a short period of time. At that time, we all went to rest and Bishop BASIL had a private meeting with the Patriarch.
Alyce Samen Hamatie was born in 1912 in Manhattan, N.Y. to the late Usta Samen and Alia Hatem Samen, both originally of Lebanon. In her early years Alyce owned and operated her own independant salon in New York City. During her younger years Alyce worked dilligently always helping her family and siblings. She was one of five children; her eldest sister Mary Samen passed away at a young age, as did her sister Najla Samen. Alyce had an older brother, John Samen, who besides being a World War II veteran also owned and operated many successful restaurants and venues. Alyce also had a younger sister, the late Virginia Samen Khouri, who passed away in 2004. In November of 1942, Alyce married the late Edgar D. Hamatie, who himself was a success story in business. They had two sons. The first, was the late Douglas Alexander Hamatie, who was in the U.S. military and was tragically killed in 1962 at 19 years of age while visiting the Pocono Mountains with his family at their summer home. The second was John Edgar Hamatie, who for over 35 years has been the Very Rev. Fr. John E. Hamatie of Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando, Florida.