Diocese of Miami News
This reflection from the September, 2014 edition of The Word magazine begins with a brief introductory explanation by the Editor, Bishop John Abdalah.
We were at the Antiochian Village in July, 2014, for the Clergy Symposium, sitting in front of the portrait of Patriarch Alexander (Tahan), the Patriarch who ordained Bishop Antoun to the diaconate in 1951. Bishop Antoun began to reminisce about the late Patriarch and his ordination. Metropolitan Philip served this Patriarch as his Secretary and Deacon. Sayidna Philip found this portrait at St. John of Damascus Parish during a pastoral visit. "How important it is for us to remember those godly men who went before us, forming our spiritual lives through their witness and teachings," remarked our senior Bishop Antoun.
Sayidna Antoun has served the Archdiocese of North America for 60 years. He is part of the history of our Church, witnessing its growth and changes as a priest and bishop, as a pastor and as an administrator, as an immigrant and as an American. As we experience our transition from the leadership of Sayidna Philip to that of Sayidna Joseph, we are blessed to hear Bishop Antoun's reflections, visions and hopes.
I served as a teacher in the Orthodox School in Damascus, and later as the Principal of St. John of Damascus School in Syria. I then moved to San Paolo, Brazil, and served the Church there as a deacon before coming to the United States, where I studied at St. Vladimir's Seminary. Almost right away I was reunited by phone with my longtime friend, Metropolitan Philip, who was then a priest in Cleveland, Ohio. Because I missed my friend Fr. Philip, I went to visit him there. I had asked how long a trip Cleveland would be from New York. He told me it would be a few hours: just tell the Greyhound Bus [people] you want Cleveland and they will bring you here. The trip took overnight! I found my friend Philip waiting for me in the Church.
With the blessings of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and The Right Rev. Bishop Antoun, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, The Rev. Fouad Saba and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL are hosting the Hierarchs and Board of Trustees meetings from October 23-26, 2014. The historic meetings will be the first ones in which Metropolitan Joseph presides for both the Board of Trustees fall meetings, as well as the gathering of the bishops.
On Saturday evening, a banquet will be held honoring the newly selected Metropolitan, and offering tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. A Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy will be followed by "The Stewards Luncheon," with the Board of Trustees as guests of honor.
Download the press release, which includes the schedule, hotel information, and a description of the weekend.
The Dormition Fast is almost upon us. Now is the perfect time for a new Orthodox fasting and feasting cookbook! Plus, for this month, it's ON SALE! Save $2 on every cookbook ordered by Thursday, July 31. Orders must be placed online via PayPal or mailed and postmarked by July 31 to receive the discount.
Taste & See II: More American Orthodox Cooking is a sequel to the much loved Taste & See Cookbook published in 1999. With the help of 150 contributors at 63 parishes in 27 states across America, this cookbook has been published by the Women of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The Taste & See Cookbooks have been created to help American cooks prepare meals that conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines while appealing to an American palate. Preparing meals during the fast should be as simple and stress-free as possible to allow ourselves more time for prayer, almsgiving and attending the services.
"Feed My Sheep"
Cathedral Dean Fr. Fouad Saba reports that in this last year, St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL heard loud and clear this call of the Lord. In less than 10 months, the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's Cathedral has collected and distributed near $100,000.00 in monetary aid and supplies. Some of the recipients include:
- IOCC (relief in Syria and Middle East)
- Al-Kafaat Foundation
- Miami Rescue Mission
- Children's Home Society
- Hope for Women Society
- Children's Relief Fund (Lebanon and Palestine)
- IOCC (Hygiene Kits)
- Orphans in Syria (Antiochian Women Annual Project
- Miami Department of Children Services
- Food for Hungry People Program
- Special Olympics (Archdiocese record collection)
- Local School (200 Backpacks)
- Local homeless shelters
- Local needy families (Good Samaritan Program)
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.)
Antiochian.org 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.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Memory Eternal! Angela Nasr of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, fell asleep in Christ late last evening, June 27th, 2014. She was the daughter of the late Fr. Zacharia and Kh. Nasra Nasr; and sister of Kh. Nawall Elias of Jacksonville, Florida; Fr. Constantine Nasr of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Kh. Ellen Antypas of Troy, Michigan; and Fr. Elias Nasr of Syracuse, New York. The funeral will be served on Tuesday, July 1st at St. Philip Church in Fort Lauderdale.
May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
On Holy Thursday, 2014 (April 17th), His Grace Bishop Antoun visited Our Lady of Regla Church in Miami, Florida. During his visit, His Grace ordained Reader Christian Abril and Subdeacon Serafín Hernández and presided at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy according to the Western Rite.
The Liturgy was served by the parish's Pastor, Canon Michael Lobo, and assisted by Priest Elias Bouboutsis, Subdeacons Samuel Diaz and Serafín Hernández and Readers Skye Diaz and Christian Abril. Bishop Antoun recalled in his homily the institution of the sacrament of Holy Communion and the mandate of Our Lord to his disciples “Do this in remembrance of me”, a commandment the universal Church has kept throughout the ages into our own time.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy, a Lenten reception was held in the parish hall during which parishioners and guests were able to meet and talk to Sayedna Antoun and congratulate the newly ordained Subdeacon and Reader.
It was a joy for the parish community to welcome Bishop Antoun at this important date of the Church calendar, and we wish him a happy and healthy tenth anniversary as our diocesan bishop. Many Years! EIS POLLA ETI DESPOTA!
The first two Parish Life Conferences (or PLCs) for the Antiochian Archdiocese have kicked off the summer PLC season with a splash! From June 11-14 in San Antonio, Texas, host parish St. Ephraim the Syrian Antiochian Church is overseeing a lineup of events for attendees from the Diocese of Wichita, including talks by Keynote Speaker Sister Vassa Larin, as well as excursions to local attractions such as the River Walk and Sea World San Antonio. Also enjoying water access are the faithful of the Diocese of Miami, who are being hosted on June 11-15 by the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando at the Crown Plaza Hotel, with its proximity to lakes and the Atlantic coast.
The Summer 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, and contains:
- A Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory
- Reflections on the services for Metropolitan Philip by Antiochian Women President Violet Robbat
- A greeting from Bishop Antoun
- Reflections from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor Fr. Stephen Rogers
- A message from Diocesan President Dorothy Tampary
- A moving diary by Kh. Kyra Lewis of her husband Archpriest Michael's last earthly days
- Introductions to the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast's Board
...and more! Download (PDF) here.
The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) ministers in the United States with emergency response, community development, and supporting literacy and education. Two recent stories are a reminder of this.
Religious leaders gathered at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Chicago to dedicate more than 10,000 new books provided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The trove of colorful, age-appropriate reading materials will benefit thousands of schoolchildren participating in after-school enrichment opportunities, mentoring and summer learning programs in the Chicago area. The leaders were joined by wide-eyed youngsters from some of the city's most impoverished Southside neighborhoods who were grateful beneficiaries.
This year's conferences are spread out across five weekends in June and July. On June 11-15, the Diocese of Wichita and the Diocese of Miami will kick off the PLC season in San Antonio, TX and Orlando, FL. Shortly thereafter on June 19-22, the Diocese of Worcester will convene in Boston, MA. Fort Wayne, IN, will be the site for the final June conference with the Diocese of Toledo's PLC on June 25-29. Finally, the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Eagle River, Charleston and New York, and Ottawa, will all meet from July 2-6, combining Fourth of July celebrations with Parish Life Conferences.
As always, this year's theme, love for God and neighbor, will be the focus of the Creative Festivals, a highlight of the conferences. Youth and organizational meetings, spiritually edifying speakers and services, and social events for kids and adults alike, all make the PLCs one of the Archdiocese's most established and popular traditions.
To facilitate your parish participation in the Creative Arts, Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festivals, all resources are available in the Festivals 2014 section of Antiochian.org. Additionally, ads for the souvenir journals can be purchased and registrations can be submitted through the Department of Conventions and Conference Planning's Antiochian Events pages.
On April 26-27, 2014, St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, Florida, welcomed the Patriarchal Vicar His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan for the Blessed Feast Day of St. George, the patron of the community.
His Eminence arrived at Miami International Airport late on Friday night, April 25th, and was welcomed by Fr. Saba, Archdeacon David, and a dozen members of the Parish Council and community. After exchanging greetings at the airport, all enjoyed a nice dinner and a warm conversation at a nearby restaurant.
On Saturday April 26th, the bells rang in jubilation at the arrival of our beloved Patriarchal Vicar along with His Grace Bishop Antoun. The Cathedral was beautifully adorned in red and white satin streams and multi-colored flowers in reverence of this momentous and historic occasion.
Thanks to the distance-learning courses of the Antiochian House of Studies, the pastor of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Anderson, South Carolina is a Certified Counselor and has opened an office for a marriage and family counseling ministry called "Teleios." The Very Rev. David Randolph was certified as a therapist after successfully completing the two year course in Pastoral Marriage and Family Counseling at the House of Studies.
"The course provided a solid academic foundation for professional of pastoral counseling and therapy," notes Fr. David. Following graduation and with the blessing of his bishop and the support and encouragement of the parish, Fr. David opened the counseling center. Ministry services include premarital counseling; assessment and treatment for children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and families; therapy to deal with marriage, parenting and child development issues; and help for substance abuse and emotional disorders.
The ministry is designed provide therapy to those are not able to pay the fees of a state licensed therapist and the fee structure will be based upon a sliding scale. Any client whose needs are beyond the scope of "Teleios" will be referred to a licensed agency. For further information call Fr. David at: 864-224-7478
St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida held its Annual Middle Eastern Festival on February 8 - 9, 2014, and a wonderful time was had by all! It truly was a Christian atmosphere and an opportunity for people to "Explore the Middle East in Coral Gables....where family and fun meet!"
To view the full gallery of photos and memories of this year's festival, please visit www.stgmiami.org/festival.html.
The St. George Cathedral Debke Troupe showcased their new and exciting routine which awed those who attended. Children's activities, games for all ages, delicious foods, delightful sweets and much much more truly made the weekend a great one!
The Rev. Philip Rogers of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Church in Lafayette, LA, reports that the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast had the diocese's annual Delegates Meeting in Atlanta, GA on January 24-26, 2014. During the weekend, the members of Teen SOYO, the Fellowship of St. John, the Antiochian Women, and the clergy all had fruitful meetings.
"This year's gathering was also special because we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of Camp St. Thekla, the Diocese camp," noted Fr. Philip. To celebrate this milestone, St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Atlanta hosted a full day of camp with Matins, special Christian Education lessons, an afternoon with Color Wars, Great Vespers and an evening program with presentations from former campers and staff about the importance of Camp St. Thekla in their lives. Over 65 campers from around the Diocese and a number of parents and other camp supporters all participated in the event.
MEMORY ETERNAL! The Very Rev. John Elias was born in 1939 in Hafa, Latakia, Syria. He passed away on February 11, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. Father John faithfully served the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America for 40 years in the following parishes:
St. Mary's Yonkers, NY; St. Thomas in Sioux City, Iowa; St. George in Akron, OH; St. George in El Paso, Texas; St. Mary in Omaha, NE; and St. George in Jacksonville, FL, where he served from 1992-2001.
Archpriest John was preceded in death by his parents: Nassim and Badia; his sisters Yvonne, Azizeh, and Mother Antonina. He is survived by his wife, Kh. Nawall Elias; his children Yvonne, Jany (husband), Azizeh, Zaharia (husband), Nassim, Dana (wife); his grandchildren: Reema, Nicole, John, Alina, Michael, Christopher; his brothers Aziz and Spiro, and his sisters Hind and Nadia. Father John was a beloved priest, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. May his memory be eternal. Christ is Risen!
Beatrice Monsour Davis, beloved wife of David L. Davis of blessed memory, passed into eternal life on Sunday, February 2, 2014, one week shy of her 99th birthday, in her adopted home of Naples, Florida.
She was the cherished mother of Samuel and Marcia Davis, Archpriest Joseph and Diane Shaheen, and of Laila Corey.
Her love and devotion to her grandchildren was boundless: Just ask Rebecca and Richard Cosentino, Joseph and Maria Shaheen and Philip Shaheen; George and Lucy Corey; David and Megan Corey; Michael and Grisel Corey and Jonathan Corey; Christopher and Suzanne Davis and Jennifer Davis.
She was Grammy to: Gabrielle, Laurence, Frederique, and Lucas Cosentino; Matthew and Augusten Corey, and William and Addy Davis.
January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the name's days of His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and of His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo. May God grant them many years!
APOLYTIKION OF ST. ANTHONY THE GREAT, TONE 4
Thou didst become like the zealous Elijah in his condition, and followed John the Baptist in his upright ways, becoming a dweller in the wilderness and an establisher of the universe by thy prayer, O Father Anthony. Wherefore, intercede thou with Christ God to save our souls.
The faithful of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC, were blessed by the archpastoral visit of His Grace, Bishop Antoun, the weekend of October 25-27, 2013. This was Bishop Antoun's first visit to the parish since consecrating the new nave in 2011.
The parish was especially pleased to present to Sayedna the new thronos, which has been installed for him on the south side of the nave, together with the new chanters' stand and stalls. These items were lovingly designed, carved, and assembled by a dedicated group of men in the parish, led by parishioner John Hawranick. This same group designed and built the parish's beautiful iconostasis, Altar Table, Table of Oblation, and Table of Preparation.
By Fr. Philip Rogers
On November 10, 2013, the Sunday closest to the feast of the Holy Archangels (November 8), His Grace Bishop Antoun blessed our community of Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Christian Church in Lafayette, Louisiana with a special hierarchical visit. It was a special visit because during the weekend, our community celebrated the burning of the mortgage of our first permanent building, a momentous occasion!
The faithful of our community came together on Saturday, November 9, to celebrate with His Grace Bishop Antoun and our previous pastor, the Very Rev. Fr. John Badeen. After a memorable dinner and a few remarks from our current pastor, Fr. Philip Rogers, our parish council chairman, Dr. Fadi Malek, Fr. John Badeen and Bishop Antoun, Fr. Philip and Dr. Malek held the mortgage and ceremoniously lit it on fire. All those present cheered as the fire destroyed the mortgage.
We are inviting people to The First Scriptural Symposium to be hosted on January 16-19, 2014 by the newly-established Antiochian Biblical Institute (ABI), a ministry of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine (FSJD) here at St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida.
Several scholars will be in attendance from across the country to present papers on specific topics relating to the study of Scripture. Please see the attached flyer for more details. During the weekend, the ABI is honored to celebrate the 70th birthday of The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, professor of Scripture for the last 43 years and founder of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).
Please feel free to distribute the attached flyer to your parishioners and friends. All sessions with lunch are complimentary. Donations are appreciated. Reservations are required to properly finalize all arrangements. All are welcome! I hope to see you here in Miami in January, God willing.
On October 5, 2013, St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables will host a Charity Gala to benefit the Al-Kafaat Foundation. Founded in 1957 by Nadim Shwayri, a devout Antiochian Orthodox Christian, Al-Kafaat is a private, nonprofit and nondenominational organization that delivers its education and rehabilitation services across seven different campuses in Lebanon. Since it was first launched, Al-Kafaat has successfully ministered to over 27,000 needy children. In May of 2010, Metropolitan Philip presented Mr. Shwayri with the Antonian Gold Medal for his humanitarian work, and a resolution at the July 2013 51st Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Houston, TX, commended the work of Al-Kafaat.
The Gala will begin at 7 p.m. at the St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral Hall. The evening will feature cocktails, dinner, an auction, and Speaker Ms. Myriam Shwayri, director of Public Relations for the Al-Kafaat Rehabilitation and Skill Center.
From St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Coral Gables, FL:
St. George Cathedral is saddened to inform you of the passing into eternal life of Subdeacon Hanna Khoury, at the age of 62. The clergy and council of St. George Cathedral offer their sincerest condolences to Haifa Khoury and her children George, Charles and Giselle; to his brothers Tony, Kiwan, and Anwar; his sister Hanan, and all their families; and the Khoury, Habash, and Hatem families. May Christ, who is our life and resurrection, give rest to the soul of the servant of God, Subdeacon Hanna, with all the Saints, and may He grant comfort, patience, and strength to his family.
Arrangements are as follows:
Wednesday, September 25th - The family will receive condolences from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm at their home, located at 1001 Bella Vista Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33156. The Trisagion Service will be sung at 7:30 pm.
From St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, Coral Gables, FL:
St. George Cathedral is saddened to inform you of the passing into eternal life of Ramon Ghawali (Ghazaleh) at the age of 71.
The Clergy and Council of St. George Cathedral offer their sincerest condolences to his wife, Suhayla, his children and their families, Joudeh and Muna, Elias and Reem, Ghada and Sameer Al-Ghawali, Mary and Elia Sammour, and Roland, his brothers and sisters across the United States, and the Ghawali and Kattan families in Beit Jala, Palestine, on the loss of their beloved, Ramon.
May Christ, who is our life and resurrection, give rest to the soul of the servant of God, Ramon, with all the Saints and may He grant comfort, patience, and strength to his family.
The following arrangements have been made:
Sunday, September 8 - The Viewing will be held at St. George Cathedral from 6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held during the Wake at 7:30 p.m. A Mercy Meal will be offered at St. George Cathedral Hall after the Funeral Service.
Monday, September 9 - The Final Viewing will be held at St. George Cathedral beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by the Trisagion Service at 10:30 a.m. The Procession and Burial Service will be held after the service. A Mercy Meal will be offered at St. George Cathedral Hall after the Burial Service.
May his memory be eternal!