News About His Eminence Metropolitan Philip


His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Palm Sunday with St. George Community

 It has been become a tradition and a blessing that Metropolitan Philip celebrates Palm Sunday with the parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ. This year, like the others in recent memory, the rainy April skies cleared for beautiful Sunday, perfect for a procession with palms. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.

Following the Gospel reading, Saidna addressed the congregation briefly then invited Fr. John Behr to deliver the homily for the day. Following the Eucharist, His Eminence and the gathered clergy led a procession of 500+ parishioners around the church, ending with the reading of the Gospel while the young children of St. George sat at the altar steps. Finally, Saidna gave the blessing and expressed his fondness for our parish, Christine Lynch and the St. George Choir, and thanked all those who chanted, served and participated in this Feast Day.

Metropolitan Philip Appeals for Earthquake Relief in Japan

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:

March 16, 2011

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” (Acts 2:44-45)

Holy Resurrection Cathedral in TokyoHoly Resurrection Cathedral in TokyoOnce again we are confronted with the images of destruction, death and human tragedy in the wake of the severe earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on Friday, March 11th, 2011. More than 3,000 are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to be higher. Countless people are homeless or without shelter, and the damage to the nuclear power plant is threatening to cause additional harm to the people and environment for many years to come. We have many Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ in Japan. Many of the churches have suffered damage from the earthquake, and the status of many of the faithful is still to be determined. As the quote above from the Book of Acts reminds us, it has always been the tradition of the Church to help all of those who are in need. As such, we are asking all of our parishes and missions to appeal for prayers and donations in order to assist the victims of this tragedy in Japan.

We encourage all of our faithful and parishes to channel their donations through the IOCC which has already mobilized resources to assist the people of Japan. You may go to www.iocc.org in order to obtain information about the IOCC’s relief effort in Japan and information on how to make a donation.

May our Lord bless the remainder of your Lenten journey.

Your father in Christ,

Metropolitan Philip, Primate
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

St. Ignatius Mission in Boca Raton Celebrates First Anniversary and Metropolitan Philip's 80th Birthday

Sun... beach... palm trees... mansions... yachts... Rolls Royces... Rolex… Gucci... Versacci…this is Boca Raton, Florida.

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!”

Archdiocese Calls for Congressional Hearing on the Pattern of Escalating Violence Against the Christian Minority in Egypt

Egyptian Christians touch a blood-splattered image of Jesus Christ, inside the Coptic Orthodox church in Alexandria, January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah DalshEgyptian Christians touch a blood-splattered image of Jesus Christ, inside the Coptic Orthodox church in Alexandria, January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah DalshShortly after midnight on January 1, 2011 as a Coptic Christian mass was concluding, a suicide bomber exploded a bomb as the Christian congregation was leaving The Saints Church in the port city of Alexandria, Egypt. The innocent worshippers were gathered to give thanks for the New Year. At least 25 were killed and more than 90 were injured in the attack. This was one of the most heinous terrorist attacks on a Coptic Christian church in over a decade, and it marks a serious escalation of organized violence against the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt.

The Egyptian President, Husni Mubarak has condemned the barbaric attack on this church which not only killed Christians, but wounded some Muslims in a nearby mosque.

We condemn these barbaric acts of hatred and targeted persecution against our brethren in Egypt. We demand a Congressional hearing on this and other heinous attacks against the Christian population in Egypt, and we expect the United States Congress to take action to address the painful absence of basic and fundamental human rights in Egypt.

+ The Office of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America – Englewood, NJ

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip calls on all supporters of the Christian minority of Egypt to write their congressional representatives with this same message of solidarity.

Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Nativity Liturgy

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip celebrated the 2010 Nativity Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Other celebrants included Archpriest Thomas Zain, the Cathedral Dean, Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek and Deacon Adrian Budica.

Archbishop Justinian Visits Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood

Visit of His Eminence Archbishop Justinian to the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey on December 22, 2010

Click here for a photo gallery of Archbishop Justinian's visit

On December 22, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip hosted His Eminence Archbishop Justinian, the Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States for a visit to the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

Attending the meeting (and pictured in the accompanying photo from left to right were):

Annual Order Christmas Reception with Metropolitan Philip

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch from The Diocese of New York gathered with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, North American Chair, Dan Abraham and his wife, Membership Co-Chair Kathy Abraham, at St. George Parish Hall in Little Falls, New Jersey for an annual Christmas reception on the evening of Saturday, December 18, 2010. The reception was hosted by V. Rev. Elias Bitar, the Parish Council and the Members of The Order from St. George Church.

Click here to view more photos.

Choir of St. George Makes Annual Visit to Englewood

Annual Christmas visit of the Choir of St. George in Little Falls, NJ Held at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey on December 21, 2010

On December 21, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Annual Christmas visit of the Choir from St. George in Little Falls, NJ at the Archdiocese Headquarters.  This visit has become an annual tradition, and always fills the headquarters with the joy of music, and good fellowship.

The choir began the singing of Christmas hymns outside the front entrance of the house and then made its way into the house to greet His Eminence.  They were led by the pastor, Very Rev. Elias Bitar, and Mrs. Christine Lynch, the choir director.  After receiving a blessing from His Eminence, the choir continued their beautiful singing in the living room.  At the conclusion of the musical program, everyone gathered in the chapel for evening prayers.

Finally, the choir was treated to dessert and coffee in the dining room.

As always, it was an evening of joy and good fellowship during this most blessed season of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Metropolitan Philip Meets with Mother Alexandra

On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip met with Mother Alexandra at the Archdiocese office in Englewood, New Jersey to discuss Mother’s recent trip to Syria and Lebanon and important future developments regarding the progress of the plans for the new buildings and candidates for the Convent of St. Thekla in Bolivar, Pennsylvania.  

Annual Seminarian Dinner Held at Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ

Click here to view photo gallery

On October 19, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip hosted the Annual Seminarian Dinner at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. In attendance were all of the Antiochian seminarians and their spouses from St. Tikhon, St. Vladimir, and Holy Cross seminaries. The evening began with the Vesper service for St. Artemios in the Chapel of St. John Chrysostom at the Archdiocese Headquarters. Following the Vesper service, everyone gathered in the large dining room for the group photo, which was then followed by dinner. After dinner, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip addressed the gathered seminarians and their spouses, discussing matters which are important to their future priesthood. He spoke about the importance of liturgical uniformity, of correctness and beauty of the liturgical music, and of the approach which a pastor must have toward his flock. After his remarks, His Eminence met privately with any third-year seminarian who desired to discuss important matters regarding his future.

Metropolitan Philip Consecrates St. John Chrysostom Church in Fort Wayne, IN

Click here for a photo gallery of the consecration.

On the weekend of September 17-19th, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip consecrated St. John Chrysostom Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. St. John Chrysostom was founded by His Eminence in 1978 as a Pan-Orthodox Mission in northeast Indiana. After over 30 years of growth in the Fort Wayne community, the parish erected a new church complex with a grand worship space, classroom education facilities and a large family room area for fellowship of the Orthodox Community. The new church's altar was consecrated on September 19th by Metropolitan Philip, with Archdeacon Hans Elhayek; parish priest Fr. Anthony Michaels; Fr. Nabil Hanna, dean of the Indiana deanery; Fr. George Smith, priest in residence; Fr. Joseph Rahall, founding priest of the mission; and clergy friends from around the Midwest.

Metropolitan Philip Interviewed on Ancient Faith Radio

Chesterton, IN — Ancient Faith Radio is pleased to announce a new Illumined Heart interview with Metropolitan Philip Saliba:

The past few years have seen their controversies within the Self Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America. On September 30, 2010, Kevin Allen, host of The Illumined Heart, and John Maddex, co-founder and president of Ancient Faith Radio, traveled to Englewood, New Jersey to visit the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the home of its Archbishop, Metropolitan Philip Saliba. Their purpose was to seek clarification on several key areas that have become a concern to many and fodder for the blogosphere. His Eminence warmly welcomed them and gave Kevin the freedom to ask any question he thought would be helpful to the AFR audience in understanding several critical issues.

Four specific topics addressed include:

  • The meaning and future of self rule in the Antiochian Archdiocese.
  • The status of the Bishops in North America and the meaning as well as the ramifications of the title “Auxiliary Bishop.”
  • The finances of the Antiochian Archdiocese and in particular the status of an audit.
  • The view point of His Eminence on the Episcopal Assembly, SCOBA, and the future of administrative unity in North America.

AFR has left the Metropolitan’s remarks intact and unedited to make them available to the audience for their own evaluation and conclusions.

Metropolitan Philip Departs for Middle East to Attend Meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch

Metropolitan Philip at Antiochian Village, July 2010Metropolitan Philip at Antiochian Village, July 2010His Eminence Metropolitan Philip will depart today, August 9, for the Middle East, where he will attend the upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch which is scheduled to begin on August 17th, 2010.

We ask all of the faithful to pray that His Eminence will have a safe and productive journey. We also ask for prayers for all of our beloved hierarchs of the See of Antioch as they gather together in brotherly love to do the work of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit.

Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop THOMAS Celebrate Groundbreaking Weekend With St. George Faithful

The weekend of June 4th through the 6th proved to be a joyful and historic event for the community of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. Starting with the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, His Grace Bishop THOMAS and Archdeacon Hans on Friday, June 4, a weekend of celebration was set in motion for the groundbreaking of the new St. George Church.

On Saturday, June 5, our beloved Hierarchs began the day by meeting with some of the parents, teachers and children of our parish. The morning consisted of a dialogue between Metropolitan PHILIP and our children, and a special arts and crafts project. The groundbreaking Ceremony was celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on the land where the new St. George Church will be constructed. Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop THOMAS blessed and planted a wooden cross on the land where the church will be built.

Message of the Episcopal Assembly Of the Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North and Central America, May 26-28, 2010

We glorify the name of the Triune God for gathering us at this first Episcopal Assembly of this region in New York City on May 26-28, 2010 in response to the decisions of the Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference held at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Switzerland, from June 6-12, 2009, at the invitation of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Gathered together in the joy of the Feast of Pentecost, we humbly recognize our calling, in our unworthiness, to serve as instruments and disciples of the Paraclete, who “holds together the whole institution of the Church” (Hymn of Vespers of Pentecost).

We honor and express gratitude to the Primates and Representatives of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches who assembled at the Ecumenical Patriarchate from October 10-12, 2008 to affirm their “unswerving position and obligation to safeguard the unity of the Orthodox Church” (Chambésy Rules of Operation, Article 5.1a) and emphasized their will and “desire for the swift healing of every canonical anomaly that has arisen from historical circumstances and pastoral requirements” (Message of the Primates 13.1-2)

We call to mind those who envisioned this unity in this region and strove to transcend the canonical irregularities resulting for many reasons, including geographically overlapping jurisdictions. For, just as the Lord in the Divine Eucharist is “broken and distributed, but not divided” (Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), so also His Body comprises many members, while constituting His One Church.

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day

(File Photo)(File Photo)EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY - MAY 26, 2010

"Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:

My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.

The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.

ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us.

Al-Kafaat Founder Honored by Archdiocese

Mr. Nadim Shwayri accepts Antonian Gold MedalMr. Nadim Shwayri accepts Antonian Gold MedalThe founder of the Al-Kafaat Foundation, Mr. Nadim Shwayri, with his wife Lily and daughter Myriam, visited His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP on Monday, May 24th for dinner. The Al-Kafaat Foundation in Lebanon provides services and housing for people with disabilities from all backgrounds; the word Al-Kafaat itself means "abilities." Mr, Shwayri has dedicated most of his life and finances to establishing the foundation that cares for these "least of my brethren" free of charge, from the cradle to the grave.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates St. George’s Day in Boston

By Elisabeth Lourie

St. George Church in Boston was doubly blessed and honored the weekend of April 17th and 18th with a visit from His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, and the ordination of Subdeacon Stephen Mathewes to the Holy Diaconate. For as long as anyone can remember, His Eminence has visited St. George to celebrate the feast day of our patron saint, St. George.

The weekend, coordinated by St. George Weekend Chairperson Douglas Howdy, began Saturday morning with Youth Day at the church. Children and teens of all ages gathered for fun and games in the church hall, and enjoyed lunch with Sayedna PHILIP. His Eminence took time to meet with the youth answering their questions and asking a few of his own. “It’s always a delight to see our Father in Christ with the children gathered around him,” said V. Rev Timothy J. Ferguson, pastor of St. George, “as an image of the icon of Christ gathering the children to Him.”

Antiochian Orthodox Faithful Assist Haitian Earthquake Relief with Donation to IOCC

On Wednesday April 14, 2010, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, on behalf of the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, presented a check for $150,000 to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Executive Director and CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou, in the presence of His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, Order of St Ignatius of Antioch chair Dan Abraham, and IOCC board members the Very Rev. Michael Ellias and Anne Glynn Mackoul at Antiochian Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, N.J. The gift was a result of the generous response of the Antiochian Orthodox faithful to the appeal that was made by His Eminence immediately after the earthquake struck Haiti.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha with Brooklyn Faithful

"Christ is Risen!" "Al-Maseeh Qam!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 4. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave way to the day that knows no night and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.

Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.

Click here for a photo gallery from the Feast.

Metropolitan PHILIP Writes His Holiness KIRILL, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, with Prayers in Wake of Moscow Terrorism

March 30, 2010
His Holiness, KIRILL
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

Your Holiness:

Greetings to you during these all holy days as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God give you strength!

We were horrified to learn of the barbaric attack yesterday on the beloved citizens of Moscow by a group of terrorists. This was especially disturbing as it took place during the Great and Holy Week of the Church. On behalf of all the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, please accept our sincere and deep sympathies to Your Holiness, the Russian government and the Russian people. May the innocent blood which was shed on Calvary wash away our sins and the sins of the entire world.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Palm Sunday with the Faithful of Little Falls, NJ

The parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP as he celebrated the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy there on Palm Sunday, April 28, 2010.

Joined by co-celebrants the Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Deacon Jason Blais from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, His Eminence began the day with the ordination of two Subdeacons from St. George parish – Peter Yazgi and Matthew Chatri. St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd viewing the Liturgy from our large parish hall via a large video screen.

 Sayidna PHILIP spoke about the events in the Gospel of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, and while this was not the first time Christ gave life to the dead, it was the most famous. Comparing it to today's world, His Eminence suggested that the event would be on "the headline biggest... the first item of news on TV!"

Metropolitan PHILIP Presides Over Groundbreaking and Surprise Elevation in Florida

Groundbreaking Ceremony:  from left to right The Very Reverend Fr. Joseph Rahal, The Right Reverend Fr. Nicholas Ozone, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, The Very Reverend Fr. Elia Shalhoub, and Mayor of the Town of Davie, Judy Paul.Groundbreaking Ceremony: from left to right The Very Reverend Fr. Joseph Rahal, The Right Reverend Fr. Nicholas Ozone, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, The Very Reverend Fr. Elia Shalhoub, and Mayor of the Town of Davie, Judy Paul.By Charles Weber

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?”

Metropolitan PHILIP Appeal for Chile Earthquake Relief

Courtesy Mariana Bazo / ReutersCourtesy Mariana Bazo / ReutersMarch 1, 2010

TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT

“Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.”  (Acts 2:44-45)

Once again we are confronted with the images of destruction, death and human tragedy in the wake of the severe earthquake that struck Chile on Saturday, February 27th, 2010.  More than 700 are confirmed to have died, with the toll expected to be higher.  More than 1.5 million people are homeless or without shelter.  I have been in touch with my brother, Metropolitan SERGIOS (Abd), the Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Chile.  His Eminence is personally safe and sound, but several of his churches have suffered damage from the earthquake, and the status of some of the faithful is still to be determined.  As the quote above from the Book of Acts reminds us, it has always been the tradition of the Church to help any brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need.  As such, we are asking all of our parishes and missions to appeal for prayers and donations in order to assist those who are in need in Chile.