News About His Eminence Metropolitan Philip


His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Re-appointed as St. Vladimir's Seminary Trustee

St. Vladimir's Seminary’s Board of Trustees, under the leadership His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and Board Chairman, met on the seminary campus November 5–7, 2009 for their 61st annual meeting. A highlight of the trustees’ decisions included appointments and elections to the board in accordance with the Seminary’s vision for cooperative effort and exchange among Orthodox Christian jurisdictions and churches globally. The board concluded its meeting looking optimistically toward the future.

Metropolitan Philip re-appointed as trustee

Exemplifying the pan-Orthodox vision of its founders, the seminary Board of Trustees is comprised of episcopal appointments and elected trustees from the wide spectrum of students who historically have graced the classrooms at St. Vladimir's Seminary. His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah has re-appointed to the seminary's Board of Trustees His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, whose presence on the board since 1967 continues fifty-one years of tradition of having the metropolitan archbishop of the Antiochian Archdiocese counted among the seminary's trustees, beginning with the appointment of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony (Bashir) in 1958. The longest serving trustee of the seminary, His Eminence was re-elected by the Board of Trustees to the office of Vice Chairman of the Board, an office His Eminence has held since 1981, and an expression of his commitment to the vision of pan-Orthodox unity for North America and the role of St. Vladimir's Seminary in fostering cooperation among Orthodox Churches in North America and beyond.

Archbishop Hilarion and Thomas Zedlovich join board

Metropolitan Philip Presents Ecumenical Patriarch with Engolpion of Ss. Peter and Paul

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip joined other American Orthodox Primates in an audience with His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Most of the Primates had also attended the Ninth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community the previous evening. Present at the audience were Archbishop Demetrios of America (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Philip (Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Christopher (Serbian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Nicholas (Carpatho- Russian Diocese); Archbishop Nicolae (Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese); Metropolitan Jonah (Orthodox Church in America), Metropolitan Constantine (Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA); Bishop Ilia (Albanian Orthodox Diocese) and Archpriest Alexander Abramov (Representation of the Moscow Patriarchate in the USA). Archbishop Demetrios welcomed His All Holiness on behalf of the Primates.

The remarks of His All Holiness follow:

Metropolitan PHILIP Visits St. George Church in Norwood, MA

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP made a visit to the parish of Saint George in Norwood, Massachusetts September 18-20, 2009.  The visit was the first by the Metropolitan in many years and the entire parish had anxiously awaited his return.  The main purpose of his visit was to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Ladies Society and to serve a one-year memorial for the pastor emeritus, Very Rev. Father Nifon Abraham.

Shortly after his arrival in Norwood, His Eminence met with members of the Church School and Teen SOYO for a lively Q & A session.  The Metropolitan thought he had stumped the young folks when he asked “do you know where Saint Ignatius was martyred?”  However, one of the teens came up with right answer (which is of course, Rome.)  The Metropolitan then enjoyed a relaxing evening with the parish council; they chatted about the upcoming New York Jets – New England Patriot football game, but also serious matters, such as church growth and mission work.

On Saturday the Metropolitan and several invited guests were treated to a luncheon prepared by Khouriyee Afefee Abraham.  His Eminence presented to her a photo taken of himself and the late Father Nifon Abraham.  The festivities on Saturday evening began with Great Vespers and concluded with a celebration banquet for the Ladies of Saint George.  The Ladies in Norwood began their work 90 years ago, two years before the parish was actually formed.  At the banquet the Ladies president gave Saidna a check for $1,000 to Al-Kafaat in honor of his 50th anniversary in the priesthood.

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Archdiocese Convention

Click here to listen to audio of His Eminence's address on Ancient Faith Radio

 

Be ever mindful of the fruits of your labor

Your Eminence, Your Graces, Beloved Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees, Members of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Members of the Antiochian Women, Members of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Members of SOYO, Parish Councils and the Faithful of our God-protected Archdiocese:

The theme of our convention this year is taken from the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom: “Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy churches and who remember the poor.” The prayer of the Anaphora continues, “Reward them with thy rich and heavenly gifts; give them things heavenly for things earthly; things eternal for things temporal, things incorruptible for things corruptible. Be mindful, O Lord, of those in the desert, the mountains and in caves; be mindful, O Lord, of all those who live in chastity and godliness.” And in the Ektenia of fervent supplication at Vespers, we sing, “Again we pray for those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy and all-venerable temple, for those who serve and those who sing.”

Correspondence from His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP

August 5, 2009

Mr. Charles Ajalat
LaCanada, CA

Dear Charles,

Greetings and blessings to you, Marilee, the children and grandchildren in the spirit of this Holy Dormition Fast.

I am in receipt of your correspondence dated August 2 and August 3, 2009, and it pains me very much to accept your resignation as Chancellor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. I want to thank you for your kind words and the love which you have expressed to me in your letters.

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Antiochian General Assembly

Click here to listen to Ancient Faith Radio's broadcast His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP's address to the general assembly at the 2009 Archdiocese Convention on Friday, July 24.

The address ran for well over 45 minutes, and covered a wide range of topics, including Metropolitan PHILIP's response to what he termed criticisms of his leadership, particularly those involving finances.

His Grace Bishop MERCURIUS Visits Archdiocese Headquarters

On Bright Tuesday, April 21, 2009, His Grace Vladyka MERCURIUS, the Administrator of the Moscow Patriarchal Parishes in the United States visited His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey.

The occasion was a farewell visit by Vladyka MERCURIUS before he departs for Moscow to assume his new duties as the Chairman of the Synodal Department for Religious Education and Catechism for the Moscow Patriarchate, and Abbot of St. Peter’s Monastery in Moscow.

 

Metropolitan PHILIP expressed his warm feelings regarding the good relations which he enjoyed with Vladyka MERCURIUS during his stay in the United States over the past 9 years.  The two hierarchs exchanged many ideas on the topic of Orthodox unity in America, and the forthcoming  Pan-Orthodox Council which will be held in Cyprus later this year. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP expressed his wishes that His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia would exercise a leading role in international Orthodox relations, especially given that His Holiness represents approximately 100 million Orthodox Christians.  His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP expressed fond memories of his previous two visits to Russia and asked Vladyka MERCURIUS to express his warmest regards to His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha at St. Nicholas Cathedral + Brooklyn, NY

 

Photo by James Demaria
Photo by James Demaria

As has been the custom every year of his episcopacy, we were blessed to have our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP with us to celebrate the feast of feasts in his cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, the mother church of the archdiocese, was filled to capacity on what was a beautiful spring evening in New York. Following the resurrection 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) as they celebrated the feast. Please enjoy the pictures as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection from the dead.

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!

  

Paschal Greetings from Metropolitan Philip

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to His own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

“O Christ Saviour, we were but yesterday buried with Thee, and we shall rise with Thee in Thy Resurrection. We were but yesterday crucified with Thee: glorify us with Thee in Thy kingdom.”
(Verse from the Third Ode of the Paschal Canon)

Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, Parish Council Members, and All Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese:

Christ is Risen!

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Palm Sunday at St. George + Little Falls, NJ

On a beautiful Palm Sunday, April 12, 2009, the parish of St. George in Little Falls, NJ was blessed to have Metropolitan PHILIP to celebrate the Divine Liturgy with us. 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. Stephen DeYoung from St. Tikhon'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.

Metropolitan PHILIP Meets With Metropolitan JONAH of the OCA

On Friday April 10th, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, hosted His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of The Orthodox Church in America for an important meeting at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, NJ.

Metropolitan PHILIP's Reply to the Council of Presbyters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

March 26, 2009

Protopresbyter Paul O'Callaghan and
The Council of Presbyters of the Diocese
of Wichita and Mid-America

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings and Blessings to you during this holy season of The Great Fast!

We have received and reviewed your letter dated March 17th, 2009 in which you pose fifteen questions related to the February 24th, 2009 decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of all bishops across the Holy See of Antioch. We will try our best to answer these questions as follows:

1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?

Answer: Yes. In the Patriarchate there are three bishops, the Bishop of Saydnaya, the Bishop of Qatana, and the Patriarchal Vicar. In addition, the Archdiocese of Akkar had the Bishop of Tartous and the Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn. The Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn was elected as Metropolitan for the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe. The Bishop of Tartous was elected to succeed Metropolitan Paul Bendali in the Archdiocese of Akkar. He refused to have either diocesan or auxiliary bishops in his Archdiocese at this time.

2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?

Answer: The English translation was my best effort. If someone can produce a more accurate translation, this would be most welcome.

3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?

Answer: The intention was to have good order and consistency throughout the Holy See of Antioch by normalizing the status of all bishops.

A Letter from the Council of Presbyters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

March 17, 2009

Your Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP,

Master, bless.

Our Council of Presbyters met today at St. George Cathedral, Wichita, KS, with deans and elected presbyters, to study the recent decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of diocesan and auxiliary bishops.

With love and reverence, we seek your counsel on the following questions that arose during our deliberations. We assure you of our prayers and respect as our beloved Metropolitan of this Holy and God-Protected Archdiocese, and our love and respect for His Grace, Bishop BASIL. We pray for your continued good health.

We humbly submit the following questions for your consideration.

1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?

2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?

3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?

4. Is the Pittsburgh Constitution binding, since it was duly approved and implemented by the legally binding decision made at special Archdiocesan Convention of July 2004?

5. Since official Archdiocesan documents state that the provisions for self-rule, including those pertaining to the local synod of the Archdiocese, are irrevocable, as witnessed both by the Pittsburgh Constitution and the Patriarchal version of October 15, 2004, how can they be overturned by amendment of the Patriarchal by-laws?

6. Given that the granting of self-rule required that the Patriarchal Constitution be amended to reflect the self-ruled status of the North American Archdiocese, and that this constitution governs its by-laws, not vice versa, how could the Constitution be overturned by amendments of by-laws?

Letter from Metropolitan PHILIP Regarding Decision of the Holy Synod

Metropolitan PHILIP writes:

March 4, 2009

Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:

Greetings and blessings during this Holy Lenten Season!

There have been some questions raised regarding the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which addressed the status of bishops across the entire See of Antioch. The purpose of this letter is to try to answer these questions so that confusion may be avoided.

The first question deals with whether or not I am supportive of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was taken on February 24, 2009. I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here requires it at this time.

Archpastoral Directive + March 3, 2009

Metropolitan PHILIP writes:

To all clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:

We greet you in the spirit of this Great Lent.

Some of our clergy have inquired about hierarchical commemorations in the divine services. In order to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, we would like to direct your attention to the following:

Decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch Regarding All Bishops

Metropolitan PHILIP writes:

Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese,
Beloved Clergy and Parish Councils and all Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese,

Greetings and blessings to all of you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lent.

Enclosed, please find two copies of the Holy Synod decision regarding all bishops within the Holy See of Antioch. This decision was adopted by the Holy Synod of Antioch which was convened at the Patriarchate in Damascus, February 24th, 2009. The Patriarch and the Holy Synod are the highest authority in our Antiochian Church. You will find enclosed the Arabic text and the English translation which is mine. Since this was a special Synod meeting with only one item on the agenda concerning the bishops, the proposed text of this decision was sent to the members of the Holy Synod, who were not present, for their approval.

Ancient Faith Radio Interviews Metropolitan PHILIP

 

"...our church is a church of hope. Our Lord said, 'Lo, I will be with you until the end of time.' So as long as He is in the church, our Christ, the Savior is in the church, as long as the Holy Spirit is working in the church – I mean in every baptism, there is a Pentecost. In every wedding, there is a Pentecost. In every Divine Liturgy, there is a Pentecost. So the Holy Spirit is still working in the church....

Let me talk about the Antiochian Archdiocese. In 1966, we had 65 parishes. Today, we have 253 parishes. We almost quadrupled the size of the archdiocese. Why? We've been working."

In this historic interview on Ancient Faith Radio, Metropolitan PHILIP talks candidly about such things as Orthodox unity, music, our witness to the world, his most memorable accomplishments as well as his biggest disappointments. This two part interview was conducted by Fr. Peter Gillquist, Chairman of the Department of Missions and Evangelism in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

Click here to listen to the interview!

Click here to read a transcript of the interview.

Metropolitan PHILIP Congratulates His Holiness KIRILL on His Election as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP has written the newly elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia to congratulate him on his elevation. His Eminence writes in part:

"I have no doubt from our personal meetings and from your writings that you are a firm believer that the Orthodox Church cannot live in an ivory tower, but must reach out to the poor and needy and address the brokenness that exists throughout the entire world; a brokenness that only our Lord Jesus Christ can mend."

Click here to read Metropolitan PHILIP's letter in its entirety.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Nativity Liturgy

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Nativity Liturgy in Brooklyn, NY While His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP travels extensively throughout this vast Archdiocese every year, his Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, NY is always honored to have him preside on two occasions each year, Great and Holy Pascha and the Feast of our Lord's Nativity in the Flesh. This year was no exception. May God grant him many years!

Metropolitan PHILIP Hosts Antiochian Seminarians for Annual Dinner

On the evening of Thursday, November 13th, 2008, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Antiochian Seminarians and their spouses for the annual Seminarian Dinner, which is held at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. This year, we are blessed to have 32 seminarians (20 of whom are married) in attendance at three Orthodox seminaries: St. Vladimir in Crestwood, NY; St. Tikhon in South Canaan, PA; and Holy Cross in Brookline, MA. More than 60 people attended the Dinner.

The evening began with the Vesper service for St. PHILIP The Apostle (the patron saint of His Eminence). After vespers, everyone proceeded to the large dining room for a wonderful dinner, and dessert. His Eminence addressed the seminarians and their spouses, especially on matters of pastoral care for the faithful. He emphasized the need to remain true to Orthodox traditions while being mindful of the culture that we live in. He emphasized also that our faith must touch the lives of people in a positive way, and that the wives of our priests also have an important ministry.

Click here to see more pictures.

St. George in Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years

St. George Orthodox Church 1908-2008

Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop THOMAS led the Cathedral community of St. George in Pittsburgh to celebrate their centennial, the 30th ordination anniversary and elevation of their dean to the rank of Archimandrite, the tenth ordination anniversary of their Deacon Ned, and the celebration of their dedicated church singers who have already served the Church between 50 and 75 years. This community is thankful to God for all that He has done in this community this last century.

The weekend began with Metropolitan PHILIP’s five hour journey from Englewood. Travel these days is rarely without delays and difficulties. Nevertheless, the Metropolitan arrived and offered the Cathedral leadership inspiration and encouragement. The Cathedral leadership shared their dreams and hopes for a parish center to house the Church school and develop opportunities for learning and spiritual growth. Sayidna spoke of his life’s journey and God’s successes in our Archdiocese through prayer, faithfulness and fortitude. Sayidna recognized the faithfulness of our community and our rich history as a leading community in the Archdiocese. He remembered many of our faithful clergy and laity and highlighted their contributions. The community shared some of the exciting programs and activities that we have initiated.

A Message from Metropolitan PHILIP

Patriarch IGNATIUS IV A MESSAGE FROM METROPOLITAN PHILIP

Beloved Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Esteemed Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Members of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, The Antiochian Women, Members of St. John the Divine and SOYO, and all faithful of our God-protected Archdiocese:

I am delighted  to inform you that we have received news that our Father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGANTIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East [pictured left], will be visiting our Archdiocese this autumn.  His Beatitude will arrive at Newark Liberty Airport on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, and will travel to Boston on Thursday, October 30.  In Boston, he will preside over a fund-raising banquet on Saturday evening, November 1, 2008, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Balamand in Lebanon.  During this auspicious occasion, the members of the Balamand Educational Foundation have decided to establish a scholarship fund in honor Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba) for needy and worthy students.

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrated in Documentary Film

Strength Through Unity is a 30 minute long documentary film celebrating the life of our Metropolitan Philip. First shown on June 7, 2008 at a gala in Montreal, hosted by St. George Montreal for Saidna, the documentary and Divine Liturgy service have become available for the entire Archdiocese through this DVD.

Metropolitan PHILIP on the Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA

image On August 7, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America released instructions for the clergy and faithful of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America regarding the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's creation of a "Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA." Our Archpastor's message begins:

"On August 5th, 2008, The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America issued a press release which established a vicariate with the name "Vicariate for Palestinian/Jordanian Communities in the USA". The membership of this vicariate will consist of those communities in the USA which were originally a part of the Patriarchate of Antioch, but most recently (since 1993) were uncanonically claimed by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. From an historical perspective, it has been clear since the disintegration of Orthodox unity which existed in North America until 1917, that the Arabic-speaking Orthodox people in North America have been exclusively under the pastoral care of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Similarly, the Greek-speaking Orthodox people (e.g. Cypriot, Greek, Egyptian, Turkish, etc.) have always been under the pastoral care of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. What reaction would occur if the  Antiochian Archdiocese were to establish a vicariate for Greek communities which separate themselves from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese?!"

Click here to read His Eminence's official letter in full.

Metropolitan PHILIP Receives Metropolitan HILARION of ROCOR at Englewood Headquarters

image On Wednesday, June 11, 2008, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP received the newly elected and enthroned Metropolitan of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence, HILARION. His Eminence was elected and enthroned in May as the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York City following the death of His Eminence, Metropolitan LAURUS of thrice-blessed memory.  Accompanying His Eminence was Protopresbyter Alexander Lebedeff, the Secretary of Inter-Orthodox Relations. Also present from the Antiochian Archdiocese were His Grace, ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and the Southeast, Archpriest Thomas Zain, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY and Mr. Charles Ajalat, the Archdiocesan Chancellor. Pictures from this historic meeting follow below.