News and Articles
An important alert for prospective Antiochian Village Campers:
"Camp is filling up. If you haven't registered for Summer Camp and our Sacred Arts Camps don't wait because it may be too late (see this chart for space availability). Take a minute to check out the AV Video above. Watch it now! Then register for camp. Keep in mind that it is very important that you read the directions on our Registration page. Please note that a registration is not complete unless you complete a $100 deposit and you receive a confirmation email stating that your child is registered for camp."
The Mission Statement of the Antiochian Village states: “The mission of the Antiochian Village is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith, in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment.”
For those of you who were blessed to have known Fr. John Namie, of blessed memory, you can’t help but remember him as that “living experience.” If you didn’t know Fr. John personally, but you are a “Villager” undoubtedly your Village experience was rooted in the lessons of love of God & each other that Fr. John’s leadership taught and exemplified.
At its inception, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip saw the Village as “a new spiritual dimension to our lives.” Certainly this is true! From our time together at the Village, we have been blessed with a more personal experience of God’s love through unforgettable memories & lifelong friendships and also with indelible life lessons.
Fr. John imparted to us all, through his own actions, valuable tools to aid us in our quest to live the Christian life. We learned about unconditional love, sense of community and how our actions impact others. We learned the value of humility and to be well aware of the dangers of vain glory.
Antiochian Village Museum Curator Julia Ritter invites you to glimpse the architectural beauty of ancient Christian Syria through the latest exhibit at the Antiochian Heritage Museum.
From the lofty arches of a fifth-century church, to an elaborately carved palace doorway, the stone churches and homes of ancient Christian Syria were built from large, hand-carved blocks of stone, with often graceful results. Remarkably preserved for over a thousand years, these buildings of early Christian life and worship are presented in a series of photographs from the Princeton University archives, taken during American archaeological expeditions to Syria between 1899 and 1909.
The goal of the Syrian expeditions was to study, measure, draw, and photograph the ancient buildings, inscriptions and monuments of Syria, many of which had been abandoned for over a thousand years. Expedition leader Howard Crosby Butler was a Professor of Art and Archaeology, and founder of the School of Architecture, at Princeton University. Braving extreme desert conditions, travelling on horseback, and accompanied by a donkey caravan carrying limited supplies, Butler and his team eventually documented over two hundred ancient sites. Butler recognized the rare and extraordinary opportunity that lay before him: though in a state of partial ruin, these were original buildings, dating to the first centuries after Christ (and earlier), many of them untouched by the renovations of subsequent generations.
Registration is still open for the Third Annual St. Emmelia Homeschooling Conference at Antiochian Village. The packed schedule from March 31st through April 3rd, includes side by side sessions for kids and parents, complimented by daily liturgies, akathists, and evening programs. Experienced home educators will tackle a range of workshop topics from the practical ("Drawing with Children") to the sublime ("Building Community").
On the weekend of April 8-10, Fr. Michael Ellias will lead the Antiochian Women of the East through their Lenten retreat with the theme, "Diligence in our Spiritual Life." A few weekends later on April 29-May 1, Dr. Vigen Guroian will head up the Village's "Weed and Feed" service weekend. Dr. Guroian is an Orthodox author and professor of religious studies in Orthodox Christianity at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. His most recent release, The Melody of Faith: Theology in an Orthodox Key, has been well received by Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike.
Antiochian Village announces a "Weed and Feed Weekend" with guest speaker and author Vigen Guroian, April 29-May 1, during Bright Week.
Bring your gardening gloves, tools, and friends for a great weekend getaway that promises to feed your body and soul while you provide much needed help sprucing up our gardens. It's a $50 PER PERSON WEEKEND PACKAGE which includes 5 meals, 2 nights of lodging, speaker sessions, a day of gardening work, liturgical services, and great fellowship!
Wrapping up a busy schedule of winter events, Antiochian Village served as the host for the "Men in Black" Clergy Appreciation Luncheon on February 22. The Village's first event was the January winter camp session. These two events bookmarked several key conferences and meetings which took place in the very busy month of February.
During the first weekend in February, the traditional mid-winter meetings were held for SOYO's leadership. Reports Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department for Youth Ministry, "The February 4-6, 2011 Midwinter Meetings of SOYO brought over thirty teens and advisors from across the archdiocese. SOYO continued its work begun at the 2010 SOYO Leadership Conference. The SOYO Diocesan officers reported on their progress and shared ideas with one another. SOYO Officers continued the development of their leadership skills, as Fr. Fouad Saba explored the scripture and its relationship to leadership. Elizabeth Mamey, a past NAC SOYO Officer, came back to SOYO to share with our current group of officers the skills she learned through her SOYO and Leadership training experiences. It was a weekend rich in fellowship, spirituality and accomplishments for SOYO."
Then on February 8-12, about two dozen OCF chaplains gathered for their three day conference to discuss the theme "Following Christ through Crisis."
"Following Christ through Crisis" is the theme of the 2011 Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Chaplain Conference, which will be held at Antiochian Village on February 8-10, 2011. This yearly conference, composed of clergy and lay leaders of local OCF chapters, will feature Antiochian priest Fr. John Abdalah in the keynote sessions. Fr. John, a licensed counselor, is a seasoned OCF chaplain who has worked at the University of Pittsburgh. Fr. John is also a founder of the Orthodox Pastoral Counseling Institute in Pittsburgh.
A variety of mini-clinics will be available, featuring topics such as "The First Two Weeks of the Semester," and "Developing Continuity in Student Leadership."
Twenty scholarships covering all travel and registration costs are going to be awarded to qualified applicants, thanks to a matching grant offered by The Lilly Endowment for the Theological Exploration of Vocations. Current OCF chaplains as well as those interested in the chaplaincy are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Antiochian priest Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF's North American Chaplain notes, "It's simply the way things are: the great majority of college students today will face multiple crises during their college years. Most students do well until a crisis hits, and that's when many lose their way. We hope we can better equip our chaplains to help our students get through these challenging times, holding fast to Christ and His Church as their anchor." Click here for more information and here to register.
For all interested applicants, the Antiochian Village deadline for summer camp staff is fast approaching. All applications need to be postmarked by February 1, 2011. Explains the website summer staff page, "Members of the Summer Camp Staff are responsible for carrying out the Mission of the Antiochian Village, which is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment. They must help strengthen the Camper's grasp of the basics of the Christian life: participation in the liturgical, sacramental, and ascetical life of the Church and living in community with fellow members of the Body of Christ with peace towards all of God's creation. But being a counselor isn't just another job where you are required to do certain tasks and never end up seeing your efforts come to fruition, it can and most likely will be, one of the most spiritually fulfilling experiences of your life."
Click HERE to download a staff application.
The Antiochian Village Camp now offers a Sacred Arts Program that includes Byzantine Chant and Iconography camps for teens 14-18, parish workshops on Byzantine Chant and a Byzantine Notation Workshop for adults 18 and up. For more information visit our website http://antiochianvillage.org/camp.
Fishers, IN – December 27, 2010
The North American Office of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) announced today the details of its 2011 Chaplains Conference, to be held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, on February 8-10, 2011. The annual gathering of clergy and lay leaders of local OCF chapters will focus on the theme of “Following Christ through Crisis,” with the goal of equipping chaplains and lay leaders to help students remain strong in their faith and in the pursuit of their calling even in the midst of crises, be they personal or interpersonal, emotional, physical or spiritual.
Designed to offer practical learning in the field of campus ministry, the keynote sessions will be offered by Fr. John Abdalah, a veteran OCF Chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh and licensed counselor. A variety of mini-clinics will be offered as options, with focused topics ranging from “The First Two Weeks of the Semester,” to “Developing Continuity in Student Leadership.”
Twenty scholarships covering all travel and registration costs will be awarded to applicants, with majority funding coming through a grant from The Lilly Endowment for the Theological Exploration of Vocations. Current OCF Chaplains as well as those interested in this rewarding ministry are encouraged to apply. Scholars will in turn submit written reflections on their own vocations as campus ministers.
Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF’s North American Chaplain and one of the organizers of the Conference, said this about the focus of this year’s conference: “It’s simply the way things are: the great majority of college students today will face multiple crises during their college years. Most students do well until a crisis hits, and that’s when many lose their way. We hope we can better equip our chaplains to help our students get through these challenging times, holding fast to Christ and His Church as their anchor.”
By Mary Salim, Antiochian Village Camper
St. George Church, Little Falls, New Jersey
“Just thirteen insigniﬁcant days at camp, out of the seventy-ﬁve days of the carefree summer, will ﬂy by with hardly any memories,” was what I said to myself the entire time before I reached the Antiochian Village, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I dreaded the mere thought of having to go, and the activities that I eventually would do with absolute strangers. You need to know this if you’re going to see how beautifully I was surprised.
I was presented with many joys to the eyes: the countless trees wavering in the winds, ﬂowers blooming, shaking shrubs in which little animals lived, different-colored stones in the earth, the hills screening the horizon, and singular birds soaring through enormous blue skies. Being in the midst of God’s wonderful creations moved me; I felt blessed and in harmony on God’s good earth, as if I were in His beautiful Garden of Eden. This peaceful scene struck me as a preview of heaven, a foresight of our ultimate destination, to be one with God in Paradise.
St. Herman Middle School Retreat
For Students in grades 5-8
Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center
December 10-12, 2010
“Walking In The Footsteps of St. Herman”
Retreat Leader: “Uncle Paul” Finley
Questions? Call Barli Ross in Orthodox Programs
724-238-3677x425 or send an email
Carol and Paul Swydan of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts visited the Antiochian Village this past weekend, bringing with them two wooden trays of Arabic lead type, and framed pages from a 1935 issue of the weekly newspaper “Al-Hurriat/The Liberty,” which was published in both English and Arabic by Paul’s grandfather, Shokri Swydan, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The title of the featured newspaper article reads, “The History of the Church of Antioch – Chapter 3.” (See photo.)
This summer, Patricia and Stephan Rudawski of Pflugerville, Texas organized a donation for the museum - a treasure trove of items from the Nahas family heritage, such as books, vestments, photographs and liturgical items which belonged to Patricia’s grandfather, V. Rev. Nicholas A. Nahas. The donation includes a beautiful framed Epitaphios, its edges hand-embroidered by his wife, Kh. Anna Nahas circa 1940.
Corgette and John Troutman of Newcastle, Pennsylvania recently brought to the museum items that belonged to Corgette’s father, Albert Joseph, of Newcastle, PA, including two sets of elegant Middle Eastern clothing which had been presented to Mr. Joseph by the King of Saudi Arabia, and a small travelling case full of sample Arabic records which he would bring to church picnics so that people could listen to the music, and order their favorite records from him (before the days of the digital download!).
By Valerie Zahirsky
“Everywhere Present and Filling All Things”: The Holy Spirit or the Clergy Wife? was the theme of the second annual Clergy Wives Weekend, held at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA from October 29-31. Over 70 wives of priests, deacons, and wives of seminarians headed for ordination from all across the country – including Alaska! - came together for this pan-Orthodox weekend of prayer, reflection and informal, enjoyable fellowship.
The program included a welcome on Friday night by Maria Abdalah, daughter of Kh. Joanne Abdalah – in whose memory the Weekend is dedicated. Presenting a short overview of the Weekend’s focus, and how we have experienced the Holy Spirit since the dawn of creation, Kh. Stefanie Yazge set the stage for the Weekend’s speakers. The evening concluded with Little Compline. (Click HERE to view a photo gallery of the weekend.)
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine
2010 FSJD Fall Retreat
Friday-Sunday, October 8-10, 2010
Full retreat Recap (PDF)
For the 2nd Annual Fellowship Spiritual Retreat to the Antiochian Village, a luxury motor coach transported over forty of our Christian parishioners to Pennsylvania for a spiritual journey. We thank all the committee (Eddy Shaheen, Nicole Dahdal, Laura Mraibie, Abdo Imseeh). We thank Fr. Fouad Saba for his guidance and applaud Dn. Jim King for his invigorating sessions. We thank all of the volunteers, donors and registrants. Each aspect of the trip was well-organized and prepared much in advance. The committee set up a weekend full of worship services, sessions with Dn. Jim King of St. Mary's Livonia, MI, meals, team building exercises, fun, education and fellowship. Every person who came on the trip, whether a returnee from last year or a first time participant gave something dear to the overall wonder that this Retreat provided us.
We received, as one body in Christ, far greater than we gave individually. This Fellowship tradition has quickly become something truly unforgettable. A time to reawaken what may lie hidden underneath, to search for a more Christ-like mission in life, and a renewal of "every good and precious gift that comes from above." Our theme was "Fork in the Road: Choosing God's Way." After this trip, we are all on the same page as to what road we shall take, that of Christ Jesus.
To read reflections from participants and see more photos from the retreat, please download the retreat recap (PDF).
On October 2, the weather was perfect at Antiochian Village, where a 5K Trail Run through the trails at the Village raised funds for the Special Oympics of Pennsylvania. Barli Ross, the Program Coordinator and Paul Finley, the Director of the Antiochian Village Conference Center, welcomed the runners, who registered and warmed up before the start of the race. One lucky young "runner" was pushed along by his mom in a stroller, but the others kept up their own brisk pace through the Village paths just beginning to display fall colors. All of those who ran as a part of the Special Olympics team, have raced in other venues, and some on the team were even former gold medalists.
At the race's conclusion, door prizes were awarded, as well as medals, and refreshments were enjoyed by the participants. Watch the start of the race on YouTube, and view photos of the race on Antiochian Village's News page.
Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center
Looking for a job opportunity in beautiful Western Pennsylvania? The Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center is seeking a qualified and experienced individual in the lodging and tourism industry to generate new business for our God-protected ministry just six miles north of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. This position is full time and compensation includes a base salary, commission, health and dental benefits. If you already know what “SMERF” means and have had success in this market - this may be the job for you.
TITLE: Outside Sales
REPORTS TO: Executive Director
BASED AT: Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center
EDUCATION LEVEL: College Graduate (preferred)
Julia Ritter, Curator and Librarian for the Antiochian Heritage Museum and Library, reports that the Museum’s traveling exhibit was viewed by many at St. Vladimir Seminary's Education Day on Saturday, October 2, in Crestwood N.Y. As the headline exhibitor, the Village's display of icons and rare books fit in well with this year’s theme of “Many Cultures, One Faith.” Enthusiastic viewers enjoyed browsing the attractive exhibit which was set up in the seminary's beautiful library space. St. Vladimir's website reported on the event here.
Deborah Finley accompanied Curator Ritter; both were able to talk with many visitors and families who appreciated the exhibit, and who were eager to learn more about both Antiochian Village and the unique resources of the Village Museum.
Ascending the Mountain: It’s a Family Road Trip
The annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage was held on September 24-26 at the Antiochian Village. Bishop Thomas was the presiding hierarch, and Mother Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla was the main speaker of the weekend. Both of them talked on the theme of “Ascending the Mountain: It’s a Family Road Trip."
The main emphasis of the pilgrimage’s theme was in learning how to live an average, workaday life in a holy, Orthodox manner. Along with the talks by His Grace and Mother Alexandra, four small group discussions were led by clergy from the area. The topics included “Confession: Setting and Resetting the Course," “The Eucharist: What’s In Your Lunchbox?," “Holy Unction: First Aid and Urgent Care” and “The Walk: A discussion of the New York Times Best-Seller by Richard Paul Evans."
The priests of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic and the Diocese of New York and Washington gathered together for their annual clergy retreat at the Antiochian Village from September 19 to 24, 2010. The special guest speaker was His Grace Bishop Michael, the bishop of New York and New Jersey of the Orthodox Church in America. He spoke about evangelism in America. Evangelism, he said, involves three fronts: evangelism to ourselves and our community, evangelism to inactive members, and evangelism to the unchurched. Bishop Michael's lectures gave the priests in attendance excellent guidance on ways to minister in all three of those aspects with a view toward building a healthy and vital parish community.
In addition to the presentations by Bishop Michael, Fr. John Nosal and Fr. Joseph Butts led a discussion of the short story, “The Death of Ivan Ilych” by Leo Tolstoy. The priests also gathered for a service of supplication to St. Raphael of Brooklyn at his grave site. They also had a question and answer session with Bishop Michael and Bishop Thomas, and had a discussion based on a movie. The retreat culminated with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Friday morning.
Have you made your “Bucket List”? Join us at Antiochian Village, Sunday, October 24th through Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 as we look at what God desires for us and from us as we journey into our later years in life. This retreat is geared for our faithful with more life experience (a.k.a. seniors) to join together in discussion about living a vibrant spiritual life in our twilight years, to worship in faith, and to enjoy each other’s fellowship.
A pan-Orthodox gathering of spiritual refreshment and fellowship in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah
Kh. Joanne Abdalah served as an inspiration in her life as the wife of a priest and as a counselor to many. She understood the joys and trials of this life, and the need for finding strength in Christ and each other. She believed that every clergy wife needs to discover and develop her own Christian vocation. In her memory, her family and several clergy wife friends planned the first Clergy Wives Weekend in 2009 as a fitting tribute and way to carry on her work and commitment to clergy wives.
Last November more than 70 Orthodox clergy wives from jurisdictions across the United States enjoyed the inaugural Clergy Wives Weekend at the Antiochian Village. The schedule reflected Joanne’s holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world. The Weekend was a tremendous success, and so we announce the 2010 Clergy Wives Weekend!
- Date: October 29-31
- Theme: Everywhere present and filling all things: The Holy Spirit or the Clergy Wife?
The Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Spirit of Truth, is everywhere filling all things. But do clergy wives with the best of intentions get caught trying to do that, too, juggling marriage, family, parish, education and job beyond realistic expectations? How do we listen to hear what the Spirit is leading us to do in life? How can we nurture our relationship with God? What do the gifts and fruit of the Spirit look like in our lives and situations? How do we discern? And what do we do with all our life includes?
Bishops, priests and deacons from across North America, led by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, are gathering the week of July 19 at Antiochian Village for the Sixteenth Biennial Clergy Symposium. The time of communal worship, fellowship and education brings great renewal to our clergy. Fr. Joseph Allen, Symposium Chairman, opened the gathering with an introduction to the meeting's theme: "The Priesthood: Diakonos, Presbyteros, Episcopos."
In addition to a range of electives, the clergy will hear from three featured speakers over the course of the week: Fr. Dn. John Chryssavgis, on the Diaconate; Fr. Nicholas Apostola, on the Presbyter; and His Grace Bishop Michael Dahulich, on the Bishop. Also giving a special presentation is His Eminence Metropolitan Ephraim Kyriakos, on The Mission of the Church Today: The Priest and His Service.
On Thursday evening, September 2, the Antiochian House of Studies will be kicking off their First Inaugural Alumni Reunion with a banquet and keynote address by His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip. The educational program in applied theology is gratefully celebrating thirty years of offering a unique long-distance forum for all the theological and pastoral education activities of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.
Reunion attendees will also be able to participate in a variety of events over the course of the weekend of September 3-5, including liturgical worship, tours, golfing, and fellowship. The weekend keynote speaker will be the renowned sociologist and author Kyriacos C. Markides, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology at the University of Maine, and author of many books including The Mountain of Silence and Gifts of the Desert.
The Antiochian Village, site of the ongoing House of Studies classes, will host the reunion, and will announce further details on their site soon. For more information or to make reservations, contact them at 724-238-3677, or email the village at: events@AntiochianVillage.org.
We are pleased to announce that on June 19th the Antiochian Village Bookstore and Gift Shop went “live” with its new online store. Our ability to offer this has been made possible in large part by the efforts of Mother Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla, and fulfills a vision for our store which has been discussed for the past few years. Through her efforts, and with the help of Adam Henderson (a parishioner at St. Mary Church in Johnstown, PA), our store has entered the 21st century. Applying their computer expertise and hard work, all the product in the “brick and mortar” store at the Heritage and Learning Center is being managed and maintained by a retail management software program thus making the launch of the online component possible. Many hours went in to writing descriptions, photographing and weighing product for display on the store website.