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The Summer 2010 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue features the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, and contains:
A Message from His Grace Bishop Antoun
A Message from Lisa Phillips, President of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast
A Report from the July NAB Meeting
Did Someone Send a Card? by Khouria Dannie Moore
The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to the fifth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 14-16, 2010 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan.
Mother Abbess Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village will present the retreat, “Create in Me a New Heart,” focusing on the Holy Spirit in our lives. She will bring together reflections on the actions of the Holy Spirit through salvation history from the Scriptures and the Fathers with emphasis on our practical, daily synergy with the Holy Spirit.
The past several weekends, Antiochian Village has been a beehive of activity. From March 11-14, over 160 participants from several states traveled to the Village for the Homeschooling Conference. Attendees enjoyed workshops, crafts and creative activities for the kids, corporate worship, and visits by His Grace Bishop Thomas with both the youth and adults. Thanks to the hard work of the Teen SOYO Chapters of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Johnstown, PA, and St. Michael Orthodox Church in Greensburg, PA, children attending the conference participated in a lively carnival complete with activities such as a hula hoop contest, a butterfly hunt, and most memorable of all, visits with "The Bible Guy."
The following weekend, March 19-21, four Christian groups used the conference center; one of these groups was the Antiochian Women of the East, who came for their annual Lenten retreat and Spring delegates meeting.
The primary areas of focus of the Antiochian Women on all levels are religious programs, humanitarian work and the annual project. The North American Board (NAB) project committee has the responsibility of coordinating the raising of funds from women throughout the Archdiocese to benefit one specific project adopted each year by the Antiochian Women.
Since 1975 Antiochian Women have raised over $2.3 million dollars towards the support of many worthwhile endeavors, including the Antiochian Village, Married Seminarians, Missions, Project Orphanages, the Retired Clergy Housing Fund, and most recently, Al Kafaat in Lebanon.
This year the project is the Convent of St. Thekla which was founded on the property of the Antiochian Village in July, 2009, by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP. The Archbishop had long foreseen the establishment of a community of traditional nuns involved with pastoral ministry, withdrawing to pray and then returning to share their monastic life with the faithful.
Nearly everyone had arrived at Antiochian Village by Friday Feb. 5 for Antiochian Women’s mid-winter meetings before the fourth largest snowstorm ever in western Pennsylvania began.
The North American Board (NAB), made up of five elected officers, immediate past president and six coordinators, met Friday afternoon. They began meetings with officers and delegates of the seven diocesan Antiochian Women’s organizations on Friday evening, which continued on Saturday after Soul Saturday Divine Liturgy.
Prior to the first meeting Mother Alexandra, abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla that established at the Village in July, led a mini-retreat for the women. Most everyone, including monastics, deal with temptations and distractions in their spiritual lives, Mother Alexandra said. She talked with the women about the things that distract us, including church-related ones. “We need to stay focused."
His Grace Bishop THOMAS spoke to the women about preparations for Great Lent and for the Kingdom of God. “You have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the presence of God." He later added that “you bring great joy to this place."
At the start of the new year, Conciliar Press is offering a unique 2010 Icon Calendar featuring women saints. Written by three contemporary iconographers from North America--Michael Kapeluck, Matthew Garret, and Cheryl Ann Pituch, the full-color calendar measures 11" X 12" and features large calendar boxes for recording important date reminders. It also lists major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world, with dates according to the new calendar. Popular and beloved saints such as St. Xenia and St. Brigid are featured, as well as less familiar saints such as Holy Martyr Natalia of Nicomedia.
To order, go to www.conciliarpress.com.
"We are all very excited about our new North American Board project—contributing to the building of St. Thekla Convent—and the arrival of Mother Alexandra to the Antiochian Village," NAB President Cindy Nimey said. “Mother Alexandra is a dynamic person and we will all learn very much from her.”
Five elected officers, the immediate past president, and six appointed coordinators comprise the NAB. “We have all been elected or appointed to positions to be leaders and provide programs and information about our projects to the seven Dioceses of our Archdiocese,” Cindy wrote in a encouraging letter to the board and to officers and coordinators of the Dioceses.
“We had a wonderful meeting this summer (at Archdiocese convention in Palm Desert, CA); thanks to the hard work and love from all the Antiochian Women chapters we were able to give Metropolitan PHILIP a check in the amount of $112,800.00 for the support of the Al K'afaat Foundation in Lebanon.
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America held their annual meeting at the 49th Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, California, on Wednesday, July 22, 2009. The meeting was well attended by the Diocesan Presidents, their Spiritual Advisors, and their delegates, along with the Officers and Coordinators of the North American Board of the Antiochian Women. The meeting was presided over by NAB President, Cindy Nimey. The Antiochian Women’s Hierarchical Overseer, Bishop JOSEPH, was also present. The meeting opened with a message from Bishop JOSEPH which revolved around the work of the Antiochian Women and that they must always stay the course of service and spirituality. The Antiochian Women not only worked through their business agenda, but networked and shared their successes at the Diocesan and Local levels.
“HOLY WOMEN OF THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH” contains:
Over 500 women saints, with icons & troparia & kontakia for each
Major feast days devoted to Our Most Holy Theotokos & Ever-Virgin Mary
Miracle-working icons to the Theotokos
Compiled & Edited by Dianne O’Regan, 2007-2009 NAB Religious Coordinator
For two thousand years, the Orthodox Christian Church has been blessed with a plethora of materials on women who have been called by God to a life of holiness. Now, for the first time, the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America has compiled this information into one, easily accessible resource – Holy Women of the Orthodox Christian Church. Each copy is priced at $5.00 to cover reproduction and postage costs.
by Fr. Edward Hughes
from DIAKONIA Summer 2009
The Ladies are the very foundation of the Orthodox Christian Church. There is no doubt that this has been true from the very, very beginning. When our Lord was about his public ministry, traveling and preaching all over the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean, the Scriptures tell us that there were "Many women… which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto Him." (Mt. 27, 55). At the Cross, besides these women from Galilee, there were "Many other women which came up with Him unto Jerusalem." (Mk 15:41) Among these women were those blessed women who were the first to know of the glorious Resurrection. It was they who evangelized the Apostles, telling them the good news which they had learned first from the Angels.
Roberta Royhab writes:
Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery, in Rives Junction, MI, is “a place that serves the spiritual needs of the Orthodox Christian community in the United States,” their website reads.
Dormition was a perfect place—a holy place, a “retreat” from the stress of the secular world—for the Midwest Antiochian Women’s retreat that was held there the weekend of May 15-17. The monastery for women is located on 120 acres in a rural area of south central Michigan.
His Grace Bishop MARK of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest joined us on Friday and for a half day on Saturday. Fr. John Abdalah of Pittsburgh, PA, Spiritual Advisor for Antiochian Women-North American Board, served as Retreat Master.
by Lucy Hanna, NAB Dir. of Public Relations
The Antiochian Women of North America: Who are they? And what is their Focus and Purpose?
The answer to the first question is simple: Every Orthodox woman 18 years or older who is a member of a parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America-- regardless of ethnicity and whether or not her parish has an organized chapter—she belongs to Antiochian Woman!
The answer to the second question, while also simple, is a bit more lengthy. Women have a natural capacity to love and nurture. This is what His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP recognized when he founded the National Organization of Antiochian Women in 1973. Then, to help us in our ministries he established a focus and purpose for our organization as a roadmap to guide us in a spirit of Christian leadership, awareness and commitment, fostering love through charitable acts and creating a sense of fellowship and understanding of our heritage and traditions.
As Martin, my strawberry-blonde, two-and-a-half year-old bundle of energy, continued lining up little cars the length of the carpet, I watched intently, hoping that the kind lady who interviewed us would return to tell me that we had nothing to worry about: Martin would be just fine. I knew, though, that this interview would not likely end so well. Still, I could not have been less prepared for the news: “Your son is developmentally 12 to 18 months old.” I couldn’t breathe. I think I nodded, and I know someone gave me some tissues, but I do not remember anything that was said to me after that.
In that moment, 17 years ago, everything we thought our lives would be, changed. Today, Martin is a happy young man. At age 19 and a half, he is developmentally 10 to 12 years old. Yet he attends a job training school, from which he works as a janitor two hours a day at a police station. He has friends he sees at school, and he loves going to church. Sunday morning Liturgy is his favorite. Since he knows the service intimately, he chants along and gives himself over to the work of worship with joy. He is quite a blessing to us, and it is now difficult for me to think of my beautiful son apart from his autism. He is exactly as our Lord God intended him to be.
Martin is not unique, however. In our parishes, in our communities, in our dioceses, in our archdiocese, in our patriarchate, and in the world at large, children like Martin and their families suffer from the effects of their disabilities with few resources to help them. This year the Antiochian Women, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Phillip, have launched a new project, “Children with Special Needs.” Our son’s story may give you some idea of how such a project can help these special children.
By Lucy Hanna, Antiochian Women President of Diocese of Los Angeles and the West
The primary areas of focus of the Antiochian Women on all levels are religious programs, humanitarian work and the annual project. The NAB project committee has the responsibility of coordinating the raising of funds from women throughout the Archdiocese to benefit one specific project adopted each year by the Antiochian Women.
Over the last 35 years, the Antiochian Women have raised over two million dollars towards the funding and support of many worthwhile endeavors, some of which are the Antiochian Village, the Seminarians, Continuing Pastoral Education, Missions, Orphanages and for the last three years, the Retired Clergy Fund.