Theme: Reflections on the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites you to a Lenten Retreat at St. Mary’s Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Featuring keynote speakers Dr. Anthony Bashir, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Boston MA, Co-Chair, Department of Lay Ministry; and Dr. John Dalack, clinical psychologist and Co-Chair, Department of Lay Ministry.
Retreat begins at 10am with Morning Prayers followed by a Continental Breakfast. Session I with Drs. Bashir & Dalack followed by Lunch Session II followed by Dessert Q&A and ending with Closing Prayers around 4pm.
To register or for more information call the church at 718-238-8008 or email Jenna Zraick at: firstname.lastname@example.org For directions to St. Mary's, visit www.smaoc.org. There is no registration fee but donations are greatly appreciated.
by Fr. Paul N. Tarazi
from The Word, April 1983
The Sunday of Orthodoxy is a gathering of commemoration, a commemoration of a bright victory, the victory of the Orthodox Faith at the 7th Ecumenical Synod of Nicaea in 787. Yes! A festivity of victory! This is after all what Orthodoxy Sunday is all about. However, it is to my eyes highly symbolical that, already since its inception in 843, this festivity has taken place on the 1st Sunday of the Great Lent.
In the eyes of the world any feast without meat, eggs and dairy products cannot be a full scale festivity; it is indeed puzzling — if not insane — to celebrate a great victory in such a meager way. But for us, this celebration is held at the beginning of Lent as an ever reminder that it is Pascha (Easter) —the Feast of Feasts, our only ultimate Feast — which is the fulfillment of Orthodoxy. Any other festivity or celebration is by the same token wanting and incomplete until our eyes have seen Jesus Christ, the Joy of our hearts, risen from the dead, smashing down forever sin, sickness and death, and bestowing His Life upon all those who have lost life.
The Archdiocese has another department?
How much does it cost?
What is it for?
What’s in it for me?
Even before these questions, maybe you asked, “Why do we need an Archdiocese? Our church is doing just fine on its own.” This is the very reason and purpose for this Department – to “re-energize” the Laity of our Archdiocese regarding the Hierarchal nature of our faith and its relevance to our future viability in this country.
V. Reverend Economos Antony Gabriel, Chair of the Department offers the following:
“What is so unique about the Antiochian Archdiocese is that it was established by the Laity. In 1885 St. Raphael came to the United States, consecrated in 1904 in Brooklyn, and then proceeded to establish 30 parishes. He died young as did other Bishops that succeeded him. Metropolitan Philip is the longest serving Bishop in the history of the Archdiocese. The legacy of this Archdiocese will be that we have embraced the spirit of going forward; standing still is death. We must continue to do everything in our power which comes from God to continue our forward progress not for our own glory or the glory of the Metropolitan, but for the glory of God and in honor of our founders who came to this country penniless. When Metropolitan Anthony died in 1966 the Archdiocese consisted of 66 parishes. Now we have 265 parishes. If the Church is not a missionary Church then it is dead. The ministry of the Laity is more important than that of the Priests. The Priests are confined to the parish, but the Laity has the whole world as its parish.”
On October 6, 2011 members of the Department of Planning and Development met with Metropolitan Philip at the Archdiocese to discuss the strategy behind the Department’s exciting plans to re-energize the visions and legacy of the Metropolitan Philip and our God-protected Archdiocese.
February 17, 2012
Ten years ago, five determined and dedicated IOCC supporters cycled their way across the U.S. to celebrate IOCC's tenth anniversary of service providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. The Race to Respond riders raised funds for those in need and put IOCC on the map with the new Orthodox Christian supporters they encountered through cities and towns across California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Lead rider, Jim Angelus, is ready to repeat this feat and is seeking a crew chief to drive the pursuit vehicle and two cross-country cyclists to join him again in honor of IOCC's 20th anniversary of humanitarian service. This time, the cross-country route will take the cyclists along the northern tier of the country from Seattle, Washington, through Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, covering approximately 3,000 miles in 33 days.
Cyclists must have prior experience in training and participating in strenuous long distance events. Much like the 2002 ride, cyclists will have to endure the psychological and physical demands of approximately 33 days of continuous cycling at approximately 90 miles per day.
The tentative timeline for this cross-country cycling event is June 26 – July 31. This timeline includes travel and time prep time in Seattle. Cyclists will be responsible for costs incurred on this cross-country trek, approximately $4,000. This includes travel expenses, equipment, accommodations and food, as well as the shared cost for a crew chief that will be providing SAG. Those interested should contact Jim Angelus at email@example.com for more information.
The 2013 DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat will be held from February 12-15, 2013. Guest speaker will be Sister Vassa (Larin), Ph.D., a ROCOR nun of the Diocese of Berlin and Germany. Her theme will be "Feasting and Fasting in the Byzantine Liturgical Tradition."
Sister Vassa is a University Assistant teaching Liturgical Studies (Liturgiewissenschaft) at the University of Vienna in Austria. She is a founding member of the Society of Oriental Liturgy and a candidate for membership of the North American Academy of Liturgy. Her book The Byzantine Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in Arsenij Suxanov's Proskinitari, published in 2010 as number 286 in Orientalia Christiana Analecta by the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, is available through Eighth Day Books in Wichita, Kansas (Orders@EighthDayBooks.com). To access other works by of Sister Vassa, simply Google "Sister Vassa Larin."
Mark your calendars now as you will not want to miss this retreat!
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
GLORY TO GOD! Seventy-five brothers gathered for the 40th annual DOWAMA Clergy Brotherhood Retreat at the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kansas this past week. We completed our time together today with Divine Liturgy and the Clergy Brotherhood Breakfast Meeting at the Cathedral followed by an Open House at the Chancery. Many thanks to the Board of the Virginia Farah Foundation for again providing our Clergy Brotherhood with a grant to underwrite the expenses of bringing in the guest speaker for our Retreat. And sincere thanks are expressed to Richard and Joyce Ayoob of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California for their very thoughtful and generous donation to our Diocese, which allowed scholarships to be provided for several of our brothers to attend the Retreat, as well as the gift of the book "Alexandros Papadiamantis: Greece's Dostoevsky" to each man who attended the Retreat.
The dates for the 2013 Retreat are February 12th - 15th.
St. Nicholas Cathedral in Los Angeles, California continued its tradition this past year of honoring several of its parishioners during its Annual Feast day luncheon. This year's honorees were 2 couples: Ronald and Rose Samore and Edward and Georgette Malouf. These couples were honored for their lifelong service to God's church and specifically for their tireless efforts in serving St. Nicholas Cathedral for the past 30 plus years. They have served the church in such events as community outreach, Sweetheart Ball committees, Creative Festivals committee at Parish Life Conferences, organizing and cooking countless meals, serving the Antiochian Women organizations, serving Camp St. Nicholas, and in many other capacities in their church, as well as on a Diocesan and Archdiocesan level. May the Lord grant you many, many more years!
by Fr. David Barr
from The Word, February 1991
Once again we will enter into Great Lent, the season of fasting and preparation for the Feast of Feasts, our Lord's Resurrection from the dead. As Orthodox Christians, Great Lent is an important time of the year, for this is when we make an even greater effort to pursue the spiritual life. It is the time when our attention returns to repentance and self-denial. We have additional Church services, and they tend to be longer than normal. Kneeling and prostrations become a greater part of our liturgical worship. In order for you to participate in this important time of the year, perhaps it is good to look at the origins of Great Lent and how it developed into what we experience today. Knowing why we do things is often helpful in participating in the life of the Church.
One of the most revered contemporary Spiritual Fathers of the Eastern Church, Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain (1924-1994), gives an insight that can be applied to a tragic event that is fresh in the minds of many around world today. The Elder counseled us to have well-disposed thinking toward those around us. He told his spiritual disciples to see the "good things" around them and not focus on the evil people do.
In the spirit of the counsel of Elder Paisios I want to focus on the report of the good done by one of the Chaplains on board the severely damaged cruise-liner that went aground and partially sank off the coast of Italian Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy in January 2012. The horror of the plight of those passengers who were trapped was well documented by the media in text and video. As the ship was sinking the Chaplain radioed his headquarters, the Apostleship of the Sea, whose function in part is “to promote the spiritual, moral and social development" to those at sea, that it was his intention to "stay close to the crew and the passengers to comfort them at this moment of great confusion." The Chaplain also shared his thoughts at the very beginning of the disaster "There were so many children, I took a little girl in my arms. I asked that she be sent first with her mother and her evacuation took precedence." [http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/chaplain-costa-concordia-crew-showed-personal-sacrifice/]
His Eminence Archbishop Joseph recently inducted six new members into the Order of St. Ignatius at St. James Church in Modesto, California. Pictured above are His Eminence with inductees Carla Zell (Dame), Paulette Attoun (Dame), Ryan Swehla (Knight), Agnes Enwia (Dame), Nicholas Wright (Knight) and Subdeacon George Hartley (knight), as well as Kimberly Nicola, Dr. Ray Rishwain and Fr. Thomas Zell.
Over the weekend of November 4-6, 2011, His Grace Bishop Antoun presided over the consecration of All Saints Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and inducted members of the community into the Order of St. Ignatius.
SURPASSING HUMAN JUSTICE: ENTHRONING DIVINE JUSTICE.
IN CHRISTIANITY, MERCY TRUMPS JUSTICE.
"Compassion and justice in one soul are as a man adoring God and idols in one house." -St. Isaac of Syriai
The cry for "justice" is heard around the world. But what "justice" is cried out for? A casual overview of the media clearly indicates that the cry for worldly justice is very often accompanied by cries for retaliation, retribution and vengeance. Such 'justice' is often attributed to third world nations or countries that have been in constant conflict. For example, a British newspaper article headline about a recent Libyan incident read, "The car was armoured like a tank. But that wasn't enough to save Gaddafi's son Khamis when the rebels took their vengeance."ii History books recount incidents of murderous atrocities against individuals, nations and entire peoples, committed in the name of revenge, since the dawn of recorded time.
In the last two years St. John the Evangelist Antiochian Orthodox Church in Orinda, CA has engaged in several new forms of outreach to needy people. In each case we have learned that when we respond to God’s love shed abroad in our hearts by Christ (Rom. 5:5), we receive back both anticipated and unanticipated dividends from the Lord Himself… and those we serve!
1. Project Mexico: For two summers in a row teams of adults and kids from our parish have spent a week at St. Innocent Orphanage and built a simple new home for a poor family.
by Judy Yentzen
from The Word, March 1993
I would like to quote from THE SPIRITUAL COUNSELS OF FATHER JOHN OF KRONSTADT, Select Passages from MY LIFE IN CHRIST, edited and introduced by W. Jardine Grisbrooke. “The Christian has great, spiritual, divine enjoyments. Carnal delights must always be subjected to these higher delights; and when they hinder the latter they must be checked or suppressed. It is not to afflict man that food and drink are at certain times and seasons forbidden him by the Church, not to limit his freedom, as worldly people say; it is done in order to afford him true, lasting and eternal delights;. . . “. The Gospel reminds us how we are to fast, “. . . when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
I have only been in the Orthodox Church a short time — two years now and this will be my second Lenten season as an Orthodox. Because of that, I would like to share with you my first real introduction to fasting, the preparation, and how it affected my life.
I grew up in a protestant faith and, therefore, knew nothing about fasting. In my late thirties, I started going to the Episcopal church where I first read and heard a little about fasting — but only for the Lenten season, There was little said about it and even less importance placed upon it.
Would you like to prepare for Great Lent and Pascha by attending a spiritual talk? If so, come spend an afternoon in Orthodox fellowship, hear a great speaker, enlighten your mind, nourish your soul, do a good deed and get a free book!
On behalf of the St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church on Barton Street in Hamilton, you are cordially invited to an Orthodox Retreat. The keynote talk will be on Saturday, March 31st from 1 pm to 5 pm at the Canadian Serbian Community Centre at 1415 Barton St. E. in Hamilton. Registration starts at noon.
The topic is ‘BEATITUDES: A Patristic Look at the 7th, 8th & 9th Beatitudes’. The speaker is Father Demetrios Carellas, Archimandrite, Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. This talk will complete the series on The Beatitudes.
Registration is required in advance via e-mail to reserve a spot. Free Book for those who RSVP. Also, we will be collecting non-perishable food items for the needy via our local food bank. If you are able, your donation is appreciated. Please share this invitation with your friends - all are welcome!
Contact: Zorka Djurdjevic
St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church Education Committee
1415 Barton St. E.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Evenings - 905.547.2926
The Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites all young adults (ages 18-40) to our spring Young Adult Retreat hosted at St. Mary Basilica in Livonia, MI, the weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012. His Grace Bishop Anthony will be our guest speaker for the weekend leading us in workshops about our faith, along with church services, good food, activities and fellowship time together to enjoy each others company. We invite all young adults (married or single) from our diocese and beyond to join us for this retreat. It is going to be a fun and spiritually fulfilling retreat in which we hope all young adults from our diocese will participate.
The retreat will take place at St. Mary Basilica in (18100 Merriman Road, Livonia, MI). Out of town guests may book lodging at the Detroit Marriott Livonia (17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI) where a block of rooms is reserved under the group code: FSJFSJD at a special rate of $96 per night.
The weekend will begin at 7pm on Friday March 30 with the Akatahist/Madeyeh service at St. Mary's, and conclude with a light luncheon after Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday April 1. The final schedule is attached.
Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:
My name is David, a graduate of the Academy and former prisoner. In the 60s, as a committed Evangelical Protestant Christian, I took a Gospel of John bible class as a college freshman in San Francisco. Who would know 50 years later I would be helping an Orthodox Academy build a brand new study course for prisoners on the Gospel of John. Glory be to God. This course is written from an Orthodox perspective, with research by St. Athanasius Academy, the home of the Orthodox Study Bible: Septuagint Old and New Testament. It is an in-depth, verse by verse, study of the Gospel of John, based upon the Apostles, Holy Scripture, and renown Fathers of the early Church – a true work of joy. Please help us make this available to prisoners.
See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.
The Fall/Winter 2011-2012 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the North American Board. And The Diocese of New York and the Archdiocesan District, And the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, and contains:
- A message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, Antiochian Women Hierarchical Overseer
- A message from His Grace Bishop John, North American Board Spiritual Advisor
- A message from His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Brooklyn and Assistant to the Metropolitan
. . . For as the best physicians bring back those who are far gone in sickness with careful treatment to a state of health, not only treating them according to the laws of the medical art, but sometimes also giving them gratification: even so God conducts to virtue those who are much depraved, not with great severity, but gently and gradually, and supporting them on every side, so that the separation may not become greater, nor the error more prolonged.
And the same truth is implied in the parable of the prodigal son as well as in this. For he also was no stranger, but a son, and a brother of the child who had been well pleasing to the father, and he plunged into no ordinary vice, but went to the very extremity, so to say, of evil, he the rich and free and well-bred son being reduced to a more miserable condition than that of household slaves, strangers, and hirelings. Nevertheless he returned again to his original condition, and had his former honour restored to him.
by Archpriest Steven Rogers
from The Word, February 1999
On February 2, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Meeting of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This great feast, which commemorates that event at which Mary presents herself and her child in the temple for purification prayers forty days after the birth of her Son, is the culmination of the celebration of the Nativity of Christ. Once again, this feast reminds us of the Incarnation of God. As a man, Christ is submitting Himself to the Law that all might be fulfilled. We are confronted again with the amazing truth of the Incarnation —that God lowered Himself to become a man so that man might be lifted up out of his sin. Christ was truly a man, “like us in all respects save sin,” says St. Paul.
While remaining fully God, He submits Himself to the Jewish law as a man, “For I come not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” Upon their arrival at the temple, Mary presents the Christ Child to the Elder Simeon. It is this “meeting” that the feast celebrates. The second person of the Trinity “meets” his people as represented by Simeon, allowing mankind to embrace its creator and the author of its salvation.
Simeon knew it was his salvation he embraced and for him, life was now complete. “Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace according to Thy Word. For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou has prepared before the face of Thy people; a light to lighten the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.”
On Sunday, January 22, 2012, His Grace Bishop Antoun inducted four new members into the Order of St. Ignatius at St. Anthony the Great Mission in Melbourne, Florida. The inductees pictured above are, from left to right, Kh. Odette Shalhoub (Sponsor), Dr. Donna Soto (Dame Commander), Dr. Enrigue Soto (Knight Commander), Patricia Smith (Dame), and Ted Theodoropoulos (Knight).
Winter Camp 2012 for the Diocese of Wichita will be held at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, Oklahoma from February 17-20. This year's theme will be Christ the Merciful Judge, and the camp will feature speaker George Hazaris, the youth director and pastoral assistant from the Greek Orthodox Church of Our Savior in Rye, New York.
Form & $100 registration (Chaperones/Advisors $70.00) payment is due by Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, and should be sent to:
St. George Orthodox Church – Attn: Paul Fuller
5311 Mercer Street
Houston, TX 77005
Click here to download a registration form (Word format). Please contact Paul Fuller at 502.592.9981 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
by Carole A. Buleza
This article is the second in a series based on Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers, by Christian Smith with Melinda Lundquist Denton (Oxford University Press, 2005. The book received the 2006 Christianity and Culture Book Award. The first article, “Christianity’s Mis-begotten Child” appeared in the March 2011 issue of The Word.
I knew that I would be writing more articles based on this book, which I consider exceptionally insightful and valuable. Soul Searching is the project report of professors at the University of North Carolina who received a grant to investigate how important faith is to American teenagers, why, and in what ways. The book received Christianity Today's 2006 Christianity and Culture book award.
The data for the report was gathered from 3,290 teenagers in the United States. The majority of the teenagers categorized themselves as Christian (82%); Protestants comprised the majority (52%) and Catholics were second (23%). The third largest category, those who considered themselves not religious, accounted for 16% of the respondents (31).
The book offers not only statistics but excerpts from the many interviews that were conducted, and the reflections of the authors. From my experience of working with teens and having two of my own, their analyses are correct, and their reflections are extremely valuable. Furthermore, they believe the beliefs held by the teenagers reflect those of the baby boomer generation, making the book valuable not only for youth ministers but also for pastors.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5:3)
In previous articles on parenting I have emphasized the importance of making connections between Christ, His Church and the issues and problems that make up modern life (Morelli, 2010). Jesus entry into his public life is recorded by the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. It was at His baptism in the River Jordan by St. John who is called the Baptist. This event is called the Theophany in which Christ's Divinity was proclaimed by His Father as told to us by St. Matthew: "And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Mt 3: 16-17) The spiritual-theological significance of the Theophany is noted in the beautiful Apolytikion of the Feast:
When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan, worship of the Trinity wast made manifest; for the voice of the Father bore witness to Thee, calling Thee His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of His word. O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world, glory to Thee.