by Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky
from The Word, November 1969
The master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master . . . For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’ (Matt. 25:21, 29)
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a saint in our icons? They are always direct, responsive, piercing. Never are the saints portrayed in profile. A saint is one who responds to God’s demands on him, accepting the challenge to be a responsible being.
In a parish, the responsibility for getting things done always falls on the shoulders of just a few people. Periodically, we look around for talent, hoping to get others, as many as possible, involved in planning and carrying out decisions.
What happens is that several projects won’t be accomplished, or else just half finished, thrown together at the last minute. The end result is giving the duties back to the old reliables, all of them having five or six activities going on simultaneously, proving once more the old maxim: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”
On Sunday October 16, 2011, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip inducted four new members to the Order of St. Ignatius at St. George Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts. Fr. Milady Selim, Rose El Khoury and Susan El Khoury were inducted as Life Members, and Toufic Jreije as Knight.
His Grace Bishop Thomas made his annual visit to Holy Ascension Mission in West Chester, Pennsylvania on the weekend of October 7th–9th, 2011. Sayedna Thomas celebrated Great Vespers on Friday evening followed by dinner with the parish council. The dinner featured dialog on the growth of Holy Ascension as well as stories from Bishop Thomas’ experiences as a young priest. On Saturday the day began with a Divine Liturgy commemorating St. Pelagia the Righteous, with the baptism of Paul Meyer, Fr. Daniel’s son, immediately following. His Grace administered the sacrament with the assistance of the Fr. Andrew Damick of St. Paul Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. Following the divine services, the Women of St. Thekla Group hosted a light meal in a beautifully decorated hall.
Under the direction of His Grace Bishop Thomas, twenty-four priests from the Antiochian Dioceses of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic and of New York and Washington gathered together for their annual clergy retreat at the Antiochian Village from September 20th to 23rd, 2011. The priests from last year's retreat selected the V. Rev. Fr. Alexander Atty, Dean of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, as the guest keynote speaker for the week.
Fr. Alexander gave a series of lectures pertaining to “The Priestly Life.” He spoke of the priest as as a spiritual architect, a good shepherd, a confessor, and a husband and father. The priests were very edified by his words that come from many years of experience as a pastor laboring in the vineyard to the glory of God.
In addition to these lectures, several priests gave intimate reflections on their personal experiences in the life in Christ as pastors. Kicking off the retreat, Fr. John Nosal, led a discussion on selected portions of the biography of Fr. Seraphim Rose. Fr. John Dixon, spoke of the priest's rule of prayer as a foundation for his ministry. Fr. Gregory Long, spoke of how to get through the priest's terror of being speechless when he is needed. Fr. Joel Gillam, noted how humbling and edifying it is to meet with fellow priests, while observing how the Lord has manifested Himself in their lives. Fr. Charles Baz, gave a beautiful word on St. Joseph of Damascus, the patron saint of this annual clergy retreat.
President's Message: Society of St. John Chrysostom - Western Region
by Fr. George Morelli
Are we on the cusp of the fullness of time in which a confluence of forces, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will bring down the wall of separation between the Eastern, Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Churches under the omophorion of the Bishop of Rome? Why pose the question in this way? In the past many international theological consultations have taken place. These consultations involve theologians from the Churches. The Bishop of Rome has also met with individual Orthodox patriarchs and bishops. The wall of separation remains. However, as noted by a ‘monk of the Eastern Church’: “human barriers do not reach up to heaven.”
Now it seems a next step has been suggested following a meeting, described as “remarkably harmonious,” between Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Hilarion of the Moscow Patriarchate. (See page 3 for details. http://lightoftheeast.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/ssjcnewsfall09-11.pdf) Both men are described as scholars, theologians, liturgists, and lovers of music. In addition, Archbishop Hilarion is a world famous gifted composer. Also, following a meeting between the Archbishop and Cardinal Kasper, the Cardinal suggested that a conference of Orthodox European bishops could possibly form a partnership in dialogue between the Churches in the future. A conference of Orthodox bishops would elevate succeeding talks from one on one encounters of individual Patriarchs to a more unified Orthodox witness, voice and consensus.
by Very Rev. Stephen Rogers
from The Word, October 2000
During the month of October this year, we hear the Gospel account of the Gadarene demoniac (Luke 8:26-39). The story is familiar to us for it is read twice each year (cf. also Matthew 8:28-34). Upon arriving in the country of the Gadarenes, a Gentile country opposite Galilee, Jesus encounters a demon-possessed man who is terrorizing the people of the area. The Scriptures tell us that so violent was the man that he was kept in shackles; but in a demon-possessed fit of rage he broke the chains and went into the wilderness.
Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man. As the Gospel account relates, the demons fled into a herd of swine, Upon entering the swine, the herd “ran violently down the steep place into the lake and were drowned” (Luke 8:33).
The Gospel account concludes with a group of witnesses reporting to the surrounding community what had happened. Upon hearing the report, “the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them for they were seized with great fear” (Luke 8:3 7). In Matthew we are told the people begged Jesus to leave.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
AXIOS! Deacon Philip Begley, son of Fr. Thomas and Kh. Beth Begley, formerly of St. Thomas Church in Sioux City, IA and now of St. George Church in West St. Paul, MN, will be ordained to the holy priesthood by the soon-to-be-consecrated Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England on January 8th, 2012. Deacon Philip is a senior at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA.
Fr. Noah Bushelli writes:
October 18th, 2011
Feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, the Beloved Physician
Glory to God!
We are so blessed to be living in Christ as members of His Body, the Holy Orthodox Church. Sometimes we feel this great blessing more fully than others. Thanks to a recent visit by Bishop Thomas Oct 1st - 6th, we are refreshed in the joy, peace, and vitality of serving God in this God-protected Antiochian Archdiocese and reaching out to this beautiful country of ours. We are Grateful for our Fathers-in-Christ, Metropolitan Philip and our Bishop, Thomas, for the loving, intensely mission-minded tone they have set and we are working very hard to bear fruit worthy of their examples. His Grace came for his annual archpastoral and gave us the challenging and joyful message of following Christ robustly and bringing people into the Kingdom of Heaven.
His Grace Bishop Thomas recently visited Holy Cross Church in Linthicum, Maryland:
The presentation below was given to the Orthodox Peace Fellowship [an endorsed organization of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of America] Annual Meeting, held in Madison, Wisconsin on September 16-18 2011. I have consistently written on forgiveness as central to the teachings and practice of Christ Himself and the necessity of our emulation of this forgiveness to bring peace to those around us and achieve our own sanctification. Many of these articles are posted on Orthodoxy Today [www.orthodoxytoday.org/archive/morelli] and the Antiochian Archdiocese [http://www.antiochian.org/author/morelli] website.
These articles supply the substantive content and background to accompany this presentation. Parish priests catechists, and all of the Royal Priesthood of Christ by their Holy Baptism may find this PowerPoint presentation with the relevant articles useful in giving workshops or leading discussion groups on this critical issue that confronts committed Orthodox Christians in today's non-Christian violent vengeance and retribution centered world.
As we go on in life unfortunate things happen to us. Psychologist Albert Ellis (1962) described our reaction to such events this way: "we think. . . it is awful and catastrophic when things are not the way one would very much like them to be." Frequently individuals blame themselves for these damaging setbacks and outcomes of life and they become bitter in the process. When untoward events occur, when individuals have done something that has produced an adverse effect, we should first determine if the circumstance can or cannot be changed. If it can be changed, then we can strive to improve, change or eradicate it. If it cannot be changed ,one should, in Ellis's terms, "philosophically accept or resign himself to their existence." Individuals suffering from bitterness could also focus on aspirations and goals that are attainable, and that would provide greater chance of success.
The following articles are archived selections from Orthodox Family Life. The first deals with secular education in the public school setting. The second article pertains to Orthodox Home School, which is becoming increasingly popular and more common. Whether your children are part of the public school system or receiving their instruction at home, there are specific challenges unique to each setting.
Making the Most of Your Children's Public School Education
by Ann Marie Gidus-Mecera
While the trend of many Christians today, including a growing number of Orthodox Christians, is to home school their children, many have chosen (or do so out of necessity) to educate their children through the public school systems.
Any concerned Orthodox parent is aware of the negatives attached to a public school education, and very often struggle with this on an on-going basis. While the purpose of this article is not to defend the benefits of a public school education, it will attempt to help Orthodox parents turn those negative factors into positive learning experiences.
by Fr. James C. Meena
from The Word, November 1986
If one wishes to join a private club or an athletic association one must submit an application, be approved by the membership committee and, in most cases, by the membership at large. St. Paul may have had these things in mind two thousand years ago, when he said: “Thank the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light,” (Colossians 1:12).
If belonging to organizations is so important to us, how much more urgent is it that we may be joined unto the saints? Being aware that it is possible to be part of an eternal order, joined by the love, the compassion, the sacrifice and the Resurrection of Christ, we should strive always to become part of this union. Our club membership can be rescinded if we do not pay our dues. We might even be so busy that we can’t attend and take advantage of the facilities. But when we join the Saints, somehow, by God’s Grace, a transformation occurs within us that makes it very difficult to separate ourselves from Him.
The Kingdom of God is not like a country club with limited membership, but it is so widespread that if the chosen do not respond to the Divine invitation, God will reach out into the world and elect the seemingly unelectable, and still there will be room. How immeasurable the Kingdom of God! (St. Luke 14:16-24).
Dear Brother in Christ:
Christ is in our midst!
The third Sunday of October, October 16, 2011 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across our Archdiocese.
On Sunday, October 16th, your teen group, or if you have none, your designated representatives, are asked to seek the financial help of your parishioners in funding the 2012 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 10-18, 2012. Next summer we will be celebrating our 31st Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.
We Need YOUR HELP!
1. Please publicize this day. We have enclosed two bulletin inserts, one for October 9th and the other for October 16th. Please include these inserts in your bulletin and share this cause from the pulpit. Your enthusiastic promotion of such a worthwhile ministry will go a long way in producing fruitful results from our faithful.
The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on the 2nd Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians
"Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart." (2 Corinthians 9:7)
For a man when left to himself, does a thing more readily than when compelled. Wherefore also he dwells upon this: for having said, "according as he is disposed," he added, "Not grudgingly, nor of necessity." And neither was he content with this, but he adds a testimony from Scripture also, saying,
"For God loveth a cheerful giver."
Seest thou how frequently he lays this down? "I speak not by commandment:" and, "Herein I give my advice:" and, "as a matter of bounty, and not as of extortion," and again, "not grudgingly, nor of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver." In this passage I am of opinion that a large [giver] is intended; the Apostle however has taken it as giving with readiness. For because the example of the Macedonians and all those other things were enough to produce sumptuousness, he does not say many things on that head, but upon giving without reluctance. For if it is a work of virtue, and yet all that is done of necessity is shorn of its reward, with reason also he labors at this point. And he does not advise merely, but also adds a prayer, as his wont is to do, saying,
(Verse 8) "And may God, that is able, fulfill all grace towards you."
Most holy Mother of God, today we Orthodox joyfully celebrate thy coming among us. As we gaze at thy icon we cry with compunction: Shelter us under thy protection, deliver us from evil, and pray thy Son Christ our God to save our souls.
+ Troparion of the Feast, Tone 4
Today the Virgin is standing before us in the Church praying for us with the choirs of Saints. Angels worship with Hierarchs, Apostles rejoice with Prophets, for the Mother of God intercedes with the Eternal God for us.
+ Kontakion of the Feast, Tone 3
Fr. Justin Patterson (OCA) writes: "This feast of the Protection of the Theotokos is neither one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church nor is it a commemoration of any events in the earthly lives of our Lord or His Mother. So why does the Orthodox Church—here in twenty-first-century North America—keep this feast?" Read his reflection here.
by Fr. James C. Meena
from The Word, October 1984
Leadership is an elusive quality and like so many characteristics of the outstanding human being, very difficult to describe. I think each of us has his own definition of leadership and what makes a good leader. In my opinion, a good leader is one who, first of all, has been a good follower, one who has proven oneself able to take instructions, able to subordinate one’s will to the will of others who have assumed the responsibility of leadership, able to make constructive comments and debate issues when necessary and able to stand up for the principles in which one believes. Having done this one can be called a good follower and begins to qualify for leadership although, I must say, not all good followers make good leaders. There are some people who are marvelous as choir singers but terrible as choir directors. Many of us are excellent followers but not all of us are good leaders.
To be a good leader, I believe one has to know where he is going, needs to understand what purposes and objectives are to be reached, needs to cling to those purposes and objectives and never compromise with the truth. Now there are times when he may have to bend a little, yield a little, but he always keeps a clear vision of the ultimate goal that he and his group wish to attain, and he dedicates himself totally and completely to achieving that goal ethically.
... that within the Department of Sacred Music, we not only have Diocesan Coordinators, but also a whole host of committee members?
Our Diocesan Coordinators are the ones who used to be called the Regional Directors. They are there to assist you in your parishes in each of our Dioceses to help you with whatever needs you have regarding directing, chanting, singing, or any of the music for our liturgical services. They direct the services at the Diocesan Conferences, and will even come to your parish for a workshop if you invite them.
Here are there reports for this year (as they come in):
Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic
Eagle River and the Northwest
Los Angeles and the West
Miami and the Southeast
New York and Washington, D.C.
Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York
Toledo and the Midwest
Wichita and Mid-America & Orthodox Music: Past, Present & Future
Worcester and New England
We also have many different committees working on other projects for this department. They are:
(Last updated December 10, 2012)
His grace Bishop Basil writes:
AXIOS! On Sunday, October 2nd, 2011, Fr. Elias Issa of St. Basil the Great Church in Kansas City, Kansas will be elevated to the dignity of archpriest.
WORTHY! Subdeacon Mark Telschow of Holy Cross Church in Midland-Odessa, Texas will be ordained to the holy diaconate at St. George Church in Houston, Texas on Sunday, October 30th. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas will be elevated to the dignity of Archpriest at St. Joseph Church on November 3rd. Subdeacon David Cook of St. Paul Church in Houston, Texas will be ordained to the holy diaconate at St. Joseph Church on November 3rd. Deacon Michael Fulton of St. Joseph Church in Houston, Texas and a senior at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Brookline, Massachusetts will be ordained to the holy priesthood at St. Joseph Church on November 3rd.
MABROUK! St. Anthony Church in Spring, Texas, where Fr. Anthony Baba is proistamenos, will be consecrated on the weekend of November 5th and 6th.
John the Forerunner, the fruit of prayer, hath budded from a barren womb today. Rejoice, O wilderness, and dance for joy, O mankind! Behold, the preacher of repentance beginneth to take flesh in his mother’s womb. Come, as we rejoice over his glorious conception, O ye feast-lovers, let us form a choir, crying: O thou greatest of them that are born of women, cease not to intercede for us who with faith honor thy divine conception, that we may find forgiveness of sins and Great Mercy.
--Doxasticon from Great Vespers, Tone 6
Rejoice, O barren one, who had not given birth; for behold thou hast conceived clearly the one who is the dawn of the Sun Who was about to illuminate the whole universe, blighted with sightlessness. Shout in joy, O Zacharias, crying in favour, Verily, the one to be born is a Prophet of the High.
--Troparion, Tone 4
Christ in the Old Testament compiled and edited by Thomas Hopko, illustrated by Niko Chocheli
“Images of Christ, cast as shadows in Old Testament texts, illuminate this book of biblical prophecy for young and old alike. Illustrator Niko Chocheli creates a stunning graphic dialog between the voice of the prophets and the coming Christ who eternally rests in their words. The Son of Man whom Daniel saw in night visions, the Branch of Jesse whom Isaiah saw shoot forth, and the apparitions of other prophets emerge as vivid icons of our Lord.”
~St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press
This book shows the connection between the Old and New Testament as each illustration is accompanied by scriptural quotes from the Old and New. This book is beautifully illustrated and an excellent way to familiarize children with the Bible and help them see the connection between the Old and the New Testaments.
Lamp to My Feet: An Introduction to the Bible (a zine by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)
His Grace Bishop Basil recently recieved this letter of thanks from Hunger Relief International, the recipient of DOWAMA's 2011 charitable contribution as recommended by Fr. Seraphim Gisetti of St. John Chrysostom Church in Golden, Colorado and decided upon during the General Assembly at this summer's Parish Life Conference in Shreveport, Louisiana:
Dear Bishop Basil:
Our thanks to Bishop Basil and all the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (DOWAMA) for the generous gift of $500.00 donated to Hunger Relief International. These funds will be utilized to provide food staples to the school-based feeding program run by the Orthodox Church in Port au Prince, Haiti. We will be providing rice, beans, pasta and oil to the school in early September, right before classes begin.
We appreciate your compassion and generosity in helping us to assist children living in extreme poverty in Haiti.
Hunger Relief International, Inc.
October 15, 2012, 2:00 pm– 4:00 pm
St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church
9302 Riverview, Kansas City, KS 66112
E-mail your attendance numbers to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Flyer (PDF)
St. Basil Antiochian Orthodox Church is offering a 2-hour workshop for Sunday School Teachers, Parish Councils, Priests, day care providers in your Parishes, or anyone interested in learning more about child abuse and how to best deal with it in your congregation or work.
The award-winning video Hear Their Cries: A Religious Response to Child Abuse & Neglect on the role of clergy and lay leaders in ending child abuse is a critical resource for all congregations. Produced by the FaithTrust Institute.
This movie will be the basis of a Mandated Reporter Training offered to all Orthodox Church Priests, Sunday School Teachers, and any day care providers in their congregations by Kh. Jeanetta Issa at St. Basil’s.
For more information, please download the event flyer (PDF).