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Gleanings from a Book: "The Suitcase" by Jane G. Meyer

Orthodox Christian author Jane G. Meyer has written a new picture book called The Suitcase: a Story about Giving. The book was illustrated by Chiara Pasqualotto. It is the story of Thomas, a boy who may be autistic but does not let his challenges keep him from being an active participant - even a leader - in entering the Kingdom of God while bringing others with him. Any reader, regardless of age, will be challenged to find ways to make God’s Kingdom happen in the world around them after meeting Thomas through this book. 

Here is a brief summary and review of the book:

Thomas is like clockwork. He is so precise with his preferred activities that you can almost predict what he will do each day. So, when he randomly shows up at the family supper table one night with a suitcase, declaring that he intends to leave for the Kingdom of Heaven, it catches everyone’s attention, for this is far from his routine!

Memory Eternal! + Nabiha (Iqal) Rayan

Father Nicholas Dahdal writes:

Memory Eternal! Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero, IL, offers her sincerest condolences to the Rayan Family on the loss of the handmaid of God Nabiha (Iqal) Rayan, who passed into eternal life on Bright Monday April 17, 2017. Condolences are extended to her children Yacoub (Baha), Rayan (Fayrouz), Saliba (Janan), Archdiocese Board Member Mansour (Wafa), Jad (Pam), Ida (†Jiries) Mufarreh, Ghada Rayan, and their families.

Likewise, we extend condolences to her siblings Issa, Boutros, Nasr, Kamel, Widad, Huda, Julia, Offa, and Suad.

Nabiha now joins in eternal life her beloved husband †Oudeh Rayan, and her siblings †Daoud and †Saeed. The Paschal Funeral Service and Burial was held on Bright Thursday, April 20.

The Dept. of Homeschooling Announces 2017 St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference

With us everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children, 
and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord.  
- St. John Chrysostom

Did you know that homeschooling is becoming more and more popular? It might be the best educational option for your family, or a family you know.

If so, we encourage you to look into the annual St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, scheduled for April 27-30, 2017 at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center outside Ligonier, PA. The conference offers workshops for both experienced and beginning homeschoolers alike, with simultaneous activity sessions for children ages three and up.

Metropolitan Joseph's Paschal Greeting, 2017

PASCHA 2017
All creatures have been filled with light, the heaven and the earth, and all that is below the earth. Let all creation, therefore, celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, in which it is strengthened.
Paschal Canon, Ode 3

Beloved in Christ,

CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!

Having struggled together through the Fast, we have arrived at the Tomb of Christ and joyfully find it transformed from a place of gloom into a source of brilliance that permeates all the regions "in heaven and on earth and under the earth". (Phil. 2:10).

Bishop Thomas to Offer Commencement Address, Receive Honorary Doctorate at St. Tikhon's Seminary

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Board of Trustees of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and St. Tikhon's Rector His Eminence Archbishop Michael, have invited His Grace Bishop Thomas to deliver the Commencement Address at the Seminary's graduation on May 27, 2017. In his letter of invitation, Archbishop Michael cited His Grace's "faithful, tireless and yeoman service to the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the United States, and Holy Orthodoxy throughout the world, as well as to theological education in particular." Bishop Thomas will also be awarded an honorary doctorate by the Seminary.

Saint Tikhon's has graciously invited all the faithful to attend the graduation exercises, as well as the entire weekend of festivities that mark the Annual Pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's Monastery. Pilgrimage services begin Friday afternoon, May 26, continue Saturday, and Sunday, and culminate with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Monday morning, May 29.

An Orthodox Spiritual Response to Clergy Burnout

By Bishop Thomas and Peter Schweitzer

In my last article, I wrote about the faithful participation in the life of Christ and what that entails on a practical level. In this present paper, I hope with God’s help to address the issue in terms of our beloved clergy. In the last paper, I made a distinction between being at church and being in church. On the surface, this distinction does not hold for our clergy by the fact of their ordination. We must necessarily be in church leading the services. However, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ come to mind, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)  There is a temptation for clergy and faithful alike to be physically present for services while their hearts remain cold and hardened. 

Send Us Your Photos From This Holy Season!

V. Rev. Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, St. Michael Church, Geneva, NY (photo: Matthew Owen)V. Rev. Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, St. Michael Church, Geneva, NY (photo: Matthew Owen)Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Christ is risen! The team at Antiochian.org is issuing a call for photos from your parish's Holy Week and Pascha celebrations. Send all photos to editor@antiochian.org as JPEG attachments. Please send a maximum of three photos, include a caption for each photo you send, and tell us the name of the parish and priest represented by the photo. Read our submission checklist here.

Memory Eternal! + Chafica Chamoun-Cohlmia

Mrs. Cohlmia with her sons Dr. Samir and George.Mrs. Cohlmia with her sons Dr. Samir and George.Memory Eternal! + Chafica Chamoun-Cohlmia, 82, mother of Dr. Samir Nouhad Cohlmia, Diocesan Protopsaltis for the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, reposed on the evening of Great and Holy Friday, April 14, 2017. She was preparing to attend the divine service. The Paschal Funeral will be served at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS on Bright Tuesday at 7:00 p.m., with interment followed by a meal of mercy on Bright Wednesday beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Condolences may be sent to Dr. Samir and his brother George at SamCohlmia@yahoo.com.

Great and Holy Friday

On Great and Holy Friday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the sufferings of Christ: the mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the nails, the thirst, the vinegar and gall, the cry of desolation, and all the Savior endured on the Cross. "Today He Who hung the earth on the waters is hung on the tree," sing the solemn worshippers. Beginning with the Orthros of Holy Friday on Thursday evening, and ending with Vespers on Friday afternoon, the day is one of solemn observation and strict fasting. The richness of the liturgical actions and hymnography on this day, are unsurpassed.

We worship Your passion and Your burial,
for by them, You have saved us from death!

For more reflections and resources, please visit our Holy Week section. And for more material dedicated to the pinnacle of the liturgical year, visit Antiochian.org/Pascha.

Read more about Great and Holy Friday
St. Theodore the Studite on Holy Friday
Fr. John Finley shares portions of St. Nicholai Velemirovic's homily on Great Friday

Spring 2017 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2017 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. The issue contains:

  • A greeting from His Grace Bishop Basil
  • A message from Spiritual Advisor Fr. Christopher Morris
  • A message from the Diocesan President Deana Bottei
  • Profiles of diocesan officers
  • Chapter reports, photos and happenings

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + April 12, 2017

Exodus 2:11-22
Job 2:1-10
Matthew 26:6-16

Exodus 2:11-22 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren and looked at their burdens. And he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two Hebrew men were fighting, and he said to the one who did the wrong, “Why are you striking your companion?” Then he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” So Moses feared and said, “Surely this thing is known!” When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “How is it that you have come so soon today?” And they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.” So he said to his daughters, “And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.” Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph Convenes Second Gathering of Archdiocesan Department Leaders

His Eminence leads the meeting of department and organization heads.His Eminence leads the meeting of department and organization heads.

Following on the success of last year's first-ever exclusive gathering, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph again convened the leaders of the Archdiocesan departments and organizations at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center in Bolivar, PA, April 5–6, 2017. Together, they examined their ministries and set immediate and long-term goals aimed at building up their ministries, in order to bring the clergy and faithful closer to our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Orthodox Church.

Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Thomas of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic; His Grace Bishop John of Worcester and New England; His Grace Bishop Anthony of Toledo and the Midwest; members of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees; and more than twenty-five department chairpersons and leaders. Each leader reported on his or her current mission and vision for the next several years, accomplishments of the previous year, and any issues that were particular to the specific department in question. Each department head also fielded questions, addressed the audience's concerns, and welcomed new ideas to enhance the work.

Separate one-on-one meetings in which financial projections for the next three years were reviewed were also held between each department head and the Archdiocese finance team, headed by Mr. Salim Abboud, CFO.

The hierarchs, clergy, and lay leaders started each day in Ss. Peter and Paul Chapel with Lenten Daily Orthros, and they partook of Holy Communion on Wednesday night at the Presanctified Divine Liturgy. His Eminence expressed his gratitude to all of the attendees for sacrificing their time to attend this gathering, and he thanked them for all of the good work they do throughout the year.

Receiving the Holy Fire in Taybeh

Christians in Taybeh, Palestine celebrate the religious Tradition of the Holy Fire. (Photo c/o Maria C. Khoury)Christians in Taybeh, Palestine celebrate the religious Tradition of the Holy Fire. (Photo c/o Maria C. Khoury)"O Gladsome Light, of the Holy glory of the Immortal Father, heavenly Holy, blessed Jesus Christ!" (Holy Saturday Morning Prayers)

Everyone should have a favorite day in the Church calendar and as an Orthodox Christian living in the land of Christ's Holy Resurrection (in the only all-Christian village still left in Palestine), mine happens to be Holy Saturday. 

We usually celebrate receiving the Miracle of the Holy Fire at the outskirts of our village approximately after 5 pm in the late afternoon on Great and Holy Saturday while waiting usually from 1pm local time when this great miracle occurs annually in Jerusalem. Palestinian Christians and Muslims cannot freely enter the Holy City of Jerusalem unless they have special permission granted by Israel. Thus, on this very sacred day, for those who do not have the freedom to get into Jerusalem we celebrate in the location which God has granted us good health to witness.

The local priests, Fr. Daoud (Orthodox), Fr. Jack (Melkite) and Fr. Johnny (Roman Catholic), of all three churches with the choir chanting, and the Taybeh Scouts beating the drums march in a solemn procession to meet our cousin Ibrahim with his sixteen-year-old son Philip, who go to the city of Ramallah, where the faithful bring the flame from Jerusalem for the Palestinian Christian communities that cannot reach the Holy City.  

Lent, 2017: Bishop Anthony's Talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church

Recently, His Grace Bishop Anthony gave two talks at St. George Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers, Indiana, pastored by Fr. Nabil Hanna. The two talks are titled, "The Second Coming of Christ," and "We are made in the image of Christ."

Fidelity in the Life of Christ: A Lenten Reflection by Bishop Thomas

by Bishop Thomas (Joseph) and Peter Schweitzer
April 5, 2017

In my last article, I wrote about the notion of the Orthodox Church as the Ark of Salvation whose mission concerns the salvation of its members. In so doing, I dismissed the notion that the Church functions as a corporation concerned with the smooth administration of an institution. The corporate mentality has no place in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ. This affirmation leads to the next issue--what does it mean to be a member of the Church?

At first glance, one could reasonably assume that membership requires a fidelity to the Church’s teachings and, on the local level, participation in the life of the parish. Of course, this is true and a necessary first step but it doesn’t capture entirely what membership in the Orthodox Church implies. Just as a child who is initiated into the Church through the mysteries of baptism, chrismation, and Holy Eucharist must continue to be nourished throughout life by the regular and consistent participation in the Mysteries and the services of the Church, adult members can’t claim fidelity to Christ and His Church without the same.

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Fifth Annual Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service

Read the article in the Post-Gazette.

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph presided at the fifth annual Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service, held this year at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA. His Grace Bishop Thomas was in attendance, along with other Antiochian clergy and hierarchs and clergy from other jurisdictions. The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee organized the service and dinner. 

The money will be distributed to programs that aid displaced Syrians internally, as well as to relief efforts that assist refugees in Lebanon, Greece and Jordan, said IOCC spokeswoman Kristen Fianni.

Modern Christian Martyrs Video Features Clergy and Parishioners of St. George, Cicero, IL


April 4, 2017

The new documentary "Modern Christian Martyrs" is part of an ongoing series titled Sanctuary, created by an award-winning ecumenical television producer, Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries, Chicago, IL. It features Fr. Nicholas Dahdal, along with a refugee family from Syria who attends his church, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cicero, IL.

April 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

                            All things were made through Him, and without Him, there was nothing made
                                                that was made. In Him was Life, and the Life, was the Light of man.
(Gospel of John 1:3-4)

Within the mystery of Great Lent, let’s continue our review of the Word and how through His Incarnation, our restored relationship with Jesus – our Father – is once again, whole and complete.

In particular, let’s focus on: All things were made through Him. Let’s do so with a relational, almost family-like view, not merely an analytical / academic manner, based in Greek philosophy.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

The Christopher Elias Memorial Scholarship Now Available to High School Seniors

Applications for a new Antiochian scholarship, The Christopher Elias Memorial Scholarship, are now available to qualified applicants. To qualify for consideration, the applicant must:
1) be a graduating high school senior
2) a member of an Antiochian Orthodox parish in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America  
3) accepted by an accredited institution of higher learning and
4) entering as a freshman in the fall of 2017.

To request an application, email Dr. Anthony Bashir at: anthony_bashir@emerson.edu, and an electronic copy of the application will be sent. The completed application is due by June 15, 2017 in hard copy, and sent by regular post. Recipients will be announced and awards made during the 53rd Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention in Miami, Florida, on July 23–30, 2017.

Memory Eternal! His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba

With sadness, and with hope in the Resurrection, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph conveys the news from the Patriarchate of Antioch of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Eminence Metropolitan Elia (Saliba) of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Hama (or Afamia) in central Syria, which he faithfully shepherded since 1984. Metropolitan Elia reposed on Saturday morning, April 1, 2017, at the age of 95.

Sayidna Joseph recalls Sayidna Elia as a dynamic man of God, a gifted theologian, and highly educated. He was a canonist in both civil law and church law who understood the spirit and the depth of the Orthodox Church's canons. He also fondly remembers Metropolitan Elia as his principal in the Orthodox Christian schools of Damascus in the 1950s and 1960s.

Metropolitan Elia served as secretary to His Beatitude Patriarch Theodosius VI before coming to North America. Many of our clergy and congregations will remember Sayidna Elia from the 1970s when, as Titular Bishop of Salamia, he lived in the Archdiocesan Headquarters and assisted His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory in the administration of this Archdiocese.

2017 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Thomas

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2017

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

We celebrate the slaying of death, the destroying of hell, the beginning of another way of life that is eternal. And leaping for joy, we sing a hymn to the Cause, the only blessed and most glorious God of our fathers. 

On the Holy Mountain of Athos, this troparion from the Paschal Canon is repeated seven times on the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha. In repeating these holy words composed by Saint John of Damascus, we enter into the joy of Pascha. This prayer brings joy to the world for it proclaims the Resurrection in all its radiance and splendor, as Elder Porphyrios so clearly explains:

Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Officially Begins National Search for Executive Director

BROOKLINE, MA — Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is officially accepting resumes from interested candidates for the position of Executive Director.

OCF is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States and is the official campus ministry for the twelve Orthodox Christian jurisdictions that the Assembly represents. Its mission is to transform the lives of college students in the U.S. and Canada by guiding them along the path to Jesus Christ through His Church, cultivating a campus community of worship, witness, service, fellowship, and education.

Save the Date! 2017 Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry are July 12-16




 

 

 

SAVE THE DATE!

  • Summer Sacred Music Institute  (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry, ages 14-18 (YMM)
  • July 12-16, 2017
  • Antiochian Village

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara for the SMI, at sacredmusic@antiochian.org; or Chris Farha for the YMM, at chrisfarha@cox.netLook for preliminary schedules and registration forms after Pascha.

Read about the 2016 SMI and YMM at Antiochian Village

Keeping the Vigil at the Tomb of Christ on Holy Friday

The Archdiocese's Department of Youth Ministry announces that resources are available for the beloved tradition of keeping vigil at Christ's tomb from the end of Holy Friday Vespers until the Rush Liturgy of Pascha. This year's dates will be April 14 and 15, 2017, and teens and the faithful from our parishes from across North America will be signing up for times of meditation and Scripture reading. Participants will read from the book of Psalms in front of the tomb of Christ after Great Friday Vespers until the Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning, after which service they will read from the Book of Acts until the start of the Rush Service held on Saturday night for Pascha.

Great Friday Vigil Pamphlet as well as one sheet flyer, can be downloaded for use in parish communities. Please encourage your teens and faithful members to host and attend the Great Friday Vigil!

Indiana Deanery Parishes Welcome Bishop Anthony for Pastoral Visits

His Grace Bishop Anthony has been visiting in the parishes of the Indiana Deanery during the 2017 Lenten season. Stops along the way have included St. Mary of Egypt Church in Greenwood, IN; St. Ananias Church in Evansville, IN; and St. Nicholas Church in Urbana, IL.Bishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, INBishop Anthony with the community of St. Mary of Egypt in Greenwood, IN

 

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