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July 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Jesus the Author of Resurrection and Life Returns to the River Jordan – John 10:40

In the last days before Palm Sunday, before Lazarus became sick – not unto death but for the glory of the Son of God (John 11:4) – Jesus returned to the Jordan where He had been baptized by John. This occurred right after He had offered the Jews of Jerusalem, words of His divine promise. ( John 10:27-31) In particular, He spoke to those who choose to hear His Voice and follow Him. He let them know they shall never perish, nor be snatched out of His Hand. He then says,

“My Father, Who has given Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Hand. I and My Father, are One."

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

June 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Jesus is the Son of Man, the Son of His Father.

Last month, we began our discussion about Lazarus answering the call of Jesus to walk from his tomb. He was dead for four days. Here we gained insight into Who Jesus is and His significance to us, by reviewing John 11:4, ... not unto the death of Lazarus, but unto the glory of Jesus, His Son. It helps bring to focus the mortality of our flesh while also offering a great hope and purpose for the Incarnation of the Word. Truly Lazarus is important to us and our sense of salvation: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God.” Jn 11:40.

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

Teacher Training II Events Planned

The Department of Christian Education will be offering two Teacher Training II courses this fall. Teacher Training II is divided into elementary and middle school/high school sessions, each cover techniques and tools appropriate to the ages you are teaching. Classes include "Enriching the Classroom Experience," "Child Development and the Exceptional Learner," "Creative Expressions, Adolescent Needs and Moral Issues."

Saint Paul Orthodox Church, Brier, WA will host and sponsor a TTII session on Saturday, September 9. Saint Elias Orthodox Cathedral, Ottawa, will host and sponsor a TTII session on Saturday, September 23. If you would like to attend or for more information, please contact Leslie Atherholt at aodce.events@gmail.com. She will put you in touch with the coordinator at each venue.

Lamp Unto My Feet: Rare Video Features Metropolitan Antony Bashir in Holy Week


On Sunday, April 16, 1961, the CBS Television Network showcased the richness of Holy Week services in the Orthodox Church featuring one of our Antiochian parishes. "Lamp Unto My Feet" filmed at St. George Church of Paterson (now Little Falls), New Jersey and captured the procession of the Cross on Holy Thursday, the Lamentations of Holy Friday, and the Resurrection (Rush) and Orthros Service of All-holy Pascha.

Atlas of American Orthodox Monasteries (Second Edition) is Now Available for Download

The electronic version (PDF) of the Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Monasteries is now available free of charge from the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA, and can be downloaded here. The hard copy of the Atlas can be purchased directly from the publisher, Holy Cross Orthodox Press. 

The Atlas includes:

Reflections for Father's Day

These two thoughtful reflections from a new father and a seasoned father and grandfather, offer insights into the importance of Orthodox Christian fathers, as we celebrate Father's Day on Sunday, June 18, 2017.

Who Else Will Raise the Second Generation of Orthodox Christians?

By Fr. George Shalhoub

On June 18th, we will celebrate and honor every father again on Father's Day.

In the Holy Orthodox Church, no man is defined without a woman, no woman is defined without a man, and no man or woman is defined without God. A mother is not more important than the father and neither is the father more important than the mother. The two cannot be separated. They are like railroad tracks; one cannot exist without the other. They become one flesh in marriage (Ephesians 5:31) and share the responsibility for their future.

I recall that even when my mother took me to church, my father was no less important. On many occasions, I tagged along with my father as he was one of the builders of St. George Cathedral in my hometown of Hama, Syria. It took ten years to build this church which was next to our old church, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Read the whole reflection.


Fatherhood, A Kind of Asceticism

By Deacon Thom Crowe

Fatherhood, A Kind of Asceticism

By Deacon Thom Crowe

At three in the morning, our house is quiet and dark. The distractions of the day all fade into silence, no to-do lists, no errands, no calls, nothing. I learned this the night we brought Elise home from the hospital and was reminded the countless nights over the next coming months. We learned quickly that I could wake up and fall back to sleep much easier than my wife, so I took night duty. After changing Ellie’s diaper, we would sit in the living room with all of the hustle and bustles of life far away. I watched that precious little girl for hours as she ate and slept in my arms. I didn’t know nursery rhymes so I would chant the hymns of the Church to her. Granted, at three in the morning my mind reached for what it could, and I remember one night chanting the Troparion of the Cross, followed by a Nativity hymn, then “Open to Me” and the Troparion of Epiphany. The next morning I laughed at the odd prayer service I had put together mashing up hymns that spanned the entire liturgical year. But I figured I couldn’t introduce her to the Faith too early.

A Reflection for Father’s Day: Who Else Will Raise the Second Generation of Orthodox Christians?

By Fr. George Shalhoub

On June 18th, we will celebrate and honor every father again on Father’s Day.

In the Holy Orthodox Church, no man is defined without a woman, no woman is defined without a man, and no man or woman is defined without God. A mother is not more important than the father and neither is the father more important than the mother. The two cannot be separated. They are like railroad tracks; one cannot exist without the other. They become one flesh in marriage (Ephesians 5:31) and share the responsibility for their future.

I recall that even when my mother took me to church, my father was no less important. On many occasions, I tagged along with my father as he was one of the builders of St. George Cathedral in my hometown of Hama, Syria. It took ten years to build this church which was next to our old church, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Memory Eternal! + Metropolitan Antonio of Mexico, Central America and Venezuela

Update: Metropolitan Joseph's Letter of Condolences to the Archdiocese of Mexico, Central America, Venzuela, and the Carribean Islands.

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." John 11:25

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the Archdiocese of North America announce with great regret the departure to the house of the Lord of Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui on the morning of June 14, 2017.

His Eminence was born in the City of Tripoli, Lebanon, on January 17, 1932. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Lebanon and the Bachelor of Theology at the University of Athens, Greece. On July 20, 1952, he was ordained as a deacon, and on August 29, 1958, he was ordained a priest and elevated to be an archimandrite.

On June 5, 1966, he was consecrated as a bishop, receiving the appointment of Patriarchal Vicar for Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean.

 

Photos of the funeral of Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui are now available by clicking on this link.

Original Christmas Pageant for 2017, Available for Download

Now available for download! An original Christmas pageant entitled Light of the World written by Rebekah Yergo (Church School Director at St. John Chrysostom Orthodox Church in York, PA) and Bonnie Flowers, is available for use in your parish. The writing, stage preparations, and costumes will be a hit with your children, who will feel like they are in a real production!

Additionally, attached is the sheet music that is used in the production.

View the photos of the Light of the World production.

Phronema the Lifeblood of Orthodoxy

By Bishop Thomas Joseph and Peter Schweitzer

The Greek word φρόνημα, transliterated in English as phronema is difficult to capture in a single word since it is more of a way of being in the world or a way of looking at the world.  Often, it is rendered in English as mindset or ethos.  For the purposes of this paper, we will employ the understanding of phronema as ethos.

In no Western religion is the concept of phronema present.  The concept truly has meaning only for the Orthodox Christian.  Perhaps this is because most Western religions understand themselves intellectually.  They adopt a so-called theology and employ philosophical categories to make it intelligible to their adherents and the world around them.  This is not the case for Orthodoxy.  Indeed, it would be hard to experience Orthodoxy apart from this ethos.  Since Orthodoxy is not about the intellectual pursuit of knowledge, it is thoroughly consistent that phronema can’t be grasped or recognized in a purely rationalistic pursuit.  One has to live Orthodoxy, experience it deeply, to perceive its ethos.

Axios! Holy Synod of Antioch Elects New Metropolitan of Archdiocese of Hama, Syria

By the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Synod of Antioch, under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, elected His Grace Bishop Nicholas Baalbaki as the new metropolitan archbishop of the Archdiocese of Hama and Dependencies in Syria. Sayidna Nicholas succeeds His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba of thrice-blessed memory who reposed in the Lord on April 1, 2017.
 
His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph took part in the election at the Patriarchal Monastery and Seminary in Balamand, Lebanon earlier this week, following the great feast of Pentecost. Sayidna Joseph congratulated his new brother Metropolitan Nicholas on behalf of the hierarchs, clergy, board of trustees and laity of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.
 
Metropolitan Nicholas was born to a pious Orthodox Christian family in 1957. His brother is V. Rev. George Baalbaki, the pastor of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Francisco, California. In addition to serving as clergyman since 1985, His Eminence was a surgeon and director of the Patriarchal Hospital of St. George in Hosn, Syria.

Register Now for October Iconology and Iconography Workshop at Antiochian Village

Vladislav Andrejev, IconographerVladislav Andrejev, IconographerThe Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center will be hosting an intensive 6-day icon workshop on October 1–7, 2017. Students will learn both the theory and practice of icon writing in the Prosopon School, using methods dating to 16th century Russia. The materials used in the workshop will all be natural and will include: egg tempera, pure gold leaf, earth and mineral pigments, and carved wooden boards prepared with gesso.

This workshop will be conducted by master iconographer and founder of the Prosopon School, Vladislav Andrejev and/or his son Nikita. Beginners will be given step-by-step instructions to complete their own icon of Archangel Michael. Students who have attended previous Prosopon workshops will be assigned an icon appropriate to their experience and skill level. All materials are included in the registration fee for beginners. Previous artistic experience is not necessary, as icon writing is as much a spiritual discipline as it is an artistic expression.

For further information, contact workshop coordinator Donna Smith: presbyteradonna@stsophias.org (preferred contact method) or (315) 723-5128.

Keeping the Empty Tomb in our Hearts and Turning our Crosses into Victory

By Fr. Joshua Makoul

Having completed Holy Week and Pascha, we were able to experience the transition from the long, darker services of Holy Thursday and Holy Friday to the brighter and joyful services of Holy Saturday, Pascha, and Bright Week. For many, having labored through Lent and Holy Week, this transition to joy, hope, and relief is an emotional occasion and reminder of many things. Indeed, this transition that the Church has given us to experience has far more meaning for our own life than we might realize. It is a reminder that in the end, God is always triumphant and victorious. It means that in the end everything will be okay. It means that this world will never have the final say. It means that behind every cross is a potential new life waiting to be had, behind every struggle is God’s promise to wipe every tear from our eye, that behind every moment of despair or struggle is hope and joy waiting to break forth, that behind every hurt there is healing, and that behind every crucifixion we endure there is a resurrection waiting to occur.

June 7, 2017 + Part II: Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature

From St. Basil the Great

Outline of Sections 3-4

III. Profane learning should ornament the mind, as foliage graces the fruit-bearing tree.

IV. In studying pagan lore one must discriminate between the helpful and the injurious, accepting the one, but closing one's ears to the siren song of the other.

Sections 3-4

III. If, then, there is any affinity between the two literatures, a knowledge of them should be useful to us in our search for truth; if not, the comparison, by emphasizing the contrast, will be of no small service in strengthening our regard for the better one. With what now may we compare these two kinds of education to obtain a simile? Just as it is the chief mission of the tree to bear its fruit in its season, |104 though at the same time it puts forth for ornament the leaves which quiver on its boughs, even so the real fruit of the soul is truth, yet it is not without advantage for it to embrace the pagan wisdom, as also leaves offer shelter to the fruit, and an appearance not untimely. That Moses, whose name is a synonym for wisdom, severely trained his mind in the learning of the Egyptians,7 and thus became able to appreciate their deity.8 Similarly, in later days, the wise Daniel is said to have studied the lore of the Chaldaeans while in Babylon,9 and after that to have taken up the sacred teachings.

Lest We Forget: Economos Antony Gabriel Introduces The Honor Wall

An Open Letter to the Archdiocese
By Economos Antony Gabriel

To The Archdiocese Board of Trustees, Pastors , Parish Council Members and Faithful of our God Protected Archdiocese:

AL MASSIH. QAM!

May you be blessed during this Season of Pascha and Pentecost.

I am appealing to you through the vehicle of The Word magazine, to raise your awareness of one of an important projects of the Foundation: An Honor Wall is to be placed in the Antiochian Village Heritage Center commemorating the blessed hierarchs, Vice Chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful clergy since the inception of the Antiochian Church in North America. Having authored Ancient Church on New Shores: Antioch in North America, it was a blessing to study the lives of the pioneers, commencing with St. Raphael and so many others who literally gave their lives together with their wives to plant the seeds of Antiochian Orthodoxy on this continent.

An Open Letter from the Heritage Foundation Chairman, Economos Antony Gabriel

Dear fellow Antiochian,

Saint John Chrysostom once exclaimed: Glory to Thee, O God, For all things!

"Lest, we forget."

Yes, we give thanks to Almighty God for all of our beloved pioneers who knitted the fabric of our God Protected Archdiocese.

Throughout the years we have witnessed greatness in some of the most simple moments as well as clergy. It is almost unimaginable today how the early clergymen carved out their lives with some of the most difficult of circumstances, both financially as well as spiritually. From the earliest days in North America, our clergy, their wives and families played a pivotal role in the development and maturation of the Antiochian Church on New Shores. They have inspired us by their strenuous sacrifices and their sweet liturgical services which formed us and to this day, and their wisdom enlightened our paths towards the priesthood.

On Evaluating the Sunday Church School Year

The school year is wrapping up in North America. For many of us, this means that Sunday Church School will also be taking a summer break. A change from the usual routine is a good time for us to think and evaluate what we do and take steps toward making improvements. Let us take advantage of this time to review our classroom and lessons this year, thinking about what worked and what did not work, and then figure out steps to take to improve for next year.

Evaluating all of this at once can feel overwhelming. We recommend blocking out a few evaluation sessions in our summer schedule, concentrating on one aspect at each session. Suggested review sessions could include: classroom setup; curriculum; interactions with students; teaching style; etc. Each of us knows which areas of our Sunday Church School class experience need the most consideration, and we should schedule a self-appointed review session for each of those specific areas.

It’s time for Vacation Church School!

 

 

 

 
Do you already have your Parish’s Vacation Church School scheduled? Are you trying to find the right program? If you’re still searching, visit The Orthodox Marketplace online! The Twelve Great Feasts VCS Curriculum from the Greek Archdiocese has everything you need to host a robust, interactive summer program for the youth in your Parish.

Another resource for planning and implementing a summer Vacation Church School, from our friends at the OCA, is the article "New Life in the Summer: Summer Church School." Here you’ll find an article helpful in building a program, with suggested themes.

The Fast and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

By Bishop Thomas Joseph and Peter Schweitzer

Having celebrated the feast of feasts, the Lord’s Pascha, and Pentecost fifty days thereafter, we are about to embark upon the Apostles’ Fast, which this year begins on June 12, 2017, and ends with the commemoration of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29. 

The Apostles’ Fast is a prescribed fasting period of the Church, lasting from the day after the Sunday of All Saints to the 29th of June, the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul.

It is a sad truth that many neglect this particular fast for a variety of reasons inconsistent with the apostolic and patristic tradition.  Prior to reflecting upon the importance of the Apostles’ Fast, a review of the ancient history of this particular fast may help us to recognize its integral place in the life of each and every Orthodox Christian.

Miraculous Holy Fire Comes from Jerusalem to Salt Lake City

Photo: Nicole Boliaux, Deseret NewsPhoto: Nicole Boliaux, Deseret NewsEvery year, on the eve of Great and All-holy Pascha, the Holy Fire miraculously lights inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for the Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarch to distribute to the clergy and faithful anxiously waiting outside the tomb of our risen Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Some of them take this light by candle to distribute that very day throughout the Middle East, Greece and even Russia.

But this year, for the first time ever, the miraculous Holy Fire traveled via charted airplane from Moscow to New York, and faithful Orthodox Christians have shared it throughout North America, driving from parish to parish. Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church received this blessing with great joy, and the event received local media coverage. (Flame from Jerusalem lights faith in the hearts of S.L.'s Antiochian Orthodox worshipers) The clergy and faithful purchased lanterns to take the Holy Fire home with them. 

"The reality is, this holy fire means nothing if a fire doesn't kindle within your hearts," Fr. John Mahfouz, Assistant Pastor, said. “May we have the light, the holy light, burning within us. May we have the light of Christ within us and repent.”

Salt Lake City Welcomes 25 New Orthodox Christians on Holy Saturday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had examined the history books, but more importantly their own souls, and after a year of intense preparation and purification, twenty-five catechumens were baptized and chrismated into the Holy Orthodox Church. They all joined the Body of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ at Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. (View the Facebook gallery)

Bishop Thomas Offers Commencement Address, Receives Honorary Doctorate at St. Tikhon's Seminary

By Joseph Clark

During the weekend of May 26–29, 2017, the Monastery of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, America’s oldest Orthodox monastic community, held its 113th Annual Pilgrimage, and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary celebrated its 75th Annual Commencement Exercises. Five saints of the Church: St. Tikhon of Moscow, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre, St. Alexander Hotovitzky, and St. Nicholai of Zhicha, have walked the hallowed grounds of these communities, and all who visit this holy mountain are touched by the prayers of these saints.

The festivities began with the arrival of the “Hawaiian” Myrrh-Streaming Iveron Icon of the Mother of God. Many miracles are attributed to her intercessions, and the mere presence of the holy icon brought joy to the faithful. The miraculous myrrh was so plentiful that upon entering the altar, after processing with her, His Grace Bishop Thomas’ hands were thoroughly covered, and this occurred in spite of the wooden case and velvet cover in which she is kept.

The 2017 May PhD Residency - A Resounding Success!

By Dr. Christopher Veniamin, Assistant Director
The Antiochian Orthodox Institute (TAOI)

Something special is happening in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

The 2017 May Residency of the Antiochian House of Studies PhD program proved to be a resounding success. It was hard to see how it could be otherwise, given the world-class calibre of its faculty, including Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos and Renos K. Papadopoulos. But even so, the second Intensive (Residency) of the first-ever AHOS PhD cohort managed to surpass all expectations.

No stranger to the Antiochian Archdiocese, Metropolitan Hierotheos—speaker at the Archdiocese's 2016 Clergy Symposium—immediately recognized the importance of Metropolitan Joseph's invitation to contribute to the spiritual and intellectual life of the Church in North America.

2017 Pentecost Message from Bishop Thomas

June 4, 2017
Pentecost

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

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (that is, the Holy Spirit), will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth. (Jn. 16:7, 13).

On this feast of Pentecost, I greet you in the name of the thrice-holy Trinity, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Our Creator and our Savior now also becomes our Comforter! In the words of Saint Theodore the Studite:

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