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Metropolitan Joseph Visits St. George Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA

On Sunday, April 2, 2017, the community of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, PA, with Fr. Joshua Makoul, was honored to host His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

Virtuous Year-End Awards

For many of us in North America, the Sunday Church School year is coming to an end. The end of a year offers the opportunity to note growth and accomplishment in all of us, but especially in our students. This a good time to review their growth and celebrate with them the positive ways we have seen them change.

Perhaps your Sunday Church School offers awards at the end of the year, such as certificates celebrating perfect attendance, most improved, best at ____, etc. Those achievements are important, and should be noted. But there are even more important ways for a child to improve than curriculum and attendance. As Orthodox Christians, we should constantly be evaluating and celebrating our spiritual growth and that of our students. The end of a school year is a great time to do so! Let us take a little time to think about each of our students and note their growth in the virtues. Growth in virtue is one way to measure their growth in The Faith. Perhaps this year would be a good time to begin giving our students virtues awards as well!

Not sure where to start? Check out our recent blog posts on the virtues, which offered suggestions of ways to teach our students about each of the virtues. Each of these blog posts can offer us helpful information about the virtue on which it focuses, which we can then apply as we think about each child. How have they grown in humility, liberality, chastity, mildness, temperance, happiness, and diligence? Which of these virtues do they best exemplify in their life? In which virtue have they grown the most?

St. Vladimir's Seminary President to be Keynote Speaker at Sacred Music Institute in July

Photo: svots.eduPhoto: svots.eduThe Department of Sacred Music is happy to announce that The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, President of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker at this summer's Sacred Music Institute (SMI) and Youth Music Ministry (YMM), July 12–16, 2017 at the Antiochian Village. Father Chad will be addressing the theme for the week: "Music as Ministry: Looking Outward Through Orthodox Hymnography."

For more information, please contact Paul Jabara or visit the Department of Sacred Music homepage.

Watch a Preview: Western Orthodoxy, The Lost Daughter

The following video is the first two minutes of a new film being made about the Western Rite, also known as Western Orthodoxy. It features three of our own Antiochian priests who lead Western Rite parishes: Fr. Patrick Cardine, Fr. Alban Waggener, and Fr. James Hamrick. The full film will be made available this summer, 2017. (View the directory of Western Rite parishes in the Antiochian Archdiocese.)

May 24, 2017 + Part I: Address to Young Men on the Right Use of Greek Literature

From St. Basil the Great

Outline of Sections 1-2

I. Introduction: Out of the abundance of his experience the author will advise young men as to the pagan literature, showing them what to accept, and what to reject.

II. To the Christian the life eternal is the supreme goal, and the guide to this life is the Holy Scriptures; but since young men cannot appreciate the deep thoughts contained therein, they are to study the profane writings, in which truth appears as in a mirror.

Sections 1-2

I. Many considerations, young men, prompt me to recommend to you the principles which I deem most desirable, and which I believe will be of use to you if you will adopt them. For my time of life, my many-sided training, yea, my adequate experience in those vicissitudes of life which teach their lessons at every turn,1 have so familiarized me with human affairs, that I am able to map out the safest course for those just starting upon their careers. By nature's common bond I stand in the same relationship to you as your parents, so that I am no whit behind them in my concern for you. Indeed, if I do not misinterpret your feelings, you no longer crave your parents when you come to me. Now if you should receive my words with gladness, you would be in the second class of those who, according to Hesiod, merit praise; if not, I should say nothing disparaging, but no doubt you yourselves would remember the passage in which that poet says: 'He is best who, of himself, recognizes what is his duty, and he also is good who follows the course marked out by others, but he who does neither of these things is of no use under the sun,' 2

Memory Eternal! + Youssif (Joseph) Hanna

Memory Eternal! Youssif (Joseph) Hanna + 1932–2017

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our wonderful husband, father, and grandfather at the age of 85. Beloved husband of Najwa (Sawaya) for 55 years. Loving father and father-in-law: to George and Sophie, Andrew, and Dannie, Gina, and Tasso. Most cherished Jiddo to his pride and joys: Nicholas, Philip, Joseph, William, and Gabriel. His nieces and nephews will remember their 'ammo' with fondness. He is pre-deceased by his parents, Ferris and Galia and his siblings Hasibee, Khaylek, Theo, George and Mary.

He will be most remembered for his generosity, kindness, devotion to his community and church, and his passion for his magnificent gardens.

2017 Ascension Message from Bishop Thomas

May 25, 2017
Holy Ascension

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

I greet you on this most joyous feast, the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ! As human life has been restored by the Resurrection, our true homeland on high has been established by the Lord Christ’s Ascension. As Saint Gregory Palamas writes, “Neither an angel nor a man, but the Incarnate Lord Himself came and saved us, being made like us for our sake while remaining unchanged as God. In the same way as He came down, without changing place but condescending to us, so He returns once more, without moving as God, but enthroning on high our human nature which He had assumed. It was truly right that the first begotten human nature from the dead (Rev. 1:5) should be presented there to God, as firstfruits from the first crop offered for the whole race of men.”

Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday is May 21

The Assembly of Bishops has announced that Sunday, May 21, 2017, is Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday. "We who do not live in the darkness of a prison or jail cannot truly comprehend the incredible distress men and women prisoners live with each and every day," notes Fr. Stephen Powley, Antiochian priest and Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM). "OCPM needs all our help to bring the love and light of Christ to these precious souls. The Orthodox Church, through OCPM, offers both hope and healing to those living in such distress."

Read the announcement on the Assembly website.

Calling all teens: The Oratorical Festival is just around the corner!

Christ is Risen! Anyone who plans to participate in the Oratorical Festival at this summer's Parish Life Conference must submit an application via this link. The Oratorical Festival will take place on Friday, June 23rd at the Parish Life Conference in Oak Brook, IL hosted by Fr. Nicholas Dahdal and the faithful of St. George-Cicero, IL.

REMEMBER:
- The form and completed oration needs to be submitted by June 7, 2017.
- There is a meeting for the participants on Thursday, June 22nd currently set for 4:30pm.
- Attached to this email you will also find a PDF document that contains more information regarding the contest and the topic. You can also visit the Oratorical website for more details.
-Please have the teens email their orations to me (due June 7th): fabiolasweis@gmail.com
-Oratorical Registration Form (due June 7th)
-Complete Rules and Information

In His work,

Fabiola Sweis, fabiolasweis@gmail.com
Midwest Diocesan Oratorical Coordinator

Who Else Will Raise the Next Generation of Orthodox Christians? A Reflection for Mother’s Day

By Fr. George H. Shalhoub

This Sunday, people throughout the United States and many places around the world will gather to honor their mothers. Many mothers will receive flowers, breakfast in bed, dinners and other acts of affection. For those who may be away from their children, they will have to be content with a phone call or a card in the mail. But, no matter how admirable this day has become for us in today’s society, honoring one’s mother should not be reduced to a one day activity, because mothers provide the foundation upon which we build our lives.

God gives every created human being a mother here on earth because He loves us. And even after our earthy mother precede us to Heaven, we still have our eternal mother (the Virgin Mary) who always keeps us in the shelter of her wings. As the late Mikhail Naimy stated, “Love is the law of God. You live that you may learn to love. You love that you may learn to live. No other lesson is required of Man.”

Register Now! Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry, July 12-16

Metropolitan Joseph's letter for SMI
Register here
Download the flyer
Youth Music Ministry (YMM) application
View the YMM Agenda

The Department of Sacred Music joyfully announces the themes for the next two Sacred Music Institutes (SMI), in which we will more deeply examine our mission: guiding chanters, choirs, and congregations to musical excellence in worship for the glory of God. There is much to learn from these topics! This summer's Institute on July 12–16, 2017, hosted by Antiochian Village, is titled "Music as Ministry: Looking Outward through Orthodox Hymnody." The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, President of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker.

Next summer's SMI (July 11–15, 2018) will continue the topic with the theme "Music as Vocation: Looking Inward through Orthodox Hymnody." 

"Let us strive this year for every parish to send people to make this Institute an even greater experience for all," urges His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in his 2017 SMI letter. 

Metropolitan Joseph Presides Over Joyous Festal Weekend at St. George of Boston

Boston, MA – Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston was honored to host our beloved Metropolitan Joseph, as well as Bishop John of Worcester and New England, for a weekend of joyous celebrations from April 28–30, 2017. The patronal feast of the parish wonderfully coincided with the honoring of Mr. Robert Laham for his fifty years of service to the Archdiocese, and with the Nameday of His Eminence. (View the photo gallery)

The weekend began with a special program prepared by the young people of the parish, who enthusiastically greeted Metropolitan Joseph with hugs and shouts of “Christ is risen!” as he entered the parish hall. His Eminence greatly enjoyed the performance of a skit highlighting the life and martyrdom of St. George. The performance was followed by a “pop quiz” where the young people asked questions of the hierarchs and clergy to ensure they were paying close attention!

Recent Ordinations and Elevations + January-March 2017

From the May 2017 issue of The Word:

Ordained

CAVALIER, Abraham (Brian), to the holy diaconate by Bishop Thomas on January 14, 2017, at St. George Church, New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Deacon Abraham is attached to that church.

PHELPS, Deacon John, to the priesthood by Metropolitan Joseph on March 19, 2017, at Holy Cross Church, Yakima, Washington. He is assigned as the Pastor of Ss. Joachim and Anna Mission, Goldendale, Washington.

ROBINSON, Deacon James, to the priesthood by Metropolitan Joseph on February 12, 2017, at St. Andrew Church, Arlington, Washington. He is assigned as the Pastor of St. Innocent Church, Everson, Washington.

SCHROM, John, to the diaconate by Metropolitan Joseph on March 12, 2017, at Holy Myrrh-bearing Women Church, Bonners Ferry, Idaho. He is assigned to that parish.

VOLLMAN, Deacon Jeremiah, to the priesthood by Metropolitan Joseph on February 11, 2017, at St. Paul Church, Lynnwood, Washington. He is assigned as the Assistant Pastor of that parish.

Elevated

AJALAT, Fr. George, to the dignity of Archpriest by Metropolitan Joseph on February 5, 2017, at St. Simeon Church, Santa Clarita, California.

DAVIS, Hieromonk Jeremy, was elevated to the rank and dignity of Archimandrite by Bishop Basil on Sunday, March 19, 2017, at Holy Ascension Church, Norman, Oklahoma

Assignments

ACKER, Priest Herman, has been assigned as Pastor to the mission of Saint Andrew in Lewes, Delaware.

BAKER, Deacon Mark, is attached to St. George Church, Portland, Oregon, effective March 17, 2017.

HANNA, Priest Nicholas, has been assigned as Pastor to Holy Cross Church, Palmdale, California, effective March 18, 2017.

Returned to the Laity

St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference Encourages and Refreshes Families

St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference, 2017St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference, 2017

 

 

 

 

 


Christ is risen!

The St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference 2017 was a great success; glory to God for His generosity in blessing our humble efforts! The theme was "touching heaven" and we really did touch heaven in many various ways as we came together for encouragement, equipping, and refreshment in the God-ordained task of raising His children. Please visit at our website for coming updates and a report.

May 2017 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life – (John 11:25)

Last Summer we focused on the wonderful woman of the Church. This Summer we will study Lazarus, John 11; ...not unto the death of Lazarus, but unto the glory of Jesus, His Son,.. 11:4.

John 11: 39 Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to
Him, "Lord, by now He is giving off an odor, for he has been dead four days." 40 Jesus said to
her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God."

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

Liturgical Texts for May Now Ready for Download

The interior of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Nish, Serbia, the birthplace of  Emperor Constantine the Great.The interior of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Nish, Serbia, the birthplace of Emperor Constantine the Great.The Renewal, or Bright, Season following Great and All-holy Pascha continues into the month of May. In the month’s third week, the Orthodox Church celebrates two important saints and a great feast of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. May’s liturgical texts, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

The theme of water runs through the second half of Renewal Season. At the feast of Mid-Pentecost, we ask our Savior to quench our thirsty souls with “the waters of true worship,” coming from Christ Himself, the “Fountain of life” (apolytikion of Mid-Pentecost). The ancient church (and some of our congregations today) would have just celebrated the soul-cleansing baptisms of catechumens on Holy Saturday, and so we all call upon our Lord to refresh us with His wisdom as we maintain our baptismal purity.

Memory Eternal! + Janna Esber Georges

Memory eternal! 

Janna Esber Georges, mother of Khouria Lynn Gabriel, reposed in the Lord on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017. She passed into eternity at home, surrounded by her family: Fr. Antony Gabriel, Kh. Lynn, David, Mark and Tamara, Ryan, Jeanne Habib, and Pam Rosenberg. She is also survived by two sisters, Laurice Neam and Audrey Herbergs; and many loving nephews and nieces. Touching many lives, she will be deeply missed. 

Janna was born in Damascus, Syria on January 2, 1920, as Janna Esber. Her church was Ss. Peter and Paul in Maryland, with Fr. George Rados.

At her request arrangements will be private. A woman of great faith, she left in the loving embrace of Christ!  

Metropolitan Joseph Presides at Parish Anniversary of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio

The community of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Canton, Ohio welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph to preside over the 95th Anniversary of the parish from April 21–23, 2017. On Friday, April 21, a benefactors' reception was held in honor of Sayedna Joseph at the residence of Dr. Kaleel and Rhonia Shaheen, who also faithfully and elegantly served as the 95th Anniversary Chairs. The reception recognized the fundraising efforts of the benefactors who sponsored the weekend festivities. After Sayedna gathered and thanked them all for their ministry to the church, everyone listened to beautiful paschal hymns chanted by the Metropolitan's newly ordained deacon, Dn. John Al-Massih. On Saturday morning, Sayedna was greeted by over fifty beautiful children and teenagers of the church to the sounds of church bells and the chanting of the Paschal Troparion. After delivering his message to the youth and answering their questions, all were invited to a special breakfast chaired by Nina Shaheen, Malakh Bechara, Laura Kibler, and Nahi Kaed. (View the photo gallery)

It's time to register for this summer's Parish Life Conference!

His Grace Bishop Anthony is pleased to announce this summer's Parish Life Conference for the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest, scheduled for June 21–25, 2017. The host church is St. George of Cicero, Illinois, and the place is the Oak Brook Marriott Hotel in Oak Brook, IL, just west of Chicago.

Everything you need to know for this once-a-year gathering of our Diocesan Family is available here. Please note that the deadline for placing an ad in the souvenir journal is Monday, May 1, and the hotel reservation deadline is May 31.

A full schedule of events is also available here.

Bishop Anthony is requesting that all of our parishes and missions place an ad in the souvenir journal, and that all clergy attend the conference from Wednesday evening through Saturday.

We look forward to seeing all of you in Chicago!

Countdown to Miami: 2017 Antiochian Archdiocese Convention FAQ

The community of St. George welcomes you!The community of St. George welcomes you!Summer draws near, and so does the 53rd biennial convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, July 23-30, 2017 in Miami. The Very Rev. Fouad Saba and the host parish of St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, Florida took time from their busy schedules to talk about the features of what looks to be a historic gathering of the Archdiocesan clergy and faithful.

Who are the featured and keynote speakers this year?

The Grand Banquet will honor His Grace Bishop Antoun on Saturday night, July 29, where we anticipate our beloved diocesan hierarch will reflect upon his lifetime ministry and experiences in his service to Christ’s Holy Church. Fr. Antoine Melki, professor of computer science and technology at Balamand University in Lebanon, will be the keynote speaker during the General Assembly on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, and in other scheduled workshops and events. The host committee is excited to welcome Fr. Melki, who will present interesting insights on the effects of technology in the modern world on the Orthodox Christian family.

Assembly Releases National Study on Evangelization and Outreach in U.S. Orthodox Parishes

Map of participating parishes in 2017 Assembly of Bishops study on evangelization (click on image for larger view)Map of participating parishes in 2017 Assembly of Bishops study on evangelization (click on image for larger view)The first national study on evangelization and outreach in Orthodox parishes in the United States has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. The report can be downloaded in various formats, as an executive summary, or as a full report.

The report, "Go and Make Disciples: Evangelization and Outreach in U.S. Orthodox Parishes," explores the practices and strategies developed by some Orthodox parishes that can be viewed as "exemplary" in their missionary and outreach efforts. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include:

Metropolitan Joseph Leads Prayer Service for Kidnapped Metropolitans

On Bright Thursday, April 20, 2017, the Antochian Archdiocese was joined by co-hosts—the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese and the St. John of Damascus Fellowship of New Jersey—in sponsoring a timely prayer service at St. George Antochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, for the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim. Metropolitan Paul and Metropolitan Yohanna vanished without a trace on April 22, 2013, after they drove together in hopes of negotiating the release of hostages in captivity. Metropolitan Yohanna’s deacon escaped, but his driver was killed. 

(Read the Paschal Message of His Beatitude John X, in which he issues a call for the liberation of Metropolitans Paul and Yohanna, and sign the petition that will be presented to the White House and the United Nations, "Help release the kidnapped archbishops of Syria.") 

Desired Attributes of Sunday Church School Directors

By Chris Andreas

Though it would certainly be difficult to find individuals possessing all the attributes mentioned below, all are desirable for those wishing to hold the position of director of a Sunday Church School (SCS). Directors are those who must make everything “go,” and the programs will be at their best only when the leadership is equal to the tasks.

Faithful Members of the Church Sunday Church School
Directors are role models for the teachers, the students and their parents. A Director who says one should attend and participate in the Divine Liturgy and the sacramental life of the Church should also be a Director who attends and participates in them. A Director should think of her/himself as a continual learner of the Faith, reading, studying and reflecting on the Orthodox Tradition and passing along new books and ideas to the teachers. A Director should be spiritually motivated, filled with fervor and excitement.

On Pursuing the Virtues: An Introduction

Author’s note: During Great Lent Orthodox Christians focus more intently on becoming more Godly and less self-centered. Thus it seemed that Great Lent was the best possible time to feature a series of articles on pursuing virtue. The author spent a series of weeks sharing about virtues and looking at ways to teach our Sunday Church School students about them, so that they can join us in our pursuit of them. All the virtues have been covered on the blog at this point; below please find our introduction. May the Lord have mercy on us and grant us grace as we learn to better walk in His ways!

Read our blog, "Orthodox Christian Sunday Church School Teachers"

In this series of blogs, we will focus the virtues. There are many, but for this series we will focus on the seven capital virtues mentioned in the Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians: humility, liberality, chastity, mildness, temperance, happiness, and diligence. As the book mentions, each virtue is the positive counterpart of a grievous sin. In order for us to become more like God, to grow in theosis, we must not only resist and repent from those sins in our life, but we must also labor to attain the virtues.

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!

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