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Orthodox Hierarchs Meet with President Obama

WASHINGTON, DC (OCA) - His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, was among some two dozen US religious leaders who met with President Barack Obama here on Monday, November 1, 2010 “to speak for the millions of Americans struggling to find jobs, make their next rent or mortgage payment, and put food on the table,” according to a press release issued by the National Council of Churches [NCC].

Also attending the meeting were His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag S. Barsamian of the Armenian Church of America.

While the leaders of both the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, the global humanitarian agency, thanked President Obama for passage of health reform legislation and for his robust engagement with the faith community, they also pressed him “to take a strong stance on behalf of families facing poverty and hunger."

According to Metropolitan Jonah, poverty, education, the Middle East Peace Process, and unemployment were among the other issues discussed at the 45 minute meeting, which took place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.

“The President warmly received the group of religious leaders, who represent about 45 to 50 million Americans,” Metropolitan Jonah said. “The leaders who spoke thanked the President for his leadership in these various issues and pledged to work together with him in the future to further these goals for the betterment of the human condition.”

Fr. Alexander Atty Installed as Dean and CEO of St. Tikhon's Seminary

From Byztex Blogspot:

SOUTH CANAAN, PA (OCA) - Archpriest Alexander Atty was formally installed as Dean and Chief Operating Officer of Saint Tikhon's Seminary here on Saturday, October 30, 2010.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, the seminary's Rector, concelebrated the formal installation Service of Thanksgiving at Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Father Alexander is the first priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese to hold the position, with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip.

In presenting the Dean's pectoral cross to Father Alexander, Metropolitan Jonah expressed his personal joy, not only because of Father Alexander's 30 years of hard work and successful parish ministry, but because of the vision of a united Orthodox Church in North America he possesses.

Prior to his appointment as Dean, Father Alexander served as pastor of one of the nation's largest pan-Orthodox parishes, Saint Michael the Archangel Antiochian Orthodox Church, Louisville, KY. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Philadelphia, a Master of Divinity from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

At the banquet that followed, the hierarchs offered greetings, as did members of the Saint Tikhon's Board of Trustees. Offering greetings on behalf of the faculty and student body of Saint Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY, was Archpriest John Behr, Dean.

Father Alexander, who officially assumed duties on July 1, 2010, is joined at the seminary by his wife, Khouria Olga, and their two children, Katherine and Alexander.

New Conciliar Media Call Center to Open Nov. 8

Nancy ColacovicNancy ColacovicFrom the Conciliar Media Messenger: We are delighted to introduce to you the newest member of our Conciliar Press community: our customer service manager, Nancy Colakovic. Nancy comes to us from Narrow Path Bookstore in Lansing, Illinois, where she served for 15 years. She has a deep love for God and the Orthodox faith, a broad familiarity with Orthodox literature, a passion for customer service, and a long-standing affection for Conciliar Press.

Nancy says, “It was a mere 15 years ago that Conciliar Press helped to spark the beginnings of a small church bookstore of which God allowed me to be a part; I will never forget the help and support which I received at that time and throughout the ensuing years from the gracious staff of Conciliar Press. By His providence, the Lord has opened a new door for me and the opportunity to grow, I pray, from those learning experiences—to be there for you when you call Conciliar Press with your inquiries. I thank God and all those who have made it possible for me to join the Conciliar Press team; and I pray for His guidance and strength as we, our entire team, strive to serve all of you and meet or exceed your expectations for the glory of God.”

Utah Parish Hosts Hierarchs and Laity at OCL Meeting

OCL Dinner at Sts. Peter and PaulOCL Dinner at Sts. Peter and PaulOrthodox Christian Laity's website reports that the Antiochian parish in Salt Lake City hosted OCL's 23rd Annual Meeting on October 15-16. Notes the site, "Following Friday 6:00 pm Vespers at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church hosted by Father Justin and his community, a joyous and informative fellowship and pot luck discussion followed. The topic was: 'The Impressions of His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel concerning the completion of the gathering of all Canonical Orthodox Bishops in May 2010 in New York to begin the process of developing a unifed Orthodox Church in the United States.'

Friday night program speakers included His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah and His Eminence Archbishop, providing their impressions of the May meeting of Bishops and the work that needs to be done...(towards) a unified Orthodox Church in the United States. The audience was attentive and asked good questions. Many were amazed on how difficult it is to become Orthodox Christians."

Missions Conference Audio Now Available on AFR

The sessions of the Department of Missions and Evangelism's fall conference are now available from Ancient Faith Radio. Topics and speakers recorded at the conference include Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth ("Out of the Closet and Into the World"); Deacon Michael Hyatt ("The Pre-denominational Christ for a Post-Christian America"); Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou ("Evangelism in the Early Church"), and Fr. Peter Gillquist (The Gospel of the Kingdom"). The Conference is an annual event, where Orthodox Christians of all jurisdictions gather for teaching and fellowship.

FOCUS North America Awards Grants to Project Mexico and Others

Boys at Project MexicoBoys at Project MexicoFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 26, 2010 – Kansas City, MO

In addition to serving the poor by establishing operational ministries and supplying parishes with needed resources for ministry a key part of the missions of FOCUS North America is to support existing Orthodox ministries facilitating or working directly with those most in need. This year FOCUS North America through the generosity of the Orthodox Vision Foundation, made grants to several ministries. The largest was awarded to Project Mexico which received $15,000 for its tremendous work. FOCUS North America gave away a total of $45,000 in grants to new and existing FOCUS Partner Ministries. (Go online for a complete list of FOCUS Partners.)

Mr. Geoff Bray, Executive Director of Project Mexico said, “Project Mexico and FOCUS North America are two Orthodox ministries engaged in service to the poor. The beauty of the cooperation between the two is that Americans or Canadians can come to Project Mexico, become inspired through their experience to continue to do God’s work, and then work with FOCUS North America in their home countries to channel that ongoing desire to serve. The connection between short term foreign missions even overseas and domestic ministry with the poor in the Orthodox Church has never been stronger! We thank FOCUS North America for their support of Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage.”

February, 2011 Holy Land Pilgrimage Planned

Holy Land Pilgrims Entering the Church of the Nativity in BethlehemHoly Land Pilgrims Entering the Church of the Nativity in BethlehemFr. Constantine Nasr and Chehadeh Hamra of St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK, announce a pilgrimage to the Holy Land from February 19th to March 1st, 2011. The price, including the round trip airfare from Oklahoma City or Chicago, is $3395.00 based on double occupancy, and an additional $495.00 for single occupancy. See the attached itinerary for details. Questions? Please contact Mr. Hamra at: hamratours@netzero.com. Please note that the updated deadline for the final payment is December 15, 2010 and not January 31, 2010. Also note that the deadline for the $500.00 deposit is November 15, 2010.

There's Still Time To Register: Clergy Wives Weekend at Antiochian Village

Antiochian VillageAntiochian VillageThere are still spots remaining for the Clergy Wives Conference at Antiochian Village, held on October 29-31. Last November more than 70 Orthodox clergy wives from jurisdictions across the United States enjoyed the inaugural Clergy Wives Weekend at the Village. This year, the line up of speakers includes Mother Gabriella, Abbess of Holy Dormition Monastery, and Kyriaki K. FitzGerald, PhD and Presbytera. The beautiful campus of Antiochian Village will be displaying fall colors and there will be time for reflection as well as fellowship. Click HERE for all the details and registration information.

On Knowing God

His Grace Bishop Alexander recently addressed the Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York. His remarks were published in the journal, "Diakonia," and are reprinted here for our edification.

In the Gospel we read on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (John17:1-13), Jesus says in what is commonly known as His High Priestly prayer: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. The letters of St. Paul are replete with references to knowing God. For example in his letter to the Ephesians 1:17, St. Paul says: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. In Philippians 3:8 he says: Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…and in verse 10, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.

When we think "knowing," we think about head knowledge and data. People of old conceived of "knowing" as an experience or an encounter. Many years ago I was on a bus tour in France and happened to sit next to an evangelical lady from the US. We started talking about Christ and after a long discussion the lady declared to me, "You have met Him (Christ)."

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Donald David Wallace Lloyd

Father Donald David Lloyd, 1912-2010Father Donald David Lloyd, 1912-2010At 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 17th, word was received that the eldest brother in the Diocese of Wichita, Father Donald David Wallace Lloyd, D.D., reposed at the age of ninety-seven.

The casket with Father Donald David will arrive at St. Mark Church in Denver, CO on Thursday, October 21st at 5:00 p.m., where he will lie in state until after the Requiem Mass which will be served at 7:00 p.m. He will then be taken to the St. Laurence Center in Tallahassee Creek, CO where, upon arrival, a brief low Mass of Requiem will be served followed by interment in the specially-prepared sepulchre just west of the Basilica of St Laurence. Then, this Saturday, October 23rd, the final Requiem Mass will be served at the Center at 11:00 a.m.. Condolences may be sent c/o Father John Connely (john.connely@gmail.com) of St. Mark Church in Denver.

Fr. John Connelly writes:

Following his Chrismation and Ordination, Father Donald David Wallace Lloyd, D.D. told me very sincerely that never in his life had he felt so uplifted, blessed, (he used a vocabulary to explain this that I cannot entirely remember), and that his joy was beyond anything of merely earthly happiness. He was delivered from all the sorrow of 93 years (the age at which he received into Holy Orthodoxy) and then continued his earthly life as the most powerful intercessor that I have ever known. If your retired Priests want to see Paradise, let them follow this example. Father Donald was given names for prayer in restaurants and everywhere we traveled. He normally rose at 5.00 o'clock so to complete his Morning Prayers by 8:00 o'clock given his lists of living and departed souls.  

Father John

Bishop Basil writes:

The "E" Word and the "P" Word

By Fr. Gregory Hallam

The "E" word and the "P" word. In the first case I refer of course to "evangelism." This has become a very difficult word to use in polite Christian circles today. We Orthodox, sadly, may have very confused notions about "evangelism" regarding it as synonymous with that other great unmentionable, "proselytism."

IOCC Receives Significant Grant to Bolster Romanian Projects

Photo courtesy of IOCCPhoto courtesy of IOCCBaltimore, MD (IOCC) — IOCC's efforts to partner with the Romanian Orthodox Church and local community-based organizations to provide vital social services received a boost recently when it was awarded a grant of more than $1.8 million to help strengthen the work of community-based organizations in Romania.

"Ten years ago, IOCC opened an office in Bucharest with the vision of working side-by-side with the Romanian Orthodox Church to serve people in need," reflected Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC Executive Director. "We are gratified to have this opportunity to take one more step toward that goal of a vibrant network for diakonia in partnership with Filantropia."

The project will assist Filantropia, a national network of community-based organizations under the auspices of the Romanian Orthodox Church, to improve the social services it provides to orphans, the elderly, families living in poverty, prisoners, the terminally ill and others in need in Romania. The training and organizational development that will be provided through the project will enable Filantropia to become a strategic partner in improving social services at the local, regional and national levels.

The new program has been made possible through the Romanian Ministry of Labor, Family and Equal Opportunity and co-financed by the European Social Fund through the Sectorial Operational Program for Human Resources Development 2007-2013.

Archdiocesan Synod and Board of Trustees to Meet this Weekend

This weekend, the regular Fall meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod of Bishops and the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. The Archdiocesan Synod will meet during the morning of Friday October 22, 2010. The Archdiocesan Board of Trustees will meet in their first session during the evening of Friday October 22, and will reconvene during the morning of Saturday October 23.

We ask all of the faithful for your fervent prayers for our hierarchs and the members of the Board of Trustees that their meetings will be greatly blessed.

St. George Cathedral Hosts Icon Festival for Community

Fr. Olof ScottFr. Olof ScottRead the article from the Charleston Daily Mail here.

An article in the Food and Living section of the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, has reported on an upcoming festival at St. George Cathedral which will feature icons. Keynote speaker Paul Finley, Executive Director of Antiochian Village, will be speaking on the topic "Icons, Not Idols: A Call to Christians to Give Their Sight to God."

The parish hopes to reach out to art lovers as well as those who already appreciate the intrinsic religious value of icons.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Explains the Charlotte Ferrell Smith of the Daily Mail, "Featured iconographers from Pennsylvania include Michael Goltz of Pittsburgh; Michael Kapeluck of Carnegie; Nicholas Papas of Greensburg, and Cheryl Ann Pituch of Davidsville. 

Father Andrew, a monk at the Holy Cross Hermitage in Wayne County, also will be on hand both days to demonstrate the process of painting an icon. Some refer to the process as writing an icon.

'Iconographers are theologians who write icons just like scripture is written,' said Father Olof Scott of St. George Cathedral.

'Laymen and priests do them. It involves preparation and prayer before starting. Iconography began in the first century. St. Luke was an iconographer who wrote the image of Jesus Christ.'" 

Antiochian Village Hosts 5K Run to Benefit Special Olympics

Antiochian Village 5K Trail RunnerAntiochian Village 5K Trail RunnerOn October 2, the weather was perfect at Antiochian Village, where a 5K Trail Run through the trails at the Village raised funds for the Special Oympics of Pennsylvania. Barli Ross, the Program Coordinator and Paul Finley, the Director of the Antiochian Village Conference Center, welcomed the runners, who registered and warmed up before the start of the race. One lucky young "runner" was pushed along by his mom in a stroller, but the others kept up their own brisk pace through the Village paths just beginning to display fall colors. All of those who ran as a part of the Special Olympics team, have raced in other venues, and some on the team were even former gold medalists.

At the race's conclusion, door prizes were awarded, as well as medals, and refreshments were enjoyed by the participants. Watch the start of the race on YouTube, and view photos of the race on Antiochian Village's News page.  

Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue Lays Out Unity Vision, Shared Pascha/Easter Document

WASHINGTON—Representatives of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches have issued two new documents outlining immediate steps they can take to overcome their thousand-year separation. The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation finalized these agreed statements when it met at Georgetown University in Washington, September 30 to October 2. The Consultation is co-chaired by Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh.

The first statement, “Steps Towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future,” is an unprecedented effort to begin to visualize the shape of a reunited Catholic and Orthodox Church that would result from the reestablishment of full communion. The text acknowledges that the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church is a central point of disagreement and outlines the history of this divergence between East and West. It goes on to summarize the many elements of the Christian faith and ecclesial life that the two churches share, and emphasizes the urgency of overcoming our divisions.

Read the rest of the SCOBA-issued report here.

Antiochian Village Icons Exhibited at St. Vladimir's Seminary

Julia Ritter, Curator and Librarian for the Antiochian Heritage Museum and Library, reports that the Museum’s traveling exhibit was viewed by many at St. Vladimir Seminary's Education Day on Saturday, October 2, in Crestwood N.Y.  As the headline exhibitor, the Village's display of icons and rare books fit in well with this year’s theme of “Many Cultures, One Faith.” Enthusiastic viewers enjoyed browsing the attractive exhibit which was set up in the seminary's beautiful library space. St. Vladimir's website reported on the event here.

Deborah Finley accompanied Curator Ritter; both were able to talk with many visitors and families who appreciated the exhibit, and who were eager to learn more about both Antiochian Village and the unique resources of the Village Museum.

 

Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth Launches Website

OCCHY Members, ClevelandOCCHY Members, ClevelandThe Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) has launched a website to make their resources more available to parents, youth workers and teens. As the website explains, "OCCHY is a national substance abuse prevention network established under the Department of Youth Ministry in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. We are an independent, non-profit, national organization of coalitions for healthy youth. We are a network of local Orthodox Communities across the United States dedicated to educating young people and their families to create living environments that are fun, safe and healthy for parents to raise their children.

OCCHY introduces strategies to reduce the devastating effects of drugs on our youth. The national OCCHY leaders developed a platform which offers the Orthodox Church communities an opportunity to heighten awareness of substance abuse issues, bullying, and premarital sex. OCCHY seeks to unite Orthodox Christian Church communities with public and private sector professionals and community advocates with the prospect of creating a healthier environment for our youth. Each coalition offers and promotes some aspect of substance abuse solutions, healthy sexuality and righteous living through awareness, education, and mentoring and prevention tactics."

Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism, Oct. 15-17, is Now Free!

Fr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Conference SpeakerFr. Nicholas Triantafilou, Conference Speaker

Santa Barbara, CA — The Department of Missions and Evangelism announces that the Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism, scheduled for October 15-17 at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is being offered free to all!

Conference presentations and workshops are designed to help participants better understand and articulate the Christian Gospel as understood by the Orthodox Church, and learn how to share the gospel of the Kingdom of God with others.

“Due to the generosity and vision of a few sponsors, we now are able to open the Conference to everyone at no cost,” said Howard Lange, conference coordinator.

St. Vladimir's Seminary to be Sole American Host for St. Vladimir's Relics

St. Vladimir of KievSt. Vladimir of Kiev[YONKERS, NY/SVOTS COMMUNICATIONS] The relics of St. Vladimir of Kiev, the pagan grand prince who converted to Christianity in AD 988 and then proceeded to baptize all of Kievan Rus', will be in the Three Hierarchs Chapel of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, for public veneration from Saturday, November 13 through Sunday, November 14. A separate day for veneration by alumni/ae of the school and special guests will be set aside Friday, November 12.

“We are deeply honored to receive these relics of the patron saint of our school,” said Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Chancellor and CEO of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. “During this extraordinary occasion, we anticipate welcoming thousands of pilgrims to our campus.”

This will be the only opportunity in the United States for the Orthodox Christian faithful to venerate the relics, since St. Vladimir's Seminary is the only location in the country that will be privileged to receive them. Throughout the fall, the relics have been venerated by thousands of Orthodox Christian believers in Canada.

Please check the seminary’s Website, under “Upcoming Events” regarding the details and schedule of services as this special weekend in November draws near.

Final Report of the 46th Regular Session of the Holy Synod of Antioch Published in The Word

Synod at August MeetingSynod at August Meeting

The final report of the 46th Regular Session of the Holy Synod of Antioch, which took place in the Monastery of St. Christopher between the 17th and the 20th of August 2010 under the leadership of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, has been released in The Word magazine. For the Arabic version of the report, go to page 8 in the October issue of The Word.

On Tuesday, August 17, 2010, the regular session of the Holy Synod of Antioch was held, lasting until Friday, August 20, 2010, under the leadership of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV (Hazim) and in the presence of the Fathers of the Synod of Antioch, the metropolitans of the nation and the emigration. They studied an agenda related to pastoral and ecclesial matters and adopted appropriate decisions related to them.

Preachers Institute Partners with Academy of Preachers

Fr. Chad Hatfield and Fr. Lucas Rice of St. Vladimir's Seminary, at the Festival of Preachers 2010Fr. Chad Hatfield and Fr. Lucas Rice of St. Vladimir's Seminary, at the Festival of Preachers 2010PRESS RELEASE: Oct. 1, 2010

The Preachers Institute, the world’s premier Orthodox Christian homiletics resource, has become a national partner with the Academy of Preachers.

The Academy of Preachers is an ecumenical initiative launched through a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment and energized by the conviction that Gospel preaching is a vocation of public and social significance, a calling worthy of the very best and brightest young people.

"In our mission to promote and advance superior preaching in the Orthodox Church, we are very happy to make this partnership with the Academy. We are very hopeful that this will provide an opportunity for more Orthodox youth and young adults to hone their preaching skills with confidence, and ignite their desire to spread the Gospel," said Fr. John A. Peck, director of the Preachers Institute.

Both groups are driven by a strong conviction that Gospel preaching is a vocation of enormous social significance.

“Our mission is to identify, network, support and inspire young people in their call to gospel preaching. You are the first Orthodox entity to become a partner; I hope not the last. I am eager for you to come to Louisville with your Orthodox preachers,” said Dwight A. Moody, founder and president of the Academy of Preachers.

Last year, the Academy of Preachers hosted the first ever festival of young preachers. 92 young preachers from 41 institutions in 21 states came to Louisville, KY and preached about Jesus. Included in the gathering were Catholic, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Protestant preachers. It may be the most ecumenical initiative in American Christianity today. There was one Orthodox participant.

2010 Census of US Orthodox Churches Results Released

Alexei D. Krindatch, Research Consultant for both SCOBA and the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, has announced that the results of a 2010 Census of American Orthodox Christian Churches are available. The report is based on data obtained from parishes, monastic communities and from many self-described lay members of any Orthodox jurisdiction; research was conducted under the auspices of SCOBA.

Krindatch also authored the well known groundbreaking study and report about American Orthodoxy released in 2008, titled, The Orthodox Church Today.

Read the complete results of the 2010 Census HERE.

Please Take Our Survey

Dear Pastors and Church School Directors,

Ten years ago we surveyed our Church Schools to learn their needs, and the numbers of students and teachers we serve. Once again we are asking for a few minutes of your time so that we may determine the usefulness of the programs we offer, your needs, and the numbers we serve.

Go HERE to fill out our brief survey.

Your servant in Christ,

Carole A. Buleza, Director

Annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage Focuses on Everyday Life

Ascending the Mountain: It’s a Family Road Trip

The annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage was held on September 24-26 at the Antiochian Village. Bishop Thomas was the presiding hierarch, and Mother Alexandra of the Convent of St. Thekla was the main speaker of the weekend. Both of them talked on the theme of “Ascending the Mountain: It’s a Family Road Trip."

The main emphasis of the pilgrimage’s theme was in learning how to live an average, workaday life in a holy, Orthodox manner. Along with the talks by His Grace and Mother Alexandra, four small group discussions were led by clergy from the area. The topics included “Confession: Setting and Resetting the Course," “The Eucharist: What’s In Your Lunchbox?," “Holy Unction: First Aid and Urgent Care” and “The Walk: A discussion of the New York Times Best-Seller by Richard Paul Evans."

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