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The Quiet Cradle Interview Features Antiochian Writer

Janice BidwellJanice BidwellAncient Faith Radio (AFR) podcast The Illumined Heart has released an interview with lifelong Antiochian Christian Janice Bidwell titled "The Quiet Cradle."   Asks host Kevin Allen in the podcast's description, "Are converts to Orthodox Christianity dominating the media with their 'journey stories' and 'fast-paced, high-energy' perspectives, while the more quiet, perhaps lumbering, but deeply-rooted faith of cradle-born Orthodox is obscured in the process? Are traditions and customs being introduced by some convert clergy and laity that feel new and even strange to those with deep Orthodox roots? Is there a growing 'cradle - convert gap' in the Orthodox Church in North America?"

Janice Bidwell attends St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church in La Jolla, California, an active and diverse parish in a suburb of San Diego. A blogger who writes under the name Prudence True, Janice is also a wife, homeschooling mother, and a professor of nursing at San Diego State University. As she explains in her interview with Kevin Allen, Bidwell began to write reflections about growing up Orthodox when she noticed that most of the writers on websites and blogs were converts to the faith. In pieces such as Beyond My Eyes, Janice began to explore the meaning of her heritage, passed from generation to generation in her family, and what it had been like to grow up Orthodox in the midst of an American culture dominated by other Christian traditions.

The Mystery of Marriage

by Fr. Meletios Webber

It is perhaps no accident that Holy Matrimony is the one rite of the Church that is actually called a “mystery” in the Holy Scriptures. The presence of Jesus at the wedding in Cana is, in the tradition of the Church, indication enough that marriage is something wonderful and something to be treasured, a “great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32).

We need always to bear in mind that a large number of the most important commentators on the Orthodox life have been monastic men and women. It is hardly surprising that when monastics are writing for other monks and nuns, they tend to praise the virtues of chastity and celibacy and to be on guard against any possible infringement of those virtues. Nevertheless, the experience of the Church as a whole has never suggested that the monastic state is somehow spiritually superior to that of married people, and the theology of the Mysteries guarantees that the path to sanctity is open to the married person and the single person alike.

Marriage and Society

Perhaps the most interesting fact about marriage is that, without the help of God, it cannot work. What couples are trying to achieve is impossible, unless the grace of God is allowed to help.

Certainly, if marriage was difficult in times past, it is all but impossible now. There are many reasons for this. The vision of what marriage is all about has changed considerably since the Church was born over two thousand years ago. Even when we assume that certain things have remained constant—that people fall in love, that they subconsciously seek to prolong the species by having children—other enormous changes have taken place, mainly because of economic and sociological factors that have little to do with the experience of the Church, and more to do with society in general.

Fr. John Abdalah is Keynote Speaker at OCF's 2011 Chaplain Conference

Archimandrite John AbdalahArchimandrite John Abdalah"Following Christ through Crisis" is the theme of the 2011 Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Chaplain Conference, which will be held at Antiochian Village on February 8-10, 2011. This yearly conference, composed of clergy and lay leaders of local OCF chapters, will feature Antiochian priest Fr. John Abdalah in the keynote sessions. Fr. John, a licensed counselor, is a seasoned OCF chaplain who has worked at the University of Pittsburgh. Fr. John is also a founder of the Orthodox Pastoral Counseling Institute in Pittsburgh.

A variety of mini-clinics will be available, featuring topics such as "The First Two Weeks of the Semester," and "Developing Continuity in Student Leadership."

Twenty scholarships covering all travel and registration costs are going to be awarded to qualified applicants, thanks to a matching grant offered by The Lilly Endowment for the Theological Exploration of Vocations. Current OCF chaplains as well as those interested in the chaplaincy are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Antiochian priest Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF's North American Chaplain notes, "It's simply the way things are: the great majority of college students today will face multiple crises during their college years. Most students do well until a crisis hits, and that's when many lose their way. We hope we can better equip our chaplains to help our students get through these challenging times, holding fast to Christ and His Church as their anchor." Click here for more information and here to register.

Orthodox Christians Encouraged to Participate in March For Life

WASHINGTON, DC [OCA] -- His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, will once again lead Orthodox Christian faithful at the annual March for Life here on Monday, January 24, 2011.

Joining Metropolitan Jonah will be His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey; His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; Archimandrite Matthias, Bishop-Elect of Chicago and the Midwest; students from Saint Tikhon's Seminary, South Canaan, PA and Saint Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY; and hundreds of Orthodox Christian clergy and faithful from through the region and beyond.

On the morning of the March, Metropolitan Jonah will preside at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the cathedral at 8:00 a.m. Thereafter, marchers are asked to gather by 12:30 p.m. under the "Orthodox Christians for Life" banner to the left of the stage at the Ellipse, between the Washington Monument and the national Mall. Metropolitan Jonah will be one of several speakers to address the public at the pre-March program. Archpriest John Kowalczyk, a pro-life activist involved in the March for Life for over 25 years, will deliver the final benediction at the formal program prior to the March.

At the conclusion of the March, Metropolitan Jonah and the hierarchs will offer prayers for the victims of abortion.

On Sunday, January 23, the eve of the March, the faithful are invited to join Metropolitan Jonah for Vespers at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, 3500 Massachusetts Ave. NW, at 6:00 p.m. A reception will follow.

His Grace Bishop Basil encourages Antiochian Christians to support outreach ministries and remember abortion's victims in his appeal here.

Antiochian Cathedral in Mexico Consecrated

Byztex Blogspot reports, "On January 17, 2011, birthday and name day of the Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan Antonio (Chedraoui) of Mexico, Central America and Venezuela, the new Cathedral of the Archdiocese, dedicated to Sts. Peter and Paul was consecrated. The celebration included many Antiochian hierarchs - Metropolitan Antonio of Mexico, Metropolitan Sergio of Chile, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Brazil, Metropolitan George of Homs (Syria), Metropolitan Paul of Australia and New Zealand, Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo (Syria), Metropolitan Silouan of Argentina, Metropolitan John of Western and Central Europe, Bishop Antoun of Miami, Bishop Ghattas - superior of the Balamand monastery in Lebanon, as well as Bishop Alejo of Mexico (OCA)."

The cathedral is situated at Bosque Real in the Huixquilucan division of Mexico. At the consecration which began at 11 a.m., the attending bishops and clergy served in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish. The faithful enjoyed the unique rendition of the doxology and psalms sung in alternating fashion by Bishop Damaskinos and the archdiocesan choir.

YouTube is carrying a Spanish summary of the consecration and surrounding events here. A Spanish description of the events can be read here at the cathedral website, while Byztex has provided an English translation to the cathedral report.

Chicago Convention, 2011: Antiochians Encouraged to Plan Ahead

"We're looking forward to seeing you in 2011!" says the home page of the 50th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention taking place in Chicago on July 24-31. Hosted by St. George Orthodox Church of Cicero, Illinois, the convention is meeting at the beautiful Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile Hotel, where specially priced rooms are quickly filling up in anticipation of the summer convention. A packed schedule includes SOYO leadership training, a golf outing and a cruise down Lake Michigan, department meetings, a full liturgical cycle of services, Kids Clubs and the Bible Bowl, a Grand Banquet and a Hafli, and several special speakers. Travel discounts are available through United and American Airlines, and Avis and Hertz car rental companies are offering reduced rates as well. All Antiochian faithful interested in attending are encouraged to make their plans now to make use of the available discounts and to secure rooms while they are still open.

For more information, log on to the Convention website.

Antiochian Village Summer Staff Applications Due in Early February

For all interested applicants, the Antiochian Village deadline for summer camp staff is fast approaching. All applications need to be postmarked by February 1, 2011. Explains the website summer staff page, "Members of the Summer Camp Staff are responsible for carrying out the Mission of the Antiochian Village, which is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment. They must help strengthen the Camper's grasp of the basics of the Christian life: participation in the liturgical, sacramental, and ascetical life of the Church and living in community with fellow members of the Body of Christ with peace towards all of God's creation. But being a counselor isn't just another job where you are required to do certain tasks and never end up seeing your efforts come to fruition, it can and most likely will be, one of the most spiritually fulfilling experiences of your life."

Click HERE to download a staff application.

 

Bishop Thomas Visits St. Andrew the Apostle

His Grace, Bishop Thomas made his annual visit to the mission of Saint Andrew the Apostle in Lewes, DE the weekend of November 21st.

On Saturday a group of parishioners along with our Pastor, Father Boniface Black, accompanied Sayidna to the property where, God willing, our Church will be built. With appropriate prayer, a cross was planted on the land.

The Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos was celebrated with Vespers, Matins and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Subdeacon Adrian Budica, a son of Saint Andrew and recent Masters Degree graduate of Saint Vladimir's Seminary was ordained Deacon. Archpriest Thomas Zain, Dean of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in New York joined us for the weekend.  

Fr. Don Hock's India Mission Journal

Last fall, Archpriest Fr. Don Hock of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Omaha, traveled to India with the OCMC, in order to minister with a teaching team in an orphanage in Bakeswar, and in Calcutta. Composed of three laymen and three clergy, the six-member team taught catechism classes, visited with orphanage children, served liturgy in the Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Calcutta, and visited several Christian churches and sites of interest there.

"In many ways," wrote Fr. Don in his journal, "this was a full-circle event for me, as some of the missionary experience my wife and I had was in reaching out to the Indian immigrant population in England. And now, I was heading for India itself to preach the Gospel as before, but this time we were also bringing the fullness, depth and richness of the Holy Orthodox Faith to the hungry hearts of those waiting for us to come and minister to them." Read all of Fr. Hock's daily thoughts and impressions here in his Mission Trip Journal.

Fr. Don Hock's OCMC India Mission Trip Journal

OCMC India Mission Trip Journal

Fr. Don Hock, Archpriest
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church
Summary and photos

 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I arrived in the afternoon at OCMC headquarters in St. Augustine, FL for Orientation. After months of preparation involving prayer, raising support, getting all the documentation in order, and research and reflection, the day is at hand! Riding in the car from the airport to the Center with other team members I had just met, my mind was brimming with questions – What would the Orientation be like? Would I “click” with these brothers, my team members? How would I react and respond to the seemingly myriad unknown and unseen things that awaited me in India? Would we experience a successful mission where our goals were met and God was glorified in all our actions?

Thirty-five years had passed since I had been on the foreign mission field, and knowing that I was on my way once again stirred the long dormant “missionary embers” in my heart. In many ways, this was a full-circle event for me, as some of the missionary experience my wife and I had was in reaching out to the Indian immigrant population in England. And now, I was heading for India itself to preach the Gospel as before, but this time we were also bringing the fullness, depth and richness of the Holy Orthodox Faith to the hungry hearts of those waiting for us to come and minister to them. I sensed the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon me; and yet also there was a sense of utter unworthiness and humility in facing what lay ahead …

New Year's Coming

By Fr. John Abdalah

The coming of the New Year is often a time of reflection, and, this year, folks seem more reflective than ever. This year, I think that reflective may even mean anxious.

Assembly of Bishops Announces Liaison Bishops

The Assembly of Bishops has announced who will be the Liaison Bishops for the agencies of the Assembly. These bishops, while not part of the agencies' governing structures, are responsible for coordination between the Assembly and their particular agency, and for providing episcopal guidance on behalf of the Assembly for all that agency's activities. For instance, for the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS) the National Chairman is George N. Boulukos and the Episcopal Liaison is Bishop Daniel (UOC-USA). For the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the Executive Director and CEO is Constantine M. Triantafilou, the Chairman is Alex Machaskee, and the Episcopal Liaison is Archbishop Nicolae (ROAA).

Go to the Assembly website for the complete list.

College Conferences Commence in Three Regions

OCF Retreat ParticipantsOCF Retreat ParticipantsEach year during Christmas break, college conferences are held in various regions in the U.S. This year three regional conferences are currently taking place. In the East at Antiochian Village, attendees are enjoying traditional soccer and football games, a supplication service to Saint Raphael at his grave, a keynote presentation by Dr. Gayle Woloschak about technology and the Church, and what has been called "an epic coffee house night and a bonfire in the snow."

In the West at California's St. Nicholas Ranch, participants are listening to the keynote speaker, Abbot Meletios Webber, a well known author, lecturer, and scholar; attending daily workshops led by Mother Melania of the Santa Barbara Monastery and Katrina Bitar, Program Director of Focus North America, and going to nightly events, including the West's "famous open Mic Night."

OCN Internships Announced for 2011

OCN is pleased to offer, to both under-graduate and post-graduate college students, a series of internships during 2011. All internships may be done locally or remotely, and all last for six months; internships may be renewed.

Some of the internships are in: Audience Insight and Research, Audio Engineering, Communications and Marketing, Design, Multimedia, Reference Library, Social Media Desk, and Religion Desk.

Each applicant is requested to send a letter of interest, a resume, a writing sample where specified, and a letter of recommendation from his or her parish priest, to OCN's Executive Director at FrChris@stdemetrios.org. To learn more visit OCN's website. Click here for a full list of internships.

Memory Eternal! + Lucia Camille Baba, July 14th - December 22nd, 2010

His Grace Bishop Basil writes,

Dear to Christ, Fathers and Brothers:

MEMORY ETERNAL! The child of God Lucia Camille Baba, five month old daughter of Father Anthony & Khouriya Ramia of St Anthony Church in Spring, TX, reposed late last evening of complications arising from Trisomy 18 (also known as Trisomy E or Edwards syndrome).

The Funeral for a Child will be served tomorrow morning, December 24th, at 11:00 AM at St. George Church in Houston, TX. Condolences may be sent to Father Anthony and Khouriya Ramia at franthonybaba@gmail.com.

Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Lucia's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, receive in peace the soul of Thy child Lucia." May God grant Paradise to Lucia and consolation to her parents, grandparents and all the Baba and Ibrahim families.

In Christ Who is our Resurrection and our Life,

His Grace Bishop Basil

Donations in Lucia’s memory may be made to St. Anthony Church in Spring, Texas, for the iconography in the new church temple. To read about Lucia's life, go here.

St. Katherine College To Host Kaleidoscope Days, Jan. 20, 22

Saint Katherine College, a new independent Orthodox Christian institution slated to begin classes in the fall of 2011, will host "College Kaleidoscope Days" for high school juniors and seniors at its Encinitas, CA campus Thursday and Saturday, January 20th and 22nd, 2011. The event will feature presentations on goal setting, discerning a "good fit" when selecting a college, fun activities, lunch, and more. For more information log on to the college’s web site.

Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer Documentary Available On Demand

On December 15, the documentary "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" was posted on Comcast and Verizon Fios Video-On-Demand in a pre-theatrical release. In early 2011 it will debut in theaters and will eventually be available on DVD.

A companion book, “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality,” will be published February 8, 2011 by HarperOne.

The film and book begin with a visit to St. Anthony's in Upper Egypt, the oldest existing monastery on earth, where Father Lazarus explains what the prayer is and how to use it. The authors' voyage continues to St. Catherine's monastery, in existence near Mt. Sinai since the fifth century, and to monastic communities in Eastern Europe: Romania, Ukraine and Russia.

Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen (Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University), and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet, visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their use of this ancient mystical prayer.

The film's beautiful cinematography captures the heart of Orthodox faith and worship.

OCN's Homepage Features Podcasts with Nativity Themes

Orthodox Christian Network is featuring several podcasts in the week leading up to Christmas, that focus on holiday themes. In "Teens and Technology," Dr. Ary Christofidis discusses the new dominance of tech toys under the Christmas tree, and looks at the potential pitfalls this can cause. In "Battling Over Nativity Scenes," the Just Thinking podcast with Fr. Chris Metropulos and journalist Terry Mattingly, discusses how Christmas for most is now defined by shopping and commerce. "Is there a better way for us to celebrate a Christmas filled with the Love of Christ rather than battling over where we place our Nativity Scenes?" they ask. "Message in our Christmas Carols," is a segment of the Theologically Thinking podcast, in which Fr. William Chiganos examines the messages found within the traditional Carols enjoyed in December. Other podcasts tackle the topics of stress, and recovering the joy and peace found in the faith.

 

Friends of the Hogar Rafael Ayau and AFR, Release "Hymns of the Hogar"

Hogar Rafael ChildrenHogar Rafael ChildrenAncient Faith Radio announces that the CD "Hymns of the Hogar" is now available here.

In May 2010, Ancient Faith Radio, at the request of the Friends of the Hogar Rafael Ayau, recorded the children of the Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala City singing the Orthodox Christian Hymns for Matins and Vespers as they do in their daily lives at the Hogar.

The CD includes 25 tracks. All proceeds from the sale of the CD will support the Capital Campaign Building Fund to bring construction of a new home for the children, Hogar San Miguel, to fruition. The children are in desperate need of a safer place to live away from the dangers surrounding the current orphanage.

The CD's are priced at $22 - $18.00 plus $4 for Shipping and Handling. 

Dome Is Raised at St. Anthony the Great, Spring, TX

The New St. Anthony Church in Spring, TexasThe New St. Anthony Church in Spring, TexasHis Grace Bishop Basil writes:

"ALF MABROUK! A THOUSAND BLESSINGS! The central dome was raised today atop the new church temple being built by the congregation of St. Anthony the Great Church in Spring, Texas where Fr. Anthony Baba is proistamenos."

New Friends of Indonesia Website Chronicles Growth of Church

Several Antiochian Christians have been instrumental in forming the Friends of Indonesia, an organization dedicated to furthering the Indonesian mission efforts of Fr. Daniel Byantoro. Antiochian priest Fr. Gordon Walker serves as Board Chair, along with Treasurer Cal Oren, parishioner at Holy Cross in Linthicum, Maryland. 

Recently, Friends of Indonesia launched a website that gives the history of the Orthodox Indonesian Church, introduces the clergy and parishes to readers, and hosts photo galleries of the ongoing growth of the Church there. Explains Board Chair Fr. Gordon Walker, "We hold firmly to the Orthodox missionary imperative that the Church grows in each local culture according to the truths those cultures already hold. We labor to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Indonesian people in ways that respects and affirms their cultural distinctiveness, and build a Church that will reflect and strengthen the rich cultural heritage they already possess. It is hard to overstate the miracle happening in Indonesia. Our hope is that you might become inspired as we are and join us in this effort."

Classical Orthodox Education Gathers Momentum; January Symposium Announced

Capitalizing on a wave of interest in Orthodox classical education and learning, Eighth Day Institutes in Wichita is hosting their first Eighth Day Symposium conference at the end of January. The Symposium, "Imagination and Soul: Harry Potter, Twilight and Spiritual Formation," will feature noted speaker John Granger, dubbed by Time magazine as the "Dean of Harry Potter Scholars." Additional speakers from across the country will discuss these topics: "Holy Knowledge: Classical Education and the Church Fathers," "The Advent of Superman? Classical and Modern Education," and "Why Bother with Books?" Go here to register for this free event.

Wichita is also looking into the prospects of forming a new classical Orthodox school which will meet at St. George Cathedral. “We’re Orthodox,” His Grace Bishop Basil said in a recent interview. “We have something that’s true. We have something precious to offer that’s different than every other school.” With the Bishop’s blessing, a steering committee has been established and the committee leaders will present a strategic plan for the school by January 2011.

Further west, Antiochian Christian educators in Idaho have founded the Classical Learning Resource Center.

Anne Van Fossen, Classical Orthodox Christian Educator

Anne Van FossenAnne Van FossenRecently, antiochian.org interviewed Anne Van Fossen, classical educator and co-founder of the Classical Learning Resource Center, about their Orthodox online school offering classes in Greek and Latin, Philosophy and Critical Thinking.

1. A quote on your website reads, "In order to be thirsty enough, hungry enough to seek God diligently and uncompromisingly, we must form our souls carefully and continuously." Create for us a thumbnail sketch of the Classical Learning Resource Center--what is your "raison d'etre" and how are you structured?

The earlier part of the quote you mentioned points out that great literature, art, and music can awaken within us a hunger and thirst for the good things of God. They can awaken us to beauty, truth, and a desire in our souls for our true home with God. We live in a world that works to distract us from that home and attempts to delude us into believing that suffering and carnal pleasure is all we have to hope for. Great literature, art, and music awaken this hunger and thirst for that which is good, true, and beautiful.

As to our structure, the Classical Learning Resource Center exists to promote good education that puts students in contact with this great literature. We are not a school and do not attempt to cover every subject area. Our goal is for the CLRC to come alongside of educators to assist them whether they are homeschooling parents, public or private school teachers, or anyone seeking to provide or procure a good education.

We offer live, interactive, real-time, online classes for all ages from young children to adults. Students need access to the internet, inquisitive minds, and a schedule that allows some time for additional work between weekly classes.

Second Annual Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat + Dunlap, California

On December 7-9, clergy from all over the west gathered for their second annual retreat at the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring, in Dunlap, California. Led by four bishops, His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate], clergy of all jurisdictions enjoyed the beautiful facilities of the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, listened to speakers, and worshipped together. Clergy came back to their parishes refreshed and edified by the teaching on the topic "Physician Heal Thyself--Orthodox steps of spiritual transformation" with Retreat Master Archimandrite Meletios (Webber), Abbot of the St. John the Wonderworker Monastery in Manton, CA.

Bishops Leading WorshipBishops Leading Worship
His Grace Bishop Joseph addresses clergy
Clergy worshipping in monastery churchClergy worshipping in monastery church
Retreat Participants

St. George of Orlando Parish Feeds Hundreds During Weekly Outreach

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando, Florida was founded in 1968. During the V. Rev. Fr. John Hamatie's thirty-seven year tenure the parish purchased and remodeled their church building, and also bought the office building and parking lot behind the Church. The parish has been a presence downtown since 1974, when the community established the annual tradition of Diving for the Cross in Lake Eola Park. Then in 1976 the parish celebrated their first liturgy in the church downtown, on the Fourth of July.

In 2009 in conjunction with the Ephraim Project, Fr. John began to put St. George's parking lot to good use during the week, when he established a weekly feeding for those he calls "our homeless brothers and sisters." Volunteers arrive earlier in the day to prepare food for between 150 and 200 people every Friday; meals are served in the outdoors in the same place that parishioners park on Sundays. "The Blessings deriving to us for over the last year of feeding 200 homeless men, women and children every Friday behind the Church is perhaps one of our greatest spiritual 'highs.' To be actually fulfilling a command of the Lord to love those closest in proximity is a wonderful thing."

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