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His Grace Blesses the Opening of the Doors 0f St. John Chrysostom Parish, Ft. Wayne

On the 31st year anniversary of the establishment of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in Fort Wayne, IN, we were blessed to have Bishop MARK of Toledo with us to open the doors of our new church. This new church was the fulfillment of a commitment that the families of St. John Chrysostom Church made in 1979, when Sub-deacon (now Archimandrite) Michael Evans was sent to help coordinate the people into a Mission of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.

Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the efforts of Sdn. Michael, Fr. Joseph Rahall (then pastor of St. George – Indianapolis), and several founding families, the parish of St. John Chrysostom was opened in a small building purchased from a local Presbyterian church. From the beginning, this building was referred to as our “temporary church." Our parishioners, with their own hands, tore down walls and repaired others; they replaced flooring, and duct work and electrical lines, but the building continued to fall short of the needs of the parish.

New Multimedia Series, "real life," Launched by Jason Barker and AFR

Beginning July 5, Orthodox Christians can access "real life," a series of free multimedia studies from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio. The audio and written series examines the way in which life can be transformed through one's relationship with God and others.

The first study is "Joy," focusing on what joy is and how it can be developed. There will be three new podcasts associated with "real life:" "real life" and "real life for teens," which provide podcast versions of the material covered in the units for each study; and "real life minute," a daily one-minute podcast with advice from a saint or Orthodox teacher on daily life. All of the studies will be available in two versions: one for adults, another for teens. The series is similar in concept to the studies, Worship & You.

Jason Barker creates resources for AFR, the Department of Youth Ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese, OCN and other Orthodox groups. His emphasis is on how we can live and grow as Orthodox Christians in the modern world. Jason has an M.A. in Applied Orthodox Theology from the University of Balamand / Antiochian House of Studies, and a B.A. in Communication from Washington State University.

Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America Observes St. Timon Sunday on July 25, 2010

K. James Kallail, Coordinator of The Hauran Connection, writes, "His Grace Bishop BASIL has designated Sunday, July 25, as St. Timon Sunday. For the third year, we offer our prayers as one community to St. Timon, patron of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, so that he may intercede with Christ our God on behalf of the clergy and people of our sister diocese. We ask that each parish remember Metropolitan Saba, his priests, their families, and all the faithful of the Archdiocese on this day (His Eminence, Metropolitan SABA, Fr. Paul, Fr. Peter, Fr. George, Fr. Peter, Fr. Philip, Fr. George, Fr. Samaan, Fr. Elia, Fr. Timon, Fr. Isaac, Archimandrite Seraphim, and Subdeacon Majd). We also ask that you take this opportunity to raise funds for our sister diocese. Some will hold special fund raisers. Some will take special collections. Some will sell St. Timon icons. Ideas can be found here. On the web site, you also will find many resources to inform your parish about our sister diocese. You can print materials for bulletins, handouts, Sunday School, etc... I encourage you to use these resources to educate and inform your parishioners. For example, you may want to use His Grace's letter about the program to get historical information about the Archdiocese. Certainly, these efforts should not only be once a year, however, a special effort is asked for St. Timon Sunday. I am happy to answer questions or take your comments at kkallail@att.net. ALL FUNDS MUST BE SENT TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

K. James Kallail

502 Creekside Ct

Derby, KS 67037

In Christ, K. James Kallail - Coordinator, The Hauran Connection - DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine"

Tentative Dates Set for 2011 Episcopal Assembly

His Grace Bishop BASIL, Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly, explained in his July 4 St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Memo,  "In a letter dated June 28th addressed to the 63 bishops who comprise the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North & Central America, Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and chair of the EA, announced tentative dates for the next meeting of the EA: May 25-27, 2011. Please keep the work of the EA in your prayers!"

St. Katherine, Orthodox Liberal Arts College, Founded in San Diego

In the fall of 2011, a new institution will open its doors to the Orthodox community. St. Katherine College in San Diego, California, will commence the first year of classes, offering an emphasis in Composition, English Language and Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government and History, Economics, Mathematics, and the Sciences. As to affiliation, the website explains that "The College community is independent, but it is closely associated with the Orthodox Christian community." Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dr. Scott Cairns, and Dr. Vladimir Morosan are all listed as faculty, among several other Orthodox academic luminaries.

Recently, Antiochian.org interviewed Vicki Brannock, St. Katherine College's Executive Director for Communications and Recruitment.

1. Tell us about your academic approach.

Of course the academic emphasis is important to us. We are selecting staff that represents the best in Orthodox academia and are working to strike a balance between the well established (Fr. Thomas Hopko, Scott Cairns) visiting professors and mid-level and younger faculty that we believe will make significant impact on the future.

A Feast for East and West

by Fr. Patrick Reardon

Saints Peter and Paul: Both the East and the West, from the earliest centuries, have celebrated this double feast day of those two apostles, who are linked in a special way by their both being martyred in the city of Rome.

Taos, NM Reader's Chapel Taking Shape

Claire Brandenburg in Taos, NMClaire Brandenburg in Taos, NMIn the picturesque artist enclave of Taos, New Mexico, dedicated Orthodox Christians have been laboring to begin a new community that will be the foundation for a mission parish. Author and illustrator Claire Brandenburg has been working through the approval process in order to secure a rented Chapel space. Services will begin when the town allows for the Special Use designation and everything is in place. A mature parent community, Holy Trinity of Santa Fe with Fr. John Bethancourt, has offered their support as well, and the fledgling chapel is hoping to become the second Antiochian parish in the state. Antiochian.org recently interviewed Claire Brandenburg.

1. Tell us about how this effort got started.

We are a small group of three with one inquirer, all with big hopes of fishing for like-minded persons in this community. Our bookstore will offer lots of bait...good reading, gift items, cards, coffee and tea. Several of us live at a distance from Taos, as there are many outlying communities in the County, of which Taos is the hub. The group is mature in years and have felt that the need for a Church in Taos has become more pressing.

2. How are your plans shaping up, and have you been able to hold services yet?

I am planting a sign this morning in front of our "business" indicating that a process establishing "Special Use" for a Chapel has begun. Our first meeting with the Town of Taos begins on July 7th. It is followed by another meeting in August. If we are approved at those meetings we will then need to make changes in the building for ADA compliance. These changes are relatively simple, though checkbook stretchers. We anticipate that our services will start in mid-August or possibly at the beginning of the Orthodox New Year in September.

Festschrift, Banquet and Booklet Planned for the Very Rev Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi

The “Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions” unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, is excited to announce that it will be honoring the Very Rev. Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi on Saturday October 23, 2010 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his academic career. The festivities, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop PHILIP, will begin with a Festschrift (academic conference) on Saturday October 23, 2010 at the conference hall of St. George Antiochian Church in Little Falls, New Jersey, from 9am – 4pm. Lecturers have been invited from all over the world to present papers on subjects dear to Fr. Paul’s heart. The conference is free of charge and is open to the public, but an RSVP to attend is encouraged. The Festschrift presentations will be compiled into a special volume for publication following the conference. For more information, please click here.

To submit a few lines to the booklet or reserve a banquet seat, email: tarazifestschrift@orthodox.com, or write: Fr. Paul Tarazi Festschrift, c/o OCABS

P.O.Box 2902

Danbury, CT 06813

The Chairman of the Festschrift Committee, Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian PhD, can be emailed at vartabed@stnersess.edu.

 

 

 

"Flip Flops For Haiti" Project Exceeding Expectations

(From the June 2010 WORD magazine

By Camille Patrick

“Flip-Flops for Haiti”? That’s a popular phrase at St. Matthew’s of North Royalton and all around Cleveland, since one of our parishioners, Josephine Katzbach, ventured on a four-day trip to Haiti in early March with a friend of hers, to help build a clinic for the mountain people.

The ladies made the trip to work with a nun and a priest affiliated with a church in Chicago called Fraternité Notre Dame. Josie returned from Haiti with an ambitious goal of raising 2,000 flip-flops for the 1,500 or so impoverished inhabitants who live around a primitive camp at the top of a mountain near Port-au-Prince. She and her friend plan to return sometime in July to distribute the flip-flops to the people there.

Memory Eternal! +V. Rev. Michael Harper, 1931-2010

V. Rev. Michael HarperV. Rev. Michael HarperThe Christian world lost one of its most dedicated statesmen earlier this year. The V. Rev. Fr. Michael Harper departed this life on January 6, 2010, at age 78, in Cambridge, outside of London, England. He was an archpriest under the Patriarchate of Antioch. 

Fr. Harper was baptized into Christ in the Church of England, and served for 40 years as a celebrated Anglican priest, emerging as an international leader of the spiritual renewal movement in that communion. Converting to the Orthodox Christian Faith in 1995, he carefully maintained his Christian friendships within the Anglican Church.

At the recommendation of Metropolitan PHILIP, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV personally guided Fr. Michael and his wife, Jeanne, through the transition into the Orthodox Church, appointing him to lead the Antiochian deanery in the British Isles. He left behind twenty convert parishes there as well as a ground-breaking Orthodox Studies program at prestigious Cambridge University, his alma mater.

Significantly, Fr. Michael established the first-ever all-English Orthodox parish in London. He was one of the most authentic and deeply committed Christian men I have ever known.

May his memory be eternal!

- Fr. Peter E. Gillquist

Deacon Ignatius Warren to be Ordained to the Holy Priesthood

Deacon Ignatius WarrenDeacon Ignatius WarrenAXIOS! Deacon Ignatius Warren, a DOWAMA vocation and son of St George Cathedral/Wichita, KS who will graduate from St Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, NY in 2011, will be ordained to the holy priesthood this Sunday, June 27th at St George Cathedral in Wichita, KS. He and his wife Shamassy Misha Christina may be contacted at jeff14700@gmail.com.

IOCC Delivers Medical Aid to Assist Refugees Fleeing Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan Refugees (Photo by D. Dzotsendize/IOCC-ACT International)Kyrgyzstan Refugees (Photo by D. Dzotsendize/IOCC-ACT International)June 25, 2010

Baltimore, MD — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is delivering medical supplies to assist refugee families who have fled ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan this month. Tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks fled the violence and crossed the border into Uzbekistan to seek safety while others remain displaced within Kyrgyzstan. Read about the IOCC response here.

IOCC is providing medical care for the refugees and displaced – mostly women, children and the elderly – in the form of an Emergency Health Kit with enough medicine and supplies to treat 10,000 people. The kit, valued at $421,000, is being provided in cooperation with Medical Teams International (MTI) and will arrive at Tashkent today. MTI staff will then immediately transport the kit to the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan and along the Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan border.

Help the victims of disasters around the world, like the refugee crisis in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org, call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225.

 

 

Antiochian.org Interviews Bishop THOMAS

Bishop THOMAS (right) with Bishop JOSEPH and Metropolitan PHILIP at the Episcopal AssemblyBishop THOMAS (right) with Bishop JOSEPH and Metropolitan PHILIP at the Episcopal AssemblyRecently, the editors at Antiochian.org interviewed His Grace Bishop THOMAS of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic. This will be the first of a series of interviews with our bishops to be published in the coming months. (Read His Grace's biography here. Bishop THOMAS also selects a weekly reflection, collected under Notes from Bishop THOMAS.)

1. Your Grace, you attended the recent Episcopal Assembly in New York. Do you have any thoughts for our readers on this historic gathering?

Given the mutual isolation of our various jurisdictions for so many years, I found it especially encouraging that fifty-five bishops of Orthodoxy on this continent were able to come together, speak the same language together, and begin getting about the business of working out a common Church life together. This is what unity actually consists of, that we live together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Inaugural Meeting of the Orthodox Assembly for the British Isles is Held

In a Communique dated June 22, 2010, posted on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain website, it was announced:

"The Inaugural Meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops with Churches in the British Isles was held on 21st June 2010 at Thyateira House, the centre of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The Assembly operates in accordance with the Decision reached at the 4th Pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Meeting at Chambésy ( Switzerland) on 13th June 2009."

The announcement emphasized the historical significance of the gathering, stating that up until the present day, "...there has been no kind of Inter-Orthodox Episcopal Committee." Three subcommittees have been formed, for Theological, Pastoral and Educational considerations. The second meeting has been scheduled for December, 2010.

After the meeting, the Orthodox Bishops joined His Grace Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace for a dinner and fellowship.

A photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.

OCF Releases Spring Edition of WITNESS

Orthodox Christian Fellowship has released the annual edition of WITNESS, the lively online student review that profiles Orthodox leaders, encourages campus activism for the faith, and highlights ministry opportunities for college students. (To subscribe to OCF's Headliner and Witness Listserv, contact Student Editor Arianna at: Arianna.Ranahosseini@du.edu.)

In this issue's opening reflection, Stevie Hull writes, "I entered my professor's office and, not without a bit of hesitation, announced that I would be missing 'Introduction to Ancient Greek' to attend Holy Week services. This was two years ago, when I was a sophomore and Pascha did not fall on the same day as western Easter. He turned towards me in surprise. 'Are you Greek? Your last name's not Greek. Is it your mother's side?'

'No,' I said.

'Russian?'

'No. I'm American. I converted to Orthodoxy.'

He stared at me, stunned, for a few moments before blurting out, 'Why?'

This caught me off guard, so I offered the first explanation that surfaced in my head: 'To escape nihilism.'

That put an abrupt end to our conversation. Two years later, I learned that the professor in question is a self-professed nihilist. But even without this hilarious conclusion, my professor's initial shock at my profession of faith left its mark on me. I realized that, in my department, I was like an exhibit at a circus sideshow. And I was going to be watched."

Summer Parish Life Conference Season Launched

The Diocese of Miami, the Diocese of Wichita, and the Diocese of Worcester all launched the season for Parish Life Conferences over the long weekend of June 16-20. St. George of Jacksonville, Florida, hosted the southern conference with the keynote speaker The V. Rev. Fr. Paul Tarazi featured at the Saturday evening banquet. In the meantime, in Oklahoma City, the faithful of DOWAMA met for their "family reunion" at the Marriott; significantly, the Diocese host parish of St. Elijah was celebrating its 90th Anniversary as a community. In a young ladies' sweep, Nora Haddad won the junior division and Melissa LIkiardopoulos won the senior division in the Oratorical Festival. Back east, St. George Cathedral in Worcester hosted a busy schedule at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in the historic city of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in honor of the two new mission parishes that had joined the Diocese in the previous year, Emmanuel Church of Warren, MA and St. Stephen Church of Springfield, MA. See the Archdiocese calendar for information on other parish life conferences coming this summer.

Antiochian Village Hosts Pan Orthodox Men's Retreat

Certified counselor, businessman, active layman and father of three Paul Karos, was the featured speaker at this year's Antiochian Village Men's Retreat, themed "Exploring the Passions that Drive us and the Virtues that can Save us." Mr. Karos drew from both his professional life as a financial analyst and investment banker, as well as his life as an active Orthodox Christian at St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, to lead discussions about the role and impact of the passions, and the meaning of spiritual discipline and repentance. Attendees participated in a liturgical cycle of services, enjoyed a barbecue cookout at the Pavilion, and enjoyed three separate sessions presented by Paul Karos. 

St. George in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Welcomes Home Seminarian Todd Mokhiber

St. George Parish in Niagara Falls, N.Y.  welcomed home Subdeacon Todd Justin Mokhiber from his first year at St. Tikhon's Seminary in Pennsylvania. On Sunday, June 6th, Todd gave a wonderful homily that included insights and experiences from his year. Here is his homily:

"In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Glory to Jesus Christ, Glory forever. It is truly a blessing to be back here at St. George Niagara Falls for a few months. Fr. Paul asked me to share a few words about my experience at seminary.

Back in August of last year I was embarking on a journey that would change my life forever. I would leave everything that was comfortable and familiar to me. I would be leaving Niagara Falls for the first time in my life for more than a couple of weeks for vacation or a business trip. Needless to say I was very nervous about leaving my job, home, family, friends, and of course our beloved St. George parish. So many things happened in the process of going to seminary. My brother was very ill, my car died, and I had/have no health insurance since I left my job. Many things were going wrong and I felt like abandoning the idea of going to seminary. I never truly lost hope because of the support of many people that encouraged me and I knew that Christ was calling me to ministry.

Christ the Savior Mission Suffers Damage

Fr. "Barry" ThibodeauxFr. "Barry" ThibodeauxChrist the Savior Mission in Jacksonville, Texas, has suffered heavy damage due to the recent rains and flooding in the nation's central regions. Reports His Grace, Bishop BASIL in his newsletter, "During the recent heavy rains here in the Heartland several of our church temples sustained various levels of flooding and water damage, but none has been damaged as severely as the Church of Christ the Saviour/Jacksonville, TX where our brother Fr. Finbar Thibodeaux is proistamenos."

Adds Fr. Finbar, "It seems than when the building next to ours was undergoing repair of its roof and renovation of its upper storeys, much of the construction debris - as well as the personal trash produced by the workers (soda bottles, cans, plastic bags, candy wrappers, newspapers, etc.) - was simply tossed on to the lower, flat roof of our church building. During the recent storms all of that debris and trash completely clogged the downspouts, gutters and drains of our building resulting in the pooling of a massive amount of water on the roof of Christ the Saviour Church. As was to be expected, the weight of the water finally proved to be too much for the structure; the water began not only to seep into our building but literally pour in, eventually causing ceilings to collapse and severe interior flooding coming from above....We continue to try to facilitate the drying of the building by running the AC units, fans and dehumidifiers. The humidity in the building remains extremely high and we continue to see more and more damage to the building. My vestments were taking on the stench of the building so I moved them to my home. The pew missals and hymnals are warping due the humidity."

Father or Kh. Linda may be contacted at: bearfam@ckswireless.com.

St. Vladimir's Hosts Symposium on "Hellenism and Orthodoxy"

Archbishop DEMETRIOS at St. Vladimir's SeminaryArchbishop DEMETRIOS at St. Vladimir's SeminaryOn June 10-12, St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York, hosted a groundbreaking symposium on the role and significance of Hellenism in the Orthodox Church. Key addresses were offered by His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, ("Hellenism and Orthodoxy: A Linguistic and Spiritual Journey"), and by Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, chief secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ("Greek Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarachate, and the Church in the USA").

Associate Professor for Systematic Theology Dr. Peter Bouteneff stated in his opening remarks, "Simply put, Hellenism is undeniably one of the most significant cultural impulses for the life of the Church since its earliest historical manifestations. More than any single culture, it is possible to say that any and every Christian must somehow deal with Hellenism, or specifically with the Hellenistic impress on the formation of Christian doctrine and life."

To listen to Archbishop DEMETRIOS' Keynote Address on ocn.net, click here.

Bishop Basil Reflects on Historic Episcopal Assembly

Recently, Bishop Basil spoke with AFR correspondent Matthew Namee about the historic assembly of bishops which took place in the week following Pentecost. His Grace was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Below are excerpts from the interview, which can be found here in full:  

"The bishops delighted in being together and doing the work of the Church."

"The ultimate task was to prepare the Orthodox (Church) of this region...to constitute itself as a canonical, single Church.…It is a huge task, one that a vast majority of Orthodox Christians in America have been praying for, hoping for, talking about, for a long, long time."

"It’s as if the Mother Churches have said to us, ‘Look, you have been asking for this. Before we give it to you, we would like to know, what is your plan?’"

On SCOBA:

"We were blessed by the work of SCOBA….the work of the Episcopal Assembly was made quite easy by the 50 years of preparation."

"The Episcopal Assembly is comprised of every Orthodox bishop, not just the primates. We had 55 in attendance, (in New York) where the maximum of SCOBA members would have been 8."

Ancient Faith Radio has also posted an extensive interview with Fr. Mark Arey, General Secretary of SCOBA, titled Unraveling the Episcopal Assembly. Additionally, Antiochian.org has compiled a summary of online Assembly articles.

Department of Marriage Offers Customizable Souvenir Wedding Brochure

Wedding BrochureWedding BrochureJust in time for the summer wedding season, now those who are in the midst of planning for a wedding have a helpful tool provided by the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries. The customizable souvenir wedding brochure can be downloaded from the department's web page, and customized with the names of the bride and groom, wedding attendants, and wedding date. (The download is in PDF format. Some may have the software and technical skills to customize this brochure on their own, but we recommend simply taking this file to a local printer for customizing and printing.)

Oftentimes weddings are the only Church service which non-Orthodox family and friends will ever attend. Orthodox brides and grooms need a way to explain to their guests what is happening in the ceremony. Those attending Orthodox weddings are struck by the rich symbolism, but they are also curious and perhaps even critical of the wedding, not understanding why it is so different from other weddings they’ve attended.

This souvenir brochure provides a helpful take-away explanation for your guests as to why the priest is doing what he is doing and what the parts of the wedding (such as the dance of Isaiah) mean. 

Additionally, a bride and groom and their family members, can also benefit from reading and downloading the brochure "Crowned With Glory and Honor: Guidelines for Orthodox Marriage Preparation."

OCMC Receives Two-Year Grant to Completely Retire Mortgage

OCMC Building At DedicationOCMC Building At DedicationBy Alex Goodwin

It is for the Glory of God and His Church that the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is pleased to announce its acceptance of a grant totaling $650,000 awarded by an anonymous donor on June 10, 2010.

This two-year grant will completely retire the mortgage on the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Center in St. Augustine, Florida, which serves to administer the many ministries of OCMC and to train and equip mission workers from the United States for service around the world.

With this gift, OCMC will continue to develop its vibrant mission ministries which serve to extend the open arms of the Orthodox Christian Church to parts of the world that still long for the hope of salvation in Christ.

This significant contribution further illustrates the intent of Orthodox Christians in North America to make disciples of all nations.

Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop THOMAS Celebrate Groundbreaking Weekend With St. George Faithful

The weekend of June 4th through the 6th proved to be a joyful and historic event for the community of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. Starting with the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, His Grace Bishop THOMAS and Archdeacon Hans on Friday, June 4, a weekend of celebration was set in motion for the groundbreaking of the new St. George Church.

On Saturday, June 5, our beloved Hierarchs began the day by meeting with some of the parents, teachers and children of our parish. The morning consisted of a dialogue between Metropolitan PHILIP and our children, and a special arts and crafts project. The groundbreaking Ceremony was celebrated at 11:30 a.m. on the land where the new St. George Church will be constructed. Metropolitan PHILIP and Bishop THOMAS blessed and planted a wooden cross on the land where the church will be built.

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