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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.

Bishop Thomas Visits Holy Trinity Mission

Lynchburg, Virginia

On May, 29, 2010, His Grace Bishop THOMAS was solemnly received at Vespers service by Father Alban Waggener and the members of Holy Trinity. Following Vespers, His Grace spoke to the members present about his vision for the church and the mission in Lynchburg. He noted that this region of the country is a difficult area to introduce people to Orthodoxy, however, “nothing is impossible with God”. He encouraged everyone to continue to preach the Gospel everywhere they go.

Following Vespers, His Grace joined the mission council for dinner at the Waggener home. Many topics were discussed including the future of the mission in Lynchburg and how it can reach out to others in the community. His Grace is positive about the the Mission and the future of Orthodoxy in Lynchburg.

Seeking the Peace from Above: Peacemaking and Conflict-Resolution in the Church

Icon by Linda Haddad, www.byzantineicons-lindahaddad.comIcon by Linda Haddad, www.byzantineicons-lindahaddad.comBy Fr. John Mefrige

Reprinted from The Word, June 2010

The very words of Christ Himself proclaim, “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God,” but all too often we see the very children of the Church embroiled in destructive conflict and controversy. Who has not been to a Parish Council meeting or an Annual Parish Assembly where there has been conflict or controversy? Who has not experienced strong differences of opinions within families or with siblings? Who cannot say that they know people who have gone through messy divorces in their Church communities? As a matter of fact, a cottage industry has emerged on the Internet now populated with numerous websites and blogs specifically dedicated to exploring the question of just how we are dealing with conflict in the Church. Perhaps one might conclude generally that conflict is “normal” to the human condition, and, by extension, to the Church, and we just have to do our best to survive it. But the reality is that, all too often, conflict leaves in its wake a myriad of severed relationships and broken ties that ultimately do harm to the very members of the Church that produce it.

OrthodoxHistory.org Publishes Life of Pioneering Antiochian Priest, Fr. Nicola Yanney, +1918

Fr. Paul Hodge, Antiochian pastor of St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Sioux City, Iowa, recently republished a fascinating account of the life and times of Fr. Nicola Yanney, the first Antiochian priest to serve in mid-America. Born in 1873 as the son of Elias Yanney in Fi’eh al-Koura, north Lebanon, Fr. Nicola and his young bride Martha George al-Baik of Qilhat, immigrated to America shortly after their wedding, where they led the life of homesteaders in a sod house. Sadly, after happy years spent farming in the Kearney area, Martha and the Yanneys' second daughter Catherine, reposed in 1902. Following this loss, St. Raphael of Brooklyn ordained the widower to the priesthood, as Bishop BASIL recounted in his own Enthronement remarks on December 15, 2004: "Father Nicola’s parish stretched from the Canadian border in the north, to the Mexican border in the south, and from the Mississippi River in the east, to the Rocky Mountains in the west. It is Fr. Nicola who, as a circuit riding priest headquartered in Kearney, followed the example of his Father-in-Christ, St. Raphael, and visited Orthodox Christians in the scattered towns, villages and isolated farm lands throughout America’s Heartland."

Read the full account here.

Bishop BASIL Elected Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly

At the Episcopal Assembly recently concluded in New York City on Friday, May 28, His Grace Bishop BASIL was elected Secretary of the Assembly. Reports His Grace, "I was nominated by Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Chair of the Episcopal Assembly), and Metropolitan PHILIP (First Vice-Chair of the Episcopal Assembly) seconded my nomination. I was then elected by acclamation by the 53 other bishops present at the Episcopal Assembly. I will head the Secretariat of the Episcopal Assembly which will be headquartered in the center of America's Heartland -- Wichita, Kansas."

By decision of the Assembly, all organizations and joint action projects such as International Orthodox Christian Charities which operate under SCOBA, will function now under the auspices of the Episcopal Assembly. Newly formed committees will meet at regular intervals to discuss issues of common interest to all Orthodox Christians.

Orthodox Missions Institute Established at Holy Cross/Hellenic

HCHC President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, EFOM President Mrs. Helen Nicozisis, Rev. Alexander Veronis and Rev. Luke VeronisHCHC President Rev. Nicholas Triantafilou, EFOM President Mrs. Helen Nicozisis, Rev. Alexander Veronis and Rev. Luke VeronisThe Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity was established on April 29, 2010, at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with an initial endowment of one million dollars from EFOM (the Endowment Fund for Orthodox Missions). EFOM, a charity connected with the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was created in 1981 to honor the missions-minded ministry of the Reverend Alexander and Presbytera Pearl Veronis. The endowment was presented to the Reverend Nicholas Triantafilou, President of HC/HC, by EFOM’s Board President, Mrs. Helen Nicozisis.

On presenting the check to the school, Mrs. Nicozisis noted that this gift came not from one major benefactor, but from many people who gave both small and large donations over many years. “All of these people,” she emphasized, “believe in the essential importance of cultivating the spirit of missions, especially among our seminarians and future clergy.”

Historic Mission Team Arrives in Albania

Fr. Luke Veronis Preaches in AlbaniaFr. Luke Veronis Preaches in AlbaniaBy Andrew Lekos

Following classes and orientation led by Fr. Luke Veronis, Missionary Nathan Hoppe, and Fr. David Rucker, a Team of 2 priests and 11 seminarians arrived in Albania for two very full weeks of ministry and learning on Tuesday, May 25th. This Team is historic in several ways: It is the first joint Team of the newly inaugurated Missions Institute of Orthodox Christianity and OCMC. It is also the first Team jointly made up of students from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and Holy Cross School of Theology. This is also the first fully accredited Team, offering three hours of seminary credit for the class work and time in Albania. The course will study in depth the life, missiology and writings of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and examine how he has practically lived out this missiology through his ministry in the Church of Albania. The course will look at the foundation and calling of missions. The practicum includes the Team traveling to Albania, witnessing the resurrection of the Church of Albania, meeting missionaries and the indigenous leaders, and participating in an evangelism program within the country.

Please join OCMC and The Mission Institute of Orthodox Christianity in prayer for this historic Team to Albania. Support for this effort and the work of missions can be given on-line at www.ocmc.org.

Antiochian Priest Chronicles His Year In Conciliar Press Book, Aidan's Song

Conciliar Press has released a new book written by Antiochian priest Fr. Aidan Wilcoxson of Cedar Park, Texas. Titled Aidan's Song, the book recounts the many moments of a parish priest's life, large and small, all experienced within the rhythm of the Church year. The journal entries delight, encourage and inspire. As Bishop BASIL writes on the jacket, "After a few pages priests will find themselves singing along and lay readers will be humming this really great tune. Enjoy! I did!"

From Aidan's Song:

Sunday, November 19: Prophet Obadiah

This morning I’m out among the trees behind the building. The sun hasn’t come up yet, and it’s pretty cold—even with a T-shirt, my clergy shirt, my cassock, and a sweater. I’m going through my sermon, and the sky starts to glow orange like a fire on a crisp morning. Out in the tall grass, a deer breaks cover and bounds off into the trees. But after a few minutes, the deer walks back out towards me. It’s a doe, and she’s got her neck stretched out, and she’s looking straight at me. I can see her brown eyes. I go through the sermon again, and she stays right there, listening. After I’m done, she wheels, her white tail flashes, and she leaps—once, twice, three times—back into the trees.

SVS Octet Performing in Kansas Concerts

The St. Vladimir's Seminary Summer Octet will be performing in three weekend concerts June 4th, 5th, and 6th. Both Overland Park and Wichita, Kansas, will host Director Dn. Philip Majkrzak's singing eight for three evenings of Byzantine and Slavic musical selections. Those interested may contact the host parishes: Holy Trinity Church (June 4), 913-681-6948; St. Mary's Church (June 5), 316-264-1576; and St. George Cathedral (June 6), 316-636-4676. 

Order of St. Ignatius Encourages Giving to Camp Scholarships

Joanne Hakim, Administrator for The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, reports: "At the recent board of directors meeting in New York, the amount of dollars that The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch contributed to camp scholarship was reported. A member of the board asked how many children were able to attend camp as a result of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch’s contribution. The answer to that question follows:

'The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, as you know, contributes a significant portion (over 10%) of its annual revenue to our Camp Scholarship program. Beginning in 2009, we increased our commitment to $175,000 annually. Since inception the Order has contributed over $1,700,000 for scholarships to our camp children.'

However, what is most important is human lives impacted. For the 2010 camping season over 700 young people will receive scholarship assistance from The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. We thank all of our Orthodox brothers and sisters who have joined The Order and ask everyone in our Self-Ruled Archdiocese to consider joining. One new member = one new camper = one soul saved!"

For more information, contact the Order of St. Ignatius or Antiochian Village.

Two Diocese of Wichita Parishes Have New Church Homes

St. Luke Orthodox ChurchSt. Luke Orthodox ChurchFr. David Mustian  (frdavidmustian@yahoo.com) reports that over 200 people attended the first Divine Liturgy in the new home of St. Luke Orthodox Church, Erie, Colorado, on Sunday, May 23rd. The new iconostasis and some other items are yet to be delivered and installed. In other Holy Ascension Orthodox ChurchHoly Ascension Orthodox Churchgood news, a second parish, Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Norman, Oklahoma, has finished building their new church as well. Fr. Justin McFeeters (justin41148@gmail.com) says that the congregation hopes to begin worshipping in their recently completed church temple following the Parish Life Conference next month. As is the DOWAMA tradition, the iconostasis crafted for the chapel at the Parish Life Conference is gifted to a mission or small congregation within the Diocese. This year the iconostasis will be gifted to Holy Ascension in Norman. The formal blessing of this new facility is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the Diocesan Fall Gathering in October.

AFR Podcast Features Antiochian House of Studies

On May 25, the podcast Ancient Faith Presents featured an interview with AFR CEO John Maddex and Dn. Peter Bolukos, Registrar for the St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology. Dn. Peter highlighted aspects of this unique educational program and encouraged new students to consider studying theology and ministry via the Antiochian House of Studies.

Dn. Peter pointed out that the Antiochian House of Studies and St. Stephen's Course have been in existence for nearly 30 years. Between 120 and 150 students apply annually, and in the courses, students read approximately 13,000 total pages. Additionally, all students must complete a ministerial project with clergy mentors and all must attend yearly classes at Antiochian Village. There are thousands of students who have completed the courses and are serving the Church as both clergy and laypeople, including many from countries like Japan, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico and Australia.

For more information, prospective students may email Dn. Peter at theoedu1@aol.com, or call (201) 569-0095, Eastern Standard Time.

St. Vladimir's Awards Honorary Doctorate, Announces the Bishop BASIL Program in Byzantine Liturgical Music

At the May 22nd Commencement ceremony, St. Vladimir's Seminary bestowed an honorary doctorate degree on His Grace, Bishop BASIL, and also established a Byzantine music program in his honor. The commendation read:

Faithful son of God fearing Orthodox Christian parents, reared in the Church and nourished by her manifest blessings, university educated, theologically trained, and spiritually formed in graduate Orthodox seminary practice, steeped with the knowledge of church history, Scripture, and liturgical and pastoral practice, bridger of traditions, rejecter of phyletism, seeker of truth, author and translator of liturgical books and arranger of hymnography celebrating the glory of the Mother of God, avid inspirational leader of youth, teacher of liturgical music and church rite, builder of churches, lover of people, dedicated follower of the monastic rule, commemorator of the saints, archpastor and Christ loving shepherd of flocks, bearer of joy and teacher of sobriety, true friend and loyal advisor, articulate witness and dynamic defender of the faith, visionary leader and clear thinking guide, bearer of truth and defender of right, without guile and humble in spirit, “rightly dividing the word of God’s truth,” it is with great honor that the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, by unanimous decision and by the power vested in them by the Board of Regents of the State of New York, bestow upon His Grace, The Right Reverend BASIL, Bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and of Mid-America of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, the degree Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

Bishop BASIL Receives Honorary Doctorate at St. Vladimir's Seminary Commencement

Thirty graduate from St. Vladimir’s Seminary

[SVS Communications/Yonkers, NY]  With jubilant ceremony, thirty seminarians from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary received their diplomas at Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 22, amid a throng of family, friends, and fellow classmates. Eager, hopeful, and grateful, the Class of 2010—among them 12 priests—celebrated the end of their formal studies and the beginning of a variety of ministries in service to the Orthodox Church in North America and abroad.

Highlights of the joyful day included the Valedictory address by Fr. Andrew Cuneo, and the Salutatory address by seminarian Michael Soroka. The seminary Board of Trustees also bestowed two honorary doctorates: one upon Mr. Albert Foundos, a member of the seminary’s Board; and the other upon His Grace, The Right Rev. Basil (Essey), bishop of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Mr. Foundos gave the Commencement address titled “Where My Treasure Is.”

Please view the full story and gallery of Commencement 2010 photos here.

 

Metropolitan PHILIP Addresses Historic Episcopal Assembly on First Day

(File Photo)(File Photo)EPISCOPAL ASSEMBLY - MAY 26, 2010

"Your Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and Brother Bishops:

My opening remarks this morning are taken from the Vespers of Palm Sunday, “Today the Grace of the Holy Spirit has gathered us together.” How wonderful and pleasing to God for all of us to meet and discuss matters related to the life of our Church on this particular continent. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of SCOBA for his hard work to make this gathering possible.

The literature which we received from Chambesy via the Greek Archdiocese of America, raises some important questions.

ONE, Despite the vitality and the dynamic nature of Orthodoxy in North America, no member of SCOBA, not even the chairman of SCOBA, was consulted about what was discussed in Geneva. We received rules from our brothers in Switzerland which we have nothing to do with. We have been on this continent for more than two hundred (200) years. We are no longer little children to have rules imposed on us from 5,000 miles away. Orthodoxy in America has its own ethos. We have our own theological institutions, and we have our own theologians, authors, publications and magazines. We do not intend to be disobedient to the Mother Churches; we just want to dialogue with them and give them the opportunity to know us and understand us.

Bishop THOMAS Visits St. Nicholas Church in Beckley, West Virginia

Bishop THOMAS ordaining George LowenBishop THOMAS ordaining George LowenBy Fr. Samuel Haddad

During the weekend of May 1st, 2010, His Grace, Bishop THOMAS made his annual pastoral visit to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Beckley, West Virginia. Because of a severe winter with record snowfall, Sayidna THOMAS’ visit was rescheduled twice, and it was good to have him with us during the beautiful Pentecostarian Season, with spring in full swing and no possibility of snow.

Sayidna’s THOMAS’ visit included meetings with the Parish Council, the Women of the Holy Myrrh Bearers (the parish’s women’s organization), Vespers, and the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. It was truly a celebration weekend with the tonsuring of our Choir Master John Stroud as Reader, and the ordination of George Lowen to the Subdeaconate. Both men are strong leaders and ministers in the parish, and their work of service to God will only increase with His help.

The Faithful of St. Nicholas reviewed with Sayidna THOMAS the many activities that have brought vitality to our parish community, especially the liturgical life of the parish, and outreach projects such as Carpenter’s Corner, a downtown soup kitchen the we had the blessing to help bring into existence with Fr. Samuel serving as a member of the founding board of directors.

Chaplain's Corner: Perseverence

By Fr. George Morelli

“A time of trial is beneficial to everyone: the diligent are tried so that their wealth may increase; the lax, so that they may be preserved from harm; those spiritually asleep, so that they may prepare themselves for watchfulness; those whose who are far from God, so that they approach Him; those who are God’s close associates, so that they may come closer to Him. . . .”  St. Isaac the Syrian

Thomas Alva Edison once said: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”[i] It appears that many individuals in the world want success, but few want to persevere in the actions it takes to achieve their success. Unfortunately, some think success will occur simply by the desire for it. However, examining the lives of anyone who has achieved success actually shows that it takes great perseverance and endurance, and the withstanding and overcoming of obstacles and difficulties. Furthermore, people who are really successful are never satisfied with the level they have already attained, but persevere to achieve greater perfection.

This insight was certainly not lost on religious leaders. For example, The Koran point out: “God is with those who persevere.”[ii] But there is a caveat told to us by God. The prophet Isaiah (11: 2) tells us: “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might [courage-perseverance], the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Notice that perseverance is preceded by wisdom and followed by knowledge.

Al-Kafaat Founder Honored by Archdiocese

Mr. Nadim Shwayri accepts Antonian Gold MedalMr. Nadim Shwayri accepts Antonian Gold MedalThe founder of the Al-Kafaat Foundation, Mr. Nadim Shwayri, with his wife Lily and daughter Myriam, visited His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP on Monday, May 24th for dinner. The Al-Kafaat Foundation in Lebanon provides services and housing for people with disabilities from all backgrounds; the word Al-Kafaat itself means "abilities." Mr, Shwayri has dedicated most of his life and finances to establishing the foundation that cares for these "least of my brethren" free of charge, from the cradle to the grave.

Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries Announces Two New Brochures

In conjunction with Conciliar Press, the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family MInistries has released two much-requested brochures for Orthodox Christians. "Crowned with Glory and Honor," a free, downloadable brochure, presents readers with a set of helpful guidelines for Orthodox marriage preparation, including such concepts as the meaning of crowning, and the purpose of the Betrothal Service. Readers will even learn about the wedding almonds: "The white coating symbolizes purity; the egg shape represents fertility and new life that begins in marriage. The hardness of the almond represents the endurance of marriage, and the sweetness of the sugar encourages the hope of the sweetness of future life together. Giving of three almonds signifies the union is indivisible, just as the bride and groom will remain undivided in their union with each other and with Christ."

The second brochure, "A Guide to Parish Etiquette," lists everything parishioners need to know about respectful and reverent behavior while in liturgy. Department Director Khouria Maggie Hock encourages all parishes, couples and families to make use of these valuable, free resources.

St. Moses the Black Brotherhood Hosts 17th Annual Conference

Antiochian clergy and faithful from around the country joined with other Orthodox Christians at St. Luke's Orthodox Mission in Anniston, Alabama from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, May 16 to participate in the 17th Annual Ancient Christianity and Afro-American Conference, sponsored by the St. Moses the Black Brotherhood.

The conference spanned three days and included many church services and lectures. Notable speakers included His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH; Priest Moses Berry, President of the St. Moses the Black Brotherhood and rector of Theotokos "Unexpected Joy" Mission in Ash Grove, MO; Dr Carla Thomas of Thomas Properties, LLC; Nun Katherine, superior of the St. Xenia Metochion, Indianapolis, IN; Priest Paisius Altschul, Executive Director of Reconciliation Services and rector of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church, Kansas City, MO; and author, iconographer and rector Fr. Jerome Sanderson.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH celebrated the Hierachical Divine Liturgy on Saturday, May 15. More than a dozen clergy from across the United States concelebrated with him, from the Greek, Bulgarian, Antiochian, OCA, Moscow Patriarchate and Serbian jurisdictions.

On Sunday, May 16 His Beatitude celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the feast remembering the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council. Joining His Beatitude were clergy from neighboring jurisdictions and nearby parishes.

The St. Moses the Black Brotherhood hosts chapters in Detroit, MI and Anniston, AL. 

Joint IOCC and Philoptochos Effort Combats Dreaded Ethiopian Disease

By Sara Tomczyk/IOCC Ethiopia

Addis Ababa — Lidya grew up on a small farm in southern Ethiopia and spent sunny afternoons playing barefoot in the fields. At 13, she began noticing a slight swelling in her feet. For a year Lidya hid this swelling from her family and school friends under long skirts. However, the swelling continued and a painful oozing wound appeared between her toes.

Lydia was afflicted by a debilitating disease called podoconiosis, a condition caused by the exposure of bare feet to alkalic clay soil that causes open sores and ulcers, infection, and burning, itching, or swelling of the feet and lower legs.

Like so many who suffer from her affliction and the misconceptions that surround her disease, Lidya's mother reacted harshly and blamed Lydia for bringing a curse upon their family. Yet, for Lidya and approximately one million people who are affected by podoconiosis in Ethiopia, a simple pair of shoes and daily foot treatments can change all of this.

Lydia fell into despair after realizing she must stop going to school and would never marry. Her mother forced her to stay inside the house and hide from the community. Then Lidya's father heard about a relative who also suffered from the condition and arranged for this relative to show Lydia how to wash her feet with soap and water and taught her the importance of shoes and socks. Within four months, the oozing stopped, and the outgrowths on her feet disappeared. She returned to school and raised awareness about the condition and its treatment among her classmates.

"So many Ethiopians, especially the children, face a host of dreadful diseases," said IOCC Ethiopia Country Representative Sigurd Hanson. "The numbers are brutal and stark, but most of these diseases are preventable."

Video Celebrates Parish's Fifteenth Anniversary

Recently, a video celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of St. Joseph Antiochian Orthodox Church, Houston, Texas, was released via YouTube.

Created by videographer Doug Burns, "The Beginning" includes vintage photographs and clips, and chronicles the story of the lively, multi-ethnic parish. The parish is led by the Very Rev. Fr. Matthew B. MacKay.

Blog Records Young Adult Holy Land Pilgrimage

Jordan RiverJordan RiverFrom May 15-24, a group of young adult Orthodox Christians are making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land under the guidance of Fr. Mark Leondis (GOA) and His Grace Bishop Savas of Troas.

An entry from Monday, Day 2, reads: "We took a 45 minute drive to Mount Tabor, where the Transfiguration of Christ took place. We drove up to the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, where we were greeted by bells in honor of the Bishop. Some of the men (Jim, Paul, Matthew, Alex, Chris and George) decided to wear shorts -- so they humbled themselves with a sarong (borrowed from the women), so that they could enter. We took mini-buses up the mountain and it took us 10 minutes . . . to think that Jesus and His closest companions, walked up the mountain, just amazed the pilgrims.

Following the visitation to the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, we went to the river where Jesus submitted and humbled Himself to be baptized by his cousin John the Baptist. We stepped into the water up to our knees and read from Scripture and chanted hymns of Epiphany, and each received a blessing in the name of the Trinity. Some of the pilgrims decided to enter the water fully (Christina, Giselle, Alex, Ivonne, Stella and Leanora). Very interesting was to see the Gospel narrative from Mark 1:9-14, in dozens of languages (some of which we never have heard) -- for example, have you ever heard of "Fang?" or "Tagalog?" It reminded us of Jesus' command in the last verses of Matthew (28:10), 'Go and baptize all nations.'"

To follow the travel blog, click here.

Improved Liturgical Resources Page Launched

The editors of Antiochian.org recently launched a newly improved Liturgical Resources section, accessed on the menu bar of the website's home page. One of the site's most popular destinations, the Resources page now features categories such as "Articles," "Music Resources," and "Podcasts and Audio." An aggregation of the most critical liturgical tools required by chanters, choir directors, deacons and priests, the page is also helpful to laypeople involved in Bible study groups or choir. Browsers can download music, an Akathist, even the Antiochian Archdiocese's well-loved "Little Red Prayer Book."

Recently, Antiochian.org spoke with the Very Rev. Fr. David Barr, respected Antiochian liturgist and Director of the St. Romanos Chanter's Training Program, about the importance of liturgy and music in the life of the Church.

1. Generally speaking, do parish musicians usually need formal training to chant in church? Why/why not? What would you recommend for that musically inclined parishioner who might be interested in chant, but shy?

To chant properly using Byzantine chant, one needs some formal training. Even though a great deal of Byzantine music exists today in western notation, it is important to understand the ethos.

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