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2008 Fall Meeting Photos

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  • Winter Camp St. Raphael

    Winter Camp St. Raphael Winter Camp St. Raphael, hosted by DOWAMA SOYO, will be held at Camp St. Raphael in Wagoner, OK, January 16th-19th, 2009.  This first-ever weekend event is open to teens who are in 7th-12th grades.  For more information and registration materials, please contact CSR Director Fr. James Shadid at or DOWAMA Youth Director Camille Baba at

    Click here to download the Winter Camp St. Raphael application and flyer (Adobe PDF format).

    Akathist of Thanksgiving: "Glory to God for All Things!"

    “Glory to God for All Things”
    An Akathist of Thanksgiving

    Priest:              Blessed is our God always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

    Choir:              Amen.

    Priest:              Glory to Thee, O God, glory to Thee.
                              O heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art in all places,
                              and fillest all things, Treasury of good things, and Giver of life,
                              come, and dwell in us,
                              and cleanse us from every stain; and save our souls, O good One.

    Bishop THOMAS Visits St. Michael's in Monessen, PA

    St. Michael Day 2008 Fr. Fred Pfeil of St. Michael's writes:

    We were blessed to have our father in Christ, Bishop THOMAS, with us for our patronal feast of St. Michael the Archangel this year, November 8-9. We began the festivities with Great Vespers on Saturday evening, followed by a dinner at Rego’s Italian Restaurant in Charleroi, directly across the river from Monessen. The Parish Council with spouses, the Ladies’ Society officers, our Choir Director and Sunday School teachers shared the meal with His Grace and Fr. Fred.

    Sunday morning began with Orthros and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Deacon Glenn McIntyre of St. Ellien, Brownsville and Subdeacon James Purdy of St. George Cathedral Oakland, served with us. We sang the Trisagion Prayers for the Departed for the V. Rev. Archimandrite John Namie and Beverly Elias.

    Prayers and Music for the Nativity Season

    Prayers and Music for the Nativity Season
    Quick links to material for prayer at home and in church

    For liturgical use, you should always check with the Archdiocese Department of and the Diocese of Los Angeles Liturgics page are also helpful resources.

    Appropriate services during the Nativity Fast are:

    For services on Thanksgiving Day, visit the Online Liturgical Guide.

    Many parishes and individuals celebrate Thanksgiving with the Akathist of Thanksgiving. The Antiochian Women of the East have also provided a printable version of the Akathist organized for devotional reading throughout the Nativity Fast.

    The Department of Sacred Music provides musical settings in PDF format for the major feasts of the Nativity season:

    Many Years to the Newly-Elected Metropolitan JONAH

    His Beatitude Met. JONAH The faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese offers our congratulations and prayers to His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH!

    His Grace Bishop JONAH of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15 All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America on November 12, 2008.

    For more information, please visit the OCA's web site. You can also listen to speeches by Metropolitan JONAH and a variety of commentary on his election at Ancient Faith Radio.

    Expansion Opportunity for St. Raphael Mission + Iowa City, IA

    St. Raphael Mission FaithfulFr. Ignatius Valentine writes:

    Dearly beloved by the Lord,

    Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever! The community of St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission in Iowa City, IA has a very urgent opportunity that we would like to share with you. As you will see in the accompanying pamphlet, we have a wonderful chance to purchase a building that would allow us to continue to grow and serve God in our Midwestern college town. I cannot speak highly enough regarding the generosity and sacrificial giving that has characterized our own members, but I rejoice that we are not in this alone. We are, perhaps, a little toe on the Body of Christ. You are part of that Body as well. We are all connected to the Head through our common baptism and the reception of the same Eucharist.

    Simply put, we have 75 days to raise $275,000. This will allow us to complete the purchase and renovate the interior so that it is a fitting place for Orthodox worship.

    The Nativity Season

    "What is the True Meaning of Christmas?"

    Orthodox Christians ask this question along with everyone else, but our answers might be different. During America's favorite season of feasting, we fast, and our festal season culminates on Theophany, two weeks after most Americans' holiday is done. It may be a struggle to partake of the fullness of Nativity while still sharing in the warmth and fellowship of the Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions of our families. How do we embrace our Orthodox practice amidst the conflicting demands of our culture?

    Through the resources in the sections below, we hope to provide food for thought and for the spirit throughout the fast, and a feast of good words as we celebrate the Feast of the Word's Birth in the Flesh.







    Metropolitan PHILIP Hosts Antiochian Seminarians for Annual Dinner

    On the evening of Thursday, November 13th, 2008, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Antiochian Seminarians and their spouses for the annual Seminarian Dinner, which is held at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. This year, we are blessed to have 32 seminarians (20 of whom are married) in attendance at three Orthodox seminaries: St. Vladimir in Crestwood, NY; St. Tikhon in South Canaan, PA; and Holy Cross in Brookline, MA. More than 60 people attended the Dinner.

    The evening began with the Vesper service for St. PHILIP The Apostle (the patron saint of His Eminence). After vespers, everyone proceeded to the large dining room for a wonderful dinner, and dessert. His Eminence addressed the seminarians and their spouses, especially on matters of pastoral care for the faithful. He emphasized the need to remain true to Orthodox traditions while being mindful of the culture that we live in. He emphasized also that our faith must touch the lives of people in a positive way, and that the wives of our priests also have an important ministry.

    Click here to see more pictures.

    November 19, 2008 + Advent

    by Rev. Vladimir Berzonsky


    from The Word, December 1970


    “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone. You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase” (Isaiah 9:1)

    "I understand the significance of the pre-Easter lent, but why do we keep a Lenten season for Christmas, since it’s such a joyous occasion?” The woman who made the comment spoke sincerely and her reasoning was correct. What she misunderstood was the purpose of Lenten fasting and spiritual preparation.

    To so many of our people, fasting and prayers are expressions of sorrow for a rupture in Divine-human relationships, such as was the murder of Jesus Christ.

    Primarily, Lent is a time for our concentrated preparing for the Kingdom of God’s manifestation within us. By freeing ourselves from the things of this world we can better live and experience the Spirit of God dwelling in our souls. It is a time of pilgrimage—a spiritual journey to our true native land which the Lord has prepared for us.

    Now it is advent, the time of His coming. Christ is on the way to my world, my city, my house and to me. How will He find it: what will He think of us; will He be pleased?

    Patriarch IGNATIUS IV in Boston

    From October 28 to November 2, 2008, His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV met with Metropolitan PHILIP and the Archdiocese synod of Bishops in Boston, Massachusetts. Please click on the following picture to see more photos of each respective event.

    Luncheon in Honor of His Beatitude Board of Trustees Meeting
    A luncheon was held in honor of His Beatitude on October 28th. The Archdiocese Board of Trustees held a meeting on October 31st and November 1st.
    Banquet for the University of Balamand Patriarchal Divine Liturgy
    On November 1st, His Beatitude presided over a banquet celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Balamand in Lebanon. His Beatitude, together with Metropolitan PHILIP and the Bishops in attendance, celebrated Patriarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 2nd.

    Patriarchal Divine Liturgy

    November 2, 2008: His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV celebrated a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in Boston Massachusetts. Also in attendence were Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop THOMAS, Bishop MARK, Bishop JOSEPH, Bishop ANTOUN and Bishop ALEXANDER, as well as many other clergy and altar servers.

    Balamand Scholarship Fund Banquet

    November 1, 2008: His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV presided over a banquet celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Balamand in Lebanon. The banquet was also intended to raise funds for the University of Balamand Scholarship Fund, which benefits needy and worth students. For more information on the Scholarship Fund please see Metropolitan PHILIP's letter here

    Archdiocese Board of Trustees Meeting

    October 31-November 1, 2008:

    Luncheon in Honor of His Beatitude

    October 28th, 2008: A luncheon was held in honor of His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV.

    Guidelines for the Nativity Fast

    The Nativity Fast

    (November 15 through December 24)

    The Nativity Fast is one of the four Canonical Fasting Seasons in the Church year. This is a joyous fast in anticipation of the Nativity of Christ. That is the reason it is less strict than other fasting periods. The fast is divided into two periods. The 1st period is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, fish, wine, and oil) is observed. There is dispensation given for wine and oil on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Similarly, fish, wine, and oil are permitted on Saturdays and Sundays. The 2nd period is December 20th through 24th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, fish, wine, and oil) is observed. There is dispensation given for wine and oil only on Saturday and Sunday during this period. Here are the guidelines:

    November 12, 2008 + John Chrysostom - His Message For Us

    by Fr. Joseph Allen

    from The Word, March 1986

    He (Saint John Chrysostom) was born in the year 347 at Antioch, which was then the capital of Syria. His father was a distinguished military officer (magister militum) in the imperial army of Syria. His mother, Anthusa, was a pious Christian who was widowed at the age of twenty, and who thereafter devoted herself to raising her son John and his older sister. John's earliest inclination was to the monastic life, but it was upon the wish of his mother that he delayed entering that life. He, himself, records this incident. His mother took him into her chamber and begged him with tears not to forsake her, since he was her only comfort since his father’s death: "Do not plunge me into a second widowhood; nor revive the grief which is now laid to rest; wait for my death: it may be in a little while that I shall depart." He did wait, but it was soon thereafter that John entered the monastery in the mountains south of Antioch.

    November 5th, 2008 + Operating in the Real World

    by Fr. Stephen Rogers

    from The Word, November 1999

    As we approach the end of the 20th century, we are living in the midst of what has aptly been labeled the Information Age. Computers, the world wide web, hundreds of television channels, talk radio, and print media inundate us with information.

    The creed of our age is “knowledge is power.” Day after day, new discoveries extend the boundaries of human reasoning and knowledge. Our understanding of the world and how it works extends our ability to master and control that world. Unfortunately, this drive to “understand” the world — to explain it, quantify it and thereby control it — has also had the effect of demystifying the world, of leaving no room for the miraculous. In the Information Age, that which cannot be understood cannot be part of the “real” world. That which is mystical, that which is spiritual rather than physical, is part of a mythical or psychological world separate from the “real” world we operate in every day.

    For the Christian, nothing could be further from the truth. The world of spirit is part of reality; in fact it is a higher reality that shapes and defines the physical world in which we live. Spiritual truth and spiritual forces impact our lives in dramatic ways.

    On the eighth day of this month, the Church reminds us of this spiritual reality and its impact upon the physical world when it celebrates the Synaxis of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and All the Heavenly Powers.

    Upcoming Broadcasts on the Orthodox Christian Network

    This week on the Orthodox Christian Network:

    On this week's episode of Come Receive the Light, Fr. Alexander Goussetis, author of "Encountering World Religions: An Orthodox Christian Perspective," talks with Fr. Chris about Buddhism.

    Also, Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor at Boston University, answers questions about Orthodoxy sent in from listeners around the country.

    "Special Moments in Orthodoxy" continues its adult Bible study of the Book of Acts with Fr. Harry Pappas.

    "Turning to the Fathers" with Fr. John McGuckin looks at the spiritual teachings of St. John of Damascus.

    Also new this week: "Get Wisdom," the Bible study program for teens and young adults, and "Just Thinking," where Fr. Chris and Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News discuss current events and social trends.

    Featured Mission: Holy Incarnation + Lincoln Park, Michigan

    Holy Incarnation is a Western Rite mission serving metropolitan Detroit, Michigan under the leadership of Fr. John Fenton. Prior to the spring of 2008, Holy Incarnation had been leasing space from a local Episcopal church, but in February the mission concluded the purchase of a building to serve as its permanent home.

    The new church building is an important step in the re-establishment of a Western Rite Orthodox parish in metropolitan Detroit. From 1975-2001, Incarnation Orthodox Church in Detroit served the liturgical needs of Western Rite Orthodox Christians in and around Detroit, and was the cornerstone of the Western Orthodoxy in the Midwest. Fr Fenton explained that Holy Incarnation Orthodox Church builds on the legacy of the former Incarnation parish. “We are the beneficiaries of years of sacrificial giving,” said Fr. Fenton, “because the funds held in trust after the closing of Incarnation have helped finance the new facility for Holy Incarnation.” Fr. Fenton stated the new building will further the permanent re-establishment of a Western Rite presence in Detroit.

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