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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.

Featured Parish: St. George Church + Cicero, Illinois

The Miraculous Lady of Cicero, IllinoisFrom the St. George Church web site:

Orthodox Christians from the Middle East began to arrive in Illinois in the early part of the 20th century. At first, they were served by itinerant priests from Michigan City, Indiana, and later from Spring Valley, Illinois. However, for decades, there were never enough families in Chicago to constitute their own parish. Many in the Chicago area worshipped in the local Greek Churches or belonged to the common Melkite/Maronite parish of St. John the Baptist.

In 1960, several families petitioned the late Metropolitan ANTONY (Bashir) to send them a priest to serve the Divine Liturgy. Services were held at the Syrian-Lebanese Club House on Washington Boulevard and Laramie Avenue on Chicago's West Side or in rented quarters. Among the first priests to serve on a weekend basis was the Rev. Fr. Philip Giffin, who commuted from Buffalo, New York. Later, priests from the Greek Diocese of Chicago served periodically at St. George. The Rev. Fr. John Newcombe served as the first resident priest for the parish from 1965 to 1966.

Archdiocese Synod of Bishops Meets in Boston, MA

His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East presided over a meeting of the Archdiocese Synod of Bishops on Friday, October 31st, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.

From left to right: Bishop MARK, Bishop THOMAS, Bishop JOSEPH, Metropolitan PHILIP, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop LUKA (Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop), Bishop ALEXANDER.

Bishop BASIL could not attend due to a previous commitment in Houston, Texas.

His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV

Why Does the Church Exist?

On Saturday, Nov. 15, Fr. Alexander Atty will conduct a workshop at St. George Church, Indianapolis, IN. All are encouraged to attend and learn about the work that Christ gave His Church to do and about the role of clergy and laity in this work. Note that attendance in at least one parish council workshop is a prerequisite for nomination for parish council. However, attendance is encouraged regardless of whether participants intend to seek to serve on the council. As we learn more about the work Christ calls us to do and role each is to play, we have the potential to work together in peace and harmony for the building up of the Body of Christ.  The workshop will start at 10 a.m. and will finish by 3 p.m.

President Calls for Constitutional Amendment Protecting Marriage

Click here to read the complete text of Federal Marriage Amendment - H.J. Res 56 


For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 24, 2004

Remarks by the President
The Roosevelt Room
10:43 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14. Those congressional votes and the passage of similar defensive marriage laws in 38 states express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage.

President George W. Bush delivers a statement regarding the sanctity of marriage in the Roosevelt Room Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004. In recent months, however, some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges on the highest court have indicated they will order the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender in May of this year. In San Francisco, city officials have issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. That code, which clearly defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, was approved overwhelmingly by the voters of California. A county in New Mexico has also issued marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. And unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials, all of which adds to uncertainty.

10 Members Join the Order of St. Ignatius

10 members join the Order in Los Altos Hills, CA: October 26, 2008

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