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Featured Author of the Antiochian Archdiocese: Fr. John Oliver

Fr. John Oliver Fr. John Oliver is the priest of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He is the author of numerous articles and essays, and of Touching Heaven: Discovering Orthodox Christianity on the Island of Valaam, published by Conciliar Press. A graduate of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, he joined the faculty as instructor in Old and New Testament and American Religious History.  He and his wife Lara have three daughters and one son.

Fr. John Oliver also broadcasts the Hearts and Minds podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.


The Story

by Fr. John Oliver
Touching Heaven

The curtains fill with faint breeze and tease away from the open window, then hang still again. I cannot sleep. In several minutes the clock beside my bed will ring as I have programmed it to do. I hear no sound but the soft rustle of swaying leaves. Time has passed unnoticed. It is night-one hour before the Easter Pascha Liturgy.

I dress, then move quietly through the house. There is nothing to take to the temple but the usual-joy from the astonishing events that will unfold this night, guilt from another Lent of scattered effort, and hope of meeting Christ, who welcomes the eleventh-hour people. Somehow, though, feelings are irrelevant. Indeed, something infinitely more interesting is moving toward center stage. The dark corners in every fold of the universe rumble in anticipation as the priest readies his vestments and the choir arranges the hymns.

I pat my pockets, listening for the familiar jingle of coins and car keys. The money is needed for a meal at an all-night restaurant; the keys for transporting my hungry body there after the Liturgy. I walk through the living room, brushing with my fingertips the wall holding the icon of the Mother of God. Traveling light, I open the front door and step into a humid Florida night. Faint blue-and-white shades of television screens flicker from nearby homes. It is the only evidence of life I can see, and I imagine that they shine upon the bodies of sleeping men and women.

Keeping Students Connected to the Church

by Fr. Kevin Scherer

“Keeping Our College Students Connected to the Church” is a tagline for Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF). You’ll find it throughout our literature and even on our stationery. It says concisely what we believe to be our primary mission. I’ve spent hours thinking about it, talking about it, and wrestling with it. To be honest, I think it needs some unpacking, some clarification.

When I see the word “keeping,” I wonder whether some people unconsciously expect OCF to handcuff students to the church pew—because we know what’s best for them! The word “keeping” conveys the idea of preservation. The question is: What are we preserving? It’s helpful, I think, to reflect on the why, what, how, and who of keeping students connected to the Church.

If I were to ask you why we should keep our students connected to the Church, you would probably respond by underscoring the importance of community. We want our students to remain connected to the communities we value—our families, ethnic identities, and religious heritage. Deep down inside, all of us know that communion is what life is all about: communion with family, friends, and God. In fact, we know that our fundamental human need is to be in communion with one another.

Featured Author of the Antiochian Archdiocese: Fr. Kevin Scherer

Fr. Kevin Scherer Fr. Kevin Scherer is the executive director for both Orthodox Youth Outreach (OYO) and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), and the former pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Orinda, CA. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Spokane, WA.


A Call to Serve

by Fr. Kevin Scherer


Today, most of us in the Church are familiar with the old adage that ten percent of the people do ninety percent of the work. The real statistics may be even grimmer. The Church is full of burned-out priests and stressed-out parishioners who regularly make real sacrifices for the good of the local parish, only to find that their personal offerings are met with indifference and criticism. 

Discouragement and even despair run rampant in the Church. Year after year, the Church loses more and more good workers because they simply refuse to put up with the stress anymore. Despite the best strategies and creative ideas of these few, most of the members of the average parish seem comfortable with a passive role and unwilling to change. Who can blame the workers who have given up? Many of them have suffered personal health problems and family strife due to the stress of their commitment. In many cases, priests even feel guilty asking for help, because they know what eventually awaits the eager response of the innocent and naive.

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart, For They Shall See God

by Kh. Maggie Hock

WHEN PARENTS AT THE TIME OF CHRIST brought their children to Him for a blessing, the disciples rebuked them. However, our Lord commanded them, “‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ And He laid His hands on them” (Matthew 19:13–15). Christ did not dismiss the children because of their youth and inexperience; instead, He brought them close and honored them with His blessing.

Everything about a little child speaks of his innocence and trust. Their refreshingly innocent spirit inspires us as parents to live a life that honors their trust. Children love with their whole heart, a love that inspires us to see God’s unconditional love. And little children believe completely in their parents’ ability to protect them, which inspires us to live a life that provides the direction and security required for their healthy growth and maturity.

A child’s very nature provides a context in which parents are inspired to provide the best possible life experiences for them. A natural synergy develops in the parent-child relationship. As the parent loves and provides for the child, the child returns that love and motivates parents to do their best job in representing God’s love in the context of this intimate human experience.

Parents are for the child the first door to the Kingdom of God. By the way the parents live a godly life, they provide the first example of God’s love and care. Saint Theophan the Recluse (The Path to Salvation) advises that “the upbringing in the home is the root and foundation of everything that follows.” Setting a right foundation, then, is the first priority of the parent for the child. When an infant has such a beginning in life, there is little that can change his belief later as he matures. The foundation of belief becomes a part of the concrete, so to speak, that hardens and forms the person the child grows into.

About Kh. Maggie Hock

Khouriya Maggie Hock is the North American Director of the Antiochian Department of Marriage & Parish Family Ministries. A fully licensed and credientialed Psychotherapist and Mediator (LMHP, CPC, LPC), specializing in crisis and trauma, individual, marital, parenting, group therapy and corporate dynamics. Degrees: B.A. Organizational Management, M.A. Management, M.S. Counseling with a Superior Scholar designation at Creighton University. She in currently completing a Psy D.

Kh. Maggie has worked for many years counseling and redirecting the lives of chronically ill and addicted homeless, felons and prostitutes, serving as the Director of Recovery Services for the Siena/Francis House in Omaha, Nebraska.  She worked for Fr. Flanagan’s Boys Town as a Crisis Counselor and Parent Training Expert. Kh. Maggie has counseled countless individuals in crisis on their International Crisis Line where the mission is “Any problem, any age, any time.” She maintains an active Psychotherapy practice counseling from an Orthodox Christian perspective.

Recently Kh. Maggie was awarded the St. Catherine of Siena Award for healing work with the homeless. She is a member of International Who’s Who Historical Society for “having demonstrated exemplary achievement and distinguished contributions to the business community.” Kh. Maggie was a writer on the Orthodox Study Bible- Old Testament Project and past Chairperson of the Communication Committee for the OCMC Board of Directors. Kh. Maggie has been married to the V. Rev. Fr. Don Hock for over thirty-eight years parenting five children and enjoying seven grandchildren. They have been serving the St. Mary Orthodox Parish in Omaha since 1992. Previously they served as missionaries to Western Europe where they ministered in numerous multicultural communities.

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FAQ/Website Policies

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of content does the Department of Internet Ministry welcome for publication on the website of the Archdiocese?

Please send us informative and inspirational articles, stories, news, events, and resources that pertain to the people and ministries of our Archdiocese. Articles can also relate to other pan-Orthodox institutions, but only if there is a clear Antiochian connection or relationship. Stories should have the blessing of your bishop, priest, or ministry leader.

Please provide us with text that is vetted by others, is well-written, and publication-ready. We will do spot editing and formatting, but submissions should come to us "clean," without needing substantial changes or improvements. At the editorial team's discretion, content may be revised as needed. In the case of substantial changes to the text, the editors will send the edited text to the original author for approval. You may also find our Submission Checklist and our Department pages helpful when preparing content.

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Obituaries are priority requests, and are posted for all active members of the Antiochian Archdiocese. When submitting information, please list the parish and diocese of the departed, along with any ministries in which he or she participated, to establish a clear connection with the life of the Archdiocese.

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Placing Impossible Standards on Ourselves

by Fr. George Morelli

Chaplain's Corner

Sometimes we set up unrealistic goals and objectives for ourselves that are impossible for us to attain. This does not mean that we should not aim high, that is: to work at achieving all we are capable of achieving. In fact, this is an important motivating factor in our lives. However, failure will follow if we strive to attain goals that are of themselves unrealistic based on a true assessment of our talents. Unrealistic goals are barriers to achievement and in the end serve to block motivation and frustrate hard work.

What do the Converts Want?

By Terry Mattingly

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies to tell the difference between a Southern Baptist church and an Orthodox church. You can get some pretty good clues just by walking in the door and looking around. But there are some similarities between the two that might be a little trickier to spot. For instance, let me tell you about what life is like on Sunday nights in a Southern Baptist congregation.

Baptists worship at several different times during the week -- at least they did in the old days when I was growing up as a Southern Baptist pastor's son. One of those times is on Sunday nights. Back in the early 1980s, I was active in a church in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in which the typical Sunday morning crowd would be about 200 to 300 people, which is rather small for a Baptist church, but fairly normal for an Orthodox parish. Then the crowd on Sunday night would be from 40 to 45 people.

Now, that ratio should sound familiar to many priests who lead Vespers services. But the similarities don’t stop there.

Before the age of 30, I became a deacon and the finance chairman of that church -- which, in the Southern Baptist way of doing things, meant that I was the only person, not excluding the pastor, who saw the annual pledge cards. I was the only person in the congregation who knew who was giving what.

Featured Author of the Antiochian Archdiocese: Terry Mattingly

Terry Mattingly Terry Mattingly is a syndicated journalist and teacher who focuses on religion. He directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and also writes the weekly “On Religion” column for the Scripps Howard News Service, which is sent to about 350 newspapers in North America. His writing also appears in The Lookout,, Again Magazine, among numerous other publications. He leads the website that critiques the mainstream media's coverage of religion news.

Terry Mattingly and his family are members of Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Linthicum, Maryland.

Visit Terry Mattingly's home page.


What do the Converts Want?

By Terry Mattingly

It doesn't take a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies to tell the difference between a Southern Baptist church and an Orthodox church. You can get some pretty good clues just by walking in the door and looking around. But there are some similarities between the two that might be a little trickier to spot. For instance, let me tell you about what life is like on Sunday nights in a Southern Baptist congregation.

Baptists worship at several different times during the week -- at least they did in the old days when I was growing up as a Southern Baptist pastor's son. One of those times is on Sunday nights. Back in the early 1980s, I was active in a church in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in which the typical Sunday morning crowd would be about 200 to 300 people, which is rather small for a Baptist church, but fairly normal for an Orthodox parish. Then the crowd on Sunday night would be from 40 to 45 people.

Now, that ratio should sound familiar to many priests who lead Vespers services. But the similarities don’t stop there.

Before the age of 30, I became a deacon and the finance chairman of that church -- which, in the Southern Baptist way of doing things, meant that I was the only person, not excluding the pastor, who saw the annual pledge cards. I was the only person in the congregation who knew who was giving what.


The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has been involved with ecumenical dialogue since the advent of the Faith and Order movement in the 1920's. In the United States of America the Federal Council of Churches of Christ approached Archbishop Antony (Bashir), Metropolitan of the Syrian Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of New York and North America, to join them in 1936. Metropolitan Antony joined the council for two main reasons: 1) membership would provide the necessary authenticity and exposure for Orthodox Christianity in the US, and 2) reassurance from the council that it would ask for no money for the archdiocese’s membership. This became the principle rule for our archdiocese’s ecumenical participation for many years, including membership in the newly-formed National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCC) in 1950.

In 1969, Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) led the change of the archdiocese’s name to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of New York and all North America. In 1975, Metropolitan Philip and Archbishop Michael (Shaheen) of the Archdiocese of Toledo and Dependencies effected the union of the two North American Antiochian Archdioceses. The unified Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America continues to be involved in inter-Orthodox activities and ecumenically in several areas: 1) The Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA); 2) the newly-forming Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT); 3) Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation; 4) Orthodox-Lutheran Theological Consultation; 5) World Council of Churches (WCC) membership through the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.

Since 1975, the archdiocese’s active involvement in ecumenism is based on several principles, which were best expressed in a report of the “Special SCOBA Commission on Ecumenical Relations” regarding membership in the NCCC, 1992, and which follow:

Appeal to Health Care Providers

The Hauran Connection

Dear to Christ Physicians, Dentists, Nurses, and Healthcare Providers,

The Hauran Connection is a sister diocese program between the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America (DOWAMA) and the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran in Syria. The DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine is collecting funds to support five programs of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran: parish support, clergy support, a kindergarten program, a food box program, and a medical program. We believe that physicians, dentists, nurses, and healthcare providers within DOWAMA are capable of funding the medical clinic sponsored by His Eminence, Metropolitan SABA, and his Archdiocese. We seek your help.

What is needed?

v Salaries for two physicians: $4800 per year total

v Medical equipment and supplies

Upcoming Broadcasts on Come Receive the Light

Upcoming features on Orthodox Christian Network's Come Receive the Light broadcast:

Current Feature: Orthodoxy and Ecumenism
with Fr. John McGuckin.

Fr. John McGuckin, noted scholar and host of an OCN podcast series called "Turning to the Fathers," discusses important points of distinction between Orthodox Christianity and other Christian confessions, including the idea of "sola scriptura," the role of tradition, the communion of the saints and more.

October 17th: Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922
with Giles Milton.

Giles Milton, an international best-selling author, talks about his newest book, "Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922." Giles tells the largely unknown story of the destruction of Smyrna, an extraordinary, heterogeneous and tolerant city with a large Orthodox Christian population — a disaster that would prefigure the coming clash of civilizations between East and West.

October 24th: Time Management
with Dr. Albert Rossi.

Dr. Albert Rossi of St. Vladimir's Seminary offers some practical steps to help us set aside more time for family, relationships and meaningful spiritual growth in a busy world.

Smart Parenting XIV. Talking To Children About Same-Sex "Marriage"

By Fr. George Morelli


Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord (Romans 12: 9,11).



North American Board (NAB) Information

The North American Board ("NAB") is the governing board of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America on the Archdiocesan level and cover the continental United States and Canada.

The NAB is under the direction of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. The NAB functions to provide consistency of information, programs, etc., throughout the Archdiocese by distributing materials to the seven Diocesan Boards. The Diocesan Boards – through their Officers and Coordinators – seek to help individual churches and missions establish women's groups in their communities, distribute materials from the NAB, and participate in the annual NAB "Project" as tasked to us by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

The NAB meets twice a year - in February/March for the Mid-Winter gathering, and in July (either at the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center or at a convention site). All women throughout the Archdiocese are welcome to participate in these gatherings. Please contact your church's local chapter president for more information.

You are urged to reach out to any of the Officers and Coordinators listed below via email with suggestions, ideas, and recommendations.

Updated September 2017

Dianne M. O'Regan

Vice President/NAB Project
Kh. Suzanne Murphy

Recording Secretary
Sheryl VanderWagen

Fadia Juzdan

Public Relations
Melinda Bentz

Spiritual Advisor
Right Rev. Bishop John P. Abdalah

Immediate Past President
Violet K. Robbat

Metropolitan SABA to Speak at 2009 DOWAMA PLC

Met SABA and Bp BASILHis Eminence Metropolitan SABA, Archbishop of Bosra-Hauran, will be the keynote speaker at the 2009 Parish Life Conference of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. The PLC will be held during the fast-free week after Pentecost from June 10-13, 2009. The host parish will be St. Mary Church in Wichita, Kansas.

For more information on Metropolitan SABA and the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, please visit The Hauran Connection, the web page for the Sister Diocese Program between Wichita and Bosra-Hauran.

Order of St. Ignatius Governing Council Members


  • North American Chair - Roger David
  • North American Vice-Chair - Bill Tsoukalas
  • North American Treasurer - Anne Thomas
  • North American Secretary - Dimitri Zeidan
  • North American Chaplain - Fr. Mousa Haddad
  • Administrator – Pending new appointment


Members' Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I receive my certificate?

Certificates are sent to pastors immediately after the membership information has been processed and they are distributed one Sunday after Liturgy.

I have lost my pin. How do I get a replacement?

The cost of a replacement pin, which is 14K white or yellow gold, is $50. A note addressed to the Administrative Director with your remittance and rank will result in a replacement pin sent to you.

My cross has become detached from the red ribbon. How do I get it repaired?

The office has some jewelry hardware to help with the reattachment of the cross. Contact Administrative Director.

My red ribbon has become worn, dirty, frayed, etc. How do I get a replacement?

Contact Administrative Director for a replacement ribbon.

How do I sign up for the Electronic Funds Program?

Please see the website page for the application or contact Joanne, Administrative director by email, or send a fax a copy to you.

I have some friends in my parish who are interested in becoming members. How do I get further information for them?

Prospective members packets are available from the office upon request. Contact Administrative Director as to the number of packets you need.

I would like to pass out some Order literature in my parish. What is available and how do I get a supply?

St. Ignatius icon cards, color flyers, bookmarks and brochures are all available by contacting the Administrative Director.

Applications and Forms for the Order of St. Ignatius

Membership Application (PDF, Updated August 29, 2014)

Electronic Funds Transfer Authorization and Form (PDF)

Electronic Funds Transfer Authorization and Form (Word)

Download the Upgrade Form (PDF) for you to use to upgrade your membership in The Order.

The Order of St. Ignatius also accepts applications for reimbursement from mission priests for expenses incurred in travel to Parish Life Conferences, the Archdiocese Convention or the Bi-Annual Clergy Symposium. For an application form, please contact the administrator for The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, at 201-871-1355.

Projects Supported by the Order

Listed here are all of the projects supported by the Order of St. Ignatius, from its inception through current planned contributions.

Click here for a listing of the total dollars contributed to each from inception through 2010

Click here for a listing of the funds planned for contribution in the 2011 budget of the Order


Current Projects

Heritage & Learning Center

   Library Books

   Museum Acquisitions

   Department Conferences

Antiochian  Village

   Summer Camp Scholarships

   Teen SOYO Special Olympics

Retired Clergy Housing Allowance

Archdiocese Departments

   Christian Education Fund

   Parish Development Fund

   Youth Ministry

   Archdiocese Administrative Services

   Missions and Evangelism

   Antiochian House of Studies

   Marriage and Parish Family Ministries

   Planning and Future Development

History of the Order of St. Ignatius

In January 1975, Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory saw the need to study the possibilities of a new organization that would challenge the laity of the Archdiocese to a new dimension of service.

A small committee was organized under the chairmanship of Albert Joseph and was composed of Ernest Saykaly, Robert Andrews, Robert Laham, Theodore Mackoul, Archpriest Paul Schneirla and Archpriest Antony Gabriel. During the Archdiocese Convention held in Louisville, KY, in July 1975, a preliminary report was filed at the General Assembly. The Metropolitan accepted the findings of the report and by the Archdiocese Convention held in 1976 in San Francisco, CA, the provisional chairman, Albert Joseph, was installed and the first inductions to The Order took place.

It was during the Patriarch’s historic trip that the newest Archdiocesan organization was called into being and was given his Apostolic blessings. The first officers and chaplain were formally installed and many new members were inducted at the Washington Archdiocesan conclave in 1977. Ever since his Beatitude, Patriarch Elias IV, of Thrice Blessed Memory, and our beloved primate, Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory, formally blessed and inaugurated The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, an unprecedented number of lay persons were awakened to their global Archdiocesan responsibilities and scores of earnest women and men have come forward to join The Order.

Who We Are

Who We Are

“The Order of St. Ignatius, from the start, have been people of vision….”

Consider the Antiochian Village where so many young lives touched by God and turned around through the love of dedicated camp counselors. Years ago, that summer camp was just a plot of land in the Pennsylvanian hills. Because of the generosity of the Order, it is now heaven on earth for young people from Mexico to Canada.

What about the Heritage and Learning Center? It preserves the history of Orthodoxy's journey to North America and serves as a retreat for the faithful throughout the year.

The Order is people of purpose, like St. Ignatius himself who wrote …toil together, suffer together, rejoice together as servants of God… The Order is people who put feet to their faith, whether by funding missionary efforts, disaster relief, campus ministries, local outreaches to unwed mothers and kids on the street or by subsidizing our Clergy Benefits Fund or the Holy Trinity Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Come, be a part of our vision for the future and find a new and deeper expression of your faith. - Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory

The Order: Our challenge in the next century

You've heard that membership has its privileges. Well, the Order of St. Ignatius prefers to think that serving Christ is our privilege. As members of the Order, we're simply doing what the Scriptures refer to as “a reasonable service.” Giving doesn't make us special, it makes us Christ-like.

Bishop MARK's Russian Photo Albums Updated

Bp. MARK's Russian Photo AlbumsMany images have been added to Bishop MARK's collection of photographs from his pilgrimage to Russia in August 2008.

Please stop by and take a look!

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