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Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + July 27, 2016

I Corinthians 2:9-3:8
Matthew 13:31-36

I Corinthians 2:9-3:8 (NKJV)
But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ

The Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ (commemorated on August 6 or 19) is an important one for Orthodox Christians to celebrate! After all, the Transfiguration was a revelation of the Holy Trinity (God the Father spoke, Christ was there, of course, and the Holy Spirit was revealed in the form of a cloud). Also, at the Transfiguration, Christ's radiance was physically seen by the disciples so that they could better realize His Divinity. In addition, Moses and Elijah were present, showing the disciples that in Christ the law and the prophecies are fulfilled. And so it was that on Mt. Tabor, God allowed the disciples to have their own "mountaintop" experience, just as Moses (Mt. Sinai) and Elijah (Mt. Horeb) had during their life on earth.

Since this Feast is important, we need to learn about it ourselves, help our children know about it, and together celebrate the Feast! Transfiguration is a difficult concept for anyone to grasp, but especially so for children. How can we help our children learn what it was like for the disciples to see Our Lord's Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor? Our Lord did not slip into a hidden wardrobe and change out of His ordinary clothes into shiny robes, nor did He simply step into a giant spotlight shining down from the sky. Rather, the disciples were simply permitted to physically see some of His Divine Glory shining through. (But not all of it: just "inasmuch as they were able," according to the troparion of the day). So, how can we begin to explain or show the Transfiguration to our children?

July 27, 2016 + Faith in God's Existence

by St. John of Kronstadt

Faith in God's existence is closely connected with faith in the existence of our own souls, as a part of the spiritual world. God's existence is as evident to the pious mind as its own being, because every thought, good or bad, every desire, every intention, word or act of such a mind is followed by a corresponding change in the state of the heart, peace or trouble, joy or grief, and this is the result of the action upon it of the God of spirits and bodies, Who is reflected in the pious mind as the sun is reflected in a drop of water; the purer the drop is, the better, the clearer will be the reflection; the more turbid the drop, the dimmer will be the reflection; so that in the soul's state of extreme impurity or darkness, the reflection entirely ceases and the soul is left in a state of spiritual darkness, in a state of insensibility. In this state the man having eyes, sees not, and having ears, hears not. Again, in relation to our souls, God may be likened to the outer air in relation to the mercury of the thermometer--with this difference, that the expansion and rest, rise and fall of the mercury proceed from the change in the state of the atmosphere; whilst, in the first case, God remains unchangeable, everlasting and eternally good and just. Whilst the soul, changeable in its relation to God, suffers changes in itself, thus it unavoidably expands and obtains peace of heart when it draws nearer to God by faith and good works, and unavoidably contracts, becomes restless and wearied, when it withdraws itself from God by unlawful acts, want of faith, and unbelief in God's Truth.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + July 20, 2016

Romans 15:17-29
Matthew 12:46-13:3

Romans 15:17-29 (NKJV)
Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient— in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation, but as it is written: "To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand." For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things. Therefore, when I have performed this and have sealed to them this fruit, I shall go by way of you to Spain. But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

New PowerPoint about Bosra-Hauran

The following PowerPoint presentation was created for use on St. Timon Sunday by Sally Buxton of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. For more PowerPoint material concerning DOWAMA's sister Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, please visit www.antiochian.org/hauran/powerpoints.

Preserving Hauran by Sally Buxton

Joy

"Do what makes you happy" is a common thought in today's world. Everyone wants to feel happy, to have that positive emotion in our lives. Because of this, we try all sorts of things in pursuit of the "happiness" we desire. Sometimes we succeed - at least for a little - and feel happy. But we learn quickly that happiness is temporal - a fleeting positive feeling. It is soon lost.

Joy, however, God's joy, is eternal. It is a deep-set "nothing can shake this inner peace" reality. What we all are truly seeking is not happiness: rather, we are seeking joy. We long for the deep, inner joy that comes only from God which is experienced by walking in His ways. In Nehemiah 8:10 we read, "...the joy of the Lord is your strength." If joy is our strength, we can work as hard as we want to try to be happy: but in reality, it is joy that will strengthen us. So instead of doing what makes us happy, we need to do what makes us joyful.

2016 Regional Pan-Orthodox Education Conferences

October 8 + BRIER, WA
ORTHODOXY & HETERODOXY
PRESENTED BY: FR. ANDREW STEPHEN DAMICK
CONTACT: Leslie Atherholt (aodce_events@outlook.com)
HOST: ST. PAUL CHURCH
More information

October 14-15 + YORK, PA
LIVING THE FAITH IN THE ORTHODOX HOME
PRESENTED BY: MELISSA TSONGRANIS, Assoc. Dir., Center for Family Care (GOA)
HOST: St. John Chrysostom Church
CONTACT: Rebekah Yergo (orthodoxyorkedu@outlook.com)
More information

July 20, 2016 + On Living in the Spirit

St. Philaret of Moscow, 1782-1867

There are some even among Christians, to whom the gifts of the Holy Ghost seem so strange, that although they dare not entirely reject them, they nevertheless refer them to other persons and to other times, and without acknowledging the necessity of being "born again," content themselves either with a vain hope in the merits of the Mediator, or even with their own righteousness. Let us not be deceived by the tempting aspect which worldly honesty generally bears. To be no enemy to faith, to do no crying injustice, to make an occasional display of charity, to avoid pernicious excesses, in short, to fulfil merely the most indispensable and outward duties of a man and of a member of society, is but to whiten one's sepulchre, which nevertheless remains "within full of dead men's bones" ;" it is to pluck the "leaves of the tree of life", given for the "healing of the nations", but not to "eat its fruit", which should feed the Christian; it is to have "the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees", which does not lead into the Kingdom of God. But to penetrate into the recesses of one's own heart, from which "proceed evil thoughts" and there to establish purity and holiness, "to keep the whole law "and not to "offend in one point" in order not to be "guilty of all"; who is the man, that left to his own understanding and powers, will boast of being able to do this? It is God alone Who "creates in man a clean heart, and renews a right spirit within him."

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + July 13, 2016

Romans 11:2-12
Matthew 11:20-26

Romans 11:2-12 (NKJV)
God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear, to this very day." And David says: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them. Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, and bow down their back always." I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

Memory Eternal! + Viola Ada Marizian

Viola Marizian, wife of Nicholas Sayegh, fell asleep in the Lord on July 7, 2016 in Montreal at the age of 75. Besides her husband, she is survived by her two children Mona and Mazen - Nicolas, grandchildren, nephews and nieces, relatives and friends.

The family will receive guests Wednesday July 13 for viewing at 11am at St. George Church in Montreal, 555-575, Jean-Talon Street East, Montreal, followed by the funeral at 12 o'clock. Burial will be at the cemetery located at 5505 Laval row from bottom St-François, Laval.

Donations in her memory to be made at St. George Church of Montreal would be appreciated.

PowerPoint Presentation for St. Timon Sunday

The following PowerPoint presentation was created for use on St. Timon Sunday by Sally Buxton of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas. For more PowerPoint material concerning DOWAMA's sister Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, please visit www.antiochian.org/hauran/powerpoints.

St. Timon Sunday Presentation by Sally Buxton

A Message from Metropolitan Saba of Bosra-Hauran

His Eminence Metropolitan Saba of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran in Syria writes:

God bless you and all our brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. There is nothing new to report except, as you know, the situation of the people is getting worse every day. Rami, who was to be ordained, fled to Germany as a refugee accompanied by his wife. Anas is to be ordained on Saturday, July 30th -- God willing. I established a special charitable association at the beginning of 2012, but because of the situation its work until now has been off and on. Now it is very active and can, by your help, work regularly. Its aim is to serve the needy parishioners of our Archdiocese and others who are in serious need. Again I thank all our brothers and sisters of your Diocese, especially Sayyidna Basil. I hope to visit DOWAMA, but I cannot know the time . It all depends on the situation -- and God's will. 

In Christ,
+Metropolitan Saba of Bosra-Hauran


Pray for the clergy of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran

St. Timon Sunday 2016

Further resources for St. Timon's Sunday:

His Grace Bishop Basil writes:

June 29, 2016

Beloved and Christ-loving priests, deacons, monastics and lay folk of DOWAMA:

I embrace and greet you with a holy kiss in the Name of the Lord Christ.

In the Biblical account of the feast of Pentecost (Acts 2) we read of people from a multitude of nations who heard for the very first time and "everyone in his own language" (2:6) the proclamation by the Holy Apostles of the Good News. Among those people were "Arabians" (2:11) which meant people from Rome's frontier province of Arabia Petraea (the area of modern Syria south of Damascus, the Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, the Sinai peninsula and the northwestern tip of modern Saudi Arabia).

St. Joseph of Damascus

Commemorated July 10

Come, ye faithful, let us honor the martyr of Christ, a Priest of the Church of Antioch who by the word of the Word and by his blood and the blood of his companions baptized the land of Damascus, its Church and its people. Being immersed in the light of the Gospel from his youth, he worked and taught and defended the Church of Christ and her flock. O holy Joseph of Damascus, be for us an example, defending us and interceding for us fervently before the Savior.

Troparion of St. Joseph, Tone 5

July 13, 2016 + On Icons of the Holy Angels

by St. Methodius of Olympus died ca. 311

For instance, then, the images of our kings here, even though they be not formed of the more precious materials— gold or silver— are honoured by all. For men do not, while they treat with respect those of the far more precious material, slight those of a less valuable, but honour every image in the world, even though it be of chalk or bronze. And one who speaks against either of them, is not acquitted as if he had only spoken against clay, nor condemned for having despised gold, but for having been disrespectful towards the King and Lord Himself. The images of God's angels, which are fashioned of gold, the principalities and powers, we make to His honor and glory.

July 6, 2016 + On Our Champion Leader

by St. Maximus the Confessor ca. 580-662

[T]he holy Theotokos was always a participant and a leader in every good thing. After the Ascension of Christ, she, the treasure house of all good things, being thus in her own country, took charge of every good thing, and while she was dwelling in the land, she was herself the model and leader of all good things. Thus, after his Ascension, the holy mother of Christ was the model and leader of every good activity for men and for women through the grace and support of her glorious King and Son. And that is why she then instructed the holy Apostles in fasting and prayer, and they were devoted to fasting and prayer and supplication until the fiftieth day was completed, and they were filled with the grace of the comforting Holy Spirit. And from there the worthy Apostles went forth to preach the Gospel, and they spread the word of life in Jerusalem and all Judea, and after a little while they went forth to the ends of the earth, wherever the Holy Spirit ordered them. And they made disciples of all nations and baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, according to the command of the Lord...

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + July 6, 2016

Romans 8:2-13
Matthew 10:16-22

Romans 8:2-13 (NKJV)
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Are You a Descendant of New York City’s “Little Syria” Community?

If you, your parents, grandparents, or even great-grandparents once lived in Little Syria on Manhattan's Lower West Side, the Arab American National Museum is interested in connecting with you! As part of their effort to tell the story of the "Life and Legacy" of the neighborhood, the museum is collecting photos and stories about those who lived there, and their descendants.

You can send high resolution (at least 600 dpi) photos of Little Syria residents and descendants to Elizabeth Chilton at echilton@accesscommunity.org. Please include the names of the people in each photo, their connection to Little Syria, and any stories you would like to share about them.

Some of the photos and stories may be added to the museum's Little Syria, NY: An Immigrant Community's Life and Legacy exhibition which opens at Ellis Island on October 1, 2016. 

Thank you!

Bishop Thomas Ordains Dn. David Jacobs to Holy Priesthood

Deacon Evangelos Prieston writes:

In 2016, the parish community of St. Mary in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, did not have the usual amount of time to prepare for the annual visit of our shepherd, Bishop Thomas. It has become somewhat of a tradition that Bishop Thomas conduct his visit with us over the weekend before Thanksgiving. However, in late May our pastor Fr. Theodore Pulcini received word from the Archdiocese that one of our deacons, Dn. David Jacobs, had been approved for ordination to the Holy Priesthood to fill a pastoral vacancy in our diocese. It just so happened that because Bishop Thomas was not scheduled for a parish visit over the weekend of June 25-26, he arranged to come to Chambersburg then to ordain the new priest.

Accompanied by Subdeacon Todd Mokhiber , the manager of the AV Bookstore, Bishop Thomas arrived at the church on Saturday afternoon, where he was met by Fr. Ted, who helped him and the subdeacon to set up for the next day's hierarchical liturgy.

The Sanctification of Our Parish Life

by His Grace Bishop Thomas

From the very beginning of Our Lord's ministry, when he called the first disciples, Peter and Andrew, the Church has existed both as a community and within a community. In these roles, there are a variety of activities that the parish Church undertakes, both in terms of liturgical services and in charitable work and outreach, both within the parish and out in the larger community as a whole. If any of these are lacking, then the parish has not lived up to the calling of Christ. If there is liturgy without outreach, then we fail, since "faith without works is dead," but if we have outreach without liturgy, we also fail, since "man is not justified by works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ." Therefore, it is necessary for a healthy parish to effectively balance both liturgy and community outreach in order to properly work towards the salvation of each of its members. This requires careful planning and scheduling, as well as the proper delegation of tasks throughout the parish community.

Statement of the Secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch + June 27, 2016

From AntiochPatriarchate.org:

Balamand, 27 June 2016

At the end of the seventh extraordinary session which begun on May 25th 2016, the Holy Synod of Antioch convened on June 27, 2016 in Balamand. The Synod was presided by His Beatitude Patriarch John X, with the participation of the Bishops of the Holy See of Antioch.

The fathers congratulated their children on the occasion of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the holy, glorious and all-praised leaders of the Apostles, and the founders of the Holy See of Antioch. This See is where the disciples were called Christians first, and where its children continue to witness for the Risen Christ, especially in our beloved Antioch, and in Syria the martyr, in Lebanon the sufferer, in Iraq the injured, and in all the Gulf countries and the Archdioceses abroad, in the Americas, Australia and Europe. The Fathers recalled their brother Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), the Archbishop of Aleppo who has been kidnapped for more than three years, amidst willful blindness by all. His Eminence Metropolitan Paul, along with his brother Metropolitan Youhanna (Ibrahim), and all those kidnapped constantly remain present in the prayers and supplications of the faithful and in the daily Church testimony. The fathers lift up their prayers for the repose of the souls of all those martyred because of being called Christian, and ask their prayers before the Divine Throne, that God may strengthen His Church and give His children the power and wisdom to faithfully witness, here and now, Christ Risen from the dead.

July 2016 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Please remember our prisoner-students. Let them know we care. (Mat. 25:34-40)

THE FAITHFUL BRIDE OF JESUS – QUEEN ESTHER - BOUNDLESS IN HIS GRACE
In honor of the many wonderful women living the gift of His boundless grace.

Summer is often a good time to read and again consider The Orthodox Study Bible - Septuagint Old Testament. May we offer the Book of Esther, (p. 596). The life of Esther is an inspiring reminder of the critical importance and absolute significance of the faithful women of Scripture. Without such magnificent women, and the healing gift of His grace, the faith – once held sacred by the Virgin Temple (Book of Amos) –may have been permanently lost to the folly of man.

Esther was a young girl among the many Jews exiled from Judah under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. She had been raised as a proper young Jewish lady by her uncle, Mordecai.

See the attached PDF files for this month's full teaching and to order the study booklets.

Bishop Anthony Celebrates Hierarchical Liturgy at Parish Life Conference

At the conclusion of a wonderful and successful Parish Life Conference, on Saturday, June 25, 2016, His Grace Bishop Anthony celebrated a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the priests and deacons of the Toledo Diocese.

See the photo album at the Facebook page of the host parish, St. Mary's Basilica in Livonia, Michigan.

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