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Save the Date + Summer Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry

Sacred Music Institute Summer Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry
July 13-17, 2016
Antiochian Village
Theme: Liturgy – The Work of the People
Download Flyer (PDF)
Schedule Outline (PDF)
Registration Fact Sheet (PDF)

Sacred Music Institute Registration
Youth Music Ministry Application

Please book your rooms early, as the 2016 SMI is expected to sell out! The SMI begins Wednesday July 13th at 5PM and return flights on Sunday, July 17th should not depart before 4PM.

Join our Facebook page for up to date information.

April 13, 2016 + Remedies for Senseless Anger, Part 1

by St. Mark the Ascetic

Now let us say something about the senseless passion of anger, which ravages, confuses and darkens every soul and, when it is active, makes those in whom it is easily and quickly aroused behave like beasts. This passion is strengthened particularly by pride, and so long as it is so strengthened it cannot be destroyed. While the diabolical tree of bitterness, anger and wrath has its roots kept moist by the foul water of pride, it blossoms and thrives and produces quantities of rotten fruit. Thus the structure of evil in the soul is impossible to destroy so long as it is rooted firmly in pride.

Do you want this tree of disorder - I mean the passion of bitterness, anger and wrath - to dry up within you and become barren, so that with the axe of the Spirit it may be 'hewn down and cast into the fire' together with every other vice (Matt. 3 :10)? Do you want the destruction of this house of evil which the devil builds in your soul by continually using as stones various plausible or senseless pretexts, whether material or mental, and by constructing its foundations out of thoughts of pride ? If this is what you really want, keep the humility of the Lord in your heart and never forget it.

Attendance Certificates

Reward your staff and students by recognizing their efforts! There are two attendance certificates, one for older children and one for younger, which simply read "For Exemplary Church School Attendance." In addition, we have a "Recognition Certificate," which allows you to recognize every child for something if you wish— from a bright smile to listening well. Finally, we have an adult Appreciation Certificate. These are available both as a fillable word document and as a PDF. To use the fillable word document, simply click on the line under "presented to" or "awarded to." A gray box will appear in which you can type the name of the individual you would like to recognize. Print, sign and present!

Bishop John Visits St. Michael Church in Whittier, CA

The visit of a Bishop is a very important and special event in the life of a parish. This is not because of the personality of the man, or the fact that he holds a position of authority in the organizational structure of the church. Rather, Bishops are successors of the Apostles. In other words, they are very much like "direct descendants" of the men who were specifically chosen and sent by Our Lord Jesus Christ to go forth in His Name. Furthermore, it is their faithfulness to the teachings of those first Apostles which constitute the unity of the Church.

This was most certainly the case when Bishop John, the Vicar Bishop for Western Rite Vicariate parishes, visited St Michael's Church in Whittier, California March 11-13. His Grace met with all the clergy, the members of the Parish Council, the Antiochian Women of St Michael, and the youth. His Grace also spent an entire morning with the Society of St Benedict, which is a prayer society committed to the principles in the Rule of St Benedict.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + April 13, 2016

Genesis 18:20-33
Isaiah 42:5-16
Proverbs 17:17-17:17

Genesis 18:20-33 (NKJV) - And the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous that were in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” Then Abraham answered and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?”So He said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.” And he spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose there should be forty found there?” So He said, “I will not do it for the sake of forty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” And he said, “Indeed now, I have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: Suppose twenty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.” Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” So the Lord went His way as soon as He had finished speaking with Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.

Metropolitan Joseph Meets with CAMECT (Christian Arab and Middle Eastern Churches Together)

On Monday, April 4, 2016, His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph attended a meeting of CAMECT (Christian Arab and Middle Eastern Churches Together) at the Armenian Orthodox Prelacy in New York. His Eminence was accompanied by the Archdiocese Vicar General, Archpriest Thomas Zain. Nearly all of the various churches with their roots in the Middle East were represented by their respective hierarchs or a representative.

There were two main items on the agenda for the spring meeting. The first was a dialogue with the New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner, William Bratten. This was a very welcomed and enlightening dialogue as it was the first time such a meeting has taken place with the leaders of the NYPD and the New York Middle Eastern Christian community. Both sides agreed to further the dialogue in the months to come. Other representatives of the NYPD from the Arab-American community were present and gave their input on how both groups can work together to help build bridges and keep our neighborhoods safe.

April 6, 2016 + Prayer at Daybreak

Prayer at Daybreak from Elder Sophrony to be said on rising from sleep

Elder Sophrony (+1993) of Essex, spiritual child of St Silouan the Athonite, gave this prayer to his own spiritual children, to be said 'on rising from sleep.' This version of the prayer is adapted from Hesychia and Theology by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, who writes, 'If someone reads this prayer in the morning with contrition and attention, the whole day will be blessed.' (www.abbamoses.com/daybreak.html)

Eternal King without beginning, You who are before all worlds, my Maker, Who have summoned all things from non-being into this life: bless this day that You, in Your inscrutable goodness, give to me. By the power of Your blessing enable me at all times in this coming day to speak and act for You, to Your glory, in Your fear, according to Your will, with a pure spirit, with humility, patience, love, gentleness, peace, courage, wisdom and prayer, aware everywhere of Your presence.

April 2016 Newsletter

Dear friend of St. Athanasius Academy:

Please remember our prisoner-students. Let them know we care. They struggle with us, but we need your special donation to complete the task. (Mat. 25:34-40)

JESUS CHRIST
HIS ANOINTED ONE – OUR MESSIAH

Last month, we wrote about the Book of Amos – OSB-Old Testament, with special emphasis on the woes and dooms of the unrepentant. Those who turned from the Lord, believing in the good things of the land and its needs, as their first priority.

Amos 5: - 2 The virgin of Israel has fallen; she will rise no more; she tripped over her land, and there is no one who shall raise her up.

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

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + March 30, 2016

Isaiah 11:10-12:2
Genesis 7:11-8:3
Proverbs 10:1-22

Isaiah 11:10-12:2 (NKJV)
And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious. It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Also the envy of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. But they shall fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines toward the west; together they shall plunder the people of the East; they shall lay their hand on Edom and Moab; and the people of Ammon shall obey them. The LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt; with His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River, and strike it in the seven streams, and make men cross over dry-shod. There will be a highway for the remnant of His people who will be left from Assyria, as it was for Israel in the day that he came up from the land of Egypt. And in that day you will say: "O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 'For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'

Recent Ordinations, Appointments, Retirements and Assignments + April 2016

From the April 2016 issue of The Word:

Ordained

FULLER, Deacon Paul, to the holy priesthood by Bishop Nicholas on February 7, 2016, at St. George Church, Danbury, Connecticut. Fr. Paul will remain attached to St. George Church until he graduates from St. Vladimir's Seminary.

ROUMIE, Matthew (Adib), to the diaconate by Bishop Thomas on January 31, 2016, at St. Elizabeth Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Appointed

BERGER, Priest Calinic, as the second priest and associate pastor of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Los Angeles, California, effective December 6, 2015.

Elevated

BASSETT, Deacon Michael, elevated to the rank and dignity of Protodeacon by Bishop Anthony on February 28, 2016, at St. George Church in Flint, Michigan.

OLIVER, Priest John, to the rank of Archpriest by Bishop Thomas on January 31, 2016, at St. Elizabeth Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Fr John served a number of years at St. Philip, Souderton, Pennsylvania.

POWLEY, Father Stephen, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), was elevated to the dignity of Archpriest by Bishop Basil on February 5, 2016, at St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas.

Prayer of St. Ephraim Bookmark Meditation Tool

Teach the children in your Sunday Church School this important Lenten prayer using this meditation tool (PDF). Print one for each of your students to help them understand the meaning behind each line of this prayer. Talk about the services when we pray this prayer, and about praying it at home each day during Great Lent.

Gleanings From a Book: Catherine’s Pascha by Charlotte Riggle

by Kristina Wenger

This book made me cry. Loud, soggy gasps accompanied my declaration, "I didn't see THAT coming!" My husband came running, thinking something was horribly wrong. "I... love... this book!" I assured him between sobs, and then I showed him the cause of my tears. We'll get to that in just a little bit..

From the moment I cracked it open, this book appealed to me on so many levels. The story is genuine. The illustrations are eye‐catching and detailed. The unity of the Holy Orthodox Church is clearly emphasized. The joy of Pascha is palpable. This book is a delightful celebration of Pascha! 

Catherine's Pascha is written in a realistic, believable way. As I read, it was like I could hear my own children being Catherine's age again, from the "Why do I have to go to bed at regular time, tonight, when I'm getting up again in a few hours to go to church? You KNOW I won't sleep!;" through the delight of shouting "Indeed He is risen!" in multiple languages throughout the Divine Liturgy in the wee hours of the morning; all the way to the gleeful "I'm not a bit sleepy!" while trying to win at the egg‐cracking game and then eating all those things we haven't eaten in weeks. The story itself is a gentle walk through what happens at the Paschal Divine Liturgy, accentuated with the pure delight that children regularly experience and share. The way the story is written fills me with anticipation for the Pascha celebration that lies ahead! Reading the book gave me excited goosebumps.

With Prayers and Greetings from the Holy Land

by Maria C. Khoury, Ed.D.

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

Today is such a big day in Greece (my birthplace) that I must wish all of my Greek friends a Happy Greek Independence Day and its an even bigger day for Orthodoxy to wish everyone a blessed Holy Annunciation celebration. For our many friends across the world who are celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord, please accept our sincere good wishes for a Happy Easter this Sunday. All Christian communities outside of Jerusalem and Bethlehem are celebrating Easter a month later (in accordance with social agreement) on the old ancient calendar of the Eastern Orthodox Church. But so difficult to send nice greetings seeing the tragedy of innocent people killed in Belgium and the continued evil all around us and across the globe. Lord have mercy!

We are in deep need of the Light of Christ. I live in a land where every day we can say, Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! It is all of the Holy Land, all of historic Palestine that was made holy by Christ Himself walking on this earth for our salvation. But it is daily not just during Holy Great Lent that we must work so hard to re-focus on the Light, the Life, the Truth and witness for Christ's love and peace as we also witness the alarming wave of violence. It is a challenge to remember the "Good News" for humanity was delivered here.

March 30, 2016 + The Cross Moves Us away from Evil

by St. John of Kronstadt

When your heart inclines to evil, and the evil one begins to undermine your heart, so that it is completely removed from the rock of faith, then say to yourself inwardly: "I know of my spiritual poverty, my own nothingness without faith. I am so weak, that it is only by Christ's name that I live and obtain peace, that I rejoice and my heart expands, whilst without Him I am spiritually dead, I am troubled, and my heart is oppressed; without the Lord's Cross I should have been long since the victim of the most cruel distress and despair. Only Christ keeps me alive: and the Cross is my peace and my consolation."

Second Sunday in Lent: St. Gregory Palamas

Planting the doctrines of Orthodoxy, uprooting the thistles of wicked opinion, O blessed one, and growing well the plant of faith with the rain of thy sayings, thou didst offer to God, like a good farmer, ears a hundred fold.

+ Orthros of the Feast, Tone 1

On the second Sunday of Lent, we celebrate the teachings of St. Gregory Palamas, who upheld the Orthodox doctrine that humans can know God not only through the intellect but through experience of His uncreated energies. 

... every day we should stand in awe of Him, as He is with us, and do what is pleasing before Him. If we are unable now to perceive Him with our physical eyes, we can, if we are watchful, see Him continuously with the eyes of our understanding, and not just see Him, but reap great benefits from Him. This vision destroys all sin, demolishes all evil, and drives away everything bad. It gives birth to purity and dispassion, and bestows eternal life.   + St. Gregory Palamas

Metropolitan Joseph's Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Annunciation

Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Annunciation

March 25, 2016

"Today is the beginning of our salvation, and the manifestation of the mystery from the ages; for the Son of God becometh the Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel proclaimeth grace. Wherefore, do we shout with him to the Theotokos: Rejoice, O full of grace! The Lord is with thee". (Apolytikion of the Annunciation)

We greet you with love and joy on this Holy Feast of the Annunciation of the Archangel Gabriel to the Most Holy Theotokos.

The Apolytikion quoted above communicates to us the awesome nature of this holy feast, which is the action of a loving God which initiates the events by which humankind is redeemed from the sins of the past. The Archangel announces to the woman who will become the Most Holy Theotokos that she has been chosen to be the tabernacle which will hold the very Son of God.

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + March 23, 2016

Isaiah 6:1-12
Genesis 28:10-17
Proverbs 9:1-11

Isaiah 6:1-12 (NKJV)
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered: “Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate, the LORD has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.”

On the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25)

The Feast of the Annunciation is a very important feast of the Faith. Did you ever stop and think about why that is true? Why is the Annunciation one of the twelve great feasts of the Church? Let us take a moment to think about what happened at the Annunciation, so that we can be better prepared to lead our family in celebrating this great feast.

When we stop and think about it, we can see that each part of this event is notable of its own accord, and together, all are essential for our salvation. It began when the Angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she had been chosen by God to bear His Son.The fact that this angel appeared shows that the event was significant, for he is sent whenever God has an important message to convey. God's selection of Mary to become the Theotokos is a critical part of the event, since she was a holy young lady who had consecrated her life to God's service. Her agreement, "Let it be to me as you say," is a vitally important piece as well, because it simultaneously demonstrates Mary's humility before God and her willingness to obey. Also noteworthy is the fact that this event marks the moment in history when a person became the first Christian, for after the Annunciation, the Theotokos truly had Christ living within her. But the most significant aspect of the Annunciation is in what it announces; what came about as a result of both the announcement and the ensuing humble submission to God's will. And that is this; at the Annunciation, God Himself became human. This mystery is both mind-boggling and crucial. Christ's taking on flesh and dwelling among us was necessary so that He could die, break well. What humility! What love!

Wishing you a Blessed Holy Great Lenten Journey

by Maria C. Khoury, Ed.D.

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

I pray and hope all of you will have a blessed Holy Great Lenten journey filled with many fruits of the Holy Spirit.

I started the Holy Great Lenten Journey in the best possible manner on Clean Monday lighting candles at the 4th century ruins of St. George and staring down at the Jordan Valley where St. Mary of Egypt spent more than 40 years of her life asking forgiveness of God; as she is one of the greatest role models in our church, I thought to myself, have I asked forgiveness from the many people I have aggravated this past year since Forgiveness Sunday came and went as fast as lightning. It seems these most holy days just sneak upon you and at the end it is pretty much like Elder Ephraim said at St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona, "I have given you all of this time; what have you done with it? What have you achieved with your earthly time?" My poor Greek sort of translated in my brain that Geronda Ephraim was talking about stocking up on heavenly treasures; Something most of us are too busy to think about every day. But, it is that time again where we are reminded that everything we do for others, we do for Christ.

Thus, since time is so precious, may each moment be spent giving glory to God. May this Holy Great Lent allow you to slow down from your busy schedule and see Christ in others. May you feel blessed that you are in a free world since it seems here, the whole Middle East, has gone back to the first centuries where we must pay with our life to confess Christ. But, eternal life has always been the message for the hearts that turn to Jerusalem especially this holy time of year. It is the True Light of Christ that will shine when you pray, fast and remember to love others as God loves you.

The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (adapted)

Orthodox Center at Eastern University Announces New Summer Program

Advanced High School students and recent graduates can earn college credit while studying Orthodox literature
July 7-14, 2016
Application deadline: May 2, 2016
Program website
Download Brochure (PDF)

March 14, 2016 (St. Davids, Pa.) — What do Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Gogol, and Alexandros Papadiamantis all have in common?

They are some of the celebrated Orthodox Christian authors whose works students will read and discuss during a new honors program offered this July at Eastern University in suburban Philadelphia.

The Summer Program for Young Orthodox Scholars, sponsored by the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture, will provide promising High School and transfer students the opportunity to earn college credit while challenging themselves intellectually and spiritually. Participants will live in residence on the university's campus from July 7th to the 14th with a select group of peers, engaged in rigorous coursework and discussion of Great Books by Orthodox Christian literary figures.

Byzantine Menaion Project by Basil Kazan to be Made Available Online

The music for the Byzantine Menaion Project by Basil Kazan is now being made available in the Department of Sacred Music's PDF Library. Additions have begun with January (PDF), and will continue to be uploaded from there. Each month includes the music for the major feasts and saints of the month, for Vespers and Matins, and occasionally for the changeable parts in the Divine Liturgy.

PDFs will be offered in the Sacred Music Library's section M, for Menaion. The music is type-set, properly accented and barred, with ison, and rubrics and instructions added in, along with special melodies noted. The music was previously out of print, but is now available here in PDF format. May it help us all in our chanting of the liturgical services, as we praise our God and glorify His holy Name, honor His saints, and celebrate the Feasts of the Holy Orthodox Church!

Diocese of Charleston Bible Study + March 9, 2016

Joel 2:12-16
Joel 3:12-21

Joel 2:12-16 (NKJV)
Now, therefore," says the LORD, turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.

Spiritual Nuggets + March 14, 2016

Forgiveness Sunday

Masters, Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, and Sisters, bless.

As we spring into the Great Fast with the Sunday of Forgiveness. I ask you to forgive me. Also, I wanted to share this simple little snippet from St. Theophan the Recluse (Thoughts for each Day of the Year, St. Herman Press, Platina, CA, 2010, pg. 53).

What a simple and handy means of salvation! Your trespasses are forgiven under the condition that you forgive your neighbor's trespasses against you. This means that you are in your own hands. Force yourself to pass from agitated feelings toward your brother to truly peaceful feelings - and that is all.
- St. Theophan

Thanks.
+ Fr. Noah


Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston Homepage

Greetings from the Holy Land!

by Maria C. Khoury, Ed.D.

Dear Friends of Saint George Taybeh,

Greetings from the Holy Land!

It is a great and wonderful feeling to be back in Taybeh and to received the Orthodox Christian Fellowship Real Break college group led by Father Theodore and Presbytera Cristen Petrides. We hope they will have a spiritually uplifting pilgrimage as they use Taybeh for their base to see the sacred holy sites of our Lord.

We hope if your church is considering a pilgrimage in the future to help us be in touch with any local travel agents in your area working with the Holy Land so they may place Taybeh on the list of worthy places to visit in Palestine. Rumors, however, reported in Haaretz this week say that the Isreali Tourism Ministry is waging a battle against the phenomenon of foreign tourists staying in Bethlehem hotels rather than sleeping over in Jerusalem. This might mean punishments to travel agents like cutting grants for marketing budgets when hotels in the Palestinian Authority are promoted on a pilgrimage schedule.

March 9, 2016 + About Enduring to the End

from St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved" (St. Matthew 24:13).

O Lord most wonderful, You have endured all, all to the end. That is why You became not only blessed but the source of blessings for all men who desire good for themselves throughout the ages of ages.

The apostles endured all to the end and entered into blessed eternity. The saints willingly endured the difficulties and sufferings to the end and were glorified, both in heaven and on earth.

The martyrs willingly endured all pains to the end and became the adopted co-inheritors of the Kingdom of Christ.

Every founder of a new organization recruits followers for himself with the promise of good fruits and many pleasures but deliberately remains silent about the hardships and labors which lead to those fruits and pleasures. Our Lord Jesus is the only one Who spoke the whole truth to His followers, both the bitter and the sweet side of the truth. He did not promise fruits without service, nor glory without suffering, nor ultimate rest without the thorny path, nor victory without struggle, nor pleasure without bitterness, nor the kingdom without tears and self-denial.

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