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Meetings of the Local Synod and Board of Trustees in Chicago

On Tuesday and Wednesday May 13th and 14th, His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan presided over the meetings of the Local Synod and Board of Trustees in Chicago, respectively.

In both meetings, the principal issue was the preparation for the Special Convention to be held in Chicago on June 5th. At the end of the deliberations, the Patriarchal Vicar and the Local Synod in agreement with the Board of Trustees announced the list of Eligible Candidates for the office of Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America.

They also approved the text of the call, the procedures to be followed prior to the Special Convention and at the same, regarding the eligibility of voting candidates, the process of voting, counting of votes and announcements of results.

In these meetings, Metropolitan Silouan gave a thorough reading of the legal, ecclesiastical and pastoral aspects of the issues to be treated in preparation of the Special Convention. At the close of the meeting, Metropolitan Silouan congratulated the members of the Board of Trustees for the results, their speedy way in discussing the issues, and the spirit of responsibility that they have demonstrated during the deliberations and upon taking the decisions. Indeed, they have shown a beautiful icon of cooperation and unity between all.

Unity and Diversity of Our Beloved Antiochian Archdiocese

By Fr. Joseph Antypas

As we have celebrated the 40-day memorial service of our beloved Primate and Metropolitan of our Archdiocese, the reposed Archbishop Philip Saliba, we recall his ministry and his glorious achievements which will continue to touch our lives in one or another. His Eminence served as our Metropolitan for almost half a century. He moved his Archdiocese from a primitive to a leading role in all aspects of church life. He challenged his spiritual children, both clergy and laity, and they responded to his call. He established organizations and orders which will continue to bring more committed people into the vineyard of our Lord.

The celebration of this memorial service invites us as Christians to consider certain basic issues which ultimately necessitate the continuation of the Antiochian presence in the 21st century. The Church is not established as a legalistic entity; it is embedded in our love for Jesus. Whatever we do in the life of church does not force God or even control the outcome of God's action. It is only our way of learning how to understand ourselves and our inner spiritual existence.

There are three things that we need to establish as basic priorities, impacted by the legacy of our late beloved Primate: First, our connection with the Mother Church, from which we receive our spiritual and cultural identity. Secondly, the Unity of our Archdiocese as One body, incorporates, in its history, the components that led to the story of our successes and accomplishments. Thirdly, the diversity of those who constitute the fabric of the Archdiocese: Cradle Orthodox and converts, new immigrants, evangelicals, and the western rites, all such components must be maintained, nurtured, and cherished, so that Antiochian Orthodoxy can provide the doorway to those who seek truth, genuine worship, and sound doctrines.

Greetings from Metropolitan Silouan

His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan writes on May 12:

Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,

Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and

Beloved Faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America 

Christ is risen!

I wholeheartedly greet you in this paschal season, accompanied by the “fresh air” of the Spirit that stems from our daily reading of the Acts of the Apostles where the witness of the first apostles and their “fresh air” reaches us, the apostles to this modern time.

After celebrating Holy Week and Holy Pascha with your brothers and sisters in Argentina, I returned to North America in order to start the second period of pastoral visits across this Archdiocese. From April 22 to 29, I visited Wichita, KS, Houston, TX, Miami, FL, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, and from May 2 to 4, I visited Washington, DC, Baltimore and Potomac, MD.  Then from May 8 to 11, I visited Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

Antiochian Participation in the Assembly of Bishops

His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan writes on May 7:

Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,

And Beloved Faithful

of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America 

Christ is risen! 

I would like to inform you that the Holy Synod of Antioch, after convening on April 29th, 2014, decided that the participation of the Antiochian Archdioceses around the world in the Assembly of Bishops be restored to its status prior to the decision taken by the same in its session held in October 2013. 

After receiving from the Secretariat of our Holy Synod the text of the aforementioned decision, I notified the Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, that the participation of this Archdiocese in the Assembly is effective from the moment that our Holy Synod issued its resolution. 

Leadership Meetings and Special Convention Planning

On May 7, Hierarchical Assistant Fr. George Kevorkian released the following letter:

Venerable Hierarchs, Brother Clergy, and Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees: 

Christ is Risen! 

I send this message on behalf of Metropolitan Silouan and with his approval. 

As you all know, the Archdiocesan Synod will meet in the evening on Tuesday May 13th, 2014, and the Board of Trustees will meet all day on Wednesday May 14th, 2014, with both meetings being held in Chicago, Illinois. 

Upon completion of these meetings, Metropolitan Silouan will issue the following items in an email message, which will be sent no later than Thursday May 15th: 

In Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Upon Commemorating his 40th Day Memorial Service

His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan writes:

The Heart of a High Priest

“I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn't fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers”
(Luke 22:32)

Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,

Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees,

and Beloved Faithful

of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:

Christ is risen!

With a peaceful heart, I am writing these lines upon commemorating the 40th Day memorial service for the eternal repose of the soul of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip of New York and all North America.

On this occasion, I am wondering about the most precious thing that God ever granted to man: his heart. If any of us watches himself, he realizes what kind of “work” takes place there, a work of love and unity. Parents are aware of such work, because life and experience shape them in such a way that they are called to overcome themselves, be attentive, take care, be responsible, and be able to sacrifice themselves for another's sake. They learn to love and understand, to some extent, what love is about.

Statement of the Archdiocese in Response to the Circulating “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action"

Regarding the forthcoming press conference scheduled for May 7, 2014 by Congressman Frank R. Wolf and Congresswoman Anna G Eshoo, during which a statement entitled “Pledge of Solidarity & Call to Action on behalf of Christians and Other Small Religious Communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria” is to be released, this statement constitutes the official response of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (the “Antiochian Archdiocese”), an archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East (the “Church of Antioch”). 

We appreciate all efforts to bring peace to the Middle East and urge all concerned with the situation experienced by Christians in the region to use every effort to bring peace to the region for all citizens of these nations. To those who have expressed willingness to listen to the voices of Christians of the Middle East and to respond to their concerns, we draw their attention to the Message of the Primates of the Orthodox Autocephalous Churches, gathered in Turkey, 6-9 March 2014, in which they unanimously adopt the views of the Church of Antioch.

Video of March 29 2014 Liturgy and Funeral for His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory

The following video was recorded March 29, 2014, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. It was broadcast live on Noursat | Tele Lumiere television, and streamed online. This recording has been provided courtesy of Noursat.

 

Metropolitan Philip Saliba, 1931-2014, Divine Liturgy and Funeral New York March 2014 from Antiochian Archdiocese on Vimeo.

 

 

Assembly of Bishops Statement on the One-Year Anniversary of the Bishops Abducted in Syria

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has issued the following statement:

1. We, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians, express our grave concern over the escalation of unrest and ongoing violence in countries throughout the Middle East, especially in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

2. Our Assembly denounces any and all attacks—whether by means of violence, kidnapping, torture or killing—on all fellow human beings, irrespective of their race, ethnic origin, and religion. Moreover, we deplore the destruction of all places of worship or their forced conversion from their original intent.

Pastoral Letter of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan in Tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo

Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo Celebrating PaschaMetropolitan Paul of Aleppo Celebrating PaschaThe Hope That Never Fails

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ;
if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him."
(Romans 8:16-17)

Beloved in Christ,
Hierarchs, clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees and faithful
Of this God-protected Archdiocese:

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!

I am writing to you on the Holy day of the resurrection of our Lord, not only to greet each one of you and convey my personal salutation, as well as those of our clergy and parishioners in Argentina, but also in order to address you upon the one year anniversary of the abduction of our beloved brother Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, Alexandretta and Dependencies.

Pascha 2014 Pastoral Letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan

How to resurrect with Christ

"If then you were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God" (Colossians 3:1)

Beloved in Christ

Hierarchs, clergy and faithful,

Of this God-protected Archdiocese

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Christ defeated death! We are no longer subject to it; rather we are Christ's, who gave us "the right to be God's children" (John 1:12) and to be His "friends" (John 15:15)! What great news! What a great gift! What a great reality! An eternal bond is granted to whoever believes in Christ as Savior from death - divine adoption in Christ's name!

From now on, the Lord commissioned us to be victorious not only over death "from outside," but also over death "from within," that is, over our own selfishness. He also commanded us to be messengers of the Good News and heralds of His victory - and ours, too - over any kind of death. He asked us, as Christians, to abide by love rather than by hate, by hope rather than by despair, by faith rather than by logic, by justice rather than by injustice, by forgiveness rather than by resentment, by humility rather than by vanity and arrogance, and by sacrifice rather than by self-interest.

Holy Friday Pastoral Message from His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan

How to be crucified with Christ

"I have been crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20)

Beloved in Christ,
Hierarchs, clergy and faithful
Of this God-protected Archdiocese:

The mystery of Christ is very simple. Yet in order to embrace it in our lives, we need a mind and a heart as humble as His. The mystery of His love to humankind is such that it surprises us, whenever we meditate on it and are conscious of it. It surprises us because it reveals the love He has for us. He "is love" (1 John 4:8), isn't He?

Christ manifested His love to us in a very particular way: the way of a bridegroom with his bride. The Church preserved from the Lord's last moments before death the image of a marriage. The "picture" she took of this wedding has been expressed in two different ways in our celebrations on the first days of Holy Week. In fact, we chant at Matins of these holy days: "Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night...", and "I see Thy Bridal Chamber adorned, O my Savior, but have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me." We also make a procession with the icon of the "bridegroom" with the inscription, "Behold, the man!" (John 19:5). It is the icon of the Lord of the "utmost humility," the whole image of His passion, a snapshot of His unconditional love for us. It was the last picture taken of Him before His death on the Cross. It is the best picture ever taken of Him. The Church raises in front of our eyes this "picture" in order that we recall today in our hearts His love and humility, and commit ourselves again to follow Him on the way of the Cross.

Video of the Palm Sunday Homily of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has released the following video of the remarks of Patriarch John X on Palm Sunday, April 13 2014, in Arabic with English subtitles.

Greetings and Visitation Information from Metropolitan Silouan

His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, Metropolitan of Buenos Aires and all Argentina, and Patriarchal Vicar of New York and all North America, writes:

Buenos Aires, April 12th 2014

Very Esteemed Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy,

Honorable Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees
and Beloved Faithful
of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

I wholeheartedly greet you on Lazarus Saturday, having experienced the tranquillity of the company of the Lord to His closest friend, and having shared His imperishable promise to Lazarus´ sisters, Mary and Martha, that He is the resurrection for whoever believes in Him!

Last Wednesday, I arrived back in Buenos Aires in order to celebrate Holy Week and Pascha with our parishioners in Argentina. Nevertheless, I did not stop working for your beloved archdiocese, and I will do until my functions as a vicar come to fulfilment, when the Holy Synod of Antioch elects a new Metropolitan in order to succeed to His Eminence, our beloved Metropolitan Philip of eternal memory.

I would like to share with you some aspects of my experience, during the two weeks I have spent with you, from Monday March 24th (arrival to the Archdiocese´s Headquarters) until Tuesday April 9th (Departure to Buenos Aires).

Jesus

Excerpted from “Out Of The Depths Have I Cried: Thoughts on Incarnational Theology in the Eastern Christian Experience,” by Metropolitan Philip Saliba and Fr. Joseph Allen, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1979

What can we say of Jesus and our depths? What is needed to let his presence flow forth? To touch the Christ that lives in our depths, we must experience like the child and the poet. These are the ones who live with their hearts, who will see the kingdom. “Lest ye be like the children.”

Why do we now emphasize the need for childlike and poetic qualities? A child is a poet who has not been taught. A poet is a child who has not been spoiled. St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man most fully alive!” But life is never lived – never really lived – until we can experience the beauty of the cosmos.

We have referred to experience, good and bad. A child and a poet are sensitive to experience in the valuable sense. It is how they relate to life. Experience is the most immediate consciousness of reality; it tells us exactly what is happening to us when we and reality touch.

Experience is the memory, the record, the impression of life on a person. Experience happens when a child runs freely into the world and is confronted with pain and joy. Experience happens when the poet beholds the sea and the mountains and allows the words which capture them to mysteriously pour forth. Experience is not learned as such; it is lived, if we let it. As we have said, it can be misused. But then, so can the name of God, faith, scripture, sex. In spite of that, experience, like that of the child and poet, is how we best locate Jesus flowing from our depths.

Archdiocesan Leadership Meetings and Special Nominating Convention

The Archdiocese communicated the following details regarding historic May and June meetings to all clergy and parishes on April 8, 2014:

The dates and location have been set for a special Archdiocesan Synod Meeting, Board of Trustees meeting and the Special Nominating Convention. The location will be Chicago, Illinois, in order to facilitate air travel from all parts of the Archdiocese. The specific hotel will be announced, and all meetings will take place at that hotel. (See here for hotel and registration updates from April 29.)

The new date and location for the Special Board of Trustees and Archdiocesan Synod meetings were motivated by the need to convene the Special Nominating Convention. This makes it necessary to cancel the meetings which were originally scheduled at the Antiochian Village for the weekend of May 29-31.

The schedule of meetings is as follows:

Tuesday May 13, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Special meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod.

Wednesday May 14, 2014, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. – Special Board of Trustees Meeting.

Wednesday June 4, 2014, 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. – Meetings of the Archdiocesan Synod and/or Archdiocesan Board of Trustees (as needed)

Thursday June 5, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Special Assembly to nominate candidates for the office of Metropolitan

Video Tributes to Metropolitan Philip

Below, we highlight videos of His Eminence. The first is from Pascha 2011 at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY. The second video was prepared in honor of Metropolitan Philip's 80th birthday, and was presented with these remarks by Fr. Anthony Gabriel at the 2011 Archdiocese Convention. The third was originally prepared by Fr. Ayman Kfouf of St. George Church of Troy, MI in honor of Metropolitan Philip's historic 2013 visit. This video was played during the last official, celebrational pastoral visit of His Eminence before his falling asleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metropolitan Philip Memorial Service Photography

Memorial services for our departed Metropolitan Philip were held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, March 26, to March 30. His Eminence was laid to rest at Antiochian Village on Monday, March 31. May his memory be eternal!

An extensive collection of photography from the memorial events has been assembled here. Our thanks to all who submitted photography. The galleries presented here will continue to be expanded over the coming days to include additional images from Brooklyn and from the Antiochian Village.

Prayers for Metropolitan Philip's Repose

We ask for your continued prayers for the repose of our beloved Primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, as he is laid to rest today at Antiochian Village in Bolivar, Pennsylvania, after almost 50 years of leadership. Learn more about the life and legacy of Metropolitan Philip here. Video, photography and written material regarding the memorial services of the past days are being prepared for release. We ask for your prayers as well for safe travels for all those returning from the events honoring Metropolitan Philip. Memory eternal!

Online Donations in Memory of Metropolitan Philip to Benefit Clergy Retirement Fund

One of the things dearest to Metropolitan Philip's heart was the care of his clergy and their wives during the winter years of their lives so that they could live with dignity. In light of that, he wanted memorial donations to be given to the Clergy Retirement Fund of the Archdiocese. Donations received through this simple and secure online donation form will go to benefit the Fund.

Our thanks to the team at AntiochianEvents.org for preparing this resource.

 

Metropolitan Philip Memorial Page

 

Photos from Friday March 28 Memorial Services for Metropolitan Philip

We are grateful to the community of St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY and all those who have labored to organize and record the memorial events honoring the repose of our beloved Primate, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip. Following are photographs from the Friday, March 28, funeral for a bishop. Many more photos are being prepared for release, including from Saturday's main funeral service, now concluded. May his memory be eternal!

Watch Metropolitan Philip Funeral Coverage Online

Our thanks to Noursat, Reach Media, and the community of St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, for the broadcast of the memorial services for Metropolitan Philip. Some technical difficulties with Noursat's online video stream began at approximately 1:30 p.m. EST; our apologies to those who have not been able to watch the conclusion of the services after several hours of continuous coverage. The television broadcast has continued and is being recorded, and will be made available online in its entirety within a few days.

Metropolitan Philip Funeral Arrangements Updated to Include Information on Burial at Antiochian Village and More

See this page for all details regarding this week's memorial services for Metropolitan Philip. Recent updates include details on all events at Antiochian Village, as well as a highly-recommended parking information sheet for all those planning on attending weekend memorial services at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn.

Beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, March 29, the Divine Liturgy and Funeral Services for Metropolitan Philip will be broadcast by Noursat/Tele Lumiere from St. Nicholas Cathedral. Online video-streaming details are being finalized.

Memory eternal!

Sayidna Philip Arrives at the Cathedral March 26

St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY Mar 26St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn, NY Mar 26

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