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Balamand Hierarchical Divine Liturgy for Palm Sunday, April 28 2013

The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East reports:

His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, presided over the Divine Liturgy of Palm Sunday in the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand. His Grace Bishop Ghattas (Hazim) the abbot, Bishop Ephraim (Malouli) and many priests and deacons took part. A large congregation of the faithful, a number of other religious persons, civil dignitaries and the Balmandian family, (that is to say: the university, the school and the Institute of Theology), filled the monastery. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a precession with the icon of the Palm Sunday took place. His Beatitude, the clergy and the people carried the candles supplicating the Virgin Mary and chanting “to thee O Champion Leader” as an expression of the condemnation of all the Church, in the mother countries and beyond, of the abduction of Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), Greek-Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Alexandretta and their dependencies, and Metropolitan John (Ibrahim), Syriac-Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and as a supplication for their return and for the return of all kidnapped persons and refugees to their own homes and for the peace and an end to all violence. His Beatitude also invited all the faithful to make the period of the passion and resurrection as a time for expressing the unity of the Church whose members are gathered in fervent commitment to the truth. He also called for the resurrection of the heart as the best expression of the resurrection of humanity in this land. In conclusion, His Beatitude wished that service, love and courage would be a path toward the joy of the resurrection; a joy which cannot be taken away.

To see the Patriarchate's announcement in Arabic, please see the attached PDF.

Holy Week Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

The following Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Patriarch John X was released in a range of languages by the Patriarchate of Antioch on Lazarus Saturday via their Facebook page. The original letter is available in PDF format, here for English and here for Arabic.

Pastoral Letter

With God’s mercy

JOHN X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

To my brethren, the Shepherds of the Holy Church of Antioch, And my children throughout the Holy and Apostolic See

I address you today, at the end of Great Lent and the beginning of Holy Week, and at a time when we are being surrounded by much pain and suffering. Throughout our Antiochian lands, dangers threaten our homes, and political conflicts storm our countries. As a result, man’s livelihood, dwelling, and even life are at risk. We are tried every day by death or abduction, and our latest plight is the recent kidnapping of our beloved brothers, Bishop Paul Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, Iskenderun and dependencies, and Bishop John Ibrahim, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, and the killing of the Deacon who was accompanying them.

Joint Communique on the Abduction of Bishop Paul and Bishop John

The following official joint statement has been released by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. (Original PDF here.)

On Monday the 22.04.2013, we were surprised by the news that our brothers Bishop Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo and Alexandretta and Bishop John (Ibrahim) Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Aleppo, have been kidnapped on their way back to Aleppo after accomplishing a humanitarian mission. We deeply regret what happened as we regret all similar acts targeting civilians, regardless of their belonging and therefore we address to the local and international communities the following declaration:

1- The Christians living here are an essential part of their lands. They suffer the pain every person suffers, work as messengers of peace to lift the injustice off every oppressed: They follow the teaching of their Gospel telling them that love is the basis of human relations. The official positions issued by the spiritual leaders of the various churches, are the best expression in this respect and the mission fulfilled by the two kidnapped bishops is but a further proof of this orientation.

Release Reports False

There have appeared many reports in both the Eastern and Western press that the two hierarchs who were abducted yesterday by terrorists in Syria, Metropolitan Boulos Yazge, Antiochian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, and Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim, Syriac Archbishop of Aleppo, have been released. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip spoke by phone this morning to His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East (pictured), who said that these reports are false, and that the release of these two hierarchs has NOT taken place.

We ask you to continue to pray for their safety, and eventual release.

Confirmed updates will be published as soon as they are known.

Pray for the Safety of Abducted Bishops

Metropolitan Paul of AleppoMetropolitan Paul of AleppoHis Eminence Metropolitan Philip is saddened to report that, in a telephone discussion that he had today with His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, it was learned that Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese Of Aleppo, and the brother of His Beatitude, as well as Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Archdiocese of Aleppo, were both abducted by terrorists in a suburb of Aleppo as they  were returning from Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) to Aleppo.

The deacon who was driving  their automobile was shot and killed in the attack.  As you know, Syria has been suffering from these acts of terror for more than 2 years.

Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of AleppoMar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo

 

We ask all of you to remember Metropolitan Paul, and Archbishop Gregorios in your prayers, asking the Lord to deliver them safely from this ordeal. All official information will be released from the Archdiocese Headquarters through official communication channels.

Statement Issued by the Holy Synod of Antioch

The Holy Synod of Antioch has issued the attached statement in English and Arabic. It begins:

March 13, 2013

The Fathers of the Holy Synod of Antioch held a meeting on Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand. The meeting was chaired by His Beatitude Patriarch JOHN X. The Fathers discussed the situation arising from the election of Archimandrite Makarios by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem as the “Archbishop of Qatar”, on March 4, 2013. This election is against the Ecclesiastical Canons of the Orthodox Catholic Church. After deliberations and the approval of the Holy Synod Fathers in the Mother lands and abroad, the following statement was issued to be distributed to all the faithful and to all the Autocephalous Orthodox Churches.

Read the full statement below (PDF format).

Pastoral Letter of Patriarch John X

His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, has prepared an extensive pastoral letter for his flock. It includes sections on Preaching, A Responsible Priesthood, Love and Pastoral Work, The Dialogue of Religions, and much more. The letter opens:

It is a pleasure to address you through this message, hoping that it conveys to you some of my concerns as to what our Church needs today and what is demanded of each of us. I would like to resort to these words:

"In grace we grow, in service we transcend, and in love the structure is strengthened", as a motto for my Patriarchate, as God has willed that I will be watching over the Antiochian Church and embracing its children with the help of my brothers the bishops. The Church is the Church of all of us. God has willed that we are in it as brethren, in order to work as one body.

A Lenten Journey to Love

by Matthew Gallatin

As a young child, Nick Damascus loved watching priests deliver their homilies from the pulpit. His little heart would stir, and he would say to himself, I want to do that! I want to stand up there and say, "Hey, you people! Wake up!  God loves you!" Fifty years later, Nick is indeed a zealous messenger of God. Oh, he's never preached a homily. But he does share his Orthodox faith in an uncommonly vibrant way with anyone who will give him half a chance.

What many of those to whom he ministers may not know, however, is that the genuine sincerity, peace, and spiritual insight he exudes are relatively new to Nick. For much of the half-century since his days of childhood fervor, Nick wandered without purpose, searching for a sense of meaning. He could not find it in the Church. Neither did he discover it in worldly success and affluence.

But one year ago, during the holy season of Lent, God worked a miracle in the life of Nick Damascus. It was a quiet and gentle miracle, without lightning or fanfare. Yet by the Holy Spirit, through the divine power of the sacraments and the Lenten services, God transformed this man. Journeying through the weeks and liturgical beauty of the Great Fast, Nick joyously discovered the life of divine love that "surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7).

An Orthodox Child of the 50s and 60s

Nick was born into a Greek home, and raised in an ethnic Greek Orthodox parish. But unlike some his age, Nick did not rebel against his ethnic identity and its traditions. He fully embraced them.

The Orthodox Celebration of Great and Holy Saturday

by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

Great and Holy Saturday is the day on which Christ reposed in the tomb. The Church calls this day the Blessed Sabbath. The great Moses mystically foreshadowed this day when he said: God blessed the seventh day. This is the blessed Sabbath. This is the day of rest, on which the only-begotten Son of God rested from all His works. . . . (Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday)

By using this title the Church links Holy Saturday with the creative act of God. In the initial account of creation as found in the Book of Genesis, God made man in His own image and likeness. To be truly himself, man was to live in constant communion with the source and dynamic power of that image: God. Man fell from God. Now Christ, the Son of God through whom all things were created, has come to restore man to communion with God. He thereby completes creation. All things are again as they should be. His mission is consummated. On the Blessed Sabbath He rests from all His works.

THE TRANSITION

Holy Saturday is a neglected day in parish life. Few people attend the Services. Popular piety usually reduces Holy Week to one day - Holy Friday. This day is quickly replaced by another - Easter Sunday. Christ is dead and then suddenly alive. Great sorrow is suddenly replaced by great joy. In such a scheme Holy Saturday is lost.

In the understanding of the Church, sorrow is not replaced by joy; it is transformed into joy. This distinction indicates that it is precisely within death the Christ continues to effect triumph.

TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH

Holy Saturday: The Blessed Sabbath

by Fr. Thomas Hopko
from "The Orthodox Faith, Volume II, Worship"

The first service belonging to Holy Saturday -- called in the Church the Blessed Sabbath -- is the Vespers of Good Friday. It is usually celebrated in the mid-afternoon to commemorate the burial of Jesus.

Before the service begins, a "tomb" is erected in the middle of the church building and is decorated with flowers. Also a special icon which is painted on cloth (in Greek, epitaphios; in Slavonic, plaschanitsa) depicting the dead Saviour is placed on the altar table. In English this icon is often called the winding-sheet.

Vespers begin as usual with hymns about the suffering and death of Christ. After the entrance with the Gospel Book and the singing of Gladsome Light, selections from Exodus, Job, and Isaiah 52 are read. An epistle reading from First Corinthians (1:18-31) is added, and the Gospel is read once more with selections from each of the four accounts of Christ's crucifixion and burial. The prokeimena and alleluia verses are psalm lines, heard often already in the Good Friday services, prophetic in their meaning:

They divided my garments among them and for my raiment they cast lots (Psalm 22:18).
My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me (Ps 22:1).
Thou hast put me in the depths of the Pit, in the regions dark and deep (Ps 88:6).

A Journey through Holy Week

by Fr. Nicholas Magoulias
from The Word Magazine, April 1976

On Good Friday afternoon, the touching service of the Burial of our Lord takes place. This rite is especially loved by children because of its dramatic solemnity. A specially constructed sepulchre of four pillars surmounted by a dome on which stands a cross is stationed in the center of the Nave. The symbolic tomb of our Saviour is completely covered by beautifully arranged floral decorations. During the afternoon service the Body of the Crucified Christ is taken down from the Cross. And a beautifully embroidered cloth bearing the representation of the Sacred Corpse of our Lord is placed in the center of the flower-adorned sepulchre. To commemorate the Burial the following words are recited:

"When Joseph of Arimathea took Thee, the Life of all, down from the Tree dead, he buried Thee with myrrh and fine linen; and He yearned with desire, in his heart and on His lips, that Thy pure Body might be enshrouded; wherefore, hiding he cried to Thee, rejoicing, Glory to Thy humiliation, O Merciful Master." In a moving apostrophe to Christ in the tomb, the hymn is chanted:

Joining the Whole Church at the Tomb: The Experience of Holy Week

by Fr. John Hainsworth

Every year during Holy Week I read to my congregation an eyewitness account of a certain Pascha night on Solovki Island in 1925. For centuries, this island in the White Sea had been the home of a venerable and remote monastery. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the monks were replaced by political and religious prisoners. The once-beautiful monastery became a concentration camp. The climate of that region was especially harsh and the island well out of sight, and the newly formed gulag became a place of unspeakable horror for its inhabitants.

Among the few who survived was a prisoner who worked in the camp's archives, and he left us the description of an extraordinary occurrence. Through some favor-gained by one of the prisoners, Bishop Illarion-all the prisoners were allowed by the communist authorities to celebrate Pascha in the camp. But only that one night and never again. Preparations were made, vestments were secretly liberated from the vaults of the former monastery, and on Pascha night the whole camp gathered together. Here is the prisoner's description of that evening:

The Enthronement Speech of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

We thank the Lord our God who allowed us, in the two previous months, to celebrate His appearance in the flesh as man and His manifestation as God coming to save us. After Jesus has fulfilled His plan of salvation by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, and after He ascended in the flesh to heaven from whence He had descended, sitting on the right hand of the Father, He prayed the Father to send the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of each of us. Everyone who desires this and wants the Spirit to dwell in him does this so that Jesus may appear to him, and also that he might be reminded of the Lord’s sayings and teachings. The Holy Spirit shows us Jesus Christ, at first in the Church, which is His Body and which He wanted to be “a glorious church, with neither stains, wrinkles, nor any such thing” (Eph. 5: 27). It also makes Him present in the Church through the word of His Gospel, in the Body and Blood of His Eucharist, in His meeting with His brothers who gathered in His Name, as well as in every human being - especially in the poor, the homeless and the broken hearted, in whom He accepted to dwell. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus wherever it dawns, making Him present yet veiled in all religions and all cultures. 

Jesus, Emmanuel, is always present here and everywhere, present among us. He is always with us, ready to meet us. He rejoices in our joys, He revels in our holiness, and He weeps with us when we are troubled and sorrowed. He also cries when, as shepherds and flock, we neglect to live according to His teachings, and whenever our sins mar His bleeding, yet glorious face, and thus veil the world from seeing Him in His Church, and through us. 

Patriarchate of Antioch Publishes Website for Enthronement of His Beatitude Patriarch John X

The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has brought online a special website dedicated to the enthronement of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, which will take place this Sunday, February 10. The site is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

Visit the website here.

Urgent Need for a Bone Marrow Donor for Karen Takla of New Jersey

There is an urgent need to find a bone marrow donor for Karen Takla, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and must have a bone marrow transplant within the next 50 days. Karen is the great-granddaughter of Fr. Farid Farkouh and the granddaughter of Sally Farkouh Takla who, for many years, was a very active member of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY and, more recently, a parishioner of St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Karen's mother and father are Kathy and Ronald Takla of Closter, New Jersey. 

It has been strongly recommended that the Takla family reach out to the members of the Syrian/Lebanese community to be tested because a person's ethnicity is an important consideration when selecting a donor's bone marrow for transplantation. For those living in New Jersey, the Takla family has planned a bone marrow drive on Sunday, January 27 at the Westwood Community Center, 55 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood, NJ 07675 from 1 to 5 p.m. At the Center, donors will be swabbed and later tested to see whether their bone marrow is a match for Karen.

Additionally, for those unable to participate in the drive, they will still have the opportunity of being tested by following the instructions on the attached flyer. This allows for a national appeal to those living outside the immediate area of metropolitan New York. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip supports a wide-sweeping effort to aid Karen at this most critical time in her life.

40th Day of Repose, His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV

Sunday, January 13, marks the 40th day of the repose of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch.

The Word magazine has made available a special issue dedicated to remembrances of His Beatitude.

Also,visit the memorial section dedicated to His Beatitude.

Sending in Your Thesis

All Master’s and Doctoral students of the Antiochian House of Studies (AHoS) are required to send properly bound copies of their theses, to the institutions listed below. If you order multiple copies, you may wish to have them all shipped to you, and then mail them yourself to the various recipients. Alternatively, you may have them shipped directly from the bindery to the various recipients, which will require separate orders to be placed, one for each destination.

 

Master’s Students should order at least one (1) bound copy, to be shipped to: 

Antiochian Heritage Library
140 Church Camp Trail
Bolivar, PA 15923

 

Doctoral Students should order a minimum of two (2) bound copies, one for each of the recipients listed below. Please Note: you may have both copies shipped to you, and then mail them yourself to the recipients, or have them shipped directly from the bindery, which will require separate orders to be placed, one for each destination: 

Antiochian Heritage Library
140 Church Camp Trail
Bolivar, PA 15923

Clifford E. Barbour Library
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
616 North Highland Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Printing and Binding Your Thesis

Master’s and Doctoral students are required to have their completed thesis papers printed and bound using specific guidelines listed below. Be sure to follow these requirements closely as you place your order. Two suggested binderies are:

Thesis on Demand prefers to print and bind from a PDF file, charging extra if you send them a hard copy for binding only. If your PDF contains pages you wish to print in color, you will pay the color rate for all pages (“all or nothing”). Probably offers the best deal if you have a black & white PDF file.

PHD Book Binding will accept either a PDF file or a hard copy (will not charge extra if you send them a hard copy). They also allow you to indicate specific pages to be printed in color, without incurring color charges for all pages. Probably the best deal if you need to print some pages, but not all, in color.

It is the student’s responsibility to follow these guidelines carefully when placing an order:

Master’s Thesis Standards:
Cover: Hardbound in Buckram (Fabric) PS 588 ROYAL BLUE, with gold lettering.
Spine: author’s last name, title (truncated as necessary), year.
Front Cover: blank is fine. Some binderies include title, author, year and degree (optional).
Paper: archival.NOTE: “Standard paper” is archival at the two binderies suggested above.
Be sure to order the correct number of copies.

Formatting Your Thesis

Like many theology schools, the Antiochian House of Studies requires use of the Turabian format for all Master’s and Doctoral papers. As such, students are expected to refer to A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, by Kate L. Turabian. This book is available at the Antiochian Village online bookstore.

The Turabian guidelines were developed by Kate Turabian in 1937 for dissertations being written at the University of Chicago. The new edition includes a chapter devoted to the process of research and writing that is invaluable for students unaccustomed to the rigor required for academic writing for publication – an endeavor you will undertake in the form of your thesis. The entire Turabian text is useful, but a few essential chapters will be crucial to the successful development, research, writing, formatting, and editing of your thesis:

Citations: Chapter 15-17 (pp. 133-140; 141-159; 160-215).

Research/Writing: Chapters 2-3, 6, & 9-10 (pp. 3-4; 12-23; 24-35; 62-70; 98-101; 102-108). 

See also:

Turabian Citation Quick Guide

Master’s Title Page Sample

Guidelines for Printing and Binding Your Thesis

Guidelines for Sending in Your Thesis

Thesis Information

Writing Topics
If you are enrolled in the St. Stephen’s Master of Arts Program, you do not need to worry about choosing your topic right away.

The St. Stephen’s reading coursework, residency lectures, and (especially) directed ministry projects will help form your research and pollinate your ideas.

As you approach the conclusion of your St. Stephen’s coursework, your professors at the residency program and mentors in the reading program will be happy to help you discern suitable ideas and maintain proper scope and focus. When the time does come, please remember that the M. A. is an academic degree in applied theology. The topic is not merely theoretical, but should cover a topic of church life that is both practical and theological.

If you are a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (MAPC) student, there are some distinct guidelines in terms of topic choice and formatting. Please contact the MAPC program staff for more information.

Writing Guidelines

Like most educational institutions, the Antiochian House of Studies has developed a standard format for theses and dissertations. Following are guidelines for how to format , bind, and send in completed papers. All students should consult the following links for specific requirements:

Formatting Your Thesis

Printing and Binding Your Thesis

Sending in Your Thesis

Pilgrimage to Russia

St. Alexander Nevsky MonasterySt. Alexander Nevsky MonasteryWith the blessings of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, His Grace Bishop Nicholas and Archpriest Thomas Zain will be leading a pilgrimage to Russia from August 13-27, 2013. They will spend 8 nights in St. Petersburg and 5 nights in Moscow, visiting the various religious and cultural sights in both cities.

Highlights in St. Petersburg will include St. Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St. Isaac Cathedral, Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan and the Church of the Spilt Blood. The Hermitage, the Yusupov Palace, the summer palaces of the Czars and the Sts. Peter and Paul Fortress. Also included is a day trip to the ancient capital of Novgorod where we will visit the St. George Monastery and the Kremlin. In Moscow, highlights will include visits to the St. Sergius-Trinity Lavra (Monastery), which is the spiritual center of the Russian Orthodox Church, Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Kremlin museums and Cathedrals, the Butovo Firing Range and several monasteries.

The group will be limited to between 16-22 people to keep the pilgrimage small in size. For a brochure containing more detailed information, please contact Fr. Thomas Zain at abounathomas@me.com.

Memory Eternal! + Rev. Fr. Polycarp Whitcomb

From the Diocese of the West:

It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Polycarp Whitcomb, Pastor of St. Athanasius Church in Sacramento, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Friday, January 4, 2013. His Eminence Archbishop Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. The funeral arrangements will be announced once they are set. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.

Nativity Pastoral Letter of His Beatitude Patriarch-Elect John X of Antioch

Nativity Letter in English (Following, and as PDF)

Nativity Letter in Arabic (PDF)

With God’s mercy

John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East 

To my brethren, the Shepherds of the Holy Antiochian Church And my children who belong to this Apostolic See

We approach these Holy and Blessed Feasts as we witness the crucial events our Antiochian Church has gone through recently, first and foremost with the departure of our Father, Patriarch Ignatius IVth who ministered the Church with patience and faithfulness for several decades. His memory shall remain alive in our minds and hearts, and shall be eternal before the Lord Whom he served all his life. At this time, our Church and our people are experiencing dramatic situations caused by violence and troubles shaking our region.

The Holy Spirit has willed that I be elected by my brothers, the members of the Holy Synod, to succeed this great Minister, in spite of my unworthiness. However, I rely on God and on you, my brothers and children of my Church, and this shall make me expect, with great hope, divine help, which will enable us to overcome these hard tests and look for a better future.

His Beatitude Kyrios Kyrios Youhanna X Patriarch-elect of Antioch and All The East

His Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the EastHis Beatitude Patriarch-Elect Youhanna X of Antioch and All the EastHis Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod earlier today, December 17, during a special session held at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.

The Patriarch-elect was born in 1955 in the city of Latakiya, Syria into a pious Orthodox home. His father was Syrian and was a professor of Arabic Language. His mother is Lebanese. He has four brothers, with his brother Paul being the current Metropolitan of Aleppo, and he has one sister who is a nun. During his early studies, he played a key role in the leadership of Orthodox youth, and organized many choirs to sing in the local churches. 

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