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His Eminence Metropolitan Philip addresses the faithful at the start of Great Lent:
Beloved in the Lord,
Greetings and blessings to you as we enter this most holy season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
During this time of the Great Fast, we once again turn our attention to the Food for Hungry People Program of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. For almost 40 years this campaign has had a tremendous impact throughout the world to help alleviate hunger and the numberless tragedies caused by poverty. With several tragic events that continue plaguing our world including, but not limited to, the recent war in Syria, the natural disasters that wreak havoc on our own continent like Hurricane Sandy and others, we depend on your support to help the victims of these man-made and natural tragedies.
Dear Young Adults,
With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Anthony, we are very excited to announce the 2nd Annual Midwest Young Adult Retreat to be held April 5-7, 2013 at the Maranatha Retreat Center in Muskegon, MI, on beautiful Lake Michigan. This year, we welcome Fr. Michael Nasser, the Pastor of Holy Apostles Mission in Bowling Green, KY, as our guest speaker for the weekend. Many of our young people remember him for his many years of service as the former Camp Director at the Antiochian Village and his mission work at Project Mexico. Fr. Michael is a dynamic speaker, whose talks will surely challenge and inspire us in the faith.
What is "Village at Home"? Antiochian Village's website explains, "In an effort to stay connected to our campers and introduce young people to the camp experience, we have established our Village at Home program. In short, we visit a parish, at the invitation of their pastor, and run a modified day of camp at the parish. We ask the host parish to extend invitations to neighboring churches with hope of exposing as many young people to the Antiochian Village camping program. We recruit former staff members to join us for the day to assist with the program. The day somewhat mimics a day of camp."
"The Bible 'enchants our ears with birdsong.' It enchants us and delights us. It brings us peace, but it also instills awe. The Bible is filled with great deeds and acts of love. What is most delightful, however, is the fact that all these great deeds involve human beings, not superheroes. Whether through Noah building an ark or Moses leading a whole nation out of slavery, God is acting through people like us, people who have as great a potential to love as to sin."
These and other well-chosen words prompted this year's Oratorical Festival judges to award Peter Somi the 2012 Festival Judges' Choice Award. Peter hails from St. George Cathedral in Worcester (Diocese of Worcester and New England) and his full speech can be read here.
Esther Simbol, Bible Bowl Coordinator, writes that this year's Fellowship of St. John the Divine North American Council (NAC) Bible Bowl at Antiochian Village received rousing support from 300 campers, who cheered for their favorite teams. The Topic this year was St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, and all seven Dioceses were represented. This year’s winner was the team from St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa, Ontario, representing the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upper State New York. The team consisted of Amanda Salibi, Maria Fakhouri and Milad Hamwi. Read about the theme and the participants in September's The Word.
Eastern Dioceses 2012 Fall Delegates Meeting
October 12-14, 2012
Diocese of New York and Washington D.C.
Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic
Hosted by St. George Church, Danbury, CT
Event page on Facebook
Download Registration Form (PDF)
Deadline for registration is Friday, October 5, 2012. Please mail a registration form (PDF) with your check to: St. George Orthodox Church Delegates Meeting, 125 Kohanza Street, Danbury, CT 06811.
Saturday night will be an international dinner featuring homemade foods from several different countries, as well as a hafli and dance featuring Arabic and American music.
St. George Church has set aside a block of rooms at the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Danbury, CT. For more information and directions, please download this hotel registration information PDF.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine's Midwest Diocese Fall Gathering is scheduled for October 5-7 at St. Elias Orthodox Church in Sylvania, Ohio. Our parish is honored to host the clergy and laity of our diocese, including our own Bishop Anthony, and is pleased to present Katrina Bitar, the director of YES North America, as our featured speaker.
Please help us make this event a success by including this downloadable flier and information in your weekly bulletins, monthly newsletters, parish e-mails, parish social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and Sunday announcements. Most importantly, please pass this information along to the leaders of your parish Fellowship of St. John, Antiochian Women, SOYO, and Christian Educators.
Hotel and registration information is also on our website.
It is our hope this weekend will be an opportunity for the Diocese to come together in Christian unity for prayer, fellowship, meetings, and workshops that inspire and edify. With your help and cooperation, I have no doubt the 2012 Fall Gathering will be a success.
Please note the deadlines for Hotel Reservations (September 21st) and Early Registration (September 29th).
If I can provide any additional information or be or any assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know. I look forward to seeing all of you in October!
After the Fall Fellowship of St. John Gathering in 2011, His Grace Bishop Anthony (then Bishop-elect) encouraged the young adults that were at the Fall Gathering to continue to meet on a regular basis. With no spring meeting scheduled, we decided to plan a Spring Retreat to focus on spiritual renewal and fellowship with other young adults from our Diocese. The weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012 was chosen, and the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, graciously offered their facility as the host location. Over 60 young adults from 13 parishes in our Diocese came together for our Young Adult Spring Retreat, sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
The weekend began as we prayed the Akathist service with the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Following the service, His Grace Bishop Anthony began the retreat by introducing the topic “Following in the Footsteps of Christ.” The evening concluded with a Coffee House social in the church's Activity Center so we could relax from the long drive and to get to know each other. We thank Tom and Lillian Saba for planning and organizing the evening social.
The Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites all young adults (ages 18-40) to our spring Young Adult Retreat hosted at St. Mary Basilica in Livonia, MI, the weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012. His Grace Bishop Anthony will be our guest speaker for the weekend leading us in workshops about our faith, along with church services, good food, activities and fellowship time together to enjoy each others company. We invite all young adults (married or single) from our diocese and beyond to join us for this retreat. It is going to be a fun and spiritually fulfilling retreat in which we hope all young adults from our diocese will participate.
The retreat will take place at St. Mary Basilica in (18100 Merriman Road, Livonia, MI). Out of town guests may book lodging at the Detroit Marriott Livonia (17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI) where a block of rooms is reserved under the group code: FSJFSJD at a special rate of $96 per night.
The weekend will begin at 7pm on Friday March 30 with the Akatahist/Madeyeh service at St. Mary's, and conclude with a light luncheon after Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday April 1. The final schedule is attached.
Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD, is hosting the spring gathering for both the Diocese of Charleston and the Diocese of New York youth.
Highlights will include:
• Unlimited Bowling Friday Night for $10
• Registration Cost: $35
• Registration Includes Breakfast and Lunch Saturday at the Church Hall
• Registration also includes Dinner and Hafli Saturday Night with live entertainment
• In lieu of the humanitarian activity, each teen from each church is asked to bring a canned food to be donated to a shelter at a later date.
Hotel Accommodations: Bethesda Marriott Suites
6711 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817
• Hotel Rooms at $89 per night
• Rooms can accommodate more than 4 people – All are Suites
• Group Code for Hotel Reservation: SPPSPPA
• Registration Due by April 13th for guaranteed room rate
This 3rd Annual Fellowship Spiritual Retreat to the Antiochian Village was another memorable weekend for its 54 participants, a new Retreat record. The coach rides to and from, informative sessions led by Dn. Saed, and the Antiochian Village as the backdrop, provided the opportunity for renewed and heightened fellowship in Christ. This year marked the joining together of two Fellowships, from St. George, Cicero and St. Mary's, Alsip. It was uplifting and inspiring to see different parishes share in fellowship in one faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All in attendance were filled with such positivity, a feeling of togetherness and renewed awareness of their faith.
We thank the Retreat committee (Rammy Zanayed, Eddy Shaheen, Angela Sweis, Elaine Riadi, Nicole Dahdal, Khalil Haddad, Laura Mraibie, Dn. Saed Rihani and Fr. Fouad Saba) for their tireless efforts in planning and ensuring this retreat's success. We thank our generous sponsors, volunteers, any well-wishers, and especially all 54 registered participants. We were honored and blessed to have the amazing Dn. Saed Rihani serve as our main speaker. A debt of gratitude goes as always to Fr. Fouad Saba for his unrecognized efforts. From worship services, sessions, nature walks, travels, bonfires, singing, team building exercises and meals, the Fellowship worked, ate, bonded, grew, laughed, learned, celebrated, and worshipped together.
The Fall Session for the St. John Chrysostom Academy will start on Wednesday, October 19th and last until December 14th. This Fall's course is the "The Letter to the Romans," and will be offered on Wednesdays from 7:30-9:30pm at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1220 S. 60th Court, Cicero, IL 60804. The St. John Chrysostom Academy is an Adult Lay Educational Ministry of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine at St. George.
Download the Registration Form, attached here, and please feel free to distribute to your parishioners. Thank you!
Also, for more information about ongoing Biblical studies and resources, visit the newly redesigned website of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS).
You wouldn’t think it would be possible to make the Antiochian Village even more beautiful than it already is, but the NAC Special Projects Committee is trying. Nestled just off of the main track visitors will now find a newly installed Prayer Garden, designed around a simple theme. A stone pathway encircling the central area leads to an icon shrine dedicated to St. John the Divine, patron saint of the NAC Fellowship. Inside the mulch-covered central area, a single dogwood tree stands. In the large mulch area outside the pathway are stone benches, a few plants, and room to expand!
This Prayer Garden sprang to life through a combination of Fellowship planning, a Boy Scout working hard to give something back to a place he loves through his Eagle Scout Project, a team of volunteers who offered up sweat and hard work, and the Grace of God.
A planting in this prayer garden is a lovely way to honor, remember, or pray for someone you care about. For a donation that will just cover the cost of materials, the NAC Fellowship will take care of all the details.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine in the Eastern Dioceses of Charleston and New York is offering college tuition scholarships for Antiochian students. Watch for the updated 2013 application form, coming soon! If you have any questions, call scholarship administrator Maria Abdalah at: 412-916-4772, or email her at email@example.com.
The completed form will be due June 1, 2013.
One (1) scholarship (each) of $1,500.00 and $1,000.00 will be awarded, along with four (4) scholarships of $500.00 each. The awards will be presented at the Annual Eastern Dioceses Parish Life Conference.
All scholarships are made possible by endowments created by concerned individuals from the parishes of our Eastern Dioceses and fund-raising programs held by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
We wish you all God’s blessings and look forward to submitting your application to the evaluation committee.
As we near the mid-point of this year's Great Lent, the faithful may wish to remember that the giving of alms to those in need is an important part of our Lenten practice. To that end, please remember the Food for Hungry People program. Through your generosity and prayers, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been distributed to the hungry and poor in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. All of the funds collected have been used to meet the needs of hungry people.
Updated brochures, bulletin inserts, fundraising ideas and the 2011 Food for Hungry People Lenten Calendar are available at the Food for Hungry People web page. Please take a look and remember the poor!
“When you see a poor person, remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ by which He declared that it is He, Himself who is fed. For though that which appears be not Christ, yet in that person’s form, it is Christ Himself who receives and begs.”
-St. John Chrysostom, “Homilies on Mathew” #78.
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine
2010 FSJD Fall Retreat
Friday-Sunday, October 8-10, 2010
Full retreat Recap (PDF)
For the 2nd Annual Fellowship Spiritual Retreat to the Antiochian Village, a luxury motor coach transported over forty of our Christian parishioners to Pennsylvania for a spiritual journey. We thank all the committee (Eddy Shaheen, Nicole Dahdal, Laura Mraibie, Abdo Imseeh). We thank Fr. Fouad Saba for his guidance and applaud Dn. Jim King for his invigorating sessions. We thank all of the volunteers, donors and registrants. Each aspect of the trip was well-organized and prepared much in advance. The committee set up a weekend full of worship services, sessions with Dn. Jim King of St. Mary's Livonia, MI, meals, team building exercises, fun, education and fellowship. Every person who came on the trip, whether a returnee from last year or a first time participant gave something dear to the overall wonder that this Retreat provided us.
We received, as one body in Christ, far greater than we gave individually. This Fellowship tradition has quickly become something truly unforgettable. A time to reawaken what may lie hidden underneath, to search for a more Christ-like mission in life, and a renewal of "every good and precious gift that comes from above." Our theme was "Fork in the Road: Choosing God's Way." After this trip, we are all on the same page as to what road we shall take, that of Christ Jesus.
To read reflections from participants and see more photos from the retreat, please download the retreat recap (PDF).
The 2010 DOWAMA Fall Gathering and Retreat will be hosted at St. Elijah Church in Oklahoma City, OK on Friday and Saturday, October 22nd & 23rd (ending in the afternoon). The featured speaker will be Khouriya Suzanne Wallace of St. Andrew Church in Oklahoma City. For details, please see the attached flyer or contact DOWAMA Fellowship Spiritual Advisor Fr. Jeremy Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From May 15-24, a group of young adult Orthodox Christians are making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land under the guidance of Fr. Mark Leondis (GOA) and His Grace Bishop Savas of Troas.
An entry from Monday, Day 2, reads: "We took a 45 minute drive to Mount Tabor, where the Transfiguration of Christ took place. We drove up to the Greek Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, where we were greeted by bells in honor of the Bishop. Some of the men (Jim, Paul, Matthew, Alex, Chris and George) decided to wear shorts -- so they humbled themselves with a sarong (borrowed from the women), so that they could enter. We took mini-buses up the mountain and it took us 10 minutes . . . to think that Jesus and His closest companions, walked up the mountain, just amazed the pilgrims.
Following the visitation to the mountain where Jesus was transfigured, we went to the river where Jesus submitted and humbled Himself to be baptized by his cousin John the Baptist. We stepped into the water up to our knees and read from Scripture and chanted hymns of Epiphany, and each received a blessing in the name of the Trinity. Some of the pilgrims decided to enter the water fully (Christina, Giselle, Alex, Ivonne, Stella and Leanora). Very interesting was to see the Gospel narrative from Mark 1:9-14, in dozens of languages (some of which we never have heard) -- for example, have you ever heard of "Fang?" or "Tagalog?" It reminded us of Jesus' command in the last verses of Matthew (28:10), 'Go and baptize all nations.'"
To follow the travel blog, click here.
St. John Chrysostom Academy
Reverend Father Fouad Saba, Director
The St. John Chrysostom Academy is an Adult Lay Educational Ministry of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine at St. George Church, Cicero, IL
The Book of Genesis
April 16-June 4, 2010
This course will explore The Book of Genesis within the overall structure of the Pentateuch (Torah) and the Bible as a whole. The Book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, in which the story of the relationship of God and man begins, defines the rest of scripture through vocabulary, narrative and structure.
Faculty: Fr. Fouad Saba
Tuition is $30.00 per semester course.
Please complete form and submit with payment to Registrar at St. George Church.
No one left Chicago without first imagining the weekend in their mind full of great possibilities; yet, all left the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania with unexpected memories. Members of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine at St. George Church in Cicero, IL, travelled by Coach Bus, leaving early Friday morning for what would be an unforgettable time with their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, only to return on Sunday night, at the end of their time together, feeling melancholic, as they all parted ways to their own homes.
Thirty-seven people gathered for a Spiritual Retreat, led by Very Reverend Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, Professor of Biblical Studies and Languages at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. The Retreat topic was “Growth in Christ: Scripture in our daily lives.” Throughout the weekend, participants followed this theme by planting a Cedar Tree in honor of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, planted their own seeds by hand, and, of course, having seeds (the Word of God) planted in them. In order to grow, the seeds are to be strongly rooted. That root is Christ.
The green hills of Pennsylvania brought a sense of serenity and surrender to a timeless weekend, held now in their memory…
*Ncense, a vocal group composed of young men from the Antiochian Archdiocese, has recently released a new CD. Titled "Rising from the East," the new recording contains hymns from the Divine Liturgy for the feast of St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Proceeds from sales of the CD will go to benefit Orthodox camping programs. The project was sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, and follows *Ncense's previous recording "Every Good and Perfect Gift."
The 2009 Fall Delegates Meeting for the Eastern Dioceses Fellowship chapters will be held at the Antiochian Village Conference Center on November 13-15.
Registration Forms & Schedule:
Monday, June 22, 2009 – Thursday, June 25, 2009
Nothing short of awesomeness can describe the excitement experienced by an intimate 8 members, including our Advisor, Fr. Saba, on the long-awaited FSJD Road Trip this past week. The intention for this trip was to experience Orthodoxy, in fellowship with one another and with our brothers and sisters on the East Coast. This was first and foremost accomplished by accepting an invitation for lunch from His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP and His Grace Bishop ANTOUN at the Antiochian Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. In visiting the Antiochian Village, other Orthodox Churches and Cathedrals, new friends were made with other Fellowships in the Archdiocese, saw beautiful Church Iconography, and learned about the history of the Orthodox Church and of the Archdiocese of North America.
A few stand-out moments:
Rammy Zanayed’s favorite experience was sitting on the left hand side of Metropolitan PHILIP and listening to His Eminence’s rich stories as leader of the Archdiocese. Rammy says “This is something I will remember for the rest of my life.” The intricate mosaics at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral awe-inspired Rammy as he walked around the Church’s overwhelming number of mosaics, which depicted various events in the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on all four walls and ceiling.
Diana Saba enjoyed the lunch with His Eminence and venerating the relics of St. John the Damascus at St. Paul’s Cathedral. After traveling and walking many hours, Diana enjoyed a nice sharwarma dinner from the infamous Stand at 53rd and 6th in the middle of Manhattan!
“I am surrounded by love. It's not the kind of love you see on TV or in the movies, but love in its most true and simple form. It is the love that can only come from God ... I have already found that love in abundance everywhere I look.” - A 2009 Team member
Now is the time for you to have a Mission Teams experience! In 2010, Teams will be offered during more times of the year and for varying amounts of time (as few as 9 days and as long as 3 weeks) and there will be opportunities for families as well! Be a living witness of your Faith on a Teaching team; provide labor on a Construction team; engage the future of our Church on a Youth team; or take part in the holistic mission of the Church on a Health Care team. Develop deep relationships with others, have a cultural learning experience, and live in response to the Lord’s command to “make disciples of all nations”.
For over 20 years, Team members have proudly served through OCMC to participate in the Holy Orthodox Church’s unending mission effort to bring the saving message of salvation to the ends of the earth. Join the thousands of Orthodox Christians from North America who have been witnessing to the hope and good news of the risen Christ with the world. There will be at least 14 opportunities to participate on a Team in 2010: Alaska – Teaching and Outreach; Albania – Youth camp; Guatemala – Youth camp; India – Teaching; Kenya – Teaching; Korea – Youth camp (ESL); Madagascar – Teaching; Romania – Youth camp; South Africa – Teaching; Tanzania – Construction and Teaching; Uganda – Health Care and Zimbabwe – Teaching.
Team applications and more detailed information are available online at http://teams.ocmc.org or you can call the OCMC at 1.877.463.6787 (ext 142) for more information.