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St. John Chrystostom Academy Offers Fall Course on Romans

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).

Fellowship of St. John's Prayer Garden Takes Shape at the Village

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.

2013 Eastern Dioceses Fellowship of St. John the Divine Scholarship

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

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. 

Updated Resources for Food for Hungry People Program

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.

2010 Fellowship of St. John the Divine Fall Retreat a Success

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).

2010 DOWAMA Fall Gathering and Retreat

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

Download event flyer and registration form (PDF)

Blog Records Young Adult Holy Land Pilgrimage

Jordan RiverJordan RiverFrom 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.

Register for Spring Session of St. John Chrysostom Academy in Cicero, IL

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.

Spring 2010 Registration Form (PDF)

Please complete form and submit with payment to Registrar at St. George Church.

2009 FSJD Fall Retreat

Friday-Sunday, November 6-8, 2009

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 Releases New Recording "Rising from the East"

*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."

To order, please download a PDF order form, or e-mail for more information.

2009 Fellowship Road Trip

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!

OCMC Announces Registration for 2010 Mission Teams

“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 or you can call the OCMC at 1.877.463.6787 (ext 142) for more information.

Oratorical Festival Winners

At the 2009 Archdiocese Convention in Palm Desert, attendees were treated to the excellent speeches prepared by the diocesan oratorical festival winners. An expert panel of judges deliberated before choosing the grand prize winner for the Senior Division, Joel Schaefer.

Click here to read or hear Joel Schaefer's winning speech.

Click here for an interview with Joel Schaefer. For more audio from the 2009 Oratorical Festival, please visit Ancient Faith Radio.

The Oratorical Festival is a program sponsored by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. It was designed to serve as an avenue for our youth to learn, enhance and share the knowledge of their faith based on a given topic by giving an oration. For some youth, it is a door into the life of the Church, and for others, it is an expression of their continuing experience of Christ and His Church.

Audio Available of Fellowship of St. John the Divine Presentation at Archdiocese Convention

Click here to listen to the presentation from Fellowship President Mrs. Joan Farha at the general assembly of the 2009 Archdiocese Convention.

More audio from the 2009 Convention is available from Ancient Faith Radio.

Fellowship Footnotes

from The Word, May 2009

Serving the needs of the parish: that is the mission of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. Unlike other organizations of our Archdiocese, the Fellowship’s ministries are developed from the bottom up, since we are serving the needs of our particular parishes with the blessings of our parish priests. The Fellowship of St. John the Divine is living the gospel through witness, worship, fellowship and service. We are defined by need. We serve these needs through our individual talents. We are guided by the Holy Spirit and we serve to the glory of God.

Perhaps to many people, “serving the needs of the parish” is vague, so let’s be more specific: it means donating blankets and clothing at our local homeless shelters; establishing and maintaining a food pantry for those who come to our parish doors hungry; hosting breakfasts to raise money for the missions in our diocese after liturgy; learning more about our Orthodox saints at a new book club called Saints Alive; joining our St. Philip’s Prayer Discipline; meeting the needs of the “20/40” age group, facilitating the transition from Teen SOYO and college contact into the Fellowship; having a parent’s club that meets, socializes and raises money for extras in the Sunday School; holding a Saturday morning men’s Bible study; having a parish-wide Bible study; and much more. Our needs are many and different throughout the Archdiocese, yet many of our projects are the same.

2009 Delegates Meeting of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast

from The Word, May 2009

In late January 2009, the clergy and delegates of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast joined His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN, for the annual meeting of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine (FSJD) at St. Andrew the Apostle Mission in Pensacola, Florida. The clergy arrived on Thursday, January 22, to pray the Akathist to St. Raphael and for a fellowship meal. They then met on Friday morning with Sayidna ANTOUN, preceded by a spiritual talk from Fr. Gregory Rogers, who elucidated some pastoral examples and instruction from his patron saint, Gregory the Theologian. Friday evening saw the arrival of the rest of the delegates and Teen SOYO members, who joined the clergy to pray Vespers at the church. The parish and the local FSJD then provided a delicious meal.

The delegates’ meeting began with a exhortation by Bishop ANTOUN to encourage more lay participation throughout our diocese. His Grace also made clear his expectations for increased attendance at future meetings, expressing his disappointment with the low level of clergy attendance and the lack of financial commitment by some parishes to the Fellowship and missions. During the Fellowship meeting, the Teen SOYO met with their spiritual advisor, Fr. Philip Rogers, as well as with Fr. Joseph Purpura and Bishop ANTOUN. Fr. Andrew Moore also addressed the Antiochian Women with a spiritual talk on the theme, “How to be Sisters of Sarah.”

Lenten Young Adult Retreat + March 20 - 22, 2009

The NAC Fellowship 20/40 ministries is sponsoring the 2nd annual lenten young adult retreat.

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD: St. John Climacus and The Ladder of Divine Ascent

When: Friday March 20 - Sunday March 22, 2009

Where: St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cicero, IL

GUEST SPEAKER: Fr. James Shadid (Assistant Pastor at St. George Cathedral Wichita, KS)

EARLY BIRD registration date: March 10, 2009

For registration rates and hotel information check the poster attached.

Attachments: Poster, Registration form, and Schedule.