Skip to Navigation


Letter from Met. PHILIP on Balamand Scholarship Fund

September 17th, 2008

To all Pastors and Faithful of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:

Greetings and Blessings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

As you all know, we will be blessed this Fall with a visit from our Father in Christ His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. His Beatitude will be with us in Boston, Massachusetts during the weekend of Friday, October 31st through Sunday, November 2nd in conjunction with the Fall meeting of the Archidiocese Board of Trustees. His Beatitude will preside over a very special banquet to be held on Saturday, November 1st, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of The University of Balamand and the establishment of a new scholarship fund which will assist needy and worthy students at the university. This scholarship is being established by The Balamand Educational Foundation and they have chosen to name the scholarship "The Metropolitan PHILIP Educational Scholarship Fund" to benefit needy and worthy students.

The University of Balamand, which was founded by His Beatitude, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, in 1998, has always held a special place in his heart. In addition, this Archdiocese has given strong support to this unique institution since its inception. There would be no better way to honor His Beatitude on this visit than for our parishes and missions to make a voluntary donation to this new scholarship fund.

New Mosaic Icons at Cathedral Attract Attention


St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS has recently been featured on local news broadcasts covering the installation four new mosaic icons on its exterior facades.  The icons are beautiful reproductions of well known, ancient icons, including images of Christ, the Theotokos, and St. John the Forerunner from the 12th century mosaic from Hagia Sophia, which can be seen here and the 13th century icon of the Great-Martyr George in the Church of St. George Struga on the shore of Lake Ochrid in Macedonia, which can be seen here

The mosaic icons are done by Bruno Salvatori, a master mosaicist from Florence, Italy.  Mr. Salvatori is the same artist who has done the five mosaic icons that adorn the exterior of the Cathedral's eastern apse.

A video on the new mosaics, produced by the local NBC affiliate, can be seen here: (cut and paste link into your browser).

Hurricane Ike Threatens Texas Parishes

From Fr. John Mefrige of St. Ephraim Church in San Antonio, TX:

The oncoming projections of Hurricane IKE places its path DIRECTLY over San Antonio.  Despite being 150 miles from the ocean  it is possible that we could experience 100 mile an hour winds should this make landfall as a category 4 or 5. Presently it is predicted to make landfall between Port O'Connor and Corpus Christi as a category 3 on early morning this Saturday. At present there is a 40% chance of Tropical Storm Force winds hitting us. For more information and up to the minute coverage see:

Despite the incoming track of Hurricane Ike, we WILL have Saturday Great Vespers and Sunday morning Services at the usual time. However you are urged to pay close attention to the weather and follow appropriate emergency measures, especially all evacuation orders. Services are only going to be held because Fr. John does not need to drive to the Church as the parish house is next door.

If there are any parishioners that feel that their homes will not be able to weather the storm they are directed to follow official evacuation orders or to PORT SAN ANTONIO where FEMA and Emergency Authorities are holding evaquees. Fr. John Khouriee Janet and the girls will be riding out the storm in the church which is a concrete structure.

From Deacon Elias of St. John the Divine Church in Lake Charles, LA:

Memory Eternal! Fr. Thomas Moffat

The servant of God, Fr. Thomas Moffatt, fell asleep in the Lord at his home in Anchorage, Alaska, early Tuesday morning on September 2nd.  He was buried at the Cemetery of St. John Orthodox Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, on Saturday, September 13. Please remember Fr. Thomas in your prayers.   Condolences may be sent to Lynn Moffatt & Family, 7151 Beaumont Cir., Anchorage, AK 99502.

Chaplain Congratulated by President for Help in Hurricane Relief


Orthodox chaplain Fr. Mark Sahady (pictured left) was congratulated by President Bush for helping minister to  evacuees from the Hurricane Gustav in San Antonio, TX.  Fr. Mark organized the Chaplain Corp at Lackland Air Force Base (near San Antonio) to greet the evacuees when they arrived and to give them pastoral care while they were waiting to be sheltered. 

Fr. Mark says, "I also was involved three years ago with Hurricane Katrina doing the same thing and also caring for them [the evacuees] in the shelters.  This time the organization was much better and everything went much smoother.  It was very impressive how quickly and smoothly the evacuees were cared for this time."  

Memory Eternal! Dn. Marc Work

dn marc-web After a courageous battle with ill health, Deacon Marc Work of St Timothy/Lompoc, CA fell asleep in Christ on Friday, September 5th.  He will be buried Tuesday, September 9th, with the funeral scheduled to begin at 10:00AM.

Deacon Marc is survived by his wife Shamassy Brenda and their three children.  Condolences may be sent to them at 1117 West Airport Avenue - Lompoc, CA 93436.

May his memory be eternal and may we be granted long life!

DOWAMA Clergy, People, Churches Safe from Hurricane Gustav

His Grace, Bp. BASIL reports that the clergy, people and churches in western Louisiana and eastern Texas have escaped unscathed from the damage and flooding of Hurricane Gustav. Praise God!

Please Pray for Joanne Bitar

His Grace Bishop Thomas requests the prayers of the faithful for Joanne Bitar, the wife of Fr. Elias Bitar of St. George Church in Little Falls, NJ, who is undergoing serious medical treatments this week. May our Lord and His saints be with her and her physicians as they labor for her healing!

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrated in Documentary Film

Strength Through Unity is a 30 minute long documentary film celebrating the life of our Metropolitan Philip. First shown on June 7, 2008 at a gala in Montreal, hosted by St. George Montreal for Saidna, the documentary and Divine Liturgy service have become available for the entire Archdiocese through this DVD.

Memory Eternal! Fr. Nifon Abraham


Fr. Nifon Abraham, retired from St. George Church in Norwood, Massachusetts, fell asleep in the Lord today, August 22, 2008. His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN will be in Norwood Aug. 25-26 for funeral services.

The schedule of services is as follows:

  • Monday, Aug. 25 
  • 10:00 am Reading of the Gospels begins
  • 4:00 pm Wake for Fr. Nifon
  • 7:00 pm  [First] Funeral Service for a Priest
  • Tuesday, Aug. 26 
  • 9:00 am Divine Liturgy 10:30 am [Second/Usual] Funeral Service

Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery in Norwood. The traditional meal of mercy will be at the Apollo Restaurant in Norwood.

Notes may be sent to Kh. Effie, at 301 Michols St., Norwood, MA 02062. Or you may email Fr. Joseph Kimmett at and he will print out emails for the family.

May his memory be be eternal and may God grant you long life.

The Fall Gathering of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest to be held October 16-19, Indianapolis, IN

The Fall Gathering of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest will focus on ministering to our teens and college students. His Eminence Metropolitan ISAIAH, SCOBA Overseer of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and Fr. Kevin Scherer, Executive Director of OCF, will be present for the dedication of the new OCF offices in Indianapolis.

For more information please see the attached flyer. Server Change

Update, August 12: For the most part our server switch has gone off well, thank God. We're still working on a couple of issues related to the Department of Sacred Music, and the creation of new content. Thank you for your patience.

Original Post, August 5: This website will be moving to a new server and host beginning on August 6. Our team at the Department of Internet Ministry apologize in advance for any inconvenience. We expect the change to be invisible to site visitors. However, we ask that anyone who posts content to this website refrain from doing so on Wednesday, August 6 after 2pm Eastern time. All should be well by Thursday morning. We'll be bringing additional information about new features and projects over the weeks to come.

Douglas Cramer


Update for All Email Users

Update, July 21 2008: This post is being brought to the top of the news section again for the benefit of any email users still experiencing problems.

Support for all people with email addresses transitioned on May 9 from the Department of Communications and Information Technology to NST, an excellent technology services provider selected to manage hosting of email accounts and the website.

Everyone who wants to continue using an email address who did not respond to NST's Friday, May 9 email that day will now need to contact NST's support phone line at 877-678-8080 ext. 3, in order to reset their account. This is necessary if you have an email address set up in your email client, or if your emails are forwarded to another email address.

If you need any additional assistance, you can also contact Fr. George Kevorkian at the Archdiocese offices at 201-871-1355.

Orthodox Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary is October 4

icon130-2CRESTWOOD, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary has chosen “Holy Icons, Sacred Arts” as this year’s theme for Orthodox Education Day (OED), an annual campus celebration of liturgy, fellowship, ethnic food, and instruction in the faith.

Keynote speaker will be Dr Vasileios Marinis, the Kallinikeion assistant professor of Byzantine Art in the Department of Art and the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College. Dr Marinis received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and holds degrees from the University of Athens, University of Paris I-Sorbonne, and Yale University. His research focuses on architecture and ritual in the Byzantine world and on Byzantine women, and his OED remarks will concentrate on iconography.

More information regarding the day’s schedule, icon exhibits, and icon workshops will be forthcoming. Presently, St Vladimir’s is inviting local parishes to participate in OED by sponsoring an ethnic food booth. To sponsor a booth, or for further information, please contact Special Events Coordinator Tanya Penkrat at 914-961-8313, or

About the Icon: Theotokos with Child Emmanuel, painted by Tamara Elchaninov, will be among the many types of icons displayed at St Vladimir’s Seminary campus October 4, 2008, as part of the Orthodox Education Day theme “Holy Icons, Sacred Arts.”

Memory Eternal! Fr. David Lynch

imageOn Sunday, June 29, our brother Fr. David Lynch, 72, retired from St. Augustine Church of Denver, CO, fell asleep in Christ. Condolences may be sent to Kh. Martha Lynch the Lynch family at

His Grace Bishop BASIL passed on these thoughts from Fr. David's daughter Margaret:

"The long battle for my dear father has come to an end.  At 5:30pm this evening, Fr. David (Charles) Lynch, fell asleep in the Lord.  He ran the good race and crossed the finish line.  He was surrounded by his family and Fr. Pat Reardon who offered prayers for him the whole day and at the moment of his departure.  We gave dad our love and told him to tell everyone already departed hello and that we see him again when it's our time.  He is now in the Loving Hands of the Lord Whom he has served his whole life. He made us so proud with how hard he fought to come back; we were proud to stand by him as he worked so hard day after day to recover.  One thing I know for sure is this didn't happen for lack of prayers, faith, hope or love.  Your outpouring of love and concern has been a cushion for us; we couldn't fall completely down during this because we kept hitting this cushion around us.  And it was an encouragement to him.  Every card, email and message was passed onto him and we heard from a lot of people; that was so good to hear for him to hear from so many people."

The following information regarding funeral arrangements has been released:

Funeral Arrangements for Fr. David (Charles C.) Lynch (1936-2008)


Wednesday July 2, 4:30pm-8:30pm
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church
1449 N. Quentin Road
Palatine, IL 60067


Wild Fires Threaten St. Herman of Alaska Monastery in Platina, California

His Grace Bishop Maxim of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church urges all Orthodox faithful to offer prayers for the protection of the St. Herman of Alaska Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Platina, California. Wild fires are quickly approaching the Monastery grounds and the Monastery is in great danger of being burned down. The monastic community has been evacuated and are seeking refuge in the neighboring parish of Redding, CA. For updates as they are available, visit this page.

Update Wednesday, June 25, 2008: Fr. Damascene informed His Grace Bishop Maxim that he called Platina this morning and was told that the fire is not spreading in the direction of the Monastery. Fr. Damascene and Monk Paisius have left for Platina to talk with firefighters and forest rangers. The other monks will remain in Redding until further notice.

Memory Eternal! John Maymon

John Maymon, father of our Bishop MARK, passed away this morning, Thursday June 19, 2008, at 8:15 AM, after a prolonged illness. Please keep Bishop MARK, his mother and his siblings in your prayers.

Arrangements are as follows:

Metropolitan PHILIP Covered in Montreal Gazette

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP's recent visit to Montreal's St. George Church was covered in the Montreal Gazette, in this article available online. His Eminence spoke about United States foreign policy towards Lebanon and the history of the Montreal Antiochian Orthodox community.

Memory Eternal! Yaser Jacob

Yaser Jacob of Detroit, MI, the father of Kh. Diane Dahdal of St George Church of Cicero, IL, fell asleep in Christ this past weekend.  Condolences may be sent to Kh. Diane and her husband Fr. Nicholas at  May Mr. Jacob's memory be eternal.

OCMC Seeking Mission Team Members

St. Augustine, FL - Through work, witness, and worship, Orthodox Mission Teams become a visible expression of Christian love, unity, and support.

The remaining fifteen 2008 Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Mission Teams will serve in ten countries around the world. Several of these teams still need volunteers, and you could be the missing team member that Christ will send. Let your love for the Gospel and for others speak and work--share in a journey of faith!

Since 1994, the OCMC has sent Teams to Western Tanzania to encourage the growth of Orthodoxy. The Tanzania Construction Team will help build a church in the newly elevated Metropolis of Mwanza. The Team will also visit, witness to, and encourage surrounding communities within the Metropolis. Dates are July 3 – 25, 2008.

The India Teaching Team will offer catechism and outreach in Kolkata.

Orthodox clergy and theologians are needed to preach, teach, baptize, and assist in the evangelical efforts of the Church in Kolkata. This small team will also offer a retreat for the local clergy of the area.

This project will take place September 3-25, 2008.

The Alaska Teaching Team to the Kenai Deanery will encourage and offer a living witness to different communities of the Kenai Peninsula, including Cordova, Valdez and Tatitlek. The Team will offer seminars, Vacation Bible Schools, retreats, counseling, evangelism, adult catechism, and bible studies in each of these communities. The dates are October 14 – 29, 2008.

The Kenya Youth Team will join the youth of the Orthodox Church of Kenya to offer an annual youth retreat, which will draw participants from the Nyeri and Kasenge regions. Catechism and Orthodox renewal will take place during this event, which will reflect the transformation and joy that knowing Christ has meant to the youth of that region. The dates are December 28, 2008 – January 10, 2009.

Memory Eternal! Metropolitan PAUL (Bandaly), Archbishop of Akkar

image The Most Reverend Metropolitan PAUL (Bandaly), Archbishop of Akkar, has fallen asleep in Christ. His Eminence's Archdiocese encompasses the northernmost region of Lebanon and the southern portion of coastal Syria (including the port city of Tartous and the mountainous area to the east known as the "Valley of the Christians"). He was born in 1929. May His Eminence's memory be eternal!

A tribute has been published in Arabic in the Annahar newspaper and is available online at

Memory Eternal! Fr. George Sayaf

Fr. George Sayaf fell asleep in the Lord, Tuesday, May 20, 2008 in Cincinnati,Ohio. He was born on November 23, 1939 in Damascus Syria.

He was pre-deceased by his parents: Yousef and Nazira Sayaf, brothers Zaki and Saleem Sayaf and sister in law Kawkab Sayaf .

He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years Eleftheria; His son Dr. Konstantine Sayaf (Anita); His daughter Nazira Sayaf Waldo (Ashley); Grand children Christen George Waldo, Anthony Robin Waldo and Kalista Marie Sayaf. His brothers: Bishara Sayaf (Liala), Tony Sayaf (Riyam), Rev. Fr. Sami Sayaf (Seham) and sisters, The Rev. Mother Pelajia Sayaf, Liala Sayaf, and Nawal Sayaf. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and grandnieces and nephews.

Fr George lived a life of humanity and served many communities in Lebanon, Brazil, and the United States.

Services were held on Sunday May 25,2008, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 6300 Bowden Road, Jacksonville, Florida.

Divine liturgy was held on Monday May 26, 2008, followed by funeral services at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church.

Memory Eternal! Khouriya Joanne Abdalah (updated May 29, 2008)

image Kh. Joanne Abdalah of St. George Cathedral/Pittsburgh, Pa., fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, May 27, after suffering with ovarian cancer for more than two years. 

She and Fr. John are the parents of three children: Gregory, a 2008 graduate of St. Vladimir Seminary in Crestwood, NY, Joseph of Houston, TX, and Maria at home. Please remember them all in your prayers.

Among other ministries, Kh. Joanne was co-editor of the WORD magazine and a past president of the North American Board of Antiochian Women.

The funeral arrangements are as follows:

She will be laid out at the Cathedral of St. George in Oakland, PA, Thursday evening, May 29, from 4pm to 8pm.  Immediately after that at 8pm we will have the funeral service.  The internment will be on Friday at the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pa.

Condolences can be sent to the V. Rev. Fr John Abdalah, St. George Cathedral, 3400 Dawson St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, or via email at

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the St. George Cathedral Sunday School Building Fund.

Kh. Joanne's obituary may be found in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at:

Messages of sympathy to Kh. Joanne's family may be made by signing the on-line "Guest Book" at:

Memory Eternal! Naseeb Saliba

clip_image001MEMORY ETERNAL!  NASEEB SALIBA of St Nicholas Cathedral/Los Angeles, CA, an honorary member of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, has fallen asleep in Christ.  Mr. Saliba was preceded in death by his wife Cleo.  He will be buried from St Nicholas Cathedral/Los Angeles with the Funeral Service scheduled for 7:00PM this Wednesday, May 28th.  Condolences may be sent to The Naseeb Saliba Family - 4435 Petit Avenue - Encino, Ca.  91436.  May God grant him rest in the bosom of Abraham, and may He grant you long life.