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OCN Reaches out to Orthodox Christians Around the World During Holy Week

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida—April 9, 2009—The Orthodox Christian Network is announcing a special partnership with Jacob Lee, the president of Icon New Media, during the Paschal season. Jacob will be traveling with his family to the ancient land of Cyprus to experience the holy days of Pascha and Bright Week, and will be posting to a special OCN blog with updates from this special trip on the web site of the Network at OCN contributor Jacob Lee will be sending back pictures, audio interviews and video clips, and his wife Calee Lee will be updating with text posts. Jacob Lee explains that "as a convert to the Orthodox Faith I am exited to share my experience of Pascha in an Orthodox Country with Christians around the world." Fr. Chris, the Executive Director of OCN, is also enthused: “We at OCN are excited to use modern technology to share this special journey to an ancient land during the most sacred time of the church year with faithful Orthodox Christians and seekers around the world.” Blog posting will begin on April 10 and continue through the end of Bright Week at

OCN is also pleased to announce the beginning of a series of special resource pages for different times of the Church year. We will begin with a special Holy Week Enhancement Resource Page. OCN has posted the best podcasts and study materials from its treasure chest of archives dealing with the spiritual journey through Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha to aid Orthodox Christians in their spiritual journey towards Pascha. Links to live liturgies and services will also be available. This special page can be found at The sacred music of the Orthodox Christian faith will also be featured on OCN's Internet radio stations, the ARK and the RUDDER.

ABC Network to Air Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ

Apr 3, 2009

NEW YORK – The video presentation of “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ,” a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter, will broadcast on ABC affiliates nationwide this month.   The program, produced by Greek Orthodox Telecommunications and sponsored by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, highlights Holy and Great Week, focusing on the deeply moving and ancient services that recount the Gospel narrative leading to the Death and Resurrection of Christ.  Archbishop Demetrios of America leads a procession of the faithful around the church and outside where, following the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection, they proclaim the joyous hymn “Christ is Risen!”

ABC Network has released broadcast dates and times, with additional coverage information to come in the coming week.   Below you will find a listing (as of April 3) of  ABC affiliates by state.  Please check the listing for exact date, time and station.  Please contact the Department of Communications if you need assistance.

You may also log on to or for a complete listing.

Metropolitan PHILIP's Reply to the Council of Presbyters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

March 26, 2009

Protopresbyter Paul O'Callaghan and
The Council of Presbyters of the Diocese
of Wichita and Mid-America

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings and Blessings to you during this holy season of The Great Fast!

We have received and reviewed your letter dated March 17th, 2009 in which you pose fifteen questions related to the February 24th, 2009 decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of all bishops across the Holy See of Antioch. We will try our best to answer these questions as follows:

1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?

Answer: Yes. In the Patriarchate there are three bishops, the Bishop of Saydnaya, the Bishop of Qatana, and the Patriarchal Vicar. In addition, the Archdiocese of Akkar had the Bishop of Tartous and the Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn. The Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn was elected as Metropolitan for the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe. The Bishop of Tartous was elected to succeed Metropolitan Paul Bendali in the Archdiocese of Akkar. He refused to have either diocesan or auxiliary bishops in his Archdiocese at this time.

2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?

Answer: The English translation was my best effort. If someone can produce a more accurate translation, this would be most welcome.

3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?

Answer: The intention was to have good order and consistency throughout the Holy See of Antioch by normalizing the status of all bishops.

A Letter from the Council of Presbyters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

March 17, 2009

Your Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP,

Master, bless.

Our Council of Presbyters met today at St. George Cathedral, Wichita, KS, with deans and elected presbyters, to study the recent decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of diocesan and auxiliary bishops.

With love and reverence, we seek your counsel on the following questions that arose during our deliberations. We assure you of our prayers and respect as our beloved Metropolitan of this Holy and God-Protected Archdiocese, and our love and respect for His Grace, Bishop BASIL. We pray for your continued good health.

We humbly submit the following questions for your consideration.

1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?

2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?

3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?

4. Is the Pittsburgh Constitution binding, since it was duly approved and implemented by the legally binding decision made at special Archdiocesan Convention of July 2004?

5. Since official Archdiocesan documents state that the provisions for self-rule, including those pertaining to the local synod of the Archdiocese, are irrevocable, as witnessed both by the Pittsburgh Constitution and the Patriarchal version of October 15, 2004, how can they be overturned by amendment of the Patriarchal by-laws?

6. Given that the granting of self-rule required that the Patriarchal Constitution be amended to reflect the self-ruled status of the North American Archdiocese, and that this constitution governs its by-laws, not vice versa, how could the Constitution be overturned by amendments of by-laws?

Real Break trip to Constantinople

Read daily progress reports here.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) is pleased to announce another Real Break trip to Constantinople.  Real Break Constantinople serves God and other people while participating in the life of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  His Grace Bishop SAVAS, the newly appointed Director of Church and Society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, will lead the group assisted by the Rev. Mark Leondis the National Youth Director for the GOA and Chairman of the Board of Orthodox Christian Fellowship and the Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos the Executive Director of OCN (The Orthodox Christian Network) and the Pastor of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  The Real Break Trip to Istanbul, Turkey begins on March 14, 2009.

The group consists of 22 participants from five different Orthodox Christian jurisdictions.  The college students from around the country are traveling to Constantinople to receive the blessings of His All Holiness and refurbish a church and a cemetery that has fallen into disrepair.  Fr. Kevin Scherer, Executive Director of OCF commented, "OCF is honored to have the opportunity to assist the Ecumenical Patriarch in his efforts to restore and maintain the parishes of his ancient see.  This Real Break trip in particular provides our students with a transformative perspective into both the past and the present struggles of our Church.  The participants will work hard in a very short span of time."

OCA and Antiochian Archdiocese to Launch Web Site Dedicated to the "Feast of Feasts"

The Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America are teaming up to launch a web site offering articles, photo galleries, and audio files celebrating Holy Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the "Feast of Feasts."

Charles Ajalat to Speak at Summer 2009 Conference

Summer Conference 2009 to focus on the shaping of Orthodoxy in America

OCA Chancellor Archpriest Alexander Garklavs (center) will deliver a public keynote at 7:30 p.m. on June 18th on the campus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, to commence the 2009 Summer Conference, which has as its theme “The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church.” [Photo courtesy of]

[Yonkers, NY St. Vladimir’s Seminary] Mr. Charles Ajalat, Chancellor of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), will be a principal speaker at the 2009 summer conference to be held at St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) June 18–20, 2009 for clergy and laity. The conference has as its overall theme “The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church” and will focus on the formation of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and its future. Mr. Ajalat will be discussing the interface of the OCA with the multi-jurisdictional Orthodox Christian communities in the United States and Canada, and the common future of Orthodox Christians in North America.

Conference speakers will focus on two watersheds that have shaped the Orthodox Church in America (OCA): the All-Russian Council (Sobor) of 1917–18 and the Tomos of Autocephaly granted in 1970 by the Russian Orthodox Church to its daughter church, the OCA, then known as the “North American Diocese.” As well, conference speakers will address the significance of the OCA’s presence in North America, and paths and possibilities open to it.

An Important Statement from the Clergy of the Greater Detroit Area

March 6, 2009

We have heard, to our dismay, that our honored hierarchs, including Metropolitan PHILIP, are upset by a statement, which was recently circulated in the Greater Detroit Area, in support of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch, concerning all bishops in the See of Antioch. This letter is to clarify and articulate the true meaning of that statement. We, indeed, have no intention of hurting and/or intimidating any of our hierarchs. We sincerely apologize for any hurt caused unintentionally. As obedient children of the Holy Church, we accept, with humility, this historic decision with much gratitude. We assure our love and respect to all revered hierarchs, and we pray for a smooth transition for our Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese. May the Lord, our God, guide our steps.

V. Rev. Joseph Antypas

V. Rev. George Shalhoub

V. Rev. George Baalbaki

Rev. Ayman Kfouf

Letter from Metropolitan PHILIP Regarding Decision of the Holy Synod

Metropolitan PHILIP writes:

March 4, 2009

Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:

Greetings and blessings during this Holy Lenten Season!

There have been some questions raised regarding the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which addressed the status of bishops across the entire See of Antioch. The purpose of this letter is to try to answer these questions so that confusion may be avoided.

The first question deals with whether or not I am supportive of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was taken on February 24, 2009. I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here requires it at this time.

Archpastoral Directive + March 3, 2009

Metropolitan PHILIP writes:

To all clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:

We greet you in the spirit of this Great Lent.

Some of our clergy have inquired about hierarchical commemorations in the divine services. In order to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, we would like to direct your attention to the following:

Decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch Regarding All Bishops

Metropolitan PHILIP writes:

Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese,
Beloved Clergy and Parish Councils and all Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese,

Greetings and blessings to all of you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lent.

Enclosed, please find two copies of the Holy Synod decision regarding all bishops within the Holy See of Antioch. This decision was adopted by the Holy Synod of Antioch which was convened at the Patriarchate in Damascus, February 24th, 2009. The Patriarch and the Holy Synod are the highest authority in our Antiochian Church. You will find enclosed the Arabic text and the English translation which is mine. Since this was a special Synod meeting with only one item on the agenda concerning the bishops, the proposed text of this decision was sent to the members of the Holy Synod, who were not present, for their approval.

Archpriest Alexander Atty to Present Public Lenten Retreat

St. Vladimir’s Seminary alumnus The V. Rev. Dr. Alexander Atty will give three presentations focused on the theme “Good and Faithful Servants” at the annual public Lenten Retreat, to be held Saturday, April 4, 2009 on the seminary campus. Fr. Alexander, who is Rector of St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, Louisville, KY, will speak about “The Good and Faithful Pastor,” “The Good and Faithful Parishioner,” and “The Good and Faithful Parish.”

Fr. Alexander was born August 7, 1951 in Johnstown, PA, and holds a BS in engineering from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. After earning his MDiv at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, he went on to study at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, earning his DMin in 2008.

Ordained a priest on December 9,1979 at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn NY, he was elevated to the rank of archpriest in 1988. He has been rector of his current parish since 1980, and has been appointed Proestos of the Diocese of Toledo [Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA)] and Dean of Ohio Valley Deanery. He also is a Trustee of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA.

The public retreat begins with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 9 a.m. in Three Hierarchs Chapel, and will be followed by brunch at 11 a.m. and registration. Fr. Alexander will present his talks from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building. A prayer service at 4:30 p.m. will close the retreat.

The retreat presentations are free of charge, but advance registration is required. There is a $10 charge at the door for brunch (check or cash).

Register on the St. Vladimir's Seminary web site or by e-mail:

IOCC Expands Assistance to Gaza’s Families

IOCC will provide 6,000 families in Gaza with food, blankets, and hygiene supplies through a new $750,000 grant from ARD, Inc. through funding by the US government. (photo credit: IOCC Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza)

(Gaza City, Gaza) – International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide 6,000 families in Gaza (about 42,000 people) with food, blankets, and hygiene supplies with a new $750,000 grant from ARD Inc. through funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IOCC is targeting the neediest, including those who have been displaced or are living in war-damaged  homes, have experienced the death or injury of a family member, or who have a primary bread winner that is unemployed as a result of the conflict.

The deadliest conflict in Gaza in four decades has killed 1,300, wounded 5,300, and displaced more than 26,000. IOCC’s Jerusalem-based staff responded quickly to the crisis, coordinating efforts with local organizations and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to deliver fortified biscuits and milk to 23,000 children and adults residing in shelters and affected communities throughout Gaza. IOCC also assisted beleaguered hospitals and shelters by providing thousands of quilts and hygiene kits.

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Announces New Director

The Board of Directors of OCPM with new director Chaplain Patrick Tutella

February 10, 2009

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) announces the appointment by the Board of Directors of its first full-time Executive Director, Chaplain Patrick Tutella. Chaplain Tutella, who has been in prison ministry for thirty years, is a member of the St. Matthew parish (GOA) in Blandon, Pennsylvania. For the past twelve years, he has been the Supervisory Chaplain for the Berks County Prison in Leesport, Pennsylvania.

At a board meeting which took place in Wichita, Kansas February 6 and 7, Chaplain Tutella and the Directors charted a strategic plan for the next twelve months that includes the following key components: 1) development of a training program for parishes that would like to be involved in prison ministry, 2) the expansion of OCPM’s correspondence ministry, and 3) a convocation for Orthodox prison workers and volunteers to be held in the summer of 2009. Also present at the board meeting was His Grace, Bishop Mark of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest of the Antiochian Archdiocese, who provided his spiritual guidance and support.

Bishop THOMAS and Orthodox Scholars Attend Bioethics Conference in Japan

by Reader Herman Engelhardt and Brian Partridge

Bp. THOMAS with Metropolitan DANIEL of Japan

A major challenge confronting Orthodox Christians across the world is the impact of the dominant secular culture on how physicians act and patients are treated. This influence is reflected in the use of abortion and the increasing acceptance of physician-assisted suicide across the world. This secular culture and its bioethics touch the lives of patients, physicians, and nurses everywhere. We no longer live in a normatively Christian context.

To address these issues in Japan, a country that is only one percent Christian, a group of Orthodox Christians led by the Right Rev. Bishop THOMAS spent December 5th-15th of 2009 meeting with Japanese scholars and attending academic meetings concerning issues of bioethics. The group consisted of Father Iulian Anitei from Holy Protection of the Theotokos Romanian Orthodox Mission in Houston, Texas; Reader Herman Engelhardt from St. George Antiochian Church in Houston, Texas and professor at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine; and Brian Partridge from All Saints of America Antiochian Church in Homer, Alaska and director at The Center for the Study of Culture, Ethics and the Environment. All members of the group serve in various capacities on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Christian Bioethics, now entering its fifteenth year of publication. Christian Bioethics is published by Oxford University Press.

Memory Eternal: Daad Saliba-Shalhoub

Mrs. Daad Saliba-Shalhoub, 54, niece of Metropolitan PHILIP and sister-in-law of Fr. Elias Shalhoub of St. Mary/West Palm Beach, FL, fell asleep in Christ this morning in Beirut, Lebanon.  The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, December 20th) in the village of Douma.

Our condolences to Metropolitan PHILIP and Fr. Elias. May her memory be eternal!

Memory Eternal: Fr. Richard Ballew

Fr. Richard Ballew: Memory Eternal!Fr. Richard Ballew of St. Athanasius Church in Sacramento, California fell asleep in the Lord the morning of Saturday, December 13, 2008. His services will be held at:

St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church
9165 Peets Drive
Elk Grove, CA

Tuesday, December 16th: The Funeral Service for a Priest at 7:00PM
Wednesday, December 17th: Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 8:30AM, followed by Trisagion Service and Burial.

Condolences may be sent to Khouria Sylvia and the Ballew family c/o

May his memory be eternal!

Metropolitan PHILIP Hosts Metropolitan JONAH at the Archdiocese Headquarters

Left to right: Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Very Rev. Joseph Allen, Mr. Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan PHILIP, Metropolitan JONAH, Bishop ANTOUN, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Very Rev. Ellias Bitar, Very Rev. Michael Ellias.

On the evening of December 10th, 2008, the newly elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH was hosted for dinner by Metropolitan PHILIP at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey. This was the first visit for His Beatitude since his election as the First Hierarch of the OCA. He was accompanied by the OCA Chancellor, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs.

All of the following people attended the dinner: Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Very Rev. Joseph Allen, Mr. Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan PHILIP, Metropolitan JONAH, Bishop ANTOUN, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Very Rev. Ellias Bitar, Very Rev. Michael Ellias.

The two Metropolitans engaged in lively and serious discussion, and shared many common visions for the future of the Orthodox Church in North America.

It is our prayer that this was only the first of such gatherings to discuss and address issues that are critical to the Orthodox Church on this continent.

Patriarch ALEXY II of Moscow + Memory Eternal

His Holiness Patriarch ALEXY II + Memory Eternal!From the web site of the Moscow Patriarchate:

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, 79, died on 5 December 2008.

Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church will take place on December 6 to elect Patriarchal Locum Tenens who will chair the Memorial Commission.

The Holy Synod will announce the time of the funeral of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy.

Click here to view video coverage of the Patriarch's funeral from Russia Today.




Metropolitan PHILIP writes to the U.S. Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the U.S.:

Beloved Brother in Christ:

I greet you in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life of all who repose in him.

It is with great sadness that I awoke this morning to the shocking news of the passing into eternal life of His Holiness ALEXY II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The loss of this great man is not only a loss for the Church of Russia, but for the entire Orthodox world. I recall with great fondness the two occasions I had to be in his presence, once on his visit to the United States in the early 1990s when we hosted him at our Archdiocese Chancery and the second when I accepted his kind invitation to visit Russia in 1997. It was during this trip in 1997 that I came to realize the greatness of his leadership and vision for the Church of Russia and the Orthodox world at large. Having met with him at the Danielov Monastery and having served with him in the historic Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin and again at the dedication of the awe-inspiring Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow (that he was instrumental in rebuilding as a symbol of the resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Church after more than 70 years of oppression), I felt assured that the Church would continue to thrive under his leadership.

Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement Meets at St. Vladimir's Seminary

Leaders of the various OISM groups gather around an icon of St. John [ST. VLADIMIR’S SEMINARY / YONKERS, N.Y.] From November 21–22, 2008, members of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) met on the campus St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVS) in Yonkers, NY, for their semi-annual meeting. Since the 1960s OSIM has provided a forum for Orthodox Christian seminarians of various jurisdictions to enjoy fellowship and prayer, and to form bonds that will extend into their future ministries. It is run entirely by students from the participating seminaries, with support from each seminary’s respective faculty and administration.

Thirty students—from St. Vladimir’s Seminary; St. Herman's Seminary of Kodiak, AK; Holy Cross Seminary/Hellenic College of Brookline, MA; Holy Trinity Seminary of Jordanville, NY; and St. Tikhon's Seminary of South Canaan, PA— gathered in fellowship on the SVS campus and studied the life of St. John of Kronstadt, which provided the theme for the weekend meeting. The seminarians celebrated an Akathist to the saint in the seminary chapel and attended a related lecture delivered by Hierodeacon Ioaseph of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.

Discovering Medieval Monasticism in Georgia: A Guided Tour

12th century royal cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, Mtskheta regionMonastary Tour 2009

Seeking: World travelers, medievalists, musicians, self-educators, spiritual pilgrims, and adventurers of all varieties for an immersion experience at the crossroads of Europe and Asia: welcome to Caucasus Georgia!

In its fourth season, join an exploration of Georgia's oldest monasteries, founded in the sixth century by Christian ascetics from Syria. Be among the first westerners to rediscover the ancient architecture, frescoes, and acoustics of these remarkable monuments, set amidst rolling vineyards, towering peaks, and the desert vistas of the Caspian basin. Led by chant team Luarsab Togonidze, John A. Graham, and Aurelia Shrenker, this unique tour seeks to investigate the sounds and wonders of medieval Georgia, while presenting the world-famous hospitality and charm of modern Georgia.

Tour Dates: June 25th – July 5th, 2009

For more information, please visit the Georgian Chant web site.

Archdiocese Synod of Bishops Meets in Boston, MA

His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East presided over a meeting of the Archdiocese Synod of Bishops on Friday, October 31st, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.

From left to right: Bishop MARK, Bishop THOMAS, Bishop JOSEPH, Metropolitan PHILIP, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop LUKA (Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop), Bishop ALEXANDER.

Bishop BASIL could not attend due to a previous commitment in Houston, Texas.

His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV

California Orthodox Bishops Issue Statement on Proposition 8

A Statement of the

Orthodox Christian Bishops of California

in support of Proposition 8:

A Constitutional Amendment to Restore the Definition of Marriage

The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history — and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed to exist at those couples’ discretion as “marriages,” but that the state of California is forbidden to refer to these couplings as anything but “marriages.”

Orthodox Christianity holds in high regard the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family. The Orthodox Church must and shall remain true to its faith and tradition, and affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, given by God to one another for mutual support, encouragement, love and the ability to bear children.

From Metropolitan PHILIP: New Policy Regarding Archdiocesan Seminarians

September 29th, 2008
To: Diocesan Bishops
From: His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP
re: Future Seminarians


Beloved Brothers in Christ,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you are all in good health.

After much discussion and thought, I have decided to extend the period that a person must be Orthodox before being considered to be accepted as an Archdiocesan seminarian from three to five years. This decision was based on many factors including the ever-increasing number of seminarians applying each year to the Antiochian Archdiocese, the reality that the more time they spend in the parish before coming to the seminary, the better seminarians and pastors they will likely be, and the mere fact that we want them to be deeply rooted in the life of the Church and the local parishes before embarking on this journey. This decision is retroactive to August 15th, 2008 as we are already getting requests for next fall and we want to be fair to everyone.

Please communicate this new policy to your respective clergy as soon as possible.

Your Brother in Christ,