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Memory Eternal! + Fr. James Kenna

Archpriest James Kenna, 74, of St. Sophia in Dripping Springs, TX, was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Sunday, July 26th 2009. Services for Fr. James will be held at St. Sophia on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29th; see below for further details, or visit St. Sophia's web site.

Condolences may be sent to Khouriya Anne and the Kenna family c/o the Dean of Central Texas, Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, TX, at

From the Austin American Statesman:


The Rev. James Kenna was an energetic Dripping Springs pastor who founded several Orthodox Christian parishes in Central Texas and, even in retirement, was looking to establish more.

"He never wanted to quit," said the Rev. David Barr, the pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. Kenna, 74, died Sunday afternoon in a car wreck on his way home from lunch with a parishioner after attending church in Dripping Springs. Austin police officials said Kenna's PT Cruiser left Texas 45 for an unknown reason, crashed into a fence and flipped over into a retention pond.

New Direction for Conciliar Media

John and Tonya MaddexJohn and Tonya MaddexThe 2009 Antiochian Convention in Palm Desert coincided with the announcement by Conciliar Media Ministries that the ministry is discontinuing AGAIN and The Handmaiden magazines in their current printed forms, as well as moving the base of operations for Conciliar to the Chicago area.

Said CEO John Maddex, “We are embracing new technology that will reduce our costs by utilizing digital and audio formats where possible. While such decisions are difficult, these adjustments represent a necessary pruning and will result in a new lean model of operations with a continued strong evangelistic emphasis.”

Record Number of Children Attend Camp at Antiochian Village

His Grace Bishop THOMAS passes on the following message:

Beloved of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic:
May God bless you always.
This summer a record number of our children are spending time at the Antiochian Village Camp.  I've been blessed to share some of this time with them at the Camp.  I encourage you to go on the Camp website to view what has been happening this summer of 2009.  In order to see the photos, go to the Camp website and see the Summer Memories section.
Thank you.
Yours in Christ,

Clergy Wives Weekend 2009: Antiochian Village, Nov. 8-9

Antiochian Village Announces a pan-Orthodox gathering of spiritual refreshment and fellowship in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah.

Kh. Joanne Abdalah served as an inspiration in her life as the wife of a priest and as a counselor to many. She understood the joys and trials of this life, and the need for finding strength in Christ and each other. She believed that every clergy wife needs to discover and develop her own Christian vocation.

In her memory, clergy wives of the Antiochian Archdiocese and greater Pittsburgh area Orthodox churches are planning the inaugural pan-Orthodox Clergy Wives Weekend at the Antiochian Village the weekend of November 7-8, 2009. Mother Christophora of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Ellwood City) and Matushka Juliana Schmemann will be the speakers, addressing the theme: “How to Be a Clergy Wife and Still Go to Heaven.” The schedule will reflect Joanne’s holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world.

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP Announces the Establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village

It is with great joy that His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP announces the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village.  The Acting Superior of the convent will be Mother Alexandra (Magan), and we welcome her with joy to the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

Mother Alexandra will take up residency at the Antiochian Village during the first week of July, and will live in temporary housing until such time as the residence building is constructed on the proposed site for the convent, which is on the main property at the Antiochian Village. This will allow her to experience a good part of the camping season, and to interact with our children.

She also has plans to attend the Archdiocese Convention in late July, and to have a presence at the St. Thekla Pilgrimage which will be held at the Antiochian Village in September.

There will soon be a website established for the convent, where all important news and information will be posted.

Click here to read a brief biography of Mother Alexandra.

Katrina Bitar Appointed New Executive Director of OYO

Katrina Bitar, a past SOYO member, SOYO officer, Parish Youth Director, and recent graduate of St. Vladimir's Seminary, was appointed, with the blessing of Metropolitan PHILIP, by the Department of Youth Ministry, effective May 17, 2009, as the new Executive Director of OYO - Orthodox Youth Outreach. OYO is a ministry of NAC Teen SOYO. Katrina comes to this ministry with much youth and OYO experience. Katrina writes:

"I believe in the power of this ministry because I, myself, am a product of this program. I participated in the very first OYO trip. I plan to continue to serve Orthodox Christian young people through not only leading short-term mission trips, but also helping parishes to establish consistent commitments to serving the poor and needy in their local communities.

OCN Announces New Podcast "The Chanter's Stand: Byzantine Music Today"

FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida—May 18, 2009—The Orthodox Christian Network is releasing a special podcast series titled “The Chanter’s Stand: Byzantine Music Today”. This podcast, produced in cooperation with the Axion Estin Foundation and COSMOS Radio-FM in New York, will feature interviews with specialists and experts in the field of Byzantine Chant. OCN Executive Director Fr. Christopher Metropulos shares: “OCN is proud to announce a new Podcast Channel with the Axion Estin Foundation, a well-known and highly-respected group of chanters and scholars who share the ancient historical music of Orthodoxy with the world.”

This professionally produced program joins OCN’s growing library of Podcast Channels. Visit to learn more and to hear OCN’s podcasts and online radio stations The Ark and The Rudder.

Axion Estin Foundation has established its position in the Orthodox community by producing a range of high-quality radio programs devoted to the music of Byzantium. Axion Estin Foundation's mission is to promote the appreciation, education and employment of Byzantine music in North America. The Foundation seeks to stimulate attention and study of this art form through its unique network between the large constituency of Greek academics and musicians and their North American counterparts in Byzantine music and beyond. The Foundation realizes this mission through conferences, education programs, research initiatives, and publications, and strives to engage and educate an increasingly diverse international audience through its cultural partnerships.

Charles Ajalat to Speak at St. Vladimir's Seminary Summer Conference

Mr. Charles Ajalat
Chancellor of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
will give a presentation
Orthodoxy in America
Summer Conference – St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
June 18-20 2009

Recent exchanges regarding the principles of the ecclesiastical organization of Orthodox churches in America and the role of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the “diaspora” make this year’s summer conference particularly relevant. The significance of the OCA’s presence in North America, and future paths and possibilities open to it, including its interface with the multi-jurisdictional Orthodox Christian communities in the U.S. and Canada will be discussed. All are invited! 

For further information, please click on the link below.

Conciliar Media Ministries Coordinates Oklahoma City Evangelism Campaign

In late 2008, a group of Antiochian lay leaders and clergy met at the home of Antiochian Chancellor Charles Ajalat to lay out the framework for an evangelism campaign that would introduce the people of Oklahoma City to the Orthodox Christian faith.

New Online Resources for Clergy

To all Antiochian Archdiocese clergy: has added a new page of online administrative resources from the Registrar's office. A link to these resources entitled "Registrar" may be found at the top of any page in the black menu bar just underneath the site banner. These resources are intended for Antiochian Archdiocese clergy only. A user name and password are required to view the page. If you have not received or have misplaced your user name and password, please contact the registrar.

We hope that you will find this new resource helpful in your parish duties!

The 2009 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism

September 4-7
Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is proud to welcome as our keynote speaker for the 2009 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism...

His Beatitude the Most Blessed

Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada

“One Faith, One Church, One Message: the Necessity of Orthodox Unity in America to Bring America to Orthodoxy”

Click here for more information

Dr. Bradley Nassif Prepares to visit Romania

Dr. Bradley Nassif has been invited by the Romanian Orthodox Church visit the country this May to speak to theology students at the University of Cluj.  Dr. Nassif will address the urgent need in the Orthodox world today for an aggressive internal mission of renewal or conversion of our people to faith in Jesus Christ.  His topic will be "The Paschal Mystery in the Life of the Church."  Dr. Nassif will also be conducting a book launch of his chapter "The Evangelical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church" in Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism,  which was recently translated from English to Romanian.  For that event, he will speak about the need for Orthodox-Evangelical dialogue in Romania and the need for unity in confronting the moral decay of contemporary society.   Finally, Dr. Nassif will blog a live question and answer session with evangelicals who want to know more about Orthodox-Evangelical relations in Romania on a leading web site for Romanian evangelicals.

Groundbreaking for St. Luke's New Temple + Lafayette, CO

by Dn. Mark Berge
Photos by Kirk Tatusko and Ron Brotzman

On February 14, 2009, the parish of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Lafayette, Colorado was honored to welcome His Grace Bishop Basil for the service of ground-breaking at the site of our new temple.

Our parish has been blessed with increasing membership since its founding in 1991. The current temple, seating 200, was built in 1995 with a subsequent expansion in 1998. We tried to expand our church again, but this proved impossible given the county's firm rules on development and our lack of sufficient land. With steady growth in new members our beloved Bishop Basil challenged us in October of 2007 to move to a new location and erect a beautiful temple with seating for 400 to 450 people. We were frankly astounded when he went on to predict that such a task could be done in about two years if God blessed it. Our priest Father David Mustian had been encouraging us to pray about our space needs for several years. With the core of a building committee already in place we were eager to try to meet our bishop’s challenge.

Scholarship Offer for Aspiring Presbyter

Bishop BASIL writes:

Mr. George P. Lambros, a member of St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS, is offering a scholarship in the amount of $10,000.00 to one young man who wishes to enter the Orthodox priesthood and who fulfills the requirements which are listed below.  Mr. Lambros writes that the scholarship is being offered "in memory of the late Right Reverend Mitred Archpriest Michael G. H. Gelsinger (who in his later years was tonsured as Schemamonk Theodore), and in gratitude to Their Eminences Metropolitan ANTONY (Bashir) of New York, Metropolitan SAMUEL (David) of Toledo, and Metropolitan EPIPHANIOS (Zayed) of Akkar for the blessings which I have received at their hands." According to Mr. Lambros, the scholarship funds can be used for education in any Orthodox seminary in the United States.

There is no means test, but a candidate must provide:

  1. A letter stating his intention to petition for ordination upon his graduation;
  2. A letter of referral from the bishop of his diocese;
  3. A letter of acceptance to any Orthodox seminary in the United States; and, most importantly,
  4. An essay written by himself on the subject, “The Exclusivity of the Orthodox Religion.” 

The recipient will be chosen whose essay best demonstrates his religious integrity and his devotion to Orthodoxy.  The scholarship funds may be used for any expenses incurred and necessary to the attendance at the seminary and will be disbursed from Mr. Lambros' office upon presentation of the proper invoices. Applications should be submitted to the following address at least one month before the beginning of the 2009 Fall semester: 

George P. Lambros
PO Box 728
Wichita, KS 67201

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha at St. Nicholas Cathedral + Brooklyn, NY


Photo by James Demaria
Photo by James Demaria

As has been the custom every year of his episcopacy, we were blessed to have our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP with us to celebrate the feast of feasts in his cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, the mother church of the archdiocese, was filled to capacity on what was a beautiful spring evening in New York. Following the resurrection services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the  faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children (and adults) as they celebrated the feast. Please enjoy the pictures as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection from the dead.

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!


OCMC Opens New Missionary Training Facility

The Completion of the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building

Alex Goodwin (4/13/2009)

St. Augustine, FL - On April 13, 2009 the staff of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center began working in the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building. The opening of this facility marks a new era in North American Orthodoxy’s mission movement. The building will prove to be a vital resource of the Church as more Orthodox Christians answer their call to share the Faith with people around the world through participation in the ministries of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).

This is the first permanent facility of an agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA); it will serve as an international missions headquarters for North America’s estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians.

Formal dedication ceremonies will be held on May 21, 2009. Both His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, and His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Chairman of SCOBA, together with other hierarchs of SCOBA, will be at the dedication to celebrate this historical moment in Orthodox missions and to lead the gathered faithful in praying for the continuation of this vital work of the Church.

PBS Showcases Orthodox Chant in the Diocese of Charleston

Recently, PBS’ Religion and Ethics Weekly program featured chanting from our own Holy Cross Church in Linthicum, Maryland.

Click here to see the PBS feature.

The segment, taped inside the parish of Fr. Gregory and Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green, beautifully captures the otherworldly essence of Orthodox worship. Church chanter Emily Lowe explains in the clip, “The Orthodox Church is unique in modern times, having a completely sung liturgy. Everything is sung, from beginning to the end.” She also gives a helpful beginner’s explanation of why there are “dissonant…foreign sounds” in Orthodox worship, and she witnesses to the ascetic tradition of the faith when she concludes, “Orthodoxy demands change. It expects change.”

FOCUS North America Launches Orthodox Christian Domestic Social Action Network

image FOCUS North America established to support and build up domestic Orthodox social action ministries.

KANSAS CITY—April 7, 2009—In early 2009, FOCUS North America (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) launched as a network of Orthodox Christian social action ministries that express Christ’s love in North America for those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick or in prison (Matt. 25:35-5). In its first 60 days of operation, FOCUS North America has partnered with dozens of Orthodox agencies and parish initiatives and awarded more than $30,000 in grants.

Metropolitan PHILIP Meets With Metropolitan JONAH of the OCA

On Friday April 10th, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, hosted His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of The Orthodox Church in America for an important meeting at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, NJ.

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?