In the spirit of Paschal joy, the bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese have extended their heartfelt greetings and hierarchical blessings to the faithful of their dioceses.
|Archbishop Joseph's greeting||Bishop Antoun's greeting|
|Bishop Basil's greeting||Bishop Thomas' greeting|
|Bishop Alexander's greeting||Bishop Anthony's greeting|
Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Subdeacon George Shakour of St. Michael in Beaumont, TX, who reposed on Pascha. Condolences may be sent to his wife Sherridan c/o her parish priest Fr. Michael Pavez at FATHERMICHAEL@prodigy.net. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Subdeacon George's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant." May he be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
The following obituary was published on the Broussard's Mortuary website, Beaumont, TX:
George Jacob Shakour, 69, of Beaumont, went to be with his Lord unexpectedly on April 15, 2012, at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital. Mr. Shakour was born on November 8, 1942, in Beaumont, to George and Mildred Shakour. He attended Beaumont High, and continued his education at Lamar University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Government. He enlisted in the Army after college, and bravely served his country in the Vietnam War. During his service, he received an Orthodox cross from a priest in Italy which he never took off for the rest of his life. George was a devoted member of St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church and served as a sub-Deacon there. He also dedicated many hours to the small church of St. John the Divine in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
"GLORY TO GOD! None of our parishioners sustained any injuries and none of our church temples sustained any damage during the violent tornadoes (estimated to be numbered at 130+) which ripped through the Heartland this past weekend, claiming six lives in Woodward, OK. The only noticeable result was a one hour delay in the start of Paschal services at Wichita's St. George Cathedral and St. Mary Church. Thank you for your prayers and the many inquiries of concern."
On March 3, 2012, many young people from the Diocese Of Worcester and New England (self-proclaimed DOWNE) gathered for a Youth Day celebration at His Grace Bishop John's house. Those who attended sat with His Grace to learn the purpose of Orthodoxy, including the three points that make us Orthodox Christians: We partake of the same Communion, we all believe the words of the Nicene Creed, and we all submit to a bishop.
His Grace also informed the youth that his job is to keep his diocese united and to keep it Orthodox. By submitting to him, the members of the Diocese of Worcester are united to one another, and the Diocese is connected to others in the Archdiocese through Metropolitan Philip, to whom all Antiochian Orthodox bishops in America have submitted. His Grace then emphasized the importance of reaching out to American Orthodox Churches outside the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Greeks, the Russians, and all others hold the exact same beliefs as we do. We can commune in their churches as they can in ours. In today's society, it is important that we remain united with our sister churches and do not allow cultural differences to hold us back from mingling. If we visit other churches and socialize outside the Antiochian Archdiocese, we will strengthen the bonds between the Orthodox Churches in America and throughout the world.
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.
On March 29, 2012, the Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops had a meeting at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto. On the agenda were the reports of the dialogue with the Catholic Bishops, pastoral, canonical and liturgical issues, a Directory of all Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs, jurisdictions and parishes. It was discussed the update on the petition addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to approve the constituency of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of Canada. There were also discussed plans for joint-ministry and fraternal cooperation in the future. An important topic was the discussion of the situation of persecuted Christians in the World and the position of the Orthodox in Canada.
The participants at the meeting were: His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios and His Grace Bishop Christoforos of the Greek Metropolis of Toronto, His Grace Bishop Alexander of the Antiochian Archdiocese, His Grace Bishop Job of the Moscow Patriarchate Representation in Canada, His Grace Bishop Georgij of the Serbian Diocese of Canada, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae and His Grace Vicar Bishop Ioan Casian of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij, His Grace Bishop Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Andrej of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Ilias of the Albanian Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and His Grace Vicar Bishop Irinee of the OCA.
A date was set for next year's meeting for April 11, 2013.
Join us for an exquisite evening of liturgical music sung in the traditional styles of Orthodox Christian churches worldwide. In a multi-media program that interweaves luminous icons, sacred texts, and a rich a cappella sound, the St. Vladimir's Seminary Chorale will perform "ORIENT: Sacred Song and Image" at the famous St. Malachy's,"The Actors' Chapel," in the heart of Manhattan, at 239 West 49th Street, New York City. This stirring concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The concert program will include pieces from the broader Orthodox tradition sung in their original languages— Greek, Georgian, Estonian, Slavonic—as well as choral music by Orthodox composers written for the concert hall. Two visual projections—one of images of Orthodox icons and the other of translations of musical texts—will run simultaneously as the chorale sings. Icons, music, and text will expound one another, just as they do within the Orthodox liturgy. The concert will combine the best elements of a professional choral performance with the depth and authenticity of the Orthodox liturgical experience, resulting in a truly beautiful multimedia artistic performance, and a full, authentic vision of the Orthodox Christian faith.
The chorale will be directed by Hierodeacon Herman, Lecturer in Liturgical Music and Chapel Choir Director at the seminary, and Matushka Robin Freeman, who created the concert format and conducted in its premiere at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2010.
Spread the word to your friends, family, and church family!
As an aid to Orthodox Christians who aren't able to make it to all the services of Holy Week, Ancient Faith Radio offers a complete set of recordings of live Holy Week services.
One of the parishes featured in the recordings is St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Madison, Wisconsin, pastored by Fr. Patrick Kinder.
All of the services of Holy Week are included in the set, from the Bridegroom Matins early in the week, to the Service of Holy Unction, Twelve Passion Gospels, Royal Hours and Vespers and Lamentations of Holy Friday, to Sunday's Paschal liturgy and Agape Vespers.
The bloodshed in Syria and the need for protection of the Christians in the country as well as in Lebanon, was the theme which concerned today’s Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Church in the Middle East, which took place today, 27th March 2012 in Cyprus. “It is the second time that I am meeting with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem His Beatitude Ignatios Patriarch of Antioch and His Beatitude Chrysostomos Archbishop of New Justinia and All Cyprus”, said His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, who chaired the meeting at which His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of issues regarding Hellenes abroad, Mr Dimitris Dollis also spoke.
On behalf of the Primates His Beatitude expressed the wish and the strong will that they all support the Church of Antioch, His Beatitude Ignatios and all the flock of this suffering country which continues to count its dead. “We are with His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatios, with love and respect”, he stressed as Chairman of the Synaxis.
On his behalf, emotionally, the venerable Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch spoke of the serious problems which the Christians of Lebanon and Syria are facing, stressing the necessity of support from the international community.
Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian Nationals
Release Date: March 23, 2012
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
"In light of the deteriorating conditions in Syria, I am announcing that DHS will be designating Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians currently present in the United States. Conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return to their home country. Early next week, the Department will publish a notice in the Federal Register that will provide further guidance about TPS eligibility requirements and registration procedures. All applicants must undergo full background checks and while Syrians in the United States are encouraged to apply, they should not submit their applications before the notice is published."
My name is Nadia, and I am a thirteen year old Orthodox Christian. I have attended the St. George Norwood parish ever since I remember. This is my first year in Teen SOYO and the first year I traveled to New Hampshire for the annual Lenten Retreat. It was one of the most enlightening experiences I have had as an Orthodox Christian.
The retreat is an event that occurs each year during the Lenten season. Teens from parishes all over New England come together to bond with each other, listen to the speaker, reflect upon their faith, and strengthen themselves through worship and communion. This year we had the honor of having His Grace Bishop John amongst us throughout the weekend to guide us and answer our questions. This year’s speaker was Katrina Bitar, past SOYO member and director of the YES program speaking on the theme of “Heroes of the Old Testament.”
from the St. Vladimir's Seminary website:
This spring [the St. Vladimir's Seminary] community was blessed by a campus visit from His Grace Nicholas (Ozone), auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn, and assistant to His Eminence Philip, archbishop of New York and metropolitan of All North America, of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), headquartered in Englewood, New Jersey. It was Bishop Nicholas's first time here, and he was visiting in his capacity as the hierarch responsible for overseeing the education of students enrolled in seminaries, and in particular, for overseeing the Ordination Review Board of the Archdiocese.
"We had a wonderful and positive discussion," remarked seminary Dean Archpriest John Behr, "on all sorts of aspects regarding the seminarians and their education, and we look forward to working ever more closely with the Archdiocese."
Likewise, seminary Chancellor and CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield noted, "I was impressed with his theological insights and great interest in what he saw as the 'unique SVOTS approach to theological education'."
Bishop Nicholas was ordained to the episcopacy in December 2011 by His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV. Read a full biography of Bishop Nicholas here.
Fr. Joseph Rahal writes:
Isaac Paul Bojrab, 88, passed away Friday, March 30, 2012. Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Ike was a WWII Army Veteran and co-owner of D.G. Bojrab & Sons Well Drilling. He was a member and a founder of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in Fort Wayne; The Order of St. Ignatius; Leo Lodge No. 224, F.&A.M.; Scottish Rite; Mizpah Shrine; Trinity Chapter of Eastern Star, #576; and American Legion Post #47. He was blessed with 64 years of marriage to his wife, Marie; sons, Richard (Regina) Bojrab, R. Ph., Paul (Jennifer) Bojrab, MD., both of Ft. Wayne, and Dennis (Andria) Bojrab, MD. of Bloomfield Hills, MI; daughter, Debra (Bill) Fliotsos of Ft. Wayne; and 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, David and Sarah (Abdulla) Bojrab; brothers, George and Peter Bojrab; and sisters, Sadie Skaff, Margaret Slyby, and Gladys Koury.
The funeral service was held at 10 am, Monday, April 2, 2012 at St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, with a Masonic Service at 4:30 pm and Trisagion Prayers at 7:30 pm. Isaac was laid to rest in Lindenwood Cemetery. Memorials may be offered to St. John Chrysostom Church for a special project fund. To sign the online guest book, go to www.mccombandsons.com.
His Grace Bishop Basil has passed along the sad news that Ruth Cohlmia, wife of Jim Cohlmia, has reposed in the Lord. The funeral services will be held in Wichita, Kansas at St. George Cathedral; The day and time has not been established. A short memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Thursday evening, April 5, at 7:00 PM at St. Ignatius Orthodox Mission, 3800 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ.
Anne Van Fossen writes: "Enrollment is now open for the fall session of the Classical Learning Resource Center! CLRC online classes are live, interactive, and available to anyone with internet access. You’ll find detailed course descriptions, faculty bios, class schedules, and more on the Classical Learning Resource Center website. We’ve expanded our Classical Greek and Latin program with more Latin 4 Kids classes and more advanced classes for middle school, high school, and adults. We’ve also added three new classes in Literature and Composition. Also, when you register you’ll find that we’ve installed a robust Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system on our website to streamline your registration process and improve student experience on our site.
We’ve had several requests for writing classes so I am thrilled to announce that we are adding Kiernan Schroeder, a talented and enthusiastic literature and composition teacher, to the CLRC faculty. If you haven’t done so already, take a look at her course offerings on our webpage at both the high school and middle school levels. She is offering an Introduction to Literature and Composition class for middle school and early high school students in which students will be exposed to authors like Dickens, Shakespeare, and Robert Louis Stevenson and receive instruction in the fundamentals of structure and style for argumentative writing.
The theme will be the Hymns of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, with a special track for a new Youth Music Ministry Program.
Among others, the following sessions will be available:
- Young Conductors Apprentice Program
- Youth Music Ministry
- Youth, Adult and Byzantine Choirs
- Music Theory
- "Name That Tone"
Youth Equipped to Serve (YES), a ministry of FOCUS North America, hosted a YES Weekend in Oklahoma City on March 9-11, and now is kicking off another weekend of service in the city of St. Louis starting March 30. As the website explains, the YES program "provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service, with the ultimate purpose being to raise up a generation of Orthodox Christians who lead others in living out the true mission of the church- to love and serve our most needy neighbors."
The St. Louis weekend is a good example of a typical YES trip. Teens will meet at the local FOCUS Center--Gateway City/St. Michael’s--on Friday, stay overnight at Huckleberry Finn Youth Hostel, participate in service events throughout the weekend, and finish the trip by serving a meal for the homeless back at the FOCUS location.
Upcoming events include YES Atlanta on April 20-22, YES Grand Rapids on May 11-13, and YES Leadership Training on June 13-18 in Los Angeles' Skid Row.
Ten years ago, five determined and dedicated IOCC supporters cycled their way across the U.S. to celebrate IOCC's tenth anniversary of service providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. The Race to Respond riders raised funds for those in need and put IOCC on the map with the new Orthodox Christian supporters they encountered through cities and towns across California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Lead rider, Jim Angelus, is ready to repeat this feat and is seeking a crew chief to drive the pursuit vehicle and two cross-country cyclists to join him again in honor of IOCC's 20th anniversary of humanitarian service. This time, the cross-country route will take the cyclists along the northern tier of the country from Seattle, Washington, through Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, covering approximately 3,000 miles in 33 days.
Antiochian Village's website reports, "Unbelievable! We are quickly closing in on 1,000 campers and CITs registered for this summer's camping season! That's unheard of, or at least surprising this early in the spring. You must have heard about the terrific staff we are hiring.
In a few weeks, we will be introducing our staff to the world. In the meantime, if you have not registered, you might be able to find a space or two in a few sessions--check availability here. Also in the works is a brand new cabin 11 & 12 located between cabins 5 & 6 and the Health Center. If all goes well it should be ready by the first session and possibly even in time for Family Camp. This summer is going to be unbelievable."
Don't miss out, register today!
St. Augustine, FL (OCMC) On March 19, 2012, the Orthodox Resurrection Health Centre became a registered health center in Bukoba, Tanzania. Originally opened as a hospital, the government shut it down in November of 2010, a month after the OCMC team arrived there to work, because they didn’t staff enough doctors. Unable to meet the requirements of a hospital, the Metropolis decided to register the facility as a Health Centre.
In November of 2011, KEDAS, the Greek Non-Governmental Organization that built the Health Centre, sent Giannis Dais to help the OCMC team get the clinic registered. With OCMC members Felice Stewart and Maria Roeber working to facilitate communication between the Metropolis and KEDAS and begin the administrative tasks necessary to prepare the center for operation, the clinic has finally gained registration.
Stewart says, “The building and grounds are beautiful. I have not seen anything this nice in this area. KEDAS has been very generous in providing equipment and supplies, and it is well outfitted.”
Now that the clinic is open, the next steps are to hire more staff to join the team.
March 22, 2012
A Message from Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate
Metropolitan of New York and All North America
With much sadness and sorrow, we have received the news of the falling asleep of His Holiness Patriarch and Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, and Patriarch of the Seat of St. Mark.
His passing on to eternal life is an enormous loss not only for the Coptic Church, but also for the Church as a whole, especially since he believed in dialogue and held relentless and unwavering positions with regard to sensitive issues.
The Egyptian news agency called him “Pope of the Arabs”. When the former Egyptian president, Mr. Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, visited Jerusalem to sign a non-Arab Egyptian peace treaty with the Hebrew nation, he asked Pope Shenouda to accompany him. However, Pope Shenouda turned down the visit to Jerusalem and issued a statement to all Copts not to go to Palestine, and especially Jerusalem, while it is under the Israeli occupation.
The Copts could never forget his sermons, which entered the hearts and kindled the spirits. He spent part of his life in the monastery of St. Pishoy, at El Natroun valley, and he requested that the monastery’s cemetery be his final resting place.
On behalf of myself, the Bishops, priests and parishioners of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, I offer my deep condolences to the Coptic Orthodox Church and her people worldwide, asking God to rest his soul, and may his memory be eternal.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, writes:
On behalf of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, I am offering our profound condolences on the falling asleep in the Lord of the most blessed Father of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the deeply beloved and respected late Pope Shenouda Ill. The passing of Pope Shenouda is a deeply felt wound not only for the pious Coptic People all over the world, but for all the people of Egypt, who have admired his saintly and wise pastoral stewardship of the Coptic Church.
During his long tenure and in moments of tremendous challenge, his courage, wisdom and spiritual guidance have again and again brought comfort, stability and tranquility to the minds and hearts of his faithful flock. As all Christians reﬂect on this incalculable loss, we are reminded of the need for his message of mutual respect and interfaith cooperation to be continued by his successor in the future. As we remember him through this season of grief and mourning, we shall also offer our fervent supplications to God for the pious Coptic People everywhere, who are bereﬂ of their father in Christ, and for Egypt, that it may know a peaceful and stable transition to a new Pope of the Coptic faithful.
May the late and ever memorable Pope Shenouda find the reward of “the faithful and wise steward” that he most surely was, and that he may rest in the blessed hope of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. May his memory be eternal.
Read the full letter at AssemblyofBishops.org.
Donate your U.S. Airways Miles to the Department of Youth Ministry! Donated miles facilitate travel for our Archdiocese youth workers, Teen SOYO officers and others. The cost to donate miles is your miles plus $0.01 per mile donated and a processing fee. Or you can donate money towards travel using the donate button located at the top right of our Department of Youth and Teen SOYO pages. If you want the miles to go towards Teen SOYO officers, Advisors, or Youth Director Travel, simply state so in the personal massage field of your donation.
In celebration of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) two decades of faith-based humanitarian work, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Orthodox Christian, Chris Hillman, will perform at the organization's 20th Anniversary Gala on May 8, 2012, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.
Hillman, whose multi-faceted musical career spans five decades, gained popular recognition as a founding member of The Byrds, one of the most influential American rock bands of the 1960s. Their biggest hit song, "Turn, Turn, Turn," carries a message of peace and tolerance inspired by Biblical verses taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes. The song remains a rock classic and one of a few examples of scripture set to popular music.
Hillman's appearance at the Gala underscores his strong support of the philanthropic arm of the Orthodox Church. An evangelical Christian who came to know the Orthodox faith through his wife Connie, a Greek Orthodox Christian, he converted after a strong calling to explore Orthodoxy prompted him to speak to a priest and complete the holy sacrament of chrismation. Fifteen years later, he devotes much of his time and talent to supporting his church in Santa Barbara, California, and performing for Orthodox-based benefits like the IOCC 20th Anniversary Gala. "I feel as an Orthodox Christian that the talent God has given me now should be used to help the church and whatever I can do to generate interest to directly benefit those in need."
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Libby (Mrs. Joseph) Kohl of St. George Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, longtime member and officer of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, fell asleep in Christ on the evening of March 17, 2012. The funeral will be served at St. George Church this Wednesday morning. Condolences may be sent to her husband Joe via firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Libby's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant." May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life!
Fr. Fred Shaheen, pastor of St. George Orthodox Church, adds:
Libbie was 82 years old and was a member of the St. George Church choir for at least 70 years. From the age of twelve (for nearly 70 years), she was the church organist and played the organ during all the services, including weddings and funerals. In 1998 the organ was phased out of the services and Libbie continued her participation in the choir, eventually becoming choir director and serving in that position for nearly a decade.
Libbie's service to the Church extended beyond her participation in the choir. She attended many choir workshops and symposia at the Antiochian Village and was a fixture at all Midwest and Archdiocesan conferences and meetings. With her husband Joe by her side, Libbie drove across the country to participate in these events. She often took teens from St. George Church with her so they would also have a chance to attend and participate in these events.
Libbie was an active member and an officer in the local and Midwest Region AOCWNA chapters.