Palestinian Children's Author Reports on Holy Fire in Jerusalem

At the Orthodox Institute this fall Dr. Maria Khoury of Palestine will present the keynote address. Maria is known for her reflections on life in the Holy Land, which circulate to a wide readership by e-mail. Many appreciate her writings as a personal window into the land of our Christian heritage. I received one of her e-mails recently from Ms. Phyllis Onest which describes what is known as the Holy Fire in Jerusalem. I enclose both the introduction by Phyllis, and Maria’s description of the Holy Fire. During her time in the States, Maria will be available to come to parishes and present on life in the Holy Land and her affordable housing project, and to sign her Christina children’s book series. If you are interested in hosting Maria, please contact us at

From Phyllis:

Maria Khoury, author of the Christina book series, and her family live in the last Christian village in Palestine—Taybeh, known as Ephraim in the Scriptures (if my memory serves me correctly). She has been our eyes and ears to the truth of what occurs behind the high walls the Israeli government has built around Gaza to keep the Palestinians "entrapped" in their own land. President Carter refers to the what occurs there as "Apartheid."

There are still Christians attempting to witness to the world that this is the place where Jesus lived and preached and where the Apostles taught and the Church grew. But most have left out of fear for their lives and for a future for their children. There was a time that thriving Orthodox monasteries cared for the Holy sites. Now there are a few monks or nuns.

Council of Orthodox Christian Churches to hold "Saturday Night Laughter" charity benefit May 17

LIVONIA, Mich. - The Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit (COCC) will hold a charity benefit May 17 at 7 p.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, 750 N. Beech Daly Road, Dearborn Heights.

Entitled "Saturday Night Laughter," the benefit will feature comedian Mrs. Hughes (, musician Rennie Kaufmann (, a silent auction and dancing.

Tickets are $30 per person in advance, $40 at the door.  Admission includes hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and soft drinks.  The COCC is also accepting donations of money and items for the silent auction.  All proceeds will go to International Orthodox Christian Charities, the official international humanitarian organization of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (

To order tickets, donate money or auction items, or obtain further information, contact COCC President Richard Shebib at (734) 422-0278 or

The COCC is a 51-year-old clergy and lay association that represents various canonical Orthodox churches in metropolitan Detroit.  Its mission is to promote Orthodox Christianity throughout the area through worship, fellowship, and charitable, educational and outreach programs. 

Fr. Michael Keiser Discusses Development of East and West Worship Rites

Listen to a one-hour hour lecture by Father Michael Keiser, who provides an overview of the development of worship rites in both the East and in the West. This lecture was given on December 5, 2007, at St. Elijah Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City.

Click here.

New York Times Reports on Aramaic's Decline in Syria

The NYT has posted an interesting article about the decline of Aramaic in Syria. Click here to check it out (registration required).

New York Times Reports on Growing Strength of Orthodoxy in Russia

The NYT has posted an interesting article about Orthodoxy in Russia. Click here to check it out (registration required).

Bishop JOSEPH Visits 11 Parishes During Holy Week

During Holy Week, Sayidna JOSEPH visited all 11 churches of the Northern California Deanery. Here is the link:

The Very Reverend Father Constantine Nasr Visits St. Tikhon's Seminary

clip_image001On Thursday, April 3, the Very Reverend Father Constantine Nasr, Pastor of St. Elijah Antiochian Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, visited St. Tikhon's Seminary and offered an evening lecture to the community on the subject of: "The Vision and Mission of the Local Parish."

See photos at

Bishop THOMAS Celebrates Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday at the Cathedral

On Lazarus Saturday, Bishop THOMAS joined  members of the Cathedral of St. George (Oakland, Pa.) who celebrated with donkey rides, and again on Palm Sunday at the Divine Liturgy.

Memory Eternal, Archbishop Gregory

clip_image001YOUR PRAYERS are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly departed servant of God ARCHBISHOP GREGORY (Afonsky), retired bishop of Sitka and Alaska of the Orthodox Church in America.  His Eminence reposed April 16.

May His Eminence's memory be eternal.


Submitted by Bishop BASIL.

Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow responds to Muslim theologians

Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has published this response to an open letter to Christian leaders written by 138 Muslim theologians:


I would like to thank all the Muslim religious leaders and scholars who sent an open letter to representatives of Christian Churches and organizations including the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Christians and Muslims have many similar aims, and we can unite our efforts to achieve them. However, this unity will not occur if we fail to clarify our understanding of each other’s religious values. In this connection, I welcome the desire of the Muslim community to begin a sincere and open dialogue with representatives of Christians Churches on a serious scholarly and intellectual level.

Christianity and Islam are engaged today in a very important task in the world. They seek to remind humanity of the existence of God and of the spiritual dimension present both in man and the world. We bear witness to the interdependence of peace and justice, morality and law, truth and love.

As you rightly put in your letter, Christians and Muslims are drawn together first of all by the commandment of the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor. At the same time, I do not think it is worthwhile for us to identify a certain minimum that seems to fix our convergences in faith and to be theologically sufficient for the individual’s religious life. Any doctrinal affirmation in Christianity or Islam cannot be viewed in isolation from its unique place in the integral theological system. Otherwise, one’s religious identity will be obliterated to give rise to a danger of moving along the path of blending the faiths. It seems to be more fruitful, therefore, to study the integral faith of each side and to compare them.

Metropolitan Herman To Attend Gathering Marking Pope Benedict XVI's NY Visit (Orthodox Church in America)

April 16, 2008

NEW YORK, NY [OCA Communications] -- His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, will be among the Orthodox Christian hierarchs attending an ecumenical gathering marking Pope Benedict XVI's first US visit at Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, an historic German parish in New York, NY, on Friday, April 18, 2008.

Accompanying Metropolitan Herman will be Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, OCA Chancellor; Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Moderator of Christian Churches Together in the USA and the OCA’s Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations; Priest John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY; Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Seminary Chancellor; and Dr. Paul Meyendorff, a member of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation.

Pope Benedict, who arrived in the US on April 15, also is slated to visit Washington, DC before his return to Rome on April 20.

OCMC Mission Specialist Fr. John Erickson Prepares for Service in Tanzania

This month, Fr. John Erickson will journey to Tanzania as an OCMC Mission Specialist to teach seminarians at the Kasikizi Catechetical Center.  Fr. John began teaching at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1973 and is currently the Peter N. Gramowich Professor of Church History.  He is also a well-known expert in Canon Law.

The Orthodox Church in Tanzania has grown tremendously under the leadership of His Eminence Jeronymos, Metropolitan of Mwanza.  In the past 10 years, the number of parishes has more than tripled, and the number of Faithful has more than doubled.  His Eminence has maintained a missionary spirit that helps the Church in Tanzania to thrive.

The increasing growth of the Church has resulted in the need for more qualified priests and catechists.  In 2006, there were only 34 Tanzanian priests serving the more than 41,000 Faithful. The Kasikizi Catechetical Center, located in the Tanzanian Metropolis of Mwanza, seeks to meet this need, offering both seminary classes and seminars for those who desire to learn more about the Faith and to continue the work of the Gospel. 

Fr. John said of his mission in Tanzania, “I expect to learn as much as I am going to teach.”  He went on to describe the importance of not just knowing about Orthodoxy or of doing Orthodox things, but of being Orthodox.  Please pray for Fr. John during his time in Tanzania.

OCMC anticipates future opportunities to support theological education in the field.  There are currently twenty- one open missionary positions to meet immediate needs identified by Hierarchs.  If you are interested in exploring these opportunities further, please contact the OCMC Missionary Department at 1-877-463- 6784.

Memory Eternal, Fr. John Kahle

The V. Rev. John Kahle, the retired pastor of St. Paul Orthodox Church in Emmaus, Pa., departed this life on April 6. (St. Paul's is part of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic, Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.)

The schedule of services for Fr. John follows.  All services will occur at St. Paul's in Emmaus:

Thursday night (April 10) @ 7 PM:  Priest's Funeral Service

Friday morning (April 11) @ 10 AM:  Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts in the presence of Fr. John, followed by the General Funeral Service.  The internment will follow these services.

Letters of condolence may be sent to his family at 172 Harrison St., Emmaus, PA 18049.

Please remember Fr. John in your prayers.  May his memory be eternal.

About Fr. John

Father John Kahle was born July 19, 1928, in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, to James and Rachel (Ludwig) Kahle. He attended the elementary and high schools in his home town, and graduated Class Orator in 1946.

After serving four years with the United States Army, he began a 14 year career with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., serving as Supervisor of Plant Safety, Plant Planning Manager, and Manufacturing and Engineering Estimator. In 1964 he left Air Products and opened Kahle's Music Store in Emmaus, which he owned and operated with his family until 1995 when he retired from business.

Encountering the Mystery - New Book by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Now Available

encountering Written with personal warmth and great erudition, ENCOUNTERING THE MYSTERY illuminates the rich culture and soul of Orthodox Christianity. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I traces the roots of Orthodox Christianity to its founding 2000 years ago, explores its spirituality and doctrine, and explains its liturgy and art. More especially, in a unique and unprecedented way, he relates Orthodox Christianity to contemporary issues, such as freedom and human rights, social justice and globalization, as well as nationalism and war.  Order your copy from the Greek Orthodox Marketplace at

The Principal's Story from Lebanon

A Dedicated Educator And New Equipment From IOCC Make the Difference for A Lebanon Public School

Beirut, Lebanon — In Ain al Remaneh, an East Beirut suburb, there is a public school principal who will do anything for her 300 students. On a day of heavy winter rains, Principal Marie Chahine, bundled in a heavy coat, relates to visitors in her office some of her exploits at the K-9 Chiah Public School for Girls. She convinced her optician son to give the girls free eye exams. She wouldn't admit a development organization into the school until they first repaired all 16 dilapidated bathrooms. And her connections with the municipality have ensured electricity for the school, even during Beirut's now frequent blackouts.

Chahine's creative maneuvering is "survival of the fittest" in a country whose crumbling public schools are hobbled by bureaucracy and a lack of investment by the central government. "If I so much as want to purchase pencils it requires a special letter of permission to the Ministry of Education," says Chahine. A lover of learning, Chahine began her 34-year teaching career in Ain al Remaneh and continued teaching "under the bombs" when Lebanon's civil war began, and the school found itself along the notorious Green Line which separated the eastern and western sectors of Beirut.

During recess in the school's courtyard her visitors see veiled and unveiled teenage girls dressed in sweat pants line up to run a race. First graders dressed in pink uniforms stand huddled together against the cold as they watch the older girls. Ain al Remaneh had been a predominantly Christian area, but many families fled the civil war. "Today, you will find students of all faiths here,” says Chahine, “Shi’a, Sunni, Orthodox, Druze, Maronite — and, thank God, no conflicts between them."

IOCC Expands in Syria

New Program Aids Iraqi Refugees

Damascus, Syria — It was a cold yet sunny day after Christmas when a young Iraqi woman walked to church in central Damascus, Syria where workers were unloading boxes of hygiene supplies to crowds of waiting Iraqi refugees. An American reporter asked Jeanette to comment on her situation. She responded defiantly, "Everyone knows how bad the situation is for Iraqi refugees in Syria." Then, she began to tell her story.
Twenty-eight-years-old and a college graduate, she worked in Baghdad for a foreign organization that provided computer and English language training for disadvantaged children. Her work was fulfilling. She even traveled to Jordan for further training, but like many Iraqis who work with foreigners, she was threatened by insurgents who view such Iraqis as collaborators. When a church near her home was bombed in 2007, her parents decided to send her and her brother to Damascus. Today, jobless and with little chance of finding meaningful work in Syria, she dreams of getting her parents out of Baghdad and migrating to Canada.
On the other side of Damascus, in the predominantly Shi'a neighborhood of Set Zeinab, a man named Kazin tells visitors another dramatic story of escape from Iraq. Kazin, a tailor who once owned his own shop in the holy Shi'a city of Karbala, was imprisoned and tortured during the Saddam years merely because some of his clients were political dissidents.

Frederica To Speak in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. - Event Postponed


Frederica's speaking event at St. Mary's in Wilkes-Barre for April 5th has been canceled. The event will be rescheduled for the fall 2008. Date and time to be announced.

St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, 905 S. Main Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., announces a Lenten speaker event. Frederica Matthews-Green, will share about an Orthodox Lenten Journey on Saturday, April 5, 2008.

Reception: 5 PM
Vespers: 6 PM
Speaker: 7 PM

For more information please contact event coordinator Freida Skaff at email address: or phone number 570-824-5016.

Bishop MARK Attends Funeral for ROCOR Hierarch

At the request of Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop MARK of Toledo represented the Archdiocese at the funeral of the First Hierarch of the ROCOR, Metropolitan LAURUS on Friday March 21, 2008 in Jordanville, NY.

For more information on Metropolitan LAURUS please visit


OCN Announces New Radio Affiliate in Massachusetts

Come Receive the Light, the national Orthodox Christian radio program produced by Orthodox Christian Network, is now being broadcast on the radio throughout Central Massachusetts.

Thanks to the leadership and support of St. Michael Orthodox Church in Southbridge, Mass., listeners can hear Come Receive the Light every Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. on WESO 970 AM. The station covers the Central Massachusetts area, including the second-largest city in New England, Worcester, as well as parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Come Receive the Light is the flagship radio program of Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) and is dedicated to spreading joy, hope and salvation in Jesus Christ while exploring Orthodox Christianity in contemporary society.

"It is important for us in this media age to stay ahead of the curve," Fr. Peter Preble, pastor of St. Michael Church, said. "We are in a unique position to offer something to this fallen world and that is the light of Christ. We need to harness all modes of communication and use them for the glory of God and the spreading of the Kingdom. Orthodoxy is the best kept secret in the United States, and it is time we get the word out."

Fr. Peter spear-headed the effort to bring Come Receive the Light to the area. His parish, which is part of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada, is not one of the largest parishes in the region, but it agreed to sponsor this cutting-edge ministry as part of its evangelistic outreach to the greater community.

Orthodox Schools Plan Second Conference

image The 2008 Conference on Orthodox Schools will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, August 1 and 2, 2008.  This is the second conference on Orthodox schools and we are pleased to again offer this opportunity for educators to meet.  We thank the Virginia H. Farah Foundation for funding to support this second conference.  The Orthodox School Association can be contacted at 617-850-1315 or  Conference information is posted on the Association web site

We ask you kindly to pass this information along to anyone you know is interested in the Orthodox School Association effort. 

Sacred Music Institute Date Set

The Department of Sacred Music of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese Announces the "East Coast" Sacred Music Institute for 2008. The event will be held at Antiochian Village July 30 to August 3, 2008. The Keynote Speaker will be His Grace, Bishop BASIL.

The Theme is: Baptism, Wedding, Funeral Music: Orthodox Outreach.

Visit the Department of Sacred Music's website for details and to register.

OCN Matching Gift Pascha Appeal

“After years of being away from the Orthodox Church, my youngest brother invited me to attend the Paschal Liturgy. Like the Prodigal Son, I had come home. I listened to ‘Come Receive the Light’ and other OCN shows non-stop. The Orthodox Christian Network is an invaluable resource for the spread of Holy Orthodoxy, and I am a proud monthly supporter.” — S.F. from Las Vegas, NV

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It’s no secret that many young people drift away from the Church. Do you ever feel like that unfortunate trend is simply unstoppable? It’s easy to get discouraged, but I have good news for you: More and more people like this young listener from Las Vegas are “coming home” to Orthodoxy. And YOU can make a difference in the lives of others just like him by joining with the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) in its mission to:

• CALL BACK the wayward
• INSPIRE the faithful
• CONNECT teens, young adults and families to Christ’s Church

Memory Eternal: Albert Joseph

The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch mourns the passing of the servant of God, Albert Joseph, into eternal life this past weekend at the age of 90.  Albert Joseph served as the first North American Chair of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Archdiocese for eight years. May his memory be eternal!

New Distance Learning Program Begins

The Department of Religious Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is beginning a pilot distance learning program. Living Great Lent taught by Rev. Dr. Alkiviadis Calivas will be available on-line at beginning February 19. Participants will need to register on-line to have access to the five video presentations by Fr. Calivas, a series of readings, and questions for discussion. The course will be facilitated by Dr. Anton C. Vrame, Director of the Department of Religious Education, and Rev. Dn. Markos Nickolas, a doctoral candidate in pastoral theology at Boston University. While an individual can register for the course, the course is designed for groups that can meet to discuss the presentations and readings. The course material will be available from February 19 to April 4 to encourage learners and groups to complete the five session program within seven weeks. Fr. Calivas is Professor emeritus of Liturgy at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. After the course has ended, the pilot program of the GOA Department of Religious Education will be evaluated in order to begin a larger distance learning program in the fall. For more information contact the GOA Department of Religious Education at 617-850-1218.

Bishop MARK Celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy in Chicago

On Sunday March 16, 2008 Bishop MARK of Toledo joined with his brother hierarchs, Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago (GOA), Metropolitan CHRISTOPHER (Serbian), Archbishop NICOLAE (Romanian), Archbishop JOB (OCA), Bishop ILIA of Philomelion (Albanian EP) and Bishop PETER of Cleveland (ROCOR), at Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Palos Hills, IL. Over 40 priest and a dozen deacons joined in this year's celebration.