Reuters Moscow Bureau reports, "Russia officially celebrated a new holiday on Wednesday marking its conversion to Christianity in 988, the latest Kremlin boost to an Orthodox Church that has grown increasingly powerful since the fall of Communism.
Marking the anniversary, Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, told state-run television: 'Abandoning the historical significance of the baptism of Rus means discarding the supporting pillar of our entire civilization.'
Kirill held a liturgy in Kiev, the capital of modern Ukraine and mediaeval Kievan Rus, whose leader Prince Vladimir converted to Christianity over a millennia ago and adopted it for his state. Kievan Rus is seen as the precursor to modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Clad in a flowing gold cloak in Kiev's historic Pecherska Lavra monastery, Kirill told thousands of followers: 'Facing aggressive atheism and resurgent paganism we remain firm in our belief in God.'
The Orthodox Church is undergoing a revival in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union almost 20 years ago and Russia's leaders have endorsed it as the country's main faith.
Medvedev on June 1 signed a law making July 28 a National Day, a state holiday that is also a working day.
Across Russia, churches prepared to hold ceremonies and mass river baptisms in honor of the conversion."
(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov in Kiev and Amie Ferris-Rotman in Moscow; Editing by Peter Graff)
Chesterton, IN — “The Miracle in Zone One” is the name of a new Ancient Faith Radio audio documentary, in which Bobby Maddex reports on his recent trip to Hogar Raphael Ayau Orthodox Orphanage in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
From its founding more than 150 years ago, through its seizure by the government of Guatemala and its return to a descendant of the founder, Orthodox Christian nun Madre Inés Ayau García, in the 1990s, the story of “The Hogar” and its impact on the life of children and adults involves one miracle after another.
The miraculous happens frequently at Hogar Rafael Ayau (HRA). But, like so many miracles in Scripture, humans sometimes play a role. So when Catherine Fuller was looking for a way to record the wonderful singing of the children at Hogar Rafael Ayau and needed equipment, she contacted Ancient Faith Radio. She’d already tried recording the children herself, but the equipment available just wasn’t up to the job. She was hoping AFR would have better equipment.
Update: His Grace Bishop ANTOUN attended the firefighters' memorial on Friday, July 30. An estimated 8,000 firefighters attended the service.
Update, from the Connecticut Post:
As many as 10,000 firefighters from across the nation and Canada are expected to attend funeral services for Lt. Steven Velasquez, 40, and firefighter Michel Baik, 49, who died while battling a house fire on Saturday.
Firefighter Michel Baik was a lifelong member of St. Nicholas Church in Bridgeport, CT. He lost his life fighting a house fire on Saturday, July 24.
The arrangements for Michel are as follows:
The wake will be Thursday, July 29, at the Abriola Parkview Funeral Home, 419 White Plains Rd., Trumbull CT, from 4-8 PM.
The funeral service will take place at St. Nicholas Church on Friday, July 30, beginning at 2 PM, followed by the internment. The mercy meal will follow within the facilities of St. Catherine of Sienna Church, 220 Shelton Rd., Trumbull CT.
Because a very large turnout is expected, there will be additional seating in the church hall with an audio/video feed of the funeral service for those who cannot get a seat in the church.
July 16, 2010
Baltimore, MD — Looking for a great back-to-school service project that will provide kids around the world with supplies that they desperately need? International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is challenging its supporters to assemble 10,000 school kits by September 2010 as part of its "Kits for Kids" campaign.
Parish youth leaders and Sunday School teachers can use "Kits for Kids" as a powerful way for children to learn how to serve others while providing supplies for some of the millions of children who lack items as basic as pencils and paper.
"The kits are so valuable, especially from the simple perspective of the kids getting something new and clean and useful that they could call their own," said an Orthodox priest in Haiti who works at a school that is supported by IOCC and who recently received a shipment of school kits.
IOCC, which has sent tens of thousands of school kits to children in need throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East, through a partnership with Church World Service (CWS), is reporting very low supplies of school kits at the warehouse in Maryland where they are stored.
Become part of the "Kits for Kids" campaign today! Help IOCC get 10,000 school kits to 10,000 children who need them desperately all over the world! Click here for complete instructions.
Northern Uganda had been decimated by war and insurrection for many of the years since its independence from Britain in 1961. Now relatively secure, former residents are beginning to return and their medical needs are tremendous. This June, an Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) Health Care Team was sent to Uganda to address the persistent needs that exist there.
Malaria is a scourge in East Africa and intestinal worms are pandemic. Arriving in Kampala and first working out of Gulu and then moving to Lira, the team treated over 3,800 patients in nine rural clinics. The first day saw a new record for a one day patient count when over 700 people were examined and treated. The Team pharmacy worked until 8:30 pm filling prescriptions by the light of a kerosene lantern.
The team, led by Fr. Joseph Ciarciaglino, utilized two doctors, one nurse practitioner, three RNs, one physical therapist and one health care student to bring medical services to many who had not had any care since last year's OCMC Team treated them. These dedicated Orthodox medical professionals are a credit to themselves and to the Orthodox Church. The love and care with which they served God's children was a visible sign of the Gospel message of love of neighbor.
In addition to over $9,200 worth of medical supplies, the Team brought liturgical books and two sets of vestments for the priests. A set of icons, an icon cross for St. Basil Orthodox Church in Gulu, over 3,000 paper icons and a set of church banners were also gifted by the Team. Financial contributions were made toward a day school and for other needs as they arose.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, at their 40th Clergy Laity Conference, adopted six General Resolutions which they have released to the general public here.
The resolutions: call for religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, request the faithful and the government to do all possible to help the people impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf, issue a call to prayer for peace in the world and especially in the regions of Iraq and Afghanistan, request that all Orthodox support the efforts of the Episcopal Assembly, express appreciation for the ministry of Orthodox chaplains, and offer thanks to those who planned and executed the Congress in Atlanta.
from The Voice of Russia:
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has urged the clergy to use Internet blogs for missionary work. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church warned against idle talk or passing one’s own thoughts for the postulates of the church. The Patriarch was speaking ahead of his second pastoral visit to Ukraine....
Patriarch Kirill sees social networking as an opportunity for dialogue and revival of the epistolary genre. IT expert Alexander Kuzin says the patriarch wants to establish a dialogue with the Internet community in a user-friendly language.
"The Church wants to make itself understood to most readers," he says. "This does not mean that church bloggers should use a primitive or false language. Unlike former Internet resources, social networks and blogs make it possible to talk and listen. Communication is crucial. A contemporary user wants two-way communication, so that they could ask questions and receive the answers, and could enter discussions with the others."
Conciliar Press recently released Bearing the Saint, a story by author Matushka Donna Farley. The descriptive text reads: "Edmund is just an ordinary fisherman’s son from the island of Lindisfarne, whose one great talent and joy is running as a messenger for his bishop. But when Viking invaders threaten the holy island and its great treasure, the relics of St. Cuthbert, Edmund’s life changes forever. Along with his whole village, he must accompany their beloved saint on a perilous pilgrimage that will carry him across England, through adventure, heartbreak, miraculous deliverance, and budding love, all the way to manhood."
The paperback book is appropriate for older children, but adults will enjoy Farley's engrossing narrative as well. To order the book, go to the Conciliar Press website.
St. Paul the Apostle Church in Dayton, Ohio, is hosting an exhibition of more than ancient and new 100 icons. Located at 4451 Wagner Road, St. Paul will allow viewing of the free exhibition from August 20-22, 2010, 10 AM to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday.
Forty of the icons in the Exhibit are historic, dating from 1650 on, and hailing from Russia, Greece, Ukraine and Ethiopia. Among them are a 17th century Russian miniature iconstasis with more than 20 individual figures, as well as a large 18th century Icon of the Virgin Mary, "The Joy of All Who Sorrow."
Viewers will also be able to see the 36 large new icons that respected Russian-American iconographer Dmitri Shkolnik of San Francisco has recently installed on the walls of St. Paul’s, including icons detailing scenes from the life of Christ, the life of St. Paul, as well saints of the 20th century - including several martyrs from the Midwest who were executed in Russia for their faith during the years of Soviet oppression.
Explains oca.org, "In keeping with the theme, 'The Gift of Transfiguration: Changed Life and Lives', the exhibition also concludes with a number of recent icons by Daryl Cochran, an American iconographer who is currently an inmate at the London Correctional Institute in London, Ohio. 'Daryl became an Orthodox Christian a few years ago while in prison,' explains Fr. Ted Bobosh, rector of the parish. 'A talented artist, Daryl is in the process of becoming a unique iconographer as well.'"
(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) – Marie and her daughter, Lovely, make a 4-hour, round trip journey each day from their home in the Delmas 10 area of Port-au-Prince to reach Foyer d’Amour (“House of Love”), a school for the developmentally disabled operated by the Orthodox Church that Marie calls, “a gift from God.” It is one of only five such schools in a country of 10 million, and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is equipping it with everything it needs – from teacher’s salaries to basic school supplies – to stay open.
As Haitians pass the six-month mark since the earthquake that devastated their country, such support is crucial for children, allowing them to continue their education and regain some normalcy.
On January 12, when the earthquake struck, Foyer d’Amour’s teachers and parents streamed in all night to check on the school. “So many schools had been destroyed, but Foyer d’Amour was special,” says Roseline, a teacher who has been with the school for 10 years. “Here we not only teach students skills they need to survive in society, but we provide a safe place that they do not have anywhere else.”
The school was severely damaged by the quake, so teachers built a temporary facility across the street. One hundred of the school’s 150 students returned when the school reopened in April. The school completely waived the tuition fees and is committed to accepting any student who can benefit from its curriculum.
“My home was destroyed in the earthquake and I live in a tent in my old neighborhood, but Foyer d’Amour gives me motivation and hope,” says Rose, a teacher who instructs students in sewing. Students learn other occupational skills like cooking, and they can join a music band that plays for dignitaries and special events.
The Orthodox blog Byztex recently posted a UK-based Daily Mail article reporting an amazing discovery. The preservationists of the Ethiopian Heritage Fund have located the earliest known illustrated Bible at the remote Ethiopian Orthodox Garima Monastery, near Adwa in the northern Tigray region at 7,000 feet above sea level. The Garima Gospels are named after a fifth century monk and have survived virtually intact, despite enemy invasions and a fire in the 1930's, thanks to the diligence of the Orthodox monks.
Explains the Daily Mail article, "They were written on goat skin in the early Ethiopian language of Ge'ez.
There are two volumes which date from the same time, but the second is written in a different hand from the first. Both contain illustrations and the four Gospels.
Though the texts had been mentioned by the occasional traveller since the 1950s, it had been thought they dated from the 11th century at the earliest."
Read the complete story here.
Baltimore, MD — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) received strong support on Tuesday from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, which presented IOCC with an $80,000 check for its aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and another gift of $40,000 for IOCC projects around the world. The presentation was made at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Clergy-Laity Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. "From wheelchairs distributed to the disabled of Zimbabwe and support to fight the dreaded disease of podoconiosis in Ethiopia, Philoptochos has been one of the strongest partners for IOCC," said IOCC Development Director Daniel G. Christopulos who accepted the gifts on behalf of IOCC. Philoptochos was one of the first Orthodox supporters of IOCC's relief work in Haiti, providing an emergency grant for an airlift of water purification equipment and tents (shown here) for families in the days just after the earthquake. The check presented on Tuesday brings Philoptochos's total aid for Haiti to $100,000.
K. James Kallail, Coordinator of The Hauran Connection, writes, "His Grace Bishop BASIL has designated Sunday, July 25, as St. Timon Sunday. For the third year, we offer our prayers as one community to St. Timon, patron of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, so that he may intercede with Christ our God on behalf of the clergy and people of our sister diocese. We ask that each parish remember Metropolitan Saba, his priests, their families, and all the faithful of the Archdiocese on this day (His Eminence, Metropolitan SABA, Fr. Paul, Fr. Peter, Fr. George, Fr. Peter, Fr. Philip, Fr. George, Fr. Samaan, Fr. Elia, Fr. Timon, Fr. Isaac, Archimandrite Seraphim, and Subdeacon Majd). We also ask that you take this opportunity to raise funds for our sister diocese. Some will hold special fund raisers. Some will take special collections. Some will sell St. Timon icons. Ideas can be found here. On the web site, you also will find many resources to inform your parish about our sister diocese. You can print materials for bulletins, handouts, Sunday School, etc... I encourage you to use these resources to educate and inform your parishioners. For example, you may want to use His Grace's letter about the program to get historical information about the Archdiocese. Certainly, these efforts should not only be once a year, however, a special effort is asked for St. Timon Sunday. I am happy to answer questions or take your comments at email@example.com. ALL FUNDS MUST BE SENT TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:
K. James Kallail
502 Creekside Ct
Derby, KS 67037
In Christ, K. James Kallail - Coordinator, The Hauran Connection - DOWAMA Fellowship of St. John the Divine"
His Grace Bishop BASIL, Secretary of the Episcopal Assembly, explained in his July 4 St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood Memo, "In a letter dated June 28th addressed to the 63 bishops who comprise the Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs of North & Central America, Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and chair of the EA, announced tentative dates for the next meeting of the EA: May 25-27, 2011. Please keep the work of the EA in your prayers!"
In the fall of 2011, a new institution will open its doors to the Orthodox community. St. Katherine College in San Diego, California, will commence the first year of classes, offering an emphasis in Composition, English Language and Literature, Foreign Language, U.S. Government and History, Economics, Mathematics, and the Sciences. As to affiliation, the website explains that "The College community is independent, but it is closely associated with the Orthodox Christian community." Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dr. Scott Cairns, and Dr. Vladimir Morosan are all listed as faculty, among several other Orthodox academic luminaries.
Recently, Antiochian.org interviewed Vicki Brannock, St. Katherine College's Executive Director for Communications and Recruitment.
1. Tell us about your academic approach.
Of course the academic emphasis is important to us. We are selecting staff that represents the best in Orthodox academia and are working to strike a balance between the well established (Fr. Thomas Hopko, Scott Cairns) visiting professors and mid-level and younger faculty that we believe will make significant impact on the future.
The “Bible in the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Traditions” unit of the Society of Biblical Literature, is excited to announce that it will be honoring the Very Rev. Fr. Paul Nadim Tarazi on Saturday October 23, 2010 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his academic career. The festivities, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop PHILIP, will begin with a Festschrift (academic conference) on Saturday October 23, 2010 at the conference hall of St. George Antiochian Church in Little Falls, New Jersey, from 9am – 4pm. Lecturers have been invited from all over the world to present papers on subjects dear to Fr. Paul’s heart. The conference is free of charge and is open to the public, but an RSVP to attend is encouraged. The Festschrift presentations will be compiled into a special volume for publication following the conference. For more information, please click here.
To submit a few lines to the booklet or reserve a banquet seat, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or write: Fr. Paul Tarazi Festschrift, c/o OCABS
Danbury, CT 06813
The Chairman of the Festschrift Committee, Fr. Vahan Hovhanessian PhD, can be emailed at email@example.com.
(From the June 2010 WORD magazine)
By Camille Patrick
“Flip-Flops for Haiti”? That’s a popular phrase at St. Matthew’s of North Royalton and all around Cleveland, since one of our parishioners, Josephine Katzbach, ventured on a four-day trip to Haiti in early March with a friend of hers, to help build a clinic for the mountain people.
The ladies made the trip to work with a nun and a priest afﬁliated with a church in Chicago called Fraternité Notre Dame. Josie returned from Haiti with an ambitious goal of raising 2,000 ﬂip-ﬂops for the 1,500 or so impoverished inhabitants who live around a primitive camp at the top of a mountain near Port-au-Prince. She and her friend plan to return sometime in July to distribute the ﬂip-ﬂops to the people there.
June 25, 2010
Baltimore, MD — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is delivering medical supplies to assist refugee families who have fled ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan this month. Tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks fled the violence and crossed the border into Uzbekistan to seek safety while others remain displaced within Kyrgyzstan. Read about the IOCC response here.
IOCC is providing medical care for the refugees and displaced – mostly women, children and the elderly – in the form of an Emergency Health Kit with enough medicine and supplies to treat 10,000 people. The kit, valued at $421,000, is being provided in cooperation with Medical Teams International (MTI) and will arrive at Tashkent today. MTI staff will then immediately transport the kit to the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan and along the Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan border.
Help the victims of disasters around the world, like the refugee crisis in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org, call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225.
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion has announced that their annual conference will be held on November 5th and 6th, 2010, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. The title of the conference is Orthodox Practice and Clinical Practice: How Our Faith Informs Our Work. Featured speakers include Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, Archimandrite Meletios Webber, Dr. Herman Tristram Engelhardt, and Dr. Stephen Muse.
Click here to download the conference flyer (PDF format), for details on logistics, speakers and events.
In a Communique dated June 22, 2010, posted on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain website, it was announced:
"The Inaugural Meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops with Churches in the British Isles was held on 21st June 2010 at Thyateira House, the centre of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The Assembly operates in accordance with the Decision reached at the 4th Pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Meeting at Chambésy ( Switzerland) on 13th June 2009."
The announcement emphasized the historical significance of the gathering, stating that up until the present day, "...there has been no kind of Inter-Orthodox Episcopal Committee." Three subcommittees have been formed, for Theological, Pastoral and Educational considerations. The second meeting has been scheduled for December, 2010.
After the meeting, the Orthodox Bishops joined His Grace Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace for a dinner and fellowship.
A photo gallery of the event can be viewed here.
Just around the corner!
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry
Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM
Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 12:00 PM
At the Embassy Suites, Philadelphia Airport Hotel, Pennsylvania
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) announces its 2010 Convocation. The convocation will bring together the many Orthodox clergy and laity from throughout North America who are participating in prison ministry or are interested in participating in prison ministry, for a time of fellowship, education, encouragement, communal worship and the free exchange of ideas.
Certified counselor, businessman, active layman and father of three Paul Karos, was the featured speaker at this year's Antiochian Village Men's Retreat, themed "Exploring the Passions that Drive us and the Virtues that can Save us." Mr. Karos drew from both his professional life as a financial analyst and investment banker, as well as his life as an active Orthodox Christian at St. Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, to lead discussions about the role and impact of the passions, and the meaning of spiritual discipline and repentance. Attendees participated in a liturgical cycle of services, enjoyed a barbecue cookout at the Pavilion, and enjoyed three separate sessions presented by Paul Karos.
On June 10-12, St. Vladimir's Seminary in Crestwood, New York, hosted a groundbreaking symposium on the role and significance of Hellenism in the Orthodox Church. Key addresses were offered by His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, ("Hellenism and Orthodoxy: A Linguistic and Spiritual Journey"), and by Archimandrite Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, chief secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate ("Greek Orthodoxy, the Ecumenical Patriarachate, and the Church in the USA").
Associate Professor for Systematic Theology Dr. Peter Bouteneff stated in his opening remarks, "Simply put, Hellenism is undeniably one of the most significant cultural impulses for the life of the Church since its earliest historical manifestations. More than any single culture, it is possible to say that any and every Christian must somehow deal with Hellenism, or specifically with the Hellenistic impress on the formation of Christian doctrine and life."
To listen to Archbishop DEMETRIOS' Keynote Address on ocn.net, click here.
Just in time for the summer wedding season, now those who are in the midst of planning for a wedding have a helpful tool provided by the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries. The customizable souvenir wedding brochure can be downloaded from the department's web page, and customized with the names of the bride and groom, wedding attendants, and wedding date. (The download is in PDF format. Some may have the software and technical skills to customize this brochure on their own, but we recommend simply taking this file to a local printer for customizing and printing.)
Oftentimes weddings are the only Church service which non-Orthodox family and friends will ever attend. Orthodox brides and grooms need a way to explain to their guests what is happening in the ceremony. Those attending Orthodox weddings are struck by the rich symbolism, but they are also curious and perhaps even critical of the wedding, not understanding why it is so different from other weddings they’ve attended.
This souvenir brochure provides a helpful take-away explanation for your guests as to why the priest is doing what he is doing and what the parts of the wedding (such as the dance of Isaiah) mean.
Additionally, a bride and groom and their family members, can also benefit from reading and downloading the brochure "Crowned With Glory and Honor: Guidelines for Orthodox Marriage Preparation."
By Alex Goodwin
It is for the Glory of God and His Church that the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) is pleased to announce its acceptance of a grant totaling $650,000 awarded by an anonymous donor on June 10, 2010.
This two-year grant will completely retire the mortgage on the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Center in St. Augustine, Florida, which serves to administer the many ministries of OCMC and to train and equip mission workers from the United States for service around the world.
With this gift, OCMC will continue to develop its vibrant mission ministries which serve to extend the open arms of the Orthodox Christian Church to parts of the world that still long for the hope of salvation in Christ.
This significant contribution further illustrates the intent of Orthodox Christians in North America to make disciples of all nations.