What would you do if you only had a few minutes warning before disaster struck? Gather your family? Grab your valuables? Or just find a safe place to take shelter? Those were the split second, life changing decisions that faced the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Springfield, Massachusetts. The Spring of 2011 will go down in US history as one of the most devastating tornado seasons ever, and a sobering reminder that we must be ever vigilant and ever prepared.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has trained 60 Orthodox clergy and lay persons in the U.S. in disaster preparedness and emergency management. They now form the backbone of the Emergency Response Network and have the concrete skills needed to deal with communities and parishioners in times of crisis, such as the 2011 tornadoes that have killed more than 500 people and left thousands more homeless.
MEMORY ETERNAL! VICTOR MIHALCA fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, June 19th, at the age of 64. He is the father of Khouryieh Delia Haddad and the father-in-law of Fr. Mousa Haddad of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Alsip, IL. He is survived by his wife Terezia, his daughter Delia, and his grandchildren Anthony and Philip. May the Lord give rest to the soul of His servant Victor, and may his memory be eternal with all the Saints!
Condolences may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org
+May his memory be eternal!
I have received the sad news of the falling asleep in the Lord of His handmaid, Mother Christina Baz, Abbess of the Patriarchal Convent of our Lady of Saidnaya in Syria. Not only was Mother Christina related to me (her mother and my grandfather were siblings), she was known to several people in our Archdiocese, to priests and bishops, to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, and to all who visited Saidnaya Monastery in the past. She reposed on All Saints Sunday, most fitting for a nun who lived the monastic life all her life, especially when we heard the Gospel on Sunday, the Lord Jesus saying: "And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundred-fold, and inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19:29).
Among the Clergy Brotherhood in our Archdiocese, I am her only living relative.
+++ May her memory be eternal +++
And may God have mercy on us, Amen.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! ERNEST ALEXANDER YOUNES, a longtime member of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, reposed on Saturday, June 4th at the age of 93 and was buried on Tuesday, June 7th from his parish church of St George/Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. He was preceded in death by his wife YVONNE and a son ADEL, and is survived by his children MONA and Albert Gorab, NADIA Younes, RAMI and Joanie Younes, MAGDA and Richard Zakaib. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Ernest'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.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! DEACON ROBERT POLYCARP SHERWOOD formerly of St Mark/Denver, CO and, at the time of his repose, assigned to the Church of the Glastonbury Icon of the Mother of God (ROCOR) in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, fell asleep in Christ and was buried June 9 by FATHER JOHN CONNELY from the Basilica of St Laurence/Tallahassee Creek, CO. He is survived by his wife DIACONISSA LILLIAS to whom condolences may be sent c/o email@example.com. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Deacon Robert'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.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Walter Parhamovich, a longtime member of the Archdiocesan Board of Trustees, reposed on Sunday, May 29th and was buried from his parish church of St Michael/Las Vegas, NV on June 4th. He is survived by his wife Grace Mary to whom condolences may be sent: 8425 Apple Hilly Court - Las Vegas, NV 89128-7635. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Walter'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.
Ancient Faith Radio writes: "On a new Ancient Faith Presents, we interview the Very Reverend Constantine Nasr, priest at St. Elijah Orthodox Church in Oklahoma City and the author of the new Conciliar Press book Mastering the Art of Marriage: Staying Together When the World Pulls You Apart."
June 1, 2011 – Today marks the launch of a unique new website in the Orthodox Christian world: Good Guys Wear Black.
“This is a vocations website,” says Fr. John A. Peck, the designer and maintainer of the site. “It is geared specifically for young men discerning a calling. There is almost no other information out there to help them discern, to show them how to think about such a vocation. Good Guys Wear Black fills that void.”
The site contains a multitude of challenging and provocative articles about the Holy Priesthood, pastoral work, front line challenges in parish ministry, and more. Information about the life, education, formation and struggles of taking on the Priesthood of Christ will be a regular feature. There are sections on each of the seminaries and theological schools which will hopefully expand with the cooperation of each school. A workbook for prospective theological students, to help them better discern their calling, will be available shortly.
Good Guys Wear Black is one of several websites built and maintained for general use by the Church by Fr. John A. Peck. Journey To Orthodoxy won last years “Best Domestic Site” award from the Eastern Christian Media awards, and Preachers Institute remains the world’s premier online Orthodox homiletics resource.
Media resources, graphic links, tiles and banners are also available here for inclusion on Orthodox blogs and websites. For more information, contact: Fr. John A. Peck at 928-777-8750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 27, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — From Joplin, Missouri to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, International Orthodox Christian Charities, IOCC, is working to deliver relief items such as clean up buckets and blankets to victims of one of the deadliest tornado seasons to strike the U.S. heartland in half a century.
Joplin, Missouri was the hardest hit, with at least 125 people killed and hundreds more still unaccounted for after the deadliest single twister ever recorded leveled a six mile swath of the town last Sunday night. IOCC and partner agency, Church World Service, are working closely with local churches from the affected area to identify and meet immediate needs such as food and shelter, and services like laundry and property clean up.
Conciliar Media Ministries is offering, for the first time in the American Orthodox context, the highly regarded evangelism and catechism tool called The Way. An offspring of the British Alpha courses first pioneered in England, The Way is "the catechism and adult education program of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies based in the United Kingdom in Cambridge," says Conciliar's website. Billed as an "Introduction to the Orthodox Christian Faith," the course is a boxed set of 1 CD and 4 DVDs, consisting of 12 sessions which run for approximately the same number of weeks. Speakers in the series include Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, Professor David Frost, Fr. Michael Harper, Miss Gladys Bland, Dr. Christine Mangala Frost, Fr. Raphael Armour, Fr. Demetrios Bathrellos, and Mr. John Bazlinton.
Important elements of the program include the provision of a community meal by the host parish, followed by the presentation of a DVD talk on a core aspect of Orthodox Christian belief. Open small group discussion follows, with a question and answer session hosted by a panel.
Explains Conciliar, "The course aims to present the basics of Orthodox Christian faith in an atmosphere of friendship, free exchange and trust, where no question or opinion is treated as unworthy of attention."
Listen as Bobby Maddex interviews David and Mangala Frost of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS) about the new program.
In order to observe May 29 as Prison Ministry Awareness Sunday, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry is encouraging parishes to visit the OCPM website for useful resources including a downloadable poster as well as inserts for parish bulletins, websites and newsletters.
The faithful are also requested to share their resources with OCPM by donating to prison ministry through a designated special offering within the parish after liturgy. A secure link to donate via PayPal is also available here.
All men, single, married, and of all ages are welcome to join us for an Orthodox Men’s Retreat led by Fr. Meletios Webber. Antiochian Village will host this popular event, on the weekend of June 17-19.
Participants will enjoy a weekend of fellowship, learning, worship and relaxation (not to mention Chef Tim’s Fabulous Grilled Salmon cookout on Saturday evening!) with a schedule that is intentionally designed to provide a balance of all of these elements.
The atmosphere is casual and there will be free time to explore the woods, shoot some hoops, or even take in a round of golf at nearby Champion Lakes Golf Course.
Here’s what one of our guests had to say, “These retreats are a perfect mix of structure, content, connection, support, and enjoyment. They have a profound effect on participants; my personal experience included. Thank you for producing this and other retreats. They are life changing!!”
~ John, attendee at Men’s Retreat
Consider bringing your parish men’s group! Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.
Contact Barli Ross at Antiochian Village:
Phone: 724.238.3677 x425
Seven Antiochian students were among the 26 students who graduated from St. Vladimir's Seminary on May 21, 2011. diplomas were awarded in three programs: 1 Master of Theology, 20 Masters of Divinity, and 5 Masters of Arts degrees were conferred.
This year's seven Antiochian graduates were:
Master of Divinity Degree
- Fr. Raphael Barberg
- Fr. Jason Blais
- Fr. Lucas Rice (cum laude)
- Fr. Michael Sakran (cum laude)
- Fr. Ignatius Warren (cum laude)
Ecclesiology in Diaspora
Master of Arts (Theology) Degree
- Maggie Rachelle Downham (cum laude)
Teaching the Whole Child: An Examination of Education in Orthodox America
Master of Theology Degree
- Fr. David Alexander
Resiliency Through Morality: Augustinian Jus Ad Bellum and Its Relevance in “Operation Enduring Freedom”
To see more photos from the graduation and to read the Commencement Program booklet, please visit the St. Vladimir's Seminary website.
George Anton Saba of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the father of Kh. Diana Saba of St. George Church in Cicero, Illinois, fell asleep in Christ this past Thursday, May 19, 2011. The body will be flown to Palestine on Monday for burial. Condolences may be sent to Kh. Diana, and her husband, Fr. Fouad Saba, at email@example.com.
May his memory be eternal!
You wouldn’t think it would be possible to make the Antiochian Village even more beautiful than it already is, but the NAC Special Projects Committee is trying. Nestled just off of the main track visitors will now find a newly installed Prayer Garden, designed around a simple theme. A stone pathway encircling the central area leads to an icon shrine dedicated to St. John the Divine, patron saint of the NAC Fellowship. Inside the mulch-covered central area, a single dogwood tree stands. In the large mulch area outside the pathway are stone benches, a few plants, and room to expand!
This Prayer Garden sprang to life through a combination of Fellowship planning, a Boy Scout working hard to give something back to a place he loves through his Eagle Scout Project, a team of volunteers who offered up sweat and hard work, and the Grace of God.
A planting in this prayer garden is a lovely way to honor, remember, or pray for someone you care about. For a donation that will just cover the cost of materials, the NAC Fellowship will take care of all the details.
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that Hellenic College of Brookline, Massachusetts, is offering a "Semester of Faith" to college students or those interested in an educational semester.
Hellenic College's website explains that this is "an opportunity for short term, collegiate level study at Hellenic College, the only fully accredited four-year Orthodox Christian college in the Western Hemisphere. Students take college level courses that enrich their spiritual lives and help them complete their Bachelor’s degree, while living in an Orthodox Christian community, at whose center is Christ."
Some of the courses available this fall are: Introduction to Orthodoxy, Byzantine Music I, Introduction to Great Religious Ideas. Scholarships available.
The fall application deadline for exchange students is June 1st. Limited openings are available for fall 2011.
For more information, contact:
*Although Hellenic College is fully accredited, students must get all Hellenic College credits approved by their home institution to ensure all credits will transfer.
Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, is pleased to announce a new beginning in its traditional work of publishing and distributing Orthodox Christian literature. This work will now take place using the name “Holy Trinity Publications.” In making this new beginning the monastery is recognizing that whilst the Russian Orthodox Church is again free to minister to the needs of the faithful in Russia, there is a growing spiritual vacuum in the West that cries out for knowledge of “the Faith once and for all delivered to the Saints.” The Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people have preserved this Faith with its own cultural uniqueness. Holy Trinity Monastery is an inheritor of this tradition, and through its publications will seek to make this more widely known.
In doing so we hope to make best use of all that modern technologies and distribution channels offer, so that this heritage can be found and appropriated by the greatest number of people.
With all of these things in mind we have launched a new web site here, and published four new and very different books:
A Psalter for Prayer: An Adaptation of the Classic Miles Coverdale Translation Augmented by Prayers and Instructional Material Drawn From Church Slavonic and Other Orthodox Sources - Compiled, arranged, and edited by David M. James
Light Invisible: Satisfying the Thirst for Happiness - By M.V. Lodyzhenskii, Translated by Mother Magdelena of Novo Divievo
Testament of Memory: A Siberian Life - By Mikhail Chevalkov Translated by John Warden
A Practical Handbook for Divine Services - By Gregory Woolfenden
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — A shipment of personal health kits, many of which were donated by Orthodox Christians from across the United States, have been shipped by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to Birmingham, Alabama for distribution to survivors of recent severe storms and tornadoes that devastated the area in late April. The kits, valued at more than $120,000, represent the first of several planned shipments of relief supplies that have been requested following an assessment by one of IOCC's Frontline responders working in Alabama.
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society also announced its support today for the IOCC response to Alabama and flood areas along the Mississippi River and committed $20,000 from the Society's National Emergency Fund.
"Accommodations are being found for the many affected residents of the stricken areas," reported Deacon Dan Gray, a retired Naval Officer from Eagle River, Alaska and member of the IOCC Frontline who has been in Alabama since May 5. "There are now only about 150 people living in shelters – a good sign considering the scope and severity of this disaster."
June 28-July 2, 2011
At the Sheraton Centre
Downtown Toronto, Canada
For more information, please visit the OCPM 2011 Convocation website
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Bishops of North and Central Americas (formerly SCOBA) announces its 2011 Convocation. This year's Convocation will bring together the many Orthodox clergy and laity from across the world who are participating in prison ministry or who are interested in participating in prison ministry for a time of fellowship, education, encouragement, communal worship and the free exchange of ideas.
Update, May 12, 2011: Speakers Announced
- His Grace Bishop Mark of Baltimore and the South
- His Grace Bishop Irinarkh, Bishop of Krasnogorsk
- Chaplain Patrick Tutella
- Archimandrite Fr. Duane Pederson
- Very Rev. Fr. John Kowalczyk
- Archpriest Oleg Skomorokh
- Fr. Stephen Powley
- Fr. Demetrius Nicoloudakis
- Fr. Monk Cosmas (Shartz)
- The OCPM Minnesota Team
Ancient Faith Radio's newly released podcast in their series "Ancient Faith Presents" features Bobby Maddex interviewing Fr. Charles Joanides and Pres. Kerry Pappas about the upcoming Orthodox Clergy Couples Retreat. Hosted by Antiochian Village, the retreat will take place May 22-24 in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.
In the interview, Fr. Charles and Pres. Kerry provide a brief overview of the retreat, titled "Protecting and Growing Our Marriages," with a description of the sessions and how clergy couples can benefit from the workshops. Couples may still register here.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Sarah Amelia Richmond-Flora of Bristol, Connecticut, 97, mother of Fr. John Flora of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Wichita, Kansas, reposed today at 12:15PM. May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life!
"Let the Children Come Unto Me," a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, is featuring guest homilist Mother Alexandra, the Abbess of the St. Thekla Convent at Antiochian Village. In the podcast, Mother Alexandra speaks to a group of young children about the life and icon of Saint Thekla. Listen to the talk here.
Two recent IOCC press releases explain how the pan-Orthodox organization is reaching out to regions battered by storms and earthquakes, both in the United States and abroad.
April 29, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Following a historic series of storms in the southern United States that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been in contact with Orthodox Christian communities and partner organizations in several U.S. States to assess the needs of survivors.
"While some areas of the United States have been unseasonably dry and experiencing widespread fires, there have been reports of more than 750 tornadoes already this year," says IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. "We have been contacting Orthodox hierarchs and parishes, ecumenical partners, and local authorities in communities across the South and Midwest to assess the needs and offer our support."
May 4, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announced its support for efforts by Christian churches in Japan to provide housing for as many as 1,000 families in the Japanese prefectures hardest hit by the tsunami – Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate.
Working together with Church World Service and in support of the National Christian Council in Japan and the Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief, assistance is being provided to match families with offers of housing made by member churches. The housing service is being administered by the National Christian Council in Japan at its central office in Tokyo and local churches are assisting in matching families who are in need of housing in the affected prefectures.
St. Augustine, FL--Medical personnel are needed to conduct medical clinics and offer health instruction on OCMC Teams in 2011. Especially needed are doctors in Uganda and nurses in Tanzania. Most communities around the world do not have access to basic medical care or instruction, nor do they have the opportunity to visit with a physician or receive regular medical attention.
OCMC health care teams travel to regions where most clinics are set up in church buildings, existing health care facilities, schools or outside in remote locations that often do not have access to electricity. Stacy Loejos, a nurse on the health care team to Uganda in 2010, which treated over 3800 patients, reported how the team learned and applied “field medicine”: “Though overwhelmed at times, our team became a well oiled machine, learning from each day and applying it to the next, as the unending line s of people explained their many ailments to us.” She explains, “I was using my God given talents to help those in need, and that however small, we would somehow change their lives for the better.”
Participating on a health care outreach team, you will help treat various common illnesses found in other parts of the world - malaria, parasites and other tropical diseases. Medical personnel participate in an outreach of the local Church to heal the sick, care for the poor and needy and offer a living witness of Christ as our Lord and Savior.