"'Kyrie eleison,' the congregants intone, while at the altar, a retired cop-turned-Orthodox priest performs rituals as old as Christianity. When he steps down to face the crowd, he delivers a sermon like a country preacher, sweat beading on his forehead. 'Some of us here are former Methodists,' says the Rev. James Hamrick, wearing white vestments over a black cassock, addressing two-dozen worshippers scattered sparsely through the pews. 'Some of us were former Lutherans. Some of us were former Episcopals. Evangelicals. Non-denominational Christians. Pentecostals. But the one single factor that is common to all of our journeys — no, not where we come from — is that fact that we pursued the truth of God’s self-revelation.'"
Founding pastor of the Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, The Very Rev. George Shalhoub, has released a book titled The Mystery of Love and Marriage. An associate professor at Madonna University as well as a priest of many years, Fr. George draws from more than 40 years of experience in counseling, teaching and educating the community on the foundations of a healthy relationship. His book provides practical advice about healthy living in a complicated and fast paced world, and about how to live a balanced way of life.
"This book is a roadmap for anyone looking to be in a relationship,' said Fr. George Shalhoub. "The Mystery of Love and Marriage exposes the truths to communication, forgiveness and unconditional love, all the scariest and most important pieces of being in a partnership."
The summer is an especially busy season for the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), as short-term mission teams are trained and then sent out to minister in other parts of the world. In 2013, teams journeyed to Alaska, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala and Albania, and several of the participants shared their stories on the OCMC's Website and Facebook page.
Jamil Samara, director of Internet Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, served on the Albania Mission Team in the early summer. On Day five of his blog diary, he wrote:
Thursday, May 30, 2013
My head popped off the pillow about 4 am, even before my alarm went off! I intended on waking up early, as today was a big day, and I needed to prepare for it. Andrew Otto and I were tasked with giving a presentation today in front of 100 teenagers in Berat, a nearby city. I'm not used to public speaking, so I like having what I'm going to say clearly written out and rehearsed.
[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] "This fall, as we conclude our 75th Anniversary year, we will bring some innovative events to our campus," remarked The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Yonkers, NY. "Our fall schedule is quite full, and it will hold some surprises, in honor of our Jubilee.
"Most notably," he continued, "Father John Erickson, former dean of our school and professor emeritus of history, will present our inaugural Father John Meyendorff Annual Memorial Lecture in September; and in October, we will host a college conference with the theme 'For the Life of the World,' titled after the phenomenal book by Father Alexander Schmemann.
"With these two events," he concluded, "we plan to give special honor to two former deans who had immeasurable impact upon our seminary during their tenures."
The Diocese of New York & New Jersey for the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) recently sponsored the 2013 Parish Council Conference for the Diocese. At the invitation of His Grace Bishop Michael, the conference facilitator was Antiochian speaker and author The Very Rev. Constantine Nasr. Father Constantine oversaw the growth of a modestly sized parish in Oklahoma City, OK to a truly thriving community of over 1,000 souls during his three decades of pastoral ministry. With enthusiasm, clarity, and wit, Father Constantine shared his years of expertise and highly practical methods for making the faith contagious and parishes inviting to both new visitors and to those who have fallen out of regular participation in parish life.
Blake Keller (Parish Council Warden, Saint John the Baptist Church, Rochester NY) said: “Father Constantine Nasr immediately got the attention of the conference participants by reminding us that in the Gospel of Mathew we are told to ‘Go ye therefore...!’ He repeatedly inspired us that this requires energy and effort, not sitting frozen.
Color and black and white versions of the official logo for 2014 Parish Life Conferences are now available online:
August is "Vice Month" for The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) flagship podcast, "Come Receive the Light. The August theme is introduced in the video "Overcoming Habits and Addictions" with Fr. Christopher Metropulos, OCN's executive director. To kick off the discussion, Fr. George Aquaro of St. Matthew Antiochian Orthodox Church in Torrance, CA tackles the topic "Substance Addiction: A Spiritual Illness." Author of the blog Orthodoxy and Recovery, Fr. George seeks to aid individuals struggling with addiction through the 12-Step program and the tools available through the Orthodox Faith.
Chapter Sponsorship Kits will include:
1 full-color 2'x4' icon banner with image above
10 "Timeline of Church History" brochures
10 "What on Earth is the Orthodox Church" brochures
10 "The 4 Elements of OCF Life" flyers
20 OCF prayer cards
10 OCF pens
Through the generosity of an anonymous donor, OCF has the means to send out 40 Chapter Sponsorship Kits, in order that the nearly 200 OCF chapters might bring a strong Orthodox presence to their welcome week activities and student activity fairs.
More information on sponsoring a chapter is available on the OCF Website.
Educating Ourselves and Our Children in Godliness
St. John Orthodox Church
80 Water Lane North
Levittown, NY 11756
Saturday, August 10, 2013
8:30am-4:30pm (lunch provided)
Pre-Registration Required by August 4
The Orthodox Christian Education Commission (OCEC) and St. John Orthodox Church are proud to present an exciting workshop that will enhance the quality of teaching in our church schools.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — By day, Rasha is known throughout her church community in Amman as the compassionate woman who visits Jordanian families and Syrian refugees in need and brings them relief items such as blankets, food and personal hygiene kits provided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) in Jordan. By night, few are aware that Rasha returns to her family and a life of poverty worse than many of those she seeks to help.
Her situation is shared by a growing number of Jordanians whose standard of living has suffered as a result of the Syrian refugee influx. With the flood of refugees who have arrived during the last two years seeking private accommodations over the conditions in the refugee camps, monthly rents are rising faster than wages for Jordanians.
From the Department of External Relations, Russian Orthodox Church:
The Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, who came to Moscow for the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, adopted the joint Statement. The main theme of the Statement is the situation of Christians in the Middle East. On 25 of July 2013, the Primates and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. On behalf of all those present at the meeting, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia handed over the text of the Statement to Mr. Putin.
We, heads and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, who have come to Moscow on the occasion of the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, consider it our duty to raise our voice in defense of our Christian brothers subjected to persecution for their faith in various parts of the world today.
Every day thousands of believers in Christ are being tortured and driven out of their native lands; many people meet their death. Read the full statement of the Primates.
Khouria Krista West, owner of Krista West Vestments and an Ancient Faith Radio podcaster ("The Opinionated Tailor"), has released a new book with St. Vladimir's Press titled The Garments of Salvation. The first comprehensive book on this topic in the English language, the text invites readers to explore the fascinating and colorful world of Orthodox Christian vesture and church adornment. Wife of Fr. Alban West, the rector of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Portland, OR, Kh. Krista is unveiling her new book at the 51st Annual Archdiocese Convention in Houston throughout the week of July 21-28. The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is also airing an interview with Kh. Krista about her book on the podcast "Come Receive the Light."
Praise for Kh. Krista's book:
The Garments of Salvation will fascinate anyone who loves "the beauty of Thy house" with its insight into the meaning and making of liturgical vestments and fabrics. Most importantly, it returns to us our own holy tradition, a tradition of great beauty, which threatens to be lost to the temptations of cheap materials and hasty production. Beauty matters, and The Garments of Salvation will make you hungry to see it in your own church. ~Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green
A ministry supported by The Order of St. Ignatius and many individual Antiochian parishes, Project Mexico is in the midst of its busy summer in Tijuana, Mexico. Home building crews have been working each week since May.
Two types of homebuilding groups participate each summer: small groups, and Orthodox Basic Training (OBT) groups. During small group weeks, teams from one, two, or three parishes construct a single home for a needy family and spend the afternoons interacting with the boys of St. Innocent Orphanage. During OBT weeks, larger groups travel to Tijuana to construct between four to seven homes in one week, and evening speakers each evening discuss a variety of Orthodox Christian topics. Two of this year's presenters are Antiochian priests Fr. Michael Nasser from Bowling Green, KY and Fr. John Bethancourt from Santa Fe, NM.
It is with saddened hearts that we inform you of the passing of our sister and aunt, Helen Thomas. Surrounded by family and friends, she died peacefully in her Washington, D.C. home Saturday morning, July 20, 2013.
Helen Thomas devoted her nearly 70-year career in journalism to the pursuit of the public's right to know. She was a champion of the First Amendment, fervently advocating for the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. For years, she proudly occupied her front row seat in the Press Briefing Room at the White House, considering it the people's chair in the people's house. She always acknowledged the privilege of being the eyes and ears of the public, and she boldly and unabashedly asked the hard questions to hold our leaders accountable.
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology & Religion (OCAMPR) has announced the theme of its 2013 Conference in Falls Church, VA at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church on November 1-2, 2013: "The Clinical and Pastoral Care of the Aging Patient."
Speakers include The Right Rev. Bishop John, Diocese of Worcester and New England, Dr. Helen Kales, geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan, Dr. Brenda O'Reilly, a clinical psychologist in private practice, and The Rev. Dr. Anthony Ugolnik, Emeritus Professor of Ethics and Humanities at Franklin and Marshall College.
Khouria Jacqueline "Jacqui" (Tomey) Rados, age 75, of Potomac, MD, passed away on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 after a long, courageous battle with an extended illness. Jacqui was born on January 20, 1938 in Canton, Ohio to Mike and Peggy (Albert) Tomey. She married and moved to Terre Haute, IN where she raised five sons before moving to Maryland and working over 20 years in the Montgomery County School system while performing her most beloved role of mother and grandmother.
Khouria Jacqui was preceded in death by her parents, Mike and Peggy Tomey; son, Christopher Rados; and sisters, Marlene Booth and Kathryn Martinez. The survivors include her husband of 52 years Fr. George Rados; son and daughter-in-law George and Hanada Rados; son and daughter-in-law Mark and Dana Rados; and sons, David and Paul Rados; grandchildren, Corey, Paul, Christopher, Nicholas, Alexi and Michael Rados; brothers, David, Michael and Alan Tomey all of Canton, OH; sister and brother-in-law, Carol and Don Boord of Massillon, OH, and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Khouria Jacqui loved to bake and cook for all who visited her kitchen and was the adopted mother of many. She will be sadly missed by all whose lives she touched. Friends were received on Monday, July 15th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Ss. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD. Funeral Services were held from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Interment was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery on Tuesday In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Ss Peter & Paul for the benefit of the Memorial Garden Fund.
Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) has released an interview titled "Correcting a Canonical Anomaly." AFR's Website explains that "One Bishop per city or region is what the canons call for. Yet, here in North America we have multiple bishops in one location. The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops is working to correct that, and today we speak with Protodeacon Peter Danilchick (Orthodox Church in America) who is the liaison for the Canonical Regional Planning Committee. Learn about the importance of this task and how long it will take to get it done."
For more information on this issue, visit AFR's documentary section and the page, "Unravelling Chambesy."
On Saturday in the Fourth Week after the Octave of Easter on June 8, 2013, His Grace Bishop John ordained Subdeacon James Tochihara to the office of Deacon at St. Mark's Orthodox Church in Denver, CO, . Deacon Patrick is assigned to St. Mark in Denver. Three young men were also ordained Readers. Father John Connely celebrated Mass following the ordinations. Axios! Ad multos annos! Many Years!
On the Feast of Pentecost on June 23, at St. Peter's Orthodox Church in Ft. Worth, TX, His Grace ordained Deacon Robert Weber to the Holy Priesthood. Father Robert is the non-stipendiary curate at St. Peter, and Fr. Daniel Keller sponsored Father Robert for ordination. Axios! Ad multos annos! Many Years!
On Ember Saturday in Pentecost, June 29 at the Parish Life Conference (PLC) for the Diocese of Worcester and New England, His Grace Bishop John ordained Subdeacon Benjamin Kjendal to the Holy Diaconate. Then on Trinity Sunday, June 30, His Grace ordained Deacon Benjamin Kjendal to the office of Priest in the Orthodox Church. Father Benjamin is assigned to St. Stephen Orthodox Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Antiochian Orthodox Basilica of Saint Mary in Livonia, MI, praises God for all His blessings, as the Lord provides us with multiple opportunities to serve our beloved children—God's inheritance. They are our greatest gift from the Lord.
Every summer, the Basilica of St. Mary hosts both a weekly "Camp St. Mary" ministry program for our children 13-17 years of age, and a one- week Vacation Bible School ministry program for children 3-12 years of age. The goal of the summer programs is to teach the children the meaning of Christ's two greatest commandments: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. All the activities are designed to instill these spiritual truths into the lives of our children by teaching them how to be strong in their faith, and how to represent Christ to the world.
In July of 2013, the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is featuring the evangelistic theme titled "Faith and Nations," an exploration of "...the richness of the diversity within the Orthodox World," notes OCN's website. On the podcast "Journey to Orthodoxy," convert to Orthodox Christianity Christa Belyaev shares how she fell in love with Russian culture, went to Russia to win converts to Protestantism, and instead found the Orthodox faith.
Continuing this monthly theme, Fr. Bill Mills shares excerpts from his book Baptize All Nations on the podcast "Theologically Thinking. The book refers to the Gospel of Matthew readings which the Church proclaims throughout the summer months.
View OCN's video newsletter for a further explanation of July's theme.
July 2, 2013
As the communities of Prescott and Yarnell, Arizona, mourn the loss of 19 firefighters and the destruction of 200 buildings by the wildfires that have already scorched 8,400 acres and are still raging out of control in the area northwest of Phoenix, please join IOCC in praying for the impacted families and lost loved ones.
IOCC has been in contact with the Orthodox community in the affected area as well as its ecumenical partners, and at the request of the local Orthodox priest, has sent a team of its Frontline trauma counselors to assist in spiritual and emotional care as well as further assess the emerging needs for any appropriate future responses that IOCC might offer.
For more information or to find out how you can help, visit the IOCC's Website.
Calling all parents, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, parish priests, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) alumni!
OCF is in the midst of collecting names for its First Forty Days program and it needs the help of each parish, to help high school graduates seamlessly join the OCF network. First Forty Days aims to integrate new collegians into the life of an OCF chapter during the first forty days of college. Please submit student information on OCF's website by June 30th to ensure that each students will be directly contacted by the OCF North American Office and greeted on his or her college campus by an OCF family and local parish at the beginning of the fall semester.
Questions? Please contact North American Chapter Relations Coordinator Christina Andresen at email@example.com.
June 28, 2013
Imagine if you or your children could not attend school or stay healthy because you did not have a sturdy pair of shoes. Children should be able to have the freedom to run and play with durable soles and their feet protected. Throughout the country, children who are experiencing homelessness and poverty have inadequate or no shoes at all, which leads to being unable to go to school, participate in sports, play on the playground, and pose numerous health risks.
In response, FOCUS is launching Operation: Lace Up, a national shoe distribution program that will begin in the summer of 2013. Hundreds of thousands of children affected by homelessness and poverty will receive two new pairs of high-quality shoes each year. The goal of the program is to ensure that all school-age children have comfortable, properly-fitting shoes and are able to attend school. Operation: Lace Up will work with public school districts in 28 metropolitan areas across the United States to reach kids in need.
The first shoe distributions will begin in August 2013, in preparation for the new school year. Details are available on the FOCUS website.
Antiochian Village announces that "Session One of camp is underway and the campers are loving it...all thanks to God. This year we are using a new website for our photography and we are excited to provide the campers and parents, per request, with many more photos from every day this summer! At present we have our 2013 Family Camp album and our Staff Training Week album full uploaded. The Session One Album is up and running and we are keeping it updated with hundreds of pictues every day!"
The Archdiocese has received the following authoritative information:
"Executive Order 13528, signed by President Barack Obama on 17 August 2011, includes an exemption under General License No. 6 authorizing U.S. registered financial institutions the ability to transfer funds to individuals in Syria. Attached is a copy of General License No. 6 signed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As parishioners encounter challenges in transferring funds, they may provide this documentation to their financial institution or call OFAC's hotline (202) 622-2480. It is important to have all relevant information on the intended transaction, including the names of the financial institutions in the U.S. and Syria."