Syria is in the news a lot these days, but what kind of work is being done by the Church in light of the current circumstances? Listeners may be surprised. In this edition of Ancient Faith Presents, Samer Laham, the Director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development for the Patriarchate of Antioch in Damascus, discusses the ongoing humanitarian work of the IOCC in the country.
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) announces it has released the second and final MP3-DVD volume in Fr. Paul Tarazi's groundbreaking Orthodox Audio Bible Commentary. Ordering information is available on the OCABS website.
As each verse of the Old Testament is read aloud and carefully explained, listeners can hear the story of the Bible unfold in its entirety, while learning relevant historical, linguistic, and literary facts. As attested to by Orthodox liturgical tradition, Scripture is meant to be read aloud to people of all backgrounds. Unfortunately, differences in language, culture, and historical circumstances often obscure the Bible for contemporary listeners. Throughout this series, the speaker repeatedly highlights poetic and literary connections from the original languages, overcoming the problem of translation and helping listeners to encounter the Old Testament as it was heard in its orignal setting.
The approximate running time is 75 hours.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America has issued the following statement of protest:
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.
In this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including some abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless of the religious convictions of the employers.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for “contraceptive services” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such services should not be regarded as mandated medical care. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to rescind this unjust ruling and to respect the religious freedom guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment.
"For the last three years, the Classical Learning Resource Center has focused on teaching live, real-time, online classes in Classical Greek and Latin. We’ve emerged as one of the best online sources available for Latin and Greek instruction. Our student body has approximately doubled for the third year in a row and our new students are just as engaged, inquisitive, and generally delightful as those continuing from last year!
The Classical Learning Resource Center is beginning to gear up for fall of 2012. We’re planning to offer several new classes and part of the purpose of this newsletter is to see how much interest there is in these new course offerings. We’ll continue with our full program of Greek and Latin classes with Latin 4 Kids classes for elementary school and the full 4 year sequence of Latin I, II, III, IV and Greek I, II, III, IV for middle school and high school students and adults. If you haven’t taken a Greek or Latin class with the Classical Learning Resource Center yet we encourage you to begin in 2012.
The Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites all young adults (ages 18-40) to our spring Young Adult Retreat hosted at St. Mary Basilica in Livonia, MI, the weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012. His Grace Bishop Anthony will be our guest speaker for the weekend leading us in workshops about our faith, along with church services, good food, activities and fellowship time together to enjoy each others company. We invite all young adults (married or single) from our diocese and beyond to join us for this retreat. It is going to be a fun and spiritually fulfilling retreat in which we hope all young adults from our diocese will participate.
The retreat will take place at St. Mary Basilica in (18100 Merriman Road, Livonia, MI). Out of town guests may book lodging at the Detroit Marriott Livonia (17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI) where a block of rooms is reserved under the group code: FSJFSJD at a special rate of $96 per night.
The weekend will begin at 7pm on Friday March 30 with the Akatahist/Madeyeh service at St. Mary's, and conclude with a light luncheon after Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday April 1. The final schedule is attached.
The Fall/Winter 2011-2012 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the North American Board. And The Diocese of New York and the Archdiocesan District, And the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, and contains:
- A message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, Antiochian Women Hierarchical Overseer
- A message from His Grace Bishop John, North American Board Spiritual Advisor
- A message from His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Brooklyn and Assistant to the Metropolitan
Rev. Fr. Basilios Nassar was born on January 1, 1982. He held a Bachelor's degree in Theology form St. John of Damascus Orthodox Institute of Theology at the Balamand University in Lebanon, and a Master's degree in pastoral care form the same university in 2004. He was fluent in Arabic, Modern Greek and the New Testament Greek, as well as a working knowledge of English and Hebrew.
He was ordained a deacon and a celibate priest by His Eminence Metropolitan Elias (Saliba) of Hama, Syria, then he served in his hometown, Kfarbahom, and in the Archdiocese of Hama.He taught Bible Study as well as Byzantine music to different age groups, and established many choirs throughout the Archdiocese. He was loved by youth and adult alike for his pastoral care and love, and that is the reason for his untimely death, as he was trying to help one of his parishioners who was wounded.
Fr. Basilios was at the Metropolis when he was informed by a phone call that a parishioner of his had been wounded and needed assistance. The Patriarchate of Antioch has reported that the 30-year-old priest was killed while giving medical aid to the wounded man.
His funeral took place on January 26th in the Church of Saint George in Hama. The blessed Father Basilios, known in the world as Mazin, was born in the Village of Kfarmpo in Hama. He was a teacher of Byzantine music in the school Saint Kosmas the Melodist which he had founded in the Metropolis.
Fr. Basilios was indeed a faithful shepherd. He will be missed by all who knew him in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
May he rest in peace and may his Memory be Eternal.
As of January 27, Fr. Stephan Close, Antiochian Chaplain assigned to Afghanistan's Kandahar Air Field Chapel, has written fifteen vivid letters to his Bishop, His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita. With permission, Antiochian.org is republishing the letters as journal entries, and the regular diary essays compose a moving first-hand account of his life in a war zone.
Fr. Stephan's colorful prose details all the sorrows and joys of a chaplain's life. "It's been a rough week," he writes in Entry 14, "with too many rockets and caskets and trouble and sorrow." Earlier, in his first encounter of the chapel at Kandahar, he explains, "I was able to serve Liturgy with the Romanians yesterday. Their chapel was one of the first constructions when they first came into theater at the beginning of the war (about 10 years now, Lord have mercy on us). It is not a prefab, but was purpose built-some of the interior supports are hewn and fitted, not nailed; a beautiful devotion of handiwork."
Camera-ready bulletin inserts regarding the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Real Break Program are available for download here.
The Real Break program provides alternatives to the “traditional ” Spring Break for college students. It exists to provide students with the most authentic experience possible, and is modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. Now is the time for college students across the US and Canada to sign up for Real Break, as the first program begins February 25 and subsequent service weeks are available through March 24.
The Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its annual "face-to-face" meeting, January 24th and 25th, 2012. The hosts for this year's "face-to-face" meeting were Father Josiah Trenham and the congregation of St Andrew Church in Riverside, CA. An overview of the work accomplished at the Riverside meeting will be included in a soon-to-be issued media release which will report to the Church-at-large on the work of the Assembly during the past year.
The Secretariat, which also meets monthly via teleconference, consists of Bishop Basil (Secretary of the Assembly of Bishops), Archbishop Antony, Bishop Andonios, Bishop Maxim, Father Mark Arey, Father Nicholas Ceko, Father Josiah Trenham, Hierodeacon Benedict (Armitage), Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, and Messrs. Alexei Krindatch, Alex Machaskee, Eric Namee and Constantin Ursache.
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS), Cambridge, UK, invites long distance learners to join its on-line course. The IOCS brings the most distinguished teachers of Orthodoxy from the Cambridge classroom to home computers across the US. Each student is assigned his or her own personal tutor, can attend lectures online, and receives both access to Orthodox study materials and entrance to discussion forums.
Join this highly regarded virtual Orthodox university for a unique and fascinating exploration of the faith. Students can enroll now for the February Distance Learning Module. For more details or to register please visit our website.
Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD, is hosting the spring gathering for both the Diocese of Charleston and the Diocese of New York youth.
Highlights will include:
• Unlimited Bowling Friday Night for $10
• Registration Cost: $35
• Registration Includes Breakfast and Lunch Saturday at the Church Hall
• Registration also includes Dinner and Hafli Saturday Night with live entertainment
• In lieu of the humanitarian activity, each teen from each church is asked to bring a canned food to be donated to a shelter at a later date.
Hotel Accommodations: Bethesda Marriott Suites
6711 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817
• Hotel Rooms at $89 per night
• Rooms can accommodate more than 4 people – All are Suites
• Group Code for Hotel Reservation: SPPSPPA
• Registration Due by April 13th for guaranteed room rate
Brookline, MA—Hellenic College Holy Cross, the oldest and largest Christian Orthodox institution for higher learning in North America, invites Orthodox Christian students from the United States and Canada to take part in a summer vocation exploration program that integrates faith, learning, and service. In its ninth year, the CrossRoad summer institute has proven to be a successful program preparing teens for leadership in the Church and in their communities.
One of the vibrant programs of HCHC’s Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM), CrossRoad offers participants access to HCHC’s distinguished faculty instruction and enthusiastic graduate students who serve as staff. Since the program is on HCHC campus, participants experience the beautiful campus that is within minutes of Boston.
In addition to participating in theology classes, CrossRoad students attend Vespers each evening at neighboring parishes in the Boston area and engage in community service.
The first table in the Special Olympics 2011 Donations pdf shows those parishes and individuals that have contributed to NAC SOYO’s 2012 Special Olympics Ministry through the October 16, 2011 collection. We thank all of you for your generosity. Is your parish among them? Refer to this list to find out.
The second table shows those parishes that have yet to send in their contributions and we ask that you help us meet our $2,000 shortfall by sending in your contribution for the money collected, or if you did not take the requested collection, please consider a donation to help this ministry.
Do you know a young person in your parish who you think would be a particularly effective and dynamic Special Olympics Coach? Please refer them to the following application, or have them contact:
V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura
Department of Youth Ministry
On Share the Light Sunday, January 15, 2012, the Orthodox Christian Network is encouraging parishes to announce that in 2012, OCN will be honoring its first ever hero. This person must be nominated by someone other than a family member and must have distinguished him or herself in Christian love and service to others. Any of our listeners around the world will be able to nominate candidates online during the year of 2012. The Board of Directors and staff of OCN will review and select 10 candidates to be put before our international listening audience, who will then choose the winner. The winner will be a special guest on Come Receive the Light and will receive a free cruise.
The Sanctum Retreat Centre of Caroline, Alberta, will host the ninth annual Orthodox Men's Retreat of St. John the Baptist, on April 20-22, 2012.
Guest speaker, Conciliar Press author and priest Fr. Lawrence Farley, will speak on the Divine Liturgy. Indicating the pan-Orthodox character of the event, the announcement reads, "With the Blessings and support of our Bishops, and the support of our parishes and parish clergy, Very Reverend Father Taras Krochak, and Reverend Father Timothy Charpko – St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Congregation, Reverend Father Ibrahim Chahoud - Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Reverend Father Obrad Filipovic – Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Simeon, Reverend Father Demetrios Rougas – St Demetrios Greek Orthodox Congregation, Reverend Father Phillip Erikson – St. Peter the Aleut OCA Congregation, and Very Reverend Father Michael Lupu - St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Congregation, the Orthodox retreat committee invite you to the ninth annual Orthodox Men’s Retreat of St. John the Baptist – 2012."
In addition to the liturgical worship and retreat lecture sessions, the retreat committee notes, there will be ample time for quite time meditation and prayer. The retreat property is set in serene surroundings, and hot tubs are available so retreat attendees are encouraged pack swimming trunks.
From the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West:
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Harold Dunaway, Dean Emeritus of St. John Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.
The website sforthodoxinstitute.org announces, "The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies in San Francisco is a new institution in development for the furtherance of Orthodox study and life. And while we are aimed at providing resources and a context for national development (through national and international conferences, fora and publications, etc.), we are nonetheless also specially focused on fostering Orthodox education in western North America - a region currently under-served in this regard. From our base in this region to reach out to support the educational mission of the Church throughout the country through Regional Centers."
In keeping with the Institute's goals, the site adds, "The first regional symposium of the new Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Orthodox Institute will take place Friday-Saturday, 17th-18th February 2012, on a theme critical to both the study and experience of Orthodox Christian life: the symbolism and inner meaning of the Divine Liturgy." Titled Living Symbol: Exploring the Inner Meaning of the Orthodox Liturgy, the "three-part symposium will provide participants with a rich exposure to the dynamic meaning of the various actions, movements and events of the Church's chief liturgical celebration, drawn both from the explanations of the Fathers as well as the vibrant liturgical heritage of the local Orthodox Churches."
Among the speakers is Antiochian Archdiocese priest the Very Rev. Archpriest Josiah Trenham, who will address the topic, "The House of God: A Consecrated Temple & Consecrated People."
Since the devastating hurricanes in 2005, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has provided over 600 volunteers and thousands of man-hours to help surviving families along the Gulf Coast rebuild their lives by constructing new homes or doing critical renovations to existing ones. Working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, IOCC expanded its efforts last year by sending Orthodox Action Teams to build homes in Houston.
For 2012, IOCC will extend its humanitarian reach with more home construction and restoration projects set for Houston and for Minneapolis, which suffered a destructive tornado last summer. IOCC is currently recruiting volunteers for one week of active service in Houston or Minneapolis. You do not need to be skilled – just energetic! Activities vary depending on location and construction schedules, but can include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping, painting and support.
WALTERBORO: Katharina Louise Welge (Kathy Meyer) passed away Friday evening at Trident Medical Center in Charleston. She was 77 years old and a resident of the Village at Summerville.
Katharina was born in Butler, Illinois on November 24, 1934, and a daughter of the late William Welge Sr. and Annie Katherine Kunz Welge. A graduate of Rubicam Business College, she spent the early years of her adult life working in St. Louis, the Bahamas and San Francisco. Later, she became the Secretary for Metropolitan Philip, a position she held for over 42 years. Kathy was adored and loved by the Priests and the Church Hierarchy throughout North America and the Middle East.
She is survived by her sister Dorothy W. Kaiser and husband Eugene of Walterboro and by her brother John Vance Welge and wife Nancy of Layton, Utah. There are many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her siblings William Welge Jr. and Margaret May Landry.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 11:00 am at Parker Rhode Chapel in Walterboro, SC. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 7-8 p.m., with Trisagion prayers at 7:30 p.m., in the chapel of the funeral home. The burial will take place later in the week at Ware’s Grove Cemetery in Butler, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Antiochian Village, c/o the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, 358 Mountain Road, POB 5238, Englewood, NJ 07631-5238. Condolences may be sent to her sister Dorothy (Mrs. Gene) KAISER at firstname.lastname@example.org. Online condolences may also be left for the family at www.parkerrhodenfuneralho.... The Parker-Rhoden Funeral Home, 117 Paul Street in Walterboro, SC is in charge of arrangements.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Announces New Appointments for the Offices of Vicar General and Protosyngellos
Effective January 1, 2012, Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York is appointed as the Vicar General for the Archdiocese, and Very Rev. Timothy Ferguson is appointed as the Protosyngellos. We ask our Lord to greatly bless these two men as they assume their new offices and we have no doubt that both of these men will serve these offices with zeal and distinction.
The office of Vicar General was previously held by Very Rev. Elias Bitar, pastor of St. George Church in Little Falls, New Jersey. Fr. Elias has served in this capacity for 15 years, as has distinguished himself in his service to this office. We thank Fr. Elias for his exemplary service and ask the Almighty God to grant every blessing to him, Khourieh Joanne, and their family.
The office of Protosyngellos was previously held by Rt. Rev. Paul Doyle who resides in Torrance, California. This is a position of honor that is granted to a senior priest who has served with distinction, and who is called upon to use his communication skills on behalf of his brother clergy. Fr. Paul has certainly fulfilled these duties with much respect and admiration from his brother clergy, and we ask the Lord to bless him and grant him Many Years!
Upon receiving the information that Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid was arrested on December 12, 2011, while entering the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from the border with Greece, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America reaffirm the position taken by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) in August 2005, and furthermore restate that the persecution and new imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan by FYROM are an outrage, and ask for his immediate release.
Read the complete story at the Assembly of Bishops website.
Antiochian.org has updated the Diocese pages and the Bishops' directory page in light of the Sunday, December 11 consecrations of Bishops John, Anthony and Nicholas, and the elevation of His Eminence Archbishop Joseph.
Up-to-date information for all the bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese is available here. Biography pages and high resolution portraits for each of the new bishops are also available:
Brookline, Mass. - Dec. 21, 2011
Registration for Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) 2012 Real Break trips opens today HERE!
Entering its 11th year, OCF's Real Break continues to offer transformative, priest-led trips, both domestically and internationally. This year, trips have been organized throughout the months of February and March 2012 to the following locations: Constantinople, Romania, Guatemala, Toronto, Project Mexico, and Houston.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for, oftentimes, empty experiences. OCF offers annual Real Break trips as spring break alternatives that provide life-changing and spiritually edifying opportunities to do "something real."
"Caring for orphaned infants in Guatemala, building homes for the homeless in Mexico and the hurricane devastated Gulf Coast, and restoring Churches in the Holy City of Constantinople -- it doesn't get more real than this. Students are provided an opportunity to encounter Christ and His love through serving those in need," said John Mahfouz, OCF Director of North American Programs.
Since its inception in 2001, more than 1,000 college students have taken advantage of the opportunity to spend their week long break serving others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.
For more details regarding OCF Real Break 2012, a fundraising guide, and to register, please visit Real Break's web page.