(Baltimore, MD) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the global humanitarian relief organization of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, has named five prominent Orthodox community leaders as the recipients of its Compassion at Work Award: Antiochians Charles R. Ajalat and Dr. George J. Farha, as well as Andrew A. Athens, George M. Marcus, and John G. Rangos, Sr.
The five visionary men were selected to receive the inaugural award for their extraordinary philanthropic contributions to the organization's mission and its continued success over the past 20 years.
In announcing the recipients, IOCC Board Chairman, Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey said, "As International Orthodox Christian Charities celebrates 20 years of delivering humanitarian service to those in need around the world, it owes a debt of gratitude to these men whose faith and philanthropic spirit served as the catalyst in developing IOCC as the humanitarian arm of the Orthodox Church in North America and as a unified ministry for the Orthodox community to express its faith in compassionate and tangible ways."
Three of the five award recipients, John G. Rangos, Sr., Andrew A. Athens and Charles R. Ajalat, founded the organization in 1992 and all five men, including George M. Marcus and Dr. George J. Farha, have served on the IOCC Board of Directors and are honorary IOCC board members.
The honorees will be recognized at the IOCC 20th Anniversary Gala on May 8, 2012, in Washington, DC. Mike Emanuel, Chief Congressional Correspondent for FOX News Channel, will serve as emcee for the gala, and Chris Hillman, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and founding member of the Byrds, will perform during the gala dinner.
On Bright Tuesday, April 17, 2012, Bishop John of the Diocese of Worcester and New England and a number of Antiochian clergy with their wives and children gathered at the Greek Metropolis of Boston at the invitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodius to enjoy a meal with him and his clergy. This annual Bright Tuesday meal had been a tradition of the Greek Metropolis for many years, but the invitation to the Antiochian Bishop and clergy was unprecedented and warmly received. Some attendees expressed the hope that this gathering would presage many more opportunities for Orthodox Christians in Boston, clergy and laity, of different jurisdictions to come together for fellowship.
More than 150 dental procedures were performed this month as part of a new FOCUS dental care initiative in Orange County, California. Working in partnership with the University of Southern California (USC) School of Dentistry and AYUDA, an international organization that provides dental care to underserved communities, FOCUS volunteers provided vital dental care, free of charge, to patients of all ages.
The services included teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, and extractions. Each patient also received instruction on how to practice and maintain proper oral hygiene.
“This partnership with AYUDA and USC was a great success,” said FOCUS Center Director Jacob Lee. “We’re really pleased to provide this service to families who live in motels. Good dental health is absolutely critical to overall well being.”
The following is a list of scholarships and deadlines:
Francis Maria Scholarship: May 15
Antiochian Women's Scholarship: June 1
Fr. Nabil Hanna writes:
William George Kafoure was a faithful member of St. George Church [in Indianapolis, IN]. Over the years Bill served on the Parish Council, the Building Committee, and he was our Church Historian. Bill was a founding member of the SOYO youth movement and was President of Midwest SOYO from 1955-56. He was also a member of the Archdiocese Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.
Bill was the inspiration behind our 85th Anniversary musical, entitled "He's been there the whole time!," which was dedicated to his memory this past weekend.
Bill is survived by his children, William Paul (Coleen) Kafoure, Steven George (Dory) Kafoure, and Leslie Ann (Thomas) Kafoure Baas, grandchildren, Kelly C. Baas, William S. Kafoure, Lynne Herendeen, and Brett Herendeen and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in departure from this life by his wife, Frances H. Risk Kafoure, siblings Richard, Michael and Isabel Kafoure.
A 60 Minutes episode on the shrinking population of Christians in the Holy Land aired on Sunday, April 22. Reporter Bob Simon reported on the slow exodus from the Holy Land of the Christian population, and examined the causes underlying the flight. The report is now available for viewing on the 60 Minutes website.
Dr. Maria Khoury and other prominent Christians in the Holy Land were involved with CBS for nearly a year in creating the report. An Orthodox author and resident of Israel, Dr. Khoury has been a tireless champion for human rights for Christians in the Middle East. She divides her time between her homes in Boston and the village of Taybeh, traveling throughout the world to present the public with information about the dwindling Christian community in Palestine. On 60 Minutes Overtime, Dr. Khoury explains that Taybeh is the last Christian village in the Holy Land.
St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary has announced that the 2012 commencement address will be offered by His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah). Bishop John is the Auxiliary Bishop for Worcester and New England and the editor of the WORD magazine.
The Seminary's Commencement always takes place on the last weekend in May, coinciding with the annual Memorial Day Liturgy and festivities hosted by the Seminary. This year the ceremony falls on May 26.
Bishop John served as a priest of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America for 33 years and was Dean of St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for 16 of those years. The Seminary is also located in Pennsylvania, in the community of South Canaan.
In the spirit of Paschal joy, the bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese have extended their heartfelt greetings and hierarchical blessings to the faithful of their dioceses.
|Archbishop Joseph's greeting||Bishop Antoun's greeting|
|Bishop Basil's greeting||Bishop Thomas' greeting|
|Bishop Alexander's greeting||Bishop Anthony's greeting|
Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Subdeacon George Shakour of St. Michael in Beaumont, TX, who reposed on Pascha. Condolences may be sent to his wife Sherridan c/o her parish priest Fr. Michael Pavez at FATHERMICHAEL@prodigy.net. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Subdeacon George'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.
The following obituary was published on the Broussard's Mortuary website, Beaumont, TX:
George Jacob Shakour, 69, of Beaumont, went to be with his Lord unexpectedly on April 15, 2012, at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital. Mr. Shakour was born on November 8, 1942, in Beaumont, to George and Mildred Shakour. He attended Beaumont High, and continued his education at Lamar University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Government. He enlisted in the Army after college, and bravely served his country in the Vietnam War. During his service, he received an Orthodox cross from a priest in Italy which he never took off for the rest of his life. George was a devoted member of St. Michael’s Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church and served as a sub-Deacon there. He also dedicated many hours to the small church of St. John the Divine in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
"GLORY TO GOD! None of our parishioners sustained any injuries and none of our church temples sustained any damage during the violent tornadoes (estimated to be numbered at 130+) which ripped through the Heartland this past weekend, claiming six lives in Woodward, OK. The only noticeable result was a one hour delay in the start of Paschal services at Wichita's St. George Cathedral and St. Mary Church. Thank you for your prayers and the many inquiries of concern."
On March 3, 2012, many young people from the Diocese Of Worcester and New England (self-proclaimed DOWNE) gathered for a Youth Day celebration at His Grace Bishop John's house. Those who attended sat with His Grace to learn the purpose of Orthodoxy, including the three points that make us Orthodox Christians: We partake of the same Communion, we all believe the words of the Nicene Creed, and we all submit to a bishop.
His Grace also informed the youth that his job is to keep his diocese united and to keep it Orthodox. By submitting to him, the members of the Diocese of Worcester are united to one another, and the Diocese is connected to others in the Archdiocese through Metropolitan Philip, to whom all Antiochian Orthodox bishops in America have submitted. His Grace then emphasized the importance of reaching out to American Orthodox Churches outside the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Greeks, the Russians, and all others hold the exact same beliefs as we do. We can commune in their churches as they can in ours. In today's society, it is important that we remain united with our sister churches and do not allow cultural differences to hold us back from mingling. If we visit other churches and socialize outside the Antiochian Archdiocese, we will strengthen the bonds between the Orthodox Churches in America and throughout the world.
After the Fall Fellowship of St. John Gathering in 2011, His Grace Bishop Anthony (then Bishop-elect) encouraged the young adults that were at the Fall Gathering to continue to meet on a regular basis. With no spring meeting scheduled, we decided to plan a Spring Retreat to focus on spiritual renewal and fellowship with other young adults from our Diocese. The weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012 was chosen, and the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, MI, graciously offered their facility as the host location. Over 60 young adults from 13 parishes in our Diocese came together for our Young Adult Spring Retreat, sponsored by the Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine.
The weekend began as we prayed the Akathist service with the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Following the service, His Grace Bishop Anthony began the retreat by introducing the topic “Following in the Footsteps of Christ.” The evening concluded with a Coffee House social in the church's Activity Center so we could relax from the long drive and to get to know each other. We thank Tom and Lillian Saba for planning and organizing the evening social.
On March 29, 2012, the Canadian Conference of Orthodox Bishops had a meeting at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto. On the agenda were the reports of the dialogue with the Catholic Bishops, pastoral, canonical and liturgical issues, a Directory of all Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs, jurisdictions and parishes. It was discussed the update on the petition addressed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to approve the constituency of the Assembly of Orthodox Bishops of Canada. There were also discussed plans for joint-ministry and fraternal cooperation in the future. An important topic was the discussion of the situation of persecuted Christians in the World and the position of the Orthodox in Canada.
The participants at the meeting were: His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios and His Grace Bishop Christoforos of the Greek Metropolis of Toronto, His Grace Bishop Alexander of the Antiochian Archdiocese, His Grace Bishop Job of the Moscow Patriarchate Representation in Canada, His Grace Bishop Georgij of the Serbian Diocese of Canada, His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae and His Grace Vicar Bishop Ioan Casian of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, His Eminence Metropolitan Yurij, His Grace Bishop Hilarion and His Grace Bishop Andrej of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, His Grace Bishop Ilias of the Albanian Diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, and His Grace Vicar Bishop Irinee of the OCA.
A date was set for next year's meeting for April 11, 2013.
Join us for an exquisite evening of liturgical music sung in the traditional styles of Orthodox Christian churches worldwide. In a multi-media program that interweaves luminous icons, sacred texts, and a rich a cappella sound, the St. Vladimir's Seminary Chorale will perform "ORIENT: Sacred Song and Image" at the famous St. Malachy's,"The Actors' Chapel," in the heart of Manhattan, at 239 West 49th Street, New York City. This stirring concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The concert program will include pieces from the broader Orthodox tradition sung in their original languages— Greek, Georgian, Estonian, Slavonic—as well as choral music by Orthodox composers written for the concert hall. Two visual projections—one of images of Orthodox icons and the other of translations of musical texts—will run simultaneously as the chorale sings. Icons, music, and text will expound one another, just as they do within the Orthodox liturgy. The concert will combine the best elements of a professional choral performance with the depth and authenticity of the Orthodox liturgical experience, resulting in a truly beautiful multimedia artistic performance, and a full, authentic vision of the Orthodox Christian faith.
The chorale will be directed by Hierodeacon Herman, Lecturer in Liturgical Music and Chapel Choir Director at the seminary, and Matushka Robin Freeman, who created the concert format and conducted in its premiere at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2010.
Spread the word to your friends, family, and church family!
As an aid to Orthodox Christians who aren't able to make it to all the services of Holy Week, Ancient Faith Radio offers a complete set of recordings of live Holy Week services.
One of the parishes featured in the recordings is St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church in Madison, Wisconsin, pastored by Fr. Patrick Kinder.
All of the services of Holy Week are included in the set, from the Bridegroom Matins early in the week, to the Service of Holy Unction, Twelve Passion Gospels, Royal Hours and Vespers and Lamentations of Holy Friday, to Sunday's Paschal liturgy and Agape Vespers.
The bloodshed in Syria and the need for protection of the Christians in the country as well as in Lebanon, was the theme which concerned today’s Synaxis of the Primates of the Orthodox Church in the Middle East, which took place today, 27th March 2012 in Cyprus. “It is the second time that I am meeting with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem His Beatitude Ignatios Patriarch of Antioch and His Beatitude Chrysostomos Archbishop of New Justinia and All Cyprus”, said His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, who chaired the meeting at which His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of issues regarding Hellenes abroad, Mr Dimitris Dollis also spoke.
On behalf of the Primates His Beatitude expressed the wish and the strong will that they all support the Church of Antioch, His Beatitude Ignatios and all the flock of this suffering country which continues to count its dead. “We are with His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatios, with love and respect”, he stressed as Chairman of the Synaxis.
On his behalf, emotionally, the venerable Patriarch Ignatios of Antioch spoke of the serious problems which the Christians of Lebanon and Syria are facing, stressing the necessity of support from the international community.
Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian Nationals
Release Date: March 23, 2012
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
"In light of the deteriorating conditions in Syria, I am announcing that DHS will be designating Syria for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrians currently present in the United States. Conditions in Syria have worsened to the point where Syrian nationals already in the United States would face serious threats to their personal safety if they were to return to their home country. Early next week, the Department will publish a notice in the Federal Register that will provide further guidance about TPS eligibility requirements and registration procedures. All applicants must undergo full background checks and while Syrians in the United States are encouraged to apply, they should not submit their applications before the notice is published."
My name is Nadia, and I am a thirteen year old Orthodox Christian. I have attended the St. George Norwood parish ever since I remember. This is my first year in Teen SOYO and the first year I traveled to New Hampshire for the annual Lenten Retreat. It was one of the most enlightening experiences I have had as an Orthodox Christian.
The retreat is an event that occurs each year during the Lenten season. Teens from parishes all over New England come together to bond with each other, listen to the speaker, reflect upon their faith, and strengthen themselves through worship and communion. This year we had the honor of having His Grace Bishop John amongst us throughout the weekend to guide us and answer our questions. This year’s speaker was Katrina Bitar, past SOYO member and director of the YES program speaking on the theme of “Heroes of the Old Testament.”
from the St. Vladimir's Seminary website:
This spring [the St. Vladimir's Seminary] community was blessed by a campus visit from His Grace Nicholas (Ozone), auxiliary bishop for Brooklyn, and assistant to His Eminence Philip, archbishop of New York and metropolitan of All North America, of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), headquartered in Englewood, New Jersey. It was Bishop Nicholas's first time here, and he was visiting in his capacity as the hierarch responsible for overseeing the education of students enrolled in seminaries, and in particular, for overseeing the Ordination Review Board of the Archdiocese.
"We had a wonderful and positive discussion," remarked seminary Dean Archpriest John Behr, "on all sorts of aspects regarding the seminarians and their education, and we look forward to working ever more closely with the Archdiocese."
Likewise, seminary Chancellor and CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield noted, "I was impressed with his theological insights and great interest in what he saw as the 'unique SVOTS approach to theological education'."
Bishop Nicholas was ordained to the episcopacy in December 2011 by His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV. Read a full biography of Bishop Nicholas here.
Fr. Joseph Rahal writes:
Isaac Paul Bojrab, 88, passed away Friday, March 30, 2012. Born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, Ike was a WWII Army Veteran and co-owner of D.G. Bojrab & Sons Well Drilling. He was a member and a founder of St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church in Fort Wayne; The Order of St. Ignatius; Leo Lodge No. 224, F.&A.M.; Scottish Rite; Mizpah Shrine; Trinity Chapter of Eastern Star, #576; and American Legion Post #47. He was blessed with 64 years of marriage to his wife, Marie; sons, Richard (Regina) Bojrab, R. Ph., Paul (Jennifer) Bojrab, MD., both of Ft. Wayne, and Dennis (Andria) Bojrab, MD. of Bloomfield Hills, MI; daughter, Debra (Bill) Fliotsos of Ft. Wayne; and 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, David and Sarah (Abdulla) Bojrab; brothers, George and Peter Bojrab; and sisters, Sadie Skaff, Margaret Slyby, and Gladys Koury.
The funeral service was held at 10 am, Monday, April 2, 2012 at St. John Chrysostom Antiochian Orthodox Church, with a Masonic Service at 4:30 pm and Trisagion Prayers at 7:30 pm. Isaac was laid to rest in Lindenwood Cemetery. Memorials may be offered to St. John Chrysostom Church for a special project fund. To sign the online guest book, go to www.mccombandsons.com.
His Grace Bishop Basil has passed along the sad news that Ruth Cohlmia, wife of Jim Cohlmia, has reposed in the Lord. The funeral services will be held in Wichita, Kansas at St. George Cathedral; The day and time has not been established. A short memorial service is tentatively scheduled for Thursday evening, April 5, at 7:00 PM at St. Ignatius Orthodox Mission, 3800 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ.
Anne Van Fossen writes: "Enrollment is now open for the fall session of the Classical Learning Resource Center! CLRC online classes are live, interactive, and available to anyone with internet access. You’ll find detailed course descriptions, faculty bios, class schedules, and more on the Classical Learning Resource Center website. We’ve expanded our Classical Greek and Latin program with more Latin 4 Kids classes and more advanced classes for middle school, high school, and adults. We’ve also added three new classes in Literature and Composition. Also, when you register you’ll find that we’ve installed a robust Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system on our website to streamline your registration process and improve student experience on our site.
We’ve had several requests for writing classes so I am thrilled to announce that we are adding Kiernan Schroeder, a talented and enthusiastic literature and composition teacher, to the CLRC faculty. If you haven’t done so already, take a look at her course offerings on our webpage at both the high school and middle school levels. She is offering an Introduction to Literature and Composition class for middle school and early high school students in which students will be exposed to authors like Dickens, Shakespeare, and Robert Louis Stevenson and receive instruction in the fundamentals of structure and style for argumentative writing.
The theme will be the Hymns of the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, with a special track for a new Youth Music Ministry Program.
Among others, the following sessions will be available:
- Young Conductors Apprentice Program
- Youth Music Ministry
- Youth, Adult and Byzantine Choirs
- Music Theory
- "Name That Tone"
Youth Equipped to Serve (YES), a ministry of FOCUS North America, hosted a YES Weekend in Oklahoma City on March 9-11, and now is kicking off another weekend of service in the city of St. Louis starting March 30. As the website explains, the YES program "provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service, with the ultimate purpose being to raise up a generation of Orthodox Christians who lead others in living out the true mission of the church- to love and serve our most needy neighbors."
The St. Louis weekend is a good example of a typical YES trip. Teens will meet at the local FOCUS Center--Gateway City/St. Michael’s--on Friday, stay overnight at Huckleberry Finn Youth Hostel, participate in service events throughout the weekend, and finish the trip by serving a meal for the homeless back at the FOCUS location.
Upcoming events include YES Atlanta on April 20-22, YES Grand Rapids on May 11-13, and YES Leadership Training on June 13-18 in Los Angeles' Skid Row.