News


FOCUS North America Serving the Poor of Philadelphia

16 Teens and Youth Leaders Served the Poor of Philadelphia and Initiated FOCUS North America's Newest Program

September 4, 2009– Kansas City, MO This past weekend, August 28-30, 2009, the Orthodox Youth Outreach Program (OYO), now called the YES Program of FOCUS North America (Youth Equipped to Serve), took its first trip as a ministry of FOCUS North America. A group of 16 eager teens and leaders said yes to the “cry of the poor” (Proverbs 21:13) and gave their time in service to the people of Philadelphia, PA.

The weekend began with orientation, led by Katrina Bitar, YES Program Director. The rest of Friday evening was spent in prayer, the team’s first ministry to Philadelphia. The group traveled around the city and prayed for it and its people. This prayer tour kicks off all YES trips, orienting the team to the past and present of the community they will serve and opening their eyes to the real struggles of its people.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Plans Ecological Education Day 2009

[Yonkers, NY] On Saturday, October 3, 2009, St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY, invites the faithful to its annual Orthodox Education Day, this year titled "God's Green Earth: Ecology and Theology." The day's program will feature outstanding speakers, exhibits, and workshops regarding the intersection of faith and practice, as related to the environment.

"This Education Day, we want to wed theological vision with practical ways to care for our world," said The Very Rev. Chad Hatfield, chancellor and CEO of the seminary. "So, the day will feature everything from ecological perspectives of ancient church writers, to how to create an 'earth-friendly' garden."

Keynote speaker Dr. Vigen Guroian, an Armenian theologian and professor or religious studies at the University of Virginia, will address the topic "Ecological Musings from the Garden," and an array of other experts will present workshops. In particular, Mr. Chris Nolan, Chief Landscape Architect of Central Park Conservatory, New York City, will discuss the eco-friendly use of land; and Dr. Emily Markides, adjunct faculty at the Peace and Reconciliation Studies Program, University of Maine, and co-pioneer of the Permaculture Garden at Agia Skepi Detoxification Center, Filani, Cyprus, will share her experience with building sustainable communities. For animal lovers, a monk from New Skete Monastery in Cambridge, NY, Father Christopher, will speak about deepening spiritual consciousness through kinship with animals. The monastery is known globally for its dog training methods and breeding of German shepherds.

Charity Run to Benefit Theophany School in Needham, MA

Charity Road Race to Continue Local Woman’s Dream

August 25, 2009 West Roxbury, MA—In the mid-1990s, 18-year old Sonia Belcher (then, Sonia Daly) was intent on creating a school where Orthodox Christian children in the Boston area would benefit from a strong academic and spiritual education founded in the teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church.  In 1997, with the support of the local Orthodox Christian community, Sonia founded what is believed to be the first pan-Orthodox School in the country: the Theophany School in Needham, MA.  That fall, 17 children were enrolled for the 1997-1998 school year.  Today, Theophany School is thriving, with some 35 students enrolled in the School’s Pre-School and Kindergarten classes.  With three full-time teachers and one director on staff, students are provided with the individualized care and attention that is vital to a young child’s learning.  Theophany School continues to grow, thanks to the generous support of the community.

Sadly, in February, 2008 Sonia Belcher passed away suddenly on her 32nd birthday. She was survived by her husband, Deacon Nicholas Belcher and their three-month old son, Andrew.  In addition to her beloved family, Sonia left behind a legacy of tenacity and determination.  Her final wish was for Theophany School to function as a full elementary school.  Shortly after her untimely death, the School launched its “Building on a Dream” campaign, an initiative to continue Sonia’s mission, while keeping her memory alive.  Thanks to the campaign, the School has received overwhelming support over the last year. 

OCAMPR Offers Pan-Orthodox Conference on Care for Severely Challenged Patients

Brookline, Mass. -  The 2009 Annual Conference of Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) will focus on Care for the Severely Challenged Patient. Presentations at the conference will review the needs of patients with chronic illnesses and severe and persisting trauma from a pastoral, medical, and psychotherapeutic perspective. Speakers will include Deacon Nathanael Symeonides, Dr. Aaron Haney, Dr. Michael Christakis, and Presbytera Maryann Tonias. The conference will meet at the Holy Cross Seminary campus in Brookline, Mass., November 6-7, 2009, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday evening. 

OCAMPR is an inter-jurisdictional network of Orthodox persons in helping and healing professions, endorsed by the Standing Conference of Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA).  The conference will be prefaced by an open General Board Meeting on Friday November 6, at 1:30 pm at Holy Cross.

Over the two day conference, speakers focusing on medicine, psychology, and theology will offer talks on various dimensions of Care for the Severely Challenged Patient and discuss a sample case.  Group discussions will invite reflections, questions, and comments from conferees.  Resources on caregivers’ practical concerns from medicine, nursing, hospice, ethics, theology, law, counseling, chaplaincy, and clinical pastoral education will be available at the conference, and the Holy Cross bookstore will also offer resources.

Fr. James Hamrick Ordained to Priesthood

Maryland’s First Western Rite Orthodox Church Emerges

Click here for more photos.

On Sunday, August 23, 2009, Bishop THOMAS (Joseph) ordained James K. Hamrick to the Holy Priesthood in the Orthodox Church, Antiochian Christian Archdiocese.  The ordination ceremony was conducted during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saint Basil the Great Orthodox Church in Poquoson, Virginia (near Newport News).  The host priest and pastor of the church, Father Gregory MacGregor, was one of Hamrick’s three priest sponsors.  Father MacGregor had introduced Hamrick to Holy Orthodoxy three years earlier during a family vacation to Williamsburg, VA.  At that time Hamrick was a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church and had just planted a new mission in Lewistown, Maryland named Lamb of God Church—all of this after having previously served as a United Methodist pastor for six years in the Harpers Ferry, WV area.

Hamrick’s other two priest sponsors for his ordination were present and included Father Patrick Cardine, pastor of St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Warrenton, VA; and Father Nicholas Alford, pastor of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church in Washington, DC, both of whom were also the catechists for Hamrick’s congregation when they made a decision to become Orthodox last year.  

Statement Issued by Metropolitan's Office Regarding Placement of Antiochian Seminarians

From the Office of Metropolitan PHILIP:

Unfortunately, there has been much speculation and incorrect information on the Internet and elsewhere regarding our recent decision to send our incoming seminarians to Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. This decision effected two students. The third new student was already planning to attend Holy Cross. Over the years we have tried to keep a balance between the distribution of our seminarians to various Orthodox seminaries here and abroad, especially St. Vladimir’s, St. Tikhon’s and Holy Cross. In fact, this year, we will have 10 students at St. Vladimir’s, 9 students at St. Tikhon’s and 6 students at Holy Cross.

It has been our primary concern over the years to insure a strong priestly formation for our future priests. While all three schools have helped us in accomplishing this task for generations of clergymen, we feel Holy Cross most closely mirrors the practices and customs of the Patriarchate of  Antioch in general and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America in particular. This is true for a variety of reasons, first and foremost being the common Syro-Byzantine liturgical and musical tradition that we share. Given the changing demographics of the majority of our seminarians and the reality that many of them are not rooted in this Syro-Byzantine expression of our one Orthodox faith from birth, we feel it is vital to immerse them in this tradition in a more complete way. It is our hope to have our own seminary in the future. In fact, much of the foundational work has already been done. Nevertheless, since we do not have our own seminary at this point in time, we feel Holy Cross is best suited to accomplish the task at hand.

At the same time, however, we will and have always assessed the common needs and concerns of both the seminarians and the Archdiocese and therefore leave all doors open for the future with regard to their placement.

International Orthodox Psychotherapy Conference in Chicago, June 2010

Dear Clergy, Students and Psychotherapists,

Plans are underway for the 2010 International Orthodox Psychotherapy Conference slated for June 21 - 25, 2010 at the Cenacle Retreat House in Chicago, Illinois. The conference center has only 50 rooms available on campus. Please book your reservation sooner rather than later.

For more information, to register or to submit a presentation proposal, please visit the conference web page or contact Fr. Stephen Plumlee.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. James Kenna

Archpriest James Kenna, 74, of St. Sophia in Dripping Springs, TX, was fatally injured in an automobile accident on Sunday, July 26th 2009. Services for Fr. James will be held at St. Sophia on Tuesday July 28 and Wednesday July 29th; see below for further details, or visit St. Sophia's web site.

Condolences may be sent to Khouriya Anne and the Kenna family c/o the Dean of Central Texas, Fr. David Barr of St. Elias Church in Austin, TX, at stelias_austin@sbcglobal.net.

From the Austin American Statesman:

 

The Rev. James Kenna was an energetic Dripping Springs pastor who founded several Orthodox Christian parishes in Central Texas and, even in retirement, was looking to establish more.

"He never wanted to quit," said the Rev. David Barr, the pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in Austin. Kenna, 74, died Sunday afternoon in a car wreck on his way home from lunch with a parishioner after attending church in Dripping Springs. Austin police officials said Kenna's PT Cruiser left Texas 45 for an unknown reason, crashed into a fence and flipped over into a retention pond.

New Direction for Conciliar Media

John and Tonya MaddexJohn and Tonya MaddexThe 2009 Antiochian Convention in Palm Desert coincided with the announcement by Conciliar Media Ministries that the ministry is discontinuing AGAIN and The Handmaiden magazines in their current printed forms, as well as moving the base of operations for Conciliar to the Chicago area.

Said CEO John Maddex, “We are embracing new technology that will reduce our costs by utilizing digital and audio formats where possible. While such decisions are difficult, these adjustments represent a necessary pruning and will result in a new lean model of operations with a continued strong evangelistic emphasis.”

Record Number of Children Attend Camp at Antiochian Village

His Grace Bishop THOMAS passes on the following message:

Beloved of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic:
May God bless you always.
This summer a record number of our children are spending time at the Antiochian Village Camp.  I've been blessed to share some of this time with them at the Camp.  I encourage you to go on the Camp website to view what has been happening this summer of 2009.  In order to see the photos, go to the Camp website and see the Summer Memories section.
Thank you.
Yours in Christ,
+Bp. THOMAS

Clergy Wives Weekend 2009: Antiochian Village, Nov. 8-9

Antiochian Village Announces a pan-Orthodox gathering of spiritual refreshment and fellowship in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah.

Kh. Joanne Abdalah served as an inspiration in her life as the wife of a priest and as a counselor to many. She understood the joys and trials of this life, and the need for finding strength in Christ and each other. She believed that every clergy wife needs to discover and develop her own Christian vocation.

In her memory, clergy wives of the Antiochian Archdiocese and greater Pittsburgh area Orthodox churches are planning the inaugural pan-Orthodox Clergy Wives Weekend at the Antiochian Village the weekend of November 7-8, 2009. Mother Christophora of Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Ellwood City) and Matushka Juliana Schmemann will be the speakers, addressing the theme: “How to Be a Clergy Wife and Still Go to Heaven.” The schedule will reflect Joanne’s holy and holistic approach to life – we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world.

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP Announces the Establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village

It is with great joy that His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP announces the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village.  The Acting Superior of the convent will be Mother Alexandra (Magan), and we welcome her with joy to the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

Mother Alexandra will take up residency at the Antiochian Village during the first week of July, and will live in temporary housing until such time as the residence building is constructed on the proposed site for the convent, which is on the main property at the Antiochian Village. This will allow her to experience a good part of the camping season, and to interact with our children.

She also has plans to attend the Archdiocese Convention in late July, and to have a presence at the St. Thekla Pilgrimage which will be held at the Antiochian Village in September.

There will soon be a website established for the convent, where all important news and information will be posted.

Click here to read a brief biography of Mother Alexandra.

Katrina Bitar Appointed New Executive Director of OYO

Katrina Bitar, a past SOYO member, SOYO officer, Parish Youth Director, and recent graduate of St. Vladimir's Seminary, was appointed, with the blessing of Metropolitan PHILIP, by the Department of Youth Ministry, effective May 17, 2009, as the new Executive Director of OYO - Orthodox Youth Outreach. OYO is a ministry of NAC Teen SOYO. Katrina comes to this ministry with much youth and OYO experience. Katrina writes:

"I believe in the power of this ministry because I, myself, am a product of this program. I participated in the very first OYO trip. I plan to continue to serve Orthodox Christian young people through not only leading short-term mission trips, but also helping parishes to establish consistent commitments to serving the poor and needy in their local communities.

OCN Announces New Podcast "The Chanter's Stand: Byzantine Music Today"

FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida—May 18, 2009—The Orthodox Christian Network is releasing a special podcast series titled “The Chanter’s Stand: Byzantine Music Today”. This podcast, produced in cooperation with the Axion Estin Foundation and COSMOS Radio-FM in New York, will feature interviews with specialists and experts in the field of Byzantine Chant. OCN Executive Director Fr. Christopher Metropulos shares: “OCN is proud to announce a new Podcast Channel with the Axion Estin Foundation, a well-known and highly-respected group of chanters and scholars who share the ancient historical music of Orthodoxy with the world.”

This professionally produced program joins OCN’s growing library of Podcast Channels. Visit www.myocn.net to learn more and to hear OCN’s podcasts and online radio stations The Ark and The Rudder.

Axion Estin Foundation has established its position in the Orthodox community by producing a range of high-quality radio programs devoted to the music of Byzantium. Axion Estin Foundation's mission is to promote the appreciation, education and employment of Byzantine music in North America. The Foundation seeks to stimulate attention and study of this art form through its unique network between the large constituency of Greek academics and musicians and their North American counterparts in Byzantine music and beyond. The Foundation realizes this mission through conferences, education programs, research initiatives, and publications, and strives to engage and educate an increasingly diverse international audience through its cultural partnerships.

Charles Ajalat to Speak at St. Vladimir's Seminary Summer Conference

Mr. Charles Ajalat
Chancellor of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
will give a presentation
at
Orthodoxy in America
Summer Conference – St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
June 18-20 2009

Recent exchanges regarding the principles of the ecclesiastical organization of Orthodox churches in America and the role of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the “diaspora” make this year’s summer conference particularly relevant. The significance of the OCA’s presence in North America, and future paths and possibilities open to it, including its interface with the multi-jurisdictional Orthodox Christian communities in the U.S. and Canada will be discussed. All are invited! 

For further information, please click on the link below.
http://www.svots.edu/News/Recent/2009-0618-summer-conference-reminder/

Conciliar Media Ministries Coordinates Oklahoma City Evangelism Campaign

In late 2008, a group of Antiochian lay leaders and clergy met at the home of Antiochian Chancellor Charles Ajalat to lay out the framework for an evangelism campaign that would introduce the people of Oklahoma City to the Orthodox Christian faith.

New Online Resources for Clergy

To all Antiochian Archdiocese clergy:

Antiochian.org has added a new page of online administrative resources from the Registrar's office. A link to these resources entitled "Registrar" may be found at the top of any Antiochian.org page in the black menu bar just underneath the site banner. These resources are intended for Antiochian Archdiocese clergy only. A user name and password are required to view the page. If you have not received or have misplaced your user name and password, please contact the registrar.

We hope that you will find this new resource helpful in your parish duties!

The 2009 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism

September 4-7
Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is proud to welcome as our keynote speaker for the 2009 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism...

His Beatitude the Most Blessed
JONAH

Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada

“One Faith, One Church, One Message: the Necessity of Orthodox Unity in America to Bring America to Orthodoxy”

Click here for more information

Dr. Bradley Nassif Prepares to visit Romania

Dr. Bradley Nassif has been invited by the Romanian Orthodox Church visit the country this May to speak to theology students at the University of Cluj.  Dr. Nassif will address the urgent need in the Orthodox world today for an aggressive internal mission of renewal or conversion of our people to faith in Jesus Christ.  His topic will be "The Paschal Mystery in the Life of the Church."  Dr. Nassif will also be conducting a book launch of his chapter "The Evangelical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church" in Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism,  which was recently translated from English to Romanian.  For that event, he will speak about the need for Orthodox-Evangelical dialogue in Romania and the need for unity in confronting the moral decay of contemporary society.   Finally, Dr. Nassif will blog a live question and answer session with evangelicals who want to know more about Orthodox-Evangelical relations in Romania on a leading web site for Romanian evangelicals.

Groundbreaking for St. Luke's New Temple + Lafayette, CO

by Dn. Mark Berge
Photos by Kirk Tatusko and Ron Brotzman

On February 14, 2009, the parish of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Lafayette, Colorado was honored to welcome His Grace Bishop Basil for the service of ground-breaking at the site of our new temple.

Our parish has been blessed with increasing membership since its founding in 1991. The current temple, seating 200, was built in 1995 with a subsequent expansion in 1998. We tried to expand our church again, but this proved impossible given the county's firm rules on development and our lack of sufficient land. With steady growth in new members our beloved Bishop Basil challenged us in October of 2007 to move to a new location and erect a beautiful temple with seating for 400 to 450 people. We were frankly astounded when he went on to predict that such a task could be done in about two years if God blessed it. Our priest Father David Mustian had been encouraging us to pray about our space needs for several years. With the core of a building committee already in place we were eager to try to meet our bishop’s challenge.

Scholarship Offer for Aspiring Presbyter

Bishop BASIL writes:

Mr. George P. Lambros, a member of St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS, is offering a scholarship in the amount of $10,000.00 to one young man who wishes to enter the Orthodox priesthood and who fulfills the requirements which are listed below.  Mr. Lambros writes that the scholarship is being offered "in memory of the late Right Reverend Mitred Archpriest Michael G. H. Gelsinger (who in his later years was tonsured as Schemamonk Theodore), and in gratitude to Their Eminences Metropolitan ANTONY (Bashir) of New York, Metropolitan SAMUEL (David) of Toledo, and Metropolitan EPIPHANIOS (Zayed) of Akkar for the blessings which I have received at their hands." According to Mr. Lambros, the scholarship funds can be used for education in any Orthodox seminary in the United States.

There is no means test, but a candidate must provide:

  1. A letter stating his intention to petition for ordination upon his graduation;
  2. A letter of referral from the bishop of his diocese;
  3. A letter of acceptance to any Orthodox seminary in the United States; and, most importantly,
  4. An essay written by himself on the subject, “The Exclusivity of the Orthodox Religion.” 

The recipient will be chosen whose essay best demonstrates his religious integrity and his devotion to Orthodoxy.  The scholarship funds may be used for any expenses incurred and necessary to the attendance at the seminary and will be disbursed from Mr. Lambros' office upon presentation of the proper invoices. Applications should be submitted to the following address at least one month before the beginning of the 2009 Fall semester: 

George P. Lambros
PO Box 728
Wichita, KS 67201

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha at St. Nicholas Cathedral + Brooklyn, NY

 

Photo by James Demaria
Photo by James Demaria

As has been the custom every year of his episcopacy, we were blessed to have our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP with us to celebrate the feast of feasts in his cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, the mother church of the archdiocese, was filled to capacity on what was a beautiful spring evening in New York. Following the resurrection services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the  faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children (and adults) as they celebrated the feast. Please enjoy the pictures as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection from the dead.

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!

  

OCMC Opens New Missionary Training Facility

The Completion of the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building

Alex Goodwin (4/13/2009)

St. Augustine, FL - On April 13, 2009 the staff of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center began working in the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building. The opening of this facility marks a new era in North American Orthodoxy’s mission movement. The building will prove to be a vital resource of the Church as more Orthodox Christians answer their call to share the Faith with people around the world through participation in the ministries of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).

This is the first permanent facility of an agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA); it will serve as an international missions headquarters for North America’s estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians.

Formal dedication ceremonies will be held on May 21, 2009. Both His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, and His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Chairman of SCOBA, together with other hierarchs of SCOBA, will be at the dedication to celebrate this historical moment in Orthodox missions and to lead the gathered faithful in praying for the continuation of this vital work of the Church.