We look with joyous anticipation to the Nativity of our Lord. We are also honored that Metropolitan Philip has designated December 19 as the day to honor The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Attached are three documents (Word format):
I ask that our Diocesan Chairs send these documents to a member of The Order of each parish in your diocese AND parish priest with a request that a presentation be made this coming Sunday, preferably by a member of The Order or alternatively, the parish priest.
I have also attached for your review a brief on How we give through the Order of St. Ignatius. This should be helpful in response to those who ask about joining anonymously.
Our DVD should have been sent to each parish for viewing this Sunday.
I thank each of you for your commitment and service to The Order and to our Antiochian Archdiocese. We are blessed that so many people have come forward to give generously and from their heart to those in need. We believe and witness God combining our individual gifts and then multiplying them so that combined we can do what none can do alone. This is the "miracle of The Order."
May our Lord bless you and your family and grant you a joyous Nativity and a healthy, happy, and peaceful 2011.
The Web Site of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (formerly known as the "Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America") is now live. Take a look at www.episcopalassembly.org. Updates and additions will continue to be made to the several web pages which comprise the site, so check back frequently!
Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Abraham "Bus" Bayouth, 94, of Skiatook, Oklahoma, father of A.B. Bayouth, vice president of DOWAMA's Fellowship of St. John and tireless supporter of Camp Saint Raphael, fell asleep in Christ this past Monday, December 13th, 2010. The Trisagion Prayers of Mercy will be chanted for the repose of his soul on December 15 at seven o'clock at St. Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the funeral will be served on December 16 at two o'clock at the Skiatook High School Activity Center. Condolences to his wife Mrs. Abraham (Su'ad) Bayouth and their three sons A.B., Gary and Gregory. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of his 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.
On December 7-9, clergy from all over the west gathered for their second annual retreat at the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring, in Dunlap, California. Led by four bishops, His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate], clergy of all jurisdictions enjoyed the beautiful facilities of the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, listened to speakers, and worshipped together. Clergy came back to their parishes refreshed and edified by the teaching on the topic "Physician Heal Thyself--Orthodox steps of spiritual transformation" with Retreat Master Archimandrite Meletios (Webber), Abbot of the St. John the Wonderworker Monastery in Manton, CA.
A successful season for the Orthodox Institute, an innovative and highly regarded Christian Education training program pioneered by Antiochian Christian Education Director Carole Buleza, concluded with a three day Institute at Antiochian Village in November. Institutes took place in cities both in Canada and the U.S. St. Michael's Church in Van Nuys, California was the site for the first Institute on September 18; subsequent Institutes were hosted in Edmonton on October 2, then Harrisburg on October 9, Ontario on October 23, and finally at Antiochian Village on November 4-7. Noted iconographers and speakers taught sessions that fit into one of three tracks: Church School Director, Teacher Training, or Orthodoxy. Participants came from all regions and jurisdictions.
Besides racking up the miles, Director Carole Buleza also met with many teachers across the country, and she commented on the spirit of pan-Orthodox cooperation present this year, enabling her to reflect afterwards that this year's Institute "was a decisive event for Orthodox Christian Education." (See an Institute photo gallery here.)
Attendees offered these retrospectives:
This past November the halls, meeting rooms and dining hall at the Antiochian Village were alive with the language of iconography. At this year’s Orthodox Institute, the 10th anniversary, the theme was icononography; the history of icons; the stories they tell; praying with icons and using them as a tool for teaching. The three-day institute began with a keynote address by Frederica Mathewes-Green, who spoke of her personal experience with icons and her journey to Orthodoxy; this was followed by two days of workshops on icons, which included presentations by the well-known iconographer/illustrator, Niko Chochelli, iconographer, Cheryl Pituch and authors, Anton Vram and Chrissie Hart and the staff of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education.
DETROIT, MI [COCC] -- A fall benefit concert sponsored by the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit [COCC] raised more than $5,000.00 for International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].
The concert of "Music from the Twelve Great Feasts” was presented by the Orthodox Choir of Metropolitan Detroit on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Troy, MI.
The choir was conducted by Artistic Director Vickie Kopistiansky, who also conducts the choir at Holy Trinity Church [OCA], Detroit. Archpriest Paul Jannakos of Saint Mary Magdalene Church [OCA], Fenton, MI, provided commentary.
The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) reports:
Over 1000 people attended the Dec. 3rd House of Blues at Downtown Disney charity concert benefiting FOCUS Orange County and two other local charities. FOCUS Orange County was given 15 minutes of stage time to share the work FOCUS Orange County is doing and collected 150 cans of food for the food pantry at El Dorado Motel, which makes the food available to the many working poor families staying at its motel and the neighboring Valencia Motel.
In November, FOCUS Orange County began its weekly meal ministry at the Valencia, where 100+ meals are served each Sunday night by FOCUS volunteers. Working poor families may also receive clothing items that have been donated.
Stocking the El Dorado’s food pantry is just one more way FOCUS Orange County is working with area Orthodox churches to make sure that working poor families will not have to choose between food or shelter this Christmas.
The Village is also now accepting applications for 2011 Summer Camp staff.
- Winter Camp Session 1: January 14-17, 2011
- Winter Camp Session 2: February 18-21, 2011
- Service Weekend: May 20-22, 2011
- Family Camp: May 27-30, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 1 (1 wk): June 19-26, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 1 (2 wks): June 19-July 1, 2011
- Chanting Camp Session 1: June 19-July 1, 2011
- Chanting Camp Session 2: July 3-15, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 2 (2 wks): July 3-15, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 3 (2 wks): July 17-29, 2011
- Iconography Camp: July 17-25, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 4 (2 wks): July 31-August 12, 2011
- Special Olympics Camp: August 12-20, 2011
- Family Camp Homeschool Edition: August 26-29, 2011
December 8, 2010
Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $26.4 million to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for a program in Lebanon that will improve student achievement, expand after-school programs, provide training for public school teachers and upgrade educational facilities in 600 Lebanese public schools over the next four years. The program is part of a $75 million initiative that will be implemented in 1,400 schools in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education and five other agencies, including the Education Development Center which is managing the entire initiative for USAID.
"For nearly a decade, children have been an important focus of IOCC's efforts in Lebanon in collaboration with the Orthodox Church and the Lebanese Government," said His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Primate of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. "This award validates the efforts we have steadfastly supported and ensures that the essential work of improving conditions for children and others that IOCC has undertaken in the Middle East with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch through its institutions, including the University of Balamand, will continue."
During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Lebanese children were some of the worst affected. Nearly one-third of all civilian deaths and injuries were suffered by children and over half a million children were forced to flee their homes. The conflict also damaged more than 300 schools. IOCC's presence in Lebanon not only led to an immediate humanitarian response for those impacted by the violence, but also led to subsequent IOCC activities in rebuilding damaged schools.
Fr. Josiah Trenham, priest at St. Andrew Orthodox Church of Riverside, California, recently launched a website "dedicated to sharing the sweet teachings and timeless traditions of the early Christian writers." States the site' introduction, "Patristic Nectar Publications is a non-profit California business created to advance the cause of the Orthodox Christian faith by the publication of materials for catechesis designed both for the edification of Orthodox believers and the illumination of a wide array of non-Orthodox inquirers. Our publications are marked by zealous fidelity to the mind of the Orthodox Church as expressed in the writings of the Holy Fathers and produces a wide range of patristic audio books in order to bring the wealth of Sacred Tradition to a generation attuned to listening rather than reading."
At Patristic Nectar Publications, browsers can listen to audio presentations of timely topics such as "An Address on Vainglory and the Proper Upbringing of Children" by St. John Chrysostom, and "The Soul After Death," by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco. The site also hosts sacred music selections, Fr. Josiah's Arena blog, the Arena podcasts, and information about St. Andrew parish.
On December 4, an article in the esteemed Los Angeles Times featured St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, see of His Grace Bishop Joseph. The piece, titled "At 60, a church blends Arabic, English and Spanish," described the Cathedral's outreach into the community of Latino families that live in the parish's neighborhood, and the adaptive liturgical schedule that includes an 8 a.m. Spanish liturgy, followed by the 10 a.m. Arabic and English liturgy.
"We are in this neighborhood, we want to do outreach to our neighbors," Father Michel Najim, Cathedral Dean, explained to the Times reporter. "When you live in a community that has a cultural background, [we] need to open up to other cultures and other denominations."
The article describes how at the Cathedral's Mediterranean festival in June, tacos are sold alongside the traditional Middle Eastern foods of falafel, shawarma and kebabs. About 1,500 families are members at St. Nicholas.
St. Stylianos Books was founded by Lily Parascheva Rowe to publish books she has written with illustrator Roland J Ford. Both attend Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum MD. In looking for children's books for her children, Rowe found that there wasn't much Bible story material available in English to give her children something to return to again and again--without the need for parental revisions or additions in order to make the Bible story books truly Orthodox.
Astounded by the overall lack of material in English for Orthodox children, Lily started writing books which combine elements from iconography and the hymnography of the Church, while interweaving these things with the Traditional narrative of the Church. "The main difference a reader will notice between these books and typical Bible story books is the completion of the narrative," she explains.
St. Vladimir's Seminary's website has announced that the Seminary will be presenting a premiere performance of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's moving St. Matthew Passion choral work, which blends the Church's liturgical texts with St. Matthew's Gospel story.
Reports the site, "On Monday, February 7, 2011, St. Vladimir’s Seminary will present the U.S. English-language premiere of the piece at 7:30 p.m. at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, 405 West 59th Street, New York City.
Maestro Carlo Ponti, Jr. will conduct the performance, with The Salomé Chamber Orchestra, famed soloists soprano Mary Mackenzie, mezzo-soprano Ana Mihanovic, and tenor Timothy Parsons, and the New York Virtuoso Singers led by Harold Rosenbaum, under his baton. As a prelude to the season of Great Lent, the composition will convey the Gospel account—using scriptural texts interspersed with texts of the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church that are normally sung during Holy Week—in the forms of music recitative, choruses, fugues, and arias.
The composer, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations and an episcopal member of Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, will also be present at the premiere. His musical expertise and reputation are renowned; he studied composition at Moscow Gnessins School of Music and subsequently at the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1987 he was ordained priest, and since 2002 he has been a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church."
Go here for the full story and ticket information.
During the Holiday season, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, a ministry of SCOBA, has encouraged all Orthodox faithful to remember those who are behind bars, with our love, prayers, visits, and gifts. Go here to donate to OCPM.
The Psalms have been called the “Hymn Book of the Church” and contain rich and prophetic references to Christ. In this new Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Let My Prayer Arise," Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, priest at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois, will be taking listeners through the Psalter to help them make the Psalms the prayer of their hearts. "The Lord's Prayer is the flower and the fruit, of the roots, stalk and stem of the Psalms," says Fr. Ellsworth. "When we pray, we are not alone," he adds. The Psalms, he explains, have three important aspects. First, they are a historical connection to the prayers of God's people. Secondly, the Psalms are Christological--Jesus Himself pointed out that the Psalms spoke of Himself. "They are nothing less than the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He would have been immersed in these prayers from infancy." Third, the Psalms are liturgical. "In this podcast, we will often reflect on where and how these Psalms are used in the Orthodox liturgy," promises Fr. Wilbur.
"I encourage you to listen with the Psalm text before you. Begin to read, and then, to memorize."
Orthodox Christian Fellowship reminds college students that registration for the 2010 College Conference is open HERE. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of “Behold, I make all things new,” (Rev. 21:5) and is being held in four locations, Chicago, IL area, Salem, SC, Bolivar, PA, and Dunlap, CA.
Hundreds of college students from throughout North America gather each year at College Conference in order to learn and grow with one another in their Orthodox Christian faith. With student organizers and participants coming from all jurisdictions, the event is an exemplary display of pan-Orthodox coordination and unity. During the Conference students participate in workshops facilitated by clergy and lay leaders which address topics relevant to college-aged students. As well, shared witness and Christian fellowship are woven into the time together making the event a truly edifying and transformative experience. Speakers include a scientist and professor Dr. Gayle Woloschak (Pennsylvania), Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA (Chicago), Archimandrite Meletios Webber (California) and Father John Parker (South Carolina).
A limited number of scholarships are available and offered on a first come-first served basis. For more information and to register online please visit OCF's website.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has announced that their newest resource, the Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guide Brochure Series, is now available for free download. Each brochure offers teens the information they need to navigate through tough issues, some facts and statistics, the church's response, Q&A's, and resources for more information. The one-page handouts can be used for starting discussions, youth group gatherings, Sunday School, or even the church bookstore.
Starting in January, a podcast on OCN will supplement these materials. "Our kids today need a sacred image: our adults need to take a role," notes Fr. Christopher Metropulos, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Network. "It's tough being a parent, one of the most difficult jobs in the world," echoes Fr. Mark Leondis, Director of Youth Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Both priests will be hosting the podcast, which will target parents, youth workers, and all those who love teens. The podcast will mirror the online Survival Guide material for youth and help parents use the guide to discuss issues kids are faced with on a daily basis.
St. Augustine, FL – In 2010, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sent 119 people on short-term mission teams around the world to offer a living witness to the Orthodox Christian faith through loving service and fellowship. Orthodox Mission Team opportunities are now available for 2011, and by the prayers of the Faithful in North America, OCMC hopes that even more people will answer the call to share in a journey of faith by spending one to three weeks abroad teaching the faith, providing healthcare, participating in outreach, ministering to youth, or helping to build and maintain churches.
Please contact Andrew Lekos or Pres. Renee Ritsi by phone at 1-877-GO-FORTH (463-6784) or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Visit the website here for additional details about, or to apply for, 2011 OCMC Orthodox Mission Teams.
The University of Maryland's (Baltimore County) Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and the campus' Secular Student Alliance, co-hosted a formal debate on November 16. Titled "The Source of Human Morality," the discussion pitted well-known atheist Matt Dillahunty against the Antiochian priest and American Orthodox Institute President, the Rev. Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse. About 450 people attended the lively exchange, which is posted for viewing on YouTube in nine installments.
This month, in keeping with the theme of our new release, Letters to Saint Lydia, our Conciliar Media newsletter Messenger is focusing on saints and icons. We have an interview with Melinda Johnson, the author of Letters to Saint Lydia; a feature about Paul Hibberd, who mounts icons for Conciliar Press; an icon-related announcement from AFR; a look at some children’s books that focus on saints and icons; and an excerpt from Fr. Patrick Reardon’s book on the saints of the Bible, Christ in His Saints.
Burr Ridge, Illinois – A Prayer Service marking National Sanctity of Life Day will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at the Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Burr Ridge, Illinois. Believing that all human life is sacred, the worship service will include prayers addressing issues such as capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion, and will emphasize forgiveness and the tragedy of 50 million abortions since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The Service will be sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago, on behalf of the 80 Orthodox Christian Churches in the Greater Chicago area.
In as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. (Matt. 25: 40)
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
As we anticipate celebrating God’s greatest gift to mankind in the Nativity of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we greet you once again, and pray that you continue to receive the gifts of His love and His peace.
Christmas is that time of year when we are especially reminded to share our blessings with others in the form of gifts. It becomes an increased blessing when the privilege of giving is extended to provide partial education scholarships to needy children in Lebanon and Palestine.
Because of your generosity in past years through the “Christmas Appeal” of the Children’s Relief Fund, we have been able to increase the number of sponsored children from 206 in 2003 to 333 in 2009. Currently, CRF is sponsoring 343 children in Lebanon and 40 in Palestine.
The necessity to continue our work is now more challenging as more and more children are in need of ﬁnancial assistance (we have some 90 applications of children waiting to be sponsored).
For those of you who are already sponsoring a child, we offer you our most profound thanks and gratitude, and we ask for your continued support. We encourage all the faithful in the Archdiocese to support our cause.
New sponsors are encouraged to open a window of concern by sponsoring an individual needy child at a minimum of $300 annually or making a donation to the general fund. Please print out the application HERE and mail it.
Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences. Since 2001, Orthodox Christian Fellowship has offered their annual Real Break trips as Spring Break alternatives that provide life-transforming and spiritually uplifting opportunities to do "something real" during this time. Since its inception, over one thousand college students have had the opportunity to spend their time away from school helping others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.
Click here for registration and information.
St. Herman Middle School Retreat
For Students in grades 5-8
Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center
December 10-12, 2010
“Walking In The Footsteps of St. Herman”
Retreat Leader: “Uncle Paul” Finley
Questions? Call Barli Ross in Orthodox Programs
724-238-3677x425 or send an email
Carol and Paul Swydan of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts visited the Antiochian Village this past weekend, bringing with them two wooden trays of Arabic lead type, and framed pages from a 1935 issue of the weekly newspaper “Al-Hurriat/The Liberty,” which was published in both English and Arabic by Paul’s grandfather, Shokri Swydan, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The title of the featured newspaper article reads, “The History of the Church of Antioch – Chapter 3.” (See photo.)
This summer, Patricia and Stephan Rudawski of Pflugerville, Texas organized a donation for the museum - a treasure trove of items from the Nahas family heritage, such as books, vestments, photographs and liturgical items which belonged to Patricia’s grandfather, V. Rev. Nicholas A. Nahas. The donation includes a beautiful framed Epitaphios, its edges hand-embroidered by his wife, Kh. Anna Nahas circa 1940.
Corgette and John Troutman of Newcastle, Pennsylvania recently brought to the museum items that belonged to Corgette’s father, Albert Joseph, of Newcastle, PA, including two sets of elegant Middle Eastern clothing which had been presented to Mr. Joseph by the King of Saudi Arabia, and a small travelling case full of sample Arabic records which he would bring to church picnics so that people could listen to the music, and order their favorite records from him (before the days of the digital download!).