News


OCMC Launches New Hunger Strike Program for Youth

By Carolyn Kouracos

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” – 1 Timothy 4:12

Hunger Strike is a new youth ministry of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). Launched this year on a national level, Hunger Strike is already becoming a growing youth movement. Started at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, CA three years ago, this vibrant ministry has already raised more than $10,000 and has Orthodox Christian teens striving to make a difference in the world by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and giving to those in need.

Hunger Strike is coordinated by local parishes, where teens fast for 30 hours while they participate in activities which raise both awareness and money for the needs of those throughout the world who suffer the effects of poverty and who hunger for the hope found in Christ.

"Souper Bowl of Caring" Sunday is February 5

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) 

Dear Reverend Fathers, Youth Leaders, and Church School Directors, 

Souper Bowl Sunday 2012 is coming! Team up with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and SOYO in our 14th annual Souper Bowl of Caring. Rally your parish and church youth to champion this social service ministry by feeding the poor and caring for those in need around the world. 

It's easy! Just follow the simple guidelines to lead your youth towards recognition as Souper Bowl MVPs! Your youth can collect donations on or near February 5, 2012 and direct the collected donations to IOCC or a local charity of their choosing. 

Let's carry the excitement of Super Bowl Sunday into the homes and lives of people in need throughout the world: $200 collected from your parish youth can provide a refugee with vocational training; $100 can help provide a child in a developing nation with a much needed wheelchair or help bring books to inner city schoolchildren across the United States.  It's a simple but significant act that reminds us what is truly important. Your parish youth have the power to make a positive difference. Join hundreds of other Orthodox Christian parishes around the country participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring as an opportunity to demonstrate your concern for the hungry. 

IOCC Names Michael Homsey New Board Chairman

February 1, 2011

Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — Oklahoma City attorney Michael S. "Mickey" Homsey was named as the new chairman of the Board of Directors for International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a humanitarian relief and development organization of Orthodox Christians based in Baltimore, Maryland. Homsey succeeds Alex Machaskee who served two two-year terms as the chairman of the board, the maximum allowed by the organization's charter.

"The IOCC Board, staff and volunteers have shown an extraordinary dedication in their response to people in times of need and to addressing human suffering and poverty in more than 30 countries over the past twenty years," said Homsey. "I am honored to have been elected as the new chairman and look forward to the opportunity to build on Alex Machaskee's leadership as we look to expand our work in service to the poor."

Under Machaskee's leadership IOCC expanded operations in Africa, including new programs in Cameroon where he recently visited to observe a growing initiative to provide educational opportunities for public school children. IOCC programs also continued in southeastern Europe where Machaskee led an effort to fund vital education and agriculture projects in Kosovo. During his tenure, IOCC also expanded services to disabled children in Serbia and launched major programs with the Romanian Orthodox Church to strengthen their capacity to deliver social services.

Scout Sunday to be Observed on February 6

NEW YORK – goarch.org   Scout Sunday will be observed this year on February 6. It is always observed on the Sunday immediately preceding the 8th of February, unless the 8th falls on a Sunday.

The observance of Scout Sunday tradition was started years ago to make people in the Church aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out of what is pledged each week. The Scout Law says that a “Scout is Reverent” and the Scouts of all ages promise to do their “Duty to God." These values strengthen youth character in their family, community and faith.

In 1960, the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas [SCOBA] created and endorsed the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS] as part of their youth ministry. This was the first agency created by SCOBA.

The EOCS Executive Board encourages all Eastern Orthodox Churches to recognize and celebrate this Boy Scout Centennial even if their church does not sponsor a Scout unit.

Some Scout Sunday Ideas:

Camping Scholarship Applications Now Available

The Order of St. Ignatius Camping Scholarship Forms have been mailed to every parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese.  Each parish is provided the opportunity to assign $700 in camping scholarships to the young people of their respective parish.  The Order of St. Ignatius commits $175,000 annually to camp scholarships.  More than 700 young people received scholarships from the Order of St. Ignatius in 2010.  The scholarships may be used at any of the eight camping programs in the Antiochian Archdiocese.  For more information regarding the Order of St. Ignatius Camping Scholarships, please speak with your parish priest.

The Quiet Cradle Interview Features Antiochian Writer

Janice BidwellJanice BidwellAncient Faith Radio (AFR) podcast The Illumined Heart has released an interview with lifelong Antiochian Christian Janice Bidwell titled "The Quiet Cradle."   Asks host Kevin Allen in the podcast's description, "Are converts to Orthodox Christianity dominating the media with their 'journey stories' and 'fast-paced, high-energy' perspectives, while the more quiet, perhaps lumbering, but deeply-rooted faith of cradle-born Orthodox is obscured in the process? Are traditions and customs being introduced by some convert clergy and laity that feel new and even strange to those with deep Orthodox roots? Is there a growing 'cradle - convert gap' in the Orthodox Church in North America?"

Janice Bidwell attends St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church in La Jolla, California, an active and diverse parish in a suburb of San Diego. A blogger who writes under the name Prudence True, Janice is also a wife, homeschooling mother, and a professor of nursing at San Diego State University. As she explains in her interview with Kevin Allen, Bidwell began to write reflections about growing up Orthodox when she noticed that most of the writers on websites and blogs were converts to the faith. In pieces such as Beyond My Eyes, Janice began to explore the meaning of her heritage, passed from generation to generation in her family, and what it had been like to grow up Orthodox in the midst of an American culture dominated by other Christian traditions.

Orthodox Christian Fellowship Launches Strategic Development

Fishers, IN – January 26, 2011

Founded in 1960, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) supports fellowships on college campuses, whose members experience the Church and witness to Christ through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the Faith.  At a time when so many young people are separated from their Church, OCF transforms lives through its local chapters, programs and national conferences.  

OCF has grown tremendously over the past decade and now has over 300 college chapters in the United States and Canada.  A cadre of trained regional chaplains helps to further OCF’s ministry, which  sees students from throughout North America participating in service programs around the globe and graduates reinvigorating parish life here at home. 

As is appropriate for an organization at a pivotal time such as this, the OCF Board of Directors is taking a thoughtful look at its achievements, goals, and challenges in order to prepare a course for the future.  To do this, the Board and Staff of OCF feel it necessary to know what OCF means to some of those who have worked so hard to make OCF a reality, those who have been impacted by its efforts, and those students who are active in the ministry today. 

Over the next six months, OCF will study its reach, impact and effectiveness to determine future goals and objectives.  Brigham Nahas Research Associates (BNRA), an independent research firm based in Massachusetts, has been engaged to gather data and perspective, using both stakeholder interviews and a survey of students and alumni involved in OCF. 

Memory Eternal! + Kh. Barbara Dunaway

Bishop Basil writes:

Memory Eternal! Khouriya Barbara Dunaway, 75, wife of Fr. Harold, retired from St. John Cathedral in Eagle River, AK, and mother of Khouriya Luanne Barr of St. Elias in Austin, TX, Fr. Marc of Eagle River, AK and Fr. Michael of Goldendale, WA, reposed late last night, January 25th, in hospital in Seattle, WA where she had been airlifted from Anchorage, AK.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.  Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Khouriya Barbara's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant."  May God grant her Paradise, and may He grant you long life.

The schedule of divine services is as follows:  Tuesday, February 1st: 6:15PM - Vesperal Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord, followed by Trisagion Prayers for the Departed.  Wednesday, February 2nd, the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord: 11:15AM - Arrival of her body at the Cathedral, followed by the Trisagion Prayers for the Departed.  11:30AM - 3:15PM - Visitation and Reading of Psalms.  3:15PM - Funeral Service, Procession to Cemetery, followed immediately by a Meal of Mercy in the Cathedral's fellowship hall.

Orthodox Christians Encouraged to Participate in March For Life

WASHINGTON, DC [OCA] -- His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, will once again lead Orthodox Christian faithful at the annual March for Life here on Monday, January 24, 2011.

Joining Metropolitan Jonah will be His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey; His Grace, Bishop Melchisedek of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania; Archimandrite Matthias, Bishop-Elect of Chicago and the Midwest; students from Saint Tikhon's Seminary, South Canaan, PA and Saint Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY; and hundreds of Orthodox Christian clergy and faithful from through the region and beyond.

On the morning of the March, Metropolitan Jonah will preside at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at the cathedral at 8:00 a.m. Thereafter, marchers are asked to gather by 12:30 p.m. under the "Orthodox Christians for Life" banner to the left of the stage at the Ellipse, between the Washington Monument and the national Mall. Metropolitan Jonah will be one of several speakers to address the public at the pre-March program. Archpriest John Kowalczyk, a pro-life activist involved in the March for Life for over 25 years, will deliver the final benediction at the formal program prior to the March.

At the conclusion of the March, Metropolitan Jonah and the hierarchs will offer prayers for the victims of abortion.

On Sunday, January 23, the eve of the March, the faithful are invited to join Metropolitan Jonah for Vespers at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, 3500 Massachusetts Ave. NW, at 6:00 p.m. A reception will follow.

His Grace Bishop Basil encourages Antiochian Christians to support outreach ministries and remember abortion's victims in his appeal here.

Antiochian Village Summer Staff Applications Due in Early February

For all interested applicants, the Antiochian Village deadline for summer camp staff is fast approaching. All applications need to be postmarked by February 1, 2011. Explains the website summer staff page, "Members of the Summer Camp Staff are responsible for carrying out the Mission of the Antiochian Village, which is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment. They must help strengthen the Camper's grasp of the basics of the Christian life: participation in the liturgical, sacramental, and ascetical life of the Church and living in community with fellow members of the Body of Christ with peace towards all of God's creation. But being a counselor isn't just another job where you are required to do certain tasks and never end up seeing your efforts come to fruition, it can and most likely will be, one of the most spiritually fulfilling experiences of your life."

Click HERE to download a staff application.

 

Antiochian Village Sacred Arts Program

The Antiochian Village Camp now offers a Sacred Arts Program that includes Byzantine Chant and Iconography camps for teens 14-18, parish workshops on Byzantine Chant and a Byzantine Notation Workshop for adults 18 and up. For more information visit our website http://antiochianvillage.org/camp.

Fr. Moses Berry to Speak in Iowa City + February 5, 2011

DESCENDENT OF DANIEL BOONE SPEAKS AT THIRD ANNUAL EVENING IN THE EAST

Click here for more information

Iowa City, IA – January 19, 2011 – On Saturday, February 5, St. Raphael of Brooklyn Orthodox Mission is hosting their third annual Evening in the East at Old Brick, 26 Market Street, Iowa City. The benefit runs begins at 5:30 PM, includes authentic cuisine from Greece, the Middle East, Romania, Georgia, and Russia, prizes, silent auctions, a performance by St. Raphael Church Choir, and this year will feature speaker Fr. Moses Berry presenting “Linking Ancient African Christianity to the African American Experience.”

Fr. Moses Berry is President of the Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black and founder of the Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum. Fr. Moses is a descendent of frontier legend Daniel Boone through his son Nathan Boone and Nathan's slave Marie Boone. At a moment of crisis as a young man, Fr. Moses began a search for his religious heritage that took him from the church of his youth to the Orthodox Christianity found throughout northern Africa.

Department of Planning and Development Meets at Archdiocese Headquarters

On October 28th the Department of Planning and Development met under the guidance of Metropolitan Philip and Economos Antony Gabriel in order to map out the future strategies. Metropolitan Philip opened the meeting with remarks regarding the spiritual value of money in context of the Scripture and the up building of God’s Holy Church. Those who were in attendance came from all over the country. Present were: Kh. Lynn Gabriel, Stephen Adams, Peter Dacales, Khalil Kardous, Michael Karolle, Sameh Khouzam, Paul Mokhiber, Philip Saliba and Archdeacon Emile Sayegh. Unable to attend were David Ghiz, Robert Laham, Albert Mokhiber and Justin Sayfie.

The following subjects were addressed:

  • Grants and Foundations for the Village
  • Future Trusts to perpetuate the financial stability of the Archdiocese.
  • Outreach out to former Antiochian Village Campers
  • Set up a fundraiser (Person of the Year) to benefit the Village

Why do we have the Department of Planning and Development?... for the simple reason to spread the word of the “one, holy and apostolic church”. In this present day society it takes prayer, faith and monetary resources to spread the work of the church. The rich and the poor together can join hands to expand the vision of the church which has been handed down to us from those who were “first called Christians in Antioch”. We do not want to hand down to our children a dusty museum piece but rather the dynamic and life transforming faith. The reality is that it takes us, our talents and our monetary resources to make this happen, that is, a vision for the future.

2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Applications Now Available

2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Application (PDF)

Through a generous gift of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America will once again grant several scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to students attending an accredited College.

Scholarships will be granted each July. Completed 2012 Francis Maria Scholarship Application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by May 15, 2012 and received by May 22.

Please note that you will need the free Adobe acrobat reader to open this file, if you do not already have it installed on your computer.

For more information on the Francis Maria Scholarship program, please visit www.antiochian.org/scholarships.

Liturgica.com Launches Download Store for Liturgical Music

AURORA, OR (11/19/10) -- Liturgica.com today announced the launch of a download store for the sale of liturgical chant in MP3 download format. This web implementation will offer the first ever availability of a single comprehensive offering of liturgical chant for download to enable files to be played on computers and more importantly, MP3 players like i-Pod, Zune, etc. All tracks for download will be offered in the highest MP3 quality format available.

Liturgica.com currently offers the largest collection of physical CDs of liturgical music on the web, concentrating on Byzantine, Russian and other Eastern Christian chant forms, as well as a variety of Western Christian chant. The decision to implement MP3 download capability was made after watching demographic trends, and also surveying its own customer base this summer. Increasing percentages of classical music fans are purchasing music downloads, and over 45% of Liturgica.com's customers indicated an affirmative interest.

The sale of MP3 downloads is a new distribution model that has caused challenges to the music industry, but is here to stay. It requires labels to enter into a different contractual arrangement with the seller, as the recently announced agreement between The Beatles Apple Records and i-Tunes illustrates. Liturgica.com is launching its download store with a range of artists from small, independent to large, international labels, all of whom recognize the change in music sales and want to be a part as well as support their fans who prefer to purchase music this way.

Antiochian Churches Featured in Houston Chronicle

A recent article in the Houston Chronicle discusses Antiochian Orthodox Churches in the Houston area and explores trend of American conversion to Orthodoxy:

Like many of his parishioners, Father Richard Petranek came to the Orthodox church in search of the past.

After 30 years as an Episcopalian priest, Petranek converted to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and leads a new but growing parish in west Houston, filled almost entirely with converts to the ancient faith.

"Most people come for the stability," he said. "The same thing that is taught today in the Orthodox church was taught 500 years ago, was taught 1,000 years ago, was taught 1,500 years ago."

At a time when most mainline Christian churches are losing members, Eastern Orthodox churches — which trace their beliefs to the church described in the New Testament - are growing, both in Houston and across the United States.

Read the complete article at the Houston Chronicle web site.

Fr. Don Hock's India Mission Journal

Last fall, Archpriest Fr. Don Hock of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Omaha, traveled to India with the OCMC, in order to minister with a teaching team in an orphanage in Bakeswar, and in Calcutta. Composed of three laymen and three clergy, the six-member team taught catechism classes, visited with orphanage children, served liturgy in the Orthodox Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Calcutta, and visited several Christian churches and sites of interest there.

"In many ways," wrote Fr. Don in his journal, "this was a full-circle event for me, as some of the missionary experience my wife and I had was in reaching out to the Indian immigrant population in England. And now, I was heading for India itself to preach the Gospel as before, but this time we were also bringing the fullness, depth and richness of the Holy Orthodox Faith to the hungry hearts of those waiting for us to come and minister to them." Read all of Fr. Hock's daily thoughts and impressions here in his Mission Trip Journal.

A Year After the Earthquake, Haitians Remain Vulnerable

Father Barnabas (center) and Father Pavlos (right), priests of the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Jean de Freres in the Bobin neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, visit with people left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake: (Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey/IOCC)Father Barnabas (center) and Father Pavlos (right), priests of the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Jean de Freres in the Bobin neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, visit with people left homeless by the January 2010 earthquake: (Photo credit: Paul Jeffrey/IOCC)Baltimore, MD (IOCC) – A year after a 7.0 earthquake devastated the lives of millions of Haitians reminders of the disaster – and the continued need – are everywhere.

"Beyond the immediate needs that emerged following the disaster, the earthquake has exposed the suffering of the Haitian people," observed Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC executive director. "Much remains to be done to address the long-term need for permanent housing, clean water and sanitation, and other basic necessities that will help to restore justice, dignity and peace for the people of Haiti."

International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has provided $4 million in direct assistance to the people of Haiti since January 12, 2010. Yet, the level of devastation that required one of the largest relief operations in history has been complicated by a fragile infrastructure, limited government capacity and soaring poverty levels.

"The earthquake was the first of three major disaster that threatened Haitians this past year," said Mark Ohanian, IOCC director of programs. "The frequent disasters and threats to public health call attention to the vulnerability of the Haitian people, the magnitude of the work ahead and the continuing need for assistance."

IOCC has been focusing its efforts on delivering basic food and hygiene items, providing assistance to schools, addressing health and hygiene needs and mitigating the long-term effects of natural disasters.

OCF Announces the 2011 Chaplain and Lay Leader Conference

Fishers, IN – December 27, 2010

The North American Office of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) announced today the details of its 2011 Chaplains Conference, to be held at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA, on February 8-10, 2011. The annual gathering of clergy and lay leaders of local OCF chapters will focus on the theme of “Following Christ through Crisis,” with the goal of equipping chaplains and lay leaders to help students remain strong in their faith and in the pursuit of their calling even in the midst of crises, be they personal or interpersonal, emotional, physical or spiritual.

Designed to offer practical learning in the field of campus ministry, the keynote sessions will be offered by Fr. John Abdalah, a veteran OCF Chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh and licensed counselor. A variety of mini-clinics will be offered as options, with focused topics ranging from “The First Two Weeks of the Semester,” to “Developing Continuity in Student Leadership.”

Twenty scholarships covering all travel and registration costs will be awarded to applicants, with majority funding coming through a grant from The Lilly Endowment for the Theological Exploration of Vocations.  Current OCF Chaplains as well as those interested in this rewarding ministry are encouraged to apply. Scholars will in turn submit written reflections on their own vocations as campus ministers.

Fr. Michael Nasser, OCF’s North American Chaplain and one of the organizers of the Conference, said this about the focus of this year’s conference: “It’s simply the way things are: the great majority of college students today will face multiple crises during their college years. Most students do well until a crisis hits, and that’s when many lose their way. We hope we can better equip our chaplains to help our students get through these challenging times, holding fast to Christ and His Church as their anchor.”

Assembly of Bishops Announces Liaison Bishops

The Assembly of Bishops has announced who will be the Liaison Bishops for the agencies of the Assembly. These bishops, while not part of the agencies' governing structures, are responsible for coordination between the Assembly and their particular agency, and for providing episcopal guidance on behalf of the Assembly for all that agency's activities. For instance, for the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting (EOCS) the National Chairman is George N. Boulukos and the Episcopal Liaison is Bishop Daniel (UOC-USA). For the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the Executive Director and CEO is Constantine M. Triantafilou, the Chairman is Alex Machaskee, and the Episcopal Liaison is Archbishop Nicolae (ROAA).

Go to the Assembly website for the complete list.

Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Nativity Liturgy

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip celebrated the 2010 Nativity Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. Other celebrants included Archpriest Thomas Zain, the Cathedral Dean, Archdeacon Hans El-Hayek and Deacon Adrian Budica.

Archbishop Justinian Visits Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood

Visit of His Eminence Archbishop Justinian to the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey on December 22, 2010

Click here for a photo gallery of Archbishop Justinian's visit

On December 22, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip hosted His Eminence Archbishop Justinian, the Administrator of the Parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate in the United States for a visit to the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

Attending the meeting (and pictured in the accompanying photo from left to right were):

Memory Eternal! + Lucia Camille Baba, July 14th - December 22nd, 2010

His Grace Bishop Basil writes,

Dear to Christ, Fathers and Brothers:

MEMORY ETERNAL! The child of God Lucia Camille Baba, five month old daughter of Father Anthony & Khouriya Ramia of St Anthony Church in Spring, TX, reposed late last evening of complications arising from Trisomy 18 (also known as Trisomy E or Edwards syndrome).

The Funeral for a Child will be served tomorrow morning, December 24th, at 11:00 AM at St. George Church in Houston, TX. Condolences may be sent to Father Anthony and Khouriya Ramia at franthonybaba@gmail.com.

Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of Lucia's soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, receive in peace the soul of Thy child Lucia." May God grant Paradise to Lucia and consolation to her parents, grandparents and all the Baba and Ibrahim families.

In Christ Who is our Resurrection and our Life,

His Grace Bishop Basil

Donations in Lucia’s memory may be made to St. Anthony Church in Spring, Texas, for the iconography in the new church temple. To read about Lucia's life, go here.

St. Katherine College To Host Kaleidoscope Days, Jan. 20, 22

Saint Katherine College, a new independent Orthodox Christian institution slated to begin classes in the fall of 2011, will host "College Kaleidoscope Days" for high school juniors and seniors at its Encinitas, CA campus Thursday and Saturday, January 20th and 22nd, 2011. The event will feature presentations on goal setting, discerning a "good fit" when selecting a college, fun activities, lunch, and more. For more information log on to the college’s web site.

Choir of St. George Makes Annual Visit to Englewood

Annual Christmas visit of the Choir of St. George in Little Falls, NJ Held at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey on December 21, 2010

On December 21, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Annual Christmas visit of the Choir from St. George in Little Falls, NJ at the Archdiocese Headquarters.  This visit has become an annual tradition, and always fills the headquarters with the joy of music, and good fellowship.

The choir began the singing of Christmas hymns outside the front entrance of the house and then made its way into the house to greet His Eminence.  They were led by the pastor, Very Rev. Elias Bitar, and Mrs. Christine Lynch, the choir director.  After receiving a blessing from His Eminence, the choir continued their beautiful singing in the living room.  At the conclusion of the musical program, everyone gathered in the chapel for evening prayers.

Finally, the choir was treated to dessert and coffee in the dining room.

As always, it was an evening of joy and good fellowship during this most blessed season of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.