In today’s secular society, which is often filled with meaningless rhetoric, it is encouraging to report that the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America is progressing toward its stated goals.
Recent achievements include the official incorporation of the Assembly on October 18, 2011 as the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (ACOB). (It was formerly known as the “Episcopal Assembly” of North and Central America.) Last month an historic teleconference of the Assembly’s committee chairmen was held, bringing together representatives of all Orthodox jurisdictions in North America. On January 24 and 25, 2012, the Secretariat—which holds monthly teleconferences—held its second annual face-to-face meeting in Riverside, CA.
The Secretariat meeting in Riverside was hosted by Fr. Josiah Trenham of St. Andrew’s Church, and included Bishop Basil (Secretary of the Assembly of Bishops), Archbishop Antony (Treasurer), Bishop Andonios, Bishop Maxim, Fr. Mark Arey, Fr. Nicholas Ceko, Hierodeacon Benedict (Armitage), Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, and Messrs. Alexei Krindatch, Alex Machaskee, and Eric Namee.
Applauded at the Secretariat meeting was “Conversations With Our Bishops,” which is a series of audio interviews of the Assembly’s 53 member hierarchs conducted by Fr. Trenham. The interviews provide a broad swath of perspectives to the Church-at-large on the significance and work of the Assembly. Seventeen interviews have been completed so far, and new interviews are regularly made available on the Assembly’s website.
The Archdiocese has another department?
How much does it cost?
What is it for?
What’s in it for me?
Even before these questions, maybe you asked, “Why do we need an Archdiocese? Our church is doing just fine on its own.” This is the very reason and purpose for this Department – to “re-energize” the Laity of our Archdiocese regarding the Hierarchal nature of our faith and its relevance to our future viability in this country.
V. Reverend Economos Antony Gabriel, Chair of the Department offers the following:
“What is so unique about the Antiochian Archdiocese is that it was established by the Laity. In 1885 St. Raphael came to the United States, consecrated in 1904 in Brooklyn, and then proceeded to establish 30 parishes. He died young as did other Bishops that succeeded him. Metropolitan Philip is the longest serving Bishop in the history of the Archdiocese. The legacy of this Archdiocese will be that we have embraced the spirit of going forward; standing still is death. We must continue to do everything in our power which comes from God to continue our forward progress not for our own glory or the glory of the Metropolitan, but for the glory of God and in honor of our founders who came to this country penniless. When Metropolitan Anthony died in 1966 the Archdiocese consisted of 66 parishes. Now we have 265 parishes. If the Church is not a missionary Church then it is dead. The ministry of the Laity is more important than that of the Priests. The Priests are confined to the parish, but the Laity has the whole world as its parish.”
On October 6, 2011 members of the Department of Planning and Development met with Metropolitan Philip at the Archdiocese to discuss the strategy behind the Department’s exciting plans to re-energize the visions and legacy of the Metropolitan Philip and our God-protected Archdiocese.
February 17, 2012
Ten years ago, five determined and dedicated IOCC supporters cycled their way across the U.S. to celebrate IOCC's tenth anniversary of service providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. The Race to Respond riders raised funds for those in need and put IOCC on the map with the new Orthodox Christian supporters they encountered through cities and towns across California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.
Lead rider, Jim Angelus, is ready to repeat this feat and is seeking a crew chief to drive the pursuit vehicle and two cross-country cyclists to join him again in honor of IOCC's 20th anniversary of humanitarian service. This time, the cross-country route will take the cyclists along the northern tier of the country from Seattle, Washington, through Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, covering approximately 3,000 miles in 33 days.
Cyclists must have prior experience in training and participating in strenuous long distance events. Much like the 2002 ride, cyclists will have to endure the psychological and physical demands of approximately 33 days of continuous cycling at approximately 90 miles per day.
The tentative timeline for this cross-country cycling event is June 26 – July 31. This timeline includes travel and time prep time in Seattle. Cyclists will be responsible for costs incurred on this cross-country trek, approximately $4,000. This includes travel expenses, equipment, accommodations and food, as well as the shared cost for a crew chief that will be providing SAG. Those interested should contact Jim Angelus at email@example.com for more information.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.
Matthew 25:35 – Judgment Sunday
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the Holy Eparchial Synod of our Holy Archdiocese of America, I am writing to you, the faithful members of our Holy Orthodox Church here in the United States, this heartfelt appeal for our brothers and sisters in Greece. The financial crisis that has rocked Europe and deeply affected Greece has reached proportions where the suffering of innocents and the ordeal of common people cry out for urgent and substantive help. So many of our families have roots in Greece and many of us have relatives and friends who are now experiencing privation unknown in that country since the time of the harsh occupation of the Second World War.
The Board of Directors of FOCUS North America announces the appointment of Nicholas J. Chakos as its new Executive Director. Chairman Charles Ajalat said, “The Board of Directors is extremely blessed and excited to have found such a great leader to take FOCUS North America to the next level.”
Nick Chakos has over 15 years of experience and demonstrated success in Orthodox non-profit leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, and program development and evaluation. He is both an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the recipient of the Miron Cross, the highest distinction given by the Romanian Orthodox Church to civilians for outstanding social service to Romania. Nick has been with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for 13 years, occupying positions such as Interim Director of Development and as a member of the Executive Team. Prior to IOCC, Nick worked for Tanzanian Development Association, a division of the Orthodox Church in Tanzania. Nick is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and is passionate about domestic social action.
Mr. Chakos is expected to join FOCUS on February 16.
[SVOTS Communications, Yonkers, NY] On Monday evening, May 7, 2012, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary is hosting an 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. The 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. In this multi-media concert, icons, music, and text will expound one another and combine the best elements of a professional choral performance with the depth and authenticity of the Orthodox liturgical experience.
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.
Tickets are $25, and may be purchased online. Limited seating will be available at the door (cash only) the evening of the concert.
St. Katherine College hosted the first annual President’s Gala on January 28th. Approximately 300 guests enjoyed hearing the College chorale, readings from prize-winning poet and Visiting Professor Scott Cairns, and the first public performance of a piano composition by music Instructor Nazo Zakkak. The attendees represented clergy and people from all of the Orthodox Christian traditions as well as those of other faiths. Underwriters for the event included corporations, businesses, and individuals who are committed to the vision of an Orthodox Christian college. An Ancient Faith Radio audio summary of the event is available here.
Saint Katherine College began its second year of operation on January 9, 2012. Classes resumed for 11 traditional and 4 part-time students. The first year was marked by continuing expansion of course offerings and facilities. Most students are taking courses in the College's Core Integration series, mathematics, biological science, and theology, as well as electives in areas ranging from music theory to business ethics. Recently the school was awarded competitive grants to fund original research at the College.
Syria is in the news a lot these days, but what kind of work is being done by the Church in light of the current circumstances? Listeners may be surprised. In this edition of Ancient Faith Presents, Samer Laham, the Director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development for the Patriarchate of Antioch in Damascus, discusses the ongoing humanitarian work of the IOCC in the country.
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) announces it has released the second and final MP3-DVD volume in Fr. Paul Tarazi's groundbreaking Orthodox Audio Bible Commentary. Ordering information is available on the OCABS website.
As each verse of the Old Testament is read aloud and carefully explained, listeners can hear the story of the Bible unfold in its entirety, while learning relevant historical, linguistic, and literary facts. As attested to by Orthodox liturgical tradition, Scripture is meant to be read aloud to people of all backgrounds. Unfortunately, differences in language, culture, and historical circumstances often obscure the Bible for contemporary listeners. Throughout this series, the speaker repeatedly highlights poetic and literary connections from the original languages, overcoming the problem of translation and helping listeners to encounter the Old Testament as it was heard in its orignal setting.
The approximate running time is 75 hours.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America has issued the following statement of protest:
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, which is comprised of the 65 canonical Orthodox bishops in the United States, Canada and Mexico, join their voices with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and all those who adamantly protest the recent decision by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and call upon all the Orthodox Christian faithful to contact their elected representatives today to voice their concern in the face of this threat to the sanctity of the Church’s conscience.
In this ruling by HHS, religious hospitals, educational institutions, and other organizations will be required to pay for the full cost of contraceptives (including some abortion-inducing drugs) and sterilizations for their employees, regardless of the religious convictions of the employers.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. This freedom is transgressed when a religious institution is required to pay for “contraceptive services” including abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization services that directly violate their religious convictions. Providing such services should not be regarded as mandated medical care. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, call upon HHS Secretary Sebelius and the Obama Administration to rescind this unjust ruling and to respect the religious freedom guaranteed all Americans by the First Amendment.
"For the last three years, the Classical Learning Resource Center has focused on teaching live, real-time, online classes in Classical Greek and Latin. We’ve emerged as one of the best online sources available for Latin and Greek instruction. Our student body has approximately doubled for the third year in a row and our new students are just as engaged, inquisitive, and generally delightful as those continuing from last year!
The Classical Learning Resource Center is beginning to gear up for fall of 2012. We’re planning to offer several new classes and part of the purpose of this newsletter is to see how much interest there is in these new course offerings. We’ll continue with our full program of Greek and Latin classes with Latin 4 Kids classes for elementary school and the full 4 year sequence of Latin I, II, III, IV and Greek I, II, III, IV for middle school and high school students and adults. If you haven’t taken a Greek or Latin class with the Classical Learning Resource Center yet we encourage you to begin in 2012.
The Diocese of Toledo Fellowship of St. John the Divine invites all young adults (ages 18-40) to our spring Young Adult Retreat hosted at St. Mary Basilica in Livonia, MI, the weekend of March 30-April 1, 2012. His Grace Bishop Anthony will be our guest speaker for the weekend leading us in workshops about our faith, along with church services, good food, activities and fellowship time together to enjoy each others company. We invite all young adults (married or single) from our diocese and beyond to join us for this retreat. It is going to be a fun and spiritually fulfilling retreat in which we hope all young adults from our diocese will participate.
The retreat will take place at St. Mary Basilica in (18100 Merriman Road, Livonia, MI). Out of town guests may book lodging at the Detroit Marriott Livonia (17100 Laurel Park Drive North, Livonia, MI) where a block of rooms is reserved under the group code: FSJFSJD at a special rate of $96 per night.
The weekend will begin at 7pm on Friday March 30 with the Akatahist/Madeyeh service at St. Mary's, and conclude with a light luncheon after Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday April 1. The final schedule is attached.
The Fall/Winter 2011-2012 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the North American Board. And The Diocese of New York and the Archdiocesan District, And the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, and contains:
- A message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, Antiochian Women Hierarchical Overseer
- A message from His Grace Bishop John, North American Board Spiritual Advisor
- A message from His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Brooklyn and Assistant to the Metropolitan
Rev. Fr. Basilios Nassar was born on January 1, 1982. He held a Bachelor's degree in Theology form St. John of Damascus Orthodox Institute of Theology at the Balamand University in Lebanon, and a Master's degree in pastoral care form the same university in 2004. He was fluent in Arabic, Modern Greek and the New Testament Greek, as well as a working knowledge of English and Hebrew.
He was ordained a deacon and a celibate priest by His Eminence Metropolitan Elias (Saliba) of Hama, Syria, then he served in his hometown, Kfarbahom, and in the Archdiocese of Hama.He taught Bible Study as well as Byzantine music to different age groups, and established many choirs throughout the Archdiocese. He was loved by youth and adult alike for his pastoral care and love, and that is the reason for his untimely death, as he was trying to help one of his parishioners who was wounded.
Fr. Basilios was at the Metropolis when he was informed by a phone call that a parishioner of his had been wounded and needed assistance. The Patriarchate of Antioch has reported that the 30-year-old priest was killed while giving medical aid to the wounded man.
His funeral took place on January 26th in the Church of Saint George in Hama. The blessed Father Basilios, known in the world as Mazin, was born in the Village of Kfarmpo in Hama. He was a teacher of Byzantine music in the school Saint Kosmas the Melodist which he had founded in the Metropolis.
Fr. Basilios was indeed a faithful shepherd. He will be missed by all who knew him in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
May he rest in peace and may his Memory be Eternal.
As of January 27, Fr. Stephan Close, Antiochian Chaplain assigned to Afghanistan's Kandahar Air Field Chapel, has written fifteen vivid letters to his Bishop, His Grace Bishop Basil of Wichita. With permission, Antiochian.org is republishing the letters as journal entries, and the regular diary essays compose a moving first-hand account of his life in a war zone.
Fr. Stephan's colorful prose details all the sorrows and joys of a chaplain's life. "It's been a rough week," he writes in Entry 14, "with too many rockets and caskets and trouble and sorrow." Earlier, in his first encounter of the chapel at Kandahar, he explains, "I was able to serve Liturgy with the Romanians yesterday. Their chapel was one of the first constructions when they first came into theater at the beginning of the war (about 10 years now, Lord have mercy on us). It is not a prefab, but was purpose built-some of the interior supports are hewn and fitted, not nailed; a beautiful devotion of handiwork."
Camera-ready bulletin inserts regarding the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Real Break Program are available for download here.
The Real Break program provides alternatives to the “traditional ” Spring Break for college students. It exists to provide students with the most authentic experience possible, and is modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. Now is the time for college students across the US and Canada to sign up for Real Break, as the first program begins February 25 and subsequent service weeks are available through March 24.
The Secretariat of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America held its annual "face-to-face" meeting, January 24th and 25th, 2012. The hosts for this year's "face-to-face" meeting were Father Josiah Trenham and the congregation of St Andrew Church in Riverside, CA. An overview of the work accomplished at the Riverside meeting will be included in a soon-to-be issued media release which will report to the Church-at-large on the work of the Assembly during the past year.
The Secretariat, which also meets monthly via teleconference, consists of Bishop Basil (Secretary of the Assembly of Bishops), Archbishop Antony, Bishop Andonios, Bishop Maxim, Father Mark Arey, Father Nicholas Ceko, Father Josiah Trenham, Hierodeacon Benedict (Armitage), Protodeacon Peter Danilchick, and Messrs. Alexei Krindatch, Alex Machaskee, Eric Namee and Constantin Ursache.
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies (IOCS), Cambridge, UK, invites long distance learners to join its on-line course. The IOCS brings the most distinguished teachers of Orthodoxy from the Cambridge classroom to home computers across the US. Each student is assigned his or her own personal tutor, can attend lectures online, and receives both access to Orthodox study materials and entrance to discussion forums.
Join this highly regarded virtual Orthodox university for a unique and fascinating exploration of the faith. Students can enroll now for the February Distance Learning Module. For more details or to register please visit our website.
Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Potomac, MD, is hosting the spring gathering for both the Diocese of Charleston and the Diocese of New York youth.
Highlights will include:
• Unlimited Bowling Friday Night for $10
• Registration Cost: $35
• Registration Includes Breakfast and Lunch Saturday at the Church Hall
• Registration also includes Dinner and Hafli Saturday Night with live entertainment
• In lieu of the humanitarian activity, each teen from each church is asked to bring a canned food to be donated to a shelter at a later date.
Hotel Accommodations: Bethesda Marriott Suites
6711 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20817
• Hotel Rooms at $89 per night
• Rooms can accommodate more than 4 people – All are Suites
• Group Code for Hotel Reservation: SPPSPPA
• Registration Due by April 13th for guaranteed room rate
Brookline, MA—Hellenic College Holy Cross, the oldest and largest Christian Orthodox institution for higher learning in North America, invites Orthodox Christian students from the United States and Canada to take part in a summer vocation exploration program that integrates faith, learning, and service. In its ninth year, the CrossRoad summer institute has proven to be a successful program preparing teens for leadership in the Church and in their communities.
One of the vibrant programs of HCHC’s Office of Vocation & Ministry (OVM), CrossRoad offers participants access to HCHC’s distinguished faculty instruction and enthusiastic graduate students who serve as staff. Since the program is on HCHC campus, participants experience the beautiful campus that is within minutes of Boston.
In addition to participating in theology classes, CrossRoad students attend Vespers each evening at neighboring parishes in the Boston area and engage in community service.
The first table in the Special Olympics 2011 Donations pdf shows those parishes and individuals that have contributed to NAC SOYO’s 2012 Special Olympics Ministry through the October 16, 2011 collection. We thank all of you for your generosity. Is your parish among them? Refer to this list to find out.
The second table shows those parishes that have yet to send in their contributions and we ask that you help us meet our $2,000 shortfall by sending in your contribution for the money collected, or if you did not take the requested collection, please consider a donation to help this ministry.
Do you know a young person in your parish who you think would be a particularly effective and dynamic Special Olympics Coach? Please refer them to the following application, or have them contact:
V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura
Department of Youth Ministry
On Share the Light Sunday, January 15, 2012, the Orthodox Christian Network is encouraging parishes to announce that in 2012, OCN will be honoring its first ever hero. This person must be nominated by someone other than a family member and must have distinguished him or herself in Christian love and service to others. Any of our listeners around the world will be able to nominate candidates online during the year of 2012. The Board of Directors and staff of OCN will review and select 10 candidates to be put before our international listening audience, who will then choose the winner. The winner will be a special guest on Come Receive the Light and will receive a free cruise.
The Sanctum Retreat Centre of Caroline, Alberta, will host the ninth annual Orthodox Men's Retreat of St. John the Baptist, on April 20-22, 2012.
Guest speaker, Conciliar Press author and priest Fr. Lawrence Farley, will speak on the Divine Liturgy. Indicating the pan-Orthodox character of the event, the announcement reads, "With the Blessings and support of our Bishops, and the support of our parishes and parish clergy, Very Reverend Father Taras Krochak, and Reverend Father Timothy Charpko – St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Congregation, Reverend Father Ibrahim Chahoud - Antiochian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Reverend Father Obrad Filipovic – Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Simeon, Reverend Father Demetrios Rougas – St Demetrios Greek Orthodox Congregation, Reverend Father Phillip Erikson – St. Peter the Aleut OCA Congregation, and Very Reverend Father Michael Lupu - St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Congregation, the Orthodox retreat committee invite you to the ninth annual Orthodox Men’s Retreat of St. John the Baptist – 2012."
In addition to the liturgical worship and retreat lecture sessions, the retreat committee notes, there will be ample time for quite time meditation and prayer. The retreat property is set in serene surroundings, and hot tubs are available so retreat attendees are encouraged pack swimming trunks.
From the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West:
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Harold Dunaway, Dean Emeritus of St. John Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, fell asleep in the Lord on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal.