October 18, 2014
A Ground Blessing ceremony for the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center is set for Saturday October 18, 2014 at 12:00 noon. The ceremony will include a combined prayer service of blessing of the site (agiasmos), and a doxology (a service of thanksgiving).
Established in 1916, the small Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas was the only house of worship destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 when the South Tower fell and completely obliterated the old church edifice. The new Saint Nicholas National Shrine will be rebuilt only a short distance away from its original location, at 130 Liberty Street and will be overlooking the 9/11 Memorial.
Archbishop Demetrios of America, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America stated: "Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine, although destroyed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 is now, with the grace of God, being resurrected at the new World Trade Center and it will soon rise like a glorious phoenix as a National Shrine and a place of pilgrimage for our Nation. It will be a place of faith, a place of peace and a place of solace and hope."
Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, will be in the Boston area and available for book signings and/or discussions about the Christian community in the Holy Land, from approximately April 23 to May 27, 2015.
If your church is interested in hosting a program, please contact Dr. Khoury directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Description of Holy Land Presentation:
Maria Khoury uses her personal life experiences living in the West Bank, the Palestinian Occupied Territories, to bring greater awareness of how conditions are on the ground for Christians specifically, and Palestinians in general, who suffer day to day under Israeli military occupation trying to do simple things like going to work, school, etc. She speaks from the perspective of being a woman, mother, an Orthodox Christian and community activist. A sample of her opinions can been viewed on one of the interviews on the multimedia page www.saintgeorgetaybeh.org.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is working to promote literacy and learning for underserved youth in America. More than $773,000 in new books and reading materials were distributed by IOCC recently to children participating in tutoring, after school and early childhood education programs in four of the six states with the highest poverty rates in the United States – states that also rank near the bottom in educational outcomes for their children.
IOCC's U.S. Program provided brand new books and educational materials to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and New Mexico – states where nearly one in five families fall below the poverty level of $23,834 for a family of four. Books have also been provided for Detroit area children through the Council of Orthodox Churches of Detroit and for Alaska's underserved children through the Orthodox Church in America's Diocese of Sitka and Alaska. In Detroit, more than one in four families and a staggering 39% of children live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.
The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (or OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Antiochian Archdiocese, involved in establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America. The Healthy Youth initiative, sponsored by OCCHY, offers communities an opportunity to heighten awareness of how to combat substance abuse, prevent bullying, encourage sexual abstinence outside of marriage, and encourage respect for the sanctity of the human body. Recent updates on the Hookah Prevention initiative, the Healthy Youth ministry of Tucson, AZ, and the Cicero/Chicago based group, are available on OCCHY's Website.
OCCHY is developing local community networks to address substance abuse prevention and healthy living in parishes of each diocese. Each local chapter is trained in coalition building in their community. Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries Fr. Joseph Purpura, and Kh. Kathleen Purpura, Youth Consultant and Executive Director of OCCHY, work with the White House Director of the Drug Free Communities Program, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the staff of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), and local coalition leaders to establish substance prevention coalitions across America.
His Grace Bishop Thomas' namesday is October 6, Thomas the Apostle of the Twelve. Many years, Master!
Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: "You are my Lord and my God!"
Kontakion — Tone 4
Each year during Christmas break, Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and presentations offered by dynamic Orthodox speakers. This year's conferences, held at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania and St. Nicholas Ranch in California, will take place from December 27-30, 2014. The theme is "but you are a chosen generation" (I Peter 2:9). For information about scholarships and registration, visit the OCF's website page for the Conferences.
Registration is also open for Real Break 2015, the OCF ministry alternative to the typical collegian's spring break experience. Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break provides students the opportunity to travel to another state or country to participate in ministry, while also cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.
Chesterton, IN - Ancient Faith Ministries announces the launch of a new blog portal that gathers under one roof some of the most popular and widely read Orthodox blogs on the internet. Ancient Faith Blogs includes Fr. Stephen Freeman's Glory to God for All Things, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick's Roads from Emmaus, Abbot Tryphon's The Morning Offering, and many more. Some new blogs are also being introduced.
"Ancient Faith Blogs isn't just a host for Orthodox Christian blogs; it's a fully networked and increasingly integrated site that connects multiple forms of Orthodox media. You can follow your favorite Orthodox bloggers, podcasters, and authors all in one place, as well as discover new content. This is something unique in the online Orthodox world, and I'm honored to be a part of it," says Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick.
Ancient Faith Ministries CEO John Maddex says, "Ancient Faith Blogs represents a partnership with an elite group of contemporary thinkers in Orthodoxy, and we are very pleased to be associated with them."
September 26th is the celebration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian and the name's day of His Grace Bishop John. May God grant him many years!
Apolytikion of St. John, Tone 2
O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.
With the blessings of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and The Right Rev. Bishop Antoun, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, The Rev. Fouad Saba and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL are hosting the Hierarchs and Board of Trustees meetings from October 23-26, 2014. The historic meetings will be the first ones in which Metropolitan Joseph presides for both the Board of Trustees fall meetings, as well as the gathering of the bishops. The reservations deadline for the hotel is Monday, September 29.
On Saturday evening, a banquet will be held honoring the newly selected Metropolitan, and offering tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. A Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy will be followed by "The Stewards Luncheon," with the Board of Trustees as guests of honor.
A ministry of FOCUS North America, the Youth Equipped to Serve program, or YES, provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in urban environments across the U.S. and Canada.
Weekend service trips scheduled for the fall are as follows:
YES OTTAWA, ON- October 4th
YES DETROIT, MI- November 7-9
YES PHOENIX, AZ- November 21-23
YES AKRON, OH- December 5-7
YES PROVIDENCE, RI- December 12-14
A list of upcoming YES trips and information is provided on their website. For more information about the program, read an interview with North America Program Director, Katrina Bitar, or contact her via email.
The Very Reverend W.S. Paul Schneirla, longtime pastor at St. Mary Church in Brooklyn, New York, fell asleep in Christ on Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at the age of 98. May his memory be eternal!
Father Paul was ordained an Antiochian priest in 1943, and served parishes in Iron Mountain, MI and Allentown PA, before moving to New York to serve at St. Mary's in Brooklyn from 1951 until his retirement in August, 2002. He served in many capacities within the Archdiocese for 71 years, including: the first chairman of the Department of Christian Education, the dean of the Atlantic Deanery, the first editor of The Word magazine, and as the Archdiocese's Ecumenical Officer.
As a young man, Fr. Paul had converted to Orthodoxy from a Protestant background, and thus years after his ordination, his interest in the Western Rite was kindled by a visit to one of the Rite's parishes within the Romanian Orthodox jurisdiction in Paris, France.
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) now has registration available on the Website for their Annual Conference. The fee is $50 for members/nonmembers and $25 for students/clergy. The Conference, titled "Exploring the Mind-Body-Soul Connection: Spirituality in Illness and Healing," will be held November 6 - 8, 2014, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, and is co-sponsored by the Seminary. There will be numerous distinguished presenters including the keynote speaker, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The full program and hotel information are posted as well. Deadline for a discounted rate at the hotel is October 13, 2014. A free shuttle bus will be available to take people to and from the Conference.
OCAMPR exists to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and promote Christian fellowship among healing professionals in medicine, psychology and religion.
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge, UK recently announced that it is launching a fully online MA degree in Pastoral Theology. The degree will be offered jointly with the Cambridge Theological Federation. The Institute, with support from Antiochian Orthodox Christians amongst others, has successfully provided this degree in a face-to-face format at Cambridge, UK for 15 years and is glad that it now can be offered to people living around the world. The program is available to anyone who has completed a bachelor's degree or can demonstrate professional experience equivalent to an undergraduate degree. Fluency in English is necessary.
"The program," says Institute's Principal, Professor David Frost, Ph.D., "provides an opportunity to explore the intellectual foundations and spiritual dimensions of the Orthodox Christian faith. Each course module will assist learners explore the eternal significance of the human experience while illuminating God's transformational plan for them and their ministry whatever that might be. The degree's focus is to teach the faithful how to be an effective Christian and leader in today's complex world through sound biblical and doctrinal theological training provided by our expert and distinguished faculty members and outstanding tutors."
This graduate degree can be completed in either one or two calendar years according to Dr. Christoph Schneder, the Institute's Academic Director. He explained that: "Full-time students take two modules in each semester followed by the MA dissertation and are able to complete the degree within one year of registration. Part-time students take one module per semester, followed by the MA dissertation. The program must completed within 5 years of registration."
During the last week of August, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Camp St. Innocent (CSI) took place, the first ever Antiochian camp in Western Canada. The camp took place at the Gull Lake Centre, an excellent facility located about eighty-five miles south of Edmonton, Alberta.
The camp was sponsored by St. Philip Church in Edmonton and Annunciation Church of Calgary, but campers also came from Saskatoon, and Vancouver. There were 23 campers in total, which for a first camp seems to be a pretty good turnout. This is especially true if you consider the long distances some of the campers had to travel to come to camp. The campers from Saskatoon drove for over seven hours and the campers from Vancouver about twelve hours.
A new book in The Chrysostom Bible Series—Hebrews: A Commentary, by Antiochian priest and Biblical scholar The Very Rev. Paul Nadim Tarazi—is the latest release from the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies' publishing arm, OCABS Press.
In this volume, Fr. Tarazi notes the importance of the placement of Hebrews in the canon, which together with Romans, "bracketed [Paul's] literary corpus of fourteen epistles between two magisterial letters-Romans, addressed to the residents of the capital of the Gentile Roman empire, and Hebrews, addressed to the Jews who were still dreaming of the restoration of the earthly Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans."
However, Fr. Paul points out in this work, "God's city is not, as it was assumed by the Jews, the earthly Jerusalem that lay subjugated by Rome, but rather the 'Jerusalem above' (Gal 4:26), the heavenly city of Zion, toward which the believers are heading."
The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series exists to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation. The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies also offers a variety of other commentaries, a journal, a society for the study of Scripture, and exegetical notes for teaching and preaching.
Prayers are requested as the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the representative body consisting of all 53 active, canonical Orthodox bishops in the U.S., convenes for their Annual Meeting September 16-18, 2014, in Dallas, TX. The faithful are asked to especially pray for His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, the First Vice Chairman of the Assembly, and all our Antiochian hierarchs.
Features of this meeting will include a pan-Orthodox Doxology, and a Clergy-Laity Gathering on the evening of Monday, September 15. All clergy and laity are invited to join in prayer during the Doxology, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas. Following the Doxology, a panel of bishops will answer questions related to the work of the Assembly, and fellowship will follow.
Registration is open for the Annual St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, with His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic presiding. Lodging for both adults and children is available for the weekend, which is an annual event at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and camp in Bolivar, PA.
"Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of the few places places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church?" notes Bishop Thomas. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in the United States, reposed in the Lord in 1915 and was later canonized by the Orthodox Church in America in 2000. Appropriately, since St. Raphael is buried on the grounds of Antiochian Village, the pilgrimage includes a Service of Supplication to him. Other activities include small group workshops, a panel discussion with Bishop Thomas, a special movie showing, and the full cycle of liturgical services.
The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning has been given the responsibility of overseeing the planning and selection of all Archdiocese Conventions as well as all regional Parish Life Conferences. As of September, 2014, the dates and sponsoring parishes for the 2015 Parish Life Conference and the national Archdiocese Convention, are as follows:
2015 Diocesan Parish Life Conferences, and Archdiocese Convention
Diocese of Wichita
June 10-13, 2015
St. Elias Church; Denver (Arvada), CO
Diocese of Miami
June 10-14, 2015
St. Ignatius Church; Franklin, TN
Diocese of Worcester
June 18-21, 2015
St. Mary Church; Pawtucket, RI
Diocese of Toledo
June 24-28, 2015
St. Nicholas Church; Grand Rapids, MI
Dioceses of Los Angeles & Eagle River
July 2-5, 2015
St. Andrew Church; Riverside, CA
Dioceses of Charleston & New York
July 2-5, 2015
St. John Church; Levittown, NY
Diocese of Ottawa
July 2-5, 2015
St. Michael Church; Geneva, NY
52nd Archdiocese Convention
July 19-26, 2015
On Friday evening, September 5, 2014, The Orthodox Clergy Association of Southeast Texas held a Town Hall Meeting at St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, Texas (with rector The Rev. James Shadid), titled "The Silent Holocaust—The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East." The press release following the event reported that all of the Orthodox, Coptic and Syriac Christian communities in the area participated—approximately 300 persons, including 16 priests. Jurisdictions represented were the Greek Archdiocese (GOA), the Antiochian Archdiocese, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), the Serbian Diocese of Midwestern America, and Coptic and Syriac Dioceses.
There were four speakers, including Hieromonk Bashar (al-Shamany) of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Originally from Mosul, the he spoke about the current situation in the Middle East. Father Bashar's family are currently among the thousands of scattered refugees. A question and answer period followed, and a large collection was taken for the IOCC's relief work in the Middle East.
At the conclusion of the Town Hall, all of the Orthodox clergy offered up the Trisagion Prayers for those who have died.
September 26-28, 2014
In conjunction with the St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage
Open to all deacons in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: Archdeacon David Khoury from St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids, MI
For more information, contact Dn. Peter Maris: email@example.com
Clergy Synaxis (Retreat)
September 30-October 3, 2014
Open to all clergy in the Mid-Atlantic Diocese
Speaker: His Grace Bishop John (Abdalah) of the New England Diocese
Download schedule (PDF)
Download registration form (PDF)
For more information, contact Fr. Anthony Yazge: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fall 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York, with special dedication to our new Metropolitan Joseph! The issue contains:
- Metropolitan Joseph's Vision for the Archdiocese
- Message from Diocesan Spiritual Advisor V. Rev. Iskander Younes
- A message from Diocesan President Susanne Zeidan
- Highlights from the 2014 Mid-Summer Meetings at Antiochian Village
- Introductions to the Diocese of Ottawa's Board
- Happenings around the Diocese of Ottawa
- Antiochian Women Visit the Grave of Metropolitan Philip
- Miracles Are Still Happening by Lianne Nimey
...and more! Download (PDF) here.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America has designated Sunday, September 7 as Assembly of Bishops Sunday and releases the following encyclical: (Download the PDF)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family in the United States of America:
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In just one week, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will convene for its fifth annual meeting. From September 15-18, the hierarchs who shepherd the Orthodox faithful in our blessed country will express our common faith and our unity in Christ. Moreover, our gathering together as bishops with diverse cultural traditions offers the world a visible and tangible expression of the profound depth of Orthodoxy.
The meeting this year will also include a pan-Orthodox gathering of the clergy and laity of the region. This offers the entire body of the Church: the bishop, the presbyteriat and the laity, the opportunity to glorify God and to offer thanksgiving for His great gift of Holy Communion.
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we have designated September 7th as Assembly of Bishops Sunday. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy we ask that the following special prayer be offered as part of a special litany:
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) remind us that with the new school year, Syrian refugee students are in need of supplies and hygeine items. The notebooks and pencils in the IOCC School Kits provide tools needed to continue learning, while the items in the Hygiene Kits help children maintain their health and dignity. The following IOCC-sponsored kits are offered:
SCHOOL KITS — Imagine going to school without pencil and paper. Children in many of the countries where IOCC works don't have even the most basic of these school supplies. By putting together a School Kit, you can give a less fortunate child the tools needed to succeed in school.
HYGIENE KITS —Basic items like a bar of soap, wash cloth, comb, and bandaids may seem small, but putting them all together in a Hygiene Kit can make an instant difference in an ongoing development program or when disaster strikes.
A new home for the parishioners of St. Patrick Orthodox Church in Warrenton, VA, demonstrates that fresh beginnings can arise out of tragedy. Two years ago when their new church building burned to the ground before the parish even had a chance to move in, Fr. Patrick Cardine said that the community didn't ask "why?" but "what now?"
"The congregation of St. Patrick Orthodox Church had spent about $80,000" on the original building, Fr. Patrick Cardine explained to the Fauquier Now reporter who covered the story of the blaze in 2012. Later, the community of St. Patrick learned that an arsonist had set the fire. Undeterred, the priest and parish set out to rebuild, aided by generous contributions from members of the community and the Orthodox SICA Foundation.
The new building will be fireproof, and larger than the original structure. "It's going to be a very interesting building," says Fr. Patrick, adding that it might be finished sometime in the fall of this year.
Ancient Faith Radio is pleased to announce the debut of its third live call-in program. Titled "Faith Encouraged Live with Fr. Barnabas Powell," the program will replace "Ancient Faith Today" on the second and fourth Sundays of each month beginning September 14. Kevin Allen, host of "Ancient Faith Today," retired on August 11, ending his show's two-year run.
"Faith Encouraged Live" will have a slightly different format and focus from "Ancient Faith Today." While still featuring interviews with prominent Orthodox individuals on contemporary topics, it will also contain reflections and commentary by host Fr. Barnabas Powell, as well as readings from Scripture and the Church Fathers.