Youth workers representing Orthodox jurisdictions from across the country met at Antiochian Village on January 22, 2015, and are excited to announce a new series of unprecedented, inter-jurisdictional "Be the Bee" themed events. "Be the Bee" is a popular weekly video podcast hosted by Steven Christoforou, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese's Interim Director for the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
Orthodox youth and young adults are invited to a series of monthly, day-long retreats. Each month, from August 2015 to May 2016, "Be the Bee" will be visiting a different city across the United States, offering Orthodox youth an opportunity to worship, learn, and have fun together. Retreats will also offer programs for young adults, parents, and youth workers. For more information, please contact the Greek Archdiocese's Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, Orthodox teens and parents are also invited to a "Be the Bee" retreat Veteran's Day weekend next year, November 11-13, 2016. It will be held at Camp Nazareth, in the Pittsburgh area, and will offer a unique, multi-day "Be the Bee" experience. For more information, please contact email@example.com.
Youth workers are also invited to next year's Orthodox Youth Workers and Camp Conference, to be held January 28-30, 2016. For more information, please contact the Orthodox Church in America's Chair for the Department of Youth, Youth Adult, and Campus Ministry, Andrew Boyd, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saint Raphael left a legacy of 30 churches to the Antiochian Archdiocese. These beautiful small posters have been prepared so our children may learn about Saint Raphael. The posters show the parishes, and with vintage photos offer some clues as to how Bishop Raphael made his way around in the early 20th century. Some photographs of his parish visits still exist and were also included.
The posters are free—online only. Download the files (file name in quotes) onto a USB drive and take them to Staples or Office Max. (Some print centers will download from a website.) Each poster is available in two sizes, 8.5 x 14 (legal size) and 11 x 17 (ledger size). There are also posters with the troparion and logo.
The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting, an endorsed agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, released the following letter announcing this year's annual recognition of Scouting programs.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
On Sunday, February 8, 2015, Scouts all over the United States will celebrate National Scout Sunday. Scout Sunday is an annual event among all faiths which recognize the good work that is done by Scouts in our religious communities. 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. That is why this Sunday is set aside to honor God and to remind us that we are all His Creatures and made in His Image or more precisely - to image (reflect) Him to the world.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishop of the Americas has designated this also as Orthodox Scout Sunday. Through the Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting [EOCS], the Assembly and its predecessor, SCOBA, have been actively supporting both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of the USA since the 1960's.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America will send a delegation to the annual March for Life, Thursday, January 22, 2015 in Washington, DC. The date marks the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Metropolitan Methodios will lead the delegation. He will be joined by Metropolitan Tikhon, Bishop Michael, and Bishop Demetrios Mokissos. Metropolitan Tikhon will deliver the invocation at the annual Rose Dinner at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington DC on the evening of the 22nd. On the evening before the March, Metropolitan Methodios will attend the National Prayer Vigil for Life at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.
The rally begins at noon on the National Mall at 12th Street. Orthodox Christian marchers will gather to the right of the stage under the "Orthodox Christians for Life" banner and signs. The march begins at 1 PM and processes down Constitution Avenue to the US Supreme Court, where prayers for the victims of abortion will be offered.
On the feast of the Theophany of Our Lord or Epiphany on January 6, 2015, our Antiochian clergy and parishes journeyed to nearby bodies of water for The Great Blessing of the Waters. Several media outlets published articles and photographs from these services; excerpts and links are included below.
Deseretnews.com: "Epiphany: priests bless water, 'essence of life'"
SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Orthodox Christians gathered at Sugarhouse Park Tuesday to be blessed during a service of sanctification and commemoration of Jesus' baptism.
More than 60 members of the Orthodox Christian community lined up as the Rev. Justin Havens of Sts. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake dipped a bundle of branches into holy water and sprinkled it on parishioners' heads.
Memory Eternal! Father N. Constantine Masood of Duxbury, Massachusetts fell asleep in Christ on January 16, 2015 at age 75. Prior to his retirement, Fr. Constantine served parishes in Danbury, Connecticut; Beckley, West Virginia; New Kensington, Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Beaumont, Texas; South Glens Falls, New York; and Omaha, Nebraska. He is survived by his wife Khouriya Diana, their six children, seventeen grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements may be found here. Memorial donations in his memory may be made to St. Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Church, 261 Main St., Kingston, MA. 02364
January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the name's days of His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and of His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo. May God grant them many years!
APOLYTIKION OF ST. ANTHONY THE GREAT, TONE 4
Thou didst become like the zealous Elijah in his condition, and followed John the Baptist in his upright ways, becoming a dweller in the wilderness and an establisher of the universe by thy prayer, O Father Anthony. Wherefore, intercede thou with Christ God to save our souls.
Dr. Maria C. Khoury, author of Christina Goes to the Holy Land, will be in the Miami and Boston areas and available for book signings and/or discussions about the Christian community in the Holy Land. Dr. Khoury will be be in Miami from March 19 to March 31 and in the Boston area from approximately April 23 to May 27, 2015.
If your church is interested in hosting a program, please contact Dr. Khoury directly at email@example.com.
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.
The 2015 Symposium of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS), will be held January 22-25, 2015, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, AZ. (Download a detailed schedule.)
Building upon the success of OCABS's inaugural symposium, papers presented at the 2015 Symposium will be published in the Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies.
OCABS is committed to empowering current and future generations of teachers and scholars already possessing a love for Scripture. This dynamic collaborative enterprise cannot help but benefit the lives of students and parishioners in a world in need of hearing the divine Word.
Fr. Nabil Hanna of St. George Church in Fishers, IN writes:
Beloved in Christ,
I regret to inform you that Ann Kafoure Freije left us for the heavenly mansions on Friday, January 9th, 2015. A lifelong member and tireless worker here at St. George's, we will miss Ann as much as we rejoice in her well-deserved rest. As a testament to her faithful service, she was a recipient of the Midwest Antiochian Women's Metropolitan Philip Award as well as of our parish's St. George Award.
The fifth Climacus Conference, featuring the theme "BEAUTY, Truth, and Goodness Will Save Us," is scheduled for February 13-14, 2015, at St. Michael Orthodox Church in Louisville, KY. The conference is a pan-Orthodox intellectual and spiritual event featuring scholars and voices across the fields of Theology, Philosophy, Patristics, Classical Education, Literature, History and Politics. It is unique in that it provides an opportunity for people to be enriched by thinking well across disciplines. It furthers the life of the mind through scholarly engagement with the classic liberal arts, but approaches such an endeavor through the spiritual nous, the mind of the heart, enabling our ascension "of the ladder" (κλίμακος), as inspired by St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent.
January 9, 2015
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Freezing temperatures, heavy snow and chilling winds sweeping across Syria are putting thousands of young lives in jeopardy as displaced mothers struggle helplessly to keep their small children warm and sheltered from the harsh winter conditions. Many live in shelled out buildings with no doors or windows to keep frigid weather out, or in temporary shelters with no heat. The need for warm clothing is great.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding with the distribution of handmade sweater sets for 600 children crafted last summer by 34 displaced Syrian women taught to knit through a cash-for-work program. IOCC and its church partner in Syria, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), offered the one-month training as a way to help Syria's most vulnerable families achieve some financial independence. The new skills help provide vital income for the women and their families while displaced Syrian children benefit by receiving warm clothes to protect them against bitter cold.
Dr. George J. Farha didn't like big events. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke, people listened. So, when the idea of forming the first Orthodox day school in Kansas was presented to Dr. George and a group of his peers in 2009, he listened quietly, looked around the room and then proclaimed, "This school must happen. I'm going to support it, and I want each of you to support it too."
It is fitting, then, that five years later, the Dr. George J. Farha Endowment for Christ the Savior Academy is being established on the one-year anniversary of his passing on January 7 a year ago. The goal of the endowment is to raise $1 million, and the Trustees of the endowment board are asking Dr. George's friends and colleagues to join the family in raising the funds.
"It is my desire to secure his dream long-term for the Academy," said Brenda Farha, Dr. George's wife. "I believe with all of my heart that my husband would be so pleased, you see, this school was his dream."
The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, in whose honor former students founded the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies, recently retired from teaching this year after forty-four years of service at St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary, Holy Cross School of Theology, and the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute in Balamand, Lebanon. As many as thirty former students gathered from around the world to attend Fr. Paul's final class at St. Vladimir's Seminary, and to honor him at a special retirement dinner. They were joined by his brother Nouhad, who traveled from Lebanon, his daughter Reem, and his youngest son, Bassam.
Even into the final years of his illustrious career, Fr. Paul remained extremely active, having published during that time no fewer than ten books and a two-volume set of audio commentaries covering the entire Bible. Father Paul's unparalleled zeal for the Bible continues unabated in his retirement. He is translating his comprehensive audio commentaries on the Bible into Arabic, in a labor of love for the sake of his mother church in Antioch, offered in the hope of bringing solace to Christians in the Middle East during these difficult times. He is also currently completing work on the Chrysostom Bible Commentary series, with forthcoming books on Ephesians, James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Jude.
Father Paul's retirement is a great loss for students of the Bible; however, his growing collection of writings and the continued work of OCABS will remain to serve future generations seeking the light of God's instruction.
Archpriest Thomas Zain, Vicar General of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Dean of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, was interviewed by Jeanine Pirro of Fox News recently, about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The interview was part of an ongoing series, "Christians Under Attack: A Justice Investigation." Noted Fr. Thomas, "Extremism is affecting all of the minorities in Syria, not just Christians."
Apolytikion of St. Basil, Tone 1
In all the earth that received thy sayings, thy melody did resound, O righteous father, through which thou didst go about and proclaim, as worthy of God, the nature of creatures, cultivating the character of mankind, O thou of kingly Priesthood, Basil. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.
Greetings, Orthodox healthcare professionals!
With the approval of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Basil (Antiochian Archdiocese of North America), the St. Panteleimon Fellowship has been launched for the benefit of all Orthodox health care professionals. This new organization has emerged from the coordinated efforts of Deacon Luke Stauffer, MD of St. Thomas Orthodox Mission in Frederickburg, TX and Father Symeon Kees of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX.
The Great Martyr Panteleimon, a physician counted among the Unmercenary Healers of the Church, is our patron. Orthodox physicians, nurses, and all others who work in health care are invited into the Fellowship. Since the Church has always held the healing of the soul and body together, Orthodox clergy are certainly welcome. While our organization is currently rooted in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, all Orthodox Christians from our sister canonical jurisdictions are welcome. Indeed, the founders hope that the efforts of the Fellowship will create opportunities for health care professionals to share the Orthodox Way to non-Orthodox workers as well.
If you would like to be added to our email list, contact Alexandra Funchess (firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information, please download the St. Panteleimon Fellowships inaugural newsletter (PDF).
Let us confess the presence of Him who is both King and Physician. For Jesus the King when about to become our Physician, girded Himself with the linen of humanity, and healed that which was sick.
- St. Cyril of Jerusalem
By Archpriest John Hamatie, St. George Orthodox Church, Orlando
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a man of traditions. All of us have fond memories and traditions of the Nativity of Our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus—also known as Christmas. I remember that as a child, I would not allow myself to be at home when the Christmas tree was taken down. In fact, I keep two trees up throughout the year-one Orthodox (decorated with small paper icons), and one secular. We also invite those who are alone to join us at Christmas dinner.
One tradition is the annual Christmas party for the homeless held at our Church of St. George in Orlando every December. On Friday, December 19, 2014, we had the joy and privilege to gather with over 400 homeless men, women and children and 111 volunteers to rejoice in the Lord. We hosted a band and set up tables with linens in our parking lot. The whole event was Christ-centered, as are all the feedings of the homeless at St. George's.
We regret to announce the repose of the soul of the servant of God and Archdeacon Elias 'Ely' Hamaty. Fr. Ely fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday afternoon 28 December at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton MA, surrounded by his devoted family.
Fr. Ely was born in 1934 and raised in the 'Syrian Colony' of Boston's South End. His parents, Mousa and Nour Hamaty were among the early members of St. George Orthodox Church of Boston. The Hamaty family emigrated from the village of Aafsdiq, Al-Koura near the Balamand Monastery where Mousa attended school and later worked as a cook. Fr. Ely's grandparents, Simon and Mariana, also worked at the Balamand Monastery. After arriving in Boston, his parents operated a successful family owned restaurant in the South End. Fr. Ely entered the family business and operated the restaurant before opening his own electronics firm. ELCO Electronics specialized in marine electronics and communications. Fr. Ely was an avid yachtsman and sports angler who fished the waters from Alaska to the Caribbean.
Diocese of Los Angeles and the West
Enthronement Gala Celebration
HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN JOSEPH
Archbishop of New York and
Metropolitan of North America
Saturday January 31, 2015
Sheraton Universal Hotel ≈ Universal City, California
Benefitting St. Nicholas Camp and Youth Education Programs
View the full schedule. Note: the Program Book deadline for ad submissions has been extended to December 28th.
Be glad, you just, heavens rejoice, mountains leap for joy; Christ is born and the Virgin sits like the Cherubim throne carrying in her bosom God the Word made flesh. Shepherds glorify the one that is born; Magi offer gifts to the Master; Angels sing praises, saying: Lord beyond understanding, glory to you! (Lauds of Christmas Matins)
To 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 of the United States of America.
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we gather in our communities to celebrate the Great Feasts of the Nativity and Theophany, we offer praise, honor and worship to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who has rendered us worthy once again to rejoice with the Shepherds, pay homage with the Magi, and to exclaim with the Angelic Powers, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all!
During this time, each of us looks forward to experiencing our local customs and traditions, which we have received from our ancestors. We adorn our homes and our churches with lights, garland and tinsel; we sing carols together and exchange gifts with each other; and we crown our celebration by receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Ministering to those behind bars, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministries (OCPM) was founded in 1991 by Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory, who asked highly experienced prison minister Fr. Duane Pederson to coordinate the effort. Now headed by Fr. Stephen Powley, OCPM is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, and it continues to build on Father Duane's vision of ministering to prisoners and their families by mobilizing the Church.
Recently, OCPM launched a revamped website, theocpm.org. A recent post in the new "Latest News" column, for instance, shares a letter received by OCPM by a prisoner serving a life sentence.
Other features include:
The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning would like to inform parishes of the deadline for submitting bids to host the 2019 Archdiocese Convention is February 1, 2015. Parishes interested in bidding or obtaining information about the bidding process can contact the DCCP co-chairs, Carol Jazzar or Raed O. Sweiss. Please visit www.antiochian.org/conventions for contact and bid information.
The Antiochian Archdiocese's Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Archdiocese. The ministry focuses on establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America.
On May 22, 2014, OCCHY's active Cicero, Illinois Coalition hosted a Town Hall Meeting for parents and teens, titled "Underage Alcohol & Substance Prevention." Sponsored by the federal government's Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration, the meeting featured law enforcement and mental health professionals, who presented talks about how to ensure safety and sobriety for teens. The presentations are available on YouTube and may be viewed on OCCHY's website.
At its annual meeting on November 13–14, 2014, the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY elected His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph as Vice Chairman of the Board, to be effective immediately. His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) serves as the Board Chairman.
The Seminary's Dean, The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr, and Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, recognized Metropolitan Joseph's new position by presenting him with an icon of St. Vladimir during their visit to the Archdiocese Chancery in Englewood, NJ, on December 5. During that same meeting, the St. Vladimir's leaders also presented Patriarch John X with a check for $8000.00 designated for Syrian's suffering Christians. The gift was a tithe from the seminary's December 2 "Giving Tuesday" fund raising campaign.
Since its founding in 1938, St. Vladimir's has enjoyed a fruitful and reciprocal relationship with the Antiochian Archdiocese. About 16% of all of the seminary's alumni have gone on to serve in the Archdiocese, and most of today's North American Antiochian bishops are seminary alumns.