St. Athanasius Academy was founded in 1976, and serves the Antiochian Archdiocese through providing research, education, and outreach. The Academy offers a unique correspondence study program which not only serves students-at-large, but also reaches those behind bars in a prisoner education program.
Notes Paul Goetz, Director of the The Prisoner Education Project/Correspondence Studies Program for prisoner-students, "We maintain about 85 students with a waiting list, and we offer the program as a free scholarship program. Since 1996, we have studied with over 1,000 students. A prisoner-student in good standing needs to submit one lessons every other month, and our current pace is over 120 lessons per month. Our questions are not true/false, but we require essay answers to probing questions...and then we provide detailed responses to correct or complement their efforts."
In another outstanding project, the Academy provided the impetus and scholarship for The Orthodox Study Bible: New Testament and Psalms. Additionally, St. Athanasius also publishes booklets in the "Timely Topics" series, as well as the "Booklets for Children" series.
Read an interview with Paul Goetz, Director of the St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced that registration is now open for their Real Break program. Explains the OCF website, "The Real Break program provides an alternative to the 'traditional' Spring Break. It exists to provide the most authentic experience possible, modeled as a full Christian lifestyle, which includes fellowship, prayer within community, witness and service. OCF organizes both domestic and international trips to give college students the opportunity to serve those less fortunate and to do something 'real' for themselves and for God. OCF’s Real Break has been running since 2000 with over a thousand students participating in these life-changing trips. Past trips have included: Mexico, Guatemala, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Raphael House, St. Basil Academy, Greece, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Romania, Buenos Aires, Alaska, and more."
Seven Real Break trips are planned for March, 2013, serving communities in Guatemala, New Orleans, Toronto, LA Skid Row, Honduras, Constantinople (Istanbul), and Mexico. Students can register online, and view both an introductory video and a short fundraising tutorial.
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) in St. Augustine, FL, has announced that applications are now being accepted for the Center's 2013 short term mission service teams. The announcement explained, "In 2012, 135 Orthodox Christians shared their faith through loving service as part of an OCMC Mission Team. They witnessed baptisms, healed the sick, strengthened the foundations of the Church, and brought the love of Christ to people around the world. They answered the call to make disciples of all nations. Is 2013 your time to share in this journey of faith?....Next year, team members will have the opportunity to share the Orthodox Christian faith by offering evangelism, catechism, healthcare, construction, and youth ministry in seven countries around the world."
Mission Team dates and opportunities kick off with a teaching team to Kenya at the beginning of March, and continue nearly every month thereafter until the last team, focused on healthcare in Tanzania, completes its mission in October. For more information and to submit an application, visit the OCMC Mission Team webpage.
The 24–page Conciliar Press Christmas catalog is available online here in its online version on the Press website, or as a PDF here. A wide variety of products are available, including Christmas cards, ornaments, icons, gifts for kids and young adults, gifts for under $10.00, crosses and jewelry, music, and other items such as prayer books, censers, ceramic holy water bottles, wall plaques, incense and incense holders, and keychains.
The ever-popular icon calendar for 2013 depicts the work of Christ, seen and unseen, and foreshadowed, in the Old Testament. The calendar is sized at 11" X 12" and each icon is depicted in full color. Major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed, according to the new calendar.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip wishes to thank all of those people who conveyed their best wishes and prayers to him for his Name Day (Apostle Philip, November 14). He also would like to wish all of the clergy and faithful of this Archdiocese a most blessed Thanksgiving, and a spiritually rewarding Advent Season.
The Antiochian House of Studies School of Orthodox Theology has updated information available on their Pastoral Marriage and Family Counseling Certificate Program. Learn more about this two year training program for clergy, parish staff or Christian Education persons each having an M.Div degree or diploma through the House of Studies and three years' parish experience. It is designed to prepare parish staff in counseling individuals, couples, and families in the parish and larger community.
A busy Commencement Weekend of November 16-18, 2012 begins a year-long celebration of St. George Cathedral's sixty years of ministry in the Miami community. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip will preside over the weekend's events, which begin Friday evening, November 16, with a welcome reception. On Saturday, November 17th, the Grand Banquet will kick off at 6:00 p.m. at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Distinguished hierarchs and guests will enjoy the music of renowned singer Osama Neimy, and violinist Gaby Dahrie.
Additionally, on Saturday during the day, a Youth Luncheon for His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and visiting hierarchs will be held with the students of Sunday School, members of SOYO and the Fellowship of St. John, in the Cathedral Hall.
Finally, on Sunday, November 18th, Metropolitan Philip will preside at the Divine Services beginning with Orthros at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m. The induction of new members into the Order of St. Ignatius will take place immediately after Liturgy. Everyone is invited to enjoy a Thanksgiving Luncheon to be held following the services, at the Cathedral Hall.
The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) is the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. It was started in 1991 by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, who asked Antiochian priest Fr. Duane Pederson to establish a prison ministry for the Antiochian Archdiocese. The ministry continued unabated until 2005, when His Eminence offered the Archdiocese’s prison ministry to the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA). OCPM became an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops after that body was established in 2009.
On July 26, 2012, at the Fourth Annual National Convocation in Minneapolis/St. Paul, the board and the staff of OCPM awarded Fr. Duane Pederson the Matthew 25:36 award, recognizing his lifetime of dedicated service to those in prison, and to those among the homeless population. Award presenters noted Fr. Duane's forty-plus years of prison ministry outreach, as well as his role in the founding of OCPM.
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, His Eminence, Archbishop Tikhon, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, was elected Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) during their 17th All-American Council at Holy Trinity Church in Parma, Ohio.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, on behalf of the hierarchs and all of the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, extends his best wishes and prayers for Metropolitan-Elect Tikhon, that the Lord will grant him many years, and that the Lord will richly bless our brothers and sisters in the OCA.
On Sunday, November 4, 2012, the 118th Pope of Alexandria and the Patriarch of All Africa of the Holy See of Saint Mark, Bishop Tawadrous, was selected in Cairo, Egypt. Thousands of Coptic Orthodox Christians gathered at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the culmination of a nine–month process to choose a successor to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, who had passed away in March 2012.
Bishop Tawadrous, 60, was chosen from a slate of three candidates. The Bishop studied medicine in his youth and managed a pharmaceutical factory until the mid-eighties, when he was consecrated in 1985. Three years later he joined the monasic ranks and was subsequently named a bishop in 1997.
At the announcement that Bishop Tawadrous had been chosen, "the atmosphere was wonderfully joyous in the cathedral, as people not only here but all over the world raised their hearts asking God’s selection for our new Pope and Patriarch,” said His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. "There was such a euphoric reaction when the name of Bishop Tawadrous was announced."
The bishop is slated to be enthroned at the Cairo Cathedral on November 18.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip and the entire Antiochian Archdiocese pray that God will grant many years to the new Coptic Patriarch, Bishop Tawadrous, and express the sincere hope that his leadership will be blessed and fruitful. Axios!
We wish to announce that, effective October 31, 2012, Mr. Paul Finley completed his term as the Director of the Antiochian Village Heritage and Learning Center. Paul and his wife Deborah have resided at the Village since 2006, and are both well known and loved by all who have made their acquaintance.
The Heritage Center evolved in many positive ways during Paul’s tenure as director, and we pray that it will continue to be a beacon of spiritual renewal for all who visit.
We express our heartfelt thanks to Paul for his tireless efforts and to Deborah for her support and encouragement, and we pray that the Lord will bless them and their family abundantly as they embark on the next leg of their journey.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Khouriya Jean Blazovsky Chromiak, 84, wife of the late Fr. John Chromiak (who served St. Nicholas Church in Bridgeport, CT; St. George Church in Allentown, PA; St. Michael Church in Greensburg, PA; and St. Elias Church in Atlanta, GA), fell asleep in Christ on Monday, November 5th at her home in Rodeo, NM and was buried on Friday, November 9th by Fr. Anthony Sabbagh of St. George Church/Allentown, PA. She is survived by children Sonia and John McGuinn of Lake Villa, IL; Johanna Chromiak of Rodeo, NM; Angeline and Todd Sears of Bradenton, FL; Nadine Chromiak of Decatur, GA; son, John Chromiak of Tuscon, AZ; twelve grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of her soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy newly-departed servant." May Khouriya Jean be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
On Friday October 12th, 2012, the Antiochian Heritage Foundation hosted its first annual Person of the Year Award Banquet. The purpose of the gathering was to honor renowned journalist Helen Thomas by bestowing on her the Antonian Gold Medal, the highest honor of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The event took place at Kogok Hall in Ss. Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church, Potomac, Maryland. The following is an account of the evening given by committee member Tammy Ilyas Alvarez:
It was an event to remember for both the honoree, Journalist Helen Thomas, and the many faithful friends, admirers and family members who were there as a testament to this most deserving member of our community. Many present had traveled great distances including from overseas to participate in the tribute. Among the many attendees present were distinguished VIP’S from the White House and the State Department, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps and visiting clergy.
The electrifying evening was both emotional and exciting. More than 300 guests greeted Helen as she maneuvered her way through the crowd of well wishers gathered to congratulate her on receiving an honor, which has only been bestowed on a very select, deserving few.
The Very Reverend Father George Rados, Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul gave the invocation. Throughout the evening, a professionally produced video gave us a glimpse of the life and work of the famous Helen Thomas. The speakers paid tribute to Helen Thomas and her remarkable accomplishments as a pacesetter for women during an era when women’s qualifications and talents were not recognized as equal to those of their male counterparts. Helen defied the odds without allowing adversity to stand in her way.
Christopher Holwey, Chairman of the Department of Sacred Music, has extended an invitation for parish musicians to participate in the department's Mentor Program. Mr. Holway asks, "Are you currently serving in your parish as a choir director, a chanter, or singing in the choir, and feel like there are times, maybe several times, that you could surely use a little help here and there? Are you thinking, 'Is there something more I could do as a director to make it easier for the choir to follow me?' 'Am I doing the best I can in chanting during Matins, or singing with the other parts of the choir?'
"Then maybe what you need is a mentor, someone who understands your plight, and can be available to help you during the week. This can be done either by phone, email, video conference, or however you choose to work it out with the mentor assigned to you. If this is something you’d be interested in, then our Mentor Program is waiting to help you. Check out the information on the Mentor Program, and use the contact information to write to us, and let us know how we might be able to assist you. Don’t wait. Now’s the time to make it happen!"
Additionally, church musicians are reminded to visit the department's online PDF music library, for free, downloadable music scores which serve the complete liturgical cycle. Search for a particular piece of music by month, by liturgical season, or by type of service. Texts are available in both English and Arabic.
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS) Press has released a new book titled Mark, Canonizer of Paul. The book, authored by Tom Dykstra of the University of Washington, "draws connections between Paul and the Gospel of Mark that are stunning, surprising, and original, and leave readers with a sense that the evidence deserves a better interpretation than traditional Synoptic models can offer," noted David Trobisch, author of The First Edition of the New Testament.
Other reviewers have commented:
"For over 150 years the idea that Mark used the Pauline epistles has been recurring in New Testament research. Now in the work of Tom Dykstra, wide-ranging work and thoughtful, the truth of that idea emerges with a clarity it never had before. The result is to give a fresh sense of the origin and nature of Mark, of all the New Testament books, and of the quest for history.” – Thomas Brodie, Director, Dominican Biblical Institute, author of The Birthing of the New Testament
“In addition to its main focus on Mark, this book is a lucid introduction to early church history, oral tradition, the gospels’ genre, and how to understand scripture in general.” – The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, Adjunct Professor of Old Testament, St. Vladimir's Seminary
November 6, 2012
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — As people up and down the East Coast work to recover from the destruction of Super Storm Sandy, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is mobilizing its resources to support the response efforts of Orthodox Christian parishes in the affected areas and relief partners in the storm-ravaged region.
In Maryland, more than 100 families with homes in the flooded coastal community of Crisfield received emergency clean-up buckets from IOCC, and numerous storm survivors sought comfort from trauma counseling provided by IOCC Emergency Response Network's Frontliners.
To the north in Toms River, New Jersey, IOCC Frontliners joined members from local chapters of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), and women's philanthropic society, Philoptochos, to assemble and distribute emergency clean-up buckets to more than 150 local residents trying to salvage their wind and water-damaged homes.
In New York, IOCC is working in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and New York City Mayor Bloomberg's office to respond to the most pressing needs of survivors with the distribution of emergency relief items. A shipment of more than 1,300 cases of donated bottled water, along with 6,300 quilts and 4,600 personal hygiene kits provided in cooperation with Lutheran world Relief, is destined for Queens, New York, where it will be distributed to displaced families living in local shelters.
On November 15, many Orthodox Christian families will begin a journey to the Feast of the Nativity which is celebrated as Christmas in the US and Canada, on December 25. The Feast is preceded by a fast which, while not as strict as Lent, is observed as a kind of winter lenten season in preparation for the coming of Christ at His birth.
Christians who grew up celebrating western Christmas observed four Sunday of Advent, a period of preparation for the celebration on December 25, but Orthodox Christians commemorate the six Sundays of Advent which fall in the forty days of preparation.
The Orthodox Advent calendar is a helpful teaching tool; homemade calendars or ones ordered online can aid parents as they assist their children in preparing for the Feast of the Nativity. Doors opening each day highlight art, saints or scriptures that tell the story of the season, and kids often look forward to seeing what is behind the next door as the countdown to Christmas continues.
Order a ready-made Orthodox Advent calendar from Light and Life Publishing.
His Holiness, Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria, 98, fell asleep in the Lord as a result of heart failure on Tuesday morning, November 6, 2012. He had been hospitalized for the past month.
According to an announcement issued by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the 13-member Holy Synod will meet to make funeral arrangements and choose a locum tenens until the convocation of a Church Council within the next four months to elect Patriarch Maxim’s successor.
Charles Ajalat, the former chancellor for the Antiochian Archdiocese as well as an Order of St. Ignatius member, is the featured guest during the first week of Orthodox Christian Network's (OCN) flagship program, "Come Receive the Light." Charles joined Fr. Chris Metropulos, executive director for OCN, to discuss how he has attempted to bear witness to Christ throughout his life through both philanthropic efforts and one-to-one evangelism.
A co-founder of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), Charles has been active in many Orthodox organizations, including the Order, and also helped form the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS). "People should be giving much more," noted Ajalat. "And how do we take action? It should be through the Orthodox Church.
"We need to do more in America," he noted in the interview. "We need to combine our efforts because together, we are strong. FOCUS, for instance, now has thousands of volunteers. We are Orthodox, and we are here to help."
"Trust in the Power and Love of God" is the theme of OCF's 2012 College Conferences
Register NOW for the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) College Conference!
Each year during Christmas Break OCF College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and some of the best Orthodox speakers around! Be sure to register early to get the early bird discount!
Here are the 2 locations for College Conference 2012:
East Coast College Conference
Antiochian Village | Bolivar, PA
West Coast College Conference
St. Nicholas Ranch | Dunlap, Calif.
Check out OCF's website to register and find more information!
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God. Amen.
Let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who went about doing good and healing all our infirmities, I ask you to bless all the people who have suffered the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Strengthen those who are injured, gather those who are lost and give courage to all to rebuild their lives once again.
O Lord, You suffered and died for me and you understand suffering.
Give them the strength in body, courage in spirit and patience in pain.
Calm their fears and increase their trust in You and hasten to their aid.
I also pray for the safe keeping of our nation from famine, earthquakes, floods, fire and civil war.
I entreat You, O Lord our God, to hear my prayer.
Bless me to help those in need and give me courage to be Your face to all those suffering.
Through the prayers of the Holy Father Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and save us.
Supplication to the Mother of God
(taken from the Small Paraklesis)
For those in great sorrow you are joy, and for the oppressed, a protection, and for the hungry, their food, comfort unto those estranged; You are a staff to the blind, visitation of all those sick, and to those held by pain shelter and a comforting, and to the orphaned, an aid; Mother, of our God in the highest, You who are the Spotless One, hasten, save your servants from their sin, we ask of you.
Contributed by Fr. George Shalhoub, Basilica of St. Mary, Livonia, Michigan
October 31, 2012
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — At the request of the Maryland Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has deployed members of its Emergency Response Network "Frontliners" to a Disaster Recovery Center in Princess Anne, Maryland to provide trauma counseling to survivors of Hurricane Sandy and to assess the emerging needs of families returning to storm-ravaged homes and coastal communities.
As the storm moves further inland, emergency response crews are starting to assess the damage and restore critical services while people try to return to their normal daily lives. IOCC is in contact with the Orthodox Dioceses and disaster response networks throughout the East Coast to assess the damage in local communities. IOCC emergency response personnel will continue to monitor the situation and respond with emergency relief to storm survivors in need.
IOCC has already received initial requests for anticipated shipments of emergency relief items from its ecumenical partners for communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy. IOCC is urging Orthodox Christian parishes to assist by assembling emergency relief items and by making financial donations.
The Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ, weathered Hurricane Sandy without significant damage. Please continue to pray for all those suffering throughout the region in the wake of the storm.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) Recently, His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, issued an appeal for humanitarian assistance to all Syrians who have been victims of violence in their country. "Syrians, in spite of their religious backgrounds, have the right to live in their country with pride and dignity. It is important for us as Orthodox Christians to help whoever extends their hand to ask for assistance regardless of their background."
In that spirit, the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), a member of the ACT Alliance, is working in partnership with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), to respond to the urgent needs of thousands of internally displaced Syrian families. Katia, age 20, is one such person. Her days as a kindergarten teacher in Sabil, Syria, are a distant memory, since eight months ago, she and her family fled their home to escape fighting in the neighborhood, and have been displaced ever since. Left with no job and nothing to do, Katia turned to a local church for guidance, and is now helping assist other Syrians who were driven from their homes by the conflict that has engulfed Syria.