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.
The website sforthodoxinstitute.org announces, "The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies in San Francisco is a new institution in development for the furtherance of Orthodox study and life. And while we are aimed at providing resources and a context for national development (through national and international conferences, fora and publications, etc.), we are nonetheless also specially focused on fostering Orthodox education in western North America - a region currently under-served in this regard. From our base in this region to reach out to support the educational mission of the Church throughout the country through Regional Centers."
In keeping with the Institute's goals, the site adds, "The first regional symposium of the new Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Orthodox Institute will take place Friday-Saturday, 17th-18th February 2012, on a theme critical to both the study and experience of Orthodox Christian life: the symbolism and inner meaning of the Divine Liturgy." Titled Living Symbol: Exploring the Inner Meaning of the Orthodox Liturgy, the "three-part symposium will provide participants with a rich exposure to the dynamic meaning of the various actions, movements and events of the Church's chief liturgical celebration, drawn both from the explanations of the Fathers as well as the vibrant liturgical heritage of the local Orthodox Churches."
Among the speakers is Antiochian Archdiocese priest the Very Rev. Archpriest Josiah Trenham, who will address the topic, "The House of God: A Consecrated Temple & Consecrated People."
Since the devastating hurricanes in 2005, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has provided over 600 volunteers and thousands of man-hours to help surviving families along the Gulf Coast rebuild their lives by constructing new homes or doing critical renovations to existing ones. Working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, IOCC expanded its efforts last year by sending Orthodox Action Teams to build homes in Houston.
For 2012, IOCC will extend its humanitarian reach with more home construction and restoration projects set for Houston and for Minneapolis, which suffered a destructive tornado last summer. IOCC is currently recruiting volunteers for one week of active service in Houston or Minneapolis. You do not need to be skilled – just energetic! Activities vary depending on location and construction schedules, but can include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping, painting and support.
WALTERBORO: Katharina Louise Welge (Kathy Meyer) passed away Friday evening at Trident Medical Center in Charleston. She was 77 years old and a resident of the Village at Summerville.
Katharina was born in Butler, Illinois on November 24, 1934, and a daughter of the late William Welge Sr. and Annie Katherine Kunz Welge. A graduate of Rubicam Business College, she spent the early years of her adult life working in St. Louis, the Bahamas and San Francisco. Later, she became the Secretary for Metropolitan Philip, a position she held for over 42 years. Kathy was adored and loved by the Priests and the Church Hierarchy throughout North America and the Middle East.
She is survived by her sister Dorothy W. Kaiser and husband Eugene of Walterboro and by her brother John Vance Welge and wife Nancy of Layton, Utah. There are many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her siblings William Welge Jr. and Margaret May Landry.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 11:00 am at Parker Rhode Chapel in Walterboro, SC. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 7-8 p.m., with Trisagion prayers at 7:30 p.m., in the chapel of the funeral home. The burial will take place later in the week at Ware’s Grove Cemetery in Butler, IL. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Antiochian Village, c/o the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, 358 Mountain Road, POB 5238, Englewood, NJ 07631-5238. Condolences may be sent to her sister Dorothy (Mrs. Gene) KAISER at firstname.lastname@example.org. Online condolences may also be left for the family at www.parkerrhodenfuneralho.... The Parker-Rhoden Funeral Home, 117 Paul Street in Walterboro, SC is in charge of arrangements.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip Announces New Appointments for the Offices of Vicar General and Protosyngellos
Effective January 1, 2012, Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York is appointed as the Vicar General for the Archdiocese, and Very Rev. Timothy Ferguson is appointed as the Protosyngellos. We ask our Lord to greatly bless these two men as they assume their new offices and we have no doubt that both of these men will serve these offices with zeal and distinction.
The office of Vicar General was previously held by Very Rev. Elias Bitar, pastor of St. George Church in Little Falls, New Jersey. Fr. Elias has served in this capacity for 15 years, as has distinguished himself in his service to this office. We thank Fr. Elias for his exemplary service and ask the Almighty God to grant every blessing to him, Khourieh Joanne, and their family.
The office of Protosyngellos was previously held by Rt. Rev. Paul Doyle who resides in Torrance, California. This is a position of honor that is granted to a senior priest who has served with distinction, and who is called upon to use his communication skills on behalf of his brother clergy. Fr. Paul has certainly fulfilled these duties with much respect and admiration from his brother clergy, and we ask the Lord to bless him and grant him Many Years!
Upon receiving the information that Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid was arrested on December 12, 2011, while entering the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) from the border with Greece, the Hierarchs of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America reaffirm the position taken by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) in August 2005, and furthermore restate that the persecution and new imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan by FYROM are an outrage, and ask for his immediate release.
Read the complete story at the Assembly of Bishops website.
Antiochian.org has updated the Diocese pages and the Bishops' directory page in light of the Sunday, December 11 consecrations of Bishops John, Anthony and Nicholas, and the elevation of His Eminence Archbishop Joseph.
Up-to-date information for all the bishops of the Antiochian Archdiocese is available here. Biography pages and high resolution portraits for each of the new bishops are also available:
Brookline, Mass. - Dec. 21, 2011
Registration for Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) 2012 Real Break trips opens today HERE!
Entering its 11th year, OCF's Real Break continues to offer transformative, priest-led trips, both domestically and internationally. This year, trips have been organized throughout the months of February and March 2012 to the following locations: Constantinople, Romania, Guatemala, Toronto, Project Mexico, and Houston.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for, oftentimes, empty experiences. OCF offers annual Real Break trips as spring break alternatives that provide life-changing and spiritually edifying opportunities to do "something real."
"Caring for orphaned infants in Guatemala, building homes for the homeless in Mexico and the hurricane devastated Gulf Coast, and restoring Churches in the Holy City of Constantinople -- it doesn't get more real than this. Students are provided an opportunity to encounter Christ and His love through serving those in need," said John Mahfouz, OCF Director of North American Programs.
Since its inception in 2001, more than 1,000 college students have taken advantage of the opportunity to spend their week long break serving others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.
For more details regarding OCF Real Break 2012, a fundraising guide, and to register, please visit Real Break's web page.
Syria (IOCC) — Nariman fled Iraq three years ago with her four sons after her husband was murdered and she no longer felt safe to remain in her homeland. Nariman and her family share the tragic reality of more than one million Iraqi refugees living in Syria. The huge influx of refugees into a country with a population of 22 million has put an enormous strain on Syria's ability to provide basic services such as access to education and health services. Jobs are scarce and Iraqi refugees must rely on savings. As their savings dry up these vulnerable families face poverty and more hardship. The need to be self-sufficient is critical to their survival.
Throughout Syria many creative, intelligent people like Wafa, a single mother with two boys, are also trapped in poverty because they lack access to capital. She used to do simple hairdressing from home with very few clients—mainly her friends and family, but longed to develop her hairstyling skills into a business.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) Board of Directors held its fall meeting Dec. 1-2 at the new North American Office, headquartered at Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts.
A major focus of the meeting was a proposed restructuring of the chaplain and student leadership structure of OCF. OCF's North American Chaplain, Fr. Michael Nasser explained,
"Recognizing a need for enhanced communication and support between the local chapters of OCF and the North American Office, we are developing a new tiered structure that will facilitate a more effective ministry to college students. The new vision utilizes students, clergy chaplains, lay coordinators, and college faculty on district and regional levels to implement OCF resources and programs, which in turn will strengthen the efforts of the local chapters."
Since 1998, IOCC has offered an internship program to undergraduates and recent college graduates interested in careers in international relief and development. In 2012 we are investigating the possibility of also placing a student or graduate from an advanced degree program. The IOCC Internship Program provides a unique opportunity to gain firsthand exposure to the operations of an Orthodox Christian international humanitarian aid and development organization.
IOCC internships typically require a 10 to 12 week full-time commitment during the months of May – September. There is also a possibility of a longer placement for a graduate from an advanced degree program. IOCC anticipates offering internship opportunities in, but not limited to, the following offices:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
United States (Baltimore HQ and/or Minneapolis field office)
A detailed plan for each intern will be developed based on the educational objectives of the intern and the needs of each field office prior to placement. However, the typical responsibilities of an intern will include: participating in field visits to project beneficiaries; working with IOCC staff to continually enhance the effectiveness, impact and implementation progress of ongoing projects; assisting in the production of project reports, success stories and other written communications; and conducting research on various projects and new initiatives.
During the early summer of 2011, after finishing a mission trip to Albania with the OCMC, my classmate, Rondal Burkhard and I travelled to Thessaloniki to visit churches and holy sites before returning to America. In the spring, before leaving for Albania, I had asked and received a blessing from my bishop to visit Mount Athos. His consent was contingent on my receiving a visa. Providentially, I had met a priest at Hellenic College who was well-travelled to the Holy Mountain. He wrote a letter to the Abbot of Xenophontos Monastery on my behalf. Thus, through the Grace of God, my friend and I were granted visas for a pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain.
My friend and I were quite excited at the opportunity of visiting Mount Athos. I was looking forward to the trip because of the many inspiring stories I had heard from my Spiritual Father and from other priests in the Antiochian and Greek Archdioceses, as well as from my bishop, His Grace Alexander. Once we arrived, we were blessed by the opportunity to stay at St. Anne’s Skete. I was a guest at the house of the Theophilaion Brotherhood, under the care of Geronda Hieromonk Cheruvim (he is a Greek-American and a graduate of our Hellenic College, with a degree in theology from the Aristotelian University in Thessaloniki).
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Scholarships are still available for the 2011 College Conferences. Interested students are urged to apply during the on-line registration process at events.ocf.net. Please note that the deadline for the early-bird discount rate is Dec 15, 2011. The conferences will be held during Christmas Break in the following three locations. Each will center on Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) theme - "Raise Me Above This World's Confusion."
College Conference West
St. Nicholas Ranch - Dunlap, Calif.
December 27-30, 2011
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $215 - Regular: $240
Keynote speaker - Fr. Josiah Trenham, Pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church, Riverside, Calif.
College Conference East
Antiochian Village - Bolivar, Pa.
December 28-31, 2011
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $240 - Regular: $265
Keynote speaker - His Grace Bishop Michael Dahulich, Bishop of New York and the Diocese of New York & New Jersey in the Orthodox Church in America
College Conference South
Diakonia Center - Salem, S.C.
December 28-31, 2011
Earlybird rate until Dec. 15: $210 - Regular: $235
Keynote speaker - Fr. Michael Nasser, Pastor of Holy Apostles Orthodox Mission in Bowling Green, Ky.