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IOCC Helping Hungry Families in the Horn of Africa

(photo: ACT/DCA/Binyan)(photo: ACT/DCA/Binyan)from International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC):

August 5, 2011

In the Horn of Africa, the situation is getting worse each day for families who are suffering through the region's worst drought in 60 years. In Somalia, the United Nations has declared a famine – the first time it has made such a declaration in nearly 30 years. Tens of thousands have already died and many more are at risk.

IOCC staff are on the ground in Ethiopia to assist families in immediate need of food assistance and are working to expand critical relief efforts to address the food crisis. Working with Orthodox Christian and ecumenical partners, IOCC is addressing the needs of people in remote areas of Southern Ethiopia, including Somali refugees who are arriving daily.

We need your help to provide life-saving support for these families.

Please keep the people in the Horn of Africa in your prayers and respond by clicking here to make a donation to help the victims of disasters around the world, like those in Horn of Africa, by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund. Or, call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225 and designate International Emergency Response Fund.

Classical Resource Learning Center Still Has Openings for Fall

Anne Van Fossen, M.A. of Classical Learning Resource Center, reminds distance learners that another season at the Center is just around the corner.

Writes Van Fossen, "Just 25 more days until CLRC classes begin!

It’s not too late to sign up for Classical Greek and Latin classes at the Classical Learning Resource Center. Several classes only have one or two spots left but as of today all of our classes remain open for registration. If you’ve been thinking about learning, or providing the opportunity for your children to learn, Classical Greek or Latin you can still begin this fall. Take a look at the CLRC website and let us know how we can help.

Additional Greek 1 Class Open:

We’re very please to announce that, due to increased interest in our Classical Greek classes, we’ve opened a new section of our introductory Greek class. There are now two Greek 1 classes to choose from – one on Mondays from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Pacific) and the second on Thursdays from 5:00 – 700 p.m. (Pacific).

Latin for Elementary School Children:

And don’t forget that, in addition to our popular classes for middle school and high school students and adults, CLRC teaches Latin classes to elementary aged children as well. We strongly encourage parents to begin Latin instruction in the elementary school years. Young children have a tremendous capacity for language learning and the introduction to Classical Latin at a young age establishes an ideal foundation for later language learning, comprehension of English grammar, and expansion of vocabulary.

OCAMPR Announces Theme of Annual Conference: The Science and Theology of Conception

Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian, Patron Saints of OCAMPRHoly Martyrs Cosmas and Damian, Patron Saints of OCAMPRThe Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology and Religion has announced the theme of their annual conference, "The Science of Theology and Conception." A distinguished panel of speakers including Orthodox scientists and theologians, will be examining the modern science of conception and its implications for Orthodox Christians in light of the teachings of the historic Church.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will host the conference at the Maliotis Center on campus, over the weekend of November 4-5, 2011. The brochure, which provides conference details and information about registration, explains that this year's attendees will also be able to venerate a relic and a miracle working icon of St. Anna during the conference.

OCAMPR President, Dr. Michael Christakis, explained in a letter to priests and mental health professionals, "We have, for the past three years, been revamping and reviving the Association after a period of relative inactivity. We are redefining our mission and will be amending our Charter to reflect that at this year’s annual conference." Among other things, OCAMPR has recruited an advisory board of notable Orthodox leaders: Bishop Michael of the OCA, Mother Gabriella (of the Holy Dormition Monastery in MI), Fr. John Breck, Fr. John Abdallah, Dr. Stephen Muse, Fr. Alexander Veronis, Dr. Julianna Orr-Weaver and Fr. Peter Gillquist.

Interested participants are encouraged to contact OCAMPR for more information.

Orthodox Peace Fellowship Conference Focuses on Forgiveness

The annual conference of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship is being held in Madison, WI, September 16-18. The theme is "Forgiveness-Finding Wholeness Again," and one of the speakers is Fr. George Morelli, PhD, the Chairman of the Department of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

The conference planners would like the general public to know that if a difficult economic situation is preventing anyone from attending, the hosts may be able to defray the costs for those who are out of work or have experienced a decline in income. As always, non-members and non-Orthodox are invited to attend. 

Download the conference flyer.

Download the registration form.

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Basil Steiger


From the Diocese of Los Angeles:

It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Basil Steiger from Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Ben Lomond, California, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, July 24, 2011. His Grace, Bishop 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.

Antiochian Mission Priest Releases Conciliar book, Spread the Word

Conciliar Press has released a book on evangelism by Antiochian mission priest Fr. Michael Keiser, called Spread the Word.  Subtitled Reclaiming the Apostolic Tradition of Evangelism, the book explains how Orthodox evangelism differs from the Protestant approach, and traces the Church's unbroken evangelistic tradition back to the time of the Apostles. Fr. Michael has also authored two other popular Conciliar titles, A Beginner's Guide to Spirituality, and A Beginner's Guide to Prayer.

"With his characteristic straight forward and humorous style, Fr. Michael Keiser covers the history of Orthodox evangelism, the rationale and the methods for continuing this tradition in our contemporary Western post-Christian society," says Conciliar's website. Listen to an interview with the author here, and go here to order a copy.

Updated and Improved Taste & See Cookbook Released

The authors of the Taste & See Cookbook, parishioners at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church, have announced that the newly improved version is complete and ready for purchase and shipment.

This cookbook contains 500 all new recipes and is 66% larger than the original Taste & See Cookbook. 85% of the recipes conform to traditional Orthodox fasting guidelines.

The Taste and See website explains that  "a minimum of 10% of the funds raised will be donated to the Antiochian Women and their various charity efforts."

For more information about the project including ordering information, visit the Taste & See website.

Vote for the “Best Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech!"

Santa Barbara, CA — Last month the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism announced a contest to write the best 30-second or less explanation of what the Orthodox Church is, essentially an Orthodox “elevator speech.  Response to the contest was superb, a panel of judges have selected the top ten finalists, and the Orthodox Christian public is asked to choose the winner by Internet poll.

To view the ten finalists and caste your vote for the “Best Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech” visit this Survey Monkey link before 7:00pm EDT on next Tuesday, July 26. The winner will be announced at the 50th Biennial Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Chicago next week, and he or she will receive $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications as a prize.

Read the full press release here.

African-American Orthodox Christians to Hold National Conference in Metro Detroit

St. Moses the BlackSt. Moses the BlackDETROIT - The Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black (BSMB), a national organization of African-American Orthodox Christians, will conduct its 18th annual Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference Aug. 26-28 at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, 36075 W. Seven Mile Road, Livonia.

The conference will be hosted by the Detroit Metro Chapter of the BSMB. The theme of the conference is "The Ancient Faith for Modern Problems." The Rt. Rev. Matthias (Moriak), Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers are:

The Very Rev. Moses Berry, pastor of Theotokos "Unexpected Joy" Orthodox Church in Ash Grove, Ark., and founder and president of the BSMB;

The Very Rev. John Finley, a mission priest of the Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America;

The Rev. Paisius Altschul, pastor of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church in Kansas City, Mo., co-founder and executive director of Reconciliation Services there, and a developer of FOCUS (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve);

Patrick Tutella, executive director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry;

Dr. Carla Newbern Thomas, vice president of BSMB, founder of St. Luke's Orthodox Church in Anniston, Ala., a physician with a medical practice there, and a native Detroiter; 

Mother Catherine (Weston), an Orthodox nun, a member of the St. Xenia Monastic Community in Indianapolis, Ind., and an iconographer, musician and lecturer;

Western Rite Vicariate Features Fr. Patrick Reardon at Convention

Fr. Patrick Henry ReardonFr. Patrick Henry ReardonDuring the upcoming Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, the Department of Western Rite (Western Rite Vicariate) will offer a special presentation for all by the V. Rev. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on Wednesday, July 27.

Under the theme “What Benefits Does Western Orthodoxy Offer Eastern Orthodoxy,” Father Patrick will talk about “Christ as Mediator.” Following his presentation, there will be opportunity to ask questions related to his presentation.

Father Patrick’s presentation will begin at 10:45 a.m. and conclude by 12:30 p.m.

Parish priests attending the convention, along with lay delegates and guests, are invited to attend this session.

Following Fr Patrick’s presentation, the priests serving Western Rite parishes will gather for a closed session for a discussion with the Vicar General.

May God bless you and grant you safe travels to Chicago.

By V. Rev. Edward Hughes 

Vicar General of the Western Rite

Orthodox Inspirational Posters

Immortal Conqueror Poster SampleImmortal Conqueror Poster SampleThe Holy Land Poster Project

by Carole Buleza, Chair, Department of Christian Education

Connecting us to Jesus Christ

When I was young, I found a book about the Holy Land; the images of the holy sites fascinated me—Bethlehem, Golgotha, Cana—these were the places where Jesus walked and lived! He was real!

Images of all sorts surround us today. If your children text, tweet, and Facebook, they live in a world of distraction—is Jesus even on their radar? Let’s get back to basics—our faith, and our life itself, rests in a person who lived 2,000 years ago and lives still. Donate a poster to your church school and begin to surround the children with images that remind them of the reality of Jesus!

The Department of Christian Education plans to offer a few posters each summer for homes, classrooms, church hallways, and offices. A limited amount has been printed. They are available for a donation of $5, and come safely to you in a mailing tube. The smaller poster photo prints will be sent in a cardboard mailing envelope. Please print out the order form and send a check to the Antiochian Department of Christian Education. The address is on the form.

Click here for the order form.

Department Chair Douglas Cramer Releases 2011 Internet Ministry Report

Douglas Cramer, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Internet Ministry, has released his Convention report for 2011.

Douglas writes, "Increasing the reach of an organization’s online presence depends on the good will of those parties who are also online, and support the vision of the organization. As Archdiocese online resources continue to mature, it will be essential to cultivate awareness and support from Orthodox Christian ministries, parishes, pastors, and other online content creators across jurisdictions, in order to leverage the social capabilities of the Internet, and the social command of the Gospel."

FOCUS Summer Outreach Includes Teen Volunteers

Niko Touloumes was planning on using some of his summer break to do a service project, but he never thought the project would change his perspective on those in need.

Touloumes was one of 18 youth from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Christian Church in Pittsburgh who participated in the June Appalachia service trip, a ministry of FOCUS North America. The group of middle school and high school students were joined by six adult leaders.

The goal of these short term ministry trips is to build a sense of service and community by providing an opportunity for church groups to travel together, work together, serve together and grow together. Projects include home repair, landscaping, and various domestic projects for the poor living in the heart of the Appalachian region. In some parts of the Appalachian region of NC where the FOCUS NA teams serve there is an almost 20% unemployment rate.

“I was expecting to come down and help people, not necessarily interact with them,” Touloumes said. “But I came here and found out why they’re in these situations.”

The teens and their adult leaders worked hard and always had a great attitude as they worked on graveling a driveway, painting a garage, removing a rotting deck, painting the interior of a house, moving heavy furniture and various landscaping projects.

The working poor families served by these groups are always very grateful for the help, Niko Petrogeorge, FOCUS North America ministry team intern, said.

“We painted the inside of an elderly couple’s home,” Petrogeorge said. “Mr. Upright was very appreciative of our work and wanted to help us." We got him started on something he wouldn’t have been able to do on his own and provided the resources and materials for the project.”

Orthodox Church in America Launches New Website

The Orthodox Church in America has launched a new design for its website, The jurisdiction's web team, hired in January, enlisted the services of Simple Focus, a Memphis-based design firm. The site's developer,  Fr. John Schroedel of Inoa Technologies, serves as the Web Manager for Ancient Faith Radio and Conciliar Media Ministries and is an OCA priest.

The project spanned a full year, beginning with a due diligence period and culminating in the launch on July 11.

Read the press release announcing the launch and view the new home page.

IOCC Responding to Severe African Drought

Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — As more than ten million men, women and children face hunger and life-threatening health consequences from the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding with aid to relieve victims of the worst food shortage crisis in the world today. Working in cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC) and partner agency International Medical Corps (IMC), IOCC is delivering financial support to help alleviate the emergency needs of Somali refugees in southern camps of Ethiopia.

The initial IOCC relief will support healthcare responders assessing the immediate and basic health, nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene needs of the refugees, and support their efforts to provide emergency assistance such as distribution of food and water, therapeutic feeding programs for the severely malnourished, construction of latrines, and coordination of other hygiene activities to prevent spread of disease in such overcrowded conditions.

Read the complete story.

Orthodox Music Society Announces Online Publishing

Proceedings Books from ISOCM ConferencesProceedings Books from ISOCM ConferencesJOENSUU, FINLAND [ISOCM] -- The International Society for Orthodox Church Music is pleased to announce that its new on-line publication, the Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music, is accepting submissions for publication.

The first issue will be available as a PDF download on the ISOCM site in Spring 2012.

The ISOCM was founded with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Leo of Karelia and all Finland by an international group of musicians and scholars after the First International Conference on Orthodox Church Music, “The Traditions of Orthodox Music”, held at the University of Joensuu in University of Joensuu in June 2005. Members of the ISOCM are found around the world and in a variety of positions related to Orthodox Church music.

The ISOCM is delighted that Professors Hilkka Seppälä (University of Eastern Finland), and Christian Troelsgaard (University of Copenhagen), distinguished scholars in the field of Orthodox Church music, have agreed to be members of the Board of Honour.

Members of the Editorial Board include Dr. Yuliya Artamonova (Gnessin Russian Academy of Music, Moscow), Dr. Nicolae Gheorghita (National University of Music, Bucharest), Dr. Alexander Lingas (City University, London), Dr. Ivan Moody (Editor; CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon), Dr. Aleksander Naumow (Jagiellonian University, Cracow), Dr. Nicolas Schidlovsky (Princeton University), Maria akala-Roszczenko, TM, FM (Secretary of the ISOCM; University of Eastern Finland), and Nikita Simmons (Editorial Secretary of JISOCM, Portland, Oregon, USA).

Memory Eternal! + Fr. Thomas O'Dea


From the Diocese of Los Angeles: 

 It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Thomas O'Dea, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, July 10, 2011. His Grace, Bishop 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 funeral information will be announced once it has been determined.

Please join in praying for his repose and remembering his dear family: Khouirye Marcia, Sean & Robin, Dillon, Kiera and Brian O'Dea.

Fr. Joseph Purpura Releases 2011 Archdiocese Convention Youth Report

Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has released his Convention report for 2011 here.

He reminds Convention-goers that the “Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth” (OCCHY) booth in the vendor area of the Convention will be offering materials free of charge for parents, clergy, teachers, teens and young adults. Read about OCCHY here or visit the Coalition for Healthy Youth website here.

Antiochian SVS Trustees Attend Conference on Christian Witness in the Middle East

Anne Glynn-MacKoul, SVS Board ChairAnne Glynn-MacKoul, SVS Board Chair[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] —Two Antiochian trustees from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Board Chair Anne Glynn-Mackoul and The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters, recently attended an international conference titled “Christian Presence and Witness in the Middle East Today: Theological and Political Challenges." The conference was held June 19–23, 2011 in Volos, Greece at the invitation of the World Council of Churches and the Volos Theological Academy and was hosted by Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias. The thirty participants included theological scholars, social scientists, politicians, and church representatives, primarily from Orthodox churches in the Middle East but also including representatives from other Christian bodies in that region.

At the Volos conference, participants first examined the relevance and the different aspects of the “Kairos document” issued in December 2009 by Palestinian Christians from all church traditions. Second, they analyzed the socio-political challenges facing the Christians in the Middle East against the background of the recent uprisings in the Arab World. And finally, they listened to Christian witnesses from different parts of the region.

During his presentation, Fr. Philip, priest of the Orthodox Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at McMurry University, spoke on "Orthodox Approaches to Non-violent Resistance." After first reviewing the roots of the conception in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, he turned to the martyrs and confessors who, with their non-violent resistance, confronted and refused to obey the secular powers’ demands that they abandon their faith.

Recent Ordinations and Elevations Posted

From The Word, May and June editions:


SNOWDEN, Matthew, to the holy diaconate by Bishop Thomas, on February 20, 2011, at the Church of St. Ignatius, Antiochian Village. Dn. Matthew is completing his studies at St. Tikhon’s  Seminary and is currently assigned to the parish of St. Mary’s in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 

MATTHEWS, Dn. Stephen to the holy priesthood by Bishop Antoun May 8, 2011 at St. George, West Roxbury, MA. Fr. Stephen is completing his final year of seminary.

BUDICA, Dn. Adrian to the holy priesthood on May 22 at St. Nicholas Cathedral by Bishop Antoun. He is attached to the Cathedral.

KISHLER, Dn. Andrew to the holy priesthood on May 29 at St. George Church in Cicero, IL by Bishop Joseph. He is attached to All Saints Church, Chicago, IL.


MASSOUH, Fr. Michael, to the dignity of Archpriest by Bishop Antoun, on February 20, 2011, St. Nicholas Church, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

ZITON, Fr. Elias, to the dignity of Archpriest by Bishop Joseph, on February 6, 2011, at St. George Church, Phoenix, Arizona. 

Creative Festival Entries Featured in Videos

Creative Festival Contest EntryCreative Festival Contest EntryThe Department of Christian Education and the Fellowship of St. John the Divine have co-sponsored video presentations of the photos, artwork, and words of the children in the Dioceses of Toledo, Ottawa and Los Angeles. Originally created for the Creative Festivals of 2010, these visual renderings vividly illustrate the year's theme, which was "The earth is the Lord's and its fullness, the world and all who dwell therein," Psalm 23. 

View all of these presentations on the Antiochian Archdiocese's Vimeo site.


2010 OCMC Annual Report Available Online

Dear Faithful Supporters and Friends of international Orthodox missions,

Greetings in Christ on this blessed Feast Day of the Twelve Apostles! We are pleased to announce that the 2010 OCMC Annual Report is now available online here.

We invite you to review this report so that you can know how your time, prayer and support has helped share the message of love, hope, and salvation with people around the world. Please prayerfully consider renewing your support for the ministries of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, so that we might continue to participate in the work begun by the Holy Apostles of making disciples of all nations.

Please know that you are in our prayers. On behalf of the OCMC staff, board, missionaries, and volunteers, we thank you for your continued prayers as well.

In Christ,

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center

Secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch Announces Election of 12 New Auxiliary Bishops

Holy Synod of Antioch meetsHoly Synod of Antioch meetsA statement released by the Secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand on June 23, 2011, announced that the Holy Synod of Antioch has elected 12 new Auxiliary Bishops. Its regular session convened on June 21, 2011, and subsequent statements were released announcing the elections. The translation of the official communique reads, in part:

After prayer and calling upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, especially because we are still in the atmosphere of Glorious Pentecost, and asking the blessing of Our Lady the Virgin, protectress of the monastery, the fathers of the Synod began discussion of the agenda covering various ecclesial, local, national, and ecumenical topics.

The fathers gave their attention to all the issues that concern the faithful from spiritual, pastoral, social, and national perspectives. Together they carefully studied pastoral needs in the home countries and the diaspora in order for the Church to have an effective presence in serving her children, paying heed to their needs and concerns.

Read the complete Arabic version on the Balamand website.

Read the statement in English translated by Notes on Arab Orthodoxy here.