Registration is open for the annual St. Herman Middle School Retreat, convening at Antiochian Village on the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska.
- Who: Students in grades 5-8
- Where: Antiochian Village Conference Center, December 12-14, 2014
- What: interactive presentations and discussions, weekend liturgical services (with an outdoor supplication service to St. Herman), games, crafts, meals and snacks, sledding, geocaching, stargazing, guided night hike, a campfire
- Why: The distraction-free environment of the Village and the spiritual emphasis of the retreat offer a wonderful opportunity for middle schoolers to focus on their faith
- How much: $100/person for lodging and meals; $120 if postmarked after November 15
- Download the registration form
- Download the Consent Form
- Visit the Antiochian Village's website
Ancient Faith Publishing (formerly known as Conciliar Press) has released their 2014 Christmas Catalog. Four new designs for Christmas cards are available, as well as popular sets from previous years. A beautiful array of Orthodox Christmas ornaments are in this year's selection of holiday items as well.
One of the perennial favorites from Ancient Faith is the yearly icon calendar. This year's theme, "Icons of the Virgin Mary," features the work of contemporary American iconographers, in both Julian and New Calendar versions. The 11" X 12" full-color calendar is organized with large calendar boxes for recording important date reminders. Major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed.
Supreme Leaders of the Heavenly Hosts, we implore you that by your prayers you will encircle us, unworthy as we are, with the protection of the wings of your immaterial glory and guard us who fall down before you and fervently cry: deliver us from dangers, for you are the commanders of the powers above.
-Troparion of the Feast, Tone 4
O Archangel Michael whose countenance is like lightning, gleaming in an ineffable manner with the illuminations of the Trinity, of exceeding divine brilliancy, thou dost traverse the whole creation like lightning, fulfilling the divine command, watching over, preserving, and sheltering those who joyfully laud thee.
-Exaposteilarion of the Feast, Tone 2
The Archdiocese offices in Englewood, NJ, have closed early today, at 1:30 Eastern, due to construction. Normal work is planned to resume on Friday, November 7, from 9 to 5 Eastern. Information on contacting the Archdiocese is available here.
The 2015 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference, with the theme "Walking Alongside our Youth," will be held at Antiochian Village on January 22-24. The Conference, now in its 13th year, exists to bring all Orthodox Christians doing youth ministry at any level and in any form together for several days to further their education, foster brotherhood, and provide fellowship. Each year a different jurisdiction of the Orthodox Churches in the United States hosts the Conference, with the input and direction provided by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and national Church Youth Department directors.
Keynote Addresses will be offered by The Rev. Dr. Bogdan Bucur, associate professor of Theology at Duquesne University, and Dr. Stefanie Yazge, professor of Theology at St. Vincent College. A series of workshops focusing on youth ministry as it relates to youth workers and camp staff, daily services, and fellowship, will be available to enable attendees to get to know each other better.
Registration is available online and an early-bird discount is offered through December 15, 2014.
The 110th anniversary of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA was celebrated over the weekend of October 10-12, 2014.
For the weekend Bishop Thomas presided over all of the events. On Friday morning the parish had the funeral of the oldest parishioner, Lorraine George, who was 98. Bishop Thomas arrived before to be able to serve the funeral.
On Friday evening there was a potluck dinner to which the parishioners brought many different kinds of delicious fast-day foods.
On Saturday, Bishop Thomas went to visit his family’s restaurant in Wilkes-Barre and enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers from Abe’s Restaurant on Main Street. He reminisced there about his family during the meal. (View the photo gallery of the festive weekend.)
Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism.
Our Father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of Brooklyn, was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil. Traveling throughout the continent in the first years of the 20th century, he founded thirty parishes in North America. His feast day is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese on the first Saturday of November. St. Raphael, a man of angelic name and apostolic fervor, was influenced by many cultures. He was born and raised in the Middle East, educated by Greeks at Halki and by Russians at Kiev, and he spent the last nineteen years of his life as a missionary in North America.
In 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael. The Archdiocese's Creative Festivals will feature the theme, "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America."
The Liturgical Texts for the month of November, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.
In 2014, November features prominent saints whose commemorations fall on Sundays: St. Nektarios of Aegina (Nov. 9), St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist (Nov. 16), and St. Andrew the First-called Apostle (Nov. 30). Of course, the Antiochian Archdiocese celebrates its patron and founder, St. Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn, on Saturday, Nov. 1.
The Online Liturgical Guide, produced by the Committee on Liturgics, provides the official, uniform word-for-word texts to be used for the Divine Services in all parishes across the Archdiocese. Should you have any questions, please contact Subdeacon Peter Samore at email@example.com.
Your prayers are requested for our Antiochian Bishops and Board of Trustees members preparing to convene in Florida for meetings from October 23-26, 2014. With the blessings of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and The Right Rev. Bishop Antoun, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, The Rev. Fouad Saba and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL are hosting the Hierarchs and Board of Trustees meetings. The historic meetings will be the first ones in which Metropolitan Joseph presides for both the Board of Trustees fall meetings, as well as the gathering of the bishops.
On Saturday evening, a banquet will be held honoring the newly selected Metropolitan, and offering tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. A Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy will be followed by "The Stewards Luncheon," with the Board of Trustees as guests of honor.
The Department of Conventions and Conference Planning is providing the following contact information in order to assist parishes in their conference and convention planning and bids. The following hotel chains have on file an organization resume that will provide historical data and history for our Archdiocese. The DCCP encourages that these individuals be the first point of contact for events at their respective hotels and resorts.
Marriott Hotels & Resorts (Including the Gaylord Resorts):
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts:
Jeffrey F. Perrin, CMP
Director, Strategic Accounts - The Americas
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts
9801 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819
Phone: 407-370-3351 Cell: 407-230-8888
October 18, 2014
A Ground Blessing ceremony for the Saint Nicholas National Shrine at the World Trade Center is set for Saturday October 18, 2014 at 12:00 noon. The ceremony will include a combined prayer service of blessing of the site (agiasmos), and a doxology (a service of thanksgiving).
Established in 1916, the small Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Nicholas was the only house of worship destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001 when the South Tower fell and completely obliterated the old church edifice. The new Saint Nicholas National Shrine will be rebuilt only a short distance away from its original location, at 130 Liberty Street and will be overlooking the 9/11 Memorial.
Archbishop Demetrios of America, primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America stated: "Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox National Shrine, although destroyed in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 is now, with the grace of God, being resurrected at the new World Trade Center and it will soon rise like a glorious phoenix as a National Shrine and a place of pilgrimage for our Nation. It will be a place of faith, a place of peace and a place of solace and hope."
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is working to promote literacy and learning for underserved youth in America. More than $773,000 in new books and reading materials were distributed by IOCC recently to children participating in tutoring, after school and early childhood education programs in four of the six states with the highest poverty rates in the United States – states that also rank near the bottom in educational outcomes for their children.
IOCC's U.S. Program provided brand new books and educational materials to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and New Mexico – states where nearly one in five families fall below the poverty level of $23,834 for a family of four. Books have also been provided for Detroit area children through the Council of Orthodox Churches of Detroit and for Alaska's underserved children through the Orthodox Church in America's Diocese of Sitka and Alaska. In Detroit, more than one in four families and a staggering 39% of children live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey.
The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (or OCCHY) is a unique national alliance founded and supported by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Antiochian Archdiocese, involved in establishing, training and leading substance abuse prevention and intervention coalitions across America. The Healthy Youth initiative, sponsored by OCCHY, offers communities an opportunity to heighten awareness of how to combat substance abuse, prevent bullying, encourage sexual abstinence outside of marriage, and encourage respect for the sanctity of the human body. Recent updates on the Hookah Prevention initiative, the Healthy Youth ministry of Tucson, AZ, and the Cicero/Chicago based group, are available on OCCHY's Website.
OCCHY is developing local community networks to address substance abuse prevention and healthy living in parishes of each diocese. Each local chapter is trained in coalition building in their community. Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries Fr. Joseph Purpura, and Kh. Kathleen Purpura, Youth Consultant and Executive Director of OCCHY, work with the White House Director of the Drug Free Communities Program, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the staff of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), and local coalition leaders to establish substance prevention coalitions across America.
His Grace Bishop Thomas' namesday is October 6, Thomas the Apostle of the Twelve. Many years, Master!
Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: "You are my Lord and my God!"
Kontakion — Tone 4
Each year during Christmas break, Orthodox Christian Fellowship's (OCF) College Conferences host hundreds of college students from across North America for four days of fellowship, prayer, and presentations offered by dynamic Orthodox speakers. This year's conferences, held at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania and St. Nicholas Ranch in California, will take place from December 27-30, 2014. The theme is "but you are a chosen generation" (I Peter 2:9). For information about scholarships and registration, visit the OCF's website page for the Conferences.
Registration is also open for Real Break 2015, the OCF ministry alternative to the typical collegian's spring break experience. Built on a foundation of fellowship, education, worship, and service, Real Break provides students the opportunity to travel to another state or country to participate in ministry, while also cultivating relationships with like-minded peers.
Chesterton, IN - Ancient Faith Ministries announces the launch of a new blog portal that gathers under one roof some of the most popular and widely read Orthodox blogs on the internet. Ancient Faith Blogs includes Fr. Stephen Freeman's Glory to God for All Things, Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick's Roads from Emmaus, Abbot Tryphon's The Morning Offering, and many more. Some new blogs are also being introduced.
"Ancient Faith Blogs isn't just a host for Orthodox Christian blogs; it's a fully networked and increasingly integrated site that connects multiple forms of Orthodox media. You can follow your favorite Orthodox bloggers, podcasters, and authors all in one place, as well as discover new content. This is something unique in the online Orthodox world, and I'm honored to be a part of it," says Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick.
Ancient Faith Ministries CEO John Maddex says, "Ancient Faith Blogs represents a partnership with an elite group of contemporary thinkers in Orthodoxy, and we are very pleased to be associated with them."
September 26th is the celebration of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. John the Theologian and the name's day of His Grace Bishop John. May God grant him many years!
Apolytikion of St. John, Tone 2
O Apostle John, speaker of divinity, the beloved of Christ God, hasten and deliver thy people powerless in argument; for He on Whose bosom thou didst lean accepteth thee as an intercessor. Beseech Him, therefore, to disperse the cloud of the stubborn nations, asking for us safety and the Great Mercy.
A ministry of FOCUS North America, the Youth Equipped to Serve program, or YES, provides opportunities for junior high and high school students to participate in formative weekends of service in urban environments across the U.S. and Canada.
Weekend service trips scheduled for the fall are as follows:
YES OTTAWA, ON- October 4th
YES DETROIT, MI- November 7-9
YES PHOENIX, AZ- November 21-23
YES AKRON, OH- December 5-7
YES PROVIDENCE, RI- December 12-14
A list of upcoming YES trips and information is provided on their website. For more information about the program, read an interview with North America Program Director, Katrina Bitar, or contact her via email.
The Very Reverend W.S. Paul Schneirla, longtime pastor at St. Mary Church in Brooklyn, New York, fell asleep in Christ on Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at the age of 98. May his memory be eternal!
Father Paul was ordained an Antiochian priest in 1943, and served parishes in Iron Mountain, MI and Allentown PA, before moving to New York to serve at St. Mary's in Brooklyn from 1951 until his retirement in August, 2002. He served in many capacities within the Archdiocese for 71 years, including: the first chairman of the Department of Christian Education, the dean of the Atlantic Deanery, the first editor of The Word magazine, and as the Archdiocese's Ecumenical Officer.
As a young man, Fr. Paul had converted to Orthodoxy from a Protestant background, and thus years after his ordination, his interest in the Western Rite was kindled by a visit to one of the Rite's parishes within the Romanian Orthodox jurisdiction in Paris, France.
The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion (OCAMPR) now has registration available on the Website for their Annual Conference. The fee is $50 for members/nonmembers and $25 for students/clergy. The Conference, titled "Exploring the Mind-Body-Soul Connection: Spirituality in Illness and Healing," will be held November 6 - 8, 2014, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, MA, and is co-sponsored by the Seminary. There will be numerous distinguished presenters including the keynote speaker, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The full program and hotel information are posted as well. Deadline for a discounted rate at the hotel is October 13, 2014. A free shuttle bus will be available to take people to and from the Conference.
OCAMPR exists to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and promote Christian fellowship among healing professionals in medicine, psychology and religion.
The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge, UK recently announced that it is launching a fully online MA degree in Pastoral Theology. The degree will be offered jointly with the Cambridge Theological Federation. The Institute, with support from Antiochian Orthodox Christians amongst others, has successfully provided this degree in a face-to-face format at Cambridge, UK for 15 years and is glad that it now can be offered to people living around the world. The program is available to anyone who has completed a bachelor's degree or can demonstrate professional experience equivalent to an undergraduate degree. Fluency in English is necessary.
"The program," says Institute's Principal, Professor David Frost, Ph.D., "provides an opportunity to explore the intellectual foundations and spiritual dimensions of the Orthodox Christian faith. Each course module will assist learners explore the eternal significance of the human experience while illuminating God's transformational plan for them and their ministry whatever that might be. The degree's focus is to teach the faithful how to be an effective Christian and leader in today's complex world through sound biblical and doctrinal theological training provided by our expert and distinguished faculty members and outstanding tutors."
This graduate degree can be completed in either one or two calendar years according to Dr. Christoph Schneder, the Institute's Academic Director. He explained that: "Full-time students take two modules in each semester followed by the MA dissertation and are able to complete the degree within one year of registration. Part-time students take one module per semester, followed by the MA dissertation. The program must completed within 5 years of registration."
During the last week of August, with the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, Camp St. Innocent (CSI) took place, the first ever Antiochian camp in Western Canada. The camp took place at the Gull Lake Centre, an excellent facility located about eighty-five miles south of Edmonton, Alberta.
The camp was sponsored by St. Philip Church in Edmonton and Annunciation Church of Calgary, but campers also came from Saskatoon, and Vancouver. There were 23 campers in total, which for a first camp seems to be a pretty good turnout. This is especially true if you consider the long distances some of the campers had to travel to come to camp. The campers from Saskatoon drove for over seven hours and the campers from Vancouver about twelve hours.
A new book in The Chrysostom Bible Series—Hebrews: A Commentary, by Antiochian priest and Biblical scholar The Very Rev. Paul Nadim Tarazi—is the latest release from the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies' publishing arm, OCABS Press.
In this volume, Fr. Tarazi notes the importance of the placement of Hebrews in the canon, which together with Romans, "bracketed [Paul's] literary corpus of fourteen epistles between two magisterial letters-Romans, addressed to the residents of the capital of the Gentile Roman empire, and Hebrews, addressed to the Jews who were still dreaming of the restoration of the earthly Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans."
However, Fr. Paul points out in this work, "God's city is not, as it was assumed by the Jews, the earthly Jerusalem that lay subjugated by Rome, but rather the 'Jerusalem above' (Gal 4:26), the heavenly city of Zion, toward which the believers are heading."
The Chrysostom Bible Commentary Series exists to continue and promote his legacy as an interpreter of the biblical texts for preaching and teaching God's congregation. The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies also offers a variety of other commentaries, a journal, a society for the study of Scripture, and exegetical notes for teaching and preaching.
Prayers are requested as the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the representative body consisting of all 53 active, canonical Orthodox bishops in the U.S., convenes for their Annual Meeting September 16-18, 2014, in Dallas, TX. The faithful are asked to especially pray for His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, the First Vice Chairman of the Assembly, and all our Antiochian hierarchs.
Features of this meeting will include a pan-Orthodox Doxology, and a Clergy-Laity Gathering on the evening of Monday, September 15. All clergy and laity are invited to join in prayer during the Doxology, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas. Following the Doxology, a panel of bishops will answer questions related to the work of the Assembly, and fellowship will follow.
Registration is open for the Annual St. Thekla & St. Raphael Pilgrimage, with His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic presiding. Lodging for both adults and children is available for the weekend, which is an annual event at the Antiochian Village Conference Center and camp in Bolivar, PA.
"Did you know that the Antiochian Village is one of the few places places in the United States where you can visit the grave and shrine of a saint of the Church?" notes Bishop Thomas. Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, the first Orthodox bishop to be consecrated in the United States, reposed in the Lord in 1915 and was later canonized by the Orthodox Church in America in 2000. Appropriately, since St. Raphael is buried on the grounds of Antiochian Village, the pilgrimage includes a Service of Supplication to him. Other activities include small group workshops, a panel discussion with Bishop Thomas, a special movie showing, and the full cycle of liturgical services.