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.
His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of the soul of Khouria Shirley Schneirla, who fell asleep in Christ on Thursday, October 4th, at age 89. She was the wife of the highly esteemed Fr. Paul Schneirla, to whom condolences may be sent via firstname.lastname@example.org
The daughter of Dorothy Downing Dillon Page and Donald Ormsby Page, Kh. Shirley was born on June 27, 1923 in New York City. A longtime resident of Far Hills and New York, she was the great-granddaughter of John Forrest Dillon, one time chief justice of the New York Supreme Court, and the granddaughter of William H. Page, attorney and a former president of the New York Athletic Club. She received her early education in France and England, attended the Hewitt School in New York, and was graduated in 1941 from the Wickham Rise School in Washington, Connecticut.
Khouria Shirley married William Sutfin Schneirla in June, 1942. Converts to the Orthodox Church, her husband was ordained into the priesthood of the Church and was both pastor for 50 years at St. Mary’s in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and a professor of Old Testament at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. She served on various church, inter-Orthodox, and ecumenical committees and initiatives. She was the mother of Dorothy Downie Orrill (email@example.com) and Peter Christian Schneirla, and the late William Sutfin Schneirla, Jr., and the sister of the late Donald Ormsby Page, Jr. May Kh. Shirley be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
Have you considered supporting the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch? The "philanthropic arm" of the Archdiocese is an organization of men and women who maintain on an annual basis proper spiritual credentials and financial commitment. It was created to establish an organization of Antiochian laity who would function at the highest level of ministry for Christ and the Church. It is a spiritual movement manifested through financial giving.
The Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Archdiocese will hold their fall meeting from October 26–28, 2012.
We ask all of the faithful to pray for the hierarchs, clergy, and lay leaders who will participate in these most important meetings. May they be blessed for the glorification of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Holy Church.
On October 9, 2012, His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston received a missions report from the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church of Göteborg, Sweden. Last summer two Swedish Orthodox Christians, Herman Fields and Mikael Fälthammar, had participated in a two-week residency at the Antiochian Village in Pennsylvania as part of the St. Stephen's Course, in the Antiochian House of Studies School of Orthodox Theology. "We were immensely blessed," wrote Mr. Fields and Mr. Fälthammar, "by meeting many Orthodox brothers and sisters in the United States.
"We want to express a special thank you to Fr. Joseph (Allen), Adn. Peter (Boulukos), Cheri Mullins and all the faculty of the House of Studies," they continued, "as well as to our hosts His Grace Bishop Thomas, and Paul Finley, for all your help and hospitality. We felt rejuvenated and encouraged by two intense weeks of spiritual fellowship and learning."
The rest of the newsletter reported on the work of the Swedish mission. "In the heart of Göteborg, we are very blessed to be able to borrow a basement venue, under a large church.
Fr. Anthony Yazge, Director of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of College Ministry, has asked all Orthodox Christians in parishes, and parents of college students, to submit names of current college students to the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) database. "OCF, the college ministry of the Orthodox Churches in the United States, is developing and maintaining a database of all Orthodox college students," he noted. "The purpose of this database is to assist the church in keeping our students connected to Christ and His Church.
"Students that are listed in the database will receive regular communication from OCF regarding programs and ministries such as annual College Conferences and Real Break. Their contact information will be shared with the OCF chapters of the schools they are attending and/or the closest Orthodox Church as a means of offering support and encouragement to students while they are attending school. We ask that you visit the OCF webpage to submit your college student's information. Let's keep our young people connected to Christ and His Church!"
On October 20, 2012, the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is teaming up with Illumination Learning to host a meeting of Orthodox Christians, via a virtual conference center. The speakers presenting at this webinar come from varying backgrounds, and include:
•Dr. Albert Rossi, who teaches pastoral theology at Saint Vladimir's Seminary in New York, and will be presenting on "You are the Light of the World";
•Fr. Stephen Powley, the Assistant Director of the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, who will be presenting on "Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone: One of the keys to a purposeful Orthodox life";
His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos, His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph, His Eminence, Archbishop Kyrill, His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin and His Grace, Bishop Maxim, invite all clergy in the West to the Fourth Annual Pan-Orthodox Clergy Advent Retreat
- Topic: “The Sacrament of Confession: Contemporary Pastoral Challenges and Questions”
- Retreat Master: Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis
- Location: Sacred Heart Retreat House and St. Joseph Campus, 920 East Alhambra Road, Alhambra
- Phone: 626.289.1353
What is "Village at Home"? Antiochian Village's website explains, "In an effort to stay connected to our campers and introduce young people to the camp experience, we have established our Village at Home program. In short, we visit a parish, at the invitation of their pastor, and run a modified day of camp at the parish. We ask the host parish to extend invitations to neighboring churches with hope of exposing as many young people to the Antiochian Village camping program. We recruit former staff members to join us for the day to assist with the program. The day somewhat mimics a day of camp."
The third Sunday of October, October 21, 2012 is Special Olympics Awareness Day (SOAD) across the Antiochian Archdiocese. On Sunday, October 21st, your local teen group will seek financial help from Antiochian parishioners in funding the 2013 Special Olympics Sports Camp to be held at the Antiochian Village August 9-17, 2013. Next summer we will be celebrating our 32nd Annual Special Olympics Sports Camp. This ministry is sponsored by the North American Council of Teen SOYO. Our teens work very hard for this ministry and rely on the generosity and support of the faithful of our Archdiocese and the Order of St. Ignatius.
We Need YOUR HELP!
Please publicize this day. Special Olympics Awareness Day bulletin inserts are attached below, one set for October 14th and the other for October 21st. Please include these inserts in your bulletin. Also attached are a letter to Antiochian clergy and an address to be delivered in church by teens on Special Olympics Awareness day. Your enthusiastic promotion of such a worthwhile ministry will go a long way in producing fruitful results from our faithful.