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Archdiocese Policy on Receiving People into the Church

Englewood, NJ • His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH • February 22, 2018

In response to questions that have been raised recently, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH reaffirms the long-standing policy of the Antiochian Archdiocese, which is in accordance with the practice of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, regarding the reception of converts to the Faith. To be clear, Holy Baptism in the Name of the Holy Trinity, followed by Holy Chrismation, is the normative means by which one is initiated into the Holy Church. When receiving those coming into Holy Orthodoxy from religious confessions who profess a belief in the Holy Trinity and baptize with water in the Name of Father, and of Son, and of the Holy Spirit, the Church from ancient times has done so through means of Holy Chrismation or a profession of the Faith – depending on the circumstances.

In other words, when baptism is necessary, there is a baptism. When Chrismation is necessary there is a Chrismation. When a profession of the Faith is necessary, there is a profession of the Faith. When questions arise requiring discernment as to how a person is to be received into the Church, a priest must consult with the local bishop.

Western Rite Vicariate Launches Website

The Western Rite Vicariate has gathered many materials to help Orthodox and non-Orthodox alike learn more about the Western Rite in the Orthodox Church. Our Archdiocese has a rich heritage of reaching out to people of all backgrounds and in various ways responding to Christ's command to bring the Gospel to all nations. These materials, which include a documentary film about the Western Rite, blogs, and other resources, are available at The Orthodox West.

Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: A Parish Life Study

The report "Orthodox Christian Churches in 21st Century America: a Parish Life Study" has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA.

The report provides a comprehensive picture of today's lives of American Orthodox parishes, including such aspects as membership, worship, programs, religious education, youth, usage of electronic technologies, and much more. Of particular interest are subjects that have never been examined previously, such as:

  • The Vision of Parish Clergy for Orthodox Church Unity in America
  • Similarities and differences between American Orthodox parishes and Protestant congregations
  • The Use of Electronic Technologies in U.S. Orthodox Parishes

580 Orthodox parishes (about 30% of all U.S. Orthodox parishes) participated in this unique study. Five Orthodox jurisdictions had a significant number of participating parishes: the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the Orthodox Church in America, and the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Memory Eternal! Subdeacon Joseph Louis Vacca

June 10, 1948 - Jan 21, 2018

Memory Eternal! Subdeacon Joseph Louis Vacca was born in Arlington, VA, on June 10, 1948, the only child of Gene A. and Nan Vacca. He graduated from Catholic University in Washington DC and joined the Benedictine Monastery of St. Anselm in Manchester, NH. In 1976 he gradated from Creighton Law School, then joined the Army as a lieutenant commanding the 2nd platoon 759 MP battalion at Ft. Dix, NJ.

Joe married Mary Lee Koops on April 1, 1977. He returned to Omaha in 1979 and was admitted to the bar. He worked as an attorney in Omaha for many years. He retired in 2002 to devote himself full time to his great loves: model railroading, spiritual reading and writing, and his parish, St. Vincent of Lerins.

He entered into peaceful rest on January 21, 2018, after many illnesses that deprived him of the life he wished to lead. His vast knowledge, unfailing wit and courage in the face of adversity will be greatly missed by his family and many friends. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Mary Lee; and his loving son, James, of whom he was justly proud; and his son-in-law, Chris Sutton. He is preceded in death by his parents, Gene and Nan Vacca.

VISITATION
Wednesday, 5-6:30pm with Memorial Vespers at 6:30pm at St. Vincent of Lerins Western Orthodox Church.

SERVICES
Thursday, 10am, at St. Vincent of Lerins Western Orthodox Church, 2502 N 51st Street. Interment: Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Memorials to the Nebraska Humane Society.

Published in the Omaha World-Herald

Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. Holds Clergy Synaxis

The annual diocesan clergy meeting for the Diocese of New York and Washington, D.C. was held at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey on January 16, 2018. His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH presided over the meeting, which was also attended by His Grace Bishop JOHN, and many clergy from the Diocese, both priests and deacons. Archimandrite Fadi Rabbat from Mexico City was also in attendance.

In the meeting, the attendees decided on a patron saint, forming The Brotherhood of Saint John of Damascus. The Very Reverend Thomas Zain, Archdiocese Vicar General and Dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, was appointed as the dean of The Brotherhood.

The meeting commenced with prayer and the reading of the Epistle and Gospel. Metropolitan JOSEPH and the clergy then discussed various topics including liturgical practices, the education of priests, and dealing with both parish and external organizations, including government entities. The underlying themes of pastoral care and the dignity of the priesthood informed the entire discussion.

The meeting adjourned around 1:00 p.m., and was followed by a lunch hosted by His Eminence.

2018 Youth Worker Workshop is February 1-3 in Atlanta, GA

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, encourages all youth workers to attend the upcoming Youth Worker Workshop. This year's Workshop is being held in Atlanta, Georgia from February 1 – 3, 2018, and is themed "The Place of Gratitude in Youth Ministry."

An enriching and uplifting experience, the Workshop connects youth and camp workers from all jurisdictions, providing them with inspirational and challenging ideas to help them in their ministries. More information, video of presentations from past years, and registration and hotel details, are available on the Workshop website.

2018 SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarship is Available

With the blessing of Metropolitan Joseph, NAC SOYO announces that the application for the 2018 SOYO Metropolitan Philip Youth Worker Scholarship is now available.

Download 2018 Application Form (PDF)
Due Date: October 31, 2018

Requirements for Eligibility

The following are the requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for the Youth Worker Scholarship.

  • The applicant must have been an active member of an Antiochian parish for at least the last five years.
  • The applicant must be active in youth work.
  • The applicant agrees to enroll in a recognized Orthodox Christian program with a youth ministry focus or component. The recipient will seek direction from the Chairman of the Archdiocese Department of Youth as to which institution is available for training.
  • The applicant is willing to make a minimum three year commitment to parish youth work in the Antiochian Archdiocese either as a volunteer or on a paid basis, but only following completion of the program [EC1] .

Blessed Namesday to Bishop Anthony!

January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the namesday of His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo. May God grant him many years!

Apolytikion of St. Anthony the Great, Tone 4 

Thou didst become like the zealous Elijah in his condition, and followed John the Baptist in his upright ways, becoming a dweller in the wilderness and an establisher of the universe by thy prayer, O Father Anthony. Wherefore, intercede thou with Christ God to save our souls.

Memory Eternal! + Sylvia Jean Joseph, Mother of His Grace Bishop THOMAS

Sylvia Jean Joseph, mother of His Grace Bishop THOMAS, reposed in the Lord on Christmas Eve, 2017. She was 93 years old. Writes His Grace, "As you know, she had been suffering for a good period of time. Although this was unexpected, she was visited by both a deacon and priest today....There are so many of you who prayed for my mom and offered all kinds of support. My father, my sister and I are eternally grateful to you. More importantly, Mom is grateful. I'll ask again for your holy prayers for her soul. May she rest in peace, and may God give us the strength to bear this loss."

The funeral arrangements Sylvia Jean Joseph are as follows:

On Friday, December 29, 2017, there will be a viewing from 2-4pm at Holy Cross Orthodox Church, 2365 South South Olga Drive in Ft. Myers, FL 33905. Included in this will be a Trisagion service at 3:30pm.

Winter 2017-2018 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2017–2018 issue of DIAKONIA, the newsletter of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America, is now available online. This issue features the Diocese of New York, and the Diocese of Oakland, Charleston, and the Mid-Atlantic, and includes special messages from His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH and His Grace Bishop THOMAS.

The issue also contains:

  • Introductions to the diocesan officers and coordinators
  • Numerous reports and photographs from parish chapters of Antiochian Women
  • Reflections on the spiritual life

And more! Download the PDF

"Living Orthodoxy" Podcast Features Interview with Bishop Thomas

December 19, 2017

As a part of the "Faith Stories" series in the Living Orthodoxy podcast, His Grace Bishop Thomas (Joseph) of the Diocese of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic was interviewed in a recently posted podcast. Living Orthodoxy strives to provide "an invitation to a deeper life in Christ," and is hosted by St. Philip Orthodox Church in Souderton, PA.

The wide-ranging discussion with Bishop Thomas covers a variety of topics, including: a brief recap of his upbringing and background, his collaborative approach to ministry, his reflections on the history of the Antiochian Archdiocese, his observations about parish growth and ministry, and his advice to priests and parishioners.

Listen to Living Orthodoxy with Bishop Thomas.

 

Memory Eternal! + John George Burbules, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)

John George Burbules, COL USA (Ret.), 84, of Sellersburg, Indiana, fell asleep in the Lord on Thursday morning, December 14, 2017 after a brief illness. He had a Christian ending to his life – painless, blameless and peaceful.

John’s life was simple. He served his God. He served his country. And he served his family and friends. Each with endless dedication and tremendous love. The rest of his story lives on with the thousands he’s touched.

A long-time member of St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church in Louisville, Kentucky, he served in various offices on the Parish Council, and – for decades – taught Bible Study and Catechism classes. Those whose lives he touched remember his humility, grace and humor.

December 15 + St. Eleftherios, Patron Saint of Diocese of Wichita

The Holy Hieromartyr Eleftherios

December 15th is also the anniversary of the formal establishment of the Diocese of Wichita in 2004. Read His Grace Bishop Basil's address on the occasion (PDF).

The Passion of the Hieromartyr Eleftherios of Illyria

From a good tree comes good fruit.  This wonderful saint had noble and greatly eminent parents.  Eleutherius was born in Rome, where his father was an imperial proconsul.  His mother Anthia heard the Gospel from the great Apostle Paul and was baptized by him.  Having been left a widow early, she entrusted her only son for study and service to Anicetus the Bishop of Rome. 

Seeing how Eleutherius was gifted by God and illumined by the grace of God, the bishop ordained him a deacon at the age of fifteen, a priest at the age of eighteen, and a bishop at the age of twenty.  Eleutherius's God-given wisdom made up for what he lacked in years, and this chosen one of God was appointed Bishop of Illyria with his seat in Valona (Avlona), Albania.

Statement by Metropolitan JOSEPH on the Recent Announcement by President Trump Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel

Englewood, NJ/The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Statement by His Eminence, Archbishop Metropolitan JOSEPH, of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of North America on the Recent Announcement by President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

“Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”. Luke 2:14

We in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church stand with religious and world leaders in expressing concern over the recent announcement by President Trump in which the United States officially recognizes the city of Jersusalem as the capital of Israel and will therefore be moving the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Our main concern is that this is a unilateral decision being made from outside of the framework of the Middle East peace process and that this will serve to undermine an already complex and difficult situation.

Youth Worker Conference to Feature the Theme of Gratitude

The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura, chairman of SOYO and the Department of Youth, encourages all parish and Archdiocese-wide youth leaders to attend the pan-Orthodox Youth Worker Conference in early 2018. Themed "The Place of Gratitude in Youth Ministry," the Conference is slated for February 1–3, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. More information is available here.

The Orthodox Youth Worker & Camping Conference is sponsored by the Jurisdictional Youth Departments of the Assembly of Bishops. The Youth and Camping Departments of the American Carpatho-Russian Diocese and Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA will host the 2018 conference.

 

Apply to CrossRoad 2018! Summer Program for High School Juniors and Seniors

Calling all Antiochian Youth! Are you an Orthodox Christian high school junior or senior interested in exploring your faith? Apply to the dynamic, life-changing program that is CrossRoad! The application deadline is February 1, 2018.

For more information, visit our website!

96 Youth

10 Days

2 Locations

1 Amazing Program

DOWNLOAD the POSTER

Message From the Department of Sacred Music for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday

On this second Sunday in December, the Antiochian Archdiocese recognizes the contributions of all of our church singers and their vital role in communicating the teachings of the Church through melody and maintaining the beauty and dignity of our divine services.

It is through the work of hundreds of musicians across the Archdiocese that our experience in holy worship finds its voice.

Today the Department of Sacred Music joins with His Eminence and the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese to say "thank you" for all the time and love that so many are giving.

The Conception of the Theotokos + December 9

Anna besought the Lord in fervent prayer for a child. The voice of the angel proclaimed to her: God has granted you the desire of your prayer. Do not weep, for you shall be a fruitful vine, bearing the wondrous branch of the Virgin who will bring forth in the flesh the blossom Christ, Who grants great mercy to the world.

Today the great mystery of all eternity, whose depths angels and men cannot perceive, appears in the barren womb of Anna. Mary, the Maiden of God, is prepared to be the dwelling place of the eternal King Who will renew human nature. Let us entreat her with a pure heart and say: Intercede for us with your Son and God that our souls may be saved.

+Vespers of the Feast

Fr. Thomas Hopko on the Conception of Mary

Many Years to His Grace Bishop Nicholas!

Apolytikion of St. Nicholas, Tone 4

The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

December 6th is the celebration of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and the namesday of His Grace Bishop Nicholas. May God grant him many years!

Assembly of Bishops Releases Study on Young Adults and Ministering to Them

Akron, OH young adult leaders with Bishop ANTHONYAkron, OH young adult leaders with Bishop ANTHONYThe study "Young Adults and Young Adult Ministries in American Orthodox Christian Parishes" has been released by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA. Download the study report here:

Executive Summary (PDF)
Full Report (PDF)

The subject of young Orthodox Church members was a major topic on the agenda of the recent Annual General Assembly Meeting (October 3–5, Garfield, NJ). This report was prepared in order to help the Assembly address our common concern about the engagement of youth and young adults in the lives of American Orthodox parishes. Examples of what the readers will find in the report include:

Which programs and activities are most crucial for attracting young adult church members?

Memory Eternal! + The Very Rev. Emile Hanna

The Very Reverend Father Emile Hanna, 84, fell asleep in the Lord on November 29, 2017. His wife of 55 years Claudette (Bourada), son David (Lisa Seaton), daughter Nadine (Jim Potts), and granddaughters Emily, Madeline, Ella, Grace and Lilly, were with him during his final peaceful moments. He was predeceased by his brothers Fayez, Samir, and George, and sisters Sadie and Yvette.

Father Emile was born in Aitha el Fakhar, Lebanon and immigrated to the United States in 1956. Within the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese, Fr. Emile faithfully served parishes in Louisville, Kentucky; Montreal, Quebec; Ottawa, Ontario; and Orinda, California. He will be remembered by all of his parishioners for his moving, beautiful liturgical voice.

The Trisagion prayers will be served on Monday, December 4, at 7 p.m., and the funeral service will be held on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 501 Moraga Way, Orinda, CA, 94563. He will be laid to rest at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Lafayette. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to the St. John Building Fund.

The Holy Great Martyr Barbara + December 4

Let us honor the holy martyr Barbara, for as a bird she escaped the snares of the enemy, and destroyed them through the help and defense of the Cross.

+Troparion, Tone 8

Singing the praises of the Trinity, you followed God by enduring suffering; you renounced the multitude of idols, O holy martyr Barbara. In your struggles, you were not frightened by the threats of your torturers, but cried out in a loud voice: “I worship the Trinity in one God-head.”

+Kontakion, Tone 4

Read the life of St. Barbara

Memory Eternal! + Khouria Lynn Wilson

Khouria Lynn Wilson, wife of The Very Rev. Wayne Wilson of St. Barnabas Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa, CA, fell asleep in the Lord November 30, 2017. She had bravely fought cancer since March 2017 and has been an inspiration to all who witnessed her battle against this disease.

Khouria Lynn Diane Wilson was born September 21, 1950 in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, where she lived until the age of 8 when her family, Frank, Barbara and sister Vicki moved to Orange County, California.

During her life, both before and during this time of trial, she has been a woman of faith, grace, generosity, hospitality and overall kindness to all.  She is survived by husband, Fr. Wayne, son Peter, daughter-in-law Alexandra, sister Vicki Oswald, sister-in-law Mary Salazar, and the extended family.

The service schedule will be as follows:

Ordo 2018, Western Rite Liturgical Guide, Available for Purchase

Ordo 2018 (the liturgical guide for Western Rite parishes) is now available for purchase through Lulu. There is a 40% discount on all Lulu products (except eBooks) which expires at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30, 2017.

The Ordo contains the rubrics for praying the Benedictine office, the Mass (Divine Liturgy), and the daily lectionary for the English Office according to the use and calendar of the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate.

Use this code when ordering to get the discount: CYBER40.

Order now