December 8, 2010
Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $26.4 million to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for a program in Lebanon that will improve student achievement, expand after-school programs, provide training for public school teachers and upgrade educational facilities in 600 Lebanese public schools over the next four years. The program is part of a $75 million initiative that will be implemented in 1,400 schools in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education and five other agencies, including the Education Development Center which is managing the entire initiative for USAID.
"For nearly a decade, children have been an important focus of IOCC's efforts in Lebanon in collaboration with the Orthodox Church and the Lebanese Government," said His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Primate of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. "This award validates the efforts we have steadfastly supported and ensures that the essential work of improving conditions for children and others that IOCC has undertaken in the Middle East with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch through its institutions, including the University of Balamand, will continue."
During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Lebanese children were some of the worst affected. Nearly one-third of all civilian deaths and injuries were suffered by children and over half a million children were forced to flee their homes. The conflict also damaged more than 300 schools. IOCC's presence in Lebanon not only led to an immediate humanitarian response for those impacted by the violence, but also led to subsequent IOCC activities in rebuilding damaged schools.
Fr. Josiah Trenham, priest at St. Andrew Orthodox Church of Riverside, California, recently launched a website "dedicated to sharing the sweet teachings and timeless traditions of the early Christian writers." States the site' introduction, "Patristic Nectar Publications is a non-profit California business created to advance the cause of the Orthodox Christian faith by the publication of materials for catechesis designed both for the edification of Orthodox believers and the illumination of a wide array of non-Orthodox inquirers. Our publications are marked by zealous fidelity to the mind of the Orthodox Church as expressed in the writings of the Holy Fathers and produces a wide range of patristic audio books in order to bring the wealth of Sacred Tradition to a generation attuned to listening rather than reading."
At Patristic Nectar Publications, browsers can listen to audio presentations of timely topics such as "An Address on Vainglory and the Proper Upbringing of Children" by St. John Chrysostom, and "The Soul After Death," by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco. The site also hosts sacred music selections, Fr. Josiah's Arena blog, the Arena podcasts, and information about St. Andrew parish.
On December 4, an article in the esteemed Los Angeles Times featured St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, see of His Grace Bishop Joseph. The piece, titled "At 60, a church blends Arabic, English and Spanish," described the Cathedral's outreach into the community of Latino families that live in the parish's neighborhood, and the adaptive liturgical schedule that includes an 8 a.m. Spanish liturgy, followed by the 10 a.m. Arabic and English liturgy.
"We are in this neighborhood, we want to do outreach to our neighbors," Father Michel Najim, Cathedral Dean, explained to the Times reporter. "When you live in a community that has a cultural background, [we] need to open up to other cultures and other denominations."
The article describes how at the Cathedral's Mediterranean festival in June, tacos are sold alongside the traditional Middle Eastern foods of falafel, shawarma and kebabs. About 1,500 families are members at St. Nicholas.
St. Stylianos Books was founded by Lily Parascheva Rowe to publish books she has written with illustrator Roland J Ford. Both attend Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum MD. In looking for children's books for her children, Rowe found that there wasn't much Bible story material available in English to give her children something to return to again and again--without the need for parental revisions or additions in order to make the Bible story books truly Orthodox.
Astounded by the overall lack of material in English for Orthodox children, Lily started writing books which combine elements from iconography and the hymnography of the Church, while interweaving these things with the Traditional narrative of the Church. "The main difference a reader will notice between these books and typical Bible story books is the completion of the narrative," she explains.
St. Vladimir's Seminary's website has announced that the Seminary will be presenting a premiere performance of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's moving St. Matthew Passion choral work, which blends the Church's liturgical texts with St. Matthew's Gospel story.
Reports the site, "On Monday, February 7, 2011, St. Vladimir’s Seminary will present the U.S. English-language premiere of the piece at 7:30 p.m. at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, 405 West 59th Street, New York City.
Maestro Carlo Ponti, Jr. will conduct the performance, with The Salomé Chamber Orchestra, famed soloists soprano Mary Mackenzie, mezzo-soprano Ana Mihanovic, and tenor Timothy Parsons, and the New York Virtuoso Singers led by Harold Rosenbaum, under his baton. As a prelude to the season of Great Lent, the composition will convey the Gospel account—using scriptural texts interspersed with texts of the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church that are normally sung during Holy Week—in the forms of music recitative, choruses, fugues, and arias.
The composer, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations and an episcopal member of Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, will also be present at the premiere. His musical expertise and reputation are renowned; he studied composition at Moscow Gnessins School of Music and subsequently at the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1987 he was ordained priest, and since 2002 he has been a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church."
Go here for the full story and ticket information.
During the Holiday season, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, a ministry of SCOBA, has encouraged all Orthodox faithful to remember those who are behind bars, with our love, prayers, visits, and gifts. Go here to donate to OCPM.
The Psalms have been called the “Hymn Book of the Church” and contain rich and prophetic references to Christ. In this new Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Let My Prayer Arise," Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, priest at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois, will be taking listeners through the Psalter to help them make the Psalms the prayer of their hearts. "The Lord's Prayer is the flower and the fruit, of the roots, stalk and stem of the Psalms," says Fr. Ellsworth. "When we pray, we are not alone," he adds. The Psalms, he explains, have three important aspects. First, they are a historical connection to the prayers of God's people. Secondly, the Psalms are Christological--Jesus Himself pointed out that the Psalms spoke of Himself. "They are nothing less than the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He would have been immersed in these prayers from infancy." Third, the Psalms are liturgical. "In this podcast, we will often reflect on where and how these Psalms are used in the Orthodox liturgy," promises Fr. Wilbur.
"I encourage you to listen with the Psalm text before you. Begin to read, and then, to memorize."
Orthodox Christian Fellowship reminds college students that registration for the 2010 College Conference is open HERE. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of “Behold, I make all things new,” (Rev. 21:5) and is being held in four locations, Chicago, IL area, Salem, SC, Bolivar, PA, and Dunlap, CA.
Hundreds of college students from throughout North America gather each year at College Conference in order to learn and grow with one another in their Orthodox Christian faith. With student organizers and participants coming from all jurisdictions, the event is an exemplary display of pan-Orthodox coordination and unity. During the Conference students participate in workshops facilitated by clergy and lay leaders which address topics relevant to college-aged students. As well, shared witness and Christian fellowship are woven into the time together making the event a truly edifying and transformative experience. Speakers include a scientist and professor Dr. Gayle Woloschak (Pennsylvania), Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA (Chicago), Archimandrite Meletios Webber (California) and Father John Parker (South Carolina).
A limited number of scholarships are available and offered on a first come-first served basis. For more information and to register online please visit OCF's website.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has announced that their newest resource, the Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guide Brochure Series, is now available for free download. Each brochure offers teens the information they need to navigate through tough issues, some facts and statistics, the church's response, Q&A's, and resources for more information. The one-page handouts can be used for starting discussions, youth group gatherings, Sunday School, or even the church bookstore.
Starting in January, a podcast on OCN will supplement these materials. "Our kids today need a sacred image: our adults need to take a role," notes Fr. Christopher Metropulos, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Network. "It's tough being a parent, one of the most difficult jobs in the world," echoes Fr. Mark Leondis, Director of Youth Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Both priests will be hosting the podcast, which will target parents, youth workers, and all those who love teens. The podcast will mirror the online Survival Guide material for youth and help parents use the guide to discuss issues kids are faced with on a daily basis.
St. Augustine, FL – In 2010, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sent 119 people on short-term mission teams around the world to offer a living witness to the Orthodox Christian faith through loving service and fellowship. Orthodox Mission Team opportunities are now available for 2011, and by the prayers of the Faithful in North America, OCMC hopes that even more people will answer the call to share in a journey of faith by spending one to three weeks abroad teaching the faith, providing healthcare, participating in outreach, ministering to youth, or helping to build and maintain churches.
Please contact Andrew Lekos or Pres. Renee Ritsi by phone at 1-877-GO-FORTH (463-6784) or by e-mail at email@example.com for more information. Visit the website here for additional details about, or to apply for, 2011 OCMC Orthodox Mission Teams.
The University of Maryland's (Baltimore County) Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and the campus' Secular Student Alliance, co-hosted a formal debate on November 16. Titled "The Source of Human Morality," the discussion pitted well-known atheist Matt Dillahunty against the Antiochian priest and American Orthodox Institute President, the Rev. Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse. About 450 people attended the lively exchange, which is posted for viewing on YouTube in nine installments.
This month, in keeping with the theme of our new release, Letters to Saint Lydia, our Conciliar Media newsletter Messenger is focusing on saints and icons. We have an interview with Melinda Johnson, the author of Letters to Saint Lydia; a feature about Paul Hibberd, who mounts icons for Conciliar Press; an icon-related announcement from AFR; a look at some children’s books that focus on saints and icons; and an excerpt from Fr. Patrick Reardon’s book on the saints of the Bible, Christ in His Saints.
Burr Ridge, Illinois – A Prayer Service marking National Sanctity of Life Day will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at the Sts. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Burr Ridge, Illinois. Believing that all human life is sacred, the worship service will include prayers addressing issues such as capital punishment, euthanasia and abortion, and will emphasize forgiveness and the tragedy of 50 million abortions since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. The Service will be sponsored by the Orthodox Christian Clergy Association of Greater Chicago, on behalf of the 80 Orthodox Christian Churches in the Greater Chicago area.
In as much as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. (Matt. 25: 40)
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
As we anticipate celebrating God’s greatest gift to mankind in the Nativity of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we greet you once again, and pray that you continue to receive the gifts of His love and His peace.
Christmas is that time of year when we are especially reminded to share our blessings with others in the form of gifts. It becomes an increased blessing when the privilege of giving is extended to provide partial education scholarships to needy children in Lebanon and Palestine.
Because of your generosity in past years through the “Christmas Appeal” of the Children’s Relief Fund, we have been able to increase the number of sponsored children from 206 in 2003 to 333 in 2009. Currently, CRF is sponsoring 343 children in Lebanon and 40 in Palestine.
The necessity to continue our work is now more challenging as more and more children are in need of ﬁnancial assistance (we have some 90 applications of children waiting to be sponsored).
For those of you who are already sponsoring a child, we offer you our most profound thanks and gratitude, and we ask for your continued support. We encourage all the faithful in the Archdiocese to support our cause.
New sponsors are encouraged to open a window of concern by sponsoring an individual needy child at a minimum of $300 annually or making a donation to the general fund. Please print out the application HERE and mail it.
Each year hundreds of thousands of college students in North America travel during their spring break for oftentimes, empty experiences. Since 2001, Orthodox Christian Fellowship has offered their annual Real Break trips as Spring Break alternatives that provide life-transforming and spiritually uplifting opportunities to do "something real" during this time. Since its inception, over one thousand college students have had the opportunity to spend their time away from school helping others and growing in their Orthodox Christian faith.
Click here for registration and information.
St. Herman Middle School Retreat
For Students in grades 5-8
Antiochian Village Conference & Retreat Center
December 10-12, 2010
“Walking In The Footsteps of St. Herman”
Retreat Leader: “Uncle Paul” Finley
Questions? Call Barli Ross in Orthodox Programs
724-238-3677x425 or send an email
Carol and Paul Swydan of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts visited the Antiochian Village this past weekend, bringing with them two wooden trays of Arabic lead type, and framed pages from a 1935 issue of the weekly newspaper “Al-Hurriat/The Liberty,” which was published in both English and Arabic by Paul’s grandfather, Shokri Swydan, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The title of the featured newspaper article reads, “The History of the Church of Antioch – Chapter 3.” (See photo.)
This summer, Patricia and Stephan Rudawski of Pflugerville, Texas organized a donation for the museum - a treasure trove of items from the Nahas family heritage, such as books, vestments, photographs and liturgical items which belonged to Patricia’s grandfather, V. Rev. Nicholas A. Nahas. The donation includes a beautiful framed Epitaphios, its edges hand-embroidered by his wife, Kh. Anna Nahas circa 1940.
Corgette and John Troutman of Newcastle, Pennsylvania recently brought to the museum items that belonged to Corgette’s father, Albert Joseph, of Newcastle, PA, including two sets of elegant Middle Eastern clothing which had been presented to Mr. Joseph by the King of Saudi Arabia, and a small travelling case full of sample Arabic records which he would bring to church picnics so that people could listen to the music, and order their favorite records from him (before the days of the digital download!).
Josephine Katzbach ("Josie"), a parishioner at St. Matthew Orthodox Church in North Royalton, Ohio, has returned from Haiti, where she successfully delivered 2200 flip flops for those in need.
An experience in Haiti was the source for Josie’s idea. Months ago while she worked there in a clinic building project, several aid workers had to escort an ill woman from a clinic in town back up the mountain. Struck by her lack of material possessions, Josie literally gave the woman the clothes off her back, with the exception of her ﬂip-flops, the only shoes that would fit Josie's swollen feet. So when she and her friend returned to Chicago, inspiration struck and Josie said, “Hey, I have an idea. Let’s do ‘ﬂip-ﬂops for Haiti.’”
Josie is no stranger to helping others. She takes food and water to the homeless in Cleveland twice a month with parishioners from St. Matthew’s or St. George of Cleveland. A “life-changing experience”– that’s how Josie describes her first trip to Haiti. Although the city’s poverty and devastation are great, the poverty is even more extreme in the mountains. “They are the poorest of the poor,” says Katzbach. The earthquake did not have as much of an effect on them; instead, poverty is a way of life.
On October 26, 2010, St. Matthew's held a fund raiser: "Flip Flops For Haiti All You Can Eat Italian Dinner." All proceeds went to benefit shipping and the distribution of flip flops. Josie's husband Mark and her sister Antonette chaired the affair, and the people of St. Matthew came forward and ate and gave, enabling Josephine to return to Haiti with several thousand shoes. Josie was able to distribute several hundred, while a Catholic priest and nun offered to deliver the remaining shoes to those in need.
St. Anthony Orthodox Church in Bergenfeld, New Jersey is hosting its second annual wine-tasting on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 7:30PM. Stew Leonard's Wines of Paramus will provide a variety of wine and beer perfect for the holiday season. Appetizers and desserts for the holidays will be paired with Stew Leonard's selections. The charity event is open to the public, and will be held in the church's fellowship hall at 385 Ivy Lane in Bergenfield, NJ. Tickets are $25.00 for tasters and $20.00 for designated drivers and Seniors over 65 years old, or $30.00/$25.00 if ordered after November 13 and at the door.
The evening will begin with the celebration of the Blessing of the Five Loaves or Artoclasia, an ancient prayer and sharing of a traditional and delicious sweet bread, olive oil and wine.
Proceeds will benefit the philanthropic work of the parish and the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities).
The IOCC is the humanitarian aid agency of American Orthodox Christians. Established in 1992, it administers aid according to principles of Orthodox compassion and justice. It continues to work in Mississippi and Louisiana, building homes for people affected by Hurricane Katrina with Habitat for Humanity. It is mobilizing aid for Asia Pacific peoples suffering from typhoon and earthquake disasters. It is helping Uganda’s orphans recover from civil war and has been a key player in the aid of Haitian earthquake victims.
Tickets are available at Stew Leonard's Wines, 396 Route 17 North, Paramus, NJ 07653, (201) 649-0882 or by calling St. Anthony's at (201) 568-8840 & Press 7. You can also visit www.StAnthonysorthodox.org.
November 8, 2010
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is working with Philanthropy, the charitable fund of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and local organizations to assess the needs following a moderate 5.3 earthquake that struck central Serbia on November 3 claiming at least two lives and injuring more than fifty people.
The temblor was centered near the city of Kraljevo where it destroyed or damaged buildings and left parts of the city without utility services, according to Interior Ministry of Serbia. The area is 30 miles from institutions where IOCC is implementing projects to assist disabled children and adults. There have been no reports of damage to the facilities, although the residents were shaken by the tremor.
"As we know from the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year, beyond the damage to buildings, loss of life and the immediate physical needs, the psychological effects of the earthquake can be deeply felt," observed Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC executive director. "We pray for the families who have been directly impacted by the quake and those who have been traumatized by this disaster."
IOCC and Philanthropy are long-time partners in Serbia and will coordinate their response to the affected areas. The agencies anticipate providing emergency assistance through the provision of food items and are assessing the need for construction materials to repair damaged homes as colder winter weather sets in.
IOCC and Philanthropy are members of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.
Antiochian House of Studies Announces Certificate Program for Pastoral Marriage and Family Counseling
Certificate Program for Pastoral Marriage and Family Counseling
Application due date: January 1, 2011
- For men and women serving in parish ministry with at least three years of experience as clergy, chaplains, Christian Education Staff who have completed a M.Div. or diploma though the St. Stephen’s or like program.
- For Orthodox and non-Orthodox Clergy and staff who desire to be more competent in counseling individuals, couples and families.
- Program will take 2 years and the first session is projected to begin in May of 2011 Classes will meet for two weeks in August, (September) and two weeks in May at the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Class size limited to 15 students.
Year one - Spring Session
The Foundations of Marriage and Family Ministry
Christian Anthropology and Human Development in the Family Life Cycle
Pastoral Care and Professional Ethics
Pastoral Counseling: Skills and Models
Year two - Spring Session
Pastoral Marital Counseling: Skills and Models
Pastoral Family Counseling
Marriage and Family Counseling Practicum
The purpose of this program is to educate parish clergy and others in the process of pastoral counseling. It is not for the purpose of state licensure and course work may not be transferable to masters programs at colleges or universities.
Course work: $2,400 ($300 per course)
October 30, 2010
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) signed an agreement with International Orthodox Chrisitan Charities (IOCC) to extend assistance to Iraqi refugees living in Syria. The $4.5 million award from PRM, implemented with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, will provide food assistance, educational support and vocational training for Iraqi refugees and Syrians in communities hosting large numbers of refugees.
IOCC Regional Director, George Antoun, anticipates that the project will provide direct assistance to more than 56,000 people over the next two years.
"The future for many Iraqi refugees remains uncertain," explained Antoun. "Although conditions in Iraq have improved, the situation remains fluid and many refugees are reluctant to return in the absence of stability and security as well as access to clean water, sanitation, electricity and other basic necessities. Others fear for their lives and the lives of their children who cannot safely walk to school."
The program will assist vulnerable Iraqi refugees and underserved Syrians residing in and around Damascus, as well as in Aleppo and Jazirat.
Many Syrians have suffered under the economic burden of inflation which followed the massive influx of Iraqi refugees beginning in 2003. IOCC's program seeks to alleviate part of the hardship by providing vulnerable families with assistance similar to that being offered to the refugees.
WASHINGTON, DC (OCA) - His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, was among some two dozen US religious leaders who met with President Barack Obama here on Monday, November 1, 2010 “to speak for the millions of Americans struggling to find jobs, make their next rent or mortgage payment, and put food on the table,” according to a press release issued by the National Council of Churches [NCC].
Also attending the meeting were His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag S. Barsamian of the Armenian Church of America.
While the leaders of both the National Council of Churches and Church World Service, the global humanitarian agency, thanked President Obama for passage of health reform legislation and for his robust engagement with the faith community, they also pressed him “to take a strong stance on behalf of families facing poverty and hunger."
According to Metropolitan Jonah, poverty, education, the Middle East Peace Process, and unemployment were among the other issues discussed at the 45 minute meeting, which took place in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
“The President warmly received the group of religious leaders, who represent about 45 to 50 million Americans,” Metropolitan Jonah said. “The leaders who spoke thanked the President for his leadership in these various issues and pledged to work together with him in the future to further these goals for the betterment of the human condition.”
From Byztex Blogspot:
SOUTH CANAAN, PA (OCA) - Archpriest Alexander Atty was formally installed as Dean and Chief Operating Officer of Saint Tikhon's Seminary here on Saturday, October 30, 2010.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah and His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, the seminary's Rector, concelebrated the formal installation Service of Thanksgiving at Saint Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Father Alexander is the first priest of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese to hold the position, with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip.
In presenting the Dean's pectoral cross to Father Alexander, Metropolitan Jonah expressed his personal joy, not only because of Father Alexander's 30 years of hard work and successful parish ministry, but because of the vision of a united Orthodox Church in North America he possesses.
Prior to his appointment as Dean, Father Alexander served as pastor of one of the nation's largest pan-Orthodox parishes, Saint Michael the Archangel Antiochian Orthodox Church, Louisville, KY. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Philadelphia, a Master of Divinity from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
At the banquet that followed, the hierarchs offered greetings, as did members of the Saint Tikhon's Board of Trustees. Offering greetings on behalf of the faculty and student body of Saint Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY, was Archpriest John Behr, Dean.
Father Alexander, who officially assumed duties on July 1, 2010, is joined at the seminary by his wife, Khouria Olga, and their two children, Katherine and Alexander.
From the Conciliar Media Messenger: We are delighted to introduce to you the newest member of our Conciliar Press community: our customer service manager, Nancy Colakovic. Nancy comes to us from Narrow Path Bookstore in Lansing, Illinois, where she served for 15 years. She has a deep love for God and the Orthodox faith, a broad familiarity with Orthodox literature, a passion for customer service, and a long-standing affection for Conciliar Press.
Nancy says, “It was a mere 15 years ago that Conciliar Press helped to spark the beginnings of a small church bookstore of which God allowed me to be a part; I will never forget the help and support which I received at that time and throughout the ensuing years from the gracious staff of Conciliar Press. By His providence, the Lord has opened a new door for me and the opportunity to grow, I pray, from those learning experiences—to be there for you when you call Conciliar Press with your inquiries. I thank God and all those who have made it possible for me to join the Conciliar Press team; and I pray for His guidance and strength as we, our entire team, strive to serve all of you and meet or exceed your expectations for the glory of God.”