Nearly everyone had arrived at Antiochian Village by Friday Feb. 5 for Antiochian Women’s mid-winter meetings before the fourth largest snowstorm ever in western Pennsylvania began.
The North American Board (NAB), made up of five elected officers, immediate past president and six coordinators, met Friday afternoon. They began meetings with officers and delegates of the seven diocesan Antiochian Women’s organizations on Friday evening, which continued on Saturday after Soul Saturday Divine Liturgy.
Prior to the first meeting Mother Alexandra, abbess of the Convent of St. Thekla that established at the Village in July, led a mini-retreat for the women. Most everyone, including monastics, deal with temptations and distractions in their spiritual lives, Mother Alexandra said. She talked with the women about the things that distract us, including church-related ones. “We need to stay focused."
His Grace Bishop THOMAS spoke to the women about preparations for Great Lent and for the Kingdom of God. “You have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the presence of God." He later added that “you bring great joy to this place."
Please pray for His Grace Bishop ANTOUN of the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, who is resting following successful surgery on Thursday, February 11, in Florida.
TEMPE, AZ --- On February 4-5th, 2010, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), in partnership with a very generous grant from The Order of St. Ignatius, gathered a group of Board members and priests, from across five different SCOBA jurisdictions, to form the first-ever OCF Regional Chaplaincy Network. In order to meet the pastoral needs of the 270 local OCF chapters throughout the United States and Canada, OCF has broken the country into nine different regions. A Regional Chaplain and a Student Regional Representative will represent each of these regions. Together these roles will assist with the development of new and existing OCF chapters.
“Identifying a group of talented and committed spiritual leaders to help build this network is a critical step in helping OCF create a spiritual safety net for our students as they leave home for college,” remarked Fr. James Coles, the OCF North American Chaplain.
Besides the organizational administration of this new network, the group discussed ideas and plans for Chaplain training and resources. Fr. Kevin Scherer, the OCF Executive Director said, “It’s our hope that this new network will not only help grow new OCF chapters, but resource those that are struggling to develop and stay connected to other Orthodox students across the country.”
Fr. Jack Norman Sparks--Author, Project Director for the Orthodox Study Bible, mentor to many, Founder and Dean of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, father, grandfather and great grandfather--fell asleep in the Lord in Eagle River, Alaska, on February 8, at 7:30 a.m. Fr. Jack reposed on the twenty third anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate.
Fr. Marc Dunaway, Pastor of St. John Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, writes:
"It is with sadness and prayers for his family that I relay to you the news that the servant of God, the Archpriest Jack Sparks, fell asleep in the Lord early this morning. He was 81 years old. Fr. Jack did much research in the 1970's and 80's that helped the journey of the Evangelical Orthodox into the Antiochian Archdiocese. After this he was the principle overseer for the Orthodox Study Bible, which was just recently published with the Old Testament. Fr. Jack has lived in Alaska for the last five years and has several of his children here. Fr. John Downing, Kh. Betsy and I joined Kh. Esther Sparks and her family and prayed the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy for the Departed around him. We have truly lost a good soldier in the Church today."
In an Ancient Faith Radio reflection, Fr. Peter Gillquist remembers Fr. Jack as one who lived a full, rich life of service to the Church and to his family.
There will be an official visit to South Florida by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP on the weekend of February 12th -14th, 2010 at St. Philip Orthodox Church. Metropolitan PHILIP will be accompanied by His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop of Miami and Assistant to the Metropolitan. His Eminence will preside over a weekend of activities celebrating:
- The official Ground Breaking of the new Germack Hall which is named after the late Mr. and Mrs. John and Hooda Germack, who left $1,000,000 to St. Philip Church for the construction of the new Hall.
- The launch of the St. Philip Antiochian Orthodox Church Home for Children Program. This program was spearheaded by Mr. Richard Zakka, Chairman of the Ground Breaking Committee.
On Friday night, February 12th 2010, His Eminence will preside over a private meeting with the Pastor, Parish Council, and Building Committee members of St. Philip Orthodox Church at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Waterway. The dinner is hosted by Salim Khoury, Chairman of the Parish Council, and his wife Deborah.
On Saturday, February 13th, 2010, His Eminence will preside over a luncheon with the parish children at St. Philip Orthodox Church, 4870 Griffin Road, Davie, FL 33314, while the Parishioners and guests from around the country will enjoy a Golf Tournament, sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. David and Terri Dorta, at the Bonaventure Country Club. David Dorta is the Chairman of the Building Committee and his wife, Terri, is the Choir Director at St. Philip Orthodox Church.
The 50th Bienniel Archdiocesan Convention will be held in Chicago, IL from July 24th-31st, 2011. The Convention will be hosted by Fr. Nicholas Dahdal and the good people of St. George Church in Cicero, IL. For more information or to reserve hotel rooms on-line, please visit www.archdioceseconvention2011.org.
February 14, 2010
Sunday of Cheesefare and Mission Sunday
"The harvest is truly plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38)
To the Most Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and
The Devout Faithful of the Holy Orthodox Churches in the Americas
Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
We greet you in the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Lenten fast that precedes the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha is upon us. Like the dawn of a new day, the beginning of this 40-day journey provides opportunities for us to recommit ourselves and our whole lives to Christ our God. The Sunday before Great Lent, February 14th, 2010, is Mission Sunday as designated by the hierarchs of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). Over the past two millennia, the work of making disciples has been a focal ministry of saints, and billions of people have accepted life in Christ. Today, sixty-six percent of the world's population is still non-Christian; thus missionary service remains a core ministry of the Church and a collective movement of the faithful.
Over the past 15 years, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), as the official missions agency of SCOBA, has provided the faithful of North America with opportunities to answer their call to make disciples of all nations. Over 70 people who serve as OCMC Ambassadors are taking this call to parishes across the country, and the mission ministries of our Orthodox Churches that are outside of America are growing as a result.
Fishers, IN – January 15, 2010
In response to the growing concerns that Orthodox students are leaving their family roots in the Church, Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has produced a gripping, high definition documentary film and launched a complimentary webpage.
“We decided that we had to do the film after reading that only 7% of incoming freshmen could identify a Christian organization on campus before arriving,” said Executive Director, Fr. Kevin Scherer. “They’ve prepared themselves academically for that transition, but there’s been little or no preparation spiritually.”
This just released DVD captures the honest and unedited interviews of eight different students and their transition from high school to college. Their stories cover everything from leaving home and friends to the temptations and pressures of modern college life. “We made this film to start a dialogue. We want parents, priests and students to use this DVD to talk about what’s likely to happen emotionally and spiritually during four of the most important years of a person’s life,” said Fr. Kevin.
This year’s annual public Lenten retreat at St. Vladimir’s Seminary will be “Southern Style” as the Seminary welcomes Fr. Joseph Huneycutt, author of the popular blog Orthodixie. Fr. Joseph’s topic for this year’s retreat, to be held Saturday, March 20, 2010, is “Paschal Fire from Spiritual Ashes.”
Known for combining wit with wisdom, and satire with sobriety, Fr. Joseph has authored several books reflecting his journey to and through the Orthodox Christian faith, including: We Came, We Saw, We Converted: The Lighter Side of Orthodoxy in America; Defeating Sin: Overcoming Our Passions and Changing Forever; and One Flew Over the Onion Dome: American Orthodox Converts, Retreads, and Reverts. He appears regularly on Ancient Faith Radio and is a priest at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Houston, Texas.
Describing his approach to spreading the gospel, Fr. Joseph said, “I find English works best; it’s also good to make the message sinner-friendly and open to all. Seriously, without encouragement toward perpetual conversion in Christ the Living God, our message is the same as any other: dead.”
The public retreat begins with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 9 a.m. in Three Hierarchs Chapel, and will be followed by brunch at 11 a.m. Fr. Joseph will present his talks from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building. A prayer service at 4:30 p.m. will close the retreat.
“Let my prayers rise up as incense and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” Psalm 142
Fishers, IN – February 2, 2010
Each year, college students across North America join together in offering their prayers for Orthodox Christian Fellowship’s Day of Prayer held on Clean Monday.
On February 15, 2010, OCF chapters will take part in 24 hours of unceasing prayer. Each school will take a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters and their fellow students.
Contact your local OCF chapter if you would like them to include your name on their prayer list. If you would like to sign-up your chapter, please contact Kelli Phillips, OCF Program Director at email@example.com or visit www.ocf.net.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Through a generous gift of the Francis Maria Foundation for Justice and Peace, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America will once again grant several scholarships in the amount of $2,500 to students attending an accredited College.
Scholarships will be granted each July. Completed 2010 Francis Maria Scholarship Application and all supporting documentation must be postmarked by May 15, 2010.
NAC Teen SOYO is currently accepting teen applicants as Special Olympic Coaches for this summer’s NAC SOYO Special Olympics Sports Camp. Applications must be completed and mailed by April 1, 2010.
Please mail completed application by April 1, 2010 to:
V. Rev. Anthony G. Yazge
201 St. Ignatius Trail
Bolivar, PA 15923
Phone: (724) 238-9565 FAX: (724) 238-6415 Email: FrYazge@antiochian.org
NEW YORK, NY [OCA] -- With the blessing of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the head of Saint John Chrysostom, which is enshrined in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, will be available for veneration in New York February 6-12, 2010.
The relic will arrive at the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, 75 East 93 Street, New York, during the celebration of the Vigil at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 6. Following the Vigil, it will be available for veneration by the faithful. The following morning, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m.
On Monday, February 8, the Vigil for the Feast of Saint John Chrysostom will be celebrated at 6:30 p.m., while the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy the following morning will begin at 8:30 a.m.
The Vigil will be celebrated on Wednesday, February 10, at 6:30 p.m.. The following morning, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, ROCOR First Hierarch, will preside at the Divine Liturgy at 8:30 a.m., after which the relic will be taken to Saint Nicholas Representation Cathedral, 15 East 97 Street, New York, where it will remain until the departure of the Moscow delegation on Friday, February 12.
The head of Saint John Chrysostom was brought to Russia from the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos in the 17th century. It was enshrined in the Moscow Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral until 1922. From 1930 until 1988, the reliquary with the shrine belonged to the Foundation for Guarding of Russian Silver of the 19th century.
Several reliquaries, including the one bearing the saint's head, were returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in the State Armoury Chamber on the eve of celebration of the 1000-year anniversary of the Baptism of Rus' on May 26, 1988.
A cold November rain could dampen the ground, but it could not dampen the mood. On Sunday, November 1st, 2009, the families and children of All Saints Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC, joined His Grace, Bishop +ANTOUN, in breaking ground on a new temple and education building.
The Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, groundbreaking, and reception capped off a weekend full of events.
After arriving in Raleigh Friday night, His Grace enjoyed dinner with the members of the Parish Council and their spouses. After dinner, Sayedna related a recent parish visit in which he burned that parish’s mortgage papers. He encouraged the Council to work diligently and faithfully toward the day when he could do the same for All Saints’ new building.
Saturday brought brilliant sunshine and mild temperatures, a perfect day for the parish’s children to gather and meet with His Grace. The day’s events began with a children’s luncheon with Sayedna. After lunch, the children got the chance to ask him questions about their faith and his role as their bishop. Sayedna also shared his excitement for the building project, telling them he hoped that many of them would eventually get married in the new temple. He also invited the children to bring their shovels to help break ground for the building. Later that evening, Sayedna presided over Great Vespers, followed by a dinner in the parish hall.
Unfortunately, the weather turned on Sunday, bringing clouds and a cold, steady rain. However, the dramatic change in the weather did not stop the morning’s special activities.
His Grace Bishop BASIL of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America recently returned from a journey to Syria. His Grace's travels included visits to many holy sites in in Aleppo and Antioch (in Turkey), as well as visits with Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, Metropolitan SABA of the Archdiocese of Bosra-Hauran, monastics, college students and others. Sayedna has kindly provided us with numerous photos from his trip: click here to visit the gallery!
Antiochian.org has upgraded our parish directory with a Google-powered map that includes each community in our Archdiocese. Click here to see it in action. As always, you can still also find a parish listings by state and by diocese. Our team also recommends the pan-Orthodox directory that SCOBA maintains here.
Your feedback is welcome. Please also remember to let us know if there are any corrections needed to the information we have for your church. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Contemplation of Noble Ideas
Friday and Saturday:
February 5-6, 2010
Saint Michael Orthodox Church, Louisville, Kentucky
Classical Education • Poetry • Orthodoxy and Postmodernism • Patristic Thought • Logic and Rhetoric • Motherhood • Health and Medicine • St. John Climacus • The Great Books • Theology and Spirituality
$15 per day/$20 for both days.
Discount available for students and families.
Includes coffee and bagels (AM) and lunch on Saturday.
Speakers include Antiochian author Molly Sabourin and Ancient Faith Radio operations manager and podcaster Bobby Maddex, as well as many others. For more information, detailed schedule, or to register, please visit www.climacusconference.org.
With the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan JOHN, Archbishop of Western and Central Europe, the Antiochian Orthodox Parish of St. Ignatius, Belfast is pleased to host An Orthodox Pilgrimage to Ireland on May 11–21, 2010. The price of the pilgrimage is £960 per person, based on double occupancy. A single supplement is 35% additional. The price includes all hotels, all breakfasts, most dinners, all transportation within Ireland (deluxe coach, ferry rides, etc.), with a few exceptions. Please visit the Web site www.pilgrimageireland.com for a color brochure. A registration form is available on the web site. Deadline for reservations is Feb. 9, 2010. For more information, please e-mail Athanasius & Nektaria Blalock at email@example.com.
The Dept. of Internet Ministry has added a calendar to Antiochian.org. Click here to visit. The calendar currently includes daily Scripture readings for all of 2010; major Feasts and Fasts; the feast days of selected saints; and events across the Archdiocese. We will continue to expand this resource over time. So if you would like to see an event added to the calendar, or have any other recommendations, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Orthodox Christians planning to travel, EGERIAexchange.com now matches people for free home and hospitality exchanges, both in the U.S. and Canada, as well as overseas. After joining the group for a low, flat fee, members may either exchange their homes with a fellow member for an agreed period of time, chose a place to stay with a host family for free without swapping homes, or pay a reasonable Bed and Breakfast fee to their Orthodox B & B host. Matushka Jenny Hainsworth of EGERIA Orthodox Home and Hospitality Exchange, says: "We let people work out the details, but the nice thing is that now, whenever Orthodox Christians travel, they can have friends wherever they go!"
For instance, a home in Ballydehob, Ireland, offers visitors use of a small cottage, music lessons, three acres for strolling, and a private chapel for praying. Other countries intrigue the EGERIA web browser: Germany, Kenya, India, Greece, and Serbia.
Bobby Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio recently interviewed Matushka Jenny, EGERIA's co-founder and proprietor, about the new venture--listen here.
The Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Sacred Music is sponsoring its 24th annual Sacred Music Institute, to be held at the beautiful La Casa de Maria retreat center in Santa Barbara, California. Beginning on Thursday, January 28 and concluding on Sunday, January 31, the retreat will feature choir directors and instructors Vladimir Morosan, Maureena Boosamra, Fr. John Finley, Kevin Lawrence, Paul Jabara and Chris Farha. The topics covered will be numerous and varied and among other things, workshop participants can expect to: learn about the use of the ison, discover new settings for The Cherubic Hymn, and be given training tips they can use with musicians in their own parishes.
For more information and registration forms, go to: http://www.antiochian.org/music.
January 14, 2010
IOCC URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Relief for the Beleaguered People of Haiti
For the people of Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country, life was difficult enough before the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.
Since news of the earthquake came to light, IOCC staff have been contacting partners active in Haiti and attempting to reach Orthodox parishes on the island to coordinate our response to the growing need. Like many Haitians who have been struggling to reach their loved ones, IOCC is finding direct communication difficult – symptomatic of the widespread destruction and ruined infrastructure that is now beginning to be revealed.
Given the magnitude of the quake and the poverty that already existed before the disaster, IOCC has mobilized its disaster response team and is preparing to respond to the tremendous needs in close coordination with our Orthodox and ecumenical partners. Listen to Ancient Faith Radio's interview with IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou here.
Please help the people of Haiti!
- Make an online gift to assist the victims of disasters around the world, like the Haiti Earthquake, by giving to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, at www.iocc.org.
- Assemble hygiene kits and emergency clean-up buckets to be shipped to places like Haiti – or wherever disasters strike. For information on hygiene kits, go to www.iocc.org/kits.
- Pray for the people of Haiti and those who have lost loved ones in this disaster and for the safety of those who are working to assist them. See: http://www.iocc.org/prayers/
The love that Christ's disciples show for others has served as a living witness to the faith, inspiring countless numbers of people to come into the Body of Christ. For over 20 years, the Agape Canister Program of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC), through its support of philanthropic ministries such as orphanages, feeding programs, and healthcare programs, has helped the Church to meet the needs of children, families, and communities in a loving witness to the Orthodox faith in mission countries. The OCMC is excited to announce the ministries that will be receiving support from the Agape Canister Program in 2010.
This year, Agape funds will assist 10 projects in 7 countries: a Youth Camp and the Fellowship of Love Soup Kitchen in Albania; the Protection of the Theotokos Family Center, the St. Dimitrie Program, and a Youth Camp in Romania; the St. Thomas House Orphanage in Indonesia; a feeding ministry in Kenya; Youth Day Camps in Kosovo; medical supplies in Uganda; and a Youth Camp in Guatemala. All of these projects will be administered by OCMC missionaries, mission priests, and mission teams during 2010 with the blessing, and under the guidance, of each country's respective hierarch.
from the OCA web site:
MINNEAPOLIS, MN [OCA] -- Resa Ellison, choir director at Saint Mary Cathedral here, fell asleep in the Lord on the afternoon of Sunday, January 3, 2010 after a two month illness.
The daughter of the Rev. James and Linda Ellison of Saint Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, Urbana, IL, Resa was admitted to Unity Hospital, Fridley, MN, on Sunday, November 8 after being diagnosed with H1N1 and an aggressive form of pneumonia. By November 18, as reported in a request for prayers on the web site of the Orthodox Church in America, her condition had become grave. Breathing with the assistance of a ventilator, she remained in an induced coma. In late December, she was transferred to the University of Minnesota Hospital, Minneapolis.
Resa was a graduate of Saint Vladimir's Seminary, Crestwood, NY. She directed the cathedral choir for three years.
Additional information will be posted as it becomes available. A family blog -- www.caringbridge.org/visit/resaellison/journal -- features links through which notes of support to her parents and family and memorial donations may be made.
May the Lord Jesus Christ, our Life and Resurrection, grant her eternal rest, and may her memory be eternal.
The Very Reverend George N. Khouli, 56, passed away Friday, January 1 in Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was married to Kh. Nadia (Hanna) Khouli. Born in Zwaitini, Syria, he was a son of Nicholas and Halloun (Nehme) Khouli. Rev. Khouli was an Antiochian Orthodox priest, serving at St. George Orthodox Church in Upper Darby, PA and also assisted with services at St. George Orthodox Church, Allentown. Survivors: Wife; daughters Naila and her family of Dallas, TX, Norfen and her family of Philadelphia, Nibal, Helen and son Nick all of Allentown; brothers Walid, Michael, Tony, Gus and Raymon; sisters Georgette Salloum and Romanda Shammas; grandchildren Angela and Christopher (Nailas) and Marcus and Maria (Norfens). Services: Divine Liturgy, Tuesday, January 5 beginning at 10 a.m. followed by a funeral service in St. George Orthodox Church, 1011 Catasauqua Ave., Allentown, Pennsylvania. Calling hours, Monday, January 4, 7-9 p.m. with funeral service at 7 p.m., in the church. The Khouli family is being served by the Nicos C. Elias Funeral Home, Allentown. Contributions: The family requests donations to the church in lieu of flowers.