Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
March 4, 2009
Beloved Hierarchs and Clergy, Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese, Parish Councils and Faithful of this God-Protected Archdiocese:
Greetings and blessings during this Holy Lenten Season!
There have been some questions raised regarding the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which addressed the status of bishops across the entire See of Antioch. The purpose of this letter is to try to answer these questions so that confusion may be avoided.
The first question deals with whether or not I am supportive of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was taken on February 24, 2009. I am supportive of this decision, for a simple reason. I am convinced that the institutional structure of our Archdiocese here requires it at this time.
Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
To all clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:
We greet you in the spirit of this Great Lent.
Some of our clergy have inquired about hierarchical commemorations in the divine services. In order to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding, we would like to direct your attention to the following:
Metropolitan PHILIP writes:
Esteemed Members of the Board of Trustees of the Archdiocese,
Beloved Clergy and Parish Councils and all Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese,
Greetings and blessings to all of you in the spirit of this Holy and Great Lent.
Enclosed, please find two copies of the Holy Synod decision regarding all bishops within the Holy See of Antioch. This decision was adopted by the Holy Synod of Antioch which was convened at the Patriarchate in Damascus, February 24th, 2009. The Patriarch and the Holy Synod are the highest authority in our Antiochian Church. You will find enclosed the Arabic text and the English translation which is mine. Since this was a special Synod meeting with only one item on the agenda concerning the bishops, the proposed text of this decision was sent to the members of the Holy Synod, who were not present, for their approval.
St. Vladimir’s Seminary alumnus The V. Rev. Dr. Alexander Atty will give three presentations focused on the theme “Good and Faithful Servants” at the annual public Lenten Retreat, to be held Saturday, April 4, 2009 on the seminary campus. Fr. Alexander, who is Rector of St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Church, Louisville, KY, will speak about “The Good and Faithful Pastor,” “The Good and Faithful Parishioner,” and “The Good and Faithful Parish.”
Fr. Alexander was born August 7, 1951 in Johnstown, PA, and holds a BS in engineering from Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. After earning his MDiv at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, he went on to study at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, earning his DMin in 2008.
Ordained a priest on December 9,1979 at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Brooklyn NY, he was elevated to the rank of archpriest in 1988. He has been rector of his current parish since 1980, and has been appointed Proestos of the Diocese of Toledo [Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA)] and Dean of Ohio Valley Deanery. He also is a Trustee of St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA.
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. and registration. Fr. Alexander 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.
The retreat presentations are free of charge, but advance registration is required. There is a $10 charge at the door for brunch (check or cash).
|IOCC will provide 6,000 families in Gaza with food, blankets, and hygiene supplies through a new $750,000 grant from ARD, Inc. through funding by the US government. (photo credit: IOCC Jerusalem/West Bank/Gaza)|
(Gaza City, Gaza) – International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will provide 6,000 families in Gaza (about 42,000 people) with food, blankets, and hygiene supplies with a new $750,000 grant from ARD Inc. through funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). IOCC is targeting the neediest, including those who have been displaced or are living in war-damaged homes, have experienced the death or injury of a family member, or who have a primary bread winner that is unemployed as a result of the conflict.
The deadliest conflict in Gaza in four decades has killed 1,300, wounded 5,300, and displaced more than 26,000. IOCC’s Jerusalem-based staff responded quickly to the crisis, coordinating efforts with local organizations and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem to deliver fortified biscuits and milk to 23,000 children and adults residing in shelters and affected communities throughout Gaza. IOCC also assisted beleaguered hospitals and shelters by providing thousands of quilts and hygiene kits.
|The Board of Directors of OCPM with new director Chaplain Patrick Tutella|
February 10, 2009
Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM), the official prison ministry of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA) announces the appointment by the Board of Directors of its first full-time Executive Director, Chaplain Patrick Tutella. Chaplain Tutella, who has been in prison ministry for thirty years, is a member of the St. Matthew parish (GOA) in Blandon, Pennsylvania. For the past twelve years, he has been the Supervisory Chaplain for the Berks County Prison in Leesport, Pennsylvania.
At a board meeting which took place in Wichita, Kansas February 6 and 7, Chaplain Tutella and the Directors charted a strategic plan for the next twelve months that includes the following key components: 1) development of a training program for parishes that would like to be involved in prison ministry, 2) the expansion of OCPM’s correspondence ministry, and 3) a convocation for Orthodox prison workers and volunteers to be held in the summer of 2009. Also present at the board meeting was His Grace, Bishop Mark of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest of the Antiochian Archdiocese, who provided his spiritual guidance and support.
by Reader Herman Engelhardt and Brian Partridge
|Bp. THOMAS with Metropolitan DANIEL of Japan|
A major challenge confronting Orthodox Christians across the world is the impact of the dominant secular culture on how physicians act and patients are treated. This influence is reflected in the use of abortion and the increasing acceptance of physician-assisted suicide across the world. This secular culture and its bioethics touch the lives of patients, physicians, and nurses everywhere. We no longer live in a normatively Christian context.
To address these issues in Japan, a country that is only one percent Christian, a group of Orthodox Christians led by the Right Rev. Bishop THOMAS spent December 5th-15th of 2009 meeting with Japanese scholars and attending academic meetings concerning issues of bioethics. The group consisted of Father Iulian Anitei from Holy Protection of the Theotokos Romanian Orthodox Mission in Houston, Texas; Reader Herman Engelhardt from St. George Antiochian Church in Houston, Texas and professor at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine; and Brian Partridge from All Saints of America Antiochian Church in Homer, Alaska and director at The Center for the Study of Culture, Ethics and the Environment. All members of the group serve in various capacities on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Christian Bioethics, now entering its fifteenth year of publication. Christian Bioethics is published by Oxford University Press.
Mrs. Daad Saliba-Shalhoub, 54, niece of Metropolitan PHILIP and sister-in-law of Fr. Elias Shalhoub of St. Mary/West Palm Beach, FL, fell asleep in Christ this morning in Beirut, Lebanon. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, December 20th) in the village of Douma.
Our condolences to Metropolitan PHILIP and Fr. Elias. May her memory be eternal!
Fr. Richard Ballew of St. Athanasius Church in Sacramento, California fell asleep in the Lord the morning of Saturday, December 13, 2008. His services will be held at:
St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church
9165 Peets Drive
Elk Grove, CA
Tuesday, December 16th: The Funeral Service for a Priest at 7:00PM
Wednesday, December 17th: Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 8:30AM, followed by Trisagion Service and Burial.
Condolences may be sent to Khouria Sylvia and the Ballew family c/o email@example.com.
May his memory be eternal!
|Left to right: Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Very Rev. Joseph Allen, Mr. Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan PHILIP, Metropolitan JONAH, Bishop ANTOUN, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Very Rev. Ellias Bitar, Very Rev. Michael Ellias.|
On the evening of December 10th, 2008, the newly elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH was hosted for dinner by Metropolitan PHILIP at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey. This was the first visit for His Beatitude since his election as the First Hierarch of the OCA. He was accompanied by the OCA Chancellor, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs.
All of the following people attended the dinner: Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Very Rev. Joseph Allen, Mr. Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan PHILIP, Metropolitan JONAH, Bishop ANTOUN, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Very Rev. Ellias Bitar, Very Rev. Michael Ellias.
The two Metropolitans engaged in lively and serious discussion, and shared many common visions for the future of the Orthodox Church in North America.
It is our prayer that this was only the first of such gatherings to discuss and address issues that are critical to the Orthodox Church on this continent.
From the web site of the Moscow Patriarchate:
His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, 79, died on 5 December 2008.
Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church will take place on December 6 to elect Patriarchal Locum Tenens who will chair the Memorial Commission.
The Holy Synod will announce the time of the funeral of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy.
Metropolitan PHILIP writes to the U.S. Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the U.S.:
Beloved Brother in Christ:
I greet you in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life of all who repose in him.
It is with great sadness that I awoke this morning to the shocking news of the passing into eternal life of His Holiness ALEXY II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The loss of this great man is not only a loss for the Church of Russia, but for the entire Orthodox world. I recall with great fondness the two occasions I had to be in his presence, once on his visit to the United States in the early 1990s when we hosted him at our Archdiocese Chancery and the second when I accepted his kind invitation to visit Russia in 1997. It was during this trip in 1997 that I came to realize the greatness of his leadership and vision for the Church of Russia and the Orthodox world at large. Having met with him at the Danielov Monastery and having served with him in the historic Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin and again at the dedication of the awe-inspiring Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow (that he was instrumental in rebuilding as a symbol of the resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Church after more than 70 years of oppression), I felt assured that the Church would continue to thrive under his leadership.
[ST. VLADIMIR’S SEMINARY / YONKERS, N.Y.] From November 21–22, 2008, members of the Orthodox Inter-Seminary Movement (OISM) met on the campus St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVS) in Yonkers, NY, for their semi-annual meeting. Since the 1960s OSIM has provided a forum for Orthodox Christian seminarians of various jurisdictions to enjoy fellowship and prayer, and to form bonds that will extend into their future ministries. It is run entirely by students from the participating seminaries, with support from each seminary’s respective faculty and administration.
Thirty students—from St. Vladimir’s Seminary; St. Herman's Seminary of Kodiak, AK; Holy Cross Seminary/Hellenic College of Brookline, MA; Holy Trinity Seminary of Jordanville, NY; and St. Tikhon's Seminary of South Canaan, PA— gathered in fellowship on the SVS campus and studied the life of St. John of Kronstadt, which provided the theme for the weekend meeting. The seminarians celebrated an Akathist to the saint in the seminary chapel and attended a related lecture delivered by Hierodeacon Ioaseph of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.
Seeking: World travelers, medievalists, musicians, self-educators, spiritual pilgrims, and adventurers of all varieties for an immersion experience at the crossroads of Europe and Asia: welcome to Caucasus Georgia!
In its fourth season, join an exploration of Georgia's oldest monasteries, founded in the sixth century by Christian ascetics from Syria. Be among the first westerners to rediscover the ancient architecture, frescoes, and acoustics of these remarkable monuments, set amidst rolling vineyards, towering peaks, and the desert vistas of the Caspian basin. Led by chant team Luarsab Togonidze, John A. Graham, and Aurelia Shrenker, this unique tour seeks to investigate the sounds and wonders of medieval Georgia, while presenting the world-famous hospitality and charm of modern Georgia.
Tour Dates: June 25th – July 5th, 2009
For more information, please visit the Georgian Chant web site.
His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East presided over a meeting of the Archdiocese Synod of Bishops on Friday, October 31st, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.
A Statement of the
Orthodox Christian Bishops of California
in support of Proposition 8:
A Constitutional Amendment to Restore the Definition of Marriage
The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history — and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed to exist at those couples’ discretion as “marriages,” but that the state of California is forbidden to refer to these couplings as anything but “marriages.” Orthodox Christianity holds in high regard the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family. The Orthodox Church must and shall remain true to its faith and tradition, and affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, given by God to one another for mutual support, encouragement, love and the ability to bear children.
The decision of the California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, unilaterally redefines the sacred institution of marriage in a manner unprecedented in human history — and alien to our Christian tradition. We, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, were saddened by this decision which constitutes a direct attack upon the longstanding role and freedom of religion in American life. A majority of the justices declared not only that same-sex couplings must be allowed to exist at those couples’ discretion as “marriages,” but that the state of California is forbidden to refer to these couplings as anything but “marriages.”
Orthodox Christianity holds in high regard the God-ordained institution of marriage and the family. The Orthodox Church must and shall remain true to its faith and tradition, and affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, given by God to one another for mutual support, encouragement, love and the ability to bear children.
Antiochian Village Senior Accountant
Company: Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA
Status: Full Time Employee
Education Level: College graduate
Responsible to the Antiochian Village Conference Center Executive Director and the Antiochian Village Camp Director
About the Village: The Antiochian Village Camp and Conference Center was founded in 1978 initially as a camp for young people. The Conference Center was added in 1985 as a full service Conference and Retreat Center that includes 100 hotel-style lodging rooms, a full array of meeting rooms, a chapel, a Library specializing in Orthodox Theology and Middle Eastern Studies, a full-service Dining Hall and so much more. In 2004, the Heritage Museum was added to the Antiochian Village as well.
September 29th, 2008
To: Diocesan Bishops
From: His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP
re: Future Seminarians
Beloved Brothers in Christ,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you are all in good health.
After much discussion and thought, I have decided to extend the period that a person must be Orthodox before being considered to be accepted as an Archdiocesan seminarian from three to five years. This decision was based on many factors including the ever-increasing number of seminarians applying each year to the Antiochian Archdiocese, the reality that the more time they spend in the parish before coming to the seminary, the better seminarians and pastors they will likely be, and the mere fact that we want them to be deeply rooted in the life of the Church and the local parishes before embarking on this journey. This decision is retroactive to August 15th, 2008 as we are already getting requests for next fall and we want to be fair to everyone.
Please communicate this new policy to your respective clergy as soon as possible.
Your Brother in Christ,
BRUSSELS, Belgium – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a major address to the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliament during the formal sitting of the assembly in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. His All Holiness was introduced by Mr. Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament. The Press Release of the European Parliament highlighting His All Holiness’ address is given in full below, as well as a link to the address in its entirety.
"We are all brothers and sisters", Ecumenical Patriarch tells MEPs
Addressing a formal sitting of the House as part of European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, spoke of the value of the European project in promoting peace and tolerance, the importance of accepting minorities and the need for the EU to accept Turkey as a member. He also underlined his church's efforts to encourage respect for the environment.
Introducing the Ecumenical Patriarch, EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering stressed that "The European Union is a community based on values, the most fundamental of which is human dignity. In this respect religious freedom is central to human dignity". He linked this to the separation of church and state, as anchored in the Lisbon Treaty.
Mr Pöttering described the Patriarch as "a beacon to your followers in the Orthodox world" and pointed out that recent EU enlargements had brought in the Orthodox countries of Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. He added "The late Pope John Paul II used the metaphor of Europe breathing again with its two lungs after the downfall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. We could also use this metaphor to refer to the richness in the enlarged EU brought through the different perspectives of Western and Eastern Christianity".
From the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America:
NEW YORK – Archbishop Demetrios of America received yesterday, September 22, 2008, at the Archdiocese headquarters, the Holy and Sacred Relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov, one of the best known Russian Orthodox saints of the 19th century and a popular saint in Greece.
Bishop Mercurius of Zaraisk, the head of the Representation of the Patriarchate of Moscow in the United States presented to Archbishop Demetrios the relics, sent directly from Moscow and by the express wish of Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia.
The bestowal of the Relics came as the culmination of a request from the St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence, Ariz. The Russian Orthodox Patriarchate, observing the canonical order of the Church, transferred the Relics to the Archbishop, who will make provision for the bequest to the Monastery.
Bishop Mercurius and his staff, Fr. Alexander Abramov and Mrs. Yulia McGregor, were received by the Archbishop, Bishop Andonios of Phasiane, and the clergy and staff of the Archdiocese in the Archdiocesan Chapel of the Apostle Paul with a Doxology. In presenting the Relics to the Archbishop, Bishop Mercurius expressed the fervent desire of the Russian Orthodox Church that this bestowal be a token of fraternal love and a cooperative spirit. Archbishop Demetrios received the relics, venerating them and the Icon of St. Seraphim in which they are embedded. After the ceremony, Archbishop Demetrios again expressed his thanks to the Russian Orthodox Church and spoke of his own love for St. Seraphim of Sarov, noting the joy and welcome that the Saint had for all people.
His Eminence John (Yaziji), formerly Titular Bishop of al-Hosn, was enthroned as Metropolitan Archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Paris on September 20th and 21st.
His Beatitude, Patriarch Ignatius IV presided at Saturday's Enthronement and Sunday's Hierarchical Divine Liturgy. Several other bishops from the Antiochian Holy Synod traveled to Paris for the Enthronement including Metropolitans George (Khodr) of Mount Lebanon, Antonios (Chedraoui) of Mexico, Damaskinos (Mansour) of Brazil, Paul (Yaziji) of Aleppo - the brother of Metropolitan John, Basil (Nassour) of Akkar, Saba (Esper) of Hauran, and Silouan (al-Moussi) of Argentina. Also in attendance were Metropolitan Emmanuel of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of France and the other members of the Assembly of the Orthodox Bishops in France (l'AEOF - consisting of hierarchs from the Patriarchates of Constantinople, Antioch, Moscow, Serbia, and Romania), as well as Bishop Athanasios of Limassol from the Orthodox Church of Cyprus.
To view a video of the Enthronement Service, go to:
For English-language coverage of the Enthronement, go to:
For Arabic-language coverage of the Enthronement go to:
Here are some updates from Bishop BASIL on the parishes in the path of Hurricane Ike. From the reports that have come in so far, all clergy and their families are safe, and their homes are mostly unharmed, with only minor damage (at least, as can be determined now). Several priests have not been able to travel to their churches or contact their parishioners, so please continue your prayers for our Orthodox brethren as they clean and rebuild.
September 17th, 2008
To all Pastors and Faithful of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:
Greetings and Blessings in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
As you all know, we will be blessed this Fall with a visit from our Father in Christ His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. His Beatitude will be with us in Boston, Massachusetts during the weekend of Friday, October 31st through Sunday, November 2nd in conjunction with the Fall meeting of the Archidiocese Board of Trustees. His Beatitude will preside over a very special banquet to be held on Saturday, November 1st, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of The University of Balamand and the establishment of a new scholarship fund which will assist needy and worthy students at the university. This scholarship is being established by The Balamand Educational Foundation and they have chosen to name the scholarship "The Metropolitan PHILIP Educational Scholarship Fund" to benefit needy and worthy students.
The University of Balamand, which was founded by His Beatitude, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, in 1998, has always held a special place in his heart. In addition, this Archdiocese has given strong support to this unique institution since its inception. There would be no better way to honor His Beatitude on this visit than for our parishes and missions to make a voluntary donation to this new scholarship fund.
St. George Cathedral in Wichita, KS has recently been featured on local news broadcasts covering the installation four new mosaic icons on its exterior facades. The icons are beautiful reproductions of well known, ancient icons, including images of Christ, the Theotokos, and St. John the Forerunner from the 12th century mosaic from Hagia Sophia, which can be seen here and the 13th century icon of the Great-Martyr George in the Church of St. George Struga on the shore of Lake Ochrid in Macedonia, which can be seen here.
The mosaic icons are done by Bruno Salvatori, a master mosaicist from Florence, Italy. Mr. Salvatori is the same artist who has done the five mosaic icons that adorn the exterior of the Cathedral's eastern apse.
A video on the new mosaics, produced by the local NBC affiliate, can be seen here: www.ksn.com/news/local/28224734.html?video=YHI&t=a (cut and paste link into your browser).
From Fr. John Mefrige of St. Ephraim Church in San Antonio, TX:
The oncoming projections of Hurricane IKE places its path DIRECTLY over San Antonio. Despite being 150 miles from the ocean it is possible that we could experience 100 mile an hour winds should this make landfall as a category 4 or 5. Presently it is predicted to make landfall between Port O'Connor and Corpus Christi as a category 3 on early morning this Saturday. At present there is a 40% chance of Tropical Storm Force winds hitting us. For more information and up to the minute coverage see:
Despite the incoming track of Hurricane Ike, we WILL have Saturday Great Vespers and Sunday morning Services at the usual time. However you are urged to pay close attention to the weather and follow appropriate emergency measures, especially all evacuation orders. Services are only going to be held because Fr. John does not need to drive to the Church as the parish house is next door.
If there are any parishioners that feel that their homes will not be able to weather the storm they are directed to follow official evacuation orders or to PORT SAN ANTONIO where FEMA and Emergency Authorities are holding evaquees. Fr. John Khouriee Janet and the girls will be riding out the storm in the church which is a concrete structure.
From Deacon Elias of St. John the Divine Church in Lake Charles, LA:
The servant of God, Fr. Thomas Moffatt, fell asleep in the Lord at his home in Anchorage, Alaska, early Tuesday morning on September 2nd. He was buried at the Cemetery of St. John Orthodox Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, on Saturday, September 13. Please remember Fr. Thomas in your prayers. Condolences may be sent to Lynn Moffatt & Family, 7151 Beaumont Cir., Anchorage, AK 99502.