His Grace Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Sarah Amelia Richmond-Flora of Bristol, Connecticut, 97, mother of Fr. John Flora of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Wichita, Kansas, reposed today at 12:15PM. May she be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life!
"Let the Children Come Unto Me," a regular podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, is featuring guest homilist Mother Alexandra, the Abbess of the St. Thekla Convent at Antiochian Village. In the podcast, Mother Alexandra speaks to a group of young children about the life and icon of Saint Thekla. Listen to the talk here.
Two recent IOCC press releases explain how the pan-Orthodox organization is reaching out to regions battered by storms and earthquakes, both in the United States and abroad.
April 29, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Following a historic series of storms in the southern United States that claimed the lives of more than 200 people, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been in contact with Orthodox Christian communities and partner organizations in several U.S. States to assess the needs of survivors.
"While some areas of the United States have been unseasonably dry and experiencing widespread fires, there have been reports of more than 750 tornadoes already this year," says IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. "We have been contacting Orthodox hierarchs and parishes, ecumenical partners, and local authorities in communities across the South and Midwest to assess the needs and offer our support."
May 4, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) announced its support for efforts by Christian churches in Japan to provide housing for as many as 1,000 families in the Japanese prefectures hardest hit by the tsunami – Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate.
Working together with Church World Service and in support of the National Christian Council in Japan and the Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief, assistance is being provided to match families with offers of housing made by member churches. The housing service is being administered by the National Christian Council in Japan at its central office in Tokyo and local churches are assisting in matching families who are in need of housing in the affected prefectures.
St. Augustine, FL--Medical personnel are needed to conduct medical clinics and offer health instruction on OCMC Teams in 2011. Especially needed are doctors in Uganda and nurses in Tanzania. Most communities around the world do not have access to basic medical care or instruction, nor do they have the opportunity to visit with a physician or receive regular medical attention.
OCMC health care teams travel to regions where most clinics are set up in church buildings, existing health care facilities, schools or outside in remote locations that often do not have access to electricity. Stacy Loejos, a nurse on the health care team to Uganda in 2010, which treated over 3800 patients, reported how the team learned and applied “field medicine”: “Though overwhelmed at times, our team became a well oiled machine, learning from each day and applying it to the next, as the unending line s of people explained their many ailments to us.” She explains, “I was using my God given talents to help those in need, and that however small, we would somehow change their lives for the better.”
Participating on a health care outreach team, you will help treat various common illnesses found in other parts of the world - malaria, parasites and other tropical diseases. Medical personnel participate in an outreach of the local Church to heal the sick, care for the poor and needy and offer a living witness of Christ as our Lord and Savior.
"Christ is Risen!" "Indeed He is Risen!" This joyous refrain could be heard in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn New York, in the early morning hours of April 24. After a long and cold winter in the Northeast this year, the dark and short days of the season gave way to the day that knows no night and the celebration of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. Once again, our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip, returned home to celebrate the Feast of Feasts and the season of seasons in his cathedral, the mother church of the North American Archdiocese. The Cathedral was filled to capacity on the beautiful New York evening.
Following the Paschal services His Eminence joined the Cathedral dean, Archpriest Thomas Zain and all the faithful in breaking the fast in the church hall and cracking eggs with many of the children and adults in celebration of the Feast.
Video of portions of the service is also available, provided by Fr. Thomas. Click here to view the Pascha video on YouTube.
And he said to them, 'Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He said to you.' St. Mark 16:6-7
To the Reverend Priests, the Deacons in Christ, the monastics, and all the pious and Christ-loving Orthodox faithful in our beloved nation,
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is risen!
On this radiant and sublime feast the sorrow of the disciples of our Lord was turned to astonishment and joy. Those whose world had seemingly come to an horrific end, found that their world had, in fact, begun anew and with splendor. The great enemies of the human race: death, sin, the devil and his twisted cohorts, lay collectively defeated, mauled and ruined in the tomb. Hades laments at its loss. No more was sin to tyrannize us. No more was the uncertainty of death to hang around our necks like a mighty millstone bending the human race down to the ground.
It has been become a tradition and a blessing that Metropolitan Philip celebrates Palm Sunday with the parish of St. George, Little Falls, NJ. This year, like the others in recent memory, the rainy April skies cleared for beautiful Sunday, perfect for a procession with palms. Celebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with His Eminence was host pastor The Very Reverend Elias Bitar and Deacon Michael Ibrahim, along with Archdeacon Hans El Hayek and Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary. As always on Palm Sunday, the St. George Church was packed to capacity, with an overflow crowd of an additional 250 viewing the Liturgy from the Church Hall via a large video screen.
Following the Gospel reading, Saidna addressed the congregation briefly then invited Fr. John Behr to deliver the homily for the day. Following the Eucharist, His Eminence and the gathered clergy led a procession of 500+ parishioners around the church, ending with the reading of the Gospel while the young children of St. George sat at the altar steps. Finally, Saidna gave the blessing and expressed his fondness for our parish, Christine Lynch and the St. George Choir, and thanked all those who chanted, served and participated in this Feast Day.
Director Fr. Joseph Allen announces, "The Antiochian House of Studies Residency for St. Stephen’s and Doctor of Ministry students is August 28th through September 9th this year. Doctor of Ministry students will attend both weeks. St. Stephen’s students will attend one week, either Week 1 or Week 2. Overseas International students in the St. Stephen’s program have the option of attending both weeks in the same year."
Camp Nazareth in Mercer, Pennsylvania is hosting an Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) endorsed Spring College Student Retreat from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22, 2011. There will be guest speakers, group workshops, evening social events, food, fun and plenty of opportunity for faith enrichment. The keynote addresses are being given by Rev. Jonathan Cholcher, Acting Rector of St. John the Baptist OCA Church in Warren, Ohio. In addition to the keynotes, a variety of priests and college students will be presenting and leading discussions on how we “overcome the world” in the areas of relationships, school, politics, the workplace, and in marriage and family. You do not want to miss out on this retreat. It promises to be a very rewarding event. Come to the retreat, meet other Orthodox college students, form lasting friendships, have some fun, and deepen your faith.
Join us on at our Spring College Retreat Facebook Event Page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192735107423500
To download the Registration forms visit: www.campnazareth.org or www.acrod.org/news/releases/spring-college-conference.
From Byztex: CBS TV’s 60 Minutes will air a 40-minute segment on the Holy Mountain of Athos in Greece on Sunday, April 24, 2011 (Pascha Sunday). It will include scenes of worship and daily life, as well as interviews with the abbots of several of the Mountain’s twenty monasteries.
The Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest invite women to their sixth annual retreat Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, 2011 at Dormition of the Mother of God Orthodox Monastery, located at 3389 Rives Eaton Road in Rives Junction, Michigan. On Saturday, Kh. Maggie Hock will present the retreat program on the Holy Myrrhbearing Women. She will talk about who the Myrrhbearing Women are, what they did in the early Church and how we can be “Myrrhbearing Women” today. Kh. Maggie is North American Director of the Antiochian Department of Marriage and Parish Family Ministries.
For more information, including schedule and registration form, please download the retreat flyer (PDF).
An important alert for prospective Antiochian Village Campers:
"Camp is filling up. If you haven't registered for Summer Camp and our Sacred Arts Camps don't wait because it may be too late (see this chart for space availability). Take a minute to check out the AV Video above. Watch it now! Then register for camp. Keep in mind that it is very important that you read the directions on our Registration page. Please note that a registration is not complete unless you complete a $100 deposit and you receive a confirmation email stating that your child is registered for camp."
April 11, 2011
Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) is the official collegiate campus ministry program under The North American Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. Our mission is to support fellowships on college campuses, whose members experience and witness to the Orthodox Christian Church through community life, prayer, service to others and study of the Faith. OCF provides a connection for Orthodox students on college campus to stay connected to Christ and His Church.
OCF is now launching a search to hire a full-time Executive Director responsible for all aspects of the OCF ministry. This person should have proven experience managing a decentralized, national, not-for-profit organization. The position requires ability to raise funds through annual campaigns, grants and donor solicitations; implement program initiatives; report to and staff a diverse Board of Directors; create and use financial tools; manage staff and communicate effectively across a variety of stakeholder groups. Moreover, the Executive Director must be passionate about the mission of OCF, have a solid theological understanding of the Orthodox Church and be comfortable working with and representing Orthodox College students from around the country.
Qualified applicants should have a master’s degree and at least seven years of relevant experience.
Fr. Theodore Ziton, formerly of St. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas (1963-66) and retired from St. George Church in Canton, Ohio, fell asleep in Christ this past Friday, April 8th. He is the father of Fr. Stephen Ziton, formerly of St. Mary Church in Wichita. Fr. Theodore was preceded in death by Khouriya Vivian. The schedule of divine services for Fr. Theodore (all to be held at St. George Church in Canton, OH) is as follows: Thursday, April 14th - special funeral service for a priest at 7:15PM; Friday, April 15th - usual funeral service at 10:30AM followed by graveside prayers, interment and the meal of mercy.
May his memory be eternal!
Pastor Emeritus of St. George Antiochian Church passes away at age of 81
The St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio mourns the loss of their longtime pastor, The Very Rev. Fr. Theodore Ziton, who served the parish from 1975 to 1996. He passed away this past Friday, April 8, 2011.
Fr. “Ted” was born in Toledo’s north end neighborhood on August 7, 1929, the second of three boys, to Julia (Sabback) and Elias K Ziton. After high school graduation with honors, he attended the University of Toledo then transferred to Columbia University in New York when he was accepted into St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He attended both institutions simultaneously, and in June ‘54 he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Science and a Master’s in Divinity.
From Arizona Orthodox: "The Jesus Prayer: A Pan Orthodox Lenten Seminar with guest speaker Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green, will take place this April 9, sponsored by the Arizona Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Kh. Frederica is a wide‐ ranging author, whose work has appeared in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. She writes regularly for the multi‐faith web magazine Beliefnet.com, and movie reviews for National Review Online and Christianity Today Movies.
She has published 9 books, including Facing East: A Pilgrim’s Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy (HarperCollins, 1997) and The Illumined Heart: The Ancient Christian Path of Transformation (Paraclete, 2001). In the past, her commentaries have been heard on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition."
The Mission Statement of the Antiochian Village states: “The mission of the Antiochian Village is to present to young people a living experience of the Holy Orthodox Faith, in their relationship with God and other campers in an uncluttered, natural environment.”
For those of you who were blessed to have known Fr. John Namie, of blessed memory, you can’t help but remember him as that “living experience.” If you didn’t know Fr. John personally, but you are a “Villager” undoubtedly your Village experience was rooted in the lessons of love of God & each other that Fr. John’s leadership taught and exemplified.
At its inception, His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip saw the Village as “a new spiritual dimension to our lives.” Certainly this is true! From our time together at the Village, we have been blessed with a more personal experience of God’s love through unforgettable memories & lifelong friendships and also with indelible life lessons.
Fr. John imparted to us all, through his own actions, valuable tools to aid us in our quest to live the Christian life. We learned about unconditional love, sense of community and how our actions impact others. We learned the value of humility and to be well aware of the dangers of vain glory.
April 7, 2011
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Nearly a month after the fourth largest earthquake ever recorded struck the eastern coast of Japan and touched off a devastating tsunami, earthquakes continue to rattle the nerves of survivors and complicate relief efforts. More than thirty earthquakes measuring 6.0 and above on the Richter scale have been experienced in eastern Japan as efforts to assist survivors and rebuild continue.
Over the past three weeks the staff of the Sendai Diocese of the Orthodox Church in Japan have been working to assess the needs of survivors, account for the Orthodox faithful and survey the condition of Church properties along the coastal areas impacted by the disasters.
Six Orthodox faithful were lost in the disasters, four are still missing and one church was totally destroyed by the tsunami and fire, reported Fr. Clement Kodama, Secretary to Bishop Seraphim of the Sendai Diocese.
The Orthodox Church of Japan will convene a meeting of its bishops on April 12 in Tokyo to hear reports on the current needs in the disaster area and plan for the continued response and reconstruction efforts.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has extended offers of assistance to the Orthodox Church in Japan to provide essential aid, as needed, and will support efforts to provide assistance as the disaster response moves into the recovery phase.
While immediate relief supplies have been provided to shelters serving survivors of the disasters, access to the disaster-affected areas is restricted and travel and communication remains difficult due to the road conditions, rationing of gasoline, rolling blackouts and intermittent telephone service.
The annual Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Convocation will be held at the Sheraton Centre Downtown Toronto June 28 - July 2, 2011.
This year's Convocation will gather Orthodox clergy and laity from around the world who are currently involved in prison ministry or are looking to begin outreach to prisoners. These convocations allow clergy and laypeople to exchange ministry ideas, gather for fellowship, and attend presentations on prison ministry.
Scholarships are available on OCPM's website.
OCPM is the official prison ministry of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Antiochian priest Fr. Stephen Powley, experienced prison chaplain and Assistant Director of OCPM, regularly shares his thoughts regarding prison ministry and the spiritual life in his OCPM blog, An UpWord Glance.
In March, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology hosted a conference for graduate students from the United States and abroad. Scholars from Boston College, Notre Dame University, Fordham, Baylor, the Oxford university system and other notable schools, converged on the Boston campus of Holy Cross from March 10 to 12 for presentations during the Annual Archbishop Iakovos Graduate Student Conference in Patristics. Explains the Pappas Patristic Institute website, "The Spring conference is an opportunity for graduate students to present their own work, dialogue, and meet their colleagues in the field." This year more than 70 students met over the course of the three days, hailing from over 30 different colleges, universities and institutes.
Notes the Holy Cross news page, "Dr. Bruce Beck, Director of the Institute, was very pleased with the turnout and the proceedings of the latest conference. Each summer the Institute sponsors a week long program of intensive study, offfering courses in various patristic studies. This summer the program will run from July 18 through July 23. Another conference is held each fall that is thematic in nature. This year's theme is 'Family and Children in the Patristic Period.' The conference will be held at Holy Cross from October 13 to October 15."
A groundbreaking medical conference, "Health Care in a Secular Culture: The Conscience of Physicians & Nurses at Risk," will be held during Bright Week, April 29-30. An ecumenical effort co-sponsored by Houston Baptist University, Pope John Paul II Forum, University of St. Thomas, Orthodox Clergy Association of Southeast Texas, and Touchstone Magazine, the series of meetings will feature Orthodox medical ethicist Dr H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr.
"What determines the scope of 'health care rationing'?" asks Antiochian priest Fr. Joseph Huneycutt. "These and a host of other issues fall under the scope of Bioethics. Given the current challenge -- and the challenge of the future -- all of us should be concerned and involved. What are the issues? What is at stake? What (or WHO) determines our stance?"
Held at Houston Baptist University, the conference general registration is $50, clergy registration is $30, and student registration is $30. Registration includes admission to a day-and-a-half conference of panels, breakouts, and discussions, including three plenary addresses. Go here for more information and to register.
Reports the OCA's Diocese of the South website, "Dr. Jeffrey and Caryn Macdonald have been accepted as Missionary Candidates by the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, to serve the Orthodox Church in Albania. Dr. Macdonald will be assisting the Holy Resurrection Seminary outside of Durres as a long-term missionary.
Christianity, and indeed all religious life, was outlawed in Albania under communist rule. With the end of communism in 1992, the Church has begun to rebuild both Church buildings and the Christian community. To help to rebuild Church life and provide teachers of the Gospel, the Holy Resurrection Seminary in Durres was established to train local Albanian clergy and Church workers.
Dr. Macdonald previously taught Church History and Old Testament at St. Herman’s Seminary in Kodiak, Alaska, helping to prepare Native Alaskans for service in their local Church. Dr. Macdonald studied at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary, following an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies and Archaeology. He later completed a Ph.D. in Early Christian Studies.
The Macdonalds and their five children live in Texas and attend an Antiochian parish, St. John the Forerunner Orthodox Church in Cedar Park. They are now raising support for their future work in Albania."
Biographical information available here.
The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America released a photo gallery this week of the March 13 Sunday of Orthodoxy observances held from New Jersey to California, and points in between. Additionally, at the start of the week, the Assembly website announced that "with the addition of the parish communities of the Patriarchate of Georgia resident in the United States, the Directory of Parishes used by the Assembly of Bishops now includes all of the parishes of the twelve jurisdictions which participate in the Assembly." Browsers can now access the comprehensive directory here.
Also on Monday March 21, the Assembly announced the release of an OCN interview with Fr. Mark Arey, the Executive Secretary to the Chairman of the Assembly. Listen to Fr. Mark's interview about the Assembly's work and progress.
Fr. Thomas Zain, Dean of St. Nicholas Antiochian Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY, writes:
"The following is a decision taken by the Ecumenical Patriarchate regarding Vassula Ryden and her organization 'True Life in God (TLIG).' As she has spoken in various cities around the North America (and all over the world) over the years and may have adversely influenced either some of our clergy or laity, we want it to be known that the Archdiocese endorses the following decision taken by the Church regarding her heretical teachings as well as the teachings of those who follow her. None of our clergy or laity should be involved with Vassula Ryden or her organization 'True Life in God.'"
The Orthodox Church, following strictly the shining example and teaching of the Holy Apostles, the teaching of the Fathers of the Church who have their succession, and the divinely-inspired decisions of the Ecumenical Synods, safeguards as a pearl of great price the faith of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which the Christian plenitude experiences through their participation in the Sacraments and entire spiritual life of the divinely-founded ecclesiastical body.
Hence, whatever movement and improvised tension, personal or collective, in contempt or in breach of the dogmas of the Orthodox Christian faith and life in Christ within the Church as the only path for the salvation of our souls, all the more the self-proclaimed “supposedly charismatic” personality, is rejected always as an unacceptable innovation.
As we near the mid-point of this year's Great Lent, the faithful may wish to remember that the giving of alms to those in need is an important part of our Lenten practice. To that end, please remember the Food for Hungry People program. Through your generosity and prayers, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been distributed to the hungry and poor in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. All of the funds collected have been used to meet the needs of hungry people.
Updated brochures, bulletin inserts, fundraising ideas and the 2011 Food for Hungry People Lenten Calendar are available at the Food for Hungry People web page. Please take a look and remember the poor!
“When you see a poor person, remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ by which He declared that it is He, Himself who is fed. For though that which appears be not Christ, yet in that person’s form, it is Christ Himself who receives and begs.”
-St. John Chrysostom, “Homilies on Mathew” #78.
Teen SOYO of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest proudly announces the launch of its newly designed Website: www.midwestSOYO.org.