News


Dr. Bradley Nassif Prepares to visit Romania

Dr. Bradley Nassif has been invited by the Romanian Orthodox Church visit the country this May to speak to theology students at the University of Cluj.  Dr. Nassif will address the urgent need in the Orthodox world today for an aggressive internal mission of renewal or conversion of our people to faith in Jesus Christ.  His topic will be "The Paschal Mystery in the Life of the Church."  Dr. Nassif will also be conducting a book launch of his chapter "The Evangelical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church" in Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism,  which was recently translated from English to Romanian.  For that event, he will speak about the need for Orthodox-Evangelical dialogue in Romania and the need for unity in confronting the moral decay of contemporary society.   Finally, Dr. Nassif will blog a live question and answer session with evangelicals who want to know more about Orthodox-Evangelical relations in Romania on a leading web site for Romanian evangelicals.

Groundbreaking for St. Luke's New Temple + Lafayette, CO

by Dn. Mark Berge
Photos by Kirk Tatusko and Ron Brotzman

On February 14, 2009, the parish of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Lafayette, Colorado was honored to welcome His Grace Bishop Basil for the service of ground-breaking at the site of our new temple.

Our parish has been blessed with increasing membership since its founding in 1991. The current temple, seating 200, was built in 1995 with a subsequent expansion in 1998. We tried to expand our church again, but this proved impossible given the county's firm rules on development and our lack of sufficient land. With steady growth in new members our beloved Bishop Basil challenged us in October of 2007 to move to a new location and erect a beautiful temple with seating for 400 to 450 people. We were frankly astounded when he went on to predict that such a task could be done in about two years if God blessed it. Our priest Father David Mustian had been encouraging us to pray about our space needs for several years. With the core of a building committee already in place we were eager to try to meet our bishop’s challenge.

Scholarship Offer for Aspiring Presbyter

Bishop BASIL writes:

Mr. George P. Lambros, a member of St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS, is offering a scholarship in the amount of $10,000.00 to one young man who wishes to enter the Orthodox priesthood and who fulfills the requirements which are listed below.  Mr. Lambros writes that the scholarship is being offered "in memory of the late Right Reverend Mitred Archpriest Michael G. H. Gelsinger (who in his later years was tonsured as Schemamonk Theodore), and in gratitude to Their Eminences Metropolitan ANTONY (Bashir) of New York, Metropolitan SAMUEL (David) of Toledo, and Metropolitan EPIPHANIOS (Zayed) of Akkar for the blessings which I have received at their hands." According to Mr. Lambros, the scholarship funds can be used for education in any Orthodox seminary in the United States.

There is no means test, but a candidate must provide:

  1. A letter stating his intention to petition for ordination upon his graduation;
  2. A letter of referral from the bishop of his diocese;
  3. A letter of acceptance to any Orthodox seminary in the United States; and, most importantly,
  4. An essay written by himself on the subject, “The Exclusivity of the Orthodox Religion.” 

The recipient will be chosen whose essay best demonstrates his religious integrity and his devotion to Orthodoxy.  The scholarship funds may be used for any expenses incurred and necessary to the attendance at the seminary and will be disbursed from Mr. Lambros' office upon presentation of the proper invoices. Applications should be submitted to the following address at least one month before the beginning of the 2009 Fall semester: 

George P. Lambros
PO Box 728
Wichita, KS 67201

Metropolitan PHILIP Celebrates Pascha at St. Nicholas Cathedral + Brooklyn, NY

 

Photo by James Demaria
Photo by James Demaria

As has been the custom every year of his episcopacy, we were blessed to have our father in Christ, His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP with us to celebrate the feast of feasts in his cathedral. St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY, the mother church of the archdiocese, was filled to capacity on what was a beautiful spring evening in New York. Following the resurrection 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) as they celebrated the feast. Please enjoy the pictures as we celebrate our Lord's resurrection from the dead.

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!

  

OCMC Opens New Missionary Training Facility

The Completion of the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building

Alex Goodwin (4/13/2009)

St. Augustine, FL - On April 13, 2009 the staff of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center began working in the Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administration Building. The opening of this facility marks a new era in North American Orthodoxy’s mission movement. The building will prove to be a vital resource of the Church as more Orthodox Christians answer their call to share the Faith with people around the world through participation in the ministries of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC).

This is the first permanent facility of an agency of the Standing Conference of the Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA); it will serve as an international missions headquarters for North America’s estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians.

Formal dedication ceremonies will be held on May 21, 2009. Both His Beatitude Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, and His Eminence Demetrios, Archbishop and Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Chairman of SCOBA, together with other hierarchs of SCOBA, will be at the dedication to celebrate this historical moment in Orthodox missions and to lead the gathered faithful in praying for the continuation of this vital work of the Church.

PBS Showcases Orthodox Chant in the Diocese of Charleston

Recently, PBS’ Religion and Ethics Weekly program featured chanting from our own Holy Cross Church in Linthicum, Maryland.

Click here to see the PBS feature.

The segment, taped inside the parish of Fr. Gregory and Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green, beautifully captures the otherworldly essence of Orthodox worship. Church chanter Emily Lowe explains in the clip, “The Orthodox Church is unique in modern times, having a completely sung liturgy. Everything is sung, from beginning to the end.” She also gives a helpful beginner’s explanation of why there are “dissonant…foreign sounds” in Orthodox worship, and she witnesses to the ascetic tradition of the faith when she concludes, “Orthodoxy demands change. It expects change.”

FOCUS North America Launches Orthodox Christian Domestic Social Action Network

image FOCUS North America established to support and build up domestic Orthodox social action ministries.

KANSAS CITY—April 7, 2009—In early 2009, FOCUS North America (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) launched as a network of Orthodox Christian social action ministries that express Christ’s love in North America for those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick or in prison (Matt. 25:35-5). In its first 60 days of operation, FOCUS North America has partnered with dozens of Orthodox agencies and parish initiatives and awarded more than $30,000 in grants.

Metropolitan PHILIP Meets With Metropolitan JONAH of the OCA

On Friday April 10th, 2009, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, hosted His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of The Orthodox Church in America for an important meeting at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, NJ.

OCN Reaches out to Orthodox Christians Around the World During Holy Week

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida—April 9, 2009—The Orthodox Christian Network is announcing a special partnership with Jacob Lee, the president of Icon New Media, during the Paschal season. Jacob will be traveling with his family to the ancient land of Cyprus to experience the holy days of Pascha and Bright Week, and will be posting to a special OCN blog with updates from this special trip on the web site of the Network at www.myocn.net. OCN contributor Jacob Lee will be sending back pictures, audio interviews and video clips, and his wife Calee Lee will be updating with text posts. Jacob Lee explains that "as a convert to the Orthodox Faith I am exited to share my experience of Pascha in an Orthodox Country with Christians around the world." Fr. Chris, the Executive Director of OCN, is also enthused: “We at OCN are excited to use modern technology to share this special journey to an ancient land during the most sacred time of the church year with faithful Orthodox Christians and seekers around the world.” Blog posting will begin on April 10 and continue through the end of Bright Week at cyprus.myocn.net.

OCN is also pleased to announce the beginning of a series of special resource pages for different times of the Church year. We will begin with a special Holy Week Enhancement Resource Page. OCN has posted the best podcasts and study materials from its treasure chest of archives dealing with the spiritual journey through Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha to aid Orthodox Christians in their spiritual journey towards Pascha. Links to live liturgies and services will also be available. This special page can be found at myocn.net. The sacred music of the Orthodox Christian faith will also be featured on OCN's Internet radio stations, the ARK and the RUDDER.

ABC Network to Air Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ

Apr 3, 2009

NEW YORK – The video presentation of “Pascha: The Resurrection of Christ,” a program highlighting Orthodox Christian Pascha, or Easter, will broadcast on ABC affiliates nationwide this month.   The program, produced by Greek Orthodox Telecommunications and sponsored by FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, highlights Holy and Great Week, focusing on the deeply moving and ancient services that recount the Gospel narrative leading to the Death and Resurrection of Christ.  Archbishop Demetrios of America leads a procession of the faithful around the church and outside where, following the reading of the Gospel of the Resurrection, they proclaim the joyous hymn “Christ is Risen!”

ABC Network has released broadcast dates and times, with additional coverage information to come in the coming week.   Below you will find a listing (as of April 3) of  ABC affiliates by state.  Please check the listing for exact date, time and station.  Please contact the Department of Communications if you need assistance.

You may also log on to  www.PaschaABC.goarch.org or www.interfaithbroadcasting.com/onair.aspx?PID=306 for a complete listing.

Metropolitan PHILIP's Reply to the Council of Presbyters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

March 26, 2009

Protopresbyter Paul O'Callaghan and
The Council of Presbyters of the Diocese
of Wichita and Mid-America

Beloved in Christ,

Greetings and Blessings to you during this holy season of The Great Fast!

We have received and reviewed your letter dated March 17th, 2009 in which you pose fifteen questions related to the February 24th, 2009 decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of all bishops across the Holy See of Antioch. We will try our best to answer these questions as follows:

1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?

Answer: Yes. In the Patriarchate there are three bishops, the Bishop of Saydnaya, the Bishop of Qatana, and the Patriarchal Vicar. In addition, the Archdiocese of Akkar had the Bishop of Tartous and the Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn. The Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn was elected as Metropolitan for the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe. The Bishop of Tartous was elected to succeed Metropolitan Paul Bendali in the Archdiocese of Akkar. He refused to have either diocesan or auxiliary bishops in his Archdiocese at this time.

2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?

Answer: The English translation was my best effort. If someone can produce a more accurate translation, this would be most welcome.

3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?

Answer: The intention was to have good order and consistency throughout the Holy See of Antioch by normalizing the status of all bishops.

A Letter from the Council of Presbyters of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

March 17, 2009

Your Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP,

Master, bless.

Our Council of Presbyters met today at St. George Cathedral, Wichita, KS, with deans and elected presbyters, to study the recent decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of diocesan and auxiliary bishops.

With love and reverence, we seek your counsel on the following questions that arose during our deliberations. We assure you of our prayers and respect as our beloved Metropolitan of this Holy and God-Protected Archdiocese, and our love and respect for His Grace, Bishop BASIL. We pray for your continued good health.

We humbly submit the following questions for your consideration.

1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?

2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?

3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?

4. Is the Pittsburgh Constitution binding, since it was duly approved and implemented by the legally binding decision made at special Archdiocesan Convention of July 2004?

5. Since official Archdiocesan documents state that the provisions for self-rule, including those pertaining to the local synod of the Archdiocese, are irrevocable, as witnessed both by the Pittsburgh Constitution and the Patriarchal version of October 15, 2004, how can they be overturned by amendment of the Patriarchal by-laws?

6. Given that the granting of self-rule required that the Patriarchal Constitution be amended to reflect the self-ruled status of the North American Archdiocese, and that this constitution governs its by-laws, not vice versa, how could the Constitution be overturned by amendments of by-laws?

Real Break trip to Constantinople

Read daily progress reports here.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL OCF (Orthodox Christian Fellowship) is pleased to announce another Real Break trip to Constantinople.  Real Break Constantinople serves God and other people while participating in the life of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.  His Grace Bishop SAVAS, the newly appointed Director of Church and Society of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, will lead the group assisted by the Rev. Mark Leondis the National Youth Director for the GOA and Chairman of the Board of Orthodox Christian Fellowship and the Rev. Dr. Christopher T. Metropulos the Executive Director of OCN (The Orthodox Christian Network) and the Pastor of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  The Real Break Trip to Istanbul, Turkey begins on March 14, 2009.

The group consists of 22 participants from five different Orthodox Christian jurisdictions.  The college students from around the country are traveling to Constantinople to receive the blessings of His All Holiness and refurbish a church and a cemetery that has fallen into disrepair.  Fr. Kevin Scherer, Executive Director of OCF commented, "OCF is honored to have the opportunity to assist the Ecumenical Patriarch in his efforts to restore and maintain the parishes of his ancient see.  This Real Break trip in particular provides our students with a transformative perspective into both the past and the present struggles of our Church.  The participants will work hard in a very short span of time."

OCA and Antiochian Archdiocese to Launch Web Site Dedicated to the "Feast of Feasts"

The Orthodox Church in America and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America are teaming up to launch a web site offering articles, photo galleries, and audio files celebrating Holy Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the "Feast of Feasts."

Charles Ajalat to Speak at Summer 2009 Conference

Summer Conference 2009 to focus on the shaping of Orthodoxy in America

OCA Chancellor Archpriest Alexander Garklavs (center) will deliver a public keynote at 7:30 p.m. on June 18th on the campus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, to commence the 2009 Summer Conference, which has as its theme “The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church.” [Photo courtesy of OCA.org]

[Yonkers, NY St. Vladimir’s Seminary] Mr. Charles Ajalat, Chancellor of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (AOCANA), will be a principal speaker at the 2009 summer conference to be held at St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS) June 18–20, 2009 for clergy and laity. The conference has as its overall theme “The Council and the Tomos: Twentieth-century Landmarks towards a Twenty-first-century Church” and will focus on the formation of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and its future. Mr. Ajalat will be discussing the interface of the OCA with the multi-jurisdictional Orthodox Christian communities in the United States and Canada, and the common future of Orthodox Christians in North America.

Conference speakers will focus on two watersheds that have shaped the Orthodox Church in America (OCA): the All-Russian Council (Sobor) of 1917–18 and the Tomos of Autocephaly granted in 1970 by the Russian Orthodox Church to its daughter church, the OCA, then known as the “North American Diocese.” As well, conference speakers will address the significance of the OCA’s presence in North America, and paths and possibilities open to it.

An Important Statement from the Clergy of the Greater Detroit Area

March 6, 2009

We have heard, to our dismay, that our honored hierarchs, including Metropolitan PHILIP, are upset by a statement, which was recently circulated in the Greater Detroit Area, in support of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch, concerning all bishops in the See of Antioch. This letter is to clarify and articulate the true meaning of that statement. We, indeed, have no intention of hurting and/or intimidating any of our hierarchs. We sincerely apologize for any hurt caused unintentionally. As obedient children of the Holy Church, we accept, with humility, this historic decision with much gratitude. We assure our love and respect to all revered hierarchs, and we pray for a smooth transition for our Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese. May the Lord, our God, guide our steps.

V. Rev. Joseph Antypas

V. Rev. George Shalhoub

V. Rev. George Baalbaki

Rev. Ayman Kfouf

Letter from Metropolitan PHILIP Regarding Decision of the Holy Synod

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.

Archpastoral Directive + March 3, 2009

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:

Decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch Regarding All Bishops

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.

Archpriest Alexander Atty to Present Public Lenten Retreat

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).

Register on the St. Vladimir's Seminary web site www.svots.edu or by e-mail: events@svots.edu.

IOCC Expands Assistance to Gaza’s Families

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.

Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry Announces New Director

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.

Bishop THOMAS and Orthodox Scholars Attend Bioethics Conference in Japan

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.

Memory Eternal: Daad Saliba-Shalhoub

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!