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Many Years to His Grace Bishop Nicholas!

Apolytikion of St. Nicholas, Tone 4

The truth of things revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, a model of meekness, and a teacher of temperance. Therefore thou hast won the heights by humility, riches by poverty. Holy Father Nicholas, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

December 6th is the celebration of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker and the name's day of His Grace Bishop Nicholas. May God grant him many years!

His Grace will be concelebrating the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Saturday, December 6, 2014, at the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Brooklyn, along with His Eminence, Metropolitan Niphon, Antiochian Patriarchal Representative to the Church of Russia.

In January, 2015, His Grace will be the guest speaker for St. Vladimir's Seminary's 32nd Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, to be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on January 30, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Bishop Nicholas will be speaking on "The Life and Ministry of St. Raphael of Brooklyn." In 2015 the Archdiocese will be marking the 100th anniversary of the beloved saint's repose with a year-long series of events commemorating the milestone.

Antiochian Priests Offer Teaching, Encouragement to Uganda's Church

Fr. John ChagnonFr. John ChagnonFr. George DahdouhFr. George DahdouhThis reflection was written by Fr. John Chagnon of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN, about a missions trip in which he and Fr. George Dahdouh of St. George Orthodox Church in Houston, TX travelled to Africa to minister to the Ugandan Orthodox Church. The article was originally published on November 25, 2014, in the Orthodox Christian Mission Center News.

Uganda is an Oregon-sized country in East Africa, 20 hours away by air and nine time zones ahead of us, and yet, by Faith we are family. Since just after World War II, canonical Orthodoxy has been part of the life of Uganda, spread not by missionaries but rather by Ugandans themselves who sought out and found the apostolic Christian Faith they were seeking, a Faith they chose rather than accept the faiths of the colonial powers that ruled them until the early 1960's.

The Ugandan Orthodox Church is led by His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah, himself the son of the leader of those who discovered Orthodoxy and brought it to Uganda. It is a young church, vital, and working in a culture where old and new are intertwined and some traditional brick houses have solar panels to make sure the cell phones are charged every night.

Ecumenical Patriarch Hosts Pope Francis for Feast of St. Andrew

On November 29 and 30, 2014, His All-Holiness Bartholomew welcomed His Holiness Pope Francis to the Ecumenical Patriarchate during the Pope's three-day visit to Turkey.  Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had extended the invitation to the Pope during His Holiness’ inaugural Mass in March 2013.

This visit followed a tradition established by Pope Francis’ predecessors, Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the Thronal Feast of St. Andrew, the first-called of the Apostles and founder of the Church of Constantinople.

In a joint declaration signed by the Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew after the Divine Liturgy commemorating the Feast, the two noted that "Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes." They continued, "It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests. And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many."

View the website for the visit

Enthronement Media Alert: Friday, Dec. 5 Interview Availability

Patriarch John X of Antioch, Syria, and Metropolitan Joseph will be available for brief personal interviews Friday Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. NO OTHER INTERVIEWS WILL BE GRANTED BEFORE OR AFTER ENTHRONEMENT EVENTS. If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact John Righetti at information below.

If you would like to attend the enthronement service , you MUST have a press pass from the Antiochian Archdiocese. Again, contact John Righetti to secure a pass. NO MEDIA WILL BE ADMITTED TO THE ENTHRONEMENT WITHOUT A PASS.

Winter 2014-15 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Winter 2014-15 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Toledo & the Midwest! The issue contains:

  • Trusting in the Lord, by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • The Beauty of the Church: Its Place and Purpose, by His Grace Bishop Anthony
  • Do We Need the Church? by V. Rev. Daniel Daly, Spiritual Advisor
  • Who Will Mind Our Children, by Sheryl Vander Wagen, Diocesan President
  • Introducing The 2013 - 2015 Board of Antiochian Women of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest
  • The Diocese of Toledo & the Midwest Parish Life Conference in Pictures
  • Happenings Around The Diocese Of Toledo and the Midwest

...and more! Download (PDF) here.

Bishop Thomas Pays Pastoral Visit to St. Tikhon's Seminary

His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, paid a special visit to the community at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary (STOTS) on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. His Grace has been a long-time supporter of St. Tikhon's, and came to meet with the students as well as to meet with STOTS Dean The Very Rev. Dr. Steven Voytovich.

His Grace toured the Seminary and Monastery grounds, and spoke to students during the lunch hour. "I always enjoy coming to St. Tikhon's because every time I visit I see people who are filled with joy," he commented. He also reminded those assembled of the importance of remaining joyful, and asked that they bring that same virtue out into the world as they minister to others for Christ.

(Sourced from—view the original story and more photographs.

Online Liturgical Guide Adds December Texts

The Liturgical Texts for the month of December, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

This month, Orthodox Christians find themselves in the midst of the forty-day Fast in preparation of the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. Fr. Alexander Schmemann of blessed memory called this time of year the "Winter Pascha" because, as Fr. Thomas Hopko puts it, "He was worshipped by wise men that the whole of creation might adore Him in His triumph over death."

Service Texts for American Thanksgiving Posted on the Online Liturgical Guide

In anticipation of many parishes offering divine services on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, the Online Liturgical Guide now features Daily Vespers and Divine Liturgy Variables for the American holiday.

2015 Liturgical Calendar

Warm Christmas Greetings and Best Wishes from our home to you and your beloved parishioners. May the joy and peace of this Holy Season shine in your hearts now and throughout the New Year!

+Metropolitan Joseph
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Christ is in our Midst!

As has been the practice each year around this time, we are distributing the attached Sunday Liturgical Calendar for 2015 with a greeting from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph.

This calendar will be posted on but we will not be sending a paper copy through regular mail in order to save some time and money.

This calendar conforms in every respect to the one which was recently sent to us from the offices of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Any discrepancy that may exist in other calendars occurred because they were published before the Patriarchal calendar was made available to us.

Spotlight: New Media Information Section on

In preparation for the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and the related events planned for December 6–8, 2014, a new Media Information page to aid members of the press is accessible on Resources include basic descriptions and links for the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and the ancient Church of Antioch. Official portraits are available for Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph, as well as biographical information and links to further information about Orthodox Christianity and Christians in the Middle East.

The Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph will be held at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York.  Dignitaries from around the world will be present, include hierarchs, clergy, diplomats, and many faithful. The event will be blessed with the presence of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, who will preside over the weekend.

Enthronement Banquet: Sold Out

Update, 11-26-14: With close to 800 people coming, the Gala Banquet for the enthronement is now sold out! Please do not send in checks for any more tickets or try to purchase online. If there is an emergency situation, please contact Fr. Thomas Zain at We thank you for your strong support of this event.

Renovations in Preparation for Enthronement

Renovations are underway at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY in preparation for the Enthronement of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. The Enthronement and related events will take place during the weekend of December 5 through 7, 2014, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York. The actual enthronement will take place in conjunction with a Prayer of Thanksgiving on Saturday, December 6. We will be greatly blessed by the presence of His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, who will preside during this weekend.

OCABS Press Releases New Commentary on Galatians

Torah to the Gentiles, by Fr. Marc Boulos, is the latest release by the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies (OCABS), a center established to educate, inspire and challenge the faithful to recognize the centrality of sound biblical interpretation for life in Christ. The letter to the Galatians, notes the author, offers a brief but demanding exposition of the teaching of the Older Testament for a Gentile audience. 

Highlighting the Bible's struggle against idolatry, power, and human identity, St. Paul's letter exposes Jerusalem's fatal misreading of biblical circumcision: a practice given to remove social barriers had been co-opted to build the same. By imposing their religious identity and practices on the gentiles, the Pillars of Jerusalem had betrayed the Torah, offering things that pass away as though they were eternal. Worse, they had done so at the expense of the weaker brother. Having been liberated by God from the worship of Caesar, why would the Galatians now turn to another human master?

Father Marc Boulos is pastor of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, in Eagan, Minnesota. He and Dr. Richard Benton co-host The Bible as Literature Podcast, a weekly discussion of the biblical narrative and its implications for everyday life. He is also co-founder of the Ephesus School, a biblical studies program for children and adults that emphasizes the Bible's self-sufficiency for teaching in lieu of modern theories of religious education. 

Order the book

IOCC Sunday: "A Day of Sharing" is November 23

Every year, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America designates the Sunday before the celebration of Thanksgiving Day as a "Day of Sharing" to benefit the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly, the IOCC is supported by generous donations from Orthodox Christians. Information about IOCC Sunday, including the Assembly of Bishops encyclical, Sunday bulletin inserts, a donation portal, and links for volunteering with the IOCC, are available on the IOCC Sunday landing page. 

The IOCC has provided emergency aid, development tools, and resources to the needy around the world since 1992, and currently serves over 50 nations. The relief organization has been particularly active in recent years in the Middle East, alleviating the suffering caused by the ongoing strife  in Gaza and in Syria, where people have lived for several years under civil war.

Registration Opens: February 2015 College Lenten Retreat

Come enjoy a weekend of spiritual retreat and fellowship with other Orthodox Christian college students. We will have discussions, daily services, and conclude the weekend by celebrating Sunday of Orthodoxy together! Registration is now open!

  • Please register online at
  • Cost is $95, including all meals, lodging, and activities, to be held at the Camp (bring own bed linens/sleeping bag, pillow, towels, and toiletries)
  • If you have questions, please e-mail Chris Shadid at or call the camp office at 724-238-9565, ext. 505 
  • Download the flyer

St. Vladimir's Seminary Appeal Will Aid Suffering Syrian Christians

[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] When Patriarch John X (Yazigi), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, visits the United States this fall, he will receive not only warm wishes but also a charitable gift from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. The gift, intended to aid suffering Orthodox Christians in Syria, will be presented to His Beatitude in December and will represent a tithe (one-tenth) of the Seminary's #GivingTuesday appeal.

"Life has a deeper meaning than fighting crowds on Black Friday or scouring the web for the best deals on Cyber Monday," said seminary Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield. "That's why St. Vladimir's is participating in #GivingTuesday, a national day of charitable giving.

Middle School Winter Retreat at Antiochian Village

Registration is open for the annual St. Herman Middle School Retreat, convening at Antiochian Village on the feast day of St. Herman of Alaska.

  • Who: Students in grades 5-8
  • Where: Antiochian Village Conference Center, December 12-14, 2014
  • What: interactive presentations and discussions, weekend liturgical services (with an outdoor supplication service to St. Herman), games, crafts, meals and snacks, sledding, geocaching, stargazing, guided night hike, a campfire
  • Why: The distraction-free environment of the Village and the spiritual emphasis of the retreat offer a wonderful opportunity for middle schoolers to focus on their faith 
  • How much:  $100/person for lodging and meals; $120 if postmarked after November 15  
  • Download the registration form
  • Download the Consent Form
  • Visit the Antiochian Village's website

Now Available! Ancient Faith Publishing's Christmas Catalog

Ancient Faith Publishing (formerly known as Conciliar Press) has released their 2014 Christmas Catalog. Four new designs for Christmas cards are available, as well as popular sets from previous years. A beautiful array of Orthodox Christmas ornaments are in this year's selection of holiday items as well.

One of the perennial favorites from Ancient Faith is the yearly icon calendar. This year's theme, "Icons of the Virgin Mary," features the work of contemporary American iconographers, in both Julian and New Calendar versions. The 11" X 12" full-color calendar is organized with large calendar boxes for recording important date reminders. Major saint and feast days traditionally celebrated in Orthodox countries around the world are listed.

Synaxis of the Holy Archangels + November 8

Supreme Leaders of the Heavenly Hosts, we implore you that by your prayers you will encircle us, unworthy as we are, with the protection of the wings of your immaterial glory and guard us who fall down before you and fervently cry: deliver us from dangers, for you are the commanders of the powers above.

-Troparion of the Feast, Tone 4

O Archangel Michael whose countenance is like lightning, gleaming in an ineffable manner with the illuminations of the Trinity, of exceeding divine brilliancy, thou dost traverse the whole creation like lightning, fulfilling the divine command, watching over, preserving, and sheltering those who joyfully laud thee.

-Exaposteilarion of the Feast, Tone 2

Thursday November 6: Archdiocese Offices Closing Today for Construction

The Archdiocese offices in Englewood, NJ, have closed early today, at 1:30 Eastern, due to construction. Normal work is planned to resume on Friday, November 7, from 9 to 5 Eastern. Information on contacting the Archdiocese is available here.

Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference: January 22-24, 2015

The 2015 Orthodox Christian Camp and Youth Worker Conference, with the theme "Walking Alongside our Youth," will be held at Antiochian Village on January 22-24. The Conference, now in its 13th year, exists to bring all Orthodox Christians doing youth ministry at any level and in any form together for several days to further their education, foster brotherhood, and provide fellowship.  Each year a different jurisdiction of the Orthodox Churches in the United States hosts the Conference, with the input and direction provided by the Orthodox Christian Camp Association and national Church Youth Department directors.

Keynote Addresses will be offered by The Rev. Dr. Bogdan Bucur, associate professor of Theology at Duquesne University, and Dr. Stefanie Yazge, professor of Theology at St. Vincent College. A series of workshops focusing on youth ministry as it relates to youth workers and camp staff, daily services, and fellowship, will be available to enable attendees to get to know each other better.

Registration is available online and an early-bird discount is offered through December 15, 2014.


St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wilkes-Barre, PA Celebrates 110 Years

The 110th anniversary of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wilkes-Barre, PA was celebrated over the weekend of October 10-12, 2014. 

For the weekend Bishop Thomas presided over all of the events. On Friday morning the parish had the funeral of the oldest parishioner, Lorraine George, who was 98. Bishop Thomas arrived before to be able to serve the funeral.

On Friday evening there was a potluck dinner to which the parishioners brought many different kinds of delicious fast-day foods.  

On Saturday, Bishop Thomas went to visit his family’s restaurant in Wilkes-Barre and enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers from Abe’s Restaurant on Main Street. He reminisced there about his family during the meal. (View the photo gallery of the festive weekend.)

St. Raphael of Brooklyn + First Saturday in November

Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism.

(from The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny)

Our Father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny), Bishop of  Brooklyn, was the first Orthodox Christian bishop consecrated on American soil. Traveling throughout the continent in the first years of the 20th century, he founded thirty parishes in North America. His feast day is celebrated in the Antiochian Archdiocese on the first Saturday of November. St. Raphael, a man of angelic name and apostolic fervor, was influenced by many cultures. He was born and raised in the Middle East, educated by Greeks at Halki and by Russians at Kiev, and he spent the last nineteen years of his life as a missionary in North America.

In 2015, the Antiochian Archdiocese will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael. The Archdiocese's Creative Festivals will feature the theme, "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America." 

Spotlight: Online Liturgical Guide Adds November Texts

The Liturgical Texts for the month of November, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

In 2014, November features prominent saints whose commemorations fall on Sundays: St. Nektarios of Aegina (Nov. 9), St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist (Nov. 16), and St. Andrew the First-called Apostle (Nov. 30). Of course, the Antiochian Archdiocese celebrates its patron and founder, St. Raphael Hawaweeny, Bishop of Brooklyn, on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The Online Liturgical Guide, produced by the Committee on Liturgics, provides the official, uniform word-for-word texts to be used for the Divine Services in all parishes across the Archdiocese. Should you have any questions, please contact Subdeacon Peter Samore at

Prayers for Our Bishops and Board of Trustees at Fall Meeting

Your prayers are requested for our Antiochian Bishops and Board of Trustees members preparing to convene in Florida for meetings from October 23-26, 2014. With the blessings of Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, and The Right Rev. Bishop Antoun, Diocese of Miami and the Southeast, The Rev. Fouad Saba and St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Coral Gables, FL are hosting the Hierarchs and Board of Trustees meetings. The historic meetings will be the first ones in which Metropolitan Joseph presides for both the Board of Trustees fall meetings, as well as the gathering of the bishops.

On Saturday evening, a banquet will be held honoring the newly selected Metropolitan, and offering tribute to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of Blessed Memory. A Sunday Hierarchical Liturgy will be followed by "The Stewards Luncheon," with the Board of Trustees as guests of honor.