Santa Barbara, CA — Last month the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism announced a contest to write the best 30-second or less explanation of what the Orthodox Church is, essentially an Orthodox “elevator speech. Response to the contest was superb, a panel of judges have selected the top ten finalists, and the Orthodox Christian public is asked to choose the winner by Internet poll.
To view the ten finalists and caste your vote for the “Best Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech” visit this Survey Monkey link before 7:00pm EDT on next Tuesday, July 26. The winner will be announced at the 50th Biennial Antiochian Archdiocese Convention in Chicago next week, and he or she will receive $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications as a prize.
DETROIT - The Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black (BSMB), a national organization of African-American Orthodox Christians, will conduct its 18th annual Ancient Christianity and African-American Conference Aug. 26-28 at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, 36075 W. Seven Mile Road, Livonia.
The conference will be hosted by the Detroit Metro Chapter of the BSMB. The theme of the conference is "The Ancient Faith for Modern Problems." The Rt. Rev. Matthias (Moriak), Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest of the Orthodox Church in America, will be the keynote speaker. Other speakers are:
The Very Rev. Moses Berry, pastor of Theotokos "Unexpected Joy" Orthodox Church in Ash Grove, Ark., and founder and president of the BSMB;
The Very Rev. John Finley, a mission priest of the Department of Missions and Evangelism of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America;
The Rev. Paisius Altschul, pastor of St. Mary of Egypt Orthodox Church in Kansas City, Mo., co-founder and executive director of Reconciliation Services there, and a developer of FOCUS (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve);
Patrick Tutella, executive director of Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry;
Dr. Carla Newbern Thomas, vice president of BSMB, founder of St. Luke's Orthodox Church in Anniston, Ala., a physician with a medical practice there, and a native Detroiter;
Mother Catherine (Weston), an Orthodox nun, a member of the St. Xenia Monastic Community in Indianapolis, Ind., and an iconographer, musician and lecturer;
During the upcoming Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, the Department of Western Rite (Western Rite Vicariate) will offer a special presentation for all by the V. Rev. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon on Wednesday, July 27.
Under the theme “What Benefits Does Western Orthodoxy Offer Eastern Orthodoxy,” Father Patrick will talk about “Christ as Mediator.” Following his presentation, there will be opportunity to ask questions related to his presentation.
Father Patrick’s presentation will begin at 10:45 a.m. and conclude by 12:30 p.m.
Parish priests attending the convention, along with lay delegates and guests, are invited to attend this session.
Following Fr Patrick’s presentation, the priests serving Western Rite parishes will gather for a closed session for a discussion with the Vicar General.
May God bless you and grant you safe travels to Chicago.
By V. Rev. Edward Hughes
Vicar General of the Western Rite
by Carole Buleza, Chair, Department of Christian Education
Connecting us to Jesus Christ
When I was young, I found a book about the Holy Land; the images of the holy sites fascinated me—Bethlehem, Golgotha, Cana—these were the places where Jesus walked and lived! He was real!
Images of all sorts surround us today. If your children text, tweet, and Facebook, they live in a world of distraction—is Jesus even on their radar? Let’s get back to basics—our faith, and our life itself, rests in a person who lived 2,000 years ago and lives still. Donate a poster to your church school and begin to surround the children with images that remind them of the reality of Jesus!
The Department of Christian Education plans to offer a few posters each summer for homes, classrooms, church hallways, and offices. A limited amount has been printed. They are available for a donation of $5, and come safely to you in a mailing tube. The smaller poster photo prints will be sent in a cardboard mailing envelope. Please print out the order form and send a check to the Antiochian Department of Christian Education. The address is on the form.
Douglas Cramer, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Internet Ministry, has released his Convention report for 2011.
Douglas writes, "Increasing the reach of an organization’s online presence depends on the good will of those parties who are also online, and support the vision of the organization. As Archdiocese online resources continue to mature, it will be essential to cultivate awareness and support from Orthodox Christian ministries, parishes, pastors, and other online content creators across jurisdictions, in order to leverage the social capabilities of the Internet, and the social command of the Gospel."
Touloumes was one of 18 youth from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Christian Church in Pittsburgh who participated in the June Appalachia service trip, a ministry of FOCUS North America. The group of middle school and high school students were joined by six adult leaders.
The goal of these short term ministry trips is to build a sense of service and community by providing an opportunity for church groups to travel together, work together, serve together and grow together. Projects include home repair, landscaping, and various domestic projects for the poor living in the heart of the Appalachian region. In some parts of the Appalachian region of NC where the FOCUS NA teams serve there is an almost 20% unemployment rate.
“I was expecting to come down and help people, not necessarily interact with them,” Touloumes said. “But I came here and found out why they’re in these situations.”
The teens and their adult leaders worked hard and always had a great attitude as they worked on graveling a driveway, painting a garage, removing a rotting deck, painting the interior of a house, moving heavy furniture and various landscaping projects.
The working poor families served by these groups are always very grateful for the help, Niko Petrogeorge, FOCUS North America ministry team intern, said.
“We painted the inside of an elderly couple’s home,” Petrogeorge said. “Mr. Upright was very appreciative of our work and wanted to help us." We got him started on something he wouldn’t have been able to do on his own and provided the resources and materials for the project.”
The Orthodox Church in America has launched a new design for its website, Oca.org. The jurisdiction's web team, hired in January, enlisted the services of Simple Focus, a Memphis-based design firm. The site's developer, Fr. John Schroedel of Inoa Technologies, serves as the Web Manager for Ancient Faith Radio and Conciliar Media Ministries and is an OCA priest.
The project spanned a full year, beginning with a due diligence period and culminating in the launch on July 11.
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — As more than ten million men, women and children face hunger and life-threatening health consequences from the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in 60 years, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding with aid to relieve victims of the worst food shortage crisis in the world today. Working in cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC) and partner agency International Medical Corps (IMC), IOCC is delivering financial support to help alleviate the emergency needs of Somali refugees in southern camps of Ethiopia.
The initial IOCC relief will support healthcare responders assessing the immediate and basic health, nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene needs of the refugees, and support their efforts to provide emergency assistance such as distribution of food and water, therapeutic feeding programs for the severely malnourished, construction of latrines, and coordination of other hygiene activities to prevent spread of disease in such overcrowded conditions.
SAVE THE DATES
SACRED MUSIC INSTITUTE at Antiochian Village
West Coast SMI: February 20-23, 2014 at St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church, Garden Grove, CA. Theme: The Passion of Christ. You Don't Want To Miss This Event! Click here for the Registration Form to download form onto your computer. Then, fill out the form on your computer, print it out, and send in with your payment. Click here for the Schedule. If you're wondering why you should go, or what you will get out of it all, read on.
Our 29th Annual SMI & 3rd Annual YMM Program at Antiochian Village: July 23-27, 2014. Theme: Pascha.
JOENSUU, FINLAND [ISOCM] -- The International Society for Orthodox Church Music is pleased to announce that its new on-line publication, the Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Church Music, is accepting submissions for publication.
The first issue will be available as a PDF download on the ISOCM site in Spring 2012.
The ISOCM was founded with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Leo of Karelia and all Finland by an international group of musicians and scholars after the First International Conference on Orthodox Church Music, “The Traditions of Orthodox Music”, held at the University of Joensuu in University of Joensuu in June 2005. Members of the ISOCM are found around the world and in a variety of positions related to Orthodox Church music.
The ISOCM is delighted that Professors Hilkka Seppälä (University of Eastern Finland), and Christian Troelsgaard (University of Copenhagen), distinguished scholars in the field of Orthodox Church music, have agreed to be members of the Board of Honour.
Members of the Editorial Board include Dr. Yuliya Artamonova (Gnessin Russian Academy of Music, Moscow), Dr. Nicolae Gheorghita (National University of Music, Bucharest), Dr. Alexander Lingas (City University, London), Dr. Ivan Moody (Editor; CESEM – Universidade Nova, Lisbon), Dr. Aleksander Naumow (Jagiellonian University, Cracow), Dr. Nicolas Schidlovsky (Princeton University), Maria akala-Roszczenko, TM, FM (Secretary of the ISOCM; University of Eastern Finland), and Nikita Simmons (Editorial Secretary of JISOCM, Portland, Oregon, USA).
From the Diocese of Los Angeles:
It is with extreme sadness that we inform you that our beloved brother in Christ, Father Thomas O'Dea, fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, July 10, 2011. His Grace, Bishop Joseph has asked the parishes to remember him in your prayers for the departed for the next 40 days and to hold a special Trisagion for his eternal life. May God receive him in His Heavenly Kingdom and may his memory be eternal. The funeral information will be announced once it has been determined.
Please join in praying for his repose and remembering his dear family: Khouirye Marcia, Sean & Robin, Dillon, Kiera and Brian O'Dea.
Fr. Joseph Purpura, the Antiochian Archdiocese Chairman of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries, has released his Convention report for 2011 here.
He reminds Convention-goers that the “Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth” (OCCHY) booth in the vendor area of the Convention will be offering materials free of charge for parents, clergy, teachers, teens and young adults. Read about OCCHY here or visit the Coalition for Healthy Youth website here.
[SVOTS Communications/Yonkers, NY] —Two Antiochian trustees from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Board Chair Anne Glynn-Mackoul and The Rev. Dr. Philip LeMasters, recently attended an international conference titled “Christian Presence and Witness in the Middle East Today: Theological and Political Challenges." The conference was held June 19–23, 2011 in Volos, Greece at the invitation of the World Council of Churches and the Volos Theological Academy and was hosted by Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias. The thirty participants included theological scholars, social scientists, politicians, and church representatives, primarily from Orthodox churches in the Middle East but also including representatives from other Christian bodies in that region.
At the Volos conference, participants first examined the relevance and the different aspects of the “Kairos document” issued in December 2009 by Palestinian Christians from all church traditions. Second, they analyzed the socio-political challenges facing the Christians in the Middle East against the background of the recent uprisings in the Arab World. And finally, they listened to Christian witnesses from different parts of the region.
During his presentation, Fr. Philip, priest of the Orthodox Antiochian Archdiocese of North America and dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at McMurry University, spoke on "Orthodox Approaches to Non-violent Resistance." After first reviewing the roots of the conception in the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, he turned to the martyrs and confessors who, with their non-violent resistance, confronted and refused to obey the secular powers’ demands that they abandon their faith.
SNOWDEN, Matthew, to the holy diaconate by Bishop Thomas, on February 20, 2011, at the Church of St. Ignatius, Antiochian Village. Dn. Matthew is completing his studies at St. Tikhon’s Seminary and is currently assigned to the parish of St. Mary’s in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
MATTHEWS, Dn. Stephen to the holy priesthood by Bishop Antoun May 8, 2011 at St. George, West Roxbury, MA. Fr. Stephen is completing his final year of seminary.
BUDICA, Dn. Adrian to the holy priesthood on May 22 at St. Nicholas Cathedral by Bishop Antoun. He is attached to the Cathedral.
KISHLER, Dn. Andrew to the holy priesthood on May 29 at St. George Church in Cicero, IL by Bishop Joseph. He is attached to All Saints Church, Chicago, IL.
MASSOUH, Fr. Michael, to the dignity of Archpriest by Bishop Antoun, on February 20, 2011, St. Nicholas Church, in St. Petersburg, Florida.
ZITON, Fr. Elias, to the dignity of Archpriest by Bishop Joseph, on February 6, 2011, at St. George Church, Phoenix, Arizona.
The Department of Christian Education and the Fellowship of St. John the Divine have co-sponsored video presentations of the photos, artwork, and words of the children in the Dioceses of Toledo, Ottawa and Los Angeles. Originally created for the Creative Festivals of 2010, these visual renderings vividly illustrate the year's theme, which was "The earth is the Lord's and its fullness, the world and all who dwell therein," Psalm 23.
Greetings in Christ on this blessed Feast Day of the Twelve Apostles! We are pleased to announce that the 2010 OCMC Annual Report is now available online here.
We invite you to review this report so that you can know how your time, prayer and support has helped share the message of love, hope, and salvation with people around the world. Please prayerfully consider renewing your support for the ministries of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, so that we might continue to participate in the work begun by the Holy Apostles of making disciples of all nations.
Please know that you are in our prayers. On behalf of the OCMC staff, board, missionaries, and volunteers, we thank you for your continued prayers as well.
A statement released by the Secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand on June 23, 2011, announced that the Holy Synod of Antioch has elected 12 new Auxiliary Bishops. Its regular session convened on June 21, 2011, and subsequent statements were released announcing the elections. The translation of the official communique reads, in part:
After prayer and calling upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, especially because we are still in the atmosphere of Glorious Pentecost, and asking the blessing of Our Lady the Virgin, protectress of the monastery, the fathers of the Synod began discussion of the agenda covering various ecclesial, local, national, and ecumenical topics.
The fathers gave their attention to all the issues that concern the faithful from spiritual, pastoral, social, and national perspectives. Together they carefully studied pastoral needs in the home countries and the diaspora in order for the Church to have an effective presence in serving her children, paying heed to their needs and concerns.
Read the complete Arabic version on the Balamand website.
Read the statement in English translated by Notes on Arab Orthodoxy here.
In anticipation of a particularly dynamic Orthodox Institute season, the Department of Christian Education and Director Carole Buleza invite you to browse the new features of the Orthodox Institute page. First, read Catherine Sullivan's new interview with Fr. Thomas Hopko about the importance of Scripture and the ministry of Christian Education. Then browse through the letters of Maria Khoury, as she describes her life in the Holy Land.
The Antiochian Archdiocese of Mexico's website reports, "With the grace of God and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, to which His Eminence Archbishop Antonio Chedraoui is representing and taking part in our Archdiocese as a Reverend person protected by God, has appointed Reverend Archimandrite Ignatius Samaan to the episcopal dignity as auxiliary bishop, with the Archdiocese itself under the instruction of S. E. Archbishop Antonio Chedraoui.
Rev. Archimandrite Samaan Ignacio was born in 1975 in Damascus, Syria. In 1996, he studied a degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Damascus, and later a degree in Theology from St. John of Damascus Institute, University of Balamand, Lebanon, in 2001. He was director of Sacred Music Byzantine Choir of the institution during the years 1997-2000. He also completed studies in the Department of Liturgy at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
He received the diaconate on December 20, 1999 by the hand of His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, the September 12, 2001, was ordained a priest, together with the appointment of Archimandrite. The same year he was appointed Episcopal Vicar of His Eminence, Metropolitan Anthony Chedraoui, Archbishop of Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean, a role that he has played to date, besides being the Dean of the Cathedral of St. George City Mexico.
BROOKLINE, MA -- OCF is delighted to announce it has relocated to Hellenic College in Brookline, Massachusetts. This partnership will result in exciting opportunities for Orthodox students across North America.
First on the agenda is creating semester exchange programs for Orthodox students interested in studying in an Orthodox environment. The rich tradition of Hellenic College and the excitement of its student body will provide OCF with greater capacity to reach OCF students.
More information about our relocation and future partnership possibilities with Hellenic College will be made available in the upcoming months.
Our new address is:
50 Goddard Avenue
Brookline, MA 02445
What would you do if you only had a few minutes warning before disaster struck? Gather your family? Grab your valuables? Or just find a safe place to take shelter? Those were the split second, life changing decisions that faced the tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri, Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Springfield, Massachusetts. The Spring of 2011 will go down in US history as one of the most devastating tornado seasons ever, and a sobering reminder that we must be ever vigilant and ever prepared.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has trained 60 Orthodox clergy and lay persons in the U.S. in disaster preparedness and emergency management. They now form the backbone of the Emergency Response Network and have the concrete skills needed to deal with communities and parishioners in times of crisis, such as the 2011 tornadoes that have killed more than 500 people and left thousands more homeless.
MEMORY ETERNAL! VICTOR MIHALCA fell asleep in the Lord on Sunday, June 19th, at the age of 64. He is the father of Khouryieh Delia Haddad and the father-in-law of Fr. Mousa Haddad of the Church of the Virgin Mary in Alsip, IL. He is survived by his wife Terezia, his daughter Delia, and his grandchildren Anthony and Philip. May the Lord give rest to the soul of His servant Victor, and may his memory be eternal with all the Saints!
Condolences may be sent to the family at firstname.lastname@example.org
+May his memory be eternal!
I have received the sad news of the falling asleep in the Lord of His handmaid, Mother Christina Baz, Abbess of the Patriarchal Convent of our Lady of Saidnaya in Syria. Not only was Mother Christina related to me (her mother and my grandfather were siblings), she was known to several people in our Archdiocese, to priests and bishops, to His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, and to all who visited Saidnaya Monastery in the past. She reposed on All Saints Sunday, most fitting for a nun who lived the monastic life all her life, especially when we heard the Gospel on Sunday, the Lord Jesus saying: "And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundred-fold, and inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19:29).
Among the Clergy Brotherhood in our Archdiocese, I am her only living relative.
+++ May her memory be eternal +++
And may God have mercy on us, Amen.