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New Inspirational Resources Available from the Diocese of Charleston

Thanks to His Grace Bishop Thomas and the clergy of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, a new collection of inspirational readings is now available at The series "Spiritual Notes from the Diocese of Charleston" (formerly "Notes from Bishop Thomas"), complied by Fr. Daniel Meyer, offers teachings selected from Sayedna Thomas' treasured collection of essays, articles, homilies and more, including many rare pieces from earlier decades of The Word. "Diocese of Charleston Bible Study" is a study of scripture from Fr. Stephen DeYoung and includes weekly scripture texts, reflections on the readings and questions for further contemplation. In "Spiritual Nuggets from the Diocese of Charleston," Fr. Noah Bushelli provides brief reflections and quotations from Church fathers as a source of concise spiritual edification.

All three series are updated weekly, and Spiritual Notes and Bible Study pieces are also available in PDF format for easy download and printing. May God reward the efforts of Bishop Thomas and his dedicated priests in providing spiritual nourishment to the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese and all those who seek to hear the Word of God!

Who Is Our Peace? + A Reflection on the State of the World Now

by Fr. George Shalhoub of the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan
A sermon delivered Sunday, November 15, 2015, in the wake of the terror attacks in Beirut and Paris


In the light of the constant atrocities, murder, suicide bombings, the war ravaging the world today, I wish to share with you the following:

As we enter the Holy Advent Season, we shall also gather, as families, to celebrate Thanksgiving in the midst of a world gone mad. We need to keep our eyes open through prayer to Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, for the salvation of the world.

Metropolitan Joseph Appoints Bishop Anthony as Sacred Music Dept. Overseer

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has appointed His Grace Bishop Anthony (Michaels) as the new hierarchical overseer of the Department of Sacred Music. Paul Jabara and the entire Department of Sacred Music welcome His Grace with open arms and look forward to many years under his tutelage. 

Watch Bishop Anthony's lectures on Pascha, presented at the 2014 Sacred Music Institute (SMI) 
Part I
Part II

Photo gallery of 2014 SMI with Bishop Anthony as Keynote Speaker, by Paul Jabara

Fall 2015 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Fall 2015 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights the newly-elected North American Board Officers and Coordinators! The issue contains:

  • A message from His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph
  • A profile of Antiochian Women spiritual advisor, His Grace Bishop John
  • Biographies of the officers of the 2015-2017 Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America North American Board

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

Young Orthodox Professionals Gather in Santa Fe, NM

Valerie Blomberg writes:

"As Orthodox young people gather, personal isolation ceases to influence the development of their Orthodox identity."

These are the words Archimandrite Gerasim, dean of St. Seraphim's Cathedral in Dallas and our keynote speaker, gave us before the start of the Orthodox Young Professionals Retreat held in Santa Fe, New Mexico from October 16-18, 2015. We felt his words to be true as a community of Orthodox young adults formed over the course of the three day retreat. Most of us were strangers to one another at the start, but soon became fast friends. Personal isolation fell away as we discovered a community of like-minded young adults who would support us in answering the call to "sanctify time and space" and to bring Christ into the midst of our everyday lives.

Liturgical Instructions for 2016 Now Available

So that parishes can properly schedule divine services in the coming months, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has approved the Instructions for Christmas (Nativity) 2015, Epiphany (Theophany) 2016, and Great Lent 2016. Also released is the Sunday Liturgical Readings Calendar for 2016. If you have any questions, please write to Fr. Thomas Zain, Chairman of the Department of Liturgics.

2016 Ancient Faith Icon Calendar Features American Saints

One of the most popular Ancient Faith offerings each year during the Advent season is the Icon Calendar. Now again available for purchase, the 2016 version features the saints of America rendered by six notable iconographers. The 11" x 12" full-color calendar displays large calendar boxes for recording important reminders. 

The feast days shown on this calendar in bold, blue type are the twelve great feast days of the Orthodox Church. Other feast days of some of the most popularly venerated saints of the Orthodox Churches around the world are listed in black, regular type. Dates are listed according to the Gregorian or "new" calendar. (Note: A different version of this calendar is available which makes use of the Julian or "old" calendar dates.)

Memory Eternal! + Nicholas Ramacciato

Nicholas Ramacciato reposed in the Lord on November 4, 2015. Nick and his beloved wife Francis had been married for over 52 years. They have a son, Nicholas Jr., a very successful businessman in Central Florida.

Originally from the Bronx in New York City, Nick and Francis had made Orlando home for the last thirty-five years. They had been in the restaurant business for many years, having owned and operated various Italian restaurants, before retiring to Orlando. 

Nick was one of the kindest, most gentle gentleman you could ever meet; at the same time he spoke his mind without any limits. That's how he came to become a part of the St. George family. Almost 25 years ago on a summer afternoon, Nick sparked up a conversation with St. George's pastor, the Very Reverend Fr. John Hamatie. Father John and Nick became friends and some years later Nick and Francis converted to the Holy Orthodox Christian faith.

Announcing the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Institute

The Antiochian House of Studies, a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, is pleased to announce the establishment of the Ph.D. program in Orthodox StudiesHis Eminence the Most Reverend Metropolitan Joseph, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, heartily approves and blesses this pioneering initiative.

As the first such Antiochian Orthodox program set within the English-speaking framework in North America, the Ph.D. program is intended to train specialists in Biblical and Patristic Theology, with the specific aim of transmitting the wisdom and ethos of the Orthodox tradition to our theologians, educators and pastors.

In its mission to fulfill the ancient apostolic calling to build up Christian theological education, the Antiochian House of Studies is led by a team of renowned scholars who offer students of all backgrounds the opportunity to engage in scholarship at the highest level. Our Ph.D. scholars will specialize in research topics of their own choosing.

The House of Studies is of the conviction that the Ph.D. program in Orthodox Studies will contribute most significantly to fostering a deeper understanding of the critical challenges of our times. This profound enrichment of the Church's intellectual life will enhance the pastoral work of all our clergy and our educators everywhere. Our graduates will ultimately bring invaluable scholarship to all Orthodox Christians, in turn enabling the faithful to bear witness to the Orthodox faith through profound intellectual and critical cultural engagement on all levels.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Hosts the First Metropolitan New York Pan-Orthodox Clergy Retreat

On Monday November 2, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph hosted the first pan-Orthodox clergy retreat for the clergy of metropolitan New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, New Jersey. Other hierarchs in attendance were His Eminence Archbishop Michael (Dahulich) of the OCA diocese of New York and New Jersey and His Grace Bishop Nicholas of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The retreat was attended by more than 30 members of clergy and was led by Metropolitan Joseph. The theme for the retreat was "Holy Nation, Holy Diaconate, Holy Priesthood and Holy Episcopate."

His Eminence focused on the key attributes that must be present in every Orthodox Christian across the categories of layman, deacon, priest and bishop, emphasizing the need for holiness and decorum.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Consecrates St. Ignatius Antiochian Orthodox Church of Florida, New York

On Saturday October 31, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, assisted by His Grace Bishop Nicholas, consecrated the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch located in Florida, New York, pastored by Very Rev. George Kevorkian.  Also celebrating were 14 members of clergy from the New York Metropolitan Deanery.  There were 200 of the faithful in attendance and the day was made more beautiful by a combined choir from the area churches. 

In his homily, Metropolitan Joseph stressed the importance of a church consecration as the setting aside of the church as a sacred place.  The altar was washed with soap and water, sprinkled with rosewater, and anointed with Holy Chrism.

We Need Your Input! Take the Sacred Music Library Survey

Are you a choir director or member? Have you thought about joining the choir? Do you enjoy listening to Orthodox Christian music, and would you be willing to share your opinion?

Richard Barrett, the St. John of Damascus Society's Artistic Director, has designed a 2-5 minute survey to gather data about how the music library on is currently being used, and to ascertain what resources and functionality would be helpful that currently don't exist. Whether you have a degree from a music conservatory, or are strictly an amateur, we are interested in hearing from you!

As one of the most popular destinations on, the Department of Sacred Music's online library of PDFs includes liturgical music for every month of the year, and is a frequent destination for choir directors, chanters, and church musicians. Plans are underway to refresh and expand the online resources available to musicians in the Antiochian Archdiocese. In May, 2015, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph appointed Paul Jabara of Montreal, Quebec to be the new Chairman of the Archdiocese's Department of Sacred Music, and he is working closely with the Department of Internet Ministry to improve the music library. With your assistance, we will be able to improve this valuable archive in the coming months. Thanks for your help!

Take the survey!

November Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Altar servers process in front of an icon of the Archangel Michael at St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, CA.Altar servers process in front of an icon of the Archangel Michael at St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, CA.Saints who healed and refused payment, the first bishop of the missionary church that would become the Antiochian Archdiocese, the bodiless hosts that protect us, a Great Feast of the Theotokos, and a major American holiday fill the celebrations of the Orthodox Church in the month of November. The Liturgical Texts to guide us through services on these holy days, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

On the first day of the month, we commemorate Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia in Asia Minor. These "unmercenary" saints received no money for the medicine they practiced and the healings they performed. They are not to be confused with Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1) who were also unmercenaries.

Each year on the first Saturday of November we commemorate St. Raphael Hawaweeny. He said of himself: "I am an Arab by birth, a Greek by primary education, an American by residence, a Russian at heart, and a Slav in soul." His multicultural influences and love of Jesus Christ helped him become the "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America." The Archdiocese celebrates St. Raphael close to the date of his birth, November 8.

And that day happens to be the feast of the Archangels. The Orthodox Church celebrates Raphael – the namesake of the first bishop of Brooklyn – Michael, Gabriel and all the bodiless powers of heaven that minister directly to God the Father and protect us on earth who are called to be heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14).

November 2015 Edition of The Word Now Available

Click cover to download: 

The November 2015 issue of The Word is now available and contains the following articles:

Have the Antiochians Changed Their Minds?
by His Grace Bishop John

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Addresses St. Vladimir's Seminary

Minutes of the General Assembly of the 52nd Antiochian Arthodox Archdiocese Convention

Liturgical Discipleship: A Framework for Youth Ministry
by Gregory Abdalah

Youth Music Ministry
by Chris Farha

The Gift of Life
by Alexis Bethoney Gerena

...and more!

From the Publications Center and AV Bookstore: Nativity Resources for Families, at Sale Prices

Nativity resources at discounted prices are now available for families from the Archdiocese's Publications Center and Bookstore at Antiochian Village. (Download the flyer and order form.)

Some of them include:

  • The Biggest Birthday Party, an Advent Calendar for kids age 3-6:  This activity book includes 4"x4" pieces of a Nativity icon, to be colored and assembled on a provided master sheet during the twelve days leading up Christmas. An introduction and suggestions for using the Calendar open the book. References to the appropriate Bible verses for each piece and a narrative related to each section of the icon are included.
  • Praise the Lord Christmas Workbook, for grades 3-6 and families:  Games, puzzles, activities, explaining the themes, events and people, and the ways all creation will welcome Jesus.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X in Good Condition after Fall

As you may know, our Father in Christ, His Beatitude Patriarch John X suffered a fall and some injuries to his eye and shoulder. The official statement of the Patriarchate has been published in Arabic and can be read here.

The statement reports that His Beatitude is in good condition and that he will need a period of hospitalization and convalescence.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph asks all of the faithful of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America to join him in prayer for our Father in Christ Patriarch John X and to ask our Lord and God Jesus Christ, the only Physician of our souls and bodies, to bring healing to His Beatitude.


Orthodox Institute 2015

Educate the adults and you won't need church schools!"

In Christian education circles, we have spoken of the need to educate adults for years with phrases like, "Christian education doesn't end with church school," "Total Parish Education," and most notably the name of our yearly event, "The Orthodox Institute for Continuing Education in the Faith." Converts from fundamental churches are pleased to find that Orthodoxy offers a treasure chest of resources for growth in the faith, from the church mothers and fathers, to icons, to hymnography. Yet, in many churches the focus is on educating the children with perhaps only one class, taught by the priest, for adults.

Study Scripture Within Tradition: New Orthodox Digital Resources Available from Logos Bible Software

More than two years in the making, an exciting new lineup of Orthodox digital libraries is now available from Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible Software.

Based in the coastal town of Bellingham, Washington, Faithlife has been making digital tools to help people study the Scriptures for over twenty years.

Around two and a half years ago, Faithlife hired an Orthodox Christian named Gabe Martini, known for his blog On Behalf of All and his close work with Ancient Faith Ministries. Gabe was brought to Faithlife in part to help develop a new lineup of what they call “base packages,” focused entirely on Orthodox Christians.

Gabe and his family converted to the Orthodox faith several years ago under the mentorship of the newly reposed Fr. Alexander Atty, then head priest of St. Michael the Archangel Antiochian Orthodox Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Gabe was originally in Louisville to attend a Baptist seminary, but was drawn to Orthodoxy by his studies in Church history and through a simple visit to St. Michael’s one Sunday.

“I had never experienced anything so beautiful and real in my entire life,” Gabe said. “I knew from our very first visit, that was where we needed to be. I knew it was the apostolic Church.”

What excites Gabe most about these new Orthodox libraries from Logos is that they can be used to reach thousands, even millions for the Gospel.

Fall Meeting of Archdiocese Board of Trustees and Order of St. Ignatius Governing Council

Prayers are requested for the 2015 fall meeting of Archdiocese Board of Trustees and Order of St. Ignatius Governing Council, to be held from October 22-25 at host parish St. Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church in Van Nuys, CA, in conjunction with St. Nicholas Cathedral. This is an historic event, in that it is the first time that the Trustees are meeting in the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West.

On Sunday morning, October 25, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph will celebrate a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with the Antiochian Hierarchs at St. Nicholas Cathedral. A special Luncheon will follow in the Heritage Ballroom.

For more information, including registration, sponsorship forms and lodging, please visit the Fall Meeting webpage.

Diocese of Toledo: St. George Church in Indy Hosts Successful Fall Gathering

This year's Clergy and Laity Fall Gathering, our diocese's annual Delegates' Meeting, was hosted by St. George Church of Indianapolis/Fishers, IN, under the leadership of Fr. Nabil Hanna and with the assistance of Dn. Joseph Hazar. The Fall Gathering (formerly Midwest Delegates Meeting) is an opportunity for our diocese's clergy, lay leaders, teens, and others to meet for spiritual fellowship and to work toward a common vision for the year. This was the best attended Delegates' Meeting in many years, with a total of 203 participants made up of 32 Clergy, 70 youth, 41 Ladies, 32 Young Adults, and 28 Men.

The aim of this gathering was to offer something to every group so that the members of this diocese could come together as a family. The meetings began on Thursday, October 15 and 16 for the Clergy. Sessions were offered on the subject of youth ministry by the Director of the Antiochian Village, Fr. Anthony Yazge, as well as a session by His Grace Bishop Anthony.

The theme for the weekend was "Village at Home," where the staff of the Antiochian Village brought aspects of summer camp to the parish.

Metropolitan Joseph Appoints Two New Financial Officers for the Archdiocese Board of Trustees

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph recently appointed two new financial officers to assist the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. As of August 4, 2015, Mr. Salim Abboud of Little Falls, NJ, is appointed to serve as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Board, and Archpriest Michael Tassos of St. Luke Orthodox Church in Garden Grove, CA, is appointed to serve as Assistant Treasurer. Both men hold extensive backgrounds in accounting and finance.

Bishop Anthony is Keynote Speaker at Orthodox Family Camp in Minnesota

Photography by Nick Barakos

Where on earth would you find Bishop Anthony worshipping with Greek, Antiochian, Romanian, Serbian, Russian, and Chinese families in one place? At Family Camp, October 2-4, 2015, north of Minneapolis, Minnesota! For over a decade, members of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West St. Paul, MN, have helped organize a pan-Orthodox Family Camp that includes parishioners of over a dozen Orthodox churches in the Minnesota area.

This year, we were blessed to have Bishop Anthony of Toledo as our main speaker. Over 160 people spent the weekend in a beautiful retreat setting with our Orthodox friends from all different churches learning about how to live as Orthodox Christians in a secular world. Captivating, inspiring, and entertaining, Bishop Anthony recapped the change in American culture over the decades and spoke with passion about the world we live in. Not to leave us depressed, he offered solid instruction for survival in such a changing world.

Save the Date: Second Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service is March 19, 2016

(View a video about the 2015 Day of Service)

On Saturday, March 19, 2016, the second Annual NAC Teen SOYO Day of Service will be hosted by SOYO chapters across the United States and Canada.

In reverence to the fundamental virtue of love, NAC Teen SOYO has asked that its chapters across the country dedicate this common day to the service of their local communities. SOYO members are being encouraged to organize an event on this date that will enable you to show Christ-like charity to your neighbors. 

We want to see what you are doing, so tag @NACSOYO and use the hashtag #SOYOservice in your posts on social media! Enter your local SOYO in a contest to win a beautiful icon by simply including your parish's name in one of your posts.

View the flyer for more details

Liturgical Texts Posted for Canadian Thanksgiving, October 12

The Divine Liturgy at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.The Divine Liturgy at St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.Each year, on the second Monday of October, Canada celebrates its Thanksgiving holiday as “a day of general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” Its origin dates to 1578.

The Antiochian Archdiocese has 18 Canadian parishes. For the holiday, they are encouraged to open and offer worship and thanksgiving to God for all of His gifts. To that end, the Online Liturgical Guide has provided Liturgical Texts of Great Vespers with special hymnography for the holiday, as well as Glory to God for All Things: An Akathist of Thanksgiving, composed in Russia under Communistic oppression as a reminder to the suffering clergy and faithful of God’s blessings in this life and the life to come. Parishes can offer one or the other service on Sunday night, October 11. 

Sale on Nativity Plays from Antiochian Village Bookstore

In anticipation of the 2015 Nativity Season, the Antiochian Village Bookstore is offering a sale on Playing It Up for Christmas: Christmas Plays for Children.

Price: $9.00
Now $ 8.00
SPECIAL: 5 copies only $25 now through Nov. 1
Download order form (PDF)

The book includes five plays for the Christmas season, and is written for maximum participation of students, complete with staging notes, props suggestions, costuming ideas, scripts, playbill covers and activities and discussion questions for after the show!

Sale prices are valid through November 1st, 2015. Download an order form (PDF) and order your copies from Antiochian Village Bookstore today!