News


"Blessings Beyond Bars" is New OCPM Lenten Youth Project

The Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry (OCPM) has launched "Blessings Beyond Bars," a Lenten youth project that teaches children and young adults about prison ministry. An organized lesson plan and do-it-yourself craft activity helps students turn shoeboxes into mock prison cells.  The lesson plan and step-by-step craft instructions are available at OCPM's Website.

Youth can also collect donations in the shoeboxes to help OCPM fill prisons with Bibles, prayer books, icons, and Orthodox books. This project can be done with your parish, Sunday School, youth group, family or friends during Lent.

Spring 2014 Issue of DIAKONIA Available Online

The Spring 2014 issue of DIAKONIA is now available online. This issue highlights The Diocese of Los Angeles and the West and The Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest, and contains:

  • A Lenten message from His Eminence Archbishop Joseph
  • A message from spiritual advisor Fr. David Hovik
  • A message from Diocesan President Melinda Bentz
  • Happenings Around The Diocese Of Los Angeles & the West, by Diocesan PR Director Charmaine Darmour
  • The Antiochian Women of North America: Who are they? And what is their Focus and Purpose? by Lucy Hanna
  • Embracing Orthodox Lenten Traditions, by Heidi Blair
  • Syrian War Orphans: Their Daily Struggle

...and more! Click here to download (PDF).

Updated Convention and Conference Planning Manuals Available

The Department of Convention and Conference Planning has provided updated manuals to assist in the planning of Diocesan Parish Life Conferences and the Bienniel Archdiocesan Convention. Both manuals are available as PDF downloads:

These and other Convention and Conference planning resources are always available at www.antiochian.org/DCCP/Downloads.

 

IOCC Hosts Syrian Relief Gathering in Pittsburgh, PA

Syrian Relief Dinner & Prayer Service
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
985 Providence Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15237
(opposite La Roche College, 9000 Babcock Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15237)
www.iocc.org/pittsburgh

Tickets $50.00 per person (age 18 and under $20, age 6 and under free)

Prayer Service begins at 4 p.m. - Lenten dinner and Reception from 5 - 7 p.m.

Additional donations will be appreciated. Net proceeds will benefit Syrian Relief Efforts.

Hosting this event will be the following Hierarchs:

  • Greek Diocese - His Eminence Metropolitan Savas
  • Antiochian Diocese - His Grace Bishop Thomas
  • Orthodox Church in America - His Grace Bishop Melchisedek
  • Serbian Diocese - His Grace Bishop Dr. Mitrophan
  • Ukrianian Orthodox Church - His Grace Bishop Daniel
  • Carpatho-Russian - His Grace Bishop Gregory

Sponsoring organizations: Philoptochos of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, IOCC Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee, and Antiochian Orthodox Community

For Reservations

Online (preferred method): www.iocc.org/pittsburgh, or
Call Sophie at 412-341-6869, farahs32@gmail.com, or
Laura at IOCC 877-803-4622, or
Mail: IOCC, 110 West Road, Suite 360, Baltimore, Maryland 21204, or
Ask if tickets are available in your home parish.

Ancient Faith Publishing Offers Books for Lenten Reading

Two books from Ancient Faith Publishing by Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou provide food for thought during the Lenten season.  In the new release Thirty Steps to Heaven: The Ladder of Divine Ascent for All Walks of Life,  Archimandrite Vassilios interprets the weighty classic, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, for the ordinary Christian, helping non-monastics to see how to apply the principles of The Ladder in everyday life. In Meditations for Great Lent, he uses hymns from the Lenten Triodion and the Scripture readings appointed for the season, to reveal how our fast can be made acceptable: to fast not only from food but from sin; to fast with love and humility, as a means to an end and not an end in itself. 

Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou is a priest of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. He was born in London in 1977 and holds degrees in Pastoral and Social Theology, Classics, and Byzantine Music. He is also the author of Meditations for Advent (Ancient Faith Publishing), Journey to the Kingdom: An Insider’s Look at the Liturgy and Beliefs of the Eastern Orthodox Church (Paraclete Press), and numerous articles on Christian Orthodox faith and theology.

Browse Ancient Faith Publishing's Lent & Pascha Store

Diocese of Worcester Pioneers Innovative "Family Day"

The start of February, 2014 in New England came with a reprieve from the cold weather and storms which had punished the northeast this winter. The climate instead was perfect for the newly organized innovative program, "Diocesan Family Day." The tagline on the flyers for the event read "bringing together our finest...our people and our traditions" and it certainly came true. For many years in the Diocese of Worcester and New England, the Antiochian Women have sponsored the pre-Lenten retreat, and for five years running young people from the parishes have gathered for Youth Day. So the thought this year was, why not combine them, and why not add more events so everyone in the diocesan family can participate? The Family Day, held at the church of St. John of Damascus in Dedham, was, in a word, "fabulous!"

AFR Interviews Metropolitan Antony about Ukraine Crisis

Chesterton, IN (AFR) On Saturday, February 22, 2014, Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) released an interview with Metropolitan Antony, primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States, about the crisis in Ukraine. In the half hour interview, AFR's Kevin Allen asked questions related to the protests in Ukraine, and discussed the political climate, the hopes for peace, and the role of the Orthodox Churches in the region.

For three months, Ukrainian protestors have occupied Kiev's Maidan, or Independence Square. They are demanding closer ties to the European Union, changes to the Ukraine's constitution, and altering of the government's power structures. There have been violent clashes between protestors and police, with hundreds of people killed in the past few weeks. Orthodox and Catholic priests have courageously ministered to both protesters and government forces in the midst of the chaos. In the podcast, Metropolitan Antony helped to unravel the complexity of the political environment, and also explained the involvement of the Orthodox church in preserving lives.

Apply Now for Camp Scholarships: Deadline is 3/1

Antiochian clergy and parishioners should be reminded that camper scholarships are again available to each parish and mission in the Antiochian Archdiocese through the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Applications were mailed to all parish priests on January 16, 2014. If you are a priest and have not received that mailing, please be in immediate contact with Fr. Anthony Yazge of Antiochian Village, at franthony@antiochianvillage.org. Please note that applications to receive your scholarships ($700 per parish) must be received by Fr. Anthony no later than Saturday, March 1, 2014. More camping information is available from the Department of Camping.

IOCC is Assisting in Evacuation of Syrians Fleeing Homs

February 12, 2014 (Baltimore, MD) Syrian civilians evacuated from the embattled city of Homs under a UN-negotiated cease-fire are being aided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) as they flee to safety. IOCC and its church partner in Syria, The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA), are in Homs assisting in the evacuation that began this weekend and are providing emergency relief to the Syrian people fleeing the city.

Among the evacuees were ten youths who were immediately taken to the nearest medical facility for needed vaccines and medical attention. IOCC/GOPA also assisted in providing the young evacuees with food, clothing, shoes, hygiene kits, and blankets.

Nearly 400 residents from the Homs neighborhoods of Alaqrabas, Jouret Shiah, Khalidiya, Karabis, and Bustan Al Diwan fled the city today on foot flanked by UN humanitarian vehicles for protection. Those who were not too weak from months of malnutrition walked for more than two hours before reaching safety.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest John Elias

MEMORY ETERNAL! The Very Rev. John Elias was born in 1939 in Hafa, Latakia, Syria. He passed away on February 11, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. Father John faithfully served the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in America for 40 years in the following parishes:
St. Mary's Yonkers, NY; St. Thomas in Sioux City, Iowa; St. George in Akron, OH; St. George in El Paso, Texas; St. Mary in Omaha, NE; and St. George in Jacksonville, FL, where he served from 1992-2001.

Archpriest John was preceded in death by his parents: Nassim and Badia; his sisters Yvonne, Azizeh, and Mother Antonina. He is survived by his wife, Kh. Nawall Elias; his children Yvonne, Jany (husband), Azizeh, Zaharia (husband), Nassim, Dana (wife); his grandchildren: Reema, Nicole, John, Alina, Michael, Christopher; his brothers Aziz and Spiro, and his sisters Hind and Nadia. Father John was a beloved priest, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. May his memory be eternal. Christ is Risen!

OCF Day of Prayer is March 2-3

The Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) has announced a Day of Prayer for college students across the United States as they begin the 2014 Lenten journey at the beginning of March. OCF Day of Prayer is a program that unites the various chapters across North America in prayer. Each year, on the first day of Great Lent (Clean Monday), participating OCF chapters take part in 24 hours of unceasing prayer. Each school takes a one-hour slot to pray for themselves, their chapters and their fellow students.

Chapters of OCF are invited to sign up for an hour of prayer that begins at 6:00 p.m. EST on Forgiveness Sunday, March 2. Chapters are invited to submit prayer requests for family members and friends, and each prayer intention will be forwarded to participating chapters in the Day of Prayer commemorations.

More information is available on the Day of Prayer webpage at the OCF's Website.

Boston Byzantine Music Festival to Feature Concert and Lecture

The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College/Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology will host the Boston Byzantine Music Festival at the Maliotis Center on the Holy Cross Brookline, MA campus on February 24–25, 2014. The festival will feature concerts by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir and by the ensemble En Chordais, with lectures by Dr. Emmanouil Giannopoulos, assistant professor at the Higher Ecclesiastical Academy in Ioannina, Greece, and Dr. Kyriakos Kalaitzidis, Faculty of Music Studies, University of Athens. 

The festival coincides with the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the New Method of Analytical Notation, a major landmark in the history of Byzantine music. 

Individual concert tickets are available for $40.00, or $70 for both concerts. Student tickets can be purchsed for $15.00 per concert. Visit the Festival Website for more information and to order tickets.

New FOCUS Video Features Inner-City Food Program

A new video from the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) produced by award winning filmmaker Kevin Bryce, sheds light on American children who are hungry. Children in needy communities in America sometimes go a day or more without eating because their families can't afford groceries, and FOCUS is working to address that situation.

Memory Eternal! + Abe Abraham

Abe Abraham, age 101, fell peacefully asleep in the Lord at his home on Wednesday, January 29, 2014. He is preceded in death by his parents, Sleyman and Zahia Abraham, brother, James and wife, Georgette, sister-in-law, Margaret, and brother-in-law, Dr. Thomas Bander.

Abe was an officer in the United States Army serving as a lieutenant in India during World War II. He was an active member of the Variety Club of Grand Rapids and a life member of St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, Grand Rapids, MI, serving in several leadership roles. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America since 1955, its longest serving member. Metropolitan Philip presented him with the Antonian Gold Medal for this dedication and leadership to the church. He is also a life member of the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

Memory Eternal! + Archpriest George Aswad

MEMORY ETERNAL! Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of the newly-departed servant of God, brother, and concelebrant Archpriest George Aswad, pastor emeritus of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Niagara Falls, NY, who fell asleep in Christ early on the morning of January 31, 2014. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

Condolences may be sent to his wife Khouria Grace and their children and grandchildren care of the parish email address, saintgeorgeorthodox@yahoo.com.

Visit this Website to add your memories and read reflections and tributes for Fr. George.

(From His Grace Bishop Basil)

Boston Byzantine Choir Releases "Lenten Journey" CD

Since its inception in 1993 by Charles R. Marge, the Boston Byzantine Choir has endeavored to make Byzantine chant and the Orthodox Christian faith accessible to the English-speaking world. The choir grew out of the rich chanting tradition of St. Mary Orthodox Church with The Very Rev. Antony Hughes, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The choir has sung at universities, parishes and music festivals throughout New England.

In 2007, The Boston Byzantine Choir was honored to participate in "The Ascending Voice," a symposium of sacred a cappella music held at Pepperdine University. The choir has also sung multiple times for Orthodox Education Day at St. Vladimir's Seminary and the Sacred Music Institute of the Antiochian Archdiocese. The Boston Byzantine Choir is best known for its five recordings of Byzantine Chant in English, available from Ancient Faith Publishing.

ORDO 2014 Western Rite Liturgical Guide Now Available

The Western Rite Vicariate announces the publication of ORDO 2014. This booklet is the official liturgical guide for all Western Rite parishes in the Vicariate. It contains directions for reciting the Divine Office and celebrating the Mass according to the calendar and use of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. It contains rubrics for both the Rite of St. Gregory with the Monastic Diurnal, and the Rite of St. Tikhon with The English Office.

The ORDO 2014 is available in both print and electronic formats. Copies may be purchased at the St. Luke’s Priory Press Store on Lulu: www.lulu.com/spotlight/frfenton.

AFR Podcast Offers "Primer" on Triodion and Great Lent

In a special episode of Orthodoxy Live on Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) on January 26, 2014, host Fr. Evan Armatas, rector of St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church, welcomed John Maddex into the studio. Both speakers offered an overview of the Lenten Triodion and Great Lent, designed to be informative for the newly chrismated Orthodox Christian or the inquirer. Listeners learned about the history and current significance of Great Lent, and how to best prepare for it.

Orthodoxy Live regularly offers listeners an opportunity to ask pointed questions about the Orthodox Church. Perfect for seekers, converts, and cradle Orthodox Christian alike, this program provides an opportunities for people to ask the tough questions about the Orthodox faith. The program with Fr. Evan streams live, with listener call-ins from around the world, on the first and third Sundays of each month at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific, on AFR's Talk Station.

Patriarch John X of Antioch and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow Issue Appeal on Syria

The Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church reports:

On 26 January 2014, His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Great Antioch and All the East and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia made a joint statement addressed to the participants in the Geneva II International Conference on Syria. Taking part in the Conference are representatives of the opposing parties and the world community. The text of the Statement is given below.

We, Primates of fraternal Orthodox Churches, the Church of Antioch and the Russian Church, met in Moscow in order to once again bear witness to love in Christ, the love which our Churches have preserved intact through centuries and which is addressed to all people regardless their nationality, religion or political views.

Today our common prayers go to the long-suffering Syrian people undergoing unprecedented ordeals. The land, in which Muslims and Christians have lived together for centuries, has been filled with tears of those who are lamenting the death of their relatives and friends and who have been driven away from their homes. The calamity that has come to the once peaceful land spares neither old people nor children, neither Muslims nor Christians. No heart can remain indifferent to the horrible tragedy in Syria.

These days, Switzerland is hosting an international conference which gathered at the negotiating table representatives of the opposing parties and the world community. We address our ardent appeal to the participants in the meeting, asking them to exert every possible effort to end the bloodshed and restore peace in the blessed Syrian land.

Louisiana Parish Temple is Gutted by Fire

His Grace Bishop Basil, Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, reported on January 26, 2014 that St. John the Divine Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lake Charles, LA, with pastors Fr. Michael Pavez and Fr. Philip Rogers, was gutted by fire on Sunday morning following the Liturgy. It appears that the entire interior of the church temple was destroyed.

KPLCtv.com reported that the parish "appeared to have heavy smoke and fire damage. Firefighters and utility crews were still tending to hot spots Sunday afternoon....Crew members said it doesn't appear anyone was inside the building when the fire started. There's no word on what caused the fire, which appeared to have started toward the rear of the structure."

The parish also suffered severe damage about six years ago, said Dn. Elias Nicols, after a hurricane. "It's awful but God willing, we have a resilient group of people here and we're going to go back and rebuild it and have us a new church. We're not giving up on it."

Read the news story.

 

PBS Highlights IOCC Syrian Work and Refugee Plight

A January 24, 2014 story on the Religion & Ethics Newsweekly program, "Jordan's Syrian Refugees," was produced by the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS). The report featured the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) humanitarian response to Syrian refugees living in Jordan. A PBS team visited Syrian refugees living in a refugee camp and in the city of Amman and offered a firsthand look at the struggles and the heartaches of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have fled their country's civil war.

IOCC Country Representative for Jordan Dimitrije Djukic, spoke with PBS reporter Kim Lawton about IOCC's role, and about the difficulties faced by the refugees, arriving at a rate of some 300 a day. "According to the UN High Commission for Refugees," noted Lawton, "almost 600,000 Syrians have officially registered as refugees in this nation of 6.6 million. But aid workers say at least the same number have not registered, largely out of fear of retaliation from Syria. The UN and international aid agencies have been working to meet the dire needs. Faith-based groups are actively mobilizing as well, and many religious leaders say they provide a unique contribution in the midst of the crisis." The United Nations, pointed out Lawton, has described the situation as “the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of modern times.”

Watch the program on PBS.

Spotlight: Your Parish and the Web

Is your parish reaching out for new members in 2014? There has never been more opportunity for parishes to publicize events, broadcast service times, introduce themselves to their surrounding communities, and reach out to newcomers, than they can today through the web. Even the smallest mission now has a simple and effective way to announce its presence.

While the Antiochian.org team doesn't build individual church websites, we have assembled resources to help parishes design and maintain a Website, with 50 members or 500. With today's resources, many of them free, parishioners with little to no technical background can put together a serviceable website that will serve as a point of entry for seekers and Orthodox looking for a church home. 

Visit the resource section, Your Parish and the Web, on Antiochian.org.

Village Hosts Homeschooling Conference: March 27-30, 2014

Dr. Christopher Veniamin, professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA, will deliver the keynote addresses at the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference at the Antiochian Village in March. Children's workshops will be held for ages three and up. Presentations are meant to cover the spectrum of interests and concerns of parents from "Homeschooling 101" beginners to veterans who are homeschooling teens. Three tracks are offered at each session, focusing on "big picture" questions, ages and stages, and practical tips and techniques.

Registration fees, lodging, and meal packages are offered as economically as possible, with a special pricing cap so families will pay food expenses for their four oldest family members only. Register before February 27 for an early-bird price! In addition to the sessions, which cover homeschooling topics from theological and practical, general and specific perspectives, attendees will participate in services and have beautiful opportunities to experience works from photographer Jocelyn Mathewes, artist Leila Chokheli, illustrator Niko Chocheli, and author Chrissi Hart. Family photo sessions with Jocelyn Mathewes are also offered. 

Download the flyer

New Podcast with Antiochian Priest Features the Inner Life

January 20, 2014

The Very Rev. Michael Gillis, rector at Holy Nativity Orthodox Church in Langley, British Columbia, will be offering regular spiritual reflections in his new podcast on Ancient Faith Radio (AFR), “Praying in the Rain.”  Drawing on the wisdom of both ancient and contemporary Church Fathers, Fr. Michael will ponder "the struggles, the ironies, and the disciplines of the spiritual life," notes AFR. Written versions of many of Fr. Michael’s musings can be found at his blog site as well.

Blessed Name's Days to Bishops Antoun and Anthony!

January 17th is the celebration of St. Anthony the Great and the name's days of His Grace Bishop Antoun of the Diocese of Miami and of His Grace Bishop Anthony of the Diocese of Toledo. May God grant them many years!

APOLYTIKION OF ST. ANTHONY THE GREAT, TONE 4 

Thou didst become like the zealous Elijah in his condition, and followed John the Baptist in his upright ways, becoming a dweller in the wilderness and an establisher of the universe by thy prayer, O Father Anthony. Wherefore, intercede thou with Christ God to save our souls.