Saint Katherine College, a new independent Orthodox Christian institution slated to begin classes in the fall of 2011, will host "College Kaleidoscope Days" for high school juniors and seniors at its Encinitas, CA campus Thursday and Saturday, January 20th and 22nd, 2011. The event will feature presentations on goal setting, discerning a "good fit" when selecting a college, fun activities, lunch, and more. For more information log on to the college’s web site.
On December 21, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Annual Christmas visit of the Choir from St. George in Little Falls, NJ at the Archdiocese Headquarters. This visit has become an annual tradition, and always fills the headquarters with the joy of music, and good fellowship.
The choir began the singing of Christmas hymns outside the front entrance of the house and then made its way into the house to greet His Eminence. They were led by the pastor, Very Rev. Elias Bitar, and Mrs. Christine Lynch, the choir director. After receiving a blessing from His Eminence, the choir continued their beautiful singing in the living room. At the conclusion of the musical program, everyone gathered in the chapel for evening prayers.
Finally, the choir was treated to dessert and coffee in the dining room.
As always, it was an evening of joy and good fellowship during this most blessed season of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On December 15, the documentary "Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer" was posted on Comcast and Verizon Fios Video-On-Demand in a pre-theatrical release. In early 2011 it will debut in theaters and will eventually be available on DVD.
A companion book, “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer: Experiencing the Presence of God and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of an Ancient Spirituality,” will be published February 8, 2011 by HarperOne.
The film and book begin with a visit to St. Anthony's in Upper Egypt, the oldest existing monastery on earth, where Father Lazarus explains what the prayer is and how to use it. The authors' voyage continues to St. Catherine's monastery, in existence near Mt. Sinai since the fifth century, and to monastic communities in Eastern Europe: Romania, Ukraine and Russia.
Traveling with cameras and crews to ancient lands of peace and solitude, the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen (Professor of Byzantine Christian Studies, Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University), and Dr. Norris J. Chumley, a media producer and columnist for Beliefnet, visited hermits, priests and nuns in caves and monasteries to record their use of this ancient mystical prayer.
The film's beautiful cinematography captures the heart of Orthodox faith and worship.
Orthodox Christian Network is featuring several podcasts in the week leading up to Christmas, that focus on holiday themes. In "Teens and Technology," Dr. Ary Christofidis discusses the new dominance of tech toys under the Christmas tree, and looks at the potential pitfalls this can cause. In "Battling Over Nativity Scenes," the Just Thinking podcast with Fr. Chris Metropulos and journalist Terry Mattingly, discusses how Christmas for most is now defined by shopping and commerce. "Is there a better way for us to celebrate a Christmas filled with the Love of Christ rather than battling over where we place our Nativity Scenes?" they ask. "Message in our Christmas Carols," is a segment of the Theologically Thinking podcast, in which Fr. William Chiganos examines the messages found within the traditional Carols enjoyed in December. Other podcasts tackle the topics of stress, and recovering the joy and peace found in the faith.
Ancient Faith Radio announces that the CD "Hymns of the Hogar" is now available here.
In May 2010, Ancient Faith Radio, at the request of the Friends of the Hogar Rafael Ayau, recorded the children of the Hogar Rafael Ayau in Guatemala City singing the Orthodox Christian Hymns for Matins and Vespers as they do in their daily lives at the Hogar.
The CD includes 25 tracks. All proceeds from the sale of the CD will support the Capital Campaign Building Fund to bring construction of a new home for the children, Hogar San Miguel, to fruition. The children are in desperate need of a safer place to live away from the dangers surrounding the current orphanage.
The CD's are priced at $22 - $18.00 plus $4 for Shipping and Handling.
30th Sunday after Pentecost
December 19, 2010
Order of St. Ignatius awards $3000 grant renewal for continued Chinese translation of Lives of Saints
The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch, at its governing council meeting held in Jacksonville, Florida on October 22, 2010, approved a $3,000 grant renewal to the Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China.
This grant comes with the archpastoral blessing of Metropolitan Philip at a critical juncture after the inaugural publication of the Chinese translation of the January volume of the Prologue from Ohrid by St. Nikolai of Zica, supplemented with additional lives of selected saints from other synaxaria.
The grant will make possible the uninterrupted translation and publication of subsequent monthly volumes of this invaluable work for the daily spiritual nourishment of the Chinese speaking Faithful and inquirers into the Faith from other confessions, in and outside of China.
As a supplement to the grant, consider sponsoring for a specific daily reading of the Prologue from Ohrid, for the good health or in memory of loved one, for a names day, wedding anniversary, day of repose, or any other special occasion, which will be noted on the bottom of each sponsored entry of the Prologue, and those reading the daily devotion for that day can pray for your loved ones. Check feast days available for sponsorship at http://prologue.orthodox.cn/prayers.html.
Several Antiochian Christians have been instrumental in forming the Friends of Indonesia, an organization dedicated to furthering the Indonesian mission efforts of Fr. Daniel Byantoro. Antiochian priest Fr. Gordon Walker serves as Board Chair, along with Treasurer Cal Oren, parishioner at Holy Cross in Linthicum, Maryland.
Recently, Friends of Indonesia launched a website that gives the history of the Orthodox Indonesian Church, introduces the clergy and parishes to readers, and hosts photo galleries of the ongoing growth of the Church there. Explains Board Chair Fr. Gordon Walker, "We hold firmly to the Orthodox missionary imperative that the Church grows in each local culture according to the truths those cultures already hold. We labor to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Indonesian people in ways that respects and affirms their cultural distinctiveness, and build a Church that will reflect and strengthen the rich cultural heritage they already possess. It is hard to overstate the miracle happening in Indonesia. Our hope is that you might become inspired as we are and join us in this effort."
We look with joyous anticipation to the Nativity of our Lord. We are also honored that Metropolitan Philip has designated December 19 as the day to honor The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Attached are three documents (Word format):
I ask that our Diocesan Chairs send these documents to a member of The Order of each parish in your diocese AND parish priest with a request that a presentation be made this coming Sunday, preferably by a member of The Order or alternatively, the parish priest.
I have also attached for your review a brief on How we give through the Order of St. Ignatius. This should be helpful in response to those who ask about joining anonymously.
Our DVD should have been sent to each parish for viewing this Sunday.
I thank each of you for your commitment and service to The Order and to our Antiochian Archdiocese. We are blessed that so many people have come forward to give generously and from their heart to those in need. We believe and witness God combining our individual gifts and then multiplying them so that combined we can do what none can do alone. This is the "miracle of The Order."
May our Lord bless you and your family and grant you a joyous Nativity and a healthy, happy, and peaceful 2011.
The Web Site of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America (formerly known as the "Episcopal Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Hierarchs in North and Central America") is now live. Take a look at www.episcopalassembly.org. Updates and additions will continue to be made to the several web pages which comprise the site, so check back frequently!
Bishop Basil writes:
MEMORY ETERNAL! Abraham "Bus" Bayouth, 94, of Skiatook, Oklahoma, father of A.B. Bayouth, vice president of DOWAMA's Fellowship of St. John and tireless supporter of Camp Saint Raphael, fell asleep in Christ this past Monday, December 13th, 2010. The Trisagion Prayers of Mercy will be chanted for the repose of his soul on December 15 at seven o'clock at St. Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the funeral will be served on December 16 at two o'clock at the Skiatook High School Activity Center. Condolences to his wife Mrs. Abraham (Su'ad) Bayouth and their three sons A.B., Gary and Gregory. Please join me in praying a rope for the repose of his soul, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, grant rest to the soul of Thy departed servant." May he be granted Paradise, and may you be granted long life.
On December 7-9, clergy from all over the west gathered for their second annual retreat at the Holy Monastery of the Theotokos, the Life Giving Spring, in Dunlap, California. Led by four bishops, His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos [Greek Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Joseph [Antiochian Archdiocese]; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin [OCA]; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim [Serbian Patriarchate], clergy of all jurisdictions enjoyed the beautiful facilities of the St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center, listened to speakers, and worshipped together. Clergy came back to their parishes refreshed and edified by the teaching on the topic "Physician Heal Thyself--Orthodox steps of spiritual transformation" with Retreat Master Archimandrite Meletios (Webber), Abbot of the St. John the Wonderworker Monastery in Manton, CA.
A successful season for the Orthodox Institute, an innovative and highly regarded Christian Education training program pioneered by Antiochian Christian Education Director Carole Buleza, concluded with a three day Institute at Antiochian Village in November. Institutes took place in cities both in Canada and the U.S. St. Michael's Church in Van Nuys, California was the site for the first Institute on September 18; subsequent Institutes were hosted in Edmonton on October 2, then Harrisburg on October 9, Ontario on October 23, and finally at Antiochian Village on November 4-7. Noted iconographers and speakers taught sessions that fit into one of three tracks: Church School Director, Teacher Training, or Orthodoxy. Participants came from all regions and jurisdictions.
Besides racking up the miles, Director Carole Buleza also met with many teachers across the country, and she commented on the spirit of pan-Orthodox cooperation present this year, enabling her to reflect afterwards that this year's Institute "was a decisive event for Orthodox Christian Education." (See an Institute photo gallery here.)
Attendees offered these retrospectives:
This past November the halls, meeting rooms and dining hall at the Antiochian Village were alive with the language of iconography. At this year’s Orthodox Institute, the 10th anniversary, the theme was icononography; the history of icons; the stories they tell; praying with icons and using them as a tool for teaching. The three-day institute began with a keynote address by Frederica Mathewes-Green, who spoke of her personal experience with icons and her journey to Orthodoxy; this was followed by two days of workshops on icons, which included presentations by the well-known iconographer/illustrator, Niko Chochelli, iconographer, Cheryl Pituch and authors, Anton Vram and Chrissie Hart and the staff of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education.
DETROIT, MI [COCC] -- A fall benefit concert sponsored by the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metropolitan Detroit [COCC] raised more than $5,000.00 for International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].
The concert of "Music from the Twelve Great Feasts” was presented by the Orthodox Choir of Metropolitan Detroit on Sunday, October 17, 2010 at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Troy, MI.
The choir was conducted by Artistic Director Vickie Kopistiansky, who also conducts the choir at Holy Trinity Church [OCA], Detroit. Archpriest Paul Jannakos of Saint Mary Magdalene Church [OCA], Fenton, MI, provided commentary.
The Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve (FOCUS) reports:
Over 1000 people attended the Dec. 3rd House of Blues at Downtown Disney charity concert benefiting FOCUS Orange County and two other local charities. FOCUS Orange County was given 15 minutes of stage time to share the work FOCUS Orange County is doing and collected 150 cans of food for the food pantry at El Dorado Motel, which makes the food available to the many working poor families staying at its motel and the neighboring Valencia Motel.
In November, FOCUS Orange County began its weekly meal ministry at the Valencia, where 100+ meals are served each Sunday night by FOCUS volunteers. Working poor families may also receive clothing items that have been donated.
Stocking the El Dorado’s food pantry is just one more way FOCUS Orange County is working with area Orthodox churches to make sure that working poor families will not have to choose between food or shelter this Christmas.
The Village is also now accepting applications for 2011 Summer Camp staff.
- Winter Camp Session 1: January 14-17, 2011
- Winter Camp Session 2: February 18-21, 2011
- Service Weekend: May 20-22, 2011
- Family Camp: May 27-30, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 1 (1 wk): June 19-26, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 1 (2 wks): June 19-July 1, 2011
- Chanting Camp Session 1: June 19-July 1, 2011
- Chanting Camp Session 2: July 3-15, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 2 (2 wks): July 3-15, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 3 (2 wks): July 17-29, 2011
- Iconography Camp: July 17-25, 2011
- Summer Camp Session 4 (2 wks): July 31-August 12, 2011
- Special Olympics Camp: August 12-20, 2011
- Family Camp Homeschool Edition: August 26-29, 2011
December 8, 2010
Baltimore, Md. (IOCC) — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $26.4 million to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for a program in Lebanon that will improve student achievement, expand after-school programs, provide training for public school teachers and upgrade educational facilities in 600 Lebanese public schools over the next four years. The program is part of a $75 million initiative that will be implemented in 1,400 schools in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Education and Higher Education and five other agencies, including the Education Development Center which is managing the entire initiative for USAID.
"For nearly a decade, children have been an important focus of IOCC's efforts in Lebanon in collaboration with the Orthodox Church and the Lebanese Government," said His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Primate of the Antiochian Christian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America. "This award validates the efforts we have steadfastly supported and ensures that the essential work of improving conditions for children and others that IOCC has undertaken in the Middle East with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch through its institutions, including the University of Balamand, will continue."
During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Lebanese children were some of the worst affected. Nearly one-third of all civilian deaths and injuries were suffered by children and over half a million children were forced to flee their homes. The conflict also damaged more than 300 schools. IOCC's presence in Lebanon not only led to an immediate humanitarian response for those impacted by the violence, but also led to subsequent IOCC activities in rebuilding damaged schools.
Fr. Josiah Trenham, priest at St. Andrew Orthodox Church of Riverside, California, recently launched a website "dedicated to sharing the sweet teachings and timeless traditions of the early Christian writers." States the site' introduction, "Patristic Nectar Publications is a non-profit California business created to advance the cause of the Orthodox Christian faith by the publication of materials for catechesis designed both for the edification of Orthodox believers and the illumination of a wide array of non-Orthodox inquirers. Our publications are marked by zealous fidelity to the mind of the Orthodox Church as expressed in the writings of the Holy Fathers and produces a wide range of patristic audio books in order to bring the wealth of Sacred Tradition to a generation attuned to listening rather than reading."
At Patristic Nectar Publications, browsers can listen to audio presentations of timely topics such as "An Address on Vainglory and the Proper Upbringing of Children" by St. John Chrysostom, and "The Soul After Death," by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco. The site also hosts sacred music selections, Fr. Josiah's Arena blog, the Arena podcasts, and information about St. Andrew parish.
On December 4, an article in the esteemed Los Angeles Times featured St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Christian Cathedral, see of His Grace Bishop Joseph. The piece, titled "At 60, a church blends Arabic, English and Spanish," described the Cathedral's outreach into the community of Latino families that live in the parish's neighborhood, and the adaptive liturgical schedule that includes an 8 a.m. Spanish liturgy, followed by the 10 a.m. Arabic and English liturgy.
"We are in this neighborhood, we want to do outreach to our neighbors," Father Michel Najim, Cathedral Dean, explained to the Times reporter. "When you live in a community that has a cultural background, [we] need to open up to other cultures and other denominations."
The article describes how at the Cathedral's Mediterranean festival in June, tacos are sold alongside the traditional Middle Eastern foods of falafel, shawarma and kebabs. About 1,500 families are members at St. Nicholas.
St. Stylianos Books was founded by Lily Parascheva Rowe to publish books she has written with illustrator Roland J Ford. Both attend Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in Linthicum MD. In looking for children's books for her children, Rowe found that there wasn't much Bible story material available in English to give her children something to return to again and again--without the need for parental revisions or additions in order to make the Bible story books truly Orthodox.
Astounded by the overall lack of material in English for Orthodox children, Lily started writing books which combine elements from iconography and the hymnography of the Church, while interweaving these things with the Traditional narrative of the Church. "The main difference a reader will notice between these books and typical Bible story books is the completion of the narrative," she explains.
St. Vladimir's Seminary's website has announced that the Seminary will be presenting a premiere performance of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev's moving St. Matthew Passion choral work, which blends the Church's liturgical texts with St. Matthew's Gospel story.
Reports the site, "On Monday, February 7, 2011, St. Vladimir’s Seminary will present the U.S. English-language premiere of the piece at 7:30 p.m. at The Church of St. Paul the Apostle, 405 West 59th Street, New York City.
Maestro Carlo Ponti, Jr. will conduct the performance, with The Salomé Chamber Orchestra, famed soloists soprano Mary Mackenzie, mezzo-soprano Ana Mihanovic, and tenor Timothy Parsons, and the New York Virtuoso Singers led by Harold Rosenbaum, under his baton. As a prelude to the season of Great Lent, the composition will convey the Gospel account—using scriptural texts interspersed with texts of the liturgical services of the Orthodox Church that are normally sung during Holy Week—in the forms of music recitative, choruses, fugues, and arias.
The composer, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, who is Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations and an episcopal member of Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, will also be present at the premiere. His musical expertise and reputation are renowned; he studied composition at Moscow Gnessins School of Music and subsequently at the Moscow State Conservatory. In 1987 he was ordained priest, and since 2002 he has been a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church."
Go here for the full story and ticket information.
During the Holiday season, Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, a ministry of SCOBA, has encouraged all Orthodox faithful to remember those who are behind bars, with our love, prayers, visits, and gifts. Go here to donate to OCPM.
The Psalms have been called the “Hymn Book of the Church” and contain rich and prophetic references to Christ. In this new Ancient Faith Radio podcast, "Let My Prayer Arise," Fr. Wilbur Ellsworth, priest at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church in Warrenville, Illinois, will be taking listeners through the Psalter to help them make the Psalms the prayer of their hearts. "The Lord's Prayer is the flower and the fruit, of the roots, stalk and stem of the Psalms," says Fr. Ellsworth. "When we pray, we are not alone," he adds. The Psalms, he explains, have three important aspects. First, they are a historical connection to the prayers of God's people. Secondly, the Psalms are Christological--Jesus Himself pointed out that the Psalms spoke of Himself. "They are nothing less than the prayers of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He would have been immersed in these prayers from infancy." Third, the Psalms are liturgical. "In this podcast, we will often reflect on where and how these Psalms are used in the Orthodox liturgy," promises Fr. Wilbur.
"I encourage you to listen with the Psalm text before you. Begin to read, and then, to memorize."
Orthodox Christian Fellowship reminds college students that registration for the 2010 College Conference is open HERE. This year’s conference focuses on the theme of “Behold, I make all things new,” (Rev. 21:5) and is being held in four locations, Chicago, IL area, Salem, SC, Bolivar, PA, and Dunlap, CA.
Hundreds of college students from throughout North America gather each year at College Conference in order to learn and grow with one another in their Orthodox Christian faith. With student organizers and participants coming from all jurisdictions, the event is an exemplary display of pan-Orthodox coordination and unity. During the Conference students participate in workshops facilitated by clergy and lay leaders which address topics relevant to college-aged students. As well, shared witness and Christian fellowship are woven into the time together making the event a truly edifying and transformative experience. Speakers include a scientist and professor Dr. Gayle Woloschak (Pennsylvania), Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA (Chicago), Archimandrite Meletios Webber (California) and Father John Parker (South Carolina).
A limited number of scholarships are available and offered on a first come-first served basis. For more information and to register online please visit OCF's website.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has announced that their newest resource, the Orthodox Christian Teen Survival Guide Brochure Series, is now available for free download. Each brochure offers teens the information they need to navigate through tough issues, some facts and statistics, the church's response, Q&A's, and resources for more information. The one-page handouts can be used for starting discussions, youth group gatherings, Sunday School, or even the church bookstore.
Starting in January, a podcast on OCN will supplement these materials. "Our kids today need a sacred image: our adults need to take a role," notes Fr. Christopher Metropulos, Executive Director of Orthodox Christian Network. "It's tough being a parent, one of the most difficult jobs in the world," echoes Fr. Mark Leondis, Director of Youth Ministries for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. Both priests will be hosting the podcast, which will target parents, youth workers, and all those who love teens. The podcast will mirror the online Survival Guide material for youth and help parents use the guide to discuss issues kids are faced with on a daily basis.
St. Augustine, FL – In 2010, the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) sent 119 people on short-term mission teams around the world to offer a living witness to the Orthodox Christian faith through loving service and fellowship. Orthodox Mission Team opportunities are now available for 2011, and by the prayers of the Faithful in North America, OCMC hopes that even more people will answer the call to share in a journey of faith by spending one to three weeks abroad teaching the faith, providing healthcare, participating in outreach, ministering to youth, or helping to build and maintain churches.
Please contact Andrew Lekos or Pres. Renee Ritsi by phone at 1-877-GO-FORTH (463-6784) or by e-mail at email@example.com for more information. Visit the website here for additional details about, or to apply for, 2011 OCMC Orthodox Mission Teams.