Director of the Department of Christian Education, Carole Buleza, shares her thoughts at the beginning of the 2012-2013 Sunday School year.
Back to the Bible
As our last Festivals theme asserted, the Bible fills us with eternal joy; by my account: eternal and yet ever-new are the lessons it teaches, and joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ can speak to each of us through its words. Lately I have been reading St. Paul’s words in his epistles to the early Churches. In every one of them, his hope is that young Christians learn more and more about the Way of salvation. Even I, a Christian for over half a century, find a lesson each time I pick up my Bible.
As the Director of the Department of Christian Education, I would urge all of us to make the 2012 Creative Festivals theme an abiding theme for our lives. If only for a few minutes, open and read each day. I keep our Bible at the dinner table, and after we pray and everyone is served, I open and read a passage from the Gospels so my family will hear the name of Jesus, and His words, every day. I don’t “unpack” the message, I just read and close the Bible. Sometimes I begin with a phrase like, “Let’s see what Jesus is doing now.”
As a mother, I want my home centered on Christ, and this small effort—sometimes less than two minutes—opens the door so Christ can be present with us at our evening meal. If I could issue a directive to all Orthodox mothers to do the same, I would. If you need help in getting started, let me know: email@example.com, or via our Facebook page, “Orthodox Christian Parenting.”
Fort Lauderdale, FL (OCN)
The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), a not-for-profit online Christian radio and learning portal, announces the acquisition of Illumination Learning, a not-for-profit, online hub for Orthodox Christian education resources.
"Younger generations are increasingly turning to the Internet to learn and engage the original teachings of Christ nurtured and protected by the Orthodox Christian faith," said Father Chris Metropulos, Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Network. "OCN is ready and eager to expand our education offerings online."
"Illumination Learning has been blessed to engage thousands of students of all ages throughout the world - children, parents, and adults - to access videos, podcasts, and blogs and learn from some of the great minds in Orthodoxy worldwide," said Jennifer Hock, Founder and President of Illumination Learning. "The OCN expands our reach and resources in providing Orthodox Christian education resources."
"Illumination Learning offers all of us the opportunity to learn without being limited by geography. Think of all the Orthodox speakers you'd love to hear who haven't come to your city or parish. With Illumination Learning, you can travel and learn without ever leaving your house! You can hear theologians from around the world, experts in fields that matter to you, and spiritual giants who proclaim the Gospel with zeal and love. It is the most readily available, easily accessible, and cost-effective way ever to sit at the feet of the greatest Orthodox minds of our time and experience the faith in a new way," continued Jennifer Hock.
In his first visit to campus as a hierarch, His Grace The Right Rev. John Abdalah, auxiliary bishop for the Antiochian Archdiocese's Diocese of Worcester and New England, presided over the liturgy for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos at Three Hierarchs Chapel on campus.
Bishop John received his Master of Divinity degree with the Class of 1984. For 33 years, he served as a priest of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, before being consecrated as Auxiliary of the Diocese of Worcester and New England on December 11, 2011. He also holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care from Pittsburgh Theological School, a Master's equivalency certificate in Pastoral Counseling from Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts.
As a late summer storm blew through the Westchester County campus, bringing wind and rain that relentlessly pounded the chapel, His Grace calmly and joyfully served alongside other Antiochian and seminary clergy.
MEMORY ETERNAL! Paul Saba, 88, of Largo, Florida, passed away on August 15, 2012. Paul was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 1, 1923 to Gabriel and Pauline (Asha) Saba. Paul was a member of the Order of St. Ignatius and a founding member of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, St. Petersburg, Florida. A veteran of the US Air Force, Paul was currently attending Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Safety Harbor, Florida. He was very active in the Orthodox Church and was president of the SOYO club several times.
On Saturday August 18, eight Orthodox clergy, future residents and their families, and friends of the Sheltering Tree gathered in an open lot in Bellevue, Nebraska--despite the threat of rain--to pray with His Grace, Bishop Basil of The Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America, as he blessed the building site for The Sheltering Tree I, a communal residence for developmentally disabled persons.
The Sheltering Tree I is the result of much faith and prayer and hard work. This first Sheltering Tree will be a home for 10 developmentally disabled persons who will enjoy independence in their own distinct apartments, surrounding common areas for community life. Live-in managers will provide support for the residents. The two-acre site was secured with funding via a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, The Topeka Federal Home Loan Bank, and many personal offerings--totaling over $2 million.
God’s presence was evident at the blessing when the rainy clouds dispersed and warm rays of sunshine accompanied His Grace’s arrival at the site.
The 2012 Orthodox Institute Mid‐America
Saturday, September 29, 8:30‐4:30
St. Basil the Great Orthodox Church
9302 Riverview Ave., Kansas City, KS
Pre-registration required by September 21
Download Brochure (PDF)
The Orthodox Institute Mid‐America is a pan‐Orthodox endeavor for continuing education of the faithful and is coordinated by the Orthodox Christian Education Commission Department of Teacher Training, Myra Kovalak, Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). Fr. Elias Issa, of the host parish, and event chairperson, Kathy Kelly cordially invite you to the 2012 Institute which will include an exhibit of the Holy Land. You may register by phone, email, or mail. Contact Kathy Kelly, e‐mail: email@example.com, phone: 816.853.9998. The cost of the event, $35, includes lunch and materials.
The presenters will be Mat. Valerie Zahirsky, Al and Dee Kacere, and Carole Buleza. Participants can choose from three tracks of courses, “Scripture,” “Teacher Training II for Elementary,” or “Teacher Training II for MS/HS.”
For more information and a registration form, please download the event brochure (PDF).
Brookline, MA (August 21, 2012)
The North American OCF Office announces the recent appointment of Fr. Michael J. Ellis to the position of North American Chaplain.
The North American Chaplain works across all Orthodox jurisdictions, providing resources and assistance to the chaplains who work directly with the students on campus. Fr Michael will be coordinating the OCF Chaplaincy Network of regional,district and local OCF chaplains and handling ecclesiastical/spiritual issues brought to his attention from both the staff of the OCF North American Office and the local OCF chapters.
Fr. Michael and his wife Presvytera Jesica, both originally from upstate New York, currently reside in Mansfield, OH with their two children Alexander and Sophia.
Fr. Michael is a graduate of the State University of New York, College at Brockport where he completed his undergrad work, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications Studies, emphasis Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.
On Sunday, September 2, the live, call-in radio program of Ancient Faith Radio featured the theme, "Back to the Future: A Reflection on the Past and Future Legacy of the 'Evangelical Orthodox' in Canonical Orthodoxy."
The guest was the V. Rev. Jon Braun, ex-Campus Crusade for Christ Regional Director and former leader of the Evangelical Orthodox Church. Fr. Peter Gillquist of blessed memory was originally scheduled to be interviewed on this program as well. As a tribute to his life and legacy, Conciliar Press has made Fr. Peter's booklet Finishing the Race available as a free download.
The call-in number for Ancient Faith Today is: 1-855-AFRADIO (1-855-237-2346), and it streams live at 5:00 pm Pacific, 7:00 pm Central, and 8:00 pm Eastern every other Sunday.
Glory to Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life! Glory forever!
St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, Florida is saddened to inform you of the passing into eternal life of the handmaid of God, Nabiha Nasr, early this morning, August 29, 2012, at the age of 94. Nabiha, late widow of Jules Nasr, and matriarch of the Nasr family, was mother to five children, twelve grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. St. George Cathedral offers her sincerest condolences to her children, Michel (Cathedral Council President), Aimee, Mouna, Gretta, Sally, and their families. May the loving God who gave His only Son, grant rest to his handmaiden, Nabiha, with the Saints, and may He bless and comfort the Nasr family with his Grace.
The following arrangements have been made:
O Word of the Father from before the ages, Who, being in the form of God, broughtest creation into being out of nothing; Thou Who hast put the times and seasons in Thine own power: Bless the crown of the year with Thy goodness; give peace unto Thy churches, victory unto Thy faithful hierarchs, fruitfulness unto the earth, and Great Mercy unto us.
--Orthros of the Feast, Tone 3
Light and Life's book, The Planner: 2011-2012 Ecclesiastical Year, can be ordered here.
Read Fr. Michael Harper's reflection, "The Orthodox New Year."
EVENTS WILL INCLUDE:
- International Welcome Reception
- Country Western BBQ & Dance
- Mardi Gras Masquerade
- 21/40 Camp Reunion
- Daily Kid's Club
- AND MORE!!!
ONLINE REGISTRATION NOW AVAILABLE FOR:
- Hotel Reservations
- Souvenir Journal
- Vendor Tables
- Sponsorship Opportunities
Visit the Convention website to register today!
Many years to His Grace Bishop Alexander!
Set aflame by the love of Christ, O glorious ones, you took up the yoke of His precious Cross revealing yourselves as followers in His footsteps by your way of life, and you became partakers of His divine glory, divinely-wise Alexander, with wonderful John and glorious Paul. As you stand before His throne, earnestly pray for our souls.
Troparion, Tone 8
The Fellowship of St. John the Divine's Midwest Diocese Fall Gathering is scheduled for October 5-7 at St. Elias Orthodox Church in Sylvania, Ohio. Our parish is honored to host the clergy and laity of our diocese, including our own Bishop Anthony, and is pleased to present Katrina Bitar, the director of YES North America, as our featured speaker.
Please help us make this event a success by including this downloadable flier and information in your weekly bulletins, monthly newsletters, parish e-mails, parish social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), and Sunday announcements. Most importantly, please pass this information along to the leaders of your parish Fellowship of St. John, Antiochian Women, SOYO, and Christian Educators.
Hotel and registration information is also on our website.
It is our hope this weekend will be an opportunity for the Diocese to come together in Christian unity for prayer, fellowship, meetings, and workshops that inspire and edify. With your help and cooperation, I have no doubt the 2012 Fall Gathering will be a success.
Please note the deadlines for Hotel Reservations (September 21st) and Early Registration (September 29th).
If I can provide any additional information or be or any assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know. I look forward to seeing all of you in October!
Abe Abraham, the longest serving member of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, celebrated his 100th birthday on August 21. A celebration was held on Saturday August 18 with Vespers at St. Nicholas Church in Grand Rapids and a gala dinner at The Cultural Center at St. Nicholas. Almost 300 guests attended the tribute to Abe.
Abe was born in 1912 in Rashaya Al Wadi in Lebanon. At the age of nine, he and his mother, Zahia, crossed the Atlantic to meet up with his father, Sleyman, who had established a home and business in Towanda, KS. Abe three siblings were born in Kansas, the family returned to Lebanon for several years before returning to America and settling in Grand Rapids, MI. There, Sleyman established a retail candy and “five and dime” store. With the help of his sons, the business grew into a tobacco and candy wholesale distribution company. Today the company distributes groceries to convenience stores in eight Midwestern states.
The Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) recently uploaded a variety of videos to YouTube featuring the ongoing growth and progress of Orthodox churches in Africa.
Viewers can catch glimpses of African Orthodox Christians worshipping in liturgy, singing welcome greetings to visiting missionaries and clergy, dancing in community celebrations, and working on construction teams for church buildings.
Fifteen OCMC mission teams from May through December of this year will serve in Africa as well as other far flung locations such as Albania and Mongolia.
One of the most beautiful aspects of our Orthodox worship is the hymnography that is sung by chanters and choirs to lead the congregation in prayer. Antiochian Village's Byzantine Chant Workshop is designed for beginner and intermediate levels. Time will be spent chanting exercises / melodic formulas and liturgical hymns from music and text. This emphasis on learning and practicing formulas provides a learning environment for people with basic knowledge or no knowledge of the Byzantine Tones. All music is presented in western notation and will focus on the following three components:
The Diatonic Tones: Heirmologic/Brief Melodies
In this workshop participants will study the Byzantine Diatonic Scale and the Heirmologic / Brief melodies for Tone 4, Tone 8 (Plagal Four), Tone 1 and Tone 5 (Plagal One). Emphasis will be placed on learning to sight read western notation using the Greek scale (Ni, Pa, Vou, Gha, Dhi, Ke, Zo, Ni), chanting liturgical text appropriately and changing between Tones.
Anne van Fossen of the Classical Learning Resource Center writes:
We’re excited about the new academic year beginning Monday August 27th. We’ve opened new sections of all of our introductory Latin classes and our introductory Literature and Composition classes in order to accommodate all the registered students. We have several new Literature and Composition classes this year and have expanded our Homer classes to include a variety of additional ancient Greek Literature including Plato, Herodotus, Hippocrates, and Aesop.
Here are a few excerpts from some emails we received last year:
- "Thank you for everything. We love, love, love the class. I am in awe of your patience and your lovely presence via the web." Amy M., New Hampshire
- "Thank you for a great term. The kids have learned so much. They have expanded their vocabulary in both English and Latin, learned how to interact in an online classroom, how to prepare for a teacher who is not their parent, and how to learn academically from someone else with confidence." Alicia V., New Zealand
- "I've taken foreign language classes at the high school, college and graduate school level - you are the best by FAR." Mary K., Texas
- "She is really enjoying your class and is working hard on it. I am very glad we made the decision to enroll her this year." Jennifer C., Tennessee
We enjoy teaching at least as much as our students enjoy learning (and probably learn as much too).
Classical Greek and Latin for all ages!
V. Rev. Timothy J. Ferguson, Protosyngellos of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in West Roxbury MA, writes:
We regret to announce the repose in the Lord of the Servant of God Archimandrite CONSTANTINE Atanas Yanney, Pastor Emeritus of our community. Fr. Constantine was born in Antioch on January 26, 1926. He studied in Damascus and Greece, where he obtained a degree from the Theological Faculty at the University of Athens. He was ordained as Deacon and Priest in Damascus in 1968 by His Beatitude Patriarch Theodosius. From 1968, Fr. Constantine served as pastor at Holy Cross Church in Damascus before being appointed as pastor of St. George Church in Bagdad, Iraq in 1989. In 1989, Fr. Constantine was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by Metropolitan Constantine of Bagdad.
In 1990, Archimandrite Constantine came to Boston to visit his sisters. While he was here, the first Gulf War broke out and he was unable to return to Bagdad. Father was officially attached to St. George of Boston and served as our ‘Pastor Emeritus’ during these past twenty-two years. A humble, peaceful and saintly priest, Fr. Constantine was deeply loved by the parishioners and by his fellow clergy. We will dearly miss his prayerful presence at the altar. He is survived by his beloved sister, Joslene Hajj and her husband Tony and by many nephews and nieces and their children. Fr. Constantine suffered a heart attack the evening of August 21 at his home in West Roxbury and reposed at the Falkner Hospital during the night.
His Grace Bishop +John will preside over the funeral services for Fr. Constantine:
Friday August 24th - at 1 p.m. Bishop +John and the clergy of the Diocese will assemble at the Kfoury Funeral Home – 8 Spring Street, West Roxbury to anoint and vest the body of Fr. Constantine in preparation for the procession to the Church.
Christ the Savior Academy opened Monday morning at St. George Cathedral/Wichita, KS. This is the second classical day school in the Diocese of Wichita, the first and oldest being St. Peter's Classical School at St Peter/Fort Worth, TX. Mrs Trent (Jennifer) Sebits, a member of the Cathedral and President of the Academy's Board of Trustees, wrote of Monday's opening: "Thanks be to God! Today marks the fulfillment of the fervent prayers and feverish work of so many people, namely each one of you. As I write this email, the story of our little school opening its doors is reaching online newspapers such as the San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Bee, San Antonio Express and the Palm Beach Post, not to mention some in Kansas: The Wichita Eagle, Topeka Capital Journal and the Hutch News. After Susanne Tobias of the Wichita Eagle wrote the story, the Associated Press picked it up and newspapers around the country have posted it on their web sites. Please find the story here.
The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth [OCCHY], a national alliance offering communities an opportunity to heighten awareness of how to combat substance abuse, prevent bullying, encourage sexual abstinence outside of marriage, and encourage respect for the sanctity of the human body, recently established headquarters in Cicero, IL.
Founded by the Department of Youth Ministries of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, in conjunction with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, OCCHY was awarded a five-year Drug Free Community matching grant of $125,000.00 per year, according to Archpriest Nicholas Dahdal, OCCHY Director.
As reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), His Holiness Abune Paulos, Patriarch and Catholicos of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Archbishop of Axum and Ichege of the See of St. Teklehaimanot, fell asleep in the Lord in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on August 16, 2012.
The BBC noted, "Abune Paulos was chosen to lead the church in 1992 - a year after the overthrow of the communist government of Mengistu Haile Mariam. 'He brought the church in line to meet the challenges of the 21st Century,' Mr Mulugeta (a close friend of the Patriarch) said."
St. Vladimir's Seminary's tribute to the Patriarch noted that he was an alumnus of the Seminary, where he studied from 1962 to 1965. "As Patriarch, Abune Paulos took great pride in the history of the Ethiopian Church, noting the continuous 3,000 year-old Jewish and Christian presence in his country and its astounding size with 45 million faithful and 50,000 church buildings," the Seminary's retrospect explains.
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Christmas in July? Absolutely! With joy, the Sacred Music Department hosted the 27th Annual Sacred Music Institute July 25-29 as the sounds of the Nativity resounded throughout the Antiochian Village’s Heritage and Learning Center. Bishop Thomas of the Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid- Atlantic, and one hundred participants from the United States and Canada, celebrated the Feast in song and chant through workshops, rehearsals and concerts. Sacred Music Chairman, Christopher Holwey added, “It was an inspiring and moving week for everyone involved.”
Event Chairman, Paul Jabara of St George, Montreal in Quebec, Canada, Sacred Music Coodinator of Los Angeles and the West, Mareena Boosamra Ball, and Diocese of Wichita and Mid America Music Coordinator, Chris Farha, coordinated the premiere of a Youth Music Ministry (YMM) program for 20 teens representing each Diocese. After completing an application and writing an essay, each Diocesan Music Coordinator selected qualified teen singers to participate in a pilot program funded by scholarships from Antiochian Hierarchs and individual donors. The teens chosen attended classes in vocal techniques, basic conducting, sight singing and music theory, taught by Los Angeles and the West Diocese Sacred Music Coordinator, Mareena Boosamra-Ball.