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.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip
The V. Rev. Archpriest Joseph Antypas of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Troy, Michigan, has released the book Reflections on The Kingdom of God, as Experienced in the Local Parish. Fr. Joseph has been a faculty member in the Antiochian House of Studies, and a mentor at St. Stephen Course of Theological Studies.
Reflections consists of four chapters dealing with theological and pastoral topics as follows: 1) Emulating Christ's Life of the Kingdom, 2) A time to build our souls and bodies, 3) the modes of Christian being and 4) sharing the glory of the Kingdom. Each chapter is broken down into short, focused articles, making it easy to pick up in spare moments.
From the Introduction:
"The Prophetologion is a companion to the Book of Epistles and the Gospel to provide the Church with a complete set of readings for all occasions and celebrations of the year and for special blessings and prayers. Because the only exposure most Eastern Christians had to the Old Testament was from the readings during services, the Prophetologion can be called the Old Testament of the Byzantine Church."
Brookline, MA (OCF)
Orthodox Christian Fellowship's Executive Director Jennifer Nahas writes:
I hope all of you are having a restful, but fun summer. We here at the North American office look forward to working with all of you to engage in fellowship, fun, service, and spiritual growth during the 2012-2013 school year.
To kick things off, your student leaders participated in a five day Summer Leadership Institute here at Hellenic College, the home of the North American Office. This year's Student Advisory Board is full of diversity, energy, and passion; they are from all over the country, from different schools and different Orthodox jurisdictions. Their jobs are to serve you by supporting local chapters and leading OCF's North American programs. Since chapter outreach is a high priority, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you have already heard from the regional representatives in your regions to find out what your chapter's plans are for the upcoming school year.
In the booklet, “Boiled Wheat Used for Holidays and Memorials in the Eastern Orthodox Church,” Archpriest Alexandros El-Far presents the Church’s essential teaching about the soul or spirit of each human being after death. After describing the meaning of the memorials traditionally kept on the third, ninth, and fortieth days as well as the half year and one year anniversaries after the death of an Orthodox Christian, Fr. Alexandros provides the reader with the patristic and scriptural foundations for understanding death as the doorway to eternal salvation.
Through excerpts from the lives of the martyrs, St. Theodore the Tyro (d. 297 A.D.) and his contemporary St. Barbara (d. 291), Fr. Alexandros tells the story of how wheat was established in the earliest Christian tradition as the symbol of death and resurrection. The booklet concludes with the Church’s admonition against cremation as a substitute for burial and an admonition against modern heretical ideas that can lead astray the Christian believer.
In a letter included as a forward to the booklet, Archbishop Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West describes the work as “a perfect example of what we seek through our prayers to the departed.”
The team at Antiochian.org recently updated the Archdiocese Facebook page with posts and highlights. For those of you who are Facebook users, you can keep track of news and articles from the Archdiocese by liking us on Facebook.
As time goes on, we'll be adding improvements to our Facebook page. Send us your suggestions! A link to Facebook is available in the Featured Links section of Antiochian.org's home page.
August 2, 2012
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Syrians who received more than a million refugees fleeing from conflict in Iraq now face the same fate as more than one and a half million Syrians seek refuge from the spreading violence in their own country. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has redoubled its efforts to provide food and essential items – blankets, stoves and hygiene supplies – to the rapidly growing number of displaced and vulnerable Syrian families. IOCC aid is reaching areas in and around Homs, the epicenter of the uprising that began 16 months ago, and other regions of the country.
"There is a palpable sense of urgency and people are worried about the growing violence throughout the country," said Mark Ohanian, IOCC director of programs, who just returned from Damascus where he met with staff and relief partners. IOCC is working closely with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all The East and Syrian relief partner, Al Nada Association, in an effort to reach as many people as it can and to determine what the most immediate needs are for the growing number of displaced and vulnerable families.
"The situation remains unstable and we know that there are at least a million and a half people within the country who are in need of essential food and other assistance including those who have been displaced and others who have been trapped in their homes. Despite the humanitarian efforts underway, hundreds of thousands of people require immediate food assistance in order to survive."
His Grace Bishop Alexander of the Diocese of Ottawa has been interviewed as part of an ongoing series produced by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. The interview is available here. His Grace mentions:
"The best thing for the meeting was that we all got together, we got to meet each other, we got to speak to each other face-to-face and to know each other. And at that point in time I thought that if the Assembly accomplished anything it would be to bring us all together."
Antiochian author, psychologist, chaplain and priest Fr. George Morelli has recently released Healing Vol.2: Reflections for Clergy, Chaplains and Counselors. This new collection of writings anthologies many of Fr. Morelli's Chaplain's Corner columns, as well as several articles concerning anxiety, despression, suicide and end-of-life ministry. Healing Vol. 2 is available to order from the Eastern Christian Publications website.
From the preface:
For the past several years I have been writing a monthly column, Chaplain's Corner, that has appeared in The Beachcomber, the newsletter of the V.A. Healthcare Hospital of La Jolla, California, and was then edited for the general reader for publication in The North County Times, a San Diego newspaper. These columns comprise the Chapters in Part I of this book. All have in common that they deal with issues that are important in the lives of contemporary mankind in the 21st century, especially military personnel, veterans and their families.
A new Orthodox Christian education resource, the website Orthodoxabc.com, recently launched in anticipation of the 2012-2013 church school year.
Created for children between the ages of 7 and 13, the site provides free downloadable Catechetical School lessons especially designed for parents and teachers to help children learn "the rich religious and spiritual heritage of our Orthodox faith, a set of values to better equip them to face life’s challenges, and a spiritual framework to help give focus and meaning to their lives."
All lessons on the site have been developed by parents, godparents, Orthodox youth and Catechetical School teachers, and have been reviewed by clergymen. The materials are written in everyday language and include colorful illustrations, word play and coloring activities to reinforce the main lesson themes. A Teacher’s Edition is included to make sure young students get the most out of every lesson. Content is subdivided into the categories: Fasting and Prayer, Church and Feasts, Holy Scriptures, and Faith and Sacraments.
His Grace Bishop Thomas asks that we remember the community of St. Patrick Orthodox Church of Warrenton, VA in our prayers. A fire burned down the new temple that was still in the process of being built by the congregation. Thanks be to God, no one was harmed. Local news has covered the story in the July 25 piece, "Fire destroys future home of church near Bealton."
"The congregation of Saint Patrick Orthodox Church had spent about $80,000 on renovations which started four months ago," Fr. Patrick Cardine explained to the Fauquier Now reporter.
Update, 5/30/12: A small but important change has been made to the logos. Please download and use the currently attached versions. In addition, PDF versions are now available.
Color and black and white versions of the official logo for 2013 Parish Life Conferences are now available online:
The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) E-Newsletter reports that its flagship podcast Come Receive the Light will feature Fr. Chris Margaritis, Dean of the Assumption Cathedral in Denver, Colorado, with Fr. Chris Metropulos, OCN's Executive Director, as they discuss the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. On the podcast, they will speak candidly of the shootings, the healing, and the theology of life after death from an Orthodox Christian perspective. OCN's theme for the month of July has been dealing with violence.
"Everyone at OCN expresses profound sorrow to the people who lost their loved ones in this tragedy and offers prayers for those who are still recovering," notes the newsletter. "We encourage all of our listeners to offer prayers as well. The recent horrific shooting spree in an Aurora movie theater is the springboard for a much broader conversation about the changing mores of our society, the church's view of tragedy in God's bigger plan, and whether we can reverse this incredibly negative trend, as we wrap-up a month-long series on violence. The power of collective and directed prayer should never be underestimated."
Several Orthodox reflections about the Colorado event are posted to The Sounding, OCN's interactive home for bloggers and discussion.
Chesterton, IN Ancient Faith Radio is pleased to announce the release of a new application for tablets and smart phones, in both Apple and Droid formats. This cutting edge app was developed as a partnership between Ancient Faith Radio and The Church App by Subsplash, developers of applications for other national ministry organizations.
The new app allows phone and tablet users to listen to AFR Music and AFR Talk live streaming stations, as well as all AFR podcasts and specials. Additionally listeners can keep up with the latest AFR news, see recent play lists, purchase music, make donations, and contact AFR. Once content has been downloaded listeners can share content via Twitter, Facebook and email. "Though they've been a long time coming, we really believe that these apps are worth the wait. They're comprehensive, elegant, and user friendly. Listening to Ancient Faith Radio 'on the go' is now a simple and enjoyable experience," says Bobby Maddex, Operations Manager for Ancient Faith Radio.
The app is free and is ready for download from the Ancient Faith Radio site, as well as the Apple and Droid app stores.
Dr. Samir Nouhad Cohlmia, Protopsaltis of the Diocese of Wichita and of S. George Cathedral in Wichita, Kansas, has produced an audio CD of the chants for the great feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. Chanted in both English and Arabic, the CD includes the hymns for Great Vespers (including the doxastikon on the Litiya), Orthros (including the special Marian Polyeleos - Psalm 44 - "A Good Word"), select verses from all three stases of the Lamentations at the Tomb of the Mother of God, and the famous arrangement of the Megalynarion for the Divine Liturgy composed in melismatic tone 1 by the late maestro Andraos Mouaikel (1890-1964), Protopsaltis of St. George Cathedral in Beirut, Lebanon. The CD is available through the Wichita Chancery (1559 N. Woodlawn Street - Wichita, KS 67208-2429) for $15 a copy (which includes postage & handling); check payable to "Dr Samir N. Cohlmia" and ear-marked "Dormition CD."
A wonderful event that will be taking place at Antiochian Village this autumn! As you may know, Antiochian Village is the burial place of St. Raphael of Brooklyn. Many people each year come to visit his burial place as they also attend the St. Thekla Pilgrimage. The 2012 pilgrimage will take place during the weekend of September 21-23. This pilgrimage is sponsored by our Convent of St. Thekla, with the assistance of the Convent's abbess Mother Alexandra, and will be overseen by His Grace Bishop Thomas.
In addition to the usual events of the pilgrimage, this year we will also have a deacon's retreat in conjunction with the pilgrimage. For information about this retreat, please contact Dn. Gregory Roeber (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As Orthodox Christians, our lives are a type of pilgrimage, so why set time aside to attend the St Thekla Pilgrimage? The key is in "setting aside." We invite you "to set aside all earthly cares" and to join us in refocusing and refreshing ourselves in our Orthodox life. Like St Thekla, Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles, together we will pray at the Divine Liturgy and services, obtain guidance and direction from the Gospels for our lives at home, and enjoy fellowship with other pilgrims.
Through the intercession of Saint Thekla, may this Pilgrimage be blessed!
Questions? Please call 724-238-3677 x425 or email email@example.com.
The Orthodox Christian Association for Medicine, Psychology and Religion (OCAMPR) has announced that its annual conference will be held November 2-3, 2012, at the Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, Illinois. The title of the conference is "The Child Conceived: Considering Infertility, Miscarriage, and Early Child Loss."
The line-up of speakers includes His Grace Bishop Demetrios, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago (GOA); Matushka Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child; Dr. Betsy Wickstrom, Maternal Fetal Specialist; Allena Barbato, Mental Health Professional; and Dr. Ari Christofidis, Director of Orthodox Christian Counseling Institute.
Attendees will also participate in a reception, a panel discussion, and a "Blessing of Hands" for those who minister in the mental health professions.
The Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch is accepting applications for reimbursement from mission priests for expenses incurred in travel to Parish Life Conferences, the Archdiocese Convention or the Bi-Annual Clergy Symposium. Please note that reimbursement of these expenses is for first pastors of small parishes and missions only, and that relevant receipts must be saved for six months. All requests must be submitted to Sameh Khouzam and received at the Archdiocese Headquarters no later than August 31.
The 41st Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America commenced on July 1st in Phoenix, Arizona. Prayers are requested for our brothers and sisters in the faith, as they gather and deliberate.
Jul 2, 2012
PHOENIX – The 41st Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America commenced yesterday with the Orthros service and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy held in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity of Phoenix, Arizona, with approximately 1,200 faithful in attendance. The Holy Metropolis of San Francisco and the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Phoenix are the hosts of this 41st Congress.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America presided over the Divine Liturgy concelebrating with all the Metropolitans of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese. Taking part in the Liturgy were His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos of Chicago, His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, His Eminence Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta, His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit, His Eminence Metropolitan Savas of Pittsburgh, His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, and His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey.
His Eminence Metropolitan Sotirios of Toronto, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to the Congress, attended the Liturgy from the Solea along with His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Chief Secretary of the Holy Eparchial Synod.
The rocky cliffs of the Atlantic in Ogunquit, Maine were the setting for the 74th Annual Parish Life Conference in New England and the first with Bishop John Abdalah. The PLC took place June 21-24 and was hosted by the parish of Saint George in Norwood, MA. The incredibly scenic location and a new hierarch helped make this one of best attended conferences in many years. The hotel sold out early as did the Lobster Bake and Awards Dinner.
Over 400 clergy and parishioners spent four days at the Cliff House taking care of business and enjoying fellowship. The meetings and workshops were well attended; the Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festival were filled with excitement and the finals of "New England's Got Talent" was an awesome display of the musical abilities of the faithful.
The clergy and the faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese extend their prayers and love to our His Eminence Archbishop Joseph on the occasion of the Anniversary of his consecration to the sacred episcopate (June 30, 1991). May God grant him many years as the Father and Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West!