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Stories on the Church of Antioch and the Middle East

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America is an archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. It traces its roots to first century Antioch (modern-day Antakya, Turkey), the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). The Patriarchate is led by His Beatitude John X from Damascus, Syria. In addition to its continuing presence in Syria and Lebanon, the Antiochian Patriarchate has archdioceses in Europe; Asia; North, Central and South America; and Australia and New Zealand.

The Church of Antioch was established by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas in 42 A.D., with St. Peter serving for the next eight years as its first prelate. The Church of Antioch is one of the five ancient Patriarchates of the Christian Church, along with Alexandria, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Rome. Antiochians are in full communion with other Orthodox Christian jurisdictions, such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Orthodox Church in America, as well as many other Orthodox jurisdictions around the world.

 

Latest News

Axios! Metropolitan Joseph is Enthroned by Patriarch John X

On Saturday, December 6, 2014, the Feast of St. Nicholas, His Eminence Joseph, Metropolitan of New York and All North America, was enthroned at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, by His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. May God grant him many, many years!

View a photo gallery of the evening Enthronement.

Listen to audio recordings of the Enthronement remarks of Metropolitan Joseph and Patriarch John X, via Ancient Faith Radio.

View a photo gallery of the morning Divine Liturgy commemorating St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra.

View a photo gallery of the evening's Gala Enthronement Banquet.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Antiochian Leaders Interviewed

The morning of Friday, December 5, brought media to Archdiocese headquarters for interviews, including John Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio and Fr. Christopher Metropulos of Orthodox Christian Network.

Listen here to an extensive hour-long audio interview by Ancient Faith Radio of Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph, addressing a wide range of subjects including Syria, the Assembly of Bishops, Evangelism, and the future vision for the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph Host St. Vladimir's Seminary Leaders

In an expression of love and solidarity with the suffering Orthodox Christians in the Middle East, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary presented a gift of $8,000 to Patriarch John X on Thursday, December 4. His Beatitude will personally oversee distribution of the monies, given to alleviate the difficult conditions of the Orthodox faithful of Syria.

The gift represents a tithe, one-tenth of the total of $80,000 donated to the seminary during its successful #GivingTuesday campaign conducted on December 2. Seminary Chancellor/CEO Archpriest Chad Hatfield and Dean Archpriest John Behr were received by Patriarch John X and Metropolitan Joseph at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ, on His Beatitude's first full day in the United States.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X Arrives

His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, arrived safely at New York City's JFK airport in the evening on Wednesday, December 3, and was met by an Archdiocese delegation led by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph. View a photo gallery of the arrival. See our enthronement section for all information regarding the Enthronement of Metropolitan Joseph and the visit of Patriarch John X.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Appeal Will Aid Suffering Syrian Christians

[SVOTS Communications / Yonkers, NY] When Patriarch John X (Yazigi), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, visits the United States this fall, he will receive not only warm wishes but also a charitable gift from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. The gift, intended to aid suffering Orthodox Christians in Syria, will be presented to His Beatitude in December and will represent a tithe (one-tenth) of the Seminary's #GivingTuesday appeal.

"Life has a deeper meaning than fighting crowds on Black Friday or scouring the web for the best deals on Cyber Monday," said seminary Chancellor/CEO The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield. "That's why St. Vladimir's is participating in #GivingTuesday, a national day of charitable giving.

Patriarch John X's Speech on Mount Athos

His Beatitude in Athens, 2014His Beatitude in Athens, 2014On October 27, 2014, His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, delivered the following speech on Mount Athos during extended travels in Greece. (Arabic original here.)

"At night when human voices, movements and tumult are clothed in stillness, enlighten every movement of my soul with Yourself, O Jesus, Light of the Righteous. At the hour when you give rest to the weary, O my Lord, let our thoughts of you be intoxicated with the sweetest dream, O sweetness of the saints. At the time of going to sleep, when the drunk repose through temporary artifice, awaken in us, O Lord, that eternal knowledge. 

"At the start of the day, when all are concerned with earthly things, make us worthy, O our Lord, to enjoy following the heavenly path. At the hour when all remove their nightclothes, remove from our heart, O Lord, remembrance of the world that is passing. At daybreak when sailors set out upon the sea of this world, give rest, my Lord, to souls in your haven. In your mysteries, we embrace you every day and receive you in our body. Make us worthy to feel in our souls the hope that we have in the resurrection. Be, O Lord, wings for our mind, so that it will fly in the gentle breeze until by these wings we reach our true nest."

Brothers and beloved,

I could not have found more beautiful words than these by Saint Isaac the Syrian with which to begin my speech here.

October 2014 Statement of the Holy Synod of Antioch

English translation of a report (Arabic original here) published by the Patriarchate of Antioch:

Under the presidency of His Beatitude Patriarch John X (Yazigi), the Holy Synod of Antioch held its fourth regular session on October 7, 2014. The following bishops were present:

Spiridon (Zahle and its dependencies), Georges (Jbeil, Batroun and their dependencies), John (Lattakia and its dependencies), Elias (Beirut and its dependencies), Iliyya (Hama and its dependencies), Elias (Sidon, Tyre and their dependencies), Saba (Hawran and Jebel al-Arab), George (Homs and its dependencies), Siluan (Buenos Aires and all Argentina), Basil (Akkar and its dependencies), Ephrem (Tripoli, al-Koura and their dependencies), Ignatius (France and Western and Southern Europe), Isaac (Germany and Central Europe).

Patriarch John X Interviewed on the Church in Syria, Abducted Archbishops, and More

English translation of an interview published by the Patriarchate of Antioch on October 4, 2014:

The Syrian newspaper al-Thawra Online met with His Beatitude Patriarch John X Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and conducted an open discussion with him that touched upon general issues and the crisis that our country is experiencing. As is his custom, Patriarch Yazigi addressed these issues with all frankness, clarity and transparency. Here follows the text of the discussion:

What role does the Antiochian Orthodox Church play as a part of the social fabric of Syria? What has it done and what will it do?

To start, we would like to direct our warmest greetings to the Syrian people as a whole and our Muslim brothers in particular on the occasion of Eid el-Adha. Many happy returns.

The Patriarchate and our Orthodox Christian people are a fundamental part of our country. We are Syrians, the children of this nation. We were born here, as were our fathers and grandfathers. Christianity started out here and we feel that we are one family with all the country’s communities. Throughout history, the Patriarchate has been—and we hope it shall remain—a fundamental factor for common life in dignity, for reinforcing all the national and historical foundations that have brought us together ever since Christianity appeared in these lands. Ever since the coming of Islam, we have lived together and have built a common history. There is no doubt that our future is one.

In Praise of New Martyrs

New Martyrs of Batak, Bulgaria, glorified in April, 2011New Martyrs of Batak, Bulgaria, glorified in April, 2011By Fr. John Fenton, from the October 2014 issue of The Word

Life comes from death. Virginity gives birth to Life. Weakness perfects strength. Defeat leads to victory. Wisdom begins with fear. Humility overwhelms pride. Sorrow turns into joy. The dead become immortal. 

The Christian faith is filled with many seeming contradictions. Our Lord's Passion not only teaches but instills and inculcates in us this key truth. Yet it is a truth that we too quickly forget, and which our lives too easily deny. This truth alone is able to sustain us in our darkest hours, when all hope seems lost, when faith seems pointless. This is why we must continually hear, and take to heart, the stories of the saints, especially the martyrs.

Consider St. Venantius. At the age of 15, because he confessed Christ, Venantius was scourged, imprisoned, tortured with torches, dangled head-down over smoke to suffocate, beaten so that both jaws were broken and he lost all his teeth, thrown into a dungpit and then fed to the lions. All these things he suffered without complaint. During all these afflictions holy Venantius was strengthened by angels. And his quiet patience and longsuffering, his firm constancy and conviction, his meek endurance and lack of complaint – this impressed all who saw and heard, so that these gruesome tortures did not frighten, but rather fortified the faithful and attracted the unknowing. When Venantius was finally beheaded, so were many new Christians who desired the certain hope and the strong faith that he evinced.

Assembly of Bishops Issues Statement on the Middle East

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America wrapped up its fifth annual meeting on September 18, 2014, by issuing a significant "Statement on the Middle East," and a second substantive "Final Statement" of conclusions and goals.

Convening in Dallas, TX, at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, the Assembly tackled a number of topics in their three-day meeting, including the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

Summarizing the discussion, they wrote in their Statement that, in concert with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East as well as the other Patriarchs of the East, "we lament and denounce the egregious and barbarous incidents in the area, including religious intolerance and fanaticism, that erode the social fabric and unity of the region, destroying churches, shrines and monuments, which are the common heritage of all Christians and, indeed, all humanity."