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Syrian Relief Program: Introducing DERD

DERD is the only official non-profit organization of the Antiochian Patriarchate.

THE SYRIAN PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING…...homes, schools, and hospitals have been demolished - loved ones have been injured - lives have been lost – families have been torn apart - the innocent have been held captive - holy places have been desecrated and destroyed….   

Saints Constantine and Helen + May 21

O Lord, thy disciple Emperor Constantine, who saw in the sky the Sign of Thy Cross, Accepted the call that came straight from Thee, as it happened to Paul, and not from any man. He built his capital and entrusted it to Thy care. Preserve our country in everlasting peace, through the intercession of the Mother of God, for Thou art the Lover of mankind.

+ Troparion of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Tone 8

"Constantine's legacy can be seen in Christianity's transformation from a private sect into a public church that encompassed the whole of society. He put it on an institutional footing, which enabled the Church to be the leading cultural force in the ancient world."

(From Robert Arakaki's Constantine The Great: Roman Emperor, Christian Saint, History's Turning Point)

Mid-Pentecost

In the midst of this Feast, O Savior, give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of true worship; for Thou didst call out to all, saying: Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Wherefore, O Christ our God, Fountain of life, glory to Thee. (Apolytikion of the Feast, Tone 8)

On the Wednesday of the Paralytic, we celebrate the Feast of Mid-Pentecost.

Standing in the midst of the teachers, Christ the Messiah teacheth at Mid-Feast.

Mid-Pentecost is the midpoint of the fifty days between the Feasts of Pascha and Pentecost. In the Divine Liturgy Gospel passage, we read that “in the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple, and taught” (John 7:14).

Register Now! Sacred Music Institute and Youth Music Ministry, July 12-16

Metropolitan Joseph's letter for SMI
View the 2016 photo gallery
Register here
Download the flyer
Youth Music Ministry application

The Department of Sacred Music joyfully announces the themes for the next two Sacred Music Institutes (SMI), in which we will more deeply examine our mission: guiding chanters, choirs, and congregations to musical excellence in worship for the glory of God. There is much to learn from these topics! This summer's Institute on July 12–16, 2017, hosted by Antiochian Village, is titled "Music as Ministry: Looking Outward through Orthodox Hymnody." The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, President of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker.

Next summer's SMI (July 11–15, 2018) will continue the topic with the theme "Music as Vocation: Looking Inward through Orthodox Hymnody." 

"Let us strive this year for every parish to send people to make this Institute an even greater experience for all," urges His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph in his 2017 SMI letter. 

Metropolitan Joseph Presides Over Joyous Festal Weekend at St. George of Boston

Boston, MA – Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Boston was honored to host our beloved Metropolitan Joseph, as well as Bishop John of Worcester and New England, for a weekend of joyous celebrations from April 28–30, 2017. The patronal feast of the parish wonderfully coincided with the honoring of Mr. Robert Laham for his fifty years of service to the Archdiocese, and with the Nameday of His Eminence. (View the photo gallery)

The weekend began with a special program prepared by the young people of the parish, who enthusiastically greeted Metropolitan Joseph with hugs and shouts of “Christ is risen!” as he entered the parish hall. His Eminence greatly enjoyed the performance of a skit highlighting the life and martyrdom of St. George. The performance was followed by a “pop quiz” where the young people asked questions of the hierarchs and clergy to ensure they were paying close attention!

May 2017 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

Remembering Some of Our Antiochian Bishops in America, p. 5
Fr. Thomas Zain

Being Faithful in the Age After God, p. 10
Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

Fidelity in the Life of Christ, p. 14
Bishop Thomas and Peter Schweitzer

The Music of the Church: A Western Rite Perspective, p. 18
Rebecca S. Alford

An "Original Brick": Matushka Juliana Schmemann, p. 20
Shamassey Mary Honoré

Christian Education news, Communities in Action reports...and more!

Liturgical Texts for May Now Ready for Download

The interior of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Nish, Serbia, the birthplace of  Emperor Constantine the Great.The interior of Ss. Constantine and Helen Church in Nish, Serbia, the birthplace of Emperor Constantine the Great.The Renewal, or Bright, Season following Great and All-holy Pascha continues into the month of May. In the month’s third week, the Orthodox Church celebrates two important saints and a great feast of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. May’s liturgical texts, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

The theme of water runs through the second half of Renewal Season. At the feast of Mid-Pentecost, we ask our Savior to quench our thirsty souls with “the waters of true worship,” coming from Christ Himself, the “Fountain of life” (apolytikion of Mid-Pentecost). The ancient church (and some of our congregations today) would have just celebrated the soul-cleansing baptisms of catechumens on Holy Saturday, and so we all call upon our Lord to refresh us with His wisdom as we maintain our baptismal purity.

Countdown to Miami: 2017 Antiochian Archdiocese Convention FAQ

The community of St. George welcomes you!The community of St. George welcomes you!Summer draws near, and so does the 53rd biennial convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, July 23-30, 2017 in Miami. The Very Rev. Fouad Saba and the host parish of St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, Florida took time from their busy schedules to talk about the features of what looks to be a historic gathering of the Archdiocesan clergy and faithful.

Who are the featured and keynote speakers this year?

The Grand Banquet will honor His Grace Bishop Antoun on Saturday night, July 29, where we anticipate our beloved diocesan hierarch will reflect upon his lifetime ministry and experiences in his service to Christ’s Holy Church. Fr. Antoine Melki, professor of computer science and technology at Balamand University in Lebanon, will be the keynote speaker during the General Assembly on Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, and in other scheduled workshops and events. The host committee is excited to welcome Fr. Melki, who will present interesting insights on the effects of technology in the modern world on the Orthodox Christian family.

Metropolitan Joseph Leads Prayer Service for Kidnapped Metropolitans

On Bright Thursday, April 20, 2017, the Antochian Archdiocese was joined by co-hosts—the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese and the St. John of Damascus Fellowship of New Jersey—in sponsoring a timely prayer service at St. George Antochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, for the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim. Metropolitan Paul and Metropolitan Yohanna vanished without a trace on April 22, 2013, after they drove together in hopes of negotiating the release of hostages in captivity. Metropolitan Yohanna’s deacon escaped, but his driver was killed. 

(Read the Paschal Message of His Beatitude John X, in which he issues a call for the liberation of Metropolitans Paul and Yohanna, and sign the petition that will be presented to the White House and the United Nations, "Help release the kidnapped archbishops of Syria.") 

The Dept. of Homeschooling Announces 2017 St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference

With us everything should be secondary compared to our concern with children, 
and their upbringing in the instruction and teaching of the Lord.  
- St. John Chrysostom

Did you know that homeschooling is becoming more and more popular? It might be the best educational option for your family, or a family you know.

If so, we encourage you to look into the annual St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, scheduled for April 27-30, 2017 at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center outside Ligonier, PA. The conference offers workshops for both experienced and beginning homeschoolers alike, with simultaneous activity sessions for children ages three and up.

Metropolitan Joseph's Paschal Greeting, 2017

PASCHA 2017
All creatures have been filled with light, the heaven and the earth, and all that is below the earth. Let all creation, therefore, celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, in which it is strengthened.
Paschal Canon, Ode 3

Beloved in Christ,

CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!

Having struggled together through the Fast, we have arrived at the Tomb of Christ and joyfully find it transformed from a place of gloom into a source of brilliance that permeates all the regions "in heaven and on earth and under the earth". (Phil. 2:10).

Send Us Your Photos From This Holy Season!

V. Rev. Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, St. Michael Church, Geneva, NY (photo: Matthew Owen)V. Rev. Fr. Gregory Lazarus Murphy, St. Michael Church, Geneva, NY (photo: Matthew Owen)Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Christ is risen! The team at Antiochian.org is issuing a call for photos from your parish's Holy Week and Pascha celebrations. Send all photos to editor@antiochian.org as JPEG attachments. Please send a maximum of three photos, include a caption for each photo you send, and tell us the name of the parish and priest represented by the photo. Read our submission checklist here.

The Pascha Homily of St. John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast.
If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.

If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in no wise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

Great and Holy Saturday

Epitaphion

Today hell groans and cries aloud: "My power has been destroyed. I accepted a mortal man as one of the dead; yet I cannot keep Him prisoner, and with Him I shall lose all those over whom I ruled. I held in my power the dead from all the ages; but see, He is raising them all." Glory to Thy Cross, O Lord, and to Thy Resurrection.

Read about Great and Holy Saturday, "The Forgotten Feast", and visit our Pascha pages.

Great and Holy Friday

On Great and Holy Friday, the Orthodox Church commemorates the sufferings of Christ: the mockery, the crown of thorns, the scourging, the nails, the thirst, the vinegar and gall, the cry of desolation, and all the Savior endured on the Cross. "Today He Who hung the earth on the waters is hung on the tree," sing the solemn worshippers. Beginning with the Orthros of Holy Friday on Thursday evening, and ending with Vespers on Friday afternoon, the day is one of solemn observation and strict fasting. The richness of the liturgical actions and hymnography on this day, are unsurpassed.

We worship Your passion and Your burial,
for by them, You have saved us from death!

For more reflections and resources, please visit our Holy Week section. And for more material dedicated to the pinnacle of the liturgical year, visit Antiochian.org/Pascha.

Read more about Great and Holy Friday
St. Theodore the Studite on Holy Friday
Fr. John Finley shares portions of St. Nicholai Velemirovic's homily on Great Friday

Holy Tuesday: The Hymn of St. Kassiane

Listen to the Hymn chanted by the St. Romanos Choir of Beirut

At Bridegroom Orthros on Great and Holy Tuesday, the Church sings the following hymn by St. Kassiane:

O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins, perceiving Thy divinity, fulfilled the part of a myrrh-bearer; and with lamentations she brought sweet-smelling oil of myrrh to Thee before Thy burial. 'Woe is me,' she said, 'for night surrounds me, dark and moonless, and stings my lustful passion with the love of sin. Accept the fountain of my tears, O Thou who drawest down from the clouds the waters of the sea. Incline to the groanings of my heart, O Thou who in Thine ineffable self-emptying hast bowed down the heavens. I shall kiss Thy most pure feet and wipe them with the hairs of my heads, those feet whose sound Eve heard at dusk in Paradise and hid herself for fear. Who can search out the multitude of my sins and the abyss of Thy judgments, O Saviour of my soul? Despise me not, Thine handmaiden, for Thou hast mercy without measure.

Hymn of St. Kassiani sung by Grace Atherholt, Holy Week 2015 + St. John Chrysostom Church, York, PA

Kontakion on the Raising of St. Lazarus

by St. Romanos the Melodist

O Christ, Thou who knowest all things,
Thou hast asked to learn where the tomb of Lazarus is,
And arriving there, Thou hast raised him up on the fourth day,
O All-powerful One,
Taking pity, Merciful One,
On the tears of Mary and Martha.

The Master, checking the lamentations of Mary and Martha,
Immediately stilled them when He raised up their brother.
It was possible, then, to see marvel of marvels,
How the lifeless suddenly was seen to be alive.

Memory Eternal! His Eminence Metropolitan Elia Saliba

With sadness, and with hope in the Resurrection, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph conveys the news from the Patriarchate of Antioch of the falling asleep in the Lord of His Eminence Metropolitan Elia (Saliba) of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Hama (or Afamia) in central Syria, which he faithfully shepherded since 1984. Metropolitan Elia reposed on Saturday morning, April 1, 2017, at the age of 95.

Sayidna Joseph recalls Sayidna Elia as a dynamic man of God, a gifted theologian, and highly educated. He was a canonist in both civil law and church law who understood the spirit and the depth of the Orthodox Church's canons. He also fondly remembers Metropolitan Elia as his principal in the Orthodox Christian schools of Damascus in the 1950s and 1960s.

Metropolitan Elia served as secretary to His Beatitude Patriarch Theodosius VI before coming to North America. Many of our clergy and congregations will remember Sayidna Elia from the 1970s when, as Titular Bishop of Salamia, he lived in the Archdiocesan Headquarters and assisted His Eminence Metropolitan Philip of thrice-blessed memory in the administration of this Archdiocese.

April 2017 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The April 2017 issue contains the following articles:

Is it Realistic to Call Myself the Foremost of Sinners?, p. 3
By Bishop John

Coming to Grips with Some of our Holy Week Hymns, p. 13
Fr. Bogdan G. Bucur

The Rich Resources of the Western Rite, p. 19
Fr. Nicholas Alford

Giving: Answering Grace with Grace, p. 26
Fr. Joseph Huneycutt

...and more!

Keeping the Vigil at the Tomb of Christ on Holy Friday

The Archdiocese's Department of Youth Ministry announces that resources are available for the beloved tradition of keeping vigil at Christ's tomb from the end of Holy Friday Vespers until the Rush Liturgy of Pascha. This year's dates will be April 14 and 15, 2017, and teens and the faithful from our parishes from across North America will be signing up for times of meditation and Scripture reading. Participants will read from the book of Psalms in front of the tomb of Christ after Great Friday Vespers until the Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning, after which service they will read from the Book of Acts until the start of the Rush Service held on Saturday night for Pascha.

Great Friday Vigil Pamphlet as well as one sheet flyer, can be downloaded for use in parish communities. Please encourage your teens and faithful members to host and attend the Great Friday Vigil!