We thank the Lord our God who allowed us, in the two previous months, to celebrate His appearance in the flesh as man and His manifestation as God coming to save us. After Jesus has fulfilled His plan of salvation by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, and after He ascended in the flesh to heaven from whence He had descended, sitting on the right hand of the Father, He prayed the Father to send the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of each of us. Everyone who desires this and wants the Spirit to dwell in him does this so that Jesus may appear to him, and also that he might be reminded of the Lord’s sayings and teachings. The Holy Spirit shows us Jesus Christ, at first in the Church, which is His Body and which He wanted to be “a glorious church, with neither stains, wrinkles, nor any such thing” (Eph. 5: 27). It also makes Him present in the Church through the word of His Gospel, in the Body and Blood of His Eucharist, in His meeting with His brothers who gathered in His Name, as well as in every human being - especially in the poor, the homeless and the broken hearted, in whom He accepted to dwell. The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus wherever it dawns, making Him present yet veiled in all religions and all cultures.
Jesus, Emmanuel, is always present here and everywhere, present among us. He is always with us, ready to meet us. He rejoices in our joys, He revels in our holiness, and He weeps with us when we are troubled and sorrowed. He also cries when, as shepherds and flock, we neglect to live according to His teachings, and whenever our sins mar His bleeding, yet glorious face, and thus veil the world from seeing Him in His Church, and through us.
The West Coast Sacred Music Institute will be held from February 21-24, 2013, and will take place at St. Mark Orthodox Church in Irvine, California. The Theme will be "The Hymnography of Great Lent: A Path to Holiness" and will focus on Great Compline, Akathist, the Presanctified Liturgy, Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday. Click here for the Agenda (PDF) and Registration Form (Word). Once you open the Registration Form, you can fill it out electronically, save it and email that form to reserve your spot. Please mail your payment, with a copy of the form, to the Conference Administrator, Maryfaith Woods, using her contact info provided on the form. If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Sacred Music.
The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has brought online a special website dedicated to the enthronement of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, which will take place this Sunday, February 10. The site is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.
On June 1, 2012, a tornado traveled eight miles down Highway 711 through the townships of Ligonier and Bolivar in Western Pennsylvania. At 5:20 p.m., the tornado stuck the Antiochian Village with winds of 110 miles per hour. In a matter of seconds, the tornado damaged or destroyed 50 acres at the Village, including 22 buildings and hundreds of trees. Of these buildings, six were girls’ cabins which were completely destroyed. The remaining buildings have required varying degrees of repair – from new roofs to collapsed walls.
The appraisers have determined the monetary cost of the damage to the Antiochian Village at well over one million dollars. While insurance paid for a portion, the Archdiocese has been required to cover the remainder. There were also many areas that were not covered by insurance, including the removal of downed trees and replacement of these trees for privacy purposes that surround the girls’ cabins.
The February 2013 issue includes the following articles:
Message from Patriarch John X, pg. 4
Change of Mind Equals Change of Heart, pg. 9
by Amy Ansara
On the First Week of St. Stephen's Program, pg. 22
by Cindy George
Works of the Order in Action: Department of Missions and Evangelism, pg. 24
by V. Rev. John Finley
The Role of the Patriarch in the Orthodox Church, pg. 26
by Fr. Joseph Antypas
As part of a "Come Receive the Light" series on the family and the Church, The Very Rev. Dr. Joseph Purpura, chair of the Department of Youth and Parish Ministry, recently joined Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) Executive Director Fr. Chris Metropulos for two discussions about helping Orthodox teens navigate today's complicated journey to adulthood. (Listen to Part I, "Moving Towards Salvation," and Part II, "Closer to Christ.)
Father Joseph outlined the top challenges, which he noted are as great as they've been at any time in history: busyness which can be senseless, stress, overscheduling, distractions, a sense of being overstimulated by technology, overexposure to sexual images, and the prevalence of substance abuse. He also explained that historically, parents had never been expected to raise their kids without outside support; the community as a whole felt a responsibility to help children grow up safely.
As reported in a series of recent press releases by the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the partnership between the IOCC and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East (GOPA) continues to minister to people within Syria as well as those displaced by the conflict there. The strife has severely crippled the country's power plants as well as damaged major roads needed to transport heating fuel during the coldest time of year, while instability in the region has led to critical fuel shortages.
"The deteriorating security climate in Syria creates delays in receiving and distributing humanitarian relief items," said IOCC Director of Programs Mark Ohanian. "An added challenge is finding adequate quantities and quality of supplies needed, but IOCC and GOPA are using their longstanding local and regional relationships to ensure uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid."
During the month of January, the youth of the Antiochian Archdiocese traditionally focus on two worthy SOYO programs: Sacred Gift of Life, and Purity, Virginity, Chastity. Local Teen SOYO chapters and high school Christian Education classes are encouraged to view and use the resources found on SOYO's website. Some of the materials include a case study on abortion and the sacred gift of life developed by Dr. H. Tristram Engelhardt, leading Orthodox bioethicist; lesson plans with discussion questions about chastity; and essays about the Sacrament of Matrimony and the mystery of marriage.
The SOYO site explains that "while people may have failed to make good choices in the past on this most important issue of life, SOYO chooses to help educate a generation of teens to make good choices with how they use their body and how they treat life - given as a gift from God." With these resources, teens, under the leadership of their pastors and advisors, will have the material necessary to hold productive discussions which will hopefully further their belief and commitment to the sacred gift of life and to the virtues of purity and chastity.
The Office of the Secretariat for the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America recently released an encyclical regarding Share the Light Sunday, 2013. It reads:
“With Thy light that never sets, shine forth, O Christ, in the hearts of those who in faith sing Thy praises, and grant us Thy peace that passeth understanding: that so, running from the night of ignorance towards the day of Thy commandments, we may glorify Thee who lovest mankind.”
Beloved Clergy, Godly Monastics, and Blessed Faithful:
We greet you during this great and joyous Feast of Theophany. This feast marks the beginning of Christ’s salvific revelation, and it is therefore an appropriate time to remind the faithful of the ministry that Orthodox Christian Network is providing to the world.
“The night of ignorance,” as stated in the hymn above, bombards us daily through the radio, television, movies, billboards, magazines, and the internet. Orthodox Christian Network stands to help shine the light of Christ to combat the night of ignorance. On this Share the Light Sunday, we ask that you not only make an effort to listen to and watch the programing we offer through our website, but also share this ministry with your friends and family.
Summer camp registration: Summer Camp registration is open! Register online or by printing out registration forms. Please don't wait to register - camp fills up quickly. Please note that you are not registered until you have placed the $100 deposit and your receive a confirmation email that indicates you have completed the registration process. Also note that to take advantage of the early-bird discount you must have your camper tuition fees paid in full by March 1st. Register your child today!
The January 2013 issue includes the following articles:
Patriarch Ignatius IV: An Incarnational Theologian, pg. 3
by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip
Letters of Condolence on the Passing of Patriarch Ignatius IV, pg. 10
A Farewell to Patriarch Ignatius IV: A Personal View, pg. 26
by Economos Antony Gabriel
Dying Well: Spiritual Essentials and Practical Advice for the Family, pg. 32
by Fr. Josiah Trenham
By Ernestine Ede and Justin Sayfie
On November 16-18, 2012, St. George Cathedral of Coral Gables, FL, began a year-long celebration of her Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) with a weekend to remember.
The festivities began on Friday evening. Saint George Cathedral was adorned with long ribbons of red and white satin streaming from the center archway of the altar and the bells were joyously ringing in jubilation at the arrival of the Metropolitan’s motorcade at the front of the Cathedral. Our pastor Fr. Fouad Saba, the members of the parish council, and the faithful of St. George Cathedral had for several months eagerly awaited the arrival of His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, His Eminence Archbishop Joseph, His Grace Bishop Antoun and His Grace Bishop Nicholas. The Cathedral was also honored to have in attendance The Very Rev. Dr. Paul Nadim Tarazi, Fawaz El-Khoury, the vice chairman of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and Mrs. Mary Winstanley O’Connor, the North American chair for the Order of St. Ignatius. In addition, a special honor was bestowed on the Cathedral with the arrival of Maronite Bishop Mounir Khairallah of Batroun, Lebanon.
Nativity Letter in English (Following, and as PDF)
Nativity Letter in Arabic (PDF)
With God’s mercy
John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East
To my brethren, the Shepherds of the Holy Antiochian Church And my children who belong to this Apostolic See
We approach these Holy and Blessed Feasts as we witness the crucial events our Antiochian Church has gone through recently, first and foremost with the departure of our Father, Patriarch Ignatius IVth who ministered the Church with patience and faithfulness for several decades. His memory shall remain alive in our minds and hearts, and shall be eternal before the Lord Whom he served all his life. At this time, our Church and our people are experiencing dramatic situations caused by violence and troubles shaking our region.
The Holy Spirit has willed that I be elected by my brothers, the members of the Holy Synod, to succeed this great Minister, in spite of my unworthiness. However, I rely on God and on you, my brothers and children of my Church, and this shall make me expect, with great hope, divine help, which will enable us to overcome these hard tests and look for a better future.
بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch & all the East
Statement issued by the Holy Synod of Antioch
The extraordinary Session of the Holy Synod of the Holy See of Antioch was held at 10.00 on Monday, December 17th 2012, in the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Saba (Esber), locum tenens of the Patriarchate of Antioch, in order to elect the new Patriarch.
The Session was attended by Their Eminences the Fathers of the Synod: Spiridon (Khoury) of Zahle and Baalbek, Georges (Khodr) of Jbeil and Batroun and dependencies, John (Mansour) of Latakia, Elias (Audi) of Beirut, Elia (Saliba) of Hama, Elias (Kfoury) of Tyr, Sidon and Marjayoun, Antonios (Shedraoui) of Mexico, Sergios (Abad ) of Santiago (Chile), Damiskinos (Mansour) of Sao Paulo (Brazil), Paul (Saliba) of Australia and New Zealand, George (Abu Zakhem) of Homs, Paul (Yazigi) of Aleppo and Alexandretta, Silouan (Moussi) of Buenos Aires (Argentina), John (Yazigi) of Europe, Basilios (Mansour) of Akkar, Ephrem (Kyriakos) of Tripoli, Koura, and dependencies, and the Patriarchal Vicar, His Grace Bishop Ghattas (Hazim) and the Secretary of the Synod, Reverend Father George Dimas.
Metropolitan Philip Celebrates Divine Liturgy and Trisagion Prayers in Memory of Patriarch Ignatius IV
On Sunday, December 16, 2012, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip celebrated the Divine Liturgy and a Trisagion Service in for His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV, at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn. The cathedral was filled to capacity with many dignitaries and faithful from the greater New York area. His Grace Bishop Nicholas assisted His Eminence, along with The Very Rev. Thomas Zain, The Very Rev. Dimitri Darwich, Fr. Charles Baz, Fr. Adrian Budica, Archdn. Emile Sayegh and Dn. Andre Elhajj.
His Eminence the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe has been elected Patriarch of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East. The Patriarch-elect Youhanna X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod earlier today, December 17, during a special session held at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
The Patriarch-elect was born in 1955 in the city of Latakiya, Syria into a pious Orthodox home. His father was Syrian and was a professor of Arabic Language. His mother is Lebanese. He has four brothers, with his brother Paul being the current Metropolitan of Aleppo, and he has one sister who is a nun. During his early studies, he played a key role in the leadership of Orthodox youth, and organized many choirs to sing in the local churches.
The Archdiocese calls for her members to pray with love and courage for all the victims and those suffering in the aftermath of the violence in Connecticut. As our Metropolitan Philip has written before during great tragedy, "We pray that our risen Lord Jesus Christ, who destroyed death, will grant the families and the entire country the peace and hope that only the empty tomb can provide."
A Prayer in Time of Trouble
O Lord Jesus Christ our God, who brought great joy into the world with your divine birth and salvation through your glorious Resurrection, who shed your precious blood to wash away the sins of man and to revive his spirit. Accept us as we approach your goodness and hear the voice of our petitions. Look with compassion upon your servants who have suffered great tragedy and restore hope and well being to their lives. Let not their faith waver. Permit not their hope to flee. Let not their hope in you fade away. Disperse the cloud of sadness that has encompassed them. Reassure their minds, lift up their spirits and restore their confidence. Open the doors of their hearts to permit the Holy Spirit to enter and abide their and bring renewal and healing to their bodies and souls. For you are the healer of souls and bodies, and reviver of the spirits of all of us, and to you we ascribe glory, thanksgiving and worship to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
His Eminence, Metropolitan Philip will hold a Trisagion (Memorial) Service for our departed father of thrice-blessed memory, Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, on Sunday, December 16, 2012 at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY.
Orthros begins at 9:30 a.m. with the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy followed by the Trisagion Prayers of Mercy celebrated by Metropolitan Philip and assisted by His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Brooklyn and the Cathedral clergy beginning at 10:30 am.
Representatives of sister Orthodox Churches and other religious communities have been invited as well as members of the diplomatic corps. For questions regarding the service you may contact the Vicar-General, Archpriest Thomas Zain at firstname.lastname@example.org. For directions to the Cathedral, see the Cathedral website.
Visit the Antiochian Archdiocese memorial section dedicated to Patriarch Ignatius IV. View video of His Beatitude's funeral service, photo galleries, an excerpt from his writings, and more. Resources will continue to be added to this section as they become available.