Despite the appearance of Hurricane Sandy on the eastern seaboard days earlier, the Orthodox Institute 2012, themed "Culture, Morality, Spirituality," successfully convened at Antiochian Village from November 1-4, 2012. The Institute, a project of the Archdiocese Department of Christian Education, focused on surveying current cultural viewpoints, beliefs of the Church, and the moral challenges facing today's youth.
One hundred people attended the conference, which hosted eleven courses related to the theme. Dr. Peter Bouteneff, associate professor of Systematic Theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary, offered the keynote address, "Postmodernism," in which he emphasized that modern man is touched and changed by beauty, rather than by polemics. "It was a a great introduction to postmodernism and religious relativism," noted one attendee. "I feel like I can explain these now."
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:
Beloved in Christ: Greetings to you and your families in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.
I write to you today with a heavy heart as we continue to endure the effects of the massive storm “Sandy” that engulfed the Northeast last week. In fact, I had hoped to communicate with all of you earlier, but we just received our electricity back at the archdiocese and until now we have no Internet access. Nevertheless, the inconvenience we endured pales in comparison to what hundreds of thousands experienced, and continue to experience in the Northeast, most especially in New Jersey, New York City and Long Island. No doubt, all of you have seen on television from the comfort of your warm homes, the death and destruction this rare and massive storm brought to the coastal areas and beyond. Until now, people are without the basic necessities of life, countless families have lost their homes, and even more have suffered extensive damage to their homes- if they can be saved at all. People continue to have to sleep in near freezing temperatures without heat; many are without food, electricity, transportation and other basic needs.
With that in mind, we appeal to you, the faithful of our God-protected archdiocese, to respond to this disaster with your monetary offerings so that we can help those desperate people who are in the geographical “backyard” of our archdiocese headquarters and our Mother Cathedral.
The November 2012 issue includes these articles:
An Inspirational Tour: The St. Romanos Melodist Choir from Beirut, Lebanon, pg. 4
by Archpriest Thomas Zain
The Remembrance of Death, pg. 8
Seminarian Annual Dinner, pg. 14
Antiochian Village, pg. 18
by Christopher Shadid
Works of the Order in Action: Married Seminarians Assistance, pg. 24
by Scott Miller
Metropolitan Philip Receives the Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church
His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP received His Eminence, Metropolitan HILARION, the Chairman of the Department of External Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all Russia on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Accompanying Metropolitan HILARION was His Eminence, Archbishop JUSTINIAN, the Patriarchal Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the United States as well as clergy and a reporter. His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS and Archpriest Thomas Zain also attended the meeting.
After welcoming Metropolitan HILARION, the hierarchs exchanged ideas and concerns on issues relating to the Orthodox world in general and the situation of the Orthodox Church in North America in particular. Of special interest to Metropolitan HILARION was the situation of the Christians in the Middle East and the ongoing conflict in Syria. Metropolitan PHILIP thanked Metropolitan HILARION for the support His Holiness, Patriarch KIRILL gave to our Patriarch IGNATIUS IV during his visit to Syria last December. He also thanked the Russian government for standing by Syria in this time of need.
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip has tasked the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America (AOWNA) with a new fundraising project for 2012-2013, “The Antiochian Village Tornado Relief Fund.” Between 2010 and 2012, the AOWNA women in chapters across the U.S. and Canada raised over $315,000 for the Convent of St. Thekla at the Village, and will now turn their attention towards another project to benefit the Archdiocese's "Holy Mountain."
In the late afternoon of June 1, 2012, a tornado with winds of 110 mph cut a wide swath through the Village grounds in Bolivar, PA, damaging over fifty acres. Thankfully, no camp counselors or staff received injuries, and no outside groups were using the Village at the time. However, the tornado damaged 600 trees and twenty-two buildings; four of the buildings were completely new cabins set to house sixteen girls each.
On Thursday October 18, 2012, an historic meeting of educators from Lebanon and the United States was held under the chairmanship of His Beatitude Ignatius IV at the Antiochian Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. The following people attended and participated in this meeting:
His Beatitude Ignatius IV Patriarch of Antioch and all The East
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Primate of the Antiochian Archdiocese in North America
His Grace Bishop Nicholas, Bishop of Brooklyn and Assistant To the Metropolitan
His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East presided at the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas Cathedral of Brooklyn, NY on October 21, 2012. This was the highlight of his short visit to the United States. The Patriarch, accompanied by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP and His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS (who celebrated the liturgy), arrived about 10 am on a warm autumn day as the church bells filled the streets around the Cathedral. The Cathedral Dean and Vicar-General of the Archdiocese, Archpriest Thomas Zain, greeted the Patriarch at the door of the vestibule and presented the Patriarch with the Gospel book to venerate. As His Beatitude made his way down the center aisle of the Cathedral, scores of people reached out to him for his blessing as the chanters, led by seminarian Rassem El-Massih, chanted the 9th ode of the Palm Sunday Canon, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord . . . . " After blessing the faithful, the Patriarch ascended the throne, the priests took his blessing and vested for the liturgy as Orthros continued with the Patriarch leading the chanting of the Katavasias.
On Oct. 12-14th, 2012, the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan celebrated a historic weekend commemorating 40 years of dedicated ministry and service to the greater southeastern Michigan area. The theme for this Ruby Jubilee celebration was “Dare to Dream.” The weekend was filled with moments of joy, reflection, and fellowship, as the community remembered the milestones that had been reached throughout the church’s history. However, it was also a time dedicated to the anticipation of what the future holds for the parish, as we heard from the youth, regarding their hopes and dreams for what lies ahead for this blessed community. Presiding over the event was His Eminence Metropolitan Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, as well as His Grace Bishop Anthony (Michaels), Bishop of Toledo and the Midwest.
His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV arrived safely today, October 16, at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport at approximately 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, for his scheduled visit. After a joyous greeting at the airport, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip welcomed His Beatitude at the Archdiocese headquarters, where they prayed together in the Chapel of St. John Chrysostom.
The Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Stewardship's Chair Ronald Nicola taught high school social studies and served as a vice-principal for many years. A California native, he grew up attending St. Nicholas Church in San Francisco. He and his family have been members of St. John the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Orinda, California since its founding in 1978.
Ron has been active in many ministries of the Archdiocese, from SOYO to parish council to a twenty-year period of service on the Board of Trustees. Through these experiences, he developed an interest in Christian stewardship and the Scriptural teachings that guide the faithful in their offerings of time, talents, and treasure. Recently, the Department of Stewardship added two substantial resources to the web: The Fifty-Two Week Parish Giving Campaign, and the Parish Council Guidebook. The department is also responsible for the upcoming Parish Council Symposium in November.
Antiochian.org spoke with Ron about the ministry of the Antiochian Archdiocese's Department of Stewardship.
1. What is the Department of Stewardship—when was it founded, and why?
Metropolitan Philip established the Department of Stewardship in 1975 and he appointed the late Ernest Saykaly of Montreal, Quebec, as its first chairperson.
October is the month to introduce teens to the many opportunities to minister in the Church. Teens are encouraged to read the Epistle, chant and sing in the choir, assist in church school, and give sermons approved by the priest.
Additionally, there are several committees that the national leadership of SOYO is promoting in 2012-2013. Dana Zawahri, NAC SOYO Unity Committee Coordinator explained, "A major one is the Unity Committee, established at the last Leadership Training in Chicago. This committee focuses on uniting teens from different Orthodox Christian jurisdictions. Each diocese was given a specific task this year to encourage the teens there to take part. The idea of unity itself has become a very popular subject among our teens. Myriam Zakaib, Treasurer of the Diocese of Ottawa, remarked, 'I think Orthodox unity is important because we are all here to serve Christ. We are all brothers and sisters in His name and we should be working together to serve Him. It does not matter whether you are Russian or Greek, or anything else: you are first an Orthodox Christian.'"
As the autumn sets in each year, one annually thinks of a new ecclesiastical and school year, football season and changing leaves. For our Antiochian seminarians, another staple of the fall every year is their annual dinner with His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP. Each year Sayidna welcomes his spiritual children to the archdiocese where they pray, eat and talk together. Seminarians and their wives from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, St. Tikhon’s Seminary and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary were in attendance along with the archdiocesan clergy who teach them at the various seminaries.
Update: A revised version of the October issue has now been added.
The October 2012 issue includes these articles:
What Can We Do for God's Youth Today?, pg. 3
by Bishop John Abdalah
Raising Up a Generation of Leaders, pg. 4
by Dana Zawahri
Ten Years Later ... Reflections of a Youth Director, pg. 8
by Gigi Baba Shadid
A Journey in the Spirit, pg. 10
by Phillip Walker, M.D.
Reflection on Antony Bashir, pg. 17
St. John of Damascus, pg. 19
by Fr. Joseph Allen, Th.D.
On Being an Orthodox Mystery Writer, pg. 23
by Dan Stemasko
The Antiochian Heritage Museum, housed in the Heritage and Learning Center on the grounds of Antiochian Village in Bolivar, PA, is currently showcasing an exhibit marking the 100th anniversary of the luxury cruise ship Titanic's tragic maiden voyage. The display honors the memory of those who perished in the disaster, as well as the faith and perseverance of those who survived. Through the stories of a few lesser known passengers and one famous one, the exhibit explores several unusual "Titanic connections."
Museum Curator and Librarian Julia Ritter chose the featured stories because they connect both to the history and lives of earlier Americans, and also to the heritage and roots of Antiochian Christians, thus offering an particularly unique perspective on one of the most dramatic tragedies of the modern era.
On Saturday, September 15, 2012, the community of St. George Antiochian Church of Montreal, Quebec, hosted a celebration of 50 years of holy priesthood for their pastor, Economos Antony Gabriel. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip presided over an entire weekend of festivities which culminated in the banquet held at Le Westin in Montreal on Saturday evening.
The weekend began with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip’s arrival to the Montreal airport on Friday, September 14, 2012. Joining His Eminence were His Grace Bishop Antoun, His Grace Bishop Nicholas, and Archdeacon Hans Elhayek. His Grace Bishop Alexander and the priests of Montreal and Ottawa greeted the bishops upon their arrival in a special VIP room at the airport. After we sat, relaxed and enjoyed good conversation with our beloved bishops, the hierarchs were taken to the Westin Hotel via limousine, where they would stay while in Montreal.
September 26th, 2012
To our Esteemed Hierarchs, Clergy, Members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and Faithful of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America:
Greetings and Blessings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
We wish to inform you that His Beatitude Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East will soon visit the United States. His Beatitude will arrive in New Jersey on Tuesday October 16th, 2012, and will reside at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey while he is here. On Thursday October 18th, His Beatitude will preside over a meeting of the executive staffs of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology of the University of Balamand, and the Antiochian House of Studies. The goal is to finalize a plan by which a cooperative effort will offer the opportunity for students to earn advanced theological degrees. On Friday October 19th, 2012, His Beatitude will attend a ceremony in New York where he will bestow the honor of the Order of Saints Peter and Paul upon His Excellency Issam Fares, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon. This is the highest award granted by the Patriarchate of Antioch. He may be in attendance at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday October 21. Following his short stay in New Jersey he will depart for Houston Texas for his regular medical exam and then return home.
We welcome him with joy, and pray that God will grant him many years!
Your father in Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
Registrations will be accepted until October 30, but PLEASE HELP US OUT BY REGISTERING TODAY!
Please download and send in your form so we can make class handouts. See you soon!
Now is the time to register for the Orthodox Institute 2012: Culture. Morality. Spirituality. Held at Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA, on November 1–4, this year's conference will survey current cultural views, beliefs of the church, and the challenges facing young people. Registration is open until October 14. Keynote Speaker Dr. Peter Bouteneff of St. Vladimir's Seminary will be joined by Featured Presenters Dr. Vigen Guroian (University of Virginia) and Dr. Philip Mamalakis (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology). The conference offers panel discussions, lectures, and fellowship for Orthodox educators, parents and clergy.
The St. Romanos the Melodist Choir from the Archdiocese of Beirut completed their two week tour at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Brooklyn, NY before a capacity crowd of over 450, on Saturday, September 22, 2012. Six hierarchs, numerous priests and deacons, and two counsels general from Lebanon and Cyprus, filled the cathedral for a night to remember.
To begin the concert, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP offered words of welcome, and then the choir of twelve men, led by Father Romanos Joubran, mesmerized the crowd with their beautiful music for a hour. After a short break, Part Two began with a special guest appearance by the Archdiocesan Byzantine Choir of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Then, to top the evening off, both choirs performed several hymns—first antiphonally, and then in unison.
Following the program, His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America presented Fr. Romanos and the group with a beautiful icon of St. Romanos the Melodist on a large polished stone. Metropolitan PHILIP then thanked both choirs, and all present gave the choirs a standing ovation.
"The Bible 'enchants our ears with birdsong.' It enchants us and delights us. It brings us peace, but it also instills awe. The Bible is filled with great deeds and acts of love. What is most delightful, however, is the fact that all these great deeds involve human beings, not superheroes. Whether through Noah building an ark or Moses leading a whole nation out of slavery, God is acting through people like us, people who have as great a potential to love as to sin."
These and other well-chosen words prompted this year's Oratorical Festival judges to award Peter Somi the 2012 Festival Judges' Choice Award. Peter hails from St. George Cathedral in Worcester (Diocese of Worcester and New England) and his full speech can be read here.
Esther Simbol, Bible Bowl Coordinator, writes that this year's Fellowship of St. John the Divine North American Council (NAC) Bible Bowl at Antiochian Village received rousing support from 300 campers, who cheered for their favorite teams. The Topic this year was St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, and all seven Dioceses were represented. This year’s winner was the team from St. Elias Cathedral, Ottawa, Ontario, representing the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upper State New York. The team consisted of Amanda Salibi, Maria Fakhouri and Milad Hamwi. Read about the theme and the participants in September's The Word.
Samer Laham, Director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) for the Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, has issued a late summer report detailing the Patriarchate's assistance to those who have impacted by the internal strife in Syria. The United Nations recently estimated that an estimated 2.5 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 1.2 million people are internally displaced.
Mr. Laham writes, "DERD has been coordinating activities with Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), local and regional municipalities, as well as local NGOs, to determine the areas and public buildings that are housing the most vulnerable displaced Syrians who are in need of immediate assistance. Working with local city governments and NGOs helps to ensure that beneficiaries receive aid with minimal overlapping in efforts. DERD also coordinates food distribution activities with World Food Programme and SARC, to identify the locations of people in most in need of food and to avoid duplication."
Since its inception in 1999, DERD has partnered with organizations from all over the world, which has strengthened its effectiveness and ability to meet the needs of the communities it serves. Download the full report.