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Remember the Victims of September 11th this Sunday

September 11, 2001September 11, 2001His Eminence Metropolitan Philip asks that every parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese hold a Trisagion service at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy this Sunday, September 11th, 2011 to remember the victims of the 9/11 attacks on this, the 10th anniversary of that horrific occasion in the life of our country. Please also remember the families of the departed and those brave people who aided in the rescue, many of whom are suffering serious health problems to this day as a result, in your prayers for the living this Sunday.

Christian Education Department Kicks off Sunday School Year with New Resources

Creative Arts Festivals Logo, 2011-2012Creative Arts Festivals Logo, 2011-2012The Christian Education team of the Antiochian Archdiocese, headed by Director Carole Buleza, is passionate about transmitting the faith to the next generation, and the resource-rich Christian Education section on antiochian.org reflects this. An extensive upgrade to the Christian Education pages launched to coincide with the start of the Sunday School year, includes an entirely new Creative Arts Festivals section developed by Editor Andrew Frishman.

Youth workers who want to integrate the creative festivals into their Christian Education program will find the revamped section useful both for Sunday School as well as SOYO events.

Highlights of the new material available are:

  • Guidance for newcomers in "New to the Festivals?"
  • "Summary of Modifications for the 2012 Festivals"
  • Updated judging rubrics and lesson plans
  • Suggestions for educators in "Using the Theme" and "Job Descriptions"
  • Advice for students on "Inspiring Writing"
  •  Plus an improved sidebar for helpful navigation!

In the main Christian Education section, a book review highlights Christian Education in the Small Membership Church and registration is available for Orthodox Institute 2011, a pan-Orthodox event featuring an interactive Holy Land tour.

September 2011 Edition of The Word Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The September 2011 issue contains the following articles:

Metropolitan Philip Addresses the 50th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention, pg. 5

Resolutions of the 50th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention, pg. 16

The Albanian Journals Part 1, pg. 20
by Fr. Stephen Mathewes

Prophecies of Christ's Life, Death and Resurrection in the Old Testament, pg. 24
by Hal Smith

An Orthodox University: Higher Education for Orthodox Christians, pg. 26
by His Grace Bishop Thomas

Hospitality to College Students, pg. 30
by Hollie Benton

...and more!

Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth Receives Five-Year Grant

WESTWOOD, Massachusetts - The Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY), Very Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura and Kathleen A. Purpura announce the award of a five-year grant for its Greater Chicago Coalition. OCCHY – Cicero/Greater Chicago was awarded a $125,000 Drug Free Communities Support Program FY 2011 grant by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Coalition serves the Villages of Lincolnwood, Niles, and Skokie, IL, as well as the eighty-plus Orthodox parishes of the Greater Chicago area. ONDCP and SAMHSA offer the potential of an additional five-year extension of the grant. Under the excellent guidance of the Very Rev. Nicholas Dahdal, Pastor, the Grantee is St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Cicero, IL.

Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth is a national alliance founded by the Department of Youth and Parish Ministries of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. Fr. Joseph Purpura, Chairman of the Department of Youth, and Kathleen Purpura, Youth Consultant and Executive Director of OCCHY, trained with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), worked with the White House Director of Drug Free Communities and also the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Video Salute to Metropolitan Philip

The following video salute to Metropolitan Philip was presented at the 2011 Archdiocese Convention in Chicago, IL, to honor him for his 45 years of episcopal leadership and his 80th birthday. These introductory remarks were made by Fr. Anthony Gabriel:

Your Eminence Metropolitan Philip, Metropolitan Paul, Metropolitan Silouan, the hierarchs of this God protected Archdiocese, Reverend Clergy, esteemed members of the Board of Trustees, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen:

I have been honored by Economos Nicholas Dahdal with a request, for which I thank him from the bottom of my heart, as one who journeyed for 45 years with His Eminence Metropolitan Philip, to share a few reflections on the life of our Chief Shepherd and Father in Christ. With the business of this convention now completed, it is time to celebrate at this concluding banquet.  This evening we joyously commemorate two milestones in the life of our beloved Primate: Saidna Philip’s 45th anniversary to the Holy Episcopacy and his 80th birthday.

SOYO Leadership Manual Now Available

The 2011 SOYO Leadership Manual is now available from the Department of Youth Ministry. These valuable manuals are packed with resources to help leaders of youth groups with all the details of managing the SOYO year and SOYO programs. They also provide space for each local SOYO to add in its materials.

Clergy Wives Weekend, October 28-30

Clergy Wives Weekend, 2009Clergy Wives Weekend, 2009The Clergy Wives Weekend at Antiochian Village was instituted two years ago in memory of Kh. Joanne Abdalah, as a pan-Orthodox gathering of spiritual refreshment and fellowship. The wife of Bishop-Elect Rt. Rev. Archimandrite John Abdalah, and a counselor to many, Kh. Joanne Abdalah served as an inspiration and an example. She understood the joys and trials of living, especially as a clergy wife. She also realized the need for finding strength in Christ and each other. She believed that every clergy wife needed to discover and develop her own Christian vocation. In her memory, her family and clergy wife friends planned the first Clergy Wives Weekend in 2009 as a fitting tribute and way to carry on her work and commitment to clergy wives.

Last October more than 75 Orthodox clergy wives from jurisdictions across the United States enjoyed the 2nd Annual Clergy Wives Weekend at the Antiochian Village. The schedule reflected Kh. Joanne’s holy and holistic approach to life – "we need to pray; we need to play. We need to enjoy the fellowship for this short time without parish responsibilities, family responsibilities or other cares of this world." The weekend was a tremendous success, and now the Coordinating Committee is happy to announce the 2011 Clergy Wives Weekend!

St. Stephen's Course Deadline Extended Through September

New students will be admitted to The St. Stephen's Course in Orthodox Theology through the end of September, announced Antiochian House of Studies Registrar Dn. Peter Boulukos. Dn. Peter urges all interested students to contact him for information via phone or email. All inquirers will receive a brief synopsis of the Course; introductory information is also available here. Listen to an Ancient Faith Radio interview about the St. Stephen's Course here.

Beginning August 28, the House of Studies will also be coordinating its annual Residency Program. The yearly two week program, hosted by Antiochian Village, welcomes students from all around the United States as well as from overseas. "We have students coming from New Zealand this year, and we always have students from other parts of the world," notes Dn. Peter.  The Residency Program is open to seminarians during their years of study, as well as current and soon-to-be-candidates for ordination who have not attended an Orthodox theological seminary, and also St. Stephen’s students who will be applying for ordination in the Antiochian Archdiocese.

"Conversations With Our Bishops" Series Debuts on Assembly Website

Antiochian hierarch His Grace Bishop Thomas is among a group of five bishops whose audio interviews have been posted in a special feature on the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America's website. More interviews are planned as the series unfolds over the coming months.

The Assembly site explains that the twelve-member Secretariat of the Assembly, led by His Grace Bishop Basil, initiated these conversations, "a series of audio interviews of the Assembly's fifty-three member hierarchs by Archpriest Josiah Trenham (proïstamenos of St. Andrew Church in Riverside, CA and director of Patristic Nectar Publications) for the purpose of providing a broad swath of perspectives to the Church-at-large on the significance and work of the Assembly."

Along with His Grace Bishop Thomas, the other bishops featured in this first set of MP3 interviews are: Bishop Daniel, Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Bishop Maxim, Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North America, Archbishop Nicolae, Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the Americas, and Bishop Ilia, Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Listen to all five conversations here.

Annual St. Thekla Pilgrimage, September 23-25

Please join us at the Antiochian Village from September 23-25, 2011 for the Patronal Feast of St. Thekla Convent. This is the 33rd Annual Pilgrimage at the Village and the 3rd since the founding of the monastery.

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!

Speakers and Workshops

The speakers for the weekend are His Grace, Bishop Thomas, who is our guest Hierarch and Mother Alexandra, who will offer a talk on prayer.

There will be four workshop sessions offered concurrently:

Orthodox Family Life

This session will discuss the daily Pilgrimage of Orthodox life in our homes, how faith directs us and how the love of God binds us.

Antiochians Participate in Cambridge Institute's Summer Session

The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, England, recently wrapped up its 12th annual Summer School session, titled "The Challenge of a Secular Age." (Read Principal David Frost's summary of the week.) The Institute has close ties with the Antiochian Deanery in the United Kingdom, and Antiochian Orthodox Christians from North America have also participated in this distance learning program. Some have even been able to travel to England to attend the summer sessions. 

Dr. Michael Basham, an Antiochian member of the Institute's Board and a Parish Council member of St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church in Erie, CO., reflects on his participation in the IOCS. “I have been impressed by the number of Antiochian Orthodox Christians enrolled in the Institute’s various programs of study; especially the online course in Orthodox Christian Studies. We Antiochian Orthodox Christians are, for the most part, an inquisitive lot. We love to learn, to grow, and to deepen our spiritual and intellectual life. Moreover, we seek meaning and purpose in what we believe and in what we do. Although we are inquisitive, we are more than just curious. We strive to raise our intellectual awareness while deepening our spiritual growth and in doing so be able to, in the words of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, ‘. . . confront life’s problems without fear or anger.’"

Orthodox Christian Elevator Speech Contest Winner Announced

Santa Barbara, CA — The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is pleased to announce that Valerie Ann Zrake of New York City has won the first-ever Orthodox Elevator Speech Contest. In an on-line poll, Zrake's elevator speech was the favorite of voters out of 10 finalists. As a prize she wins $100 worth of Conciliar Press publications of her choice, compliments of the publishing house. Zrake is a parishioner at St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Brooklyn. Valerie won with this speech:

Orthodox Christianity is the authentic and original Christian Faith founded by Jesus Christ. As an Orthodox Christian you can experience heaven on earth through the Divine Liturgy which is mystical, spiritual, and beautiful, with it's incense, icons, and sacred music. You can transcend time and space while you meditate upon the words and teachings of Jesus Christ. It's the most pure form of Christianity – nothing artificial added. It's the real deal.

Zrake realized every Orthodox Christian should be prepared with a brief response when asked what the Orthodox Church is, and saw the contest as a good motivation to work out hers.  

Message Regarding Upcoming Consecrations of Bishops-Elect

His Eminence Metropolitan Philip writes:

August 8th, 2011

To the beloved hierarchs, clergy, esteemed members of the Archdiocese Board of Trustees, and faithful of this Archdiocese:

Greetings to all of you in the Name of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ! As you all know, the nomination and election of three new Auxiliary Bishops for this Archdiocese took place at our recently concluded Archdiocese Convention which was held in Chicago, IL. The three priests who are now bishops-elect are:

Rt. Rev. John Abdalah - Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Worcester and New England

Rt. Rev. Anthony Michaels - Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Toledo and The Midwest

Rt. Rev. Nicholas lyad Ozone - Auxiliary Bishop for Brooklyn to assist the Metropolitan at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey

On Sunday August 7th, 2011, we spoke by telephone with His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. His Beatitude has been very busy with the consecration of the twelve new Auxiliary Bishops who will serve in various locations within the See of Antioch. He was very pleased with the nomination and election of our three new Auxiliary Bishops, and he expressed the desire that they be consecrated at one of the Patriarchal locations in either Lebanon or Syria in December of 2011. The exact date and location will be determined by His Beatitude, and communicated to us.

Praying that the Lord will continue to bless you all, I remain

Your father in Christ,

Metropolitan PHILIP
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America

Download PDF version of this announcement

Resolution to Oppose the Recent New York State Legislation Legalizing Same Sex Marriage

WHEREAS, on June 24, 2011 the State of New York Legislature, following controversial debates, passed a new law legalizing same-sex marriage, making New York the largest state where gay and lesbian couples will be able to wed.

WHEREAS, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, under the direct leadership of his Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop PHILIP (Saliba), and the Local Synod of the Archdiocese, continues to shepherd its faithful members throughout all of North America, and as such, are deeply concerned about the recent developments regarding “same sex marriage”.

WHEREAS, the Holy Orthodox Church recognizing marriage to be a fundamental institution and teaching that marriage and sexuality, which are firmly grounded in Holy Scripture, Two thousand years of church tradition, and canon law, hereby holds that marriage consists in the conjugal union of a man and a women and that authentic marriage is blessed by Almighty God as a sacrament of the Church.

WHEREAS, The Holy Scripture attests that God created man and women in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27-31), that those called to do so might enjoy a conjugal union that ideally leads to procreation. While not every marriage is blessed with the birth of children, every such union exists to create of a man and a women a new reality of “one flesh”. This can only be achieved in a relationship between individuals of opposite gender. “God made them male and female...So they are no longer two but one flesh” ( Mark 10:6-8).

Resolution Demanding Even-Handed and Fair Treatment of U.S. Policy in the Middle East

WHEREAS, the hierarchs, clergy and faithful of this God-protected Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America have met as the General Assembly at the 50th Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Convention;

WHEREAS, there exists today in the Middle East serious social upheaval that has greatly affected the economies creating high unemployment rates and resulting in untenable human conditions;

WHEREAS, there is great concern over the present conditions existing in certain of the Middle East states, specifically those of Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, regarding the living conditions and general welfare of its citizens;

WHEREAS, many people in the Middle East have been victimized and suffer greatly from such conditions including poverty, scarcity of food and clean water, inadequate medical care and other such conditions, all in violation of fundamental and basic human rights and dignities;

WHEREAS, the State of Israel has and continues to implement a specific policy toward Judaizing Jerusalem and usurping Arab lands and permitting the illegal establishment of settlements, which have been at the center of much conflict in the Middle East and such policies are supported by United States and Canada;

WHEREAS, the Holy City of Jerusalem is an integral part of the three major monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam;

Metropolitan Philip Announces Election of New Auxiliary Bishops

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, July 30, at the 50th Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese, His Eminence Metropolitan Philip announced that the Synod had elected three archimandrites of the Archdiocese for elevation to the episcopacy.

They are: the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite John Abdalah, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Worcester and New England; the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Anthony Michaels, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest; and the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Nicholas Ozone, who will serve as the auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and assist His Eminence at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

Please remember these servants of our Lord in your prayers, and may God grant them many years!

Convention General Assembly Concludes

The official business of the General Assembly of the 50th Convention of the Antiochian Archdiocese concluded Friday, July 29. Much fruitful work was conducted during the two days of the Assembly, highlighted by the announcement Friday by His Eminence Metropolitan Philip that the Synod of the Antiochian Archdiocese will be expanding with the addition of not two (as previously announced) but three new auxiliary bishops. Metropolitan Philip declared that our Synod would be electing auxiliary bishops to serve the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest and the Diocese of Worcester and New England, with a third auxiliary bishop serving to assist His Eminence at the Archdiocese headquarters in Englewood, NJ.

Reports from the various departments and organizations of the Archdiocese were presented and accepted with great enthusiasm, and a number of invited guests honored the gathering with special presentations, including Ms. Myriam Shwayri of the Al-Kafaat Foundation of Lebanon and Mr. Michael Homsey of International Orthodox Christian Charities. Ten new members were elected by general proclamation to the Archdiocese Board of Trustees. Seven timely resolutions were introduced and passed, and will be made public via this website as soon as possible.

The extensive exhibit halls continued to be a popular attraction, the teens of the Archdiocese warmed the hearts of all in attendance with their comings and goings to the program of youth activities, and all benefitted from the opportunity to fellowship with old and new friends alike. Ancient Faith Radio continues to add to their collection of recordings from the Convention, available here for those who would like to listen online.

AFR Convention Podcasts Now Available

Ancient Faith Radio announces that it is attending the 50th Biennial Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocesan Convention in Chicago, Illinois, and is posting recordings of speeches, events, and gatherings.

The first post, created on Thursday morning, July 28, is titled "The 2011 Bible Bowl" and the descriptive text reads: "Young people from each Diocese participated in the 2011 Bible Bowl based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. You will have to listen to the end to learn who the winner was!"

Listen to the Bible Bowl and other podcasts.

St. George Church of Cicero, IL, Holds Convention Kick-Off Celebration

Thursday, July 21, proved to be a day of celebration for many reasons.  In addition to being the last day of a sizzling heat wave across the Midwest, an excitement filled the air in the courtyard of St. George Church, Cicero, Host Parish of the historic 50th Archdiocese Convention beginning this Sunday, July 24th.   Balloons and banners, posters and streamers, food and music, people young and old, witnessed a great announcement!  Fireworks lit up the sky brightening the smiling faces as they all heard: 

The Convention begins this weekend!  

The Committee gathered to celebrate several years of tireless planning and a very anticipated week-long journey called the Archdiocese Convention.  The full schedule is available at www.archdioceseconvention2011.org and awaits the entire Archdiocese.  

Parish Life Conference Season Ends; Archdiocese Convention Begins July 24

Diocese of Los Angeles and the West PLC PostcardDiocese of Los Angeles and the West PLC PostcardWhen asked for a statement summarizing the Parish Life Conference season just ending, Fr. Michael Ellias, co-chair of the Dept. of Conventions and Conference Planning, said humorously, "Thank God they are over!" PLC host parishes breathe a sigh of relief when the conferences are successfully completed, and Antiochian Christians who attend know why: they are a huge undertaking, requiring years of planning and legions of volunteers. This year's lively PLC's, which as always could be described as family reunions but on a large scale, were packed with events, starting with morning services and extending beyond evening vespers. The conferences took place over two long weekends, June 15-19 and June 28-July 3.

Fr. John K. Teebagy, pastor of the Church of St. John of Damascus, host of a PLC in June, describes the Worcester and New England Conference. "This year the Church of St. John of Damascus of Dedham, MA hosted the 73rd Parish Life Conference of the Diocese of Worcester and New England at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis, MA, which is located on beautiful Cape Cod and served as the summer White House for President John F. Kennedy. For the second year in a row, the diocese was pleased and honored to welcome His Grace Bishop Thomas as our presiding hierarch.