Recently, I returned from a pilgrimage to Syria and Lebanon. When embarking on such a journey, we often have expectations. My expectations were simple: I wanted to visit the holy Shrine of St. Thekla and monasteries, gleaning information and experience to provide consistency and to ensure the transmission of the Antiochian ethos within the life of the Convent of St. Thekla in Pennsylvania.
Archdiocese Calls for Congressional Hearing on the Pattern of Escalating Violence Against the Christian Minority in Egypt
Shortly after midnight on January 1, 2011 as a Coptic Christian mass was concluding, a suicide bomber exploded a bomb as the Christian congregation was leaving The Saints Church in the port city of Alexandria, Egypt. The innocent worshippers were gathered to give thanks for the New Year. At least 25 were killed and more than 90 were injured in the attack. This was one of the most heinous terrorist attacks on a Coptic Christian church in over a decade, and it marks a serious escalation of organized violence against the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt.
The Egyptian President, Husni Mubarak has condemned the barbaric attack on this church which not only killed Christians, but wounded some Muslims in a nearby mosque.
We condemn these barbaric acts of hatred and targeted persecution against our brethren in Egypt. We demand a Congressional hearing on this and other heinous attacks against the Christian population in Egypt, and we expect the United States Congress to take action to address the painful absence of basic and fundamental human rights in Egypt.
+ The Office of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America – Englewood, NJ
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip calls on all supporters of the Christian minority of Egypt to write their congressional representatives with this same message of solidarity.
The January 2011 issue contains the following articles:
Middle East Institute Honors Antiochian Orthodox Layman Issam Fares, pg. 4
Clergy Wives Weekend 2010, pg. 7
10th Annual Orthodox Women's Retreat, pg. 9
by Judy Pinkerton
Seminarian Dinner at the Archdiocese Headquarters, pg. 11
Mother Alexandra's Pilgrimage to Syria and Lebanon, pg. 16
Each year during Christmas break, college conferences are held in various regions in the U.S. This year three regional conferences are currently taking place. In the East at Antiochian Village, attendees are enjoying traditional soccer and football games, a supplication service to Saint Raphael at his grave, a keynote presentation by Dr. Gayle Woloschak about technology and the Church, and what has been called "an epic coffee house night and a bonfire in the snow."
In the West at California's St. Nicholas Ranch, participants are listening to the keynote speaker, Abbot Meletios Webber, a well known author, lecturer, and scholar; attending daily workshops led by Mother Melania of the Santa Barbara Monastery and Katrina Bitar, Program Director of Focus North America, and going to nightly events, including the West's "famous open Mic Night."
OCN is pleased to offer, to both under-graduate and post-graduate college students, a series of internships during 2011. All internships may be done locally or remotely, and all last for six months; internships may be renewed.
Some of the internships are in: Audience Insight and Research, Audio Engineering, Communications and Marketing, Design, Multimedia, Reference Library, Social Media Desk, and Religion Desk.
Each applicant is requested to send a letter of interest, a resume, a writing sample where speciﬁed, and a letter of recommendation from his or her parish priest, to OCN's Executive Director at FrChris@stdemetrios.org. To learn more visit OCN's website. Click here for a full list of internships.
Capitalizing on a wave of interest in Orthodox classical education and learning, Eighth Day Institutes in Wichita is hosting their first Eighth Day Symposium conference at the end of January. The Symposium, "Imagination and Soul: Harry Potter, Twilight and Spiritual Formation," will feature noted speaker John Granger, dubbed by Time magazine as the "Dean of Harry Potter Scholars." Additional speakers from across the country will discuss these topics: "Holy Knowledge: Classical Education and the Church Fathers," "The Advent of Superman? Classical and Modern Education," and "Why Bother with Books?" Go here to register for this free event.
Wichita is also looking into the prospects of forming a new classical Orthodox school which will meet at St. George Cathedral. “We’re Orthodox,” His Grace Bishop Basil said in a recent interview. “We have something that’s true. We have something precious to offer that’s different than every other school.” With the Bishop’s blessing, a steering committee has been established and the committee leaders will present a strategic plan for the school by January 2011.
Further west, Antiochian Christian educators in Idaho have founded the Classical Learning Resource Center.
St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Orlando, Florida was founded in 1968. During the V. Rev. Fr. John Hamatie's thirty-seven year tenure the parish purchased and remodeled their church building, and also bought the office building and parking lot behind the Church. The parish has been a presence downtown since 1974, when the community established the annual tradition of Diving for the Cross in Lake Eola Park. Then in 1976 the parish celebrated their first liturgy in the church downtown, on the Fourth of July.
In 2009 in conjunction with the Ephraim Project, Fr. John began to put St. George's parking lot to good use during the week, when he established a weekly feeding for those he calls "our homeless brothers and sisters." Volunteers arrive earlier in the day to prepare food for between 150 and 200 people every Friday; meals are served in the outdoors in the same place that parishioners park on Sundays. "The Blessings deriving to us for over the last year of feeding 200 homeless men, women and children every Friday behind the Church is perhaps one of our greatest spiritual 'highs.' To be actually fulfilling a command of the Lord to love those closest in proximity is a wonderful thing."
Metropolitan Philip Grants A Canonical Release For His Grace Bishop Mark To Be Received Into The Orthodox Church In America
December 13, 2010
On December 8th, 2010, in a letter to His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah, Primate of the Orthodox Church In America (OCA), His Eminence Metropolitan Philip granted a canonical release for Bishop Mark (Maymon) in order that he be received into the OCA. This letter was a reply to a formal request from Metropolitan Jonah, on behalf of the Holy Synod of the OCA, that Bishop Mark be released from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America so that he might be received into the OCA.
In his letter to Metropolitan Jonah, Metropolitan Philip wrote “Bishop Mark is a very good bishop and I am sure that he will contribute his talents for the edification of the faithful of the Orthodox Church In America.”
Our prayers are with Bishop Mark that his new episcopal ministry will be greatly blessed.
Additional information may be found on the website of The Orthodox Church In America at www.oca.org.
A word from Metropolitan Philip:
“I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.” ( l Corinthians I4: I5-I 7).
Beloved In Christ,
As we gather together each day and each week to participate in the liturgical life of our Church, and celebrate the mysteries of our Faith, we realize that none of this would be possible if it were not for the presence of our faithful chanters, choir directors and choir members. They are there not simply to sing the hymns and responses for us, as if we were coming to listen to a concert of Orthodox music each week. Rather, they are there to help guide and lead us all in our worship of God, as we give thanks to Him who given us this life through our own perfect offering and sacrifice of praise.
-Troparion, Tone 8
Singing the praises of the Trinity, you followed God by enduring suffering; you renounced the multitude of idols, O holy martyr Barbara. In your struggles, you were not frightened by the threats of your torturers, but cried out in a loud voice: “I worship the Trinity in one God-head.”
-Kontakion, Tone 4
The December 2010 issue contains the following articles:
Taking Water to the Jordan, pg. 4
Fr. Joseph Allen Visits Balamand, pg. 6
by Fr. Bassam Nassif
Eating in an Anciently Refreshing Way, pg. 9
by Rita Madden, MPH, RD
An Unimaginable Experience, pg. 21
by Mary Salim
Ascending the Mountain, pg. 22
by Fr. Kevin Gregory
Once again during the Nativity season, Antiochian.org brings our readers a collection of excerpts from The Winter Pascha by Fr. Thomas Hopko.
"When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate a 'splendid three-day Pascha'." Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ's birth. A protopresbyter in the Orthodox Church and Dean Emeritus at St. Vladimir's Seminary, Fr. Hopko is a popular speaker and podcaster, and the author of numerous articles and books. In this book, Fr. Thomas draws upon the rich liturgical life of the Church as well as contemporary writers, to present thoughtful meditations focused on the preparation and celebration of Christ's birth.
Many thanks to the SVS Press staff for their kind permission and assistance. Go here to order a copy of The Winter Pascha.
Archpriest Gregory Hallam, Dean of the Antiochian Orthodox Deanery of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and blogger at Antioch Abouna, recently launched a podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Titled A Voice From the Isles, the podcast features Fr. Gregory's sermons and lectures, delivered to Orthodox Christians and inquirers in the United Kingdom. Recently, antiochian.org caught up with him in cyberspace, where he graciously answered our questions.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Father. How does a Christian clergyman in the United Kingdom end up as a priest and Dean in the Antiochian Archdiocese?
I wasn't raised in the Anglican Church but I served it for 12 years as a priest after coming to faith in my early 20s. My journey to Orthodoxy is a long story so I will just give you a reasonably detailed but short summary.
My first encounter with the Orthodox Church was at Anglican seminary 30 years ago when I attended a liturgy in English at a parish in the Greek Archdiocese in Southampton. This was in the context of an ecumenical visit from our college to the church there. I was blown away by the worship much in the same way that the emissaries of Kiev reacted after experiencing the Liturgy at the Great Church in Constantinople. I then began a theological exploration of Orthodoxy while still at Anglican seminary and found that it rang true in every aspect of Christian life.
The Book of the Epistles
An Orthodox Lectionary
Download Order Form (PDF)
Endorsed by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP as the Official Lectionary of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, the Book of the Epistles makes its debut in 2010. Compiled by Fr. Charles Baz, and reviewers include Fr. Paul Tarazi, Fr. David Hester, Dn. Ezra Ham. Thoroughly prepared and well-produced.
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Priest and clinical psychologist Fr. George Morelli has published a treasure trove of informative, insightful articles readily available on this website. In his Chaplain's Corner, Father addresses pastoral concerns with a frank and practical approach. His "Good Marriage" articles blend the best of current psychological insight with the writings of the Fathers, and in-depth reflections such as "Beauty-the Divine Connection," draw extensively from both his clinical experience and his knowledge of Scripture and Holy Tradition. In his recent treatise, The Ethos of Orthodox Catechesis (published in six parts), Fr. George examines in depth the singular Orthodox approach to catechism, and how parents, teachers and pastors can integrate a truly Orthodox ethos in their teaching ministries.
As Orthodox Christians finish up the first week of the Nativity Fast and prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) will be observing IOCC Sunday on November 21. Themed "A Day of Sharing," the event will be spotlighting the ministry of IOCC at parishes all across the United States. Orthodox Christians are being encouraged to:
- Make a generous donation to support the humanitarian work of the IOCC
- Become a volunteer for the organization
- Become a Parish Representative (information available here)
- Participate in a local IOCC Event and
- Pray for all those in need.
For more information, or to download Sunday bulletin inserts, go the IOCC website's special section devoted to IOCC Sunday.
Thirty four years ago, a group of evangelical Christians on the road to Orthodoxy founded St. Athanasius Academy with the vision of serving the Church through long distance study programs, theological studies, and research. From the start, they strategically focused on publishing materials for the laity, as well as producing audio and video tapes, and ultimately, the Orthodox Study Bible. Fifteen years ago, the Academy began to minister to prisoners who were discovering the Orthodox faith through their Prisoner Education Program, which provides study scholarships to qualifying students. Current Academy Director Paul Goetz says, "We have a steady prisoner-student list of 100 active prisoners. And we mean active. We grade and respond to nearly 120 lessons per month. Their enthusiasm is marvelous."
Adds Goetz, "Along with our Correspondence Division (its primary focus being the laity), and our Prisoner Education Project, we continue publishing our research. We are providing live classes – even webcam studies – on the Orthodox philosophy of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, Orthodox theology, studies the Book of Romans and the Gospel of John, and monastic principles for non-monastics. Even here, we provide detailed study notes based on the renowned Fathers of the Church."
Recently, antiochian.org interviewed Paul Goetz about the ongoing work of St. Athanasius Academy. Read the interview in full here.
By Valerie Zahirsky
“Everywhere Present and Filling All Things”: The Holy Spirit or the Clergy Wife? was the theme of the second annual Clergy Wives Weekend, held at Antiochian Village in Ligonier, PA from October 29-31. Over 70 wives of priests, deacons, and wives of seminarians headed for ordination from all across the country – including Alaska! - came together for this pan-Orthodox weekend of prayer, reflection and informal, enjoyable fellowship.
The program included a welcome on Friday night by Maria Abdalah, daughter of Kh. Joanne Abdalah – in whose memory the Weekend is dedicated. Presenting a short overview of the Weekend’s focus, and how we have experienced the Holy Spirit since the dawn of creation, Kh. Stefanie Yazge set the stage for the Weekend’s speakers. The evening concluded with Little Compline. (Click HERE to view a photo gallery of the weekend.)
By the grace of God, a pilgrimage led by His Grace Bishop Joseph, has arrived safely in Damascus, Syria, where it will begin a journey spanning three countries over the next two weeks. Upon arriving in Damascus, the delegation was received in the VIP reception room at the airport and then proceeded to St. Christophoros Monastery in Saydnaya. The group had dinner and celebrated Sayidna's 60th Birthday.
The sixteen delegates will first visit Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East and the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition (“al-Mariamiyeh”) and Headquarters in the “old city.” Over the course of the trip, the group will travel throughout Syria, Lebanon and southern Turkey. The delegates will visit various monasteries, churches, and historic sites in these countries, including Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Antioch (present-day Antakya in Turkey), where “the Disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26). This pilgrimage will be documented daily with text and photos, HERE.
The November 2010 issue contains the following articles:
Al-Kafaat, pg. 4
Purity, Virginity and Chastity, pg. 6
by Samantha Michael
Gay and Lesbian Ordination: An Eastern Orthodox View, pg. 14
by Archpriest John W. Morris, Ph.D.
Old Testament Women at the Annunciation: Gleanings from the Western Rite Lectionary, pg. 18
by Lynette Smith
Book Review: Land and Covenant, pg. 24
by Fr. Aaron Warwick