I’ve just come home from the FOCUS North America YES trip to the Fred Jordan Mission on skid row in Los Angeles and am still so excited I want to capture part of what happened, for the benefit of Orthodox Christians.
Our group of 23, included Katrina, five older “counselors” or leaders, the young adults (7th graders through high school students), and myself. We started Friday, February 4 at noon with a two hour briefing and training session at a local Orthodox Church by our truly spiritual, truly uplifting and inspiring YES! Director, Katrina Bitar. What rapport she has with the teens and counselors, what humility, what love for the poor, what a model for our young people. God willing, she is in the process of replicating herself .
We are not only more than doubling the YES program this year but, God willing, will multiple it many times over in the near future. Preparation had been made by the staff the day and week before the YES weekend. The trip was well-planned.
Growing up in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Matthew Namee learned to love the faith, and as he grew older and began to research the Church's history in America, he eventually decided to join with other historians to form the Society for Orthodox Christian History in the Americas (SOCHA). Readers of SOCHA's website, OrthodoxHistory.org, will encounter fascinating articles about, and see archived photos of, events of great interest to Antiochian Christians, such as St. Raphael's consecration, and Metropolitan Antony Bashir's ministry in the early to mid-1900's. They will also discover essays, primary sources, links to podcasts, book reviews, and tidbits discovered in the course of research, that all tell the story of the early years of Orthodoxy in America. Namee also now hosts a podcast with Ancient Faith Radio, titled American Orthodox History.
Recently, Antiochian.org chatted with Matthew Namee about SOCHA's historical sleuthing.
1. Tell us about the Society. What is your mission and purpose?
I’ve been doing research on American Orthodox history for a number of years now, and I noticed early on that there were others like me, doing similar research, but without any knowledge of each other.
The editors at Antiochian.org have launched a dedicated section of pages for parishes under the "Parishes" drop down button in the top menu. In addition to the already existing list of parishes, the three new pages feature news from parishes around the U.S. and Canada, resources for building missions and strengthening established parishes, and help for parish web editors. A centerpiece of the new section is a fascinating roundtable discussion between six mission parish priests, who share what they've learned about effective mission building.
Has your parish hosted a conference or sponsored an outreach event? Did your community just break ground for a new building? Share it with us! Readers of Antiochian.org are encouraged to submit their parish news and photos for posting, as well as suggested resources, via the editor's box: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the holy season of Great Lent, Antiochian.org will feature Lenten resources, accessed on the home page through the Resources for Great Lent button.
Here, web visitors will be able to read articles about the forty days of fasting and preparation, listen to podcasts old and new, and find liturgical resources to use in Lenten services.
Blessed Forty Days!
Recently, the editors at Antiochian.org spoke with Fr. Christopher Metropulos, the Executive Director of the Orthodox Christian Network, about several new initiatives OCN is introducing at the start of Great Lent.
1. OCN is launching a new all talk internet radio station called "The Anchor." Who will be hosting this, what is his/her background, and what kinds of topics will you be addressing? We understand that both the host and the programmer are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
Yes, we are launching the Anchor Internet Radio Station. Our new talk stations will have a multitude of programs around this sacred time of the year encouraging and inspiring the faithful on their spiritual journeys. We welcome Konstantin (Kosta) Rysyanin as the new Program Director, and Scott Allen Miller as the host of the station, to our OCN staff. Both are members of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
WORSHIP & YOU, the new multimedia study for Orthodox Christian adults and teens from Jason Barker and Ancient Faith Radio, aims to help Christians deepen their worship of God, and take the transforming power of that experience into their daily lives.
Focusing on the main services of the Orthodox Church and personal prayer, Worship & You looks at the meaning of what takes place during liturgical worship, and how this applies outside of the church in the everyday world.
The February 2010 issue contains the following articles:
Why Fast?, pg. 4
by Chris Humphrey
The Power of the Name, pg. 6
by Fr. George Morelli
The Emergence of Local Orthodox Christian Societies in America, pg. 26
by His Grace Bishop THOMAS and Sub-deacon Simeon Dana Kees
NEW ITEM for 2010 Great Lent
The Little Compline with the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos
Download Order Form (PDF)
New Edition for 2010
Musical Notation included
Order of Services delineated for the First Four Weeks as well as for the Fifth Week of Great Lent
An Introduction to the Service
A Paschal Calendar up to 2046
Edited and compiled by the Department of Sacred Music of the Archdiocese
GET YOUR COPY TODAY!
PRICE: $10.00 per copy (plus Shipping & Handling)
Both the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico, have parishes in Haiti, and all have been impacted in varying degrees, by the devastating earthquake of January 12. V.Rev. Victor Potapov, the Executive Director for the Fund for Assistance of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, reports that the Assistance Fund has collected over $50,000 and disbursed $16,000 of aid to the suffering people of Haiti through trusted clergymen on the ground there. "This is an ongoing fundraising effort," he explains. "We are working towards opening a clinic on the grounds of one of our five parishes in Haiti. Please pray for Fr. Gregoire, Fr. Jean, their long-suffering parishioners and for the members of our delegation, who are doing a magnificent job in Haiti, negotiated with the United Nations, the Red Cross, IOCC and other organizations to get aid to our people."
Deacon Matthew Williams of ROCOR, recently returned from a trip to Haiti, where he summarized in an online report the desperate condition of parishioners there.
After over three productive decades in Ben Lomond, California, Conciliar Press is expanding its operations by moving to a new operations center and warehouse in the Chicago area. The Chicago facility began taking orders in early January, and with this centralized location, shipping will be more efficient. In addition, extended hours will allow for more cost-effective customer service and will keep operating costs to a minimum.
The toll-free number, 1-800-967-7377, remains the same, and at www.conciliarpress.com, customers can shop online. Conciliar Press operates under the Conciliar Media Ministries (CMM) umbrella, along with sister company Ancient Faith Radio, and is a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.
His Grace Bishop BASIL, in his St. Raphael Clergy Brotherhood newsletter on January 8, encouraged the faithful and clergy of his Diocese to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision with prayers, volunteer work with local pro-life ministries, and participation where possible in the Washington D.C. March for Life.
His Grace writes:
"FRIDAY, JANUARY 22nd will mark the 37th anniversary of the infamous decision given by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case known as "Roe v. Wade." Please find below two links about how Orthodox Christians will observe that day:
January 13, 2010
TO BE READ FROM THE PULPIT
"You who are strong, help the weak. You who are rich, help the poor. You who stand upright, help the fallen and the crushed. You who are joyful, comfort those in sadness. You who enjoy all good fortune, help those who have met with disaster. Give something in thanksgiving to God that you are of those who can give help, and not of those who stand and wait for it." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus)
Beloved in Christ:
We are all aware of the disastrous earthquake which struck the country of Haiti on Tuesday that destroyed many homes and reduced much of their land to rubble and took many innocent lives. Thousands of homes were destroyed and thousands of people are still missing amid the heaps of ruins. Even the center of the city of Port au Prince, was heavily damaged, including the capital that was completely destroyed. With faith in God, these victims of this disaster are trying to restore some order to their shattered lives.
January 14, 2010
IOCC URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Relief for the Beleaguered People of Haiti
For the people of Haiti, the hemisphere’s poorest country, life was difficult enough before the massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.
Since news of the earthquake came to light, IOCC staff have been contacting partners active in Haiti and attempting to reach Orthodox parishes on the island to coordinate our response to the growing need. Like many Haitians who have been struggling to reach their loved ones, IOCC is finding direct communication difficult – symptomatic of the widespread destruction and ruined infrastructure that is now beginning to be revealed.
Given the magnitude of the quake and the poverty that already existed before the disaster, IOCC has mobilized its disaster response team and is preparing to respond to the tremendous needs in close coordination with our Orthodox and ecumenical partners. Listen to Ancient Faith Radio's interview with IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou here.
Please help the people of Haiti!
- Make an online gift to assist the victims of disasters around the world, like the Haiti Earthquake, by giving to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund, at www.iocc.org.
- Assemble hygiene kits and emergency clean-up buckets to be shipped to places like Haiti – or wherever disasters strike. For information on hygiene kits, go to www.iocc.org/kits.
- Pray for the people of Haiti and those who have lost loved ones in this disaster and for the safety of those who are working to assist them. See: http://www.iocc.org/prayers/
Several years after the momentous Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade overturned the laws of all fifty states and essentially legalized abortion on demand throughout the U.S., churches everywhere began observing Sacred Gift of Life Sunday. This event, which always precedes the anniversary of this misguided decision, is a call for Christians everywhere to prayers and activism on behalf of women and their unborn children.
In the Antiochian Archdiocese, our teens are leading the way in asking our parishes to observe Sacred Gift of Life Sunday. With the blessing of Metropolitan Philip, Teen SOYO has compiled a packet of resource materials to help the faithful memorialize the 43 million lives lost to abortion in the last 35 years.
On Sunday, January 17, 2010, the hierarchs of SCOBA have scheduled a national event to support the growth of Orthodox media outreach. Titled “Share the Light Sunday,” it is intended to raise awareness and financial support for the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN), a pan-Orthodox media ministry that is also one of the official agencies of SCOBA. OCN uses the power of the radio and the Internet to present our Church to mainstream America--to reach out to everyone, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, with a message that is engaging, accessible and Christ-centered. The Hierarchs of SCOBA have issued a letter calling attention to the ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network, and encouraging the faithful to participate in Share the Light Sunday.
For more information, inluding bulletin inserts, media materials and more, please visit OCN's Share the Light Sunday web page.
On Monday January 4th, 2010, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America hosted a meeting with His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA).
The meeting was held at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey. Also attending was Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, the OCA Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations.
The two hierarchs discussed several topics of utmost importance to the Orthodox faithful in America. Among the topics discussed were the following two items of special significance:
The January 2010 issue contains the following articles:
Preaching Christ Crucified at Theophany, pg. 4
by Fr. Steven Salaris
The Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, pg. 14
by Fr. Daniel Griffith
Plus words from the Antiochian House of Studies, the Department of Youth Ministries, Fr. John Abdalah
from NAC Teen SOYO:
Dear Fathers, Parents, Teen Advisors, and Teens:
Greetings in the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ!
I pray this message finds everyone in good health. As Vice President of the North American Council of SOYO and on behalf of the NAC Purity, Virginity, Chastity Committee, (also known as PVC), it is with pleasure that I present to you the official Purity, Virginity, Chastity Educational Packet.
Since late July 2008, the Purity, Virginity, Chastity Committee has been working diligently to formulate this packet you hold today. The NAC has collectively agreed that it is extremely necessary to reach out to our SOYO chapters across the Archdiocese and provide them with an interactive packet addressing these important topics.
Christmas is an opportunity to revive our faith in the One who was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Jesus was born of a virgin to save the world from sin and to lead it towards salvation. God, in the Christmas message, sent His only Son to show us that human nature is neither evil nor transient. For, as God took on human nature, that nature has become noble, and we humans, the carriers of His image, became thereby noble, and touched by the holiness that comes from above.
Christmas means God came to us and for us. Accordingly, we should be ready to do God's will. On this day we beseech the Almighty to open our eyes to see our brethren, and appreciate that the God who created us is the God who created them; they have the right to exist as we do. Otherwise, our faith will be at fault. At Christmas we look at our world and ask God to have mercy on us and grant us His Grace. There are people who are dying here and there; there are millions who are displaced. May the Good Lord give them solace and peace.
I pray to the Child born in a cave in Bethlehem to forgive our sins and look upon you and upon us with His infInite love and boundless mercy.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
The Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies is pleased to announce publication of the latest addition to the Chrysostom Bible Series, "Philippians: A Commentary." In this volume, the author, Paul Nadim Tarazi, presents a reading of Philippians that uses the text "according to its own literary fabric," challenging the reader "to join the community of the Apostle's Philippians while listening to his letter...not to 'fathom' God's kingdom, but to inherit it."