What shall I offer you on your birthday in return for your infinite love?
I have neither gold nor silver, neither myrrh nor frankincense.
My house is without a roof. I have no room for you; not even a manger.
My soul is even darker than the clouds of my passion.
My eyes are too dim to look beyond the horizon of myself.
Help me behold your bright star; "For in thy light we shall see light."
by Virginia Nieuwsma
Of all of the saints particularly loved by Antiochian Orthodox, St. Ignatius ranks somewhere near the top of the list. Of Syrian origin, St. Ignatius, otherwise known as Theophorus, which in Greek means "God-Bearer," led the Christian Church during a critical period of her history. Pious tradition has always maintained that he was the little child that Christ held on His lap when he uttered the immortal words, “Let the children come unto me.” What is known for certain is that he grew up to be a disciple of the Apostles, St. Peter personally ordained him a Bishop, and his name is mentioned in the book of Romans.
Not much is known about St. Ignatius’ life until he began his famous last journey—on foot—to Rome, where he was thrown to the lions as portrayed in his icons. On his way to his death, many churches sent representatives to him, and fortunately for future Christians, he sent letters back to the churches. Thanks to St. Polycarp, seven of these letters survived; in them, we find some of the earliest teachings about the organization, practices, and beliefs of the Church. He emphasized the importance of loyalty and obedience to the bishop, as well as the salvific power of the Eucharist, "the flesh of Christ," "the gift of God," "the medicine of immortality." On December 20, 107, during the reign of Emperor Trajan, St. Ignatius ended his life in a Roman arena, torn to bits by beasts. Rather than discouraging the fledgling faith of Christianity as the Romans had hoped, his noble death ignited and strengthened the faith of many.
Bethlehem has opened Eden: come, let us see!
We have found delight in secret.
Come let us receive the joys of Paradise within the cave.
There the unwatered root whose blossom is forgiveness has appeared;
There has been found the undug well from which David once longed to drink.
There a Virgin has born a babe and has quenched at once Adam's and David's thirst.
For this, let us hasten to this place
Where there has been born a little child:
God before the ages.
The promise of the Old Covenant was understood only vaguely. But with the coming of the Lord, God's purpose was made clear. Therefore, joyously proclaim His birth.
Plus several Christmas episodes of the Orthodixie podcast by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt of St. George Church in Houston, Texas!
|Left to right: Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Very Rev. Joseph Allen, Mr. Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan PHILIP, Metropolitan JONAH, Bishop ANTOUN, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Very Rev. Ellias Bitar, Very Rev. Michael Ellias.|
On the evening of December 10th, 2008, the newly elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH was hosted for dinner by Metropolitan PHILIP at the headquarters of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Englewood, New Jersey. This was the first visit for His Beatitude since his election as the First Hierarch of the OCA. He was accompanied by the OCA Chancellor, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs.
All of the following people attended the dinner: Very Rev. Thomas Zain, Very Rev. Joseph Allen, Mr. Charles Ajalat, Metropolitan PHILIP, Metropolitan JONAH, Bishop ANTOUN, Very Rev. Alexander Garklavs, Very Rev. Ellias Bitar, Very Rev. Michael Ellias.
The two Metropolitans engaged in lively and serious discussion, and shared many common visions for the future of the Orthodox Church in North America.
It is our prayer that this was only the first of such gatherings to discuss and address issues that are critical to the Orthodox Church on this continent.
From the web site of the Moscow Patriarchate:
His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, 79, died on 5 December 2008.
Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church will take place on December 6 to elect Patriarchal Locum Tenens who will chair the Memorial Commission.
The Holy Synod will announce the time of the funeral of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy.
Metropolitan PHILIP writes to the U.S. Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the U.S.:
Beloved Brother in Christ:
I greet you in the name of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life of all who repose in him.
It is with great sadness that I awoke this morning to the shocking news of the passing into eternal life of His Holiness ALEXY II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The loss of this great man is not only a loss for the Church of Russia, but for the entire Orthodox world. I recall with great fondness the two occasions I had to be in his presence, once on his visit to the United States in the early 1990s when we hosted him at our Archdiocese Chancery and the second when I accepted his kind invitation to visit Russia in 1997. It was during this trip in 1997 that I came to realize the greatness of his leadership and vision for the Church of Russia and the Orthodox world at large. Having met with him at the Danielov Monastery and having served with him in the historic Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin and again at the dedication of the awe-inspiring Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow (that he was instrumental in rebuilding as a symbol of the resurrection of the Russian Orthodox Church after more than 70 years of oppression), I felt assured that the Church would continue to thrive under his leadership.
His Grace Bishop JONAH of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15 All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America on November 12, 2008.
On the evening of Thursday, November 13th, 2008, His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP hosted the Antiochian Seminarians and their spouses for the annual Seminarian Dinner, which is held at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. This year, we are blessed to have 32 seminarians (20 of whom are married) in attendance at three Orthodox seminaries: St. Vladimir in Crestwood, NY; St. Tikhon in South Canaan, PA; and Holy Cross in Brookline, MA. More than 60 people attended the Dinner.
The evening began with the Vesper service for St. PHILIP The Apostle (the patron saint of His Eminence). After vespers, everyone proceeded to the large dining room for a wonderful dinner, and dessert. His Eminence addressed the seminarians and their spouses, especially on matters of pastoral care for the faithful. He emphasized the need to remain true to Orthodox traditions while being mindful of the culture that we live in. He emphasized also that our faith must touch the lives of people in a positive way, and that the wives of our priests also have an important ministry.
From October 28 to November 2, 2008, His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV met with Metropolitan PHILIP and the Archdiocese synod of Bishops in Boston, Massachusetts. Please click on the following picture to see more photos of each respective event.
|A luncheon was held in honor of His Beatitude on October 28th.||The Archdiocese Board of Trustees held a meeting on October 31st and November 1st.|
|On November 1st, His Beatitude presided over a banquet celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Balamand in Lebanon.||His Beatitude, together with Metropolitan PHILIP and the Bishops in attendance, celebrated Patriarchal Divine Liturgy on Sunday, November 2nd.|
This week on the Orthodox Christian Network:
On this week's episode of Come Receive the Light, Fr. Alexander Goussetis, author of "Encountering World Religions: An Orthodox Christian Perspective," talks with Fr. Chris about Buddhism.
Also, Dr. Elizabeth Prodromou, a professor at Boston University, answers questions about Orthodoxy sent in from listeners around the country.
"Special Moments in Orthodoxy" continues its adult Bible study of the Book of Acts with Fr. Harry Pappas.
"Turning to the Fathers" with Fr. John McGuckin looks at the spiritual teachings of St. John of Damascus.
Also new this week: "Get Wisdom," the Bible study program for teens and young adults, and "Just Thinking," where Fr. Chris and Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News discuss current events and social trends.
His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East presided over a meeting of the Archdiocese Synod of Bishops on Friday, October 31st, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.
His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV arrived in Newark, New Jersey on the evening of October 28th, 2008. He was greeted at the airport by His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP, Bishop ANTOUN, Bishop THOMAS and area clergy. His Beatitude will stay at the Archdiocese Headquarters until Thursday October 30th when he will depart for Boston, MA, where he will preside over a celebration banquet for the University of Balamand (click here for more information).
Tskvarichamia, Georgia -- The leaves have already changed in Tskvarichamia, a mountain hamlet about 15 miles above Tbilisi. For the 16 families taking shelter in a modest building, this is not a herald of the harvest, but rather, an ominous reminder that winter is coming and they are not prepared.
At dusk, two mothers, their children and an elderly couple sit on the front porch and explain to an aid worker that the rest of the families have gone to the authorities to protest their living conditions and to demand that they be moved to Tbilisi. “We feel cut off up here,” says Nanna, carrying her small son on her lap. “It is cold and we cannot properly care for our children.” She and her husband were farmers in the village of Kemerti in South Ossetia, and like many who were displaced by this summer’s fighting between Russian and Georgian forces, they fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.
The group that had gone to Tbilisi return, and seeing the visitor immediately launch into a litany of complaints. They have no kitchen utensils. Blankets were delivered but the mattresses are no good. Above all, the building was formerly used as a summer camp for children and there is not enough insulation from the cold. “We may be blocked up here from other areas in the winter and our children have to go to school, ” says one woman.
Baltimore, Maryland — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) lent a hand recently to the American Red Cross in its effort to bring relief and recovery to communities in Houston and Galveston that were devastated by Hurricane Ike. IOCC delivered $140,000 worth of medical and hygiene supplies to the American Red Cross Auchan shelter in Houston. The supplies include such items as baby wipes, gloves, hygiene and toiletry kits, antibacterial soap and medical items.
The supplies, which were donated by IOCC partner Globus Relief, will be divided among Auchan and three other shelters in the Houston area benefitting more than 2,000 individuals.
Since early September, IOCC has also been sending a team of Orthodox clergy known as the Frontline to American Red Cross shelters in Houston and Galveston. The Frontline volunteers are trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), a form of trauma counseling and evaluation. Shelters are filled to capacity, according to American Red Cross officials who invited IOCC’s assistance.
Several Orthodox churches in the Houston area, as well as outside Texas, have provided IOCC with valuable logistical assistance, supplies and counsel throughout this effort.
Antiochian Village Senior Accountant
Company: Antiochian Village, Ligonier, PA
Status: Full Time Employee
Education Level: College graduate
Responsible to the Antiochian Village Conference Center Executive Director and the Antiochian Village Camp Director
About the Village: The Antiochian Village Camp and Conference Center was founded in 1978 initially as a camp for young people. The Conference Center was added in 1985 as a full service Conference and Retreat Center that includes 100 hotel-style lodging rooms, a full array of meeting rooms, a chapel, a Library specializing in Orthodox Theology and Middle Eastern Studies, a full-service Dining Hall and so much more. In 2004, the Heritage Museum was added to the Antiochian Village as well.
Current Feature: Orthodoxy and Ecumenism
with Fr. John McGuckin.
Fr. John McGuckin, noted scholar and host of an OCN podcast series called "Turning to the Fathers," discusses important points of distinction between Orthodox Christianity and other Christian confessions, including the idea of "sola scriptura," the role of tradition, the communion of the saints and more.
October 17th: Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922
with Giles Milton.
Giles Milton, an international best-selling author, talks about his newest book, "Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922." Giles tells the largely unknown story of the destruction of Smyrna, an extraordinary, heterogeneous and tolerant city with a large Orthodox Christian population — a disaster that would prefigure the coming clash of civilizations between East and West.
October 24th: Time Management
with Dr. Albert Rossi.
Dr. Albert Rossi of St. Vladimir's Seminary offers some practical steps to help us set aside more time for family, relationships and meaningful spiritual growth in a busy world.
The October 2008 issue includes the following articles:
Christians and Jews Under Islam, pg. 4
by Najib Saliba, Ph.D.
Preaching Christ Crucified at the Transfiguration, pg. 12
by Fr. Steven C. Salaris, M.Div., Ph.D.
A Son's Journey to the Priesthood, pg. 14
Special Olympics Training Camp at the Antiochian Village: A Little Taste of Heaven, pg. 17
I Am a Consumer, by Fr. Daniel Daly, pg. 30
BRUSSELS, Belgium – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew delivered a major address to the Plenary Assembly of the European Parliament during the formal sitting of the assembly in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday, September 24, 2008. His All Holiness was introduced by Mr. Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament. The Press Release of the European Parliament highlighting His All Holiness’ address is given in full below, as well as a link to the address in its entirety.
"We are all brothers and sisters", Ecumenical Patriarch tells MEPs
Addressing a formal sitting of the House as part of European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, Bartholomew I, spoke of the value of the European project in promoting peace and tolerance, the importance of accepting minorities and the need for the EU to accept Turkey as a member. He also underlined his church's efforts to encourage respect for the environment.
Introducing the Ecumenical Patriarch, EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering stressed that "The European Union is a community based on values, the most fundamental of which is human dignity. In this respect religious freedom is central to human dignity". He linked this to the separation of church and state, as anchored in the Lisbon Treaty.
Mr Pöttering described the Patriarch as "a beacon to your followers in the Orthodox world" and pointed out that recent EU enlargements had brought in the Orthodox countries of Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. He added "The late Pope John Paul II used the metaphor of Europe breathing again with its two lungs after the downfall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. We could also use this metaphor to refer to the richness in the enlarged EU brought through the different perspectives of Western and Eastern Christianity".
Here are some updates from Bishop BASIL on the parishes in the path of Hurricane Ike. From the reports that have come in so far, all clergy and their families are safe, and their homes are mostly unharmed, with only minor damage (at least, as can be determined now). Several priests have not been able to travel to their churches or contact their parishioners, so please continue your prayers for our Orthodox brethren as they clean and rebuild.