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His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP Announces the Establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at Antiochian Village

It is with great joy that His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP announces the establishment of the Convent of St. Thekla at the Antiochian Village.  The Acting Superior of the convent will be Mother Alexandra (Magan), and we welcome her with joy to the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America.

Mother Alexandra will take up residency at the Antiochian Village during the first week of July, and will live in temporary housing until such time as the residence building is constructed on the proposed site for the convent, which is on the main property at the Antiochian Village. This will allow her to experience a good part of the camping season, and to interact with our children.

She also has plans to attend the Archdiocese Convention in late July, and to have a presence at the St. Thekla Pilgrimage which will be held at the Antiochian Village in September.

There will soon be a website established for the convent, where all important news and information will be posted.

Click here to read a brief biography of Mother Alexandra.

Dept. of Sacred Music and Launch Improved Library of Liturgical Music

The Dept. of Sacred Music has long maintained one of the most popular sections of this website, a library of hundreds of pieces of official liturgical sheet music for use by our parishes. Now this library has been improved with a new interface for users, and many other changes to the software supporting the catalog. The new design will make it possible in the future for the department to work in collaboration with to add audio tracks to accompany the sheet music, and more.

Currently, the library is highlighting the music for the upcoming Archdiocese Convention.

Click here to visit the Sacred Music Library.

Click here to visit the Department of Sacred Music, chaired by Christopher Holwey. Launches Section for 2009 Archdiocese Convention

Our 49th Antiochian Archdiocese Convention will take place July 19 to 26, 2009, in Palm Desert, CA. Hosted by St. Michael Church of Van Nuys, the theme of the convention is: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy Holy Churches, and who remember the poor." 

This important gathering of our faithful from across North America will be reported on via a variety of new media sources. The editors at will be posting daily from the convention, and we have prepared a special section ready for this reporting, where you can also learn about the official website for the convention, other media ministries who will be in Desert Springs, and more.

In particular, we want to note that for the first time the convention planners have made available in advance online the official reports prepared by each department and ministry for delivery at the Convention. To take advantage of this valuable resource, you can download the reports as a single PDF file from the Convention website here.

Important Statement Concerning the Resolutions of the Holy Synod of Antioch

It has been the tradition of the Holy Synod of Antioch that all official resolutions that have been duly adopted at a meeting of the Holy Synod are published with the signatures of the Patriarch, as well as all of the Metropolitans who were present at the meeting. In this way, the will of the Holy Synod is expressed in a most powerful way by the presence of all of the signatures of the attending hierarchs. The most recent example of this was the communication of the decision of February 24th, 2009, which was distributed with all of the signatures of the hierarchs who were in attendance (the Arabic version may be viewed here by way of example).

The Holy Synod of Antioch met from June 16 through 18, 2009, to consider the status of bishops across the See of Antioch and other matters. However, the Archdiocese has not received any document that contains the signatures of all of the hierarchs who were in attendance at that meeting. When we do receive such a document, we will publish it as the official decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch.

Orthodox Christian Network Announces Podcast Partnership with FOCUS North America

The theme of the upcoming 2009 Archdiocese Convention is charity: "Be mindful, O Lord, of those who bear fruit and do good works in thy holy Churches, and who remember the poor." In that spirit, will begin publishing additional content on the charitable work being done across the Antiochian Archdiocese and the ministries we support, including those of SCOBA (Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas), like OCN.

The Orthodox Christian Network is excited to announce another addition to its already dynamic and ever evolving list of Radio on Demand Programming (Podcast), The FOCUS North America Podcast.

The Focus North America Podcast will feature engaging commentary and timely updates on Orthodox Christian social action volunteers, agencies and ministries of the Orthodox Church reaching out to the poor and needy here at home.

Rev. Dr. Christopher Metropulos, the Executive Director of the OCN, an agency of SCOBA, said, “Serving the poor and needy in North America should be a priority for every Orthodox Christian. We are proud to partner with FOCUS North America and to support their dynamic and growing ministry on behalf of the whole Church.”

Teen SOYO 40th Anniversary Video Released on YouTube

Fr. Joseph Purpura, Archdiocese Youth Director, has released via YouTube this special Teen SOYO 40th Anniversary video commemorating the forty years of raising up generations of disciples and leaders for the Holy Orthodox Church in the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Click here to go to the YouTube page for this video, and click here for Fr. Joseph's article from The Word commemorating this important occasion.

St. Vladimir's Seminary Presents Live Webcast June 18-20 On Orthodoxy in America

St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary presents a real time webcast titled Orthodoxy in America - Past, Present, and Future on June 18, 19, and 20. This special event features presentations by His Beatitude Metropolitan JONAH, His Grace Archbishop NATHANIEL, His Grace Bishop BASIL of Amphipolis, Antiochian Archdiocese Chancellor Charles Ajalat, and others.

Click here to watch the webcast beginning Thursday, June 18 at 7:30 pm EST.

Important Update on the Plans Leading Up to the Meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch, Beginning June 16

It was the original plan of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP to attend the upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch in person. All of his travel arrangements had been made, and tickets had been purchased. However, he contracted a virus earlier this week, and his doctors advised him not to travel for health reasons. By the grace of God, he is feeling a bit better, and we ask everyone to pray for his good health.

Since our Bishop JOSEPH was still in Damascus, His Eminence asked His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV for permission to allow Bishop JOSEPH to represent this Archdiocese on behalf of Metropolitan PHILIP, and this permission was granted. Bishop JOSEPH will attend the meeting of the Holy Synod on behalf of Metropolitan PHILIP, and he will participate in the discussion on the topic of the February 24th decision of the Holy Synod that affected the status of all bishops across the See of Antioch.

Our prayers are with His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch, and our representative Bishop JOSEPH for a most fruitful and productive meeting.

Ancient Faith Radio Interviews Bishop BASIL About Damascus Journey

Following last week's Damascus journey of five Archdiocese bishops, Matthew Namee, host of the new Ancient Faith Radio podcast American Orthodox History, spent some time talking with His Grace Bishop Basil of the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. "We have a father in God who loves us," says Bishop BASIL of His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV, "a father in God who knows us by name." Listen to the 10 minute interview here.

For more details on the American Orthodox History podcast, including the introductory program on the importance of learning about the history of the Church on this continent, click here.

His Grace Bishop ANTOUN Reflects on Damascus Journey

His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, member of the group of Archdiocese bishops that visited His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV in Damascus, Syria, last week, has prepared the following reflection on the journey:

After a long flight from New York’s JFK airport, myself with Their Graces, BASIL, MARK and THOMAS (Bishop JOSEPH traveled separately) arrived safely in Damascus on Tuesday, June 2. We were greeted at the airport by a delegation from the Patriarchate and went immediately to take the blessing of our father in Christ, His Beatitude, IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East. His Beatitude greeted us warmly and lovingly and thanked us for making the long journey on such short notice and for such a short period of time. At that time, we all went to rest and Bishop BASIL had a private meeting with the Patriarch.

IOCC: Combating the ‘Silent Killers’ Among Syria’s Iraqi Refugees


An Iraqi refugee assists her community in Syria to overcome the rising rates of diabetes and high blood pressure with information and testing. IOCC’s community outreach program trains and equips Iraqis to help fellow refugees with a range of social services. (photo credit: A. Rondos/IOCC Lebanon)


Aleppo, Syria - On a rainy evening in this ancient city famed for its pistachios and historic mosques and churches, 120 Iraqi refugees gather in a church’s basement to learn about the “silent killers” of their community – diabetes and high blood pressure. The prevalence of both diseases is rising among the estimated one million Iraqis who have fled to Syria from Iraq since 2003.

Dr. Rana, an Iraqi refugee who came to Syria in 2008 after completing her medical degree at Baghdad University, has organized the gathering. She pulls out test kits and begins to teach each patient how to measure their blood pressure and their glucose level. Dr. Rana explains that diabetes and high blood pressure are prevalent in refugee communities where unemployment is high and people lack access to regular health care. “Many Iraqis do not go to the doctor because they spend time worrying about their families and so do not have the very important regular tests for these illnesses,” she says.

Archdiocese Bishops Meet with Patriarch IGNATIUS IV in Damascus

The following statement and photographs have been released by The Offices of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East in Damascus, Syria, courtesy of Archimandrite Ibrahim Daoud, Secretary to the Patriarch:

On Tuesday, June 2, 2009, the Most Blessed Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, received as his specially invited guests from the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, Their Graces, Bishop Antoun, Bishop Joseph, Bishop Basil, Bishop Thomas and Bishop Mark. 

SOYO Reaches 40: 40 Years of Raising Generations of Disciples & Leaders

By V. Rev. Dr. Joseph F. Purpura

Forty years ago, the WORD Magazine recorded that during the Miami Convention of 1969 NAC (Teen) SOYO under the direction of his Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP elected its first President Mr. Robert Laham Jr. The teens were previously a committee of (Senior) SOYO (Senior SOYO is currently known as the Fellowship of St John the Divine). His Eminence with the help of Helen E. Rihbany, the National Teenage Chairwoman of Senior SOYO, set the following as priorities for this Teen Movement in the archdiocese, as found in Helen’s report to the General Assembly.

Archdiocese Bishops To Meet Patriarch IGNATIUS IV In Damascus

During the first week of June, His Grace Bishop ANTOUN, His Grace Bishop JOSEPH, His Grace Bishop BASIL, His Grace Bishop THOMAS, His Grace Bishop MARK, and His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER will travel to Damascus, Syria at the invitation of His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV, Patriarch of Antioch and all of the East. They will meet with His Beatitude on June 3rd and June 4th to discuss the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch dated February 24th, 2009 which specified the status of all bishops across the See of Antioch as that of Auxiliary Bishops.

His Beatitude has also announced that the regular Spring meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch will take place on Tuesday June 16, 2009. His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP is planning to be present for the regular Spring meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch.

For a listing of all posts on this site pertaining to the Synod's Feb. 24 decision, please click here.

Antiochian Author Dr. Bradley Nassif Wins Evangelical Press Association Award

The Evangelical Press Association awarded Dr. Bradley Nassif second place for one of the best articles in a series published in Christianity Today magazine. The series of articles asked several leading theologians  and church leaders the question "Why is our gospel so small?"  The award winning article was published in May 2008, and titled "The Poverty of Love."  It focused on wisdom taken from sayings and stories from the desert Fathers and Mothers.

Click here to read The Poverty of Love.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Nassif.

IOCC: Gaza’s Orthodox Community Struggles to Endure


International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is providing food, blankets and hygiene supplies to 6,000 vulnerable families in Gaza. IOCC is working in cooperation with the Orthodox Church in Gaza where needy families are receiving repairs to their homes which were damaged by the recent war. (photo credit: D. Lackovic-van Gorp/IOCC Jerusalem/West Bank)


International Orthodox Christian Charities’ (IOCC) Jerusalem/West Bank Representative Dirk Lackovic-van Gorp travels to Gaza regularly overseeing IOCC’s distributions of food, blankets and hygiene supplies to 6,000 vulnerable families throughout Gaza. Here is a portion of his field diary. For Dirk‘s complete Gaza diary go to

As we approach the Erez crossing on the Israeli side of the border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza, it suddenly occurs to me that I have already grown familiar with the routine. I need to pause and remind myself of the daily reality for the 1.5 million Palestinians on the other side of this crossing – that they are effectively prisoners in a small strip of land along the scenic Mediterranean coast.

OCN Live Coverage of Dedication of the New Missionary Training and Administration Building

St. Augustine, FL – Several hundred Orthodox Christian faithful from throughout the country and as far away as Albania and Romania will be in St. Augustine this week for the dedication of the new Archbishop Anastasios and Archbishop Demetrios Missionary Training and Administrative Building of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC). This new facility will serve as the international missions headquarters for North America’s estimated 1.5 million Orthodox Christians. Events begin with an evening banquet Wednesday, May 20, and continue on Thursday with a Divine Liturgy service at 7:30 a.m. The actual Dedication ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 21, to be followed by a luncheon.

Conciliar Media Ministries Coordinates Oklahoma City Evangelism Campaign

In late 2008, a group of Antiochian lay leaders and clergy met at the home of Antiochian Chancellor Charles Ajalat to lay out the framework for an evangelism campaign that would introduce the people of Oklahoma City to the Orthodox Christian faith.

Virginia Nieuwsma Featured in Podcast on OCN featured author and staff member Virginia Nieuwsma was recently featured on the Orthodox Christian Network's Come Receive the Light podcast. In this special Mother’s Day podcast, Nieuwsma and Fr. Chris Metropoulos discuss the joys and the struggles of being a Mom today with a busy schedule.

Click here to listen

Nieuwsma reports that she is considering the possibility of an ongoing series of OCN podcasts on the subject of parenting. Potential future topics include Transmitting the Faith, Sibling Rivalry, Choosing a School, Children and the Media, Chores and Responsibilities, and many others.

Fr. Constantine Nasr Joins Featured Authors of the Archdiocese

The writing of Fr. Constantine Nasr, beloved pastor of St. Elijah Church of Oklahoma City, is now available at The Dept. of Internet Ministry has been steadily building collections of some of the gifted writers working in our Archdiocese, easily accessible via the Featured Authors of the Archdiocese list on the homepage. By God's grace, the Antiochian Archdiocese is home to many talented writers: clergy and laypeople, men and women, young and old, cradle and convert, well-known and upcoming. More than a dozen author sections are now available, where readers can learn more about these voices of our Church and benefit from a selection of their writings. We encourage you to dive in to the fascinating reflections and teachings of such authors as Fr. George Morelli, Frederica Mathewes-Green, Kh. Maggie Hock, and more.

Fr. Constantine, one of our most gifted and honored pastors, has been instrumental in bringing hundreds of souls in to the Church and launching multiple missions, while also authoring five books and teaching and preaching through many mediums. His first series of articles on is a five part Practical Guide for Priests and Pastors