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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

May 2009 Issue of The Word Magazine Now Available Online

Click cover to download: 

The May 2009 issue contains the following articles:

Orthodoxy and the Unborn Child, pg. 4
by Christopher Humphrey, Ph.D.

Insanity and Demonic Possession in Patristic Thought, pg. 10
by Mother Melania (Salem)

Fond Memories of Archimadrite Paul Moses, pg. 15

...and more!

New Online Resources for Clergy

To all Antiochian Archdiocese clergy: has added a new page of online administrative resources from the Registrar's office. A link to these resources entitled "Registrar" may be found at the top of any page in the black menu bar just underneath the site banner. These resources are intended for Antiochian Archdiocese clergy only. A user name and password are required to view the page. If you have not received or have misplaced your user name and password, please contact the registrar.

We hope that you will find this new resource helpful in your parish duties!

The 2009 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism

September 4-7
Antiochian Village, Ligonier, Pennsylvania

The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese Department of Missions and Evangelism is proud to welcome as our keynote speaker for the 2009 Orthodox Conference on Missions and Evangelism...

His Beatitude the Most Blessed

Primate of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA). Archbishop of Washington and New York, Metropolitan of All America and Canada

“One Faith, One Church, One Message: the Necessity of Orthodox Unity in America to Bring America to Orthodoxy”

Click here for more information

IOCC Youth Camps in Lebanon Promote Tolerance


More than 400 Lebanese youth participated in IOCC camps. (photo credit: M. Joulouyan/IOCC Lebanon)


(Beirut, Lebanon) – International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) hosted 14 youth camps throughout Lebanon, promoting a culture of tolerance between youth and encouraging them to take an active role in improving their communities.

One 18-year-old who participated in a Baalbek camp, is already anxious to start a development organization where people from all religions can work together to help Lebanon’s rural areas. “The first day, we were strangers meeting for the first time,” he says, “but I was relieved to find out that although we came from various backgrounds there was nothing standing in the way of our unity.”

Text of the Resolution from the Special Meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod

One result of the Special Meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod on April 24, 2009 was the attached resolution entitled “Resolution Affirming Obedience to the Decision of The Holy Synod of Antioch of February 24th, 2009 which Normalized the Status of Bishops Across The Entire See of Antioch”.

The Resolution was signed by the following Hierarchs:

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP
His Grace Bishop ANTOUN
His Grace Bishop JOSEPH
His Grace Bishop THOMAS

The resolution was not signed by the following Hierarchs:

His Grace Bishop BASIL
His Grace Bishop MARK

The remaining Hierarch, His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER wrote the following note in place of his signature:

“This decision is already in effect and does not need my signature”

In summary, of the seven hierarchs in attendance, four signed the resolution, two did not sign the resolution, and one wrote a note in place of his signature.

Click here to read the Resolution of April 24th, 2009 (PDF Format).

Special Meeting of the Archdiocesan Synod is Held

On Friday April 24th, 2009, a special meeting of the Holy Synod of The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America was held under the chairmanship of His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP at the Archdiocese Headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey. All of the hierarchs of the Archdiocese were in attendance at the meeting namely:

His Eminence Metropolitan PHILIP
His Grace Bishop ANTOUN
His Grace Bishop JOSEPH
His Grace Bishop BASIL
His Grace Bishop THOMAS
His Grace Bishop MARK
His Grace Bishop ALEXANDER

The sole agenda item was a discussion of the decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch which was adopted on February 24th, 2009. This decision normalized the status of all bishops across the See of Antioch to be that of Auxiliary bishops.

The hierarchs discussed many issues that have been raised by clergy and laity alike regarding this decision. There was agreement that there are some very serious issues that need attention in order that the healing process can proceed. The hierarchs agreed to take some specific actions that can facilitate this healing.

Register Now for Connect 2009 Exchange Program

What is CONNECT?

CONNECT is an academic and cultural exchange program which introduces youth of the world to the environment, culture and heritage of Lebanon, Syria, and the Middle East.

CONNECT aims at offering youth (17 to 25 years of age) a unique learning experience that will enrich their mind and soul, and connect them with their land of ancestry and rich heritage.

The four-week cultural exchange program includes:

  • Academic Programs and Interactive Tutorials
  • Seminars, Workshops and Discussions
  • Trips in Lebanon and Syria (optional)
  • Antiochian Heritage: Orthodox Belief; Liturgy; Architecture
  • Cultural Activities
  • Involvement in Community-based Projects
  • Sports and Outdoor Activities, including a beach resort on the Mediterranean Sea

Memory Eternal! + A New Page for Remembrance of Our Loved Ones

We are please to announce this Bright Week the addition of a new page on for remembrance of our loved ones who have fallen asleep in the Lord. In particular, we remember this week Kh. Lorraine Husson and Margaret Lois Salaris. Please visit the page and remember these dear ones in your prayers!

Click here to visit our new page for remembrance of the departed.

Christ is Risen!